My boyfriend can’t forgive me because for the first year we dated I never invited him to my apartment. I was embarrassed because his apartment is so much nicer than mine, so I was always making excuses not to have him over. He thinks it was because I was unfaithful and living with another guy but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve tried to explain it to him but he’s still holding it against me. I love him so much and miss the good times we had together. How can I regain his trust?… Mandy
You’ve learned the hard way, I’m afraid, that relationships can’t prosper fully when one is intentionally withholding information from another. That said, if you’ve sincerely apologized and explained your reasons and he still won’t forgive you, it’s probably time you have a heart to heart talk and try to find out what’s really going on with him. Set an intention for clarity and honest, open, peaceful communication. Here are a few talking points that might help get you started:
The way I see it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, if you haven’t yet forgiven me, it must be for one of these three reasons:
1. Because I haven’t explained why I did what I did, well enough for you to understand. I’ll gladly try one more time if you want me to.
2. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying, but you choose not to believe me, there is nothing I can do about that.
3. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying and you do believe me, but you choose to hold and carry a grudge, there is nothing I can do about that, either.
Are any of these scenarios true for you or are you using what I did as an excuse because you don’t have the courage to tell me that your feelings about me have changed? Or maybe you never really felt the same way about me that I feel about you?
CWG says there is nothing to forgive; there is only to understand. God fully understands the reasons behind everything we’ve ever done—what our fears were, what our thought processes were about that fear, and why it drove us to make that “mistake” (of course, there really are no mistakes in the Universe). That is why we need not ask forgiveness from God. Even before we ask it is already given.
Also, Mandy, we must always understand and forgive ourselves if we expect to receive understanding and forgiveness from others. This is how the Universe works at a metaphysical level—it reflects back our own thoughts about it. So perhaps the larger question is, Have you forgiven yourself?!
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of The Conversations With God School, is a CWG Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com.
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
I was incredibly moved by the personal responses I received from last week’s column on grief and loss. I heard the pain and struggle that so many are moving through surrounding very real grief events happening in their life. I got it overwhelmingly that the help sought was in how to get through the pain and return to a place of peace; boy, do I understand the desire for that. It was all the encouragement I needed to write some follow-up columns here on healing and recovering from emotional pain.
There is something instinctual within each of us that knows that life is not meant to be lived in pain, and so we quite naturally desire relief from it. Yet, as we discussed last week, healing our hurts can be a challenge since we often use less-than-helpful information on how to directly deal with loss and we can end up stuck in them instead.
Completing our hurts is all that the ‘energy-of-emotion’ desires; that is, emotion can only be completed when allowed to be felt and fully expressed…And that takes what it takes. Avoiding or stuffing our feelings is the only way not to complete them. Dealing with some emotions are tougher than others. Let’s talk about some of the emotions that can keep us stuck in pain and tools to help get us through it.
Resentment, or as I like to call it, “The I’d rather be right than happy emotion”
Resentment is at the top of my list. The Buddha said: “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished BY your anger.” I am sure we have all had experiences of that. Resentment is to literally resend to yourself negative thoughts that create painful emotions and then to do that over and over again. Remaining stuck in resentment is a joy-stealer, love-ender, and a life-experience killer! If left unresolved, overtime it can diminish our physical health as well.
“Resentment is like taking poison, hoping someone else will get sick” – Malachy McCourt.
The inability to overcome resentment probably constitutes the single-most devastating impediment to healing our important relationships, including the one with ourself! Even if we resent someone who has died, the replaying of past events trigger feelings as if they were happening to us right now. In fact, your body doesn’t know the difference. Resentment stands directly opposed to forgiveness, which is the giving up and letting go of the anger without condoning the behavior that caused it.
Look again at that quote: “resentment is like taking poison, hoping someone else will get sick.” This makes clear one of the most devastating aspects of resentment. And if you are experiencing it right now, you know exactly what I mean. If you’re thinking about ways to get even or prove just how wrong the other person is, it may help to remember that the other person, who is that re-occurring bad movie playing over and over again in your mind, is probably feeling no pain, perhaps not even thinking about you at all or the interactions that are currently renting space in your head. Ultimately, resentment hurts you far more than those you may hold a grudge against, so it just makes sense to find a way to heal it.
