The answer to the question, "What is my life's purpose?" lies within us, not outside of us. Our soul's are the only ones that know the answers that are unique to our individual journeys. Sure, it is okay to try things to see if we like them, but we cannot give away our purpose and passion to anything or anyone outside of ourselves. Only listening to our own hearts and following our loves, joys, or passions will bring us to our life's work. We have within us the answers we need to bring meaning and joy to our vocations.
The fastest way to connect to our souls and our inner guidance is to do something we love today. The things that bring us joy lighten our hearts and connect us effortlessly to ourselves sometimes far easier than meditations. So what things do you love to do? Do something from your list ever day to bring that soulful connection. When you are in a joyful place, ask yourself the question, "What is my life's purpose?" I hope you enjoy this week's excerpt below:)
In addition to constant distractions keeping me exhaustingly busy, I was looking outside of myself for the answer about what to do with my life. I was not allowing myself to be happy staying home with my children. I always believed I should be working. I was raised after the women’s liberation movement, and I was taught I should not rely on a man to provide for me. I thought I should be independent and self-sufficient in order to be prepared to leave my husband at any time. I thought I should be a good role model to my children by modeling independence for my daughter and showing my son what a strong woman was. I was supposed to work to provide the right kind of activities for my
children to make them successful at everything. I spent most of the years I stayed
home, in one way or another, trying to figure out how to not stay home, which
detracted from my enjoyment of the experience.
I was stuck in the pseudo life analyzing what my life’s work should be which often led to the numerous volunteer commitments. I tried on these volunteer roles to figure out if I wanted to do non-profit work or pursue a ministerial career. I looked outside myself
trying to find the answer, and I was looking to the world to find validation. I thought if I just found the right volunteer experience that someone would notice my talents and
give me a job. They never did. When I burned out or was not supported in these organizations, I left them feeling like a failure, to some extent, and even more lost than before. I remember crying and pleading with God to tell me what to do with my life believing if I could just find the right answer, I would finally be happy because the universe was supposed to suddenly supply everything I needed when I was on the correct path. I was supposed to be suddenly in the divine flow of vocational abundance if I found the right career.
I looked for the right volunteer opportunity or the right graduate program to pursue. I
even went as far as applying twice to a Masters in Public Administration program only to not pursue it because I could not receive in-state tuition rates. When I arrived at another dead end, I spun again and again in circles in the illusion of flaws about what I should do. I browsed help wanted ads and job websites. I took self-inventory tests and read books by experts about finding the perfect career. I looked for a spiritual understanding of why I was created by God and what the experts believed God
wanted me to do. Occasionally, I attempted to write but felt blocked. After reading the latest expert book, I set off in a new, very over analyzed direction looking for my perfect career.
I kept looking outside of myself for the answers to my vocation rather than listening to my soul for guidance. I spent countless hours researching possible careers completely engrossed in the rationalizations of a busy mind telling me what I ought or should
pursue. Of course the idea of writing kept coming to mind repeatedly. I loved everything about becoming a writer: the ability to stay home and not work for someone else, the freedom of soul expression, the ease of the written word, and ability to earn a much needed income for my family. I loved the idea of writing but found difficulty in the actual act of it. For years, each time I came up blank or stilted on the page, I doubted my ability to be a writer.
In order to live my vocation, my calling, I had to stop distracting myself from it. I
knew on some level that I was a writer, but I filled my life with people, activities, and outright distractions that did not support me to become a writer. The people that I was
caught up caretaking drained most of my energy. All the volunteer activities I was
doing drained my time. And all the ways that I was looking outside of myself for answers drained my surety….my sense of self. I was living a distracted life, which ultimately proved to be very ineffective at creating what my soul was telling me to create. In order to create my vocation, I had release many of these distractions. I let go of a lot of relationships that just did not work anymore. If felt more drained after spending time with someone on a regular basis, I pretty much knew that the relationship was an energy drain. If my volunteer commitments did not leave me enough time to write for the day, I needed to pare them down or eliminate them.
The only way I could create a life as a writer was to choose it over doing almost anything else. It was easy for me at first to play victim to all the demands on my time energy. I told myself that it was the church's fault that I missed a writing day because of a volunteer meeting at church, and I blamed that volunteer commitment for my failure to commit to my writing career. The truth was that I was never a victim to anyone or anything. No relationship, volunteer activity, money issue, or kid commitment was ever actually in the way of me becoming a writer. I had to learn to choose the writing over the distracted life. So what do you really wish you could do with your life? What do you want your calling to be? What ways can you choose your dream over the distracted life? I hope you enjoy this week’s excerpt below:)
So instead of focusing on writing, I focused on other things like my family. My children
were definitely a wonderful blessing in my life, and I grew in countless ways
because of their presence. I knew I was meant to be the mom of these two souls, but having my children when I was in my early twenties distracted me from developing a career. During this period, I dismissed any career ideas because I was responsible for the well-being of these two little people, and we could not afford to pay for childcare if I wanted to take an entry-level job or go back to school. I had no regrets about having my children or staying home to raise them, but raising a family definitely forced me to work hard to find myself in the midst of countless distractions. If I was not distracted from my vocation by the family, I found other ways to distract myself.
