12/05/2017

Mindful Love

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , at 11:17 am by The Water Bearer

Do you struggle to Believe you are Loveable?

Whispers of shame that bully our thoughts, are as old as Fig leaf skirts….. Nothing New to See Here!

Knowing we fail, knowing we aren’t perfect leaves us feeling….. well……

Ashamed!

We then believe this equation –  “Flaws + Shame = Not Worthy of Love”

LIES! LIES! LIES!

These lies cause us to focus on inconsistencies of love from others, and then to doubt the love from God.

Plus it eats away at our love for ourselves!

This is not just my battle, but yours as well….if you’re really honest.

Why do we battle with shame?

Because our purpose is growth & upward motion towards our Best Self! And every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Shame pushes us down, preventing the growth and potential we were designed for.

We have simply met our opposition…

Because We Are Human

A fun fact of human life is that we all have our Inner Enemies. Lets look at the Inner Enemy of autopilot, and automatic thoughts.

The more time we spend mind-wandering and mind-less, the more permission we give to these automatic thoughts.

Autopilot has a lot to answer for….

But all is not lost, we do have other options!

When we make mistakes, autopilot begins to steer the ship towards shame.

OR

We can steer our thoughts towards repentance and

accept the abundant Grace of God!

When people fail to love us properly, autopilot absorbs their lack of love, turn that lovelessness in our direction, and

we withdraw from love…. all in an attempt at self-protection.

Or

we can side step their lack of love, and move on

focused on God’s love for us!

WILL WE LET AUTOPILOT DECIDE OUR WORTH?

All the evidence in scripture, science and life experience tells us that we are able to rewire our autopilot, to transform our minds, to be set free. Be Reborn!

So, who else will stand with me battling hard against autopilot!

Standing at war with shame!

Silencing the whispers that tell you not to love yourself!

Ignoring the lies that we aren’t worthy of God’s love!

It will be tough, and our autopilot won’t let go of the steering-wheel easily. It has allowed these whispers to dictate our negative self-talk for so many generations…

Yet in the moment we can  Stop, Breathe and Be!

We can Remember the Cross

And Begin to feel that Unwavering Grace-filled Love

Mindfulness meditation slows our autopilot, giving us back some control.

By practicing mindful love we learn to not only be present in the moment, but to turn that moment into our sanctuary where we soak up God’s love, and allow it to trigger bouts of self-compassion.

Instead of allowing autopilot to drive us to seek our worth and approval from others, let’s start accepting it from God!

Practice building that into SELF-LOVE! Seeing yourself as God sees you… WITH LOVE! 

SELF-LOVING DEFEATS SHAME!

Right Now, stop and feel the breath in your lungs, hear the sounds around you, feel the ground beneath you, feel gravity holding you here in this place, try to be so still that you can feel your heartbeat, picture your Saviour’s Love smothering you and now give yourself a loving warm hug from your Saviour and from yourself……

You may automatically feel silly and as if you may not deserve it, but if you don’t try to accept it and appreciate it, the incredible Cross loses its value, and the war that should already be won, fights on.

The trick is that we must take back control, and the more time we spend practicing mindful love the more chance we can actually reprogram our autopilot!

22/07/2015

Ignorant Chaos

Posted in Finding Faith, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:48 am by The Water Bearer

Lucy

I watched the blockbuster “Lucy” some time back and enjoyed it immensely. Some of the quotes that came out of it were extremely profound. I will have to do a bit of research to capture all of them but one in particular stood out to me. It was spoken by the main character Lucy, who was unlocking areas of her brain no human had used before. The quote came prompted by Morgan Freeman’s character who stated.. “All this knowledge, Lucy — I’m not even sure that mankind is ready for it. Given man’s nature, it might bring us only instability and chaos.” to which Lucy replies….

“Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.”

This quote sits heavily upon me as I look back throughout my life. I recall the many previous ignorant versions of myself that lacked knowledge in certain situations and the chaos that surrounded me. I lived in a perpetual state between insecure co-dependance and arrogant self-righteousness.

While I struggle with arrogance and ignorance from time to time, I have become overwhelmingly grateful for the knowledge that came from each new learning experience and each mentor, helping my life transform to a much more peaceful one. A life where I can accept my short comings and hunger for strength of mind. Learning not only about the world systems, but the spiritual ones and learning about myself and experiencing the unknown.

While I appreciate all this learning, and the ability to research any topic my heart or mind desires, I am aware that there are many who actually avoid knowledge. Some dismiss it, ignore it, some even defend against it.

The scriptures gives us clear guidance towards wisdom.

Proverbs 2:10-11  for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.

If ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge, is it likely then, that those who reject knowledge, are simply too used to their chaos to want to change it?

I am certain the inner enemy of pride is at play here, by discouraging submission to the wisdom of others, confusing our compass so we choose to dismiss knowledge mistaking it for merely one persons opinion. I admit this form of pride has played its role in my life, how about yours?

I think a major key to receiving learning, is being able to tell the difference between an opinion and knowledge. It is respectful to hear opinions and accept everyone’s right to have their own, and it is also perfectly acceptable to avoid applying opinions you disagree with, but knowledge isn’t an opinion. We must learn to discern where knowledge differs and see the value in it.

Another key to receiving learning is having the humility to be teachable, knowing that as long as we are confined to our earthly walk we will always have something to learn. That even if we know a subject inside and out, there is still the possibility to discover something new about it. I admit it is hard to keep a teachable spirit. It is much easier to stay in one spot, tell yourself you have done enough, you can handle where you are, and not pursue the hard work of change.

