I often think to myself, “How did I get here and what did I do to attract the desires of my heart?” It’s kind of sobering and wonderful to see the contrast of who I was and who I am today. I was full of fear and focused on others, often at the expense of myself. Some of the things I did to contribute to my well-being was to pray, meditate, show up, forgive, trust, love and accept myself, and have faith in God’s plan for my life. Today, I am living my dream and celebrating who I am and who I am becoming.
In this blog, I will be sharing some of the things I have learned on my journey so far. I believe that everything that has happened in my life has led me to this moment in time and I feel so grateful and blessed. My soul knew the experiences I needed to attract into my life to grow and expand. I may not have thought that when I was going through stressful times, but I know that to be true.
One of the tools I use today that helps me process when something happens that upsets or distresses me is to ask myself some questions.
*What if this experience is exactly what I need to help me grow?
*What if this is my greatest learning and will move me forward?
*What if this experience is a gift and will heal me?
When I ask myself these questions, it kind of takes the punch out of whatever I’m going through and I see it from a higher perspective. I am then able to process my feelings and do what I need to do or not do.
As I looked back over my blogs today, I saw a similar theme running through them and that was the importance of loving and accepting ourselves. When I love, accept, appreciate and respect myself, others will do the same. It has to start with me. I cannot expect others to love, accept and respect me, if I am not doing it for myself.
It is my belief that I teach people how to treat me. If I really embrace this, I can no longer blame others for treating me poorly, abusing me, ignoring me or treating me disrespectfully because I taught them to treat me like this. I didn’t know any better and most of the time I didn’t even know that it was abusive or disrespectful.
How are you being treated in your relationships today? Do you feel loved, accepted, heard and respected? If not, remember it is not the other person’s fault because you have taught them to treat you like this.
As you love, accept and respect yourself, you will teach others how you want to be treated. I know this from personal experience and a lot of practice. I no longer tolerate unacceptable behavior. I have learned to communicate, ask for what I want, speak up, receive, set boundaries and SAY NO – without feeling guilty.
As the holidays approach you may need to practice saying no for your own well-being. When I say no to someone else, I am saying yes to myself. Learning to say no to others and yes to myself has transformed my life and I am living a life like no other.
It is not selfish to say no, but self-caring to say no when you need to. If I’m not sure I want to do something, I always give myself time to go within and see what I want to do. I will say, “Can I get back to you on that in a couple of days?” I do nothing out of the SHOULDS anymore. It takes practice to say no in a way that doesn’t offend someone. I also know that I have the right to change my mind, even at the last minute. Remember no is a complete sentence. But if you need a few suggestions on how to say no, here are some you might try:
- Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you
- Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work for me
- I want to do that, but I’m not available until next week. Will you ask me again then
- I can’t do it, but I know someone who may be able to help you
- None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates
- I can’t put anything else on my calendar this month, but I’d love to do that sometime
- Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that. Say it, then shut up
- I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed
- I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now
- I promised my husband I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day
- Let me tell you what I can do, then limit the commitment to what is comfortable for you
We are responsible for our lives, our happiness and peace. This is not a dress rehearsal, it’s the real thing. I encourage you to love, accept and appreciate yourself and to live your life like there is no tomorrow. Because the truth is, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, all we have is TODAY. So let’s make a decision to make it the best we can. You are worth it!
Larry and I love to practice and, in fact, look for opportunities to be “Vessels of Love” in our daily life. It may be saying, “Good morning” and smiling at someone on our walk or giving someone a compliment. When we are awake and aware, there are millions of ways to be the presence of God to one another.
Every week we go dancing at a restaurant in Maui called “Mulligans on the Blue.” This Thursday, I witnessed something special when Larry and I were “Vessels of Love” to a young girl on the dance floor. We had already danced a couple of dances and were just sitting and enjoying listening to the jazz band. All of a sudden, this “young girl” appeared on the dance floor dancing all by herself.
All eyes in the room were riveted on her as she twirled around the whole dance floor, raising her arms gracefully. She had a beautiful smile on her face and she was so free and alive. She appeared to not care about what other people thought of her because she was doing what she loved and that was all that mattered. She didn’t have to do it perfectly or try to impress anyone.
Larry looked at me and said, “Do you think I should get up and dance with her?” I immediately said, “Yes.” I will never forget the look in her eyes and the beautiful smile on her face when he joined her on the dance floor. It was priceless watching a 6’ man dancing with this “little angel.” While they were dancing, her mother, Connie, came over to our table (with tears in her eyes) and said to me, “Thank you, it is her birthday today.” She shared that her daughter, Ann, has Down ’s syndrome. My heart was touched and now I had tears in my eyes.
