Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Nothing to Fear

Nothing to Fear

It is too much energy to be afraid.  Hiding from others, hiding from our problems, and hiding from ourselves is exhausting work.  When we think about it, what is so intimidating about facing reality?  The worst thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities; the best thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities.  Once we are past the ego and the perceived harm that will come to it if others know our truth or if we admit the truth to ourselves, then there is nothing left to be afraid of.  We come to a place of knowing that we have already stared down our fears and admitted our faults, which resulted in our strength – so why should we be afraid?

Those that are aware of the Presence of the All Powerful have even more confidence to boldly unfold into the greatest version of themselves without concern about past misgivings short-circuiting their future.  They know that what they have experienced, and even seeming mistakes that were made, were not really mistakes at all, but part of the Divine Plan.  What has happened is a part of what has made you who you are.  What you are created from, is who you are.  We are created from Love, because we are created by God.  God is Love.  It takes too much energy to be afraid. And anyway, there is nothing to fear. The light of love and truth shines boldly into the darkness and illuminates the closets and under the beds where our secrets lie, to reveal that what we feared were only ever illusions anyway.

~ CCB

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Personal Peace is a Super Power


There are a lot of things that we are taught during the early years of our lives under the guise that they are important to know for our success as human beings. However, I can’t remember the last time an algebraic formula saved my life. I would have appreciated a class on “How to Maintain Peace in the Face of Challenge,” or a cognitive-behavioral based course titled “You are Not Your Thoughts” offered around the 4th grade. A ‘How-To Survive Life with Your Sanity’ style curriculum starting in kindergarten would probably have reduced the individual instances of mental health conditions and contributed to a more stable society as a whole. Yes, I know… reading, writing and arithmetic – but that could’ve been covered in the span of a year with the remainder of our youth education being focused on life skills, interpersonal effectiveness, dealing with emotion, loving ourselves, and having a healthy relationship with God. But, dreams.

In reality, it takes for us to get to a certain point in life where we notice our own dysfunctional patterns and decide to do something about it. One of the main commodities that we reach for is peace. Which really isn’t a “commodity” at all but when we don’t experience it, we do view it as a thing to attain. The truth is, it’s really a state that exists within us that’s been there the entire time. And on an even deeper level, we realize that peace is our essential nature – supporting the inferences that everything we need is already inside of us and the “Kingdom of God is within” per Jesus.

Prayer, meditation, and visualization are means of moving into a state of consciousness that puts us more in tune with our source of peace. Prayer allows us to speak to God. Meditation allows us to hear from God. And visualization is how we co-create our experience which is a blend of our free will and God’s will for us (as a sidenote, we ultimately want to get to a place where we use our free will to stay in the will of God).

Our journey will have many challenges. We may create unnecessary complexities. Life will continue to throw intense situations our way. There may be unexpected circumstances beyond our control. What we can control is our approach. By taking an approach of peace – peace of mind and spirit which comes from trusting that all things have a purpose and somehow come together in mysterious ways for the glory of God – we are able to survive with our sanity, and actually enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

~ CCB

 

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Heart Be Healed. From Pain to Empowered.

Growth from Broken Heart
photo credit:  aseb.org

You are stronger now and you can choose not to hurt anymore. Whatever it is that you’ve been through doesn’t have power over you as of now. Decide that this is the moment that you will embrace the freshness of the day, and allow your heart, spirit and mind to be healed by a Power Greater Than yourself. There are no guarantees that you will never feel pain again. But there is the promise that if you keep your trust and faith in God, that you will be brought through that pain and make it safely to the other side. Alongside you will be newfound strength, deeper understanding, and compassion for others who you notice going through similar trials. The victory is the Lord’s and you are a living testimony that nothing can stop His work in progress because you are still here. You are still trying and you believe in something. If this were not so, you would have stopped by now. But your heart is strong, and your spirit wills you to continue putting one foot in front of the other as you allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord. In whatever way you perceive your Higher Power, and however you draw strength from Its love is more important than what others tell you to believe. At the end of the day, as it was in the beginning, it’s about YOUR relationship with your Creator. And at the end of this life, as it was in the beginning, it is still about the same relationship. You don’t have to hurt anymore. Because the sensations that you are feeling have advanced into power that propels you forward while keeping you grounded all at the same time. These are blessings. You have lived to love another day. You are blessed.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Do Yourself a Favor. Worry Less.

 

Full Serenity Prayer


We tend to think about the things we want to do. This makes sense, especially when you’re a goal-oriented visualization enthusiast who understands the importance of seeing it before you get there. However, we also have to consider the things we need to do less of. What is it for you?

  • Eat less?
  • Sleep less?
  • Argue less?
  • Work less?
  • Worry less!

We’d all be better off if we worried less. As a counselor working with many people struggling with addictions, the Serenity Prayer is weaved into the fabric of my daily life. And because every person has their own vice (some are just more intense than others), the prayer in its entirety is applicable to us all.