Here is a practical tool to begin the process of healing resentment:
The First Draft – Second Draft Process
Writing is perhaps one of the best forms of safely expressing one’s self, especially when dealing with resentment. That is the purpose of first draft, to begin the process of expressing, pushing out and leaving behind the pain of resentment. First draft is the place where you get to say and share everything that you are feeling surrounding a particular person or event that has you angry. Rather than stuffing it or confronting someone in an angry way, first draft allows you the space to get it all out on paper…and I mean all of it! Since first draft will never be read by anyone but you, you have the complete freedom to express exactly what you are feeling without the concerns of hurting another. Hold nothing back, edit nothing, just let it rip…Get it ALL OUT!
I have never hurt a piece of paper’s feelings, but I have certainly said things in anger that have caused others to be and feel hurt. First draft is a powerful tool in actually healing resentment with no negative cost to others. Often when we confront another in anger, we make the situation worse, leaving us to deal with bigger problems! Try first draft first; that is why I call it first draft!! First draft is meant to allow you to express ALL the pain, and you do that until you are done, finished and complete. Only then do you move on to second draft to take on the underlying cause. (First draft can be shared with a counselor or trusted advisor to help you in your healing but never with the person it is about; that is what our second draft is for).
Second draft is used as a way of healing the issues which caused the pain, anger, or other emotions you were feeling in your first draft. Second draft IS meant to be read or communicated to another, so we want to ensure that everything that was painful in first draft has been expressed and doesn’t make the trip into our second draft. If you begin to feel the pain again, return to doing a first draft until the feeling is complete. You may have to do this several times, and then maybe several times again, but those feelings will come to an end if you honestly express them. Once your feelings have been completed, return to dealing with the issues, and do so with the idea of healing them. Remember this is a process to resolve the issue that caused the painful feelings to begin with. This is beneficial for you and for the other.
It is also important to remember that you may not get the issue resolved by agreement; that is, you may agree to disagree, but the benefit lives within your willingness to communicate your truth with the intention of healing and being love. Using your power to heal does not require agreement, it only requires your choice to be accepting and clear. That which works for you may not work for another, nor does it have to in order for us to communicate with respect and love. Either way, you will be free of the resentment because you expressed yourself fully and you chose to communicate your truth with love rather than fear.
Second draft also asks us to take responsibility for our part, since how we responded is our responsibility (response-ability). The process may require us to make amends or to clean up our integrity around something we said and did not deliver on. Integrity is merely being your word and being accountable for cleaning up anything that is not followed through on. This type of authentic communication is often the bridge which returns us to open and loving dialogue with the other. When you become willing to take responsibility, it often paves the way of possibility for that other to do so as well. Again, either way, you end up free of resentment.
A second draft also allows us to express things like “when you said _________ I felt ___________. This can be helpful to communicate to the other person, as it may reveal why a breakdown in communication occurred in the first place or why we were triggered, which then allows us to heal. “The Course in Miracles” reminds us that “all attack is a call for help.” When force is used, power is absent. To be in your power is to be a stand for those things which represent you. Standing for what you believe in from a place of love rather than righteousness is the key to being free of resentment. It is people like Nelson Mandela that come to mind when I think of the power to heal. All of us would have understood why he may have held a grudge, yet he decided to change the world instead.
In the end, issues do not have power over us, nor do they make us feel a particular way. Using the first-draft, second-draft process will help you to return to a place of peace and clarity…a reminder that love is always the answer. If you are ready to end the pain caused by resentment, give this process a try. Remember that it is not necessary to agree with another’s point of view or to condone behavior you stand against. Neither position is a good enough reason to stay trapped in the diseased hell of resentment when there is an express train to heaven waiting at the next pen and paper near you.
Please feel free to share your experience and know I am here should you require any help. Until next week, may peace be with you – J.R.
(J.R. Westen, D.D. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he works with Escondido Sobering Services and serves on the Board of Directors for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@theglobalconversation.com, or to book an appointment, write firstname.lastname@example.org.)
