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I can remember so many years, heading into the winter solstice, with the days getting consistently shorter, my birthday, the holidays and the winter itself, would bring a certain kind of feeling similar to PTSD, for what I’d experienced in the past.
I used to go into the holidays EXPECTING to be disappointed. I used to anticipate that I’d be revisiting the same painful hurts and memories as previous years.
I would look for the offenses and upsets that matched my experience in the past so I could reinvigorate the painful meaning I’d made of things in the past. And then I’d get to be right all over again.
Not happy, but right.
Can you relate?
I’ve found this is a common theme for people, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere it starts now. In the USA we have Thanksgiving at the end of November, plus my birthday. Thanksgiving is the biggest family holiday we have. The day before, is always the biggest single travel day in the USA all year long, which is an incredibly stressful way to begin a holiday.
So many triggers, so little time.
But I have a different experience now.
First of all, it’s been years since there was pain and upsets at the holidays in my life.
This year, very few will be traveling – which will be very sad for many Americans – we’re missing our families. Thank God for Zoom!
I can remember when I used to visit family and after 3 days I’d start to feel sad and depressed.
I’d start thinking: “Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Why do I keep thinking that I can stay for a week when I start to feel depressed after just a few days?
Why do I keep repeating the same madness expecting a new experience?
What’s wrong with me?”
And on and on.
So many triggers – so little time.
Here’s what changed everything for me: Taking responsibility.
As part of my deciding not to be focused on judging, complaining, constantly criticizing, and looking for problems, I began to start to look for ways to extend compassion and kindness.
When offense was taken, I committed to being the one who would go first and make amends.
I stopped taking everything personally because I started to see all my attacks on others were more about me than about them.
And then, as my mind started becoming more kind and loving, I began to see that none of my attacks were about them and ALL of them were about me.
None of this happened over night.
It was slow and gradual change over MANY YEARS.
But the super cool thing is that I realized every change I made rippled out to my family and friends.
I could be the one who decided whether or not I was pissed off and hurt. The upset couldn’t happen without my agreement!
It was me. I was the one I had to forgive for having made my life into a portal to hell.
I studied spirituality for nearly 20 years feeling that truth was an ever-illusive mystery that I just couldn’t get to. For me, truth was just beyond one more door that I was trying to pry open. I was looking outside myself for insight, thinking that an intellectual approach would bring me what I was looking for, because my intellect had always (or so I thought!) helped me in the past.
I’d figured out my problems in the past.
I could figure out how to get connected to Spirit.
I didn’t know that the intellect is a tool of the ego.
But, through my deep desire of the heart to truly know Spirit, and to truly break free of pain and suffering, I was led and guided. It was ONLY my willingness that helped me to see through the bushes and brambles of ego blocks and subterfuge.
I now LOVE this time of year for a whole new set of reasons! Check this out:
From September into January, I get to have 1 on 1 appointments with all the folks who are in my year-long Masterful Living Course. When we talk early in the year, things are challenging. It’s not so easy. People are looking deeply into their patterns and habits to eliminate the causes of suffering. Some people experience it with a lot of Joy and Freedom, but not all. Some begin having many miracles all at once. But that’s not true for everyone. Some folks find it super challenging and they are heroic in their not giving up.
I’ve been having 1 on 1’s with the folks in this community for years now and it’s such a pleasure, especially this time of year. By now, most people in Masterful Living are telling me their successes in how this year has been so life-changing for them. They’re telling me how differently they feel about themselves and their life. They tell me stories of marriages that are experiencing a rebirth of Love, and relationships with family that are getting better every day. They’re looking forward to doing the holidays differently.
And, because we have people who continue doing the work together with me and the community for years, I get to celebrate the long term AMAZING transformation of their lives, careers, families, finances and more.
When someone is absolutely convinced that they are unlovable,
and now they know it’s not true,
that changes every minute
of every day
of the rest of their lives –
and for those around them as well.
I love listening to a beloved member of this community share how they made a decision to do something differently in their workplace because they just wanted to be nicer to the people in their lives. Over the course of a year, their shifts change the entire culture of their workplace. Then, their co-workers take home a different attitude and they share that with their family. Their children take that with them to school, and then the other kids in their class take that home to their family and that’s how the world changes.
A Course in Miracles says: Seek not to change the world, but to change your mind about the world.
That’s why I’m committed to proving it.
I absolutely LOVE the last third of the year. It’s four months of reaping the rewards and celebrating the benefits. They aren’t dark months anymore. There’s nothing to fear anymore. It’s win-win all the way!
AND – this year it feels quite different, because mixed into that celebratory experience is an awareness of the intense challenges that so many all over the world are having. More than ever, this is a time for us to cling to our spiritual practice and deepen it beyond anything we ever thought was possible.
A greater commitment to walking the talk and living the Love lifts us all.
You can still join our 40 Day Meditation Challenge at any point, it’s free – all are welcome. You can join us every Sunday for Sundays with Spirit – it’s free. We can do this together and lift each other!
NOVEMBER: Are you interested in Spiritual Counseling or just developing your relationship skills? You might be interested in my Spiritual Counseling Training Intensive November 15 to 21st. I’ll be doing this intensive training in-person (in New Hampshire where there’s very little virus) and, for the first time ever online – so you can join from anywhere. If you’re curious, but not sure, book an exploratory call with a spiritual counselor to learn more.
TODAY, you can join me, Mary Gerard Lenihan and Susanne VanDyke. We’re coming together to share our inspiration in many ways. We’ll have a spiritual celebration together with message and music – we call it Sundays With Spirit. Please invite your family! If you can’t join us, you can catch the replay! Because we’re going to be live on video, you’ll have to register to get the details. All are welcome, there’s no charge, but you do have to register, unless you’ve already registered in the past.
When you register, you’ll also get easy access to past services with Jon Mundy, Lisa Natoli, David Hoffmeister, Maureen Muldoon, Corinne Zupko, Maria Felipe, Frances Xu, Jimmy Twyman and more. If you’ve already registered for a previous Sunday – you don’t need to register again, you’ll get a reminder with the details automatically.
COMING SOON – Masterful Living 2021 registration opens in a couple of weeks – with bonuses to inspire you to commit early and you can get on the waiting list for the early-bird right now. Click here now for the Masterful Living waitlist.