I volunteered my way into distractions starting with my local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. I decided to help with the construction of the first Women Build home in
my area, and I ended up becoming the Construction Supervisor for the build, a
Member of the Board of Directors, and Co-chair of the Volunteer Committee. I volunteered so much, often forty hours a week or more, that I was honored as the volunteer of the year. What I was really doing was volunteering my way into distraction, so I did not have time to write. In addition to Habitat, I also volunteered as a Prayer Chaplain, Volunteer Coordinator, and Adult Education Coordinator at a local church.
If I was not volunteering my way into distractions, I was consumed with the needs of toxic relationships, preoccupied with fixing problems like money, or obsessively working on home improvement projects. I definitely knew how to distract myself to the point of complete physical and mental exhaustion. I certainly had nothing left over to write with and no quiet space from life’s demands to hear my soul speak. When I sat down to write, I often drew a complete blank; the empty page overwhelmed me, so I backed away again for months from the idea of being a writer.
Today we start Chapter 8 on Vocation and Intention. I wish I could say that I knew I was going to be a writer and that I let no person or circumstance get in the way of my dream, but it is not true. I grew into a writer in gradually over time without the support of many of the people I once knew. I grew into a writer by slowly believing I could be one. For once I believed a successful writing career was truly possible for me and that I actually had enough talent to pursue it, the Universe (God) began supporting my vocation. I knew on various conscious levels, for a long time, that my vocation was to be a writer, but it was not until I believed I actually could become one that the flow of words came to me consistently.
So this week, as we begin our exploration on vocations, careers, and intentions, start by asking yourself these questions. If I truly believed I could do anything I wanted for a career, what would that vocation be? Allow yourself to really dream about what you have always secretly wanted to do. What would happen if I truly believed - whole-heartedly believed -that I could live my dream vocation? What would it look like and feel like to live your passions? I hope you enjoy his week's excerpt below:)
Chapter 8 - Vocation and Intention
My soul told me for many years that I was a writer, but I had false beliefs about my vocation that blocked me from living my dreams. I heard my soul’s nudging from the time I was in middle school to write as I longed for full self-expression in this art
form. I was always great in my English classes and thrived studying the great masters of literature. In high school, I wanted to explore my gift in a creative writing class, but the only teacher for creative writing constantly asked her students to admire her work rather than focusing on her students’ work. I attended a different English class from her and realized we had incompatible energy. She had judgmental energy, so I never felt safe enough to explore my writing gift with her, which in hindsight was a smart choice.
In college, instead of pursuing my writing, I began to train to become an English teacher. I earned great grades and received rave reviews from my professors, but I
was not happy at all. As soon as I started working in the classroom, I realized it was not the career for me because of all the competing agendas in the public school system.
I loved literature, but I felt so totally lost about what to do with my life if I did not complete teaching. I dropped from the education program and finished with my Literary Studies classes. I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Literary Studies, but I never took a single creative writing course in college. I remember thinking about taking a class but was scared to actually do it. I was very talented discussing the works of other authors, but I was not creating my own body of work.
Other Peoples’ Judgments
The worst part of having an English degree was the response I received from other people. I barely knew I was going to be a writer; I secretly wanted it and confessed it quietly to my husband a couple of times, but I was not even acknowledging my desire to myself at all. When I mentioned my English degree, people always asked if I was going to teach. When I replied no, they immediately asked what exactly I was planning on doing with it. Other peoples’ responses to my degree made me feel like my accomplishment of graduating with honors from college was a colossal waste of time and
money. I felt stupid for having, what felt to me at the time, a useless degree because it did not train me for any specific career. So to look good, I told people I was planning on going to graduate school in law or getting my masters to teach at the community college level. I really had no intention to do either, as much as I wished I wanted to
pursue a graduate program. I quietly knew what I truly wanted to do, but I did not believe I really could pursue my dreams. I did not actually believe I was a writer capable of enjoying a successful writing career.
You can now download the E-book version of I am Enough by God for free at the following link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93026. I am Enough by God was my declaration of independence because it taught me to share my experiences openly for the first time. I want to thank you for the warm and loving reception you have given this work. I hope that giving it away will help more people free themselves from the illusion that they are somehow flawed. So please, share this link with anyone who you think might benefit from the book.