My question has been a burden for me as well as for others around me who are in the same boat. So many of my friends dear to me are going through so much of the same, and it appears so is much of the world. Dislocated is a great describer, for we are unable to be independent as in self-supporting through some economic means. Living with parents and relying on government assistance is growing tired. I have within the past year graduated from a University with a B.F.A. in painting and drawing, with a minor in art history. I know it is a degree that really cannot propel one into a great financial state, nevertheless it was what I truly desire and I create daily in my studio. So now I am very frustrated applying for jobs without a response and am going to be fifty five years old. I stay well, meditate, ask for my desires to be presented and enjoy my being. But I still see the struggle to be independent going unfulfilled. I apply much of what I have learned from CWG, but yet as friends and I feel so forsaken. ~ Thomas
You’re right, this is a challenge a lot of people have, in different contexts; you are certainly not alone in this. And none of them, including you, is forsaken. It’s wonderful that you have such desire and passion around your art, and you sound very clear that that is what you wish to spend your time doing. However, the “story” you are telling is one of lack and limitation. Before I go any further, Thomas, I hope you receive my words with love and forgive my being so direct, it’s just that this is something that we all do at times, myself included, and it serves us all to be aware of it.
The more you talk about, think about and tell others that your life in terms of career and earning money is a struggle, the more you will continue to experience that. The more you focus on the lack, on how hard it is to “make it as an artist,” the more of that you will get. Furthermore, as long as you choose to look at your degree as one that will “not propel you into a great financial state,” that is exactly what you will continue to experience. You see, Thomas, life proceeds from our idea of it, or to quote one of my favorite lines from CWG, “All you see in your world is your idea about it.” While you may not be able to completely control what shows up in your life, or your friends’ lives, you can most certainly control how you choose to perceive it and, therefore, experience it. If I were you, Thomas, (and by the way I was you but in a different context at one time in my life) here is where I would start:
– Change your idea about your life. Decide right now that you can have all that you desire, that it is indeed possible. Don’t worry about “the how,” just decide that this is true.
– Take your focus off your perceived lack and limitation, and all of the frustration that comes with it, and instead focus on gratitude. Focus on what you do have right now, what you love about your life just as it is, how thankful you are to have such a wonderful support system and that you are still able to create through art. In fact, I encourage you to make this a daily habit – each day write down at least 10 things you are truly grateful for. Make your last thoughts of the night before drifting off to sleep and your first thoughts upon waking ones of gratitude and appreciation for what is.
– Stop giving energy and attention to the story of “I can’t earn good money as an artist.” Tell a new story, first to yourself and then to others.
– Instead of waiting to feel happy, secure, and abundant when you do get hired to do what you love to do, be all of that now. This is a great gift we all possess but not many of us use consciously. Yet it is entirely possible to create the emotion you think the “having” of something will provide for you, right here and right now. Choose a desired state of being and commit to “being” that for an entire day. For example, if you choose “abundant,” focus on thinking abundant thoughts, speaking abundant words, and taking abundant action. Write the word “abundant” down on a piece of paper and carry it with you all day, or better yet, post it somewhere you can see it. Create an abundance-inspired piece of art!
You have the power to change your experience of life, Thomas, and no one can take that away from you. Yet you must be willing to take responsibility for your life, be willing to see it another way, and trust that you deserve everything you’ve ever wanted.
(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching, www.gowithincoaching.com, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling. She can be reached at Nova@TheGlobalConversation.com. )
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
Should women who find themselves pregnant as a result of a rape be told that they must give birth because it is God’s intention that the pregnancy occur? And what if the rape is by your father, or your brother? Should you have your father’s child, or your brother’s child, because it is God’s intention that you got pregnant from their sexual attack?
Several years ago, I read a wonderful book by William P. Young titled “The Shack.” The debut of this fictional book created quite a buzz and received mixed reviews for its unconventional theological depictions. A book that originally was written solely as a Christmas gift for his children soon found itself on the New York Times Bestseller List and creating quite the stir.
The story centers around Mack, a father who is mired in his great sadness, who asks the burning question: “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” Four years earlier, Mack’s young daughter, Missy, was abducted during a family vacation. Though her body was never found, the police did find evidence in an abandoned shack to prove that she had been brutally murdered by a notorious serial killer who preyed on young girls.
When Mack receives a note in his mailbox from “Papa” to spend the weekend at the shack, he reluctantly accepts this peculiar and mysterious invitation and sets out to spend a weekend with someone who he suspects to be God. During his weekend, Mack encounters in bodily form the Holy Trinity in a way he never expected or imagined. Papa (God) is a large, matronly African-American woman. Jesus is a young to middle-aged man of Middle-Eastern descent. The Holy Spirit is played by Sarayu (Sanskrit for air or wind), a small, delicate and eclectic woman of Asian descent. And he also meets for a time with Sophia, who is the personification of God’s wisdom.
