Well, after last week, I'm more than anxious to wipe the slate clean and get on with my life.
Now, before you start screaming inside with thoughts like, "but our future..." or "how can you not be angry." or "ggggrrrrrr!" Let me explain.
In my renewed commitment to care for myself so I am then ABLE to care for others, and my desire to create an environment for myself and my family that is healthy, uplifting, and empowering, I have come up with a list of things that I can do, and actually succeed at, in doing my part to keep my future going in a direction that I am happy with.
And because the world is flooded with negativity and hate, I decided that perhaps I could add some positivity and hope, and hopefully empower others to make their own lists of powerful actions that will help contribute to the future we all WANT, and not the future we all FEAR. Because as I just heard someone say,
"Fear NEVER leads you where you want to go."
- Elice Grice (I totally changed the words around, but the meaning is still the same).
Isn't that powerful?!!! So true!
So here's my list of faith based actions that I am going to focus on in my life. (Because faith is the opposite of fear.)
Always be positive. In my speech, in my actions, AND in my thoughts. Because if I'm thinking negatively, when I hit my limit of tolerance and patience, those negative thoughts are going to blow out of my like a volcano that just lots it top! I must make sure that when I've reached my limit, that what's inside isn't going to be damaging.
CLEAN MY HOUSE.
I have found that at least for me, a clean home = a happy home. I get agitated when I'm surrounded by garbage (not that we have garbage lying around, but things like old homework that can be recycled, etc), clutter, toys and clothes everywhere. Basically when things are not where they belong. A messy house, kitchen (unwashed dishes, dirty counter tops, etc) it all adds up and adds to one more thing that isn't as good or nice as it could be. It just feels negative to me.
I'm not striving for perfection here, or the perfect model home, but it does help me tremendously! (and involving my kids with chores is awesome too!!)
I recently went to a meeting, and one of the speakers talked about how we can help others find their way: We can speak the language of the Spirit.
Think of this, if we are all English speakers, but then never speak English, how can our children learn English? It is not something that comes naturally. And if you have learned another language, or have studied the rules of the English language, you know just how much of it is learned through hearing and being immersed in it. How often have you said, "that doesn't sound right".
Anyway, the same is true with the language of the Spirit. This language is the ultimate language of love, peace, hope, and faith. It is the language of everything good. You cannot speak the language of the Spirit and speak with hate. They are NOT the same language.
Thinking about this I realized that this is one thing that I can do. Now don't go assume that I'm going to start being all religious or preachy. Because I'm not. This isn't a "the world needs to be converted" type thing. This is simply re-familiarizing ourselves with something I personally believe we all have a piece of in our hearts and in our beings. It's about returning to love and kindness. It's about having courage to love without bounds (because that can be scary!)
The language of the Spirit is powerful, and as I seek to further understand this language, I want to be sure to practice it and use it, so 1. I don't loose it/forget it, and 2. so others can also become familiar with it, and like I wrote in the first sentence, to help them find their way.
Find their way from hate to love, from confusion to purpose, from doubt to faith, discouragement to hope. I can honestly say I have never met anyone whose life goal was to be discouraged and angry. Though sometimes our actions lead us there without even realizing where we are actually going.
Teach my children to be kind. Teach them to love everyone. Teach them to use kind words. To SEE the people around them for who they are, children of God.
Recently I have really begun to learn just how much we can live our lives without SEEing anything that is around us. Yes, we see the grass, the sky, our home, the people we live with and work with. The people at the store, the clerk that we give our money too. But are we really looking at them? Do we really SEE them? Or do these things and these people simply blend into the background of the virtual reality we are living in our own thoughts and minds?
To REALLY SEE the world around us, we must be willing to step outside of ourselves. Be uncomfortable. Put ourselves out there, and REACH towards others to also help them step outside of themselves, and to step into who they are to understand where they are coming from. Get out from behind the screens. Get out from behind the fear, anger, pain. Be vulnerable and LIVE.
Seeing goes hand in hand with FEELING. Sometimes the feels are scary. But what we need to remember is that they are beautiful! Even the sad and painful feels are beautiful, because only with them can we also experience the highs of the joy and peace and love!
I want to teach this to my children. I want to teach them to live outside of their own realities and share and experience this world with the people we have been placed here with. And to do so in a positive manner.
BE AN EXAMPLE.
I don't want to each anything, think anything, do anything, without also living it AND experiencing it for myself. How can I talk about love, if I do not know love. How can I teach another to love, if I haven't walked down that path and found my own answers. How can I comfort and mourn and understand, if I haven't already experienced that pain and the relief that comes through experience.
I'm not perfect. And I'm not going to understand everything. But I am going to give it my everything to live as close to what I feel is right as I can.
I really think that all of these things on my list go hand-in-hand and that for the most part, they all have a large overlap. When I do one, I'll most likely be doing one or more of the other things as well.
Forgiveness, forgiving, being willing to forgive. While all the things on my list are great and are all means to reach the same end goal, I really truly believe that NONE of them are possible if not combined with forgiveness.
Forgiving is hard. It's hard when we don't do it. I think there are so many misconceptions about forgiveness though that make us believe that forgiving is the last thing we want to do. But those misconceptions are a lie! We think that, "if I forgive the offender is 'let off the hook'", "I want to make them pay", "justice is denied if I forgive", "but I'm still angry!", "what they did is wrong and unforgivable!" And the reasons go on and on!!!
But all of these excuses are lies! Not that they are lies in and of themselves. You might still be angry. What they did might be absolutely evil. But that's not where the lie is, and that's why it's tricky. The lie is in that all of those "excuses" are reason to not forgive. They are NOT. Forgiveness is ALWAYS the best and first solution to every problem!
Here's why: Ultimately, in the end, forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and EVERYTHING to do with YOU!
Trust me. I know what I'm talking about. I have had loads and loads of experiences in my own life that have given me ample opportunities for forgiveness. I have been wronged, betrayed. I have been the victim others others evil actions as well as the victim of neglect. I have caused pain and problems for myself (yes! Forgiving ourselves is also included here and just as important as the rest of it!), I have been hurt, sad, angry. I have been offended, rejected, and on and on.... even just being annoyed gives us an opportunity to forgive.
That brings up how to tell if you need to forgive. Are you angry? annoyed? hateful? Do you have resentment? Are you withholding: anything from love, kindness, even words in general? Are you scared? Hurt? Alone? Do you struggle to feel love or give love? Are you jealous? envious? Do you have pride: think you're better than someone else? or feel like someone is better than you? Do you feel like you are in competition with someone? or everyone? Do you see something, anything, and it triggers a range of negative emotions that tend to motivate you to act in unkind or unproductive ways? These and more, are many of the personal feelings I have found that let me know that it's time to forgive.
Last year I spent about an entire year forgiving.
It ranged from my parents and my resentment for the life they gave me verses the life they should have given me if they had only x, y, and z. To people who have judged and criticized me. It included people who have physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually hurt me. As well as people who I have felt inferior to, or excluded by. And it included MYSELF in so many ways from so many angles. Forgiving myself for not loving myself, for not believing in myself, for not being "good enough"; for the many stupid mistakes I have made; for being too scared, too weak, or too lazy. For holding myself to a standard of perfection that I'll never reach. I forgave my pride and the pride of others. I forgave anything and everything I could find to forgive.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY I forgave God. This can be