This is the last excerpt I want to share about Integrity in Relationships. Here is the summary of what I really wanted to share in the relationships chapter. Listen to yourself about the quality of your relationships. Let go of the ones you soul is guiding you to release. Improve the relationships you want to keep. Make more time to connect to your soul by doing things that make you happy. You did not attract negative people in your life. You are enough just as you are and do not need to change yourself to make anyone else happy. I hope you enjoy this week's excerpt below:)
False Spiritual Beliefs
In order for me to truly be at peace letting go of toxic relationships, I extricated myself from some false spiritual beliefs I had developed from my many years of religious and spiritual study. The first belief was that I was supposed to fix myself so that I could
rise to spiritual enlightenment. This teaching said that relationship discord was caused by my negative thinking; need to grow in earth school, or energy attracting similar
energy. My task was to overanalyze myself in the illusion of flaws in order to fix the flaw in me which would fix the discord, but I was never the cause of disharmony in my relationships. There was never something wrong in me to fix. I did nothing wrong to
attract the challenging situations into my life. My only fault was that I allowed
negative people to stay in my life too long.
The second spiritual belief I extricated from myself was the ideal of the unity of all mankind. I was told that separation from others was just an illusion and that if I just did my spiritual work, I would finally be at peace with all people. Many popular spiritual books stated that unity was to be found in my beingness. They taught me to look inside in meditation and present moment awareness in order to find where I was simply a pure being without thought. I was told that if I just shut down my human attributes, shunning them as ego, in favor of focusing on my being I would not only find inner peace but also unity.
Human and Being
Yet, God did not create me just as a being. I was also created human with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. Within that humanness laid the true power of my uniqueness. I was both the beingness of the eternal combined with the rareness of the creation God made
me to be. I was the unification of human and being, just as all other people were also the unification of both aspects. All of us had both the eternal being and the unique human combined as infinite expressions of God. Even though we were created the same as
infinite expressions of the divine as a marriage of human and being, we were still vastly different in the ways in which we expressed ourselves. So on one hand we were created equally all the same, on the other hand we were all created distinct and unique.
It never felt authentic to me to disregard my humanness in favor of my being. God created me as a marriage of both, but it also did not feel authentic to only see other
people as their eternal aspects; they too were created as a marriage of both human and being. So as I embraced myself fully as both aspects, I could accept other people exactly as they were as both aspects too. I did not need to pretend to only see their being and try to change myself to only interact with them on that level. I still let go of relationships that I did not resonate with the energy, but I fully accepted them without trying to change them. Sometimes it meant I loved them more deeply because of their
idiosyncrasies and humanness. By listening to my soul and through the marriage of human and being, I discovered my peace with all people by accepting their human beingness. I could not find unity as the experts told me, but instead, I found peace
in acceptance of being a human being.
Myth of the Still, Small Voice
The third spiritual tenet I extricated myself from was the idea that the still, small voice within was the voice of my soul. I spent years looking for that small voice trying too hard to hear something that was not there for me. It felt like I was looking for something outside of my normal inner dialog that would suddenly make my whole life make sense. I spent countless hours journaling and meditating trying to hear that
voice speak to me. I discovered my soul’s voice was not the still, small voice. My soul’s voice was just the voice of me. The very same voice in my mind I had been my whole life. There was nothing for me to find or discover other than to finally listen to myself and act from my own voice. It may have been less chaotic than the illusion of flaws running in my mind, but my soul’s voice was not weak, quiet, or solely in beingness.
My soul’s voice was actively guiding me telling me exactly what I really dreamed of and what was really important. I did not need to change myself in any way to hear my soul speaking to me. My soul definitely was not silent, quiet, or still. My soul was dynamic!
Going against these spiritual tenets initially spun me into layers of guilt. I felt like
a bad or unenlightened person. I felt like I failed to raise my awareness high enough to rise above the situation. These spiritual doctrines also implied that I was obligated, in order to be a good person, to stay with negative relationships and try to help the other person; saving toxic people was supposed to be a part of my spiritual calling. Yet, I was miserable in these relationships because they sapped my energy by dragging me into life dramas that were not mine. These relationships required an inexorable amount of time and energy, so much so that I was unable to become my own fully expressive self. I had so much of my power and vitality tied up in the unhappiness of other people, and I was left with very little energy for me.
Furthermore, true peace for me lay in being my most authentic me and letting the relationship chips fall where they may. Some people fully embraced my truest
self, and others were not able to which was really okay, but I knew what relationships to embrace and which ones to release by listening to my authentic voice. Ultimately, I found I wanted to be my true self more than I wanted to fix people. I also found when I stepped away from relationships that were no longer fulfilling without trying to change them that I conserved energy to use towards creating the life my soul was envisioning for me. The more I listened to and acted from a soulful place, the more peace, ease, and happiness flowed into my life. I discovered how to be what God created in relationships and discovered integrity with myself in the process. I reclaimed my soul’s voice in relationships and also reclaimed my authentic life in the process.
The original title for this book was Everyday Peace: Being What God Created. Sometimes I wish I had kept the original title because the book really does boil down to finding peace in our everyday lives through being authentic. Nothing brings more peace than learning to articulate ourselves honestly in relationships. Maybe many of you have healthier relationships in your life, but five years ago, I was really surrounded in pretty toxic ones. Until I was able to articulate what was honest and authentic to me and take actions in my relationships based on my inner guidance, I was unable to remove the toxicity from my life. I was doing what I ought to do to be a good person, but not what I wanted and needed to do to be happy and free.