The story lightly dances across the lines of conventional Christianity and New Spirituality as Mack’s life-changing weekend with the Trinity unfolds. It explores and subtly questions traditional ideas held within religious theology — such as heaven, free will, the cross, and forgiveness — with a gentle application of an expanded perspective and an invitation to the reader to move beyond preconceived notions.
I enjoyed this book for the eclectic spiritual journey, for tackling some of the big and mostly unanswered questions surrounding religion and life, and for its ability to step tenderly outside the box in such a colorful and loving way. It is unusual to find books in the fiction section of the bookstore that inspire me. But I believe, whether you read “The Shack” from a background in Christianity or a background in New Spirituality, with an open mind, this book has a gift to offer everyone.
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Review”)
(Last of a 5-part series)
Someone (I forgot who it was, doggone it) mentioned on my Facebook page a few weeks ago that the notion of “hell” is mentioned 88 times in the bible: 64 times as the Hebrew word Sheol in the old testament, 11 times as Hades in the new testament, once as Tartarus, 12 times as Gehenna.
As we have been discussing here in the past several entries, Conversations with God tells us flatly that “hell” does not exist. There is simply no such place.
In the book HOME WITH GOD in a Life That Never Ends, I asked God what, if we believe that God will judge us and might condemn us to everlasting damnation, happens to us after we die. God replied…
Exactly what you expect. As soon as you move through stage one of death and realize that you are no longer living with a body, you will move into stage two and will experience yourself being judged, just exactly as you imagined that you would be, and the judgment will turn out just exactly as you imagined that it would.
If you died thinking that you deserve heaven, you will immediately experience that, and if you think that you deserve hell, you will immediately experience that.
Heaven will be exactly as you imagined it would be, as will hell. If you have no idea about the specifics of either, you will make them up right on the spot, Then, these places will be created for you that way, instantly.
You may remain in these experiences as long as you wish.
“Well, then, I can find myself in hell!” I said, and God replied:
Let us be clear. Hell does not exist. There simply is no such place. Therefore, there is no such place for you to go.
Now…can you create a personal “hell” for yourself if you choose to, or if you believe this is what you “deserve”? Yes. So you can send your self to “hell,” and that “hell” will turn out to be exactly as you imagine or feel a need for it to be—but you will not stay there for one moment longer than you choose to.
“Who would choose to stay there at all?”, I wondered. Said God:
You’d be surprised. A lot of people live within a belief system that says they are sinners and must be punished for their “offenses,” and so they will actually stay in their illusion of “hell”, thinking that this is what they deserve, that this is what they “have coming” to them, that this is what they have to do.
It will not matter, however, because they will not suffer at all. They will simply observe themselves from a detached distance and see what is going on—something like watching an instructional video.
“But if there is no suffering, what is going on?”, I wanted to know.
Suffering, but there will be none, God said.
What is going on is that they will appear to be suffering, but the part of them that is watching this will feel nothing. Not even sadness. They will simply be observing.
To use an analogy, it would be a bit like watching your child “play act” some little scene in your kitchen. The child appears to be “suffering,” holding her hand to her head or clutching her stomach, hoping that Mommy will let her stay home from school. Mommy understands perfectly that nothing is really happening. There is no suffering going on.
This is not an exact analogy, but it is close enough to get across the feeling.
So these observers would be watching themselves in this self-created “hell,” but they would know that it is not real. And when they have learned what they feel they need to learn (that is, reminded themselves of what they had forgotten), they will “release” themselves and go on to the third stage of death.
That third stage, God explained, is the complete merging with the Divine. And that is, ultimately, all that happens after what we call “death.” We ultimately merge with Divinity Itself, then to reemerge as an Individuation of the Divine, allowing ourselves to reenter the Realm of the Physical to afford ourselves yet another in an endless string of opportunities to express and experience Who We Really Are.
This is my understanding of what is true about “hell,” from my reading of the Conversations with God material. I hope it has served you for us to join in this exploration together.
(Neale Donald Walsch is the author of the Conversations with God series of books. His newest writing, The Only Thing That Matters, releases this week from Hay House. In it he describes how we can all experience our Divinity.)
Running for the United States Senate in the state of Indiana, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock declared at a public debate with his opponent Tuesday night that God intends pregnancies that result from rape to occur.
For this reason, Mr. Mourdock said, he opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, the cable news network CNN has reported.