When they finished, the whole room applauded, including members of the band. Why were we all so moved by this simple act of love? Could it be that we were all touched by Ann’s expression of innocence, freedom and love? When Larry came back down to sit down, the man at the next table reached over to him and said, “Well done, thank you for doing that.”
A little while later, Ann came over to me and asked me to dance. Of course, I said, “Yes” and jumped up to dance with her. What a joy it was dancing with her and having so much fun. While we were dancing, Larry went over to her parents table to talk to them. Her mother said, “Ann is 26 years old today (she looked about 12) and we just arrived in Maui today from Australia.”
When we finished dancing, Ann hugged me closely and looked up into my eyes with unconditional love and said, “Thank you.” I went to the band and told them it was her birthday and while they played, we all sang happy birthday to her. I am sure this will be a memorable birthday for her, as it was for us.
My heart was so touched that I had a hard time going to sleep that night and I knew I would be writing a blog about it. I wondered what God was trying to teach me? Dancing is my joy, but I don’t always have the freedom that Ann had. Perhaps my ego gets in the way sometimes because I want to “look good” not make a mistake and be the best.
Ann appeared to be “egoless” in that she didn’t care that she was dancing alone. She was just being herself and having fun. Is this the goal for all of us, to strive to be egoless, live in joy, be ourselves and have fun?
I have read that ego is “Edging God Out.” One of the things ego does is rob us of our peace, bliss and wholeness. We feel separate from others and there is duality. There is no right and wrong, better than or less than, just ego labeling our experiences.
A managed ego state (or egoless state) is free from emotional attachment and reaction from the judgment of others. When ego is attacked or hurt, it does what ego does: fights and hurts back for ego is not love, it is separation.
*What it would be like to be emotionally detached and not react to the judgment of others?
*What would it be like to not take things personally or judge yourself or others harshly?
*What would it be like to not have your way all the time and be flexible?
*What would it be like to acknowledge your mistakes and apologize?
*What would it be like to not have to prove your worth or impress others?
*What would it be like to just be yourself and have fun?
*What would it be like to live in the moment and not worry & live in fear about the future?
*What would it be like to not compare yourself with others?
I think we would experience heaven on earth if we were able to manage our ego and live from love instead of fear. I don’t always recognize when my ego is at work, (especially if I feel “better than or less than” someone else), but I am getting better. When I become conscious and recognize it, I have the opportunity to love, accept and appreciate myself and thank God for showing me the truth.
Thank you Ann for being you, for the truth, for the truth will set me free. I strive to live my life consciously and to live it to the fullest. I want to be detached emotionally from others’ judgments. What a gift it was to be a part of this experience, where the energy of unconditional love caused such happiness and joy for all of us who were present. We truly are all ONE and connected.
I normally start writing my blog on Thursday of the week before I send it out. I am so grateful that I have learned to trust myself and what I need to do in each moment. I knew I didn’t have anything inspiring to write about this week, so I didn’t even sit down at my computer on Thursday. Sometimes, what I need to share just comes when I sit at the computer and pray for inspiration.
I had a sense that I needed to wait until I completed the “Queens Code” (Making Sense of Men) workshop to start the blog. I shared a few weeks ago that I had received a free certificate to attend the “The Queen’s Code” weekend led by Allison Armstrong.
I felt excited about the weekend and what I would learn to make my relationship with Larry and the men in my life even better. I also had the feeling that I was going to meet someone at the workshop that I needed to meet, although I had no idea why or whom it would be.
The morning of the workshop, while in meditation, I heard God say to bring a copy of my book, “Simply a Woman of Faith” and that I was to give it to someone who really needed to read it. I said, “O.K. God, but how will I know who to give it to”? God said, “You will know, I will show you.” I chuckled to myself and imagined myself walking around trying to figure out who looked like they needed more faith.
During the afternoon, I remembered my book sitting in the bottom of my bag and that I hadn’t given it to anyone yet. I had no idea who to give it to. Then I heard God say, “Give it to Allison Armstrong.” I immediately resisted the idea and thought why would she want to read my book? I wanted to ignore this prompting and pretend that I didn’t hear it. I felt embarrassed and clearly didn’t want to give my book to Allison Armstrong.
As much as I wanted to resist the idea of giving my book to Allison, I also wanted to be obedient and listen to what I thought God was asking me to do. I have learned to not question God when I hear him and let go of the outcome and what I will look like. I said, “O.K. God I will give it to her, but I need to run into her.”
At the next break, I left the conference room to go for a walk and brought my bag with me, which I usually left on my seat. As I walked through the lobby of the Marriott Hotel, I noticed a stunning “older woman” (my age) with a beautiful hot pink scarf and matching hat sitting on the couch talking with another woman. We spotted each other at the same time and I was compelled from the across the lobby to compliment her on her outfit. I said, “I love that color pink you have on.” The next thing I knew I was walking toward her and reaching for her hand and asking her who she was.
