You Are Stronger Than You Think
You don’t know you can do something difficult until you do it, because it’s in the doing that you find your strength.
~Sherri Shepherd, co-host of the The View~
In the book Firstlight, Sue Monk Kidd writes, “In every life there are defining moments when one’s heart begins to open, when the realization of who one is begins to dawn. These moments may be huge – or they may be small and subtle. But each leaves a person forever changed.”
These defining moments in which our heart becomes capable of releasing more love toward God, our self and other people, while expanding our understandings and wisdom beyond the surface of what we see with our natural eyes is what I consider to be “spiritual awakenings”. They have also been defined as “the waking of consciousness to the remembrance of its original nature.” As spiritual beings having a human experience, each of us encounter moments of awakening within our unseen life when our consciousness expands and we experience a “knowing” at the core of our being that cannot always be explained with logic. This “knowing” becomes like a breath of fresh air to our spirit, soul and body. It creates shifts in our heart attitudes towards our self, other people and life.
Changing Heart Attitudes
The more room you give yourself to express your true thoughts and feelings the more room there is for your [inner-guide of] wisdom to emerge.
Several months after my mother’s death, I experienced what I considered to be my first “spiritual awakening.” While my mother was alive, my faith in God and belief in myself was rooted and grounded in her faith in God and her expectations of me. One night while writing in my diary, these words rose up from deep within me, “You can continue to focus on your pain over the loss of you mom, or you can focus on her strengths and use what’s she’s given you to make the best of your life.” For the first time in my life, I heard the strength and authority of my inner voice. I was overcome with a sense of knowing that I had to shift my focus pertaining to the loss of my mother, if I didn’t want to continue to be shackled to the anguish I felt. I knew in my heart, that it was the best course of action for me.
Not only did I begin to focus on my mother’s strengths which included her faith, resourcefulness, caring for her neighbors and resilient attitude, I shifted my attitude towards all of the change that had occurred as a result of her death. I stopped pining for my old neighborhood and the high school that I wanted to attend with my friends. I began to embrace my new high school, W.J. Keenan and the process of making new friends.
Over the course of the months following my mom’s death, I had used food to comfort me. I had gained over 30 lbs. I needed to lose the weight and so I started to exercise six days out of each week for several months. My daily exercise ritual helped me to lose 30 lbs. in four months. At the time, I didn’t have any knowledge of the mind-body connection and benefits that come with exercise except for losing weight. As I grew older, I found out that how crucial my daily exercise ritual was to my ability to overcoming my depression.
The change in my outlook toward “what I can handle”, the weight loss and development of new relationships and participating in new activities helped me to see first-hand the power of my attitude. It increased my self-esteem and self-confidence. As a teen, I had taken a devastating blow in the loss of my mother. With a renewed faith in God and in myself, I was able to overcome my grief and finish high school in the top 20% of my graduating class. I didn’t think that my experience was unique. I became convinced in my mind and heart that each of us possessed this same ability to change our lives by changing our attitude. Science has proven this to be so in a multitude of scientific studies.
As a result of my first spiritual awakening and the tangible results created from my actions, I began to trust that my inner-guide of wisdom would help me navigate any other challenges I faced. I considered it to be God’s way of showing me that He would be a present help whenever I felt I was in trouble. As a teen, writing daily in my diary helped me to develop a habit of tuning into my thoughts and the wisdom of my spirit. Maybe it was my naiveté, I found myself intrigued with being able to connect to a source of wisdom that was dwelling within me. Today, I continue to be so even after nearly four decades since I experienced my first “spiritual awakenings”.
Taking On the Challenge: Week 1
For many people, those defining moments in which our heart opens and our awareness is expanded occur at unsuspecting times. These moments can happen while you exercise, to sitting outside on your front porch. They can occur while you take a walk in the park, to spending time at the end of your day engrossed in needlepoint. You can experience them at work while engaged in tasks that cause you to be oblivious of time.
For others, they’ve found scheduling time on a regular basis to “tune-out” the noise of the world so that they can “tune-in” to the voice of their spirit helps them to maintain a sense of equilibrium in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. This could be from scheduling a visit at a day spa such as Urban Nirvana in Columbia, SC, to a week’s visit at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona. You could take a day trip out of town or just designate days to become “a tourist for a day” in your hometown and go on a treasure hunt of all the local places that offer spaces that nourish the soul with serenity and solitude. There is no right or wrong way to nurture spiritual awakenings. The practice is unique to each individual.
During the next seven days, this week’s challenge is for you to create space in your daily and weekly agenda to nourish the strength of your spirit.
Your quest to nurture spiritual awakenings in your life begins from within. Think about an experience in which you broke the restraints of an identity that influenced you to believe that you weren’t strong enough or capable enough to handle a situation.
Write about the experience revealing the fears and doubts you had to overcome. What were your aspirations at the time? What were some of the critical actions you had to take to achieve them? How did your attitude play a role in your ability to achieve your aspirations? How did this experience influence your self-esteem, self-confidence and attitude?
“Power Moves” Prompt:
· For the next week, set aside 10 min to 30 min. to “tune-out” the noise of the world so that you begin to “tune-in” to the wisdom of your inner-guide. Make sure that your space of solitude relaxes you.
· During your scheduled “time-outs” begin to pay attention to your self-talk with a sense of compassion. If it becomes negative to you in any way, speak out loud to yourself with tenderness and loving kindness, using a word or phrase that makes you feel good every time you hear it.
· Use this time to identify present challenges that you need additional understanding and wisdom to manage. Read inspirational books, such as the Bible or other works of wisdom. I recommend reading a chapter in the book of Proverbs on a daily basis to increase your wisdom.
· Ask your divine self to show you how to best navigate the path and begin to trust that your inner-GPS will provide you with navigational direction. Be on the look-out for your answers and remember they will never ask you to do anything that is opposite of God’s truth in the Holy Bible.
“Teachable Moment” Prompt:
As a business leader, I understand the importance of providing opportunities for individuals to share what they are gaining from new information so that they are able to retain it and apply it after a training program is finished. Since this is an online program that involves no face time between us, I need you to initiate this stage of the program.
This week discuss what you expect to get from the challenge with someone who supports your efforts for personal growth and success. Share how you plan to use the information from the Makeover My Attitude Challenge to create shifts in your perspective on what you believe you about yourself and what you are capable of doing.
Over the next six weeks, I will share inspirational information and lessons learned to remind you can elevate your life by elevating your thought life. Elevating your thought life will help you enjoying the person you are and who you are becoming. You will find that the habit of elevating your thoughts will make such a difference to your overall happiness and success in life.
I leave you this week with one of my favorite quotes:
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.
It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher