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Find Yourself, Know Yourself and Be Yourself

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Apr
16

 

Do you wish your relationships were more fulfilling?

Do you find yourself resenting all you do for others?

Do you want to learn how to be more authentic so you can enjoy life and feel a powerful sense of well being?
 
To be authentic means to be real. You know when someone is real when you are in their presence. Can you remember being drawn to someone because they seem so real? They aren’t afraid of living and speaking their truth. They allow you to see their weaknesses as well as their strengths. They don’t pretend to be something they are not. We are drawn to people who are authentic because we can trust them and we feel better about ourselves because of their openness and honesty. We all strive to be our authentic selves. It’s a life long journey and it takes courage to be your authentic self. Taking off your mask and being yourself no matter what others think of you is an important step in becoming authentic. 

Finding myself and what I wanted has been a journey. Learning to love, trust and value myself has brought me to places I never imagined.  I went back to college at age 40, asked my husband for a divorce at ago 50, wrote my book, Simply a Woman of Faith at age 60 and left my full time job as an Alcohol and Drug therapist of 20 years to step out in faith and start my own business as an author, inspirational speaker, spiritual coach and radio talk show host.

Being the oldest in my family, I took on the role of being overly responsible and a people pleaser. I had no idea of who I was or what I felt.  As I took the inward journey through therapy, prayer and meditation, I uncovered layers of low self esteem, unworthiness, inadequacy, fear and not feeling good enough.

Many women lose themselves in their various roles and have no idea who they are or what they want. They are someone’s wife, mother, friend, daughter or employee, but don’t have their own identity. They often give their power away by focusing on what others want at the expense of themselves. They can feel resentful because their needs aren’t met. They are not in touch with their feelings because they have medicated them through eating, alcohol, drugs, workaholism, staying busy, rushing, shopping and approval addiction.

Shore up your courage and slow down. It’s time to go within to find yourself and explore what‘s important—what makes you happy and fulfilled.  It can feel scary at first: you don’t know what you’ll find or what will be asked of you. You may choose to take a stand and leave an unhealthy relationship or job that is no longer working and hindering your progress. When you take a risk and follow your heart, you live your authentic life with unlimited potential and possibilities.

Developing my Spirituality and finding a Power greater than myself to heal and transform me was crucial to becoming authentic. Spirituality means “connectedness.”  I connect with myself, with a Power greater than myself and I connect with others. I needed to learn to trust that Power (whom I call God, but you may call nature, love, source, universe, goddess or something else) before I could trust myself and others with my true self.  I needed to know that I was loved unconditionally and I didn’t have to do anything to earn that love. I was loved just because of who I was.

Prayer helped me feel safe enough to take off the mask and be myself.  Facing and moving through my fear is a constant in my life. Whenever we are called to a higher level of consciousness and living our potential, our fears rise to the surface. We must do vengeance with our fears to live the authentic life. Fear is the thief of dreams.

I invite you to find a spiritual practice to “plug in” to this higher consciousness daily. It will help you feel loved and connected to Spirit and the core of who you are. It will help you joyfully discover your authentic self. 

Ten Tips to Becoming Your Authentic Self 

  1. Show up everyday for yourself, for Spirit, and the world by sharing your gifts and talents for the good of all. Embrace that you are a child of God, one with Spirit and are loved unconditionally. 
  2. Stay focused on what you want to create in your life by staying in the moment , letting go of the past and concerns for the future.
  3. Speak up, say no and set a boundary, when necessary.
  4. Stay grateful and focus on what’s working, rather than what’s missing in your life.
  5. Ask for what you want and believe that you have already received it.
  6. Believe in yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, cherish yourself and forgive yourself.
  7. Face your fears and take a risk to follow your heart’s desires and intuition.
  8. Have courage and be honest about what you feel and think.
  9. Step into your greatness and magnificence knowing you are worthy of abundance and prosperity.
  10. Surrender: let go of control and the outcome.

 

Written for  Aspire Magazine

There is More Joy in Giving Than Receiving

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Apr
16

 

My cat, JOY snuggled up next to me in my bed as I settled down to take a mid-afternoon nap. I felt joy in my heart.  Joy is a deep feeling of contentment within and it is at the core of everyone. It is the peaceful and serene center of Being from which we create every moment as a celebration of love, harmony and fulfillment.

When I am in the present moment, I feel joy – a carefree feeling and knowingness that all is well on the spiritual level. It is difficult to be in the present moment when my mind jumps to the future or the past, therefore missing the joy that it holds. When I am centered in the moment, I am grateful, calm, peaceful  and protected.

There are so many things that bring me joy; holding a newborn baby, watching children play, planting flowers in my garden, dancing, sitting at the ocean watching the waves go in and out, spending time with family and friends, helping someone in need, being loved unconditionally, taking time for prayer and meditation. 