This week, I am sharing three excerpts from the book that are about learning to articulate ourselves in relationships. I realized that my path to peace in my everyday life was to authentically articulate myself in relationships through my words sometimes, but mainly through my actions. I stopped doing what I really did not want to do, and started doing the things my soul was calling me to express. I learned to articulate and be me, instead of changing myself to make others happy. I hope you enjoy this week's excerpt below:)
Releasing the Pseudo Self
As I diverted my energy from unfulfilling relationships and began to focus on what I truly wanted, I felt vulnerable and cautious at first while taking steps to be my authentic self. I was losing my many pseudo selves that I was hiding behind. It was one thing to present a well-crafted version of myself to the world and have that judged or bombarded by other people’s criticisms, but to actually show to the world a perfectly human being in full view left me feeling like I had little shelter at first. Articulating myself authentically in relationships was a skill I had to learn since I had only really known how to present masks of many types to people. Some of the masks I wore were goof ball, joker, plainer, leader, overachiever, shy, outgoing, supermom, party girl, martyr, victim, overwhelmed, or saint. Depending on who I was talking to, I shaped the conversation using the
appropriate mask. For example with some of my girlfriends, I easily hid behind the mask of complainer, and we whined about our lives for endless hours of conversation; we complained just for the sake of conversation and camaraderie of misery.
Self-Articulation and Acceptance
To learn authentic articulation of self, I started small with my most trusted intimate relationship with my husband. Once I learned to articulate myself in my safest relationship, it became easier for me to express myself to other people. He already saw me at my worst and best wearing all the masks in between. Initially, he was a sounding board for me as I attempted to articulate who I truly was apart from the illusion of flaws and pseudo selves. My husband talked patiently with me as I tried to figure out what I truly believed and felt in a given situation, rather than what my mind told me I should do. He listened to me as I discussed what to do with the latest volunteer opportunity I had signed up for at my son’s school. My son earned a part in the school play and looked sad-eyed at me when his drama teacher asked for parent help. I signed up to supervise backstage on two rehearsal nights, but as the date of actually spending two evenings with thirty over-dramatic teenagers loomed, I felt a pit of dread in my stomach. I felt
guilty for cancelling out of my commitment, but I really did not want to keep it. My husband listened patiently and encouraged me to do what was right for me. He helped me accept I was not the type of mom who thrived in volunteering with a bunch of kids, and my strengths in life lay elsewhere.
With encouragement and love, my husband helped me articulate my soul’s desires instead of following through with something out of a sense of obligation. Each time I
articulated my authenticity in small ways like this school volunteer commitment,
I strengthened my overall connection to myself and became clearer about who I
was and what I truly valued in my life. I became better connected to my soul, and my life started reflecting my soul’s desires. I valued integrity with myself above all else because I could no longer pretend to be someone I was not.
I became willing to be me rather than spend a great deal of my time and energy attempting to be who I should be and doing what I ought to do. But first, I needed to learn authentic articulation, since I was accustomed to adapting how I expressed
myself to fit other people. I expended a great deal of mental energy over thinking my words and second guessing every word I said. I was working too hard to be heard and keeping the peace at all costs in my relationships. Worse yet, many times I did not speak up for myself at all as I adapted to each relationship.
I invalidated my soulful expression by telling myself what I had to say really did not matter that much in the big cosmic scheme of things, in order to avoid conflict.
Fortunately, the more soul connected I became, the harder it became for me to be inauthentic because I felt such disappointment in myself when I failed to articulate my beliefs or my needs because I wanted someone’s approval. My words always felt fake, dumbed down, and over planned when I spoke using other people’s terms. Rarely, did I feel ease voicing myself.
My image of a spiritual person did not include someone with real opinions. I thought I
ought to be in unity with all of humanity all the time or simply be a presence of energy in a situation. I did not have the image of a soulful person as also a person with great wisdom and, yes, ideas to share. I imagined a spiritually mature person would rise above daily conversation and speak only perfect pearls of wisdom only at the most perfectly timed moments. Being me authentically turned out to be messier and so much more freeing than my saintly image I was aspiring to. I learned my integrity meant saying what I truly thought, felt, and knew from the very depth of my soulful self without reshaping, holding back, or undervaluing it. Being able to say what I truly believed in my very core was the essence of being authentic, but also the essential quality necessary for deepening of relationships. Again, I used my closest relationship with my husband to tiptoe my way into my authenticity.
My husband and I had difficulty communicating when it came to constructive comments. My husband always took the criticisms to heart and shut down emotionally when he heard them. Usually, I was just trying to communicate how or why I wanted something done a certain way. So after a few years of marriage, I started to hold back communicating what I wanted so that I did not upset him. I held back on the little
things like how he always left the green onions wrapped tightly in the plastic grocery bag in the crisper in the refrigerator; they quickly became slimy because of the excess water on them. When I said anything to my husband about little things like green onions,
my husband usually grew irritated and huffy about the criticism. He took my comments as a personal affront as if everything he was doing was wrong; so often times, I just ignored these little irritations dismissing them for their unimportance in the big scheme of life.
