Many years ago, my best friend said to me, “Pat, you are very defensive.” Can you guess how I responded? I said, “What do you mean? I’m not defensive.” Isn’t it amazing when we are unconscious or not awake that we don’t recognize behaviors in ourselves that are unhealthy? I truly wasn’t aware how defensive I was until she confronted me and I became willing to look at myself.
It has taken me years of “undoing” behaviors that didn’t serve me or anyone else. Whenever I am defensive, I am living from a victim consciousness and forgetting the truth of who I am as a divine being and loved unconditionally.
A victim consciousness is believing things and experiences happen TO me, not FOR me. It’s poor me, nothing works out for me, why me, etc. It’s about blaming others, manipulation, taking things personally and always wanting to be right or having the last word. It’s about reacting, rather than responding.
When I REMEMBER that everything happens FOR me, I am trusting that the Universe is working on my behalf and often behind the scenes.
- It’s knowing that everything is already planned in the mind of God and nothing is against me.
- It’s knowing that I can relax, trust, surrender and enjoy my life.
- It’s knowing Spirit wants only my happiness and that I am loved.
- It’s knowing that everything that happens and every button that is pushed is a gift.
My buttons were pushed this week and I had the opportunity to practice not reacting, but responding in love.
Growing up, I was a people pleaser. I didn’t speak up, say no, ask for what I wanted, set boundaries and expected my loved ones to read my mind. Can you relate?
We often teach what we need to learn. I learned assertiveness skills and asked for what I wanted and deserved. When I worked as a therapist at the VA hospital, I taught weekly assertiveness groups for years. Little did the patients know how I was learning and practicing right along with them.
As I learned new assertiveness skills, I spoke up about EVERYTHING. When you are learning a new skill or behavior, the pendulum often swings to one direction until it gets back into balance. It was empowering to speak up, not be a doormat, and not be afraid to say no or set a boundary. My children didn’t particularly like my new behaviors as they liked getting their own way.
In our marriage, my having “to be right” and have the last word still shows up at times. Rather than always “speaking up” I’m practicing “shutting up” and not REACTING. Here is what happened:
I was cooking something in the oven and it wasn’t done for another 10 minutes. I had an appointment and had to leave the house. I asked Larry, “Would you please take it out of the oven when it is done?” He agreed and I didn’t think it was a big deal because he is always helpful and was preparing something in the kitchen.
When I returned home, I thanked him and said, “I appreciate you cleaning up everything.” He politely and appropriately said, “I would appreciate it in the future if you didn’t leave the house with things in the oven.”
I quietly said, “OK.” This was NEW behavior for me because it was not what I wanted to say. I was so angry and wanted to blast him. I asked God for help, let go and surrendered to “what is.”
Instead of REACTING with words that I would have regretted, I RESPONDED with love and said, “OK.” I quietly went to the bedroom and wrote my anger until it was all out of me and then ripped the paper up. I don’t think Larry even knew I was angry.
When we came together that night, I was completely free with no residual from the incident. In the past, I would have had to share my experience and discuss what happened. I felt peaceful and didn’t have to say a word. I will speak my truth with what is important and let go of what isn’t.
A few days later as we were chatting about something unrelated to what happened, Larry commented, “I noticed that you didn’t REACT when I was feeling out of sorts this week. Thank you.”
I’m grateful for the grace to continually look at my behaviors and am willing to change. I’m responsible for my happiness and peace.
I listened to an interview with Oprah Winfrey this week that was interesting and enlightening. She states, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.” It is from a poem written by William Ernest Henley.
This means that I solely have control over determining my feelings and my destiny despite the circumstance. Put yourself in the driver’s seat of your own life and give yourself the control to choose your final destination.
This is a reminder to believe in yourself, your dreams, and your life’s purpose. It is an invitation to be strong, have the courage to stand up when you fall, take action, and keep moving forward. We all have a purpose on this earth to fulfill. Do you know what your purpose is?
Have you put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life or do you suffer from a “victim mentality” believing that things happen TO you rather than FOR you? When I believe that everything is happening FOR me and my highest good, I am surrendered and am peaceful because I know Spirit is guiding and protecting me.
When I believe things are happening TO me, I worry, obsess, try to control the outcome, live in fear, blame others, hold resentments, feel sorry for myself, and complain about my life. What are you choosing today?