Asking the hard questions and being willing to change can be daunting and a long process, however nothing quite compares to looking at yourself after a while and saying “Wow, I have grown. I am different, I am better. How awesome!” It makes the hard work truly worth it.

Knowledge

01/08/2013

Out Of Words*

Posted in Encouragement, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:22 am by The Water Bearer

wordless

I never thought it could happen…… Not to me!

The first time it happened, I found I simply had nothing nice to say, everything seemed bleak and I didn’t want to drag down those around me. All my jokes, extended stories, quick comebacks, deep philosophies and laughter had left me. So rather than forcing out anything, just for the sake of speaking, I became quiet. Needless to say, everyone could tell something was wrong and hassled me relentlessly about my melancholy reservedness.

It has been many years since my deep depression, and with a lot of therapy and some big life changes, those faithful old friends ‘words’ came back with a vengeance. I sang them, I spoke them, I thought them, I wrote them, I kept them, I shared them….

“Welcome back wonderful words, how I missed you!” – I felt like ME again.

chatterbox

However, recently I have noticed moments of wordlessness appearing here and there.

I’ve forced out a few drafts of posts, but they simply don’t have that genuine passion resonating through them, so I have not been content enough to hit publish.

I haven’t touched my novel in months.

I have even found myself sitting in company, quietly, actually thinking to myself  “come on, you must have something to say, think!”.

Have you guessed? I am not a fan of uncomfortable silences!

So I ask questions, to break the silence. I hear their stories, however long or short…

Am I becoming a listener?

It is something I have prayed for many years to become better at. It’s not that I don’t listen, I hear what is being said, but perhaps I don’t let others know, or feel, that I am truly listening. Maybe I am not patient enough to allow others get it all off their chest. I always have some response to share during their stories.

Some have complained that I talk too much, I admit that much of the time I do, and in the past I have become self-condemning about it. At times I have prayed, begged, pleaded for God to SHUT MY MOUTH! Even if a change came, it did not last for long, as soon as the darkness lifted, I felt like myself again and so did my overactive mouth. I dearly hope to find the ability to be in a really good mood and yet stay quiet..but it has eluded me for all my life.

What a strange change…

Perhaps this is just another episode? The low after many weeks of manic moods and excessive mind wandering? In any case I intend to use the quiet to my advantage. To pursue growth.

Has the Lord has opened up a space for meditation while in the company of others? Something I have not often felt able to practice in the past. Really being there and not lost in a sea of my own thoughts and words.

My therapist gave me some great pointers on how to experience deep listening. He based these tips around the mantra “to be present but without self“.

The first time we practiced this, I was surprised how much I had to concentrate on what was being said while shutting down my own thought reactions, reactions that related their story back to me and my feelings about it. To only try to understand their feelings and leave mine out of it.

This is pretty tough for me, my ego is quite a self-centred bully at times. However, I found this whole thing much easier once I understood what I needed to do in order to achieve deep listening skills. It will take effort, awareness and practice, but you know me, I am always up for a challenge of self (or lack of self as the case may be) 😉

So if things have been a little quiet around here lately, now you know why…

I’m here…. I’m listening….I’m growing…

Listening

21/01/2013

A Focused Mind, I Pray*

Posted in Encouragement, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:31 pm by The Water Bearer

In a recent post, I wrote about the new found blessing of feeling more present. I finally got to enjoy the usually unpleasant, even dreaded (for me anyway) Christmas Season, by slowing down and staying in the moment.

Each year I take videos of the rituals and gatherings, and I take lots of photos, hoping to capture the joy of the season. I guess it’s ironic that this year I took no photos or videos of our Christmas traditions, and none of the many gatherings we attended. However, I felt like I was there more, as if I had longer in these moments. I could actually be joyful rather than look for joy to grasp onto.

I took time to be present. I watched my daughter’s fingers fumbling with the sticky tape as they opened their gifts, I tasted the wonderful food, I tried new flavours and turned them over in my mouth more consciously. I watched my family and friends more closely, and strangely, I watched myself watching them.

I am not one to make New Years Resolutions as there are always many things I hope to work on each day, let alone each year. However I feel this one may be important enough to make note of…. To infuse as a theme for the whole year.

My mind is fast, my therapist says its super fast, everything whizzes around in there at top speed (usually accompanied by my mouth). Therefore, I want to meditate and be present more, I would love to become good enough at meditating and slowing my thoughts, that I can become friends with that elusive gift of focus.

This year I have written some of my best work while attempting to meditate, this is the writing I am most happy with, the stuff I can’t wait to share with others. Ideas for the new chapters of my novel (which I usually find extremely difficult to write) have flowed fluently from a place of quiet mindfulness. During this state of meditation, I pray and ask for inspiration, and it usually comes, and if it doesn’t, I am relaxed and so not as worried about it.

Another element I am trying to apply to my life through meditation, is a calmer approach to parenting. While in a meditative state I imagine the day-to-day trials I face with my children and I imagine my meditated-self reacting in less anxious ways. It has helped me lessen my over-reactions to a certain degree and I am intent on developing this more.

I watched a TED talk recently (I know right, I’m addicted), the speaker gave some fabulous tips on what meditation actually is, and the reasons we should all try to adopt it into our lives. If you too want to be more present and stress free in your thought life, I recommend you watch the link below. Then grab a relaxation CD and keep practicing. It is hard at first (tears flowed during my first attempt because my mind just would not slow down at all, sometimes I played the CD 4 times in a row just to get closer to a relaxed state of mind) Like anything new, it takes practice, however the results are definitely worth it.

I pray the Lord helps me achieve more present mindfulness, so that I may write for Him, complete His book, and fulfill my role as a wife & mum as best I can. With Christ’s strength everything is possible…

http://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes.html

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