I remember one afternoon I finally ended up in tears mustering the courage to tell my husband about the green onions. Not because the green onions themselves really mattered, but because I was in a relationship where I could not really talk to him about what was bothering me. I was always holding back on some type of green onion issue tiptoeing around his huffiness or aloofness. I was in tears because I knew in my soul that I could no longer be inauthentic in our relationship. I was done biting my tongue, holding my breath, and hushing my voice! I needed our relationship to withstand a few onions in order to value me. I longed for the freedom to speak up, say what I needed to say, and have it heard and respected. I knew I was not picking on him with malice, but I simply needed to be heard, understood, and loved as me. I needed to stop covering up my voice and to start articulating it.
Today's excerpt is about listening to the cues of our bodies that tell us we are in unhealthy relationships. We can either spend a lot of time and energy trying to change unhealthy relationships, or we can simply accept other people as they are created by God. Accepting them and releasing the need to change them does not necessarily mean we want to continue relationships with them. It simply means we honor the diversity God created in every person. We can choose to be in certain energies or not as part of our souls' journey. The more we recognize the guidance we are receiving about our relationships coupled with acceptance of others as they are, the more peace we find as we uncover our integrity in our relationships. I hope you enjoy this week's excerpt below:) (Thank you for being with me today! I am deeply grateful for your support!)
I paid more attention to how my body felt when I was engaged in my relationships. For
many years, I disregarded the cues from my body as I continued with depleting
relationships wondering why I had no energy to fully live my own life and engage
it in a healthy, fulfilling way. My body always guided me clearly about the quality of my relationships, and it knew what was and was not right for me. I felt a pit in my stomach every time I received a call from a controlling family member; my neck tightened just
thinking about paying for another lunch with a friend who acted like a victim; I felt exhausted and drained after listening to a negative family member. My body’s discomfort was a fantastic indicator for me of the energy I did not want to be around; all I needed to do was pay attention and act on my body’s wisdom.
Listening to myself, I finally saw how crazy some of my relationships really were. At one
point in my life, I had a relationship with a controlling relative. Whenever I was around her, my body felt tense, and I felt extremely guarded. I knew I could not trust this woman because she pretended to be kind to me in person but told lies about me behind my back; most of her family believed I was a terrible person just because I refused to live my life according to her rules. When I attempted to set a boundary with her, she intentionally crossed it because she refused to acknowledge my needs. Everything was about her. Both my husband and I were expected to meet her every whim and fancy; she
wanted us to jump when she said jump.
For quite a few years, I bent over backwards trying to make her like me; I wanted to show her she was wrong about me, but in doing so, I gave over my power to her because I was changing myself to appease her. I dumbed myself down, kept my mouth shut, and smiled and nodded in order keep the peace with her, but I was miserable. I was tired of never being good enough for this woman, and my soul was telling me to get out of the
relationship. I finally realized I could never win her approval. She was going to gossip about how horrible I was whether I did her bidding or not, so I might as well not; I began living my own life for a change by no longer caring what she thought of me. For
a while, she turned on full manipulation including blaming a heart difficulty on my husband because he said no to her.
As my husband and I both listened to our authentic selves, we realized we had no choice but to cease all communication with the controlling person. There was no way to work on a relationship when we could not engage the relationship authentically to begin with. Two sets of people need to be willing to listen to each other in order to shift the relationship dynamics, and she was unwilling to listen. My soul knew that living with a controlling person in my life was incompatible with me, so I stopped wasting my energy attempting to fix her dramas or trying to please someone who was ultimately unappeasable. My husband and I protected our children from being bombarded with her negativity, antics, manipulations, and deceit. We choose to conserve our energy to
create the life of our dreams and to model healthy relationships to our kids.
When I listened to my body and my soul’s guidance concerning relationships, I stopped trying to change myself to adapt to difficult situations and began taking authentic steps to live in full integrity with myself. One important step I took was to begin to completely accept difficult relationships and people. I accepted the controlling person as she was instead of attempting to fix the relationship, telling her she was wrong, justifying my position, telling myself stories, or wishing she was somehow different. Anything other
than complete acceptance of her energy only created more drama and wasted more
of my life energy. By stepping away and removing myself and my family from the bombardment, I saw how I could be at peace with her just as she was and still honor myself by not being in relationship with her type of energy.
My body and my soul no longer allowed me to compromise myself for anyone else’s dramas. Acting authentically, my soul felt no need to repair, change, or fix controlling, helpless, or negative people; nor did my soul feel it was my cross to bear, divine calling, or spiritual duty to be in relationships with these energies. I did not need to impose some type of spiritual idealism on myself and try to rise above the situation to fix them. I did not need to impose some idealized images of perfection on other people. I accepted them exactly as they were and still took authentic actions to release the relationships. I
found I could completely be at peace with toxic energies through acceptance, but that did not mean I needed to stay in relationship with them. By taking authentic actions guided by my soul from the peaceful place of acceptance, I discovered my intrinsic internal sense of power. I no longer felt like a victim to the relationships I was in; rather, I felt empowered to move in new directions.