You can choose to trust God and take responsibility for yourself in body, mind and, Spirit. You can choose to believe in yourself, your dreams, and your life’s purpose. Oprah says, “God has a bigger dream for me and you.” She encourages us to surrender to God’s dream for us by getting still, listening, going within, and taking action when we hear the still, small voice of God within.
For as long as I can remember my dream was to live on the water. I didn’t care if it was a pond, stream, or watering hole. When I moved to Maui 10 years ago, I said to my son, “How did I get here?” He said, “Mom, you have been talking about living on the water forever.” What you think about you bring about – both positive and negative. God’s dream for me was so much bigger than mine. My heart is full of gratitude as I gaze at the ocean from our lanai every day. I will never tire of watching the beautiful sunsets every night.
It was always my dream to VISIT Hawaii someday. I would look at magazines with beautiful flowers and drool. Never in a million years did I think I would live here. God’s dream for me was so much bigger than my dream.
We all have dreams within us, something we want to DO or HAVE or BE.
- What are your dreams?
- Do you trust your dreams?
- Are you willing to follow your dreams?
What keeps you from following your dreams?
- Not believing in yourself
- Not feeling deserving to receive
It takes courage to step out in faith and follow your God-given dreams. I battled with fear and felt like I didn’t deserve it for a long time. Our thoughts are powerful and I had to choose Love instead of fear. In the end, with the grace of God, I listened to my soul and said YES to my dreams. I have never been happier.
I believe that Spirit always wants to give us MORE! More love, peace, joy, abundance, prosperity. We must be WILLING to receive and accept God’s dream for us and it will be bigger and better than we could have ever imagined.
Larry and I are very grateful to belong to a “Love group.” We have been meeting every other week in our home for the last 2 ½ years and are now meeting on Zoom since Covid. We support and love one another, share authentically from our hearts, and have created a safe place to share our thoughts, perspectives, and feelings. There are no rules or “agendas” as we allow Spirit to lead the group.
We often start the group with, “Who has a love story they would like to share?” It can be a story about how we overcame a challenge and chose love instead of fear. It can be something we are struggling with and need help to see where the love is in the story. What an opportunity it is during the month to be thinking about our love stories.
My “love story” this week has to do with loving myself and setting a boundary with a friend. Like many of us, I’m uncomfortable and don’t like confrontation. For many years, I suffered from the “Disease to Please.” I so desperately wanted to be liked that I didn’t speak up and wasn’t honest if something was bothering me. I often stuffed my feelings and then became resentful when my needs weren’t met.
As a people pleaser, I often expected others to read my mind and what was important to me. This caused a lot of unnecessary suffering because I wasn’t honest with myself or others. For example, years ago my best friend forgot our wedding anniversary. Instead of being honest and sharing my disappointment, I said nothing. When it was her anniversary, I made a big deal out of it – hoping she would do the same for me when my anniversary came around. That’s called manipulation!
I had the opportunity this week to speak my truth in love and kindness, instead of stuffing my feelings and expecting others to know what was important to me. Here is what happened:
My new friend and I planned on meeting at a coffee shop at 10 am. I received a text shortly before we were going to meet that she was going to be late. It wasn’t a big deal because I was relaxing at the ocean and enjoying myself. As I thought about it, I started to feel uncomfortable when I realized this was becoming a pattern for her to be late. It felt like she wasn’t valuing my time and that didn’t feel good.
My mind was like a blender; how do I say it, should I bring it up or just let it go? Since this was a new relationship, I didn’t know how she would react. It was important that I was kind and loving and not shame her for being late. I prayed and asked God for help. I heard the small, still, voice of God say, “It is important you bring it up and I will give you the words.”
Spirit showed me that it was an act of “self-love” by setting a boundary and speaking my truth. I decided to address it as soon as we met. After accepting her apology for being late, I shared my perspective and feelings. The conversation was open and honest and we both heard one another.
As we said goodbye, she said, “Thank you for your authenticity, honesty, and trusting me with your truth.”
Do you have difficulty speaking up, setting a boundary, sharing your truth, or do you stuff your feelings because you don’t want to rock the boat?