Mr. Mourdock joins Republican Congressman Todd Akin, who is seeking to advance to the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri, and Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois, in placing before the American public yet another statement regarding pregnancies and abortion that appear to be significantly in disharmony with the views held by the majority of American women.
Taken together, those statements are these…
From Mr. Akin: In cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body automatically biologically rejects insemination and therefore, pregnancy rarely occurs in such cases.
From Mr. Mourdock: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.” Mr. Mourdock said he would not oppose abortion if a mother’s life was in danger.
From Mr. Walsh: Abortion as a life-saving procedures are not needed because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” in which an abortion would be needed to save the life of a mother. After a firestorm of objections for the next 24 hours, Mr. Walsh the next day amended his statement, acknowledging that there might be “very rare circumstances” where life-saving abortions might be required.
All three candidates have had the stout support of the so-called tea party in the U.S., which has been seeking to move the Republican Party further to the right in setting the political agenda for America.
And so, for the third time in three months and the second time in two weeks, the American people, and women in particular, have had their most basic and sacred spiritual beliefs placed on the line as they go into voting booths or mark their advance ballots in U.S. election just ahead.
It has been said that politics are—or certainly should be—the civic-action outcome and the on-the-ground product of a person’s most sacred and important beliefs. If this is true, the American election could turn on the question of what God wants. Mr. Mourdock has made it clear in written statements to reporters following his debate on Tuesday that he was not in any way suggesting that God wants women to be raped. Yet if such a heinous thing should occur, he said, and it resulted in the woman becoming pregnant, that pregnancy would have to be considered what God intended.
“Life is a gift from God,” Mr. Mourdock said, “and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”
The New Spirituality agrees with Mr. Mourdock. And it goes further. Everything that occurs in Life is intended by God, it declares. There is nothing that happens in the Universe that is somehow outside of God’s ability to control. A person could not so much as lift a little finger if God did not want it to happen. So if something has happened, it could not have happened against God’s Will. Such a thing would be impossible.
If this is not true, then we really are “children of a lesser God.” We are moving through a life that is placing circumstances and situations before us at the whim and whimsy of “fate.” The whole experience is just a roll of the dice. Yet Conversations with God says that just the opposite is true. Not a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge, and not a thing occurs against God’s Will.
Why, then—to stick with the present case—would it be God’s Will for a pregnancy to occur as a result of a rape? And, extending the logic of the New Spirituality, how could the rape itself occur if it were against God’s Will?
The true test of any spiritual belief must be in how questions such as these are approached and answered. And people of courage are invited by Life to speak their answers into Life, bringing their most sacred beliefs into the arena of their experience.
Mr. Mourdock did just that at the debate with his opponent on Tuesday, acknowledging with regard to the abortion question, and his position on it: “I struggled with it myself for a long time.” Members of the New Spirituality community may have opinions that differ from those of Mr. Mourdock on why it would not be against God’s Will for a pregnancy to occur as a result of a rape, and what “should” or “must” be done afterward, but they would be admiring of Mr. Mourdock for his bravery in so publicly announcing his beliefs.
Indeed, a major tenet of the New Spirituality is that “ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way” to understand Life and its events. Where the New Spirituality would differ from Mr. Mourdock would be in his belief that if a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest, it is God’s Will that she have the child. The New Spirituality would say that it is God’s Will that she have a choice as to whether to have the child, not that she be without choice—and that the very opportunity to make this choice in an integral part of the larger purpose for the experience itself. Indeed, it is the reason for every situation, circumstance, or event in Life, which continually creates a contextual field within which humans have the opportunity to decide Who They Are, and Who They Now Choose To Be, CWG says.
Life is not a series of random events, occurring without rhyme or reason, Conversations with God shares, but rather, an intricately designed and deliberately set into motion sequence of occurrences collaboratively and spontaneously created by all the Souls in existence for the purpose of giving that Collection of Souls a direct experience of Itself, both as a collection and as individuals within the collection. In other words, Life exists as a means by which that which we call God may know Itself experientially, through the expression in physicality of Its individual parts, within a realm of relativity.
The New Spirituality says that we are here on Earth to do more than just live and die and make the best of the experience. We are also here to do more than simply find a way to “get back to heaven”—or, at least, avoid going to hell. Those are simplistic views of the reason and purpose for human existence.