Listening to my body helped me release relationships to people who acted negative, controlling, manipulating, victim, snobby, superficial, or dishonest because the people who carried these types of energies were incompatible with me every time I met them.
Even when the illusion of flaws told me I ought or should stay in a relationship for the other person’s sake, career or financial reasons, or because they were related to me, I still acted upon the guidance I was given from my true self. I could not have internal peace without acting with integrity. Whenever I followed the oughts in my mind, I always regretted the time, energy, and resources I wasted spinning my wheels in other people’s drama instead of focusing on my soul and living an honest, authentic, and joyful life.
Being authentic in relationships sometimes means making the difficult choice to end some relationships. We need to turn within and listen to ourselves to know which relationships nurture us and which ones are holding us back from moving forward. We each hold within us the answers we seek. We know when we like being around someone. We know the delight of laughter with a kindred soul. We know the joy of good friends. We also know the dread we feel when we are in relationships that are negative. We know the feelings of anxiety when we are with a controlling person. If
we allow ourselves to really look at our relationships and really listen to our feelings and inner guidance, we already know which relationships are authentic to keep.
To clarify here, I am not talking about getting angry with people for somehow not measuring up to what we want them to be and bitterly ending the relationship. I am talking about really looking at the actions and behaviors of those around us and determining if their energy is the kind of energy we want to have around us. If we decide that we do not want a negative energy in our lives, it is okay to let it go in peace and love. Each person is on their own journey. Who are we to tell others how to live
their lives because that is between them, their soul’s guidance, and God. The part we do have a say in is whether we allow their energy in our own lives. For years, I was falsely told in my spiritual study that I attracted negative people into my life to either learn some grand lesson or because of my own flawed consciousness, but the truth was that negative people were in my life simply because I allowed them to stay there. It is up to us to listen to our own inner compasses and determine who we want to have in our lives or not. It is okay to release those people who no longer serve our journey. So take a moment this week and really look at your relationships. What relationships nurture your authentic self and which ones do not? I hope you enjoy this week’s book excerpt below:)
The Wisdom of Energy
My first step was to focus and listen to my soul’s guidance by really paying attention to the energy people were bringing to our relationship. I paid attention to what types of life dramas they always wanted to talk about, if they were trustworthy, and what they actually wanted from me. I articulated to myself what my soul knew about other people’s energy as well as what I truly wanted from my relationships. Again, I asked myself "what questions". What do I feel when I am around her? What does he talk to me about the most? What do we have in common? What emotional state is she in? What does he really want from me? What does a healthy relationship look like to me? What makes me feel honored and loved by other people? What type of energy do I want to have in my life? What type of energy can I live without?
As I listened to myself and paid attention to the actions of other people, I saw how people created the same dramas over and over again in their lives, and they expected me to play a role in their theatrical life productions. I knew people who acted negatively with nothing positive to say about life by constantly complaining. I knew people who
acted controlling by manipulating other people, often angrily, to get their needs met. I knew people who acted like victims by expecting everyone to take care of them and not taking actions to change their circumstances. I knew people who acted snobbishly by constantly judging other people to make themselves feel superior. I knew people who acted superficially by manipulating people with false kindness because they had ulterior motives. These were just a few of the dramas of energy I noticed in other people that I was in relationships with. Eventually, I realized the dramas people created were ingrained mental belief systems much like in the illusion of flaws.
Listening to Energy Guidance
By paying attention to the energy other people brought to our relationship, I was not judging them but noticing and listening to my own inner compass. In knowing what
type of energy people believed to be true, I turned quietly within and decided if my deeper self wanted to be in that energy. I discovered that being in integrity with my true self meant listening to what types of energy I was willing to be around and which ones I did not. When I listened to myself, I found some energy types to be extremely incompatible with me like those who acted like victims, controlling, or negatively, while other energy types bothered me less. Seeing the energy other people brought to their relationship with me and coupling that with an inner knowing of what I deeply wanted in my relationships offered me a starting point to take authentic actions.
I really wanted my relationships to be honoring of me by truly hearing me and appreciating me as I was. I wanted the people in my life to genuinely support me as I took actions unique to being me. My relationships needed to be fun and enjoyable to be around because my soul just lit up with laughter. The people in my life needed to have a genuinely positive outlook about themselves, me, life, and God. I needed the people in my life to be able to take care of themselves and take their own authentic actions. I
knew what my soul really wanted from my relationships, and I stopped settling
for less than my soul’s desires. I released many relationships as I finally saw the dramas and energies people were bringing into my life; I knew deep within me what people were good for me and which ones were not. I did not expect perfection from my relationships, but I did require other people’s dominant energy to be compatible with mine.