Many are familiar with the foundation of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

In our quest to worry less, there is much that can be learned from these simple yet meaningful lines. Look at the situations in your life now. How many of them are beyond your control to change? If you could accept those things as areas that are outside of your jurisdiction to resolve, and surrender it to that which is greater than you, there would be a lot less to worry about. This assumes that you are connected to your spirit in a way that you at least acknowledge that you were created by something/Someone that loves and wants the best for you.

On the flipside of accepting the things we can’t change is finding the courage to change the things we can. Sometimes we don’t even notice when we are carrying stress from the things we feel we are leaving undone. We may have noticed area of ourselves and our lives that deserve more attention, situations that need to be made right, causes that deserve our energy – yet we are taking little to no actions in these areas. It doesn’t sit with us well. We allow our anxieties and insecurities keep us from taking actions that could change our own and others’ lives for the better. If we were able to find the courage to finally change those things that are within our power to do, there would be a lot less to worry about. We would feel like we are being true to ourselves, being useful, and making a difference in the world. This is fulfilling and brings us to a place of satisfaction and self-love, ultimately decreasing the time that we spend in stress and worry.

Finally, there may be confusion about the difference between those circumstances that we need to accept and the ones we need to be working on. This is no easy feat. When something has become more challenging than we feel we’re capable of handling, do we let it go or give it our all? Do we let nature take its course or do we acknowledge ourselves as a force of nature and continue to give our best efforts? The only way to solve such mystery is through discernment and wisdom. From where does this wisdom come? God. Once again we come to the importance of having a connection with something greater than ourselves so that we can afford ourselves the opportunity to lay down some of the stress that we’ve been carrying on our shoulders and our backs, causing us to feel worn, exhausted, and aged. We have options. It is not necessary for us to continue traveling through life carrying the burden of our own and others’ worlds, when we can worry less by practicing acceptance, discernment, and staying connected to our source to grow in wisdom.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Important Components to Discovering Our Purpose and Self

Who Am I

Wouldn’t we like to be at a place in our development where no matter what happens around us we are able to maintain a state of peace and balance? This is a possibility for us, through knowing who we are, what we are capable of and devoting ourselves to a daily practice of prayer and meditation.

Prayer is necessary because it changes the conversations in our heads. We go from obsessing about our relationships with others, to nurturing our relationship with God to discover who we truly are as children of the Most High. Our prayer life helps us to strengthen the connection and dialogue with the One from whom our wisdom and direction comes. If we spend more time in commune with that which created us, knows us, and loves us, we are able to stay in a healthier frame of mind. Our sense of personal security and power is strong and the ability to overcome challenges also strengthens as we are in constant remembrance that what is in us is far greater than what is around us. Knowing yourself, is knowing your power, and knowing where that power comes from.

It has been said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is opening ourselves to hear from God. In meditation, instead of doing something we allow ourselves to “undo.” We take a load off. We stop asking. We stop processing information for a moment. Stop analyzing, planning, scheming, chattering, remembering, and all of those other things our mind is in the habit of doing. Give yourself permission to let everything go for a moment (at least as much as you can), as you sit quietly and feel your natural flow for awhile. We allow ourselves to just be.

It has been said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is opening ourselves to hear from God.

Be present in the moment, sensing our own heartbeat, becoming aware of what is happening in our minds as if we are watching a movie, unmoved and unphased by what may be coming up inside of us at that time. We give ourselves permission to be aware of any emotions and thoughts, but we do not follow them or continue to give energy to them at this time. Slowly but surely we begin to notice the noise in our heads quieting down and we start getting subtle nudges to relax, have faith, and experience a quiet confidence that we are getting closer to who we are truly created to be.

I write only what I have to remind myself of on a constant basis. It is so easy to get swept up in the responsibilities of the day, the bills to be paid, the people that get on our nerves, the deadlines, the hassle of everyday life. We have to see through all of the distractions and listen beyond all of the noise to reconnect with the truth of who we are and what we are here to do.

The only way to receive the message of what our purpose is and to discover who we truly are, is to ask (pray), and then listen (meditate) – becoming stronger in our prayer life and spiritual relationship, striving daily for peaceful inner confidence and atonement (At-One-ment). At one with God, ourselves, and others – finally understanding who we are, who we all are.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Expecting and Welcoming Change

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ II Corinthians 3:18

There comes a point in life when the things that used to work for us no longer do the trick. We have carried our styles, personalities, charms, and attitudes as far as we can and it seems that they’ve reached their expiration dates. It’s time for something new. A transformation on the inside so great that it begins to affect our external environment. This is no easy feat, and must be approached with openness, desire, and most importantly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Change of SeasonsLife is change. There is no use in fighting it. If ever we are to keep up with the ways of creation, we must be prepared to continuously evolve, learn more about ourselves and our environments, and be willing to modify our methods at the drop of a dime. This is scary business to most people, who prefer the comforts and securities of those things that are familiar, and the sanctity of routine.  This accounts for most of our automatic and auto-pilot style of living.

But when change occurs, we do not have the luxury of cruising. We are on our toes, paying attention to every detail, keeping our eyes open for viable solutions, and all of sudden constantly in prayer. God was there the entire time, but for most people,  His Presence seems much more welcomed, revered, and appealed to during the times that the structure of our lives is shaking.