How do we lose our joy or give it away? It is a choice. We are responsible for our own happiness and joy. We lose our joy when we:

  • Compare ourselves to others
  • Complain and blame others for our problems
  • Beat up on ourselves and don’t feel good enough
  • Do not trust a power greater than ourselves to help us
  • See ourselves as victims and have a “poor me” mentality
  • Hold onto resentment and are unable to forgive ourselves or others
  • Believe there is lack and scarcity
  • Obsess and worry about the future or the past
  • Try to please everyone at the expense of ourselves
  • Focus on what’s missing rather than be grateful now 

 

Where does joy come from? I believe it comes from within. When we are connected to our Source, the God within, we experience joy. When we are connected to others, serving others, we experience joy. When we give, without any expectations in return we experience joy.

Most recently, I experienced joy when I “got out of my own way” and reached out to another who was in need.  My two sons and grandchildren live out of state. My parents are both deceased and I don’t have any siblings or family in the area. I felt lonely and felt sorry for myself on Easter Sunday. As I was driving home from my friend Carol’s house, I decided to buy a plant for a woman in a nursing home that I had just met at Christmas. Mary told me that she was all alone and didn’t have any friends or relatives in the area. She had a stroke a year ago that paralyzed her and she couldn’t walk anymore.

This is a taken from a chapter in Simply a Woman of Faith

Addiction: Deficit of the Spirit

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Jan
31

Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. Often likened to having “a hole in the soul,” it is a spiritual deprivation that requires the development of an inner spirituality for full recovery.

Spirituality is a connectedness with self, others and a greater power, referred to sometimes as God, or higher power, Source or Universe. Spirituality may be practiced through organized religion or not.

Those who are addicted are disconnected from themselves, from others and from

their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs or homes due to their addiction.

The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects. Physical problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, colitis or heart disease. Emotional problems include anger, irritability, loneliness, guilt, resentment and depression. A person may find themselves withdrawn, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive and controlling. Hopelessness and lack of faith may also befall a person living with an addict.

Spiritual coaching can help both the addict and those living with one. The goal is to support the movement from a place of dis-ease to a place of happiness and peace. All problems are spiritual problems in the sense that they arise when we feel disconnected from the Source of our being. Spiritual coaching supports a movement from an experience of disconnect to one of deep connection. The effects of coaching is to experience more peace and joy, a deepening of relationships, a stronger connection to God and others, finding true purpose and being present in a way that reflects inner love.

Pat Hastings is a licensed Chemical Dependency Professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is a spiritual coach, retreat and workshop leader and inspirational speaker. She is author of the book “Simply a Woman of Faith,” and the recently released CD: “How to Pray and Get Results: 10 Tips to Have Your Prayers Answered.” Contact her at  or call 401-521-6783.

Conscious Detachment

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Jan
31

Do you want peace in your life? Do you want to feel respected and loved? Learning Conscious Detachment can dramatically improve your relationships with your loved ones so they will also feel respected and loved.

What is Conscious Detachment? It’s emotionally separating from a person.  It’s the freedom to own what’s yours and allow other’s to own what’s theirs. When we detach, we let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a power greater than ourselves.

There are behaviors that can give us clues that we need to detach which

include, but are not limited to; obsessing about another person, feeling like a victim, making excuses for another person, worrying, depression, not sleeping, overeating, blaming others, nagging, trying to manipulate, feeling out of control, feelings of urgency that we need to do something or fix someone, feeling guilty that it’s our fault.

Detachment is difficult because of our need to control. We may fear that if we let go of control, something bad will happen. Control is an illusion. We may not trust that the person we need to detach from will  make the right decision on their own and that they need our advice. People are often unaware that they have a need to control and are surprised when someone tells them that they are controlling.

Refusing to feel is a sign that we may be controlling. Controlling behavior requires denying, ignoring our own needs and feeling resentful when our needs are not met. When we try to control others and that includes adult children, we don’t give them choices and that’s not loving or respectful.

Examples of controlling behavior may be quiet anger, disapproval, being nice, silence, apologizing, guilt, reminders, suggestions, lectures, complaining, pouting, being hurt and refusing to ask for what we need.

CONSCIOUS DETACHMENT IS A CHOICE

It’s getting the focus off changing another person no matter how much we love them. We begin to focus on ourselves and what needs to be changed in us. This is where the power is. It’s getting the focus off the past – what we’ve done, not done, what someone has done to us or not done.

It’s not focusing on the future with all the “what if’s.” It’s allowing ourselves to feel our feelings, letting them go, being in the present moment and trusting in a power greater than ourselves.