I cannot emphasize enough that the key to finding peace in your everyday life is to allow yourself to be you. I was compelled to write this book, I am Enough by God, to help other people remember their own value. I spent so many years berating myself for not being the perfectly enlightened, spiritual person I thought I ought to be. I believed in the illusion that I was a flawed person, and I sought every book and expert to tell me how I ought to be better. It never once dawned on me that I knew my own answers or that I had nothing to fix. No one ever said to me that I was good enough. So I wrote this book to be the person that tells you that you are enough right now in this very moment.
You do not have to look any different. You do not have to act any different. You do not need to be smarter or better at what you do. You do not have to be any different in order to be whole and wonderful! You are enough right now just as you are created by
This week’s excerpt starts the conversation about how to be enough in relationships with other people. For me, that journey began with learning how to be authentic in them. I felt so flawed for so many years that I spent a great deal of energy trying to
change myself to please the people in my life, but inner peace came when I learned that it was okay for me to simply be myself in my relationships. So instead of changing me all the time, I found the courage to change my relationships. Sometimes that meant creating better boundaries, but other times that meant the more difficult choice of ending unhealthy relationships with love and grace. So no matter who you have in your life, or what they tell you about your value, you are enough just as you are in this
moment! I hope you enjoy this week’s excerpt below:)
To further complicate matters, I learned at a young age to adapt myself to the situations and relationships I was in. When I was my most inauthentic, I pretended to be someone I was not by engaging other people as a pseudo self. I was an expert at changing myself to fit what I thought other people wanted. So at a non-profit I volunteered for, I pretended to be an assertive leader. With my friends, I faked begin goofy and fun loving. At church, I pretended to be a model spiritual person. I acted the part of what I thought other people wanted from me. I acted the part of what I thought I ought to be in order to be a good, spiritual person to receive validation from the world.
I was very adept at speaking to other people from their point of view. I rarely walked
into a room of people and was simply myself; rather, I stood on the sidelines observing the interactions of each person in it and engaged someone if I knew how to modify myself to them. So when I served on a non-profit board of directors, I moved my ideas through the board by having one-on-one conversations with each member; I changed how I presented the information based on who I was speaking with. I really did not know how to articulate myself honestly and to change my relationships to honor my soul. The more I began to really hear my soul speaking to me, the more uneasy I felt pretending to be someone I was not; I became more and more exhausted and burned out by my pseudo selves, so I knew I needed to shift my life.
Changing Relationships Instead of Me
In addition, I discovered I was ignoring useful information my soul was providing me through my intuition. I was always vaguely aware of the type of energy people were bringing with them in their relationship with me; my usual mode of operation was to
change myself to adapt to their energy. But as I listened to my soul, I discovered that instead of changing me to fit the relationship, I needed to change the relationships to fit me. Many of my relationships needed to shift to be in integrity with me. Instead of changing myself to learn to be in the presence of an angry person, I changed the situation by removing myself from contact with her. Instead of changing my plans to make someone else happy, I changed the relationship and created healthy boundaries. I discovered there was nothing about me that really needed to change in order to have wonderful relationships, but my relationships had to drastically change. I could no longer pretend I liked someone when I really did not. I could no longer pretend to be a
martyr and put my needs last. I could no longer pretend to be anything other than the human being God created me to be.
A challenging life lesson to learn is that it is okay to ask for what we need from other people. Too many times, we "sacrifice" ourselves for other people in ways that we really do not need to. It is one thing to love someone and truly give from a place of pure love for them without need or expectation; I think that giving freely like that is simply divine! It is another thing to give and give and give of yourself until you are burned out. It is not divine love to do things for others out of a sense of obligation or trying to win their affection; in this instance, we are often working against the longings of our soul, and we feel resentment, bitterness, and dread.
Giving in inauthentic ways wastes our creative powers. What if it is in our highest soul path from God to express the fullness of who we are, but we are allowing our obligations to drain the energy out of the ways God intended us to express ourselves? Isn't our fullest self-expression our gift to the world? What if, sometimes, we are allowing other people to pull us off our soul path simply because we have not asked for what we need from the relationship? You are here to be your beautiful self just as God created you. It is okay to ask for help when you need it. It is okay for you to ask for your relationship dynamics to change so that you can pursue your dreams. It is okay for you to listen to your inner guidance and take actions in your relationships to bring them into integrity with you soul. I hope you enjoy this week's book excerpt below:)
Chapter 6 - Integrity in Relationships
Even as I became adept at listening to my soul for guidance, my mind still repeated false beliefs about what I was obligated to do for other people. My mind chattered with images of how a spiritual person acted in relationships with others, what it meant to be a good family member, and what friends do for each other. In my relationships, I was
fully engulfed in the illusion of flaws and struggled in fits and starts to hear my true voice and act with integrity to my soul. When I heard my soul speaking to guide my relationship choices, the illusion chimed in with numerous reasons why I could not act in alignment with myself; I believed if I let go of relationships that I truthfully disliked that it made me a judgmental person; I believed if I let go of relationships with family that it made me ungrateful and uncompassionate; I believed if I stopped taking care of other people that it made me a self-involved person. Basically, I believed if I made the relationship choices my soul longed for me to make that it made me a selfish person.