Be Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually Prepared for Change…

We can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the times in life when we receive subtle signs or blatant messages that “A CHANGE IS COMING… A CHANGE IS HERE.”  How do we do this?  By EXPECTING IT.

That’s it. That’s the answer. There is the plan. No more, no less. EXPECT CHANGE.

The Plan:  Expect Change…

Once we reach the point where we expect change to occur, it can no longer catch us off guard or cause us to lose our balance. We knew it was coming and so we were mentally prepared for it. There is the ability now to maneuver as needed to continue focusing on our goals since we had already factored in the potential for a shift to occur while we were executing our plan.

This keeps us in a position of power, especially when we remember the reason that it is okay for change to happen – because it is all in God’s hands anyway. When we have a strong faith, we are not dismayed or frustrated when things don’t go according to our plan because we remember that the Master Plan was conceived and in progress long before we got here and long after we’ve moved on. Why? Because things are always changing, it’s the nature of creation. And thank God, because who wants a life of no thriving, growth, or development? That would make us no more than rocks – who even change over time at a much slower pace, but still transform.

All of creation transforms. So why not open our arms and welcome it, and experience the life that God has for us that is far beyond what our human minds can imagine in this moment.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Holding the Keys to Your Own Happiness

HappinessWaiting for someone else to make you happy is like waiting for someone to feed you. As an adult, there are just some things we have to take responsibility for ourselves. It is a myth that someone outside of us has the ability to meet our every needs, create joy for us, and keep us inspired. Even if that person existed, why would we want to put that sort of responsibility on someone else anyway?

It’s challenging enough keeping ourselves happy, it’s pretty selfish to put the burden on another to do it for us.  But that is often what our expectations are. That’s what mine were anyway. To have the people around me cater to my needs, tend to my feelings, and figure out what to do to keep me in a happy place. And when they didn’t, I acted like they failed me – as if they owed me something.

No one owes us anything. In fact, we only owe it to ourselves and to God to make the most of the life that we’ve been given. We owe it to ourselves to be happy with who we are and what we’ve got.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says,

“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.”

The key concepts that jump out at me are:

*BE JOYFUL*

*DO GOOD*

*EAT, DRINK, & TAKE PLEASURE EVEN IN TOIL*

*APPRECIATE GOD’S GIFT TO MAN/WOMAN*

Is it possible that within that verse we are given keys to how to maintain our own happiness?

Being joyful is something that comes from within us – whether or not other people are involved. We can experience joy by being appreciative of the things we normally don’t think about, like how good it feels to be able to breathe on our own and that we woke up this morning and that we can see the beautiful sky and feel the sun against our skin – and a million other things to be joyful about.

Doing good is self-explanatory. Anytime we get caught in the quicksand of our own emotions and start feeling like the world isn’t giving us enough, we can pick ourselves up and get a burst of hope and inspiration by doing something good for someone else. Volunteer at a shelter, donate some clothes and resources to people who need it, call somebody and share some encouraging words, show a stranger some love – do some good in the world. And if you don’t feel like doing something good for someone else, do something good for yourself. Go for a run, take a relaxing bath, do some stretches, set some new goals, join a Bible study or meditation group. Participate in activities that will improve yours or others’ lives.

Eat, drink, and take pleasure in life even when it’s hard. Maybe we have it all wrong – we pull away when times get hard and maybe we should lean in. I know my tendency when things aren’t going well is to isolate myself – I don’t want to be bothered and I don’t want to bother anyone else. I don’t want to go out, my eating habits nosedive, and having a good time is nowhere on my agenda. Good times and depression usually aren’t found in the same room. But Scripture instructs us that even as we toil – while we work hard and face challenges – to eat, drink, and be merry!

Appreciating God’s gifts to us is a key to our personal happiness. If we would just look at what we’ve already been blessed with instead of looking for others to do more for us, we would realize our own ability to experience a self-perpetuating joy, a self-sustaining happiness. The beautiful thing about being happy within yourself is that it gives you something to share with someone else. When you connect with others, no longer will you be the needy one looking to be filled; you’ll be the one with the wellspring of joy that can refresh others.

When we realize we hold our own keys to happiness, we won’t try to borrow someone else’s.

~ CCB.

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

youth.

It was under there the whole time.

I took it for dead, not looking past the wooden casing that symbolized

that its work had been done, its battle had been won. But not the war.

Maybe a part of me wanted it to be over, to lay it to rest.

I was exhausted and so was my youth.

But no sooner had I made peace with our last days together,

did the thunder clap a rhythm that brought us back to life

like a cosmic defibrillator.

It wasn’t over. There was still more to love. Still more to war.

I’ll mistake you for dead again, my youth.

I’ll believe the murmuring of the crowd and the mirror’s lies,

long enough to accept it as truth.

But you won’t let me.

For another hundred years tiny rocks will sneak into my sandals

as my calves ache and my thighs burn from the climb.

And you’ll tell me that I love it.

I’ll vehemently deny you, and bury you

and attempt to prove that I can’t take another step.

Until I am waking up to us dancing to that eternal rhythm,

telling you that I love it.

Grateful that you are always there.