As I was pulling out of the restaurant parking lot last Sunday, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a sign on the back bumper of the car parked next to me. It read, Relax – God is in control. I beeped for my friend Glenn to get out of his car so he could also see the sign. I said, Holy S…… He said, “Are you kidding me? It is the exact words we just talked about as we walked out of the restaurant.” He was speechless other than a softly uttered “thank you” because we knew this was GOD speaking to us both. He took a picture of the car and put it as a screen saver on his phone to help him remember the message! He said, “This is a message I can’t afford to ignore, a message clearly given out of Love and felt in my Soul.” We left the restaurant in awe of the power of God and the love we both felt. It truly was a “Divine Connection.”
I almost missed this “Divine Connection” of God speaking to us through the bumper sticker because I was coming from a place of lack and scarcity. Let me explain. I met Glenn at the church we both attended, and after the service he asked me, “Would you like to go to lunch?” I hesitated at first because I didn’t want to spend the money. I had been out to lunch with friends several times that week and I didn’t feel comfortable spending any more money. I said, “Thank you for the invitation, but I will have to pass for today.”
After he left the church, I quickly realized I was coming from lack and scarcity because I did have the money. I ran out after him and called his name. “Glenn, I changed my mind and I would be happy to go to lunch with you.” I was honest and said, “I was coming from a place of lack and scarcity and I no longer choose to live in a state of lack.” He told me a few days later what he heard after he left the church to go to his car.. “Glenn, walk slow, she might change her mind” and then “listen, in case she calls your name” right before I called his name. I am so grateful that we were both listening to our “inner voice” and God (which I believe are the same.)
While driving to the restaurant, I heard God say, “I want you to pay for his lunch too.” When I hear God, I listen. When the bill came, I grabbed for it and told him, “I am buying.” He looked uncomfortable and said, “This is killing me.” I asked why and he said, “I have to learn to receive and not always be giving.” He was learning to receive and I was practicing not to live in lack and scarcity.
We sat in the restaurant for two hours and the conversation about life and spirituality just flowed. We talked about the importance of not “reacting” and making decisions out of fear and lack . His parting words to me were, “I think I need to put the brakes on in my life.” I then told him about my sign RELAX that I purchased several years ago when I was rushing and trying to make things happen and it wasn’t working. I desperately needed to learn to RELAX. He described himself as an ACTION person and that he had tried everything in his life to be happy. He admitted that he was hitting walls and didn’t know what to do next. I shared how I have learned to trust and accept that I am right where I need to be and that “Not Knowing what was next” was okay.
Glenn sent me an email after our “Divine Connection” and said, “Pat, before I attended church that morning, I asked myself, What are you going to do about your life? A numb feeling of distress filled me as I held back the true fear that was rushing through me. I was struggling and in need of help, help to learn how to care for myself as I did for others. I was trapped in my own mind-set surrounded by my personal weaknesses and feeling overwhelmed.”
He shared with me, “As I soaked in every word you said at lunch, I finally felt the connection to my Creator push forward from where I had buried it. My hope began to come back, my sense of calm re-appeared and the confidence in my spiritual path and a better tomorrow over-took me. Thank You God for the message I needed. Thank you Pat for pointing it out. Thank you for the lunch that led me back to the path that I cherish and has brought me so much peace and happiness since its inception that I have to pinch myself to know it’s not a wonderful dream.”
I am grateful that I listened to my intuition and acted “quickly” and that I was able to be honest with Glenn. I am grateful that Glenn was open and asked for what he needed. I am grateful to God for His love, for speaking to us both so powerfully and allowing me to serve him that day.
I thought about the bumper sticker all week and how it applied to my life. My house was on the market for one week and I was feeling some impatience (can you imagine that) that no one had looked at my house yet. When I went to bed that night, I prayed for a dream and asked God if I should lower the price of my house. All I remembered about the dream in the morning was that I was rushing. It felt like God was reassuring me not to rush that everything was under control.
As I took my walk the next day, God impressed on my heart exactly what I needed to do: rather than worrying, being fearful, living in the “what ifs” and the HOW and WHEN my house will sell, I needed to up the ante with my affirmation of gratitude “Thank you God for the right and perfect person to buy my house for the right price and right timing.” So it became my mantra whenever I thought about the house and it brought me peace and serenity.
On another note, I opened my email a few days ago and there was an email from my son Tim. He commented on my last blog and said, “When I looked at the picture that read KEEP ON PATH, what I saw was KEEP ON PAT H – KEEP ON! I loved it. So I will leave you with KEEP ON, KEEP ON!