We are here, Conversations with God says, to advance a larger agenda. We are here to move forward an eternal evolutionary process in which our Soul is involved. It is a process through which each individual Soul experiences its True Identity fully, and by which Life Itself expands its expression to reflect the wonder of its ultimate and true nature.
And just exactly what is the “True Identity” of the soul? CWG indicates that the soul is the individuated aspect of Divinity Itself, and that its purpose through physical life is to express and to experience Divinity at the next highest level, in a constantly escalating spiral.
We don’t “have to” do it. Nothing is required of us in this or any other lifetime. Not the bringing to term of a pregnancy resulting from rape, nor any other thing in particular. We have an endless number of lifetimes, and nothing is specifically demanded, commanded, or required of us in any given passage through physical life. Our incarnations never end, with the soul moving from one physical expression to another on an eternal journey—and it is the eternality of Life Itself which makes it not necessary for a particular lifetime to produce a particular outcome.
To allow your Mind to get a handle on this, imagine that after 40 years of going to a job every day, you have finally retired, are in wonderful health, have ample financial resources, and can now look forward to years of doing whatever you please. Would you feel required to play golf next Thursday, as opposed to Thursday a week later? Other than for the sheer joy of it, would there be any other reason to do a particular thing on a particular day in a particular way?
The beauty of retirement, of course, is freedom—the joy and the freedom to do what you want, when you want, in the way that you want. You are said to have “earned it.”
This is also the beauty of Life Itself. And this freedom, too, you have “earned.” By the very act of coming into physicality (not an insignificant decision) and living day-to-day in the Realm of Relativity (no small task), you have earned the freedom to do what you want, when you want, in the way that you want. Freedom is God’s prerogative—and you are nothing less than Divine.
The Old Spirituality, of course, espouses a different view. First, it says (in most cases) that we do not have infinite lifetimes, but rather, only this one. Second, it says that while we have Free Will, we really do not, but are required or commanded to do certain things and not to do other things, and that violation of that command will “earn” us something alright—it will earn us eternal torment and unending suffering in the fires of hell. Finally, it says that God has told us exactly what our requirements are, and all we have to do is pick and listen to the Right Religion to know exactly what God wants and demands from us. If we pick the wrong religion—yes, even if we believe in God and try to serve God, but believe in God in the wrong way—we are likewise going straight to hell immediately after death.
The New Spirituality tells us that Life on Earth is part and parcel of the ‘heaven’ you have been told about. The whole expression—the experience between physical lifetimes and the experience of each lifetime—is what “paradise” is all about. “Heaven” for the soul is the ability to know and to express Divinity in you, through you, as you…in the way and at the time that you wish.
In truth, Divinity is expressed through you no matter what you do. It is impossible for you not to express Divinity, since Divinity is Who You Are. It is simply a matter of how you want to define Divinity in This Moment, Now.
Put another way, God is what you say God is, by how you are being in any given situation or circumstance. As Conversations with God says, “Every act is an act of self-definition.” And Life Itself, throughout the multiple universes, is God in the act of defining Itself as it wishes to know Itself through the here-and-now expression of Itself.
The greatest gift we have been given by God—or, to state it more accurately, that we have given ourselves—is Free Will. We can express our Selves in any way that we desire. The question is not, “How can the way human beings are be an expression of Divinity?” The question is, “Why would human beings choose for Divinity to be expressed in this way?” And, more transformatively, “What could cause us to define Who We Are, and Divinity Itself, in another way? A higher way? A grander way?”
If we are in the act of defining God, would we want to do it any differently tomorrow than we have done today? That is the question. Our answer will determine the future of humanity, and so is, in both human terms and Divine terms, The Only Thing That Matters.
UPDATE: October 25 — Reporter Wayne Drash writes in a copyrighted story on CNN’s website today that Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said Mourdock’s remarks were off-base. Mr. Drash quotes Rabbi Kushner as saying that people “should have compassion for the person whose life is messed up by this and not make her an instrument for our idiosyncratic, theological commitment.
“If you believe she has no right to terminate that pregnancy, you’re free to believe that,” Kushner is quoted. “But for you to write your preferences into law and compel another person to mess her life up because of what you believe, I think you’re going too far.”
Mr. Drash ends his quotes from Mr. Kushner with this observation from the rabbi: “I continue to be bemused by the ultraconservative lawmakers who say they want smaller government and less government intrusion into people’s lives, except when it comes to who you can marry and how many children you should have.”