We introduced ourselves to one another and immediately started sharing our lives. She told me she was a spiritual teacher, healer, and international speaker for the last thirty years, but that for the last year she had been ill and unable to work. She said, “I have been resting and learning about faith and trusting God for all of my needs. God has provided free housing for me and a friend just offered to pay my monthly car payments.”
Of course, I shared with her my experience of being on welfare and food stamps when my husband was out of work for a year. I shared some of the miracles of how we were always provided for each month and I told her about my book.
I had goose bumps throughout my whole body when I realized this is who God wanted me to give my book to, not Allison Armstrong. I told her what happened during my meditation that morning and that God wanted her to have my book.
She thanked me as I handed her my book. We both looked intently into each other’s eyes as if we had known one another for years. I knew this was a divine encounter and “Godincidence” as I call it in my book. We exchanged telephone numbers and I invited her and her friend to come to my home for tea. She said, “I truly believe that we were meant to meet and God has something more for the both of us.”
The break was up and I had to get back to the conference. We hugged each other again and as I looked into her eyes and saw her beauty, I knew it was a reflection of my own beauty. I practically danced away as we both kept saying, “WOW.” I know there will be more to the story that I will be sharing with you as it unfolds.
The lesson for me is that God just wanted to see if I would listen and do what He wanted me to do when I was resistant and didn’t want to do it. Once I said yes and surrendered, then I could be led in another direction while following my intuition and doing what felt right and peaceful in the moment.
As far as the workshop goes, it was great and I learned some new things that I didn’t know. But most of all, I recognized how much inner work, healing and transformation I have done to manifest the most beautiful relationship with the man I love.
My son, Tim, has been on the self-improvement and spiritual path for 12 years and is a Life Coach from Boise, Idaho. He recently invited me to be a part of a powerful online group process called “Self-Love, Self-Acceptance and Self Appreciation.” He designed it to bring people together to share their power with one another for a greater cause other than their own individual use. What a delight it is for me to be a part of this group and witness my son’s teaching about self-love. There is no greater joy for a mother than to see her children live their lives fully and making a difference in the world. I am truly blessed and grateful for my children and who they have become and what they bring into the world.
I have been on this journey of self-love for many years and I believe it is the foundation for everything. When I love myself, I will know how to truly love others. It is important to me because I didn’t love myself growing up and wasn’t taught how to love myself. It was very confusing because I was told I was conceited as a young girl. Coming from an alcoholic home, I was starving for love and looked outside of myself and in all the wrong places for it. I didn’t know that the love I was so desperately craving was inside of me all the time. I looked to others for approval, to love me and tell me I was o.k.
I have heard that LIFE (and the people in our lives) is like a classroom and we are always learning lessons. I believe each lesson is like an “awakening” to see the truth and to set me free to live the life I am called to live as a child of God. It is like peeling an onion and we keep going deeper and deeper into ourselves to see the truth of who we are.
After years of practicing self-love, I wasn’t expecting to have such a powerful “awakening” after our first “Self-love, Self-acceptance and Self -Appreciation” call. Spirit didn’t waste any time because that night something “showed up” with Larry that I needed to process.
Larry and I love to dance and we have great chemistry together, for the most part! He has been learning some new difficult dance steps and was trying to teach them to me on the dance floor. Not a good idea because I had no idea what he was doing and tried to follow him to the best of my ability. I could see the look in his eyes and the frustration on his face when I screwed it up royally. I have always had pride in myself for being a great follower. But, I wasn’t following him and started to feel “inadequate” and judged myself to be “not good enough.” Needless to say, I wasn’t in a good mood when we left the dance.
I was quiet at first when we got in the car because I didn’t want to just dump on him. He knew something was up and turned to me and said, “I love you, Sparkle.” I then decided to share my feelings and communicate because being quiet was an “old behavior” and it didn’t feel very good.
After I shared my feelings of “inadequacy” about my dancing with him, he immediately apologized for being a “jerk” and took responsibility for his actions. He said, “It’s not you, it’s me and my ego. I am frustrated because I cannot remember the steps I have been learning so I haven’t been able to lead you. I know that is unfair to you and I am sorry.”
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that admission from him because I judged myself and thought it was my fault. We talked for quite a while in the car and I felt better when I left. The next day, while journaling and in prayer, some awareness came up for me about my lack of self-love and acceptance. I spent the day going within to process what happened and what I want and don’t want in our dancing experience. I wrote 7 pages in my journal and gained clarity about how I have internalized and allowed what others think of me and how they treat me to be the barometer of how I judge and treat myself. Larry was frustrated with himself (and me) because he couldn’t remember the steps he learned and I wasn’t following him. I took on his frustration and assumed it meant that I was inadequate and “not good enough.”