Taken from Ivanla Vanzant’s book “Tapping the Power Within”

Detachment is:

  • We care, but don’t intrude.
  • We honor people and their process even if it looks dysfunctional to us.
  • We allow people to learn, grow and unfold at their own pace.
  • We trust and respect people enough to let them live their own lives.
  • We hold no expectation or judgements about what their process looks like or how long it will take.
  • We ask them what direction they are choosing for themselves.
  • We trust that divine order will guide them.
  • We remember how our learning, growing healing process must have looked to others and we offer compassion that we didn’t  receive.
  • We trust that people can make it on their own.

 
DETACHING WITH LOVE IS A PROCESS

  • Get honest with our feelings
  • Talk to people we trust and understand us
  • Get in touch with Higher Power, ask for help and pray
  • Dump all anger and resentment

 
The first step in detaching with love is to begin taking responsibility for our own behavior.  This means that we can no longer blame our loved ones for the way we feel. No one makes us feel anything. It’s our reaction to the behavior that causes us pain, anger, resentment and disappointment. We lose ourselves when we become so involved in another’s behavior. Regaining our self-respect and self-esteem is a big benefit of detaching with love.
 
The next step in detaching with love is acceptance. Acceptance is the
key. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we necessarily feel ok about
current or past situations. It means that we stop trying to change
what we have no power over.  Acceptance brings PEACE. Acceptance
is letting go of control and accepting what is.

In the Hallway – Mastering Your Fears

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Jan
31

How many of you have been in the hallway “when one door is closing or has closed and the other door hasn’t opened up yet?”  Sometimes the door is closed through no fault of your own –you lose a job, a relationship ends, a loved one dies.  Sometimes, you choose to close the door yourself because you want something different  – to feel more alive and fulfilled.  Either way, it’s not always a fun place to be and can be very scary.

Being in the hallway can be a place where your faith muscles grow – if you let them.  It can be a place where you learn patience and

trust, especially when it looks like nothing is happening.  Many of us struggle and complain and bang on the door begging God to open the new door NOW.  We try to bargain with God – I will do this God if you please give me what I desire and need.

You may feel so scared that you think about going back and opening the old door if you could, even though you know in your heart it’s not the right thing to do and you don’t want to do it.  Or you can surrender and wait patiently; knowing God is in control and has your good in mind.  When you surrender and accept “what is”, you will have peace.

I struggle with “being in the hallway” because I can’t see what the next opportunity or open door will look like. Yes, I visualize and see it in my mind what I want it to look like. But there are no guarantees. Here’s where practicing faith comes in.  Often when the new door is opened, it’s better than we could have

ever imagined.

Like most of us, I like to be in control and know exactly what’s going on around me. I’m learning to “let go and let God” when I’m in the hallway. I practice “acting as if” everything is ok and I’m exactly where I need to be, trusting in God’s divine plan and timing.

I just came out of the hallway and a new door has opened for me.  For the past year, I prayed about leaving my job of 20 years

as a therapist to go full time working for God.  As the author of Simply a Woman of Faith, I wanted to promote and market my book, as well as lead retreats and give inspirational talks.

During the discernment period, God gave me many signs that I was on the right path and following His calling. In my heart and soul, I knew it was God’s plan and that He would provide.  I told myself “God is my employer and the benefits will be heavenly.”  Even though I knew I was on the right path, I still had fear.

Shortly after I gave my notice at work, I had what I call a “Fear Attack.”  I felt overwhelmed and doubted if I made the right decision.  All the “what if’s” and negative thinking came crashing down on me, like a giant wave.  I said things like “You have to be crazy leaving your job when people are losing jobs left and right and the economy is at its worst.  At your age, you’ll never find a good job like the one you have now. It’s not too late to tell your boss you changed your mind.”

I knew I was in trouble and had to pray and change my thinking.  When I come into the presence of God and Spirit, I change.  Prayer changes me on the inside.

I allowed myself to feel my fear and then told myself the truth – “I am a divine and powerful spiritual being and am one with God.  I will no longer be ruled by my fears.  Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Ultimately it is up to me to save myself from fear; nobody could do it for me.”

Developing faith muscles takes commitment and discipline.  It is not the absence of fear. It’s facing the fear and doing it anyway.  As we get closer to manifesting our dreams into reality and the bigger the dream, the old beliefs and feelings will often surface. At these times, it’s important to pray, meditate, visualize, journal and come back to the truth. God is your source and when you step out in faith, doors and opportunities will open up wide.

Mastering your fears, doubts and anxieties is surely the highest task that is given to you in this life time. If you can master your fear, you can go forth into the world and help others to master their fear.

Overcoming your fears requires work, discipline and faith. Faith will give you the ability to believe in something that has no proof and in turn will help you create something seemingly impossible. Without faith, you cannot believe and without belief you cannot create.