I love sharing with you the miracles and magic that I’ve experienced since stepping out in faith and moving to Maui 4 1/2 months ago. Living in paradise is truly a gift from God and I am so grateful, but I am very aware that along with that gift comes a “spiritual responsibility” to let go of anything that is no longer useful and serving my highest good. I truly believe I am letting go of old behaviors and beliefs and a transformation is taken place deep within my spirit. I am becoming the woman God created me to be – free, radiant, loving, strong, abundant, happy, joyful and in love with life.
lessons are happening quickly and I need to pay attention and listen to the messages I am receiving each day, whether it be through a song, a sign on a car, or from another person. One of the lessons I learned this week (again) was about changing my thinking. As Mother’s Day was approaching, I was anticipating feeling sad and lonely because I wouldn’t be spending the day with my family and I was also concerned about how they would feel, not having dinner and being able to celebrate together. Even though I had made the choice to follow my heart and move across the Pacific Ocean, this was my first Mother’s Day alone. I was missing my kids and grandkids and feeling very vulnerable, to the point of questioning myself “was this really God’s will for me to move to Maui?”
I realized that if I was “expecting” to feel lonely and sad, that is exactly how my day would unfold. If instead I visualized myself feeling joyful, happy and loved, that is what I would experience. Remember, we get what we expect. I quickly changed my thinking to “I’m open to receiving more of God’s love, Mother Mary’s love, my children’s love and my mother’s love. I visualized my children feeling my love from a distance as I would feel their love across the ocean. I was overjoyed and tears flowed down my cheeks when the flowers arrived on Saturday with a beautiful note that read “Happy Mother’s Day – We all love you, Brian, Timmy, Mary and Jimmy. I was delighted to talk to each one of my children and 2 grandsons during the day. I had a beautiful mother’s day “as I expected.”
In the morning, I went to Unity Church and cried tears of joy as I listened to the minister talk about his mother’s unconditional love and witnessed a mother and daughter singing a love song to one another. It was so touching as I thought about my own daughter Mary and how amazing she is. In the afternoon, I went to the ocean, listened to the waves crashing over the rocks, felt the sun and warm breeze on my face and floated down the ocean on my pink tube. I chatted with a woman in the ocean who told me she lived in Maui in the 70’s when she was young and carefree. I chuckled to myself and thought, “I’m old and carefree and living in Maui.” I asked God to see a turtle and lo and behold I not only saw one turtle but a mother and baby graced me with their presence. The mother turtle even posed for me on the rock (picture below). I was alone on Mother’s Day, but I didn’t feel alone. I felt peaceful and loved and one with God.
Even though my mother died over 40 years ago, I always miss her on Mother’s Day and long to feel her presence. Over the years, she has often communicated with me particularly when I hear the song “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro playing on the radio because her name was “Honey.” As I drove to the dance on Saturday night, I prayed to either hear that song or see a sign or something with honey on it. I have a CD that I love and listen to every time that I get in the car, but I have never paid any attention to the words. When I began to play it and heard the words “Honey I love you and I don’t want your money” of course, I burst out laughing. “Honey” never ceases to amaze me how she shows up when I need her. I felt my mother’s love and knew she was with me.
It is so important to listen to the messages we receive and recently I had another powerful one that I want to share with you. I love it when my adult children share their wisdom with me and I am able to listen (I don’t always do that.) I have been sharing with you how I was feeling some anxiety about selling my house, moving to Hawaii full time, and working out the timing of it all. I sent an email to my son Tim and asked for his guidance on a decision I had to make. He immediately responded with his thoughts about what I needed to do. He could tell that my faith was wavering! At the end of the email he wrote, “Mom, you need to re-read your book!” Hmmm….I was a little taken back and thought that was interesting.
I hadn’t read my book from cover to cover in years. I decided I needed to listen to his wisdom and gave myself the gift of re-reading my book and it was exactly what I needed. I had forgotten how my house sold in 3 days 15 years ago, how God opened doors for buying a house that seemed impossible 30 years ago. I had forgotten how God provided when I asked for money for Bermuda and trusted it would come. It was all there, everything I needed for my faith to be renewed and strengthened. Story after story was a testament of God’s love, answered prayer and how I was provided for every step of the way.
So if you need your faith strengthened and you want to remember how God loves and provides for you, I suggest you purchase my book or if you have the book, re-read it and let the words of God’s love permeate your being, as they did mine.