Trying Not to be Human
I was attempting to reach an idealized image of a saintly person who took great care of everyone and was loved by all. I thought I was supposed to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of others in order to be a good person. Many of my spiritual books told me to set aside my needs because they were really the ego speaking. They said if I just stayed in meditative being or present moment awareness instead of my humanness, I could rid myself of the illusion of separation between me and other people. Again, I tried to shut down my humanness and rise above my wants to see the divinity in others, but I was really shutting down my soul’s desires. These spiritual books and teachings also told me to tell myself over and over again that all was well and in divine order, but there was nothing divine about staying in toxic situations superseding my soul’s guidance with the silly belief all was well. All was not well, and my soul was adamantly telling me so.
I have pretty simple advice to give this week. When you feel joy or laughter, take an extra moment and savor it. I spent too much energy focused on healing, fixing, or trying to overcome feelings of sadness, anger, hurt, or frustration. I know now those feelings were just there to show me the ways I was not taking authentic actions to make my life more congruent with my inner guidance. I was angry at relationships I really did not want to keep, or frustrated with finances because I was not spending in integrity with my goals. I spent years delving into the details of these feelings.
Over those same years, there were many instances of great joy and fun, but I did not give the joy the same amount of attention that I gave the sadness and pain. I allowed happiness to go by me without recognition and appreciation. So the next time you are laughing with a friend, pause and really drink in the laughter. Enjoy it. Think about it again and again as the day goes by. The next time you spend an hour working at what you love, take a pause and say thank you to the Universe for giving you such a delightful expression. The next time someone compliments you, don't just dismiss it, but really allow yourself to feel acknowledged for the wonderful person you are created to be by God. Take a moment to enjoy your positive feelings more often because they deserve just as much attention and energy as your negative ones. I hope you enjoy the last excerpt from Chapter 5 on Soulful Emotions:)
Redirecting Emotional Awareness
I also learned to bring my awareness to my genuine, positive feelings more often. When
I was tied up in the illusion trying to fix my negative feelings, I had very little attention and energy left over to give to my positive feelings. I allowed feeling good to slip by
unconsciously. For example when my husband gave me a compliment, I usually quickly dismissed it and jumped back into my mind trying to fix some perceived problem. I did not really hear the compliment or allow myself to feel his love. I needed to learn to consciously acknowledge the compliment and stay feeling good as much as was authentic for me. Additionally, I was not paying attention to the beauties and joys around me. When I looked out our backyard sliding glass door everyday, I was not
noticing the flowers in bloom, the rainbow after a rain, or the bird perched on my deck. My attention was mulling over and through the illusion so much that I was missing out of enjoying the exquisite beauty of my garden and the mountain views off in the distance.
The energy I wasted stewing in my hurt feelings, I redirected to notice the pleasures in my life. By detecting little moments of beauty, fun, or sweetness in and around my world, I experienced positive feelings like joy, happiness, laughter, excitement, or awe more often. It was easy for me to quickly go back into the illusion, but I discovered
with just a little mental redirection on my part, I sustained feeling positive longer and longer. I lingered a bit every moment I truly felt something joyful and happy. By doing this, I empowered positive feelings by giving them energy and animation in my life. The more I focused on the love, joy, and peace around me, the more love, joy, and peace I discovered within me.
As I learned to relax into my soul more often, I found a resting place. I began to reclaim
my most authentic life by validating my feelings. My thoughts stopped bouncing back and forth between rationalizations of the illusion and my true feelings. I did not care what other people thought of my emotions anymore. I stopped judging myself as an
unenlightened person for having feelings. I learned to be me, feeling what was true for me, knowing my emotions were guidance from my soul. I felt more and more like I could trust my emotions and that I was truly enough as I was. If I said no to someone and articulated it being my most authentic self and that person did not honor that boundary, I still felt angry for not being heard, but I stopped trying to fix the anger and learned to trust it by listening to it, feeling it, accepting it, and acting from it. The anger was there to shed light on the quality of the relationship and to assist me in taking authentic actions with this person. When I brought my actions and life into integrity with my soul, I felt lasting inner peace.
As I settled into my soul, I became more comfortable with my negative feelings and less afraid of them because I learned to express authentic emotions without getting swept up into the illusion trying to fix them. Feeling my feelings actually gave me so much more peace than ignoring or repairing ever did. By learning to trust and honor my emotions, I reclaimed my soul’s wisdom and used it to reclaim my most authentic life. I stopped stuffing, hiding, or rationalizing my emotions away and allowed them expression in my life. It felt like a burden had been lifted from my heart because I was beginning to open more fully to all the joyful and hopeful emotions I had as well. I learned that emotions were not bad at all, but simply a part of being human. I was blessedly human and completely whole exactly as God created me to be. I stopped feeling broken when I embraced being human. I let go of the illusion I needed to be some enlightened being rising about my human feelings. By embracing my emotions, I allowed my soul expression as the human being God created me to be.