Listening to the Small Still Voice Within for Divine Assignments

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Jan
31

That voice may be referred to as God, Intuition, Spirit, Higher Self, Soul, Higher Power or Universe. People often ask me, “How do you know it’s God giving you messages about someone and not just your own voice?” The answer is: “I don’t always know.  It’s only afterwards when people tell me it was exactly what they needed to hear.”

Sometimes it’s scary, my heart pounds and I want to walk the other way when I receive

a message for someone. At those times, I need to let go of my ego and not worry about what others will think of me. I’ve learned to let go of the outcome.

It’s about trusting that God has a Divine Assignment if I’m willing to listen and follow through when I receive a message for someone. It often seems like it comes out of nowhere and just pops into my head. I feel a quickening in my spirit, and then I listen and am still.

Listening and following through are key elements. Usually, when I don’t want to do something, it’s a signal that it’s from Spirit. Sometimes I know what I’m going to say and the message is clear. Other times, I have no idea and the message comes when I open my mouth. I trust it will come and it always does.

I no longer question when I hear the small still voice of God within.  It may not make sense to me, but I do it anyway and then watch the miracles unfold. The following story is one of them.

Mary lived a few blocks away, but I had never just walked to her house to say hello. While taking my walk this one day, I felt a strong pull from Spirit to go to her house.  I had no idea why I was being led there, but found myself taking a right turn into her neighborhood.  I felt disappointed when I arrived because her car wasn’t there.  Did I not hear you right God? I thought you were leading me.

When I arrived home, I called Mary and left a message that I had visited her. Is there a message you want me to give her God? And the words came. “Believe in yourself, your gifts and trust your journey.”  I hung up not knowing if the words meant anything to her. I didn’t hear from Mary for several days and quickly placed it out of my mind.

Mary called when she returned home, very excited. “Pat, you are not going to believe it.  I really needed to hear your message the day you called.  The timing was divine. You had no idea that I was away for a few days at a “Journey” workshop.

During the workshop, the leader suggested I take a break and go outside for a walk because of my feelings of frustration with the process. Others in the group seemed to be getting it, but nothing seemed to be happening with me.

I listened to my telephone messages when I returned to the group.  And there you were with your message.

We Are All Connected

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Jan
31

God  often speaks to me and gets my attention through the use of symbols. My two symbols are the butterfly and the turtle. I didn’t realize until recently how I must embrace both energies to live a balanced and fulfilling life. The turtle and the butterfly teach me many lessons and I am grateful for both.  I believe we are all connected and can learn from one another.

For two days in a row, I put my turtle necklace on that my son gave me for Christmas.  I didn’t consciously plan it, but I wore two different butterfly shirts on both days.  As I looked in the mirror admiring my necklace, my eyes immediately fell to the butterfly on my shirt and I had an “Ah” moment.  I knew in my spirit that it wasn’t a coincidence that the turtle was so close to the butterfly.

The turtle is grounded, connected  to the earth and Spirit.  It moves slowly, but steadily.  It doesn’t appear to be in a rush and is content with its progress.   It doesn’t have to be anywhere so it enjoys the journey and it trusts that it is exactly where it needs to be.  It knows when to rest, be still and just be. The turtle is not afraid to just be and moves with confidence.  It knows when to go in and protect and nourish itself.  It also knows when to stick its head out into the world, take action and move. The turtle accepts “what is” and understands that having his head in or out are both essential parts of its journey.

How I want to be like the turtle and embrace its energy and wisdom.  For me, sticking out my head may be moving in faith when I’m afraid and don’t feel good enough or deserving.  Or it may be speaking up and confronting someone when I don’t want to.  It may be just having fun and letting my passions run wild.  Like the turtle, I go within and connect with God for wisdom, peace, and guidance.  I know everything I need is inside of me.

The butterfly has freed itself from its cocoon after much struggle and strain.  No longer is it a caterpillar crawling on the ground for others to step on.  It’s able to fly and soar in freedom.  It goes where it wants to go bringing beauty and Love for all to see.  It’s free to do and be what it wants to be.  Its wings flutter and it goes from tree to bush and back up into the sky.

I like to think of myself as a butterfly as I allow the wind and spirit to carry me wherever it wants to take me.  It’s called “going with the flow or in  the flow.”  I am a butterfly when I use my gifts and talents for the good of all those around me.  For many years, I struggled to set myself free from my own self-imposed cocoon of not believing and loving myself.  My inner voice tried to stop me by telling me “You’re not good enough or deserving enough.”  But my soul wanted to soar, and with the grace of God, I set myself free to become the woman God created me to be.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
PO Box 28844
Providence, RI 02908
pat@simplyawomanoffaith.com
401-862-8859