What makes your heart sing?
Are you living your passion?
Do you know what it is?
* Passion is the fire that burns within your soul.
* It may start as a spark or a flame and eventually turns into a blazing fire that can consume you.
* Passion is an energy that infuses your life with meaning, joy, purpose and love.
* Living your passion takes commitment, determination, patience, fearlessness and courage.
* Passion is doing what you love and using your God-given gifts and talents for the good of all.
* Passion is an emotion that helps you go places others are afraid to go, to try things others are afraid to do.
* Passion creates the energy required to do what others think is impossible.
* Passion helps you work through your fear.
*Living your passion wakes you up in the middle of the night and creativity is flowing.
How do you find your true passion? Bill Strickland, author of Make the Impossible Possible offers some clues, writing: “Passions are irresistible.… If you’re paying attention to your life at all, the things you are passionate about won’t leave you alone. They’re the ideas, hopes, and possibilities your mind naturally gravitates to, the things you would focus your time and attention on for no other reason than that doing them feels right.” Strickland believes that only by following your passion will you unlock your deepest potential. “I never saw a meaningful life that wasn’t based on passion. And I never saw a life full of passion that wasn’t, in some important way, extraordinary.”
He goes on to say “When people can answer these three questions clearly and the answers intersect, they become passionate about what they do. Few things are professionally more fulfilling than doing work that you are extremely good at and turned-on about. It’s an incredible feeling when what you’re good at and excited about enables you to make a contribution that truly adds value to the business and its customers! Work ceases to be a vocation and becomes an avocation or a passion. The questions to ask yourself are:
1. What are my gifts and talents?
2. What am I passionate about?
3. What needs to be done?
Many people experience frustration and feel trapped because they are engaged in work that they may be good at but are not passionate about. They may be excited about something, but lack the skills for the job. Or they may need a degree or certification and they don’t have the time or the means to go back to school to obtain one.
Since work is so much a part of our lives, it is important for our well being that it is meaningful and fulfilling. One of the deepest needs of human existence is to know that our lives count for something and we are living our purpose.
We need to know that our God-given gifts and talents are being used to make a difference in the world. We need to know we are helping others and being of service to humankind. We are all searching for what gives our life meaning. Doing what we love often doesn’t feel like work because it is so fulfilling and rewarding. Being our authentic selves at work and being passionate about who we are and what we do can be a spiritual experience. It is a gift we give ourselves and the people we serve. We cannot be truly happy unless we are doing something we love. Following your passion is about doing something that you love and making it happen.
I feel blessed that I’m able to do what I love and had the guts to make it happen. It took courage to follow my heart and leave a secure job of 20 years. Having a daily spiritual practice enabled me to face my fears and believe in myself. I showed up daily and asked for help.
As a spiritual coach, it is my passion is to empower women to connect with the Spirit within and love themselves. When someone asked me what made my heart sing, I had to think about it for a minute. What makes my heart sing is public speaking. I love to speak and share my stories of God’s love and synchronicities that happen so often. I know my stories encourage people and give them inspiration and hope.
Living passionately has its challenges. My challenge has been to keep myself centered and peaceful because it is so easy to get out of balance. A balanced life is important and essential to my well being and spiritual life. When I am so focused on doing what I love and neglect important areas of my life, like exercise, eating right, having fun, spending time with family and friends, I am out of balance and lose focus.
I know I am out of balance when I feel stressed, tired, can’t sleep at night, my mind is like a blender and won’t shut off. Slowing down, breathing, taking a walk, a hot bath, meditating helps me get centered again. So it is possible to be passionate and peaceful at the same time. It takes awareness and a decision to stay connected to my spirit and to what is truly important.
6 TIPS TO LIVE IN PEACE AND LIVE YOUR PASSION
1. Show up: Develop a daily spiritual practice of prayer and meditation.
2. Ask for what you want – expect an answer. Visualize and believe.
3. Be grateful – An attitude of gratitude is the key to make things manifest and to live passionately.
4. Forgive yourself and others –Holding onto anger blocks the energy flow.
5. Have faith – that your life has meaning and you can live your passion.
6. Let go of control – trust the process and surrender to what is.
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Simply A Woman of Faith
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- It’s all been planned in the mind of God
- I feel the peace that passes all understanding
- To know the truth of who I am
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Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host
Simply A Woman of Faith
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