If my self-love and acceptance was at 100% (which no one’s is,) I would have realized in the moment that it was his frustration and that I didn’t need to buy into it & create and my own story. Feeling inadequate and “not good enough” are old core beliefs that reared their ugly head-again! I forgave myself and wrote a gratitude list.
The truth is it’s about me and how I treat and love myself. I cannot control how others treat me, but I can control how I love, accept and appreciate myself. Through this experience, I was able to give myself the love, acceptance and appreciation that I have craved from others. What a gift and opportunity to see the truth and to see how I have grown and learned to communicate and get my needs met. I felt so empowered after Larry and I discussed what I will and will not do on the dance floor! And the best part is we had a fantastic time on the dance floor this Saturday night.
After my daughter-in –law, Suzie, died 7 years ago, while still at her wake, my son handed me her pewter angel with the inscription, “Let Miracles Find You.” He said, “Mom, Suzie wants you to have this.” I often think about what it means to “Let Miracles Find Me.” It means that I trust God is with me and that I am never alone. It means that God will “show up” in the perfect and right timing and guide me with what to do next in my life. It means that I “show up” daily and watch for miracles to unfold. I wrote a story called “Let Miracles Find Me” about the miracles surrounding Suzie’s death, but never did anything with it until NOW.
Lately, I have been practicing letting miracles find me. Rather than the old behaviors of pushing and trying to make things happen, I am now allowing things to flow and come to me. It’s not that I sit in my house and do nothing; it’s more about an “attitude of calm knowingness” inside of me that all is well and what I have prayed for is on its way.
For example, my friend, Max, was leading a workshop on “Attracting Your Soul Mate” a few weeks ago and asked me if I was interested in hosting the workshop at my home. I said, “Yes.” A couple of days before the workshop a woman, who I had never met before, stopped by to give me a deposit. While she was at my house, she asked, “Would you be interested in hosting an event that I am sponsoring in a few weeks? “
I was curious and asked what the event was about. She said, “It’s called “Making Sense of Men.” Now that perked my interest, not that I need to learn more about men at my age! She told me it was a free workshop for women only, and there would be an opportunity for the women to register for “The Queen’s Code” Workshop at the end of the evening.
“The Queen’s Code Workshop” led by Allison Armstrong was a 2-day weekend workshop, held for the first time in Hawaii, on November 8 & 9. The price online was $849, but women would get a great discount by attending the event at my house. And, if I hosted the event, I would get a special discount.
What I found fascinating was that I had just heard about Allison Armstrong the week before at my WOW (Women of Wisdom) sharing group. My friend, Kati, had taken workshops with Allison and raved about what she had learned about men from the workshop. I had never heard of Allison Armstrong until last week.
“Was this a miracle finding me?” I wondered. I immediately said” yes” to hosting the workshop because I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The event was a great success and I learned some things about men that I didn’t know. Twenty- three women packed into my living room and it was so much fun.
At the end of the evening, as women signed up for the 2 day workshop in November, Linda handed me a $400 certificate off the online price. It was a great price, but it was still almost $500 which I didn’t want to part with. I thanked her and told her I wasn’t sure if I would use it. Two days later, I received a call from Linda. She said, “Pat, you did so much work hosting the event that I was able to pull some strings and get you a free certificate to attend the “The Queen’s Code.” Would that work for you?” I said, “Thank you, that will work just fine.” I guess I needed it because it came to me! I am expecting to learn lots more about men. Larry already calls me the QUEEN and treats me like a queen. How much better can it get than this?
On another note, I received an email from my book coach, Lisa Tener a few weeks ago informing me of an opportunity to submit one of my inspirational stories to “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles” 101 Inspirational Stories of Faith, Answered Prayers, and Divine Intervention.
“They were looking for: Powerful, amazing stories about miracles and hope — stories that make people say “wow” when you tell them — stories that will give our readers chills. If you have such a story we would love to publish it.”
After I prayed about it, I remembered the story I had written 7 years ago when Suzie died. It was called, “Let Miracles Find Me.” I asked myself, “Is this God’s timing?” It seemed perfect to send it in so I sent it in today. Who knows, perhaps my story will be chosen as one of the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Do you believe you get what you need when you need it and at the perfect and right timing? It may not be your timing, but it is always God’s perfect timing. I believe everything happens for a reason and it’s always for my highest good and the good of others. I’ve learned to expect God’s favor and miracles and to look for signs that I’m on the right track.
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Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host
Simply A Woman of Faith
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