In the same CNN story, Mr. Drash reported on a Protestant chaplain who said that he has consoled about 50 pregnant rape victims through the years — typically girls raped by their fathers — while working with the Phoenix Police Department. This leaves open the question: Would Mr. Mourdock say that victims of rape impregnated by their own fathers or brothers or grandfathers be told in no uncertain terms to have the baby, because it is God’s intention?
Humanity longs for peace; between people, communities and nations. Yet, there is an arena in dire need of healing that is rarely addressed. The workplace, where millions of people spend the majority of their waking hours, is comprised of a web of egos battling and competing for power and validation. Managers are disempowering employees, co-workers are hurting and sabotaging one another, and the environment is often fraught with blame, paranoia, rivalry, insecurity, gossip and greed. It is literally an emotional combat zone.
Fear of reprisal prevents people from addressing or even acknowledging the pain they are suffering. The atmosphere of reaction and counter-reaction feeds on itself and is difficult to see or escape when you are engaged in it. Even so, my audiences from a multitude of industries throughout the country say it is true; people are suffering.
Your job is not your identity
As a way to cope in the confusion and often cutthroat environment, we create roles we mistakenly believe will win respect and security. We unconsciously and sometimes very deliberately devise schemes to gain power, approval, and financial security—all entrenching us in the current culture of reaction and counter-reaction.
We have become so connected to these artificial identities that we have forgotten who we really are. But we are not these identities—they are simply roles we play in the workplace and they belie our incredible authentic power. More than ever before, it is time to rebuild relationships in the workplace by honoring the spirit in ourselves and others that is residing beneath our self-created identities.
With the current ego-driven, top-down management in today’s workplace, millions of people in businesses of all sizes and various industries feel as though they are in prison with little freedom of self-expression. Fear of losing their jobs, especially in these economically challenging times, causes people to cling to their jobs for security in the very place that brings up all their insecurities. Though difficult to admit, most people are weary of the ongoing drama, wishing for a better environment but feeling stuck, with few options. But even if they leave one workplace “stage,” without an internal shift, they will find the same issues in the new workplace.
I would like to share a process that I believe will help each one of us find our own authentic power and inner peace, even in the workplace. As we awaken and remember who we are, we stop playing our roles in the workplace drama. As we, one by one wake up, we begin to unravel the web of interacting egos in the workplace. As we awaken, we simultaneously give others the opportunity to do the same.
Understanding the competitive work atmosphere
When working in a business that is fear-based and driven by internal competition, you may have become confused and overwhelmed by the relationship issues. The competitiveness prevents teamwork, cooperation, joy and satisfaction. Even those who seem to thrive on competition can become discouraged by the never-ending pressure and related rivalry. I believe it is absolutely imperative to understand the source of the conflict and stop the paralysis of fear so many are experiencing.
Conflict occurs as a result of disguised fear. When fear arises within, it is often denied and blocked. When it is blocked, it can harden within, much like frozen ice in a flowing river; preventing all the healthy, normal emotions from flowing through you. Fear becomes you. If allowed, it can overtake your perception of the workplace and the world. It can impact your family life; the very fabric of our human culture.
Rivalry in the workplace feeds on insecurity and is accelerated by the desire to be appreciated, combined with the fear of failure or humiliation. Attempts are made to expel the pain by blaming, attacking or gossip, which only leads to greater rivalry, competition and jealousy. Few people can withstand the discomfort and pain of being criticized, attacked and blamed by a boss or co-worker. The feeling is literally that of being stabbed and deeply wounded.
Blaming, attacking and holding a figurative “gun”’ at someone else gives the individuals doing it a false sense of superiority and/or safety. They do not feel the pain they cause in others when they are in the attack mode. But much like real wars between nations, the sense of triumph is short-lived because there is always another enemy. It is time to put down all our weapons—literally and figuratively.
Finding freedom and peace
This passage of time is about freedom and deliverance from the chains that have bound you. The only answer to unlocking these gridlocks is to finally stop and look within to find the source of the pain. But we resist looking within because we are afraid of opening up a dirty little secret—that we are not worthy. However, maintaining this belief and holding up this wall of protection takes a lot of energy and causes more pain. It is quite literally exhausting. The truth is that you are more powerful than any of your ego defense mechanisms. Self worth will never be found in perpetuating drama.
The remedy is to stop reacting, attacking, defending, blaming and fearing to look at your own wound. When you are feeling attacked or undermined, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is the source of pain?
- Why do I allow the attack?
- Most of all, why do I believe them?
Realize the true source of fear by not running away, and instead, allowing it to arise so that it can be recognized and released. As you permit the pain to be felt, you will gradually recall and have memories in your psyche of other painful experiences. This is your opportunity to witness to yourself how you received and came to believe these ideas and descriptions of yourself and how these fears have become you! When you recognize the fear is inside you, you will be liberated. You will be free to respond from your authentic self without blame or defense.
Discovering your true self, your inner spiritual greatness, is difficult to do when you have incorrect beliefs about yourself. Clearing out the fictitious thoughts about yourself requires the willingness to face your pain and your greatest fear—that you are not worthy. Allow the pain that is hurting you now to be the door to your release. You do not have to keep replaying this scene of emotional suffering. The truth is that you are glorious beyond words–all these little beliefs are nothing but shadowy veils. These veils of protection keep us from being fully alive and joyous by filtering the light and shrouding us from seeing our true selves.
When we can replace fear with trust and compassion, there will be a shift in consciousness. People everywhere will be restored to their true identities, their inner spiritual greatness intended by the Creator. What a blessed day when we take off our ego-defined masks and see our brothers and sisters standing there, our beloved fellow souls, whom we had mistakenly identified as the enemy—both in the workplace and the world.
(Danna Beal, M.Ed., resides in Bellevue, Washington, and is an international speaker and author of “The Extraordinary Workplace: Replacing Fear with Trust and Compassion.” She has spoken to over 300 business groups and been on over 60 radio shows. She conducts workshops on Enlightened Leadership and Healing the Workplace Culture. She can be reached at www.dannabeal.com and https://www.facebook.com/Healingtheworkplaceculture. )
(If you have a Guest Column that you would like to submit, send it to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Not all material submitted is accepted for publication, but we appreciate each submission.)
This is my first time asking this kind of question. I’m not too sure on how to compose it without sounding disrespectful or too naïve. People can create their realities, right. Can someone choose his reality to continue a permanent partnership with someone that would not necessarily want to? If he wants to have that relationship to work, he has and will continue to put energy into it. The partner doesn’t see it that way. She wants out of this relationship. His mind is surely going to explode. He cannot understand why! He’s not an abusive person in any way. He’s a good provider, a good person.. He has a lot of feelings for his wife.
Sometimes he feels like a fool for letting her stay in the house until she finds a place to go live. Of course, she doesn’t gave him much attention and told him she has filed for a divorce. What is going on here? They both are very spiritual and believe it’s their path to become better persons and show, teach, and spread the Love. Enough of this rambling! I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you, but can you shed some *light* into this? Thank you so much!
PS: You’re right, I’m talking about my own marital situation. P.E.
The answer is no…you can not create a reality that someone else is not willing to create with you. Every soul has its own agenda, and every soul has free will.
P.E., I get that you would have a desire for someone you love deeply to want to stay with you. I get that deeply. It is a natural thing. I would, however, suggest that you are already creating the reality that your soul wishes to experience. You have defined yourself as “a good provider, a good person, spiritual,” etc. Can you see that you can Be these things in any relationship? Can you see that you can Be these things in no relationship?
Thinking that the current relationship with your wife is the only way you can demonstrate these things is expecting life to show up in only one way. And God and Life provide more for you than just one way, or one love. Ask yourself, What is this relationship giving me the opportunity to experience? Why am I in this relationship? In fact, what is the purpose of being in a relationship at all? I believe it is to give the other back to themselves. It is to give the other person every opportunity to be who they really are; and through doing that, I also get to be who I really am.
I am not saying that you should give up. What I am saying is that you should never force another, physically or energetically, to do anything. The best you would receive is surrender. What I am also saying is that if this relationship has a chance of moving in a different direction, it will be because you move in a different direction. That direction, to me, would always (only?) include what your wife’s wishes may be. Is it impossible to believe that even apart can still be a spiritual way for both?
Interestingly enough, when you move into this space, it opens up the door for more than one way for your wife to be in your life. One of these ways could be supremely satisfying ways you least expect!
This, of course, is just my general answer. There are tools in the book When Everything Changes, Change Everything that can help you find your own answers, in your own way.
(Therese Wilson is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net, which offers spiritual assistance from a team of Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less, and offering insight, suggestions, and companionship during moments of unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome change on the journey of life. She may be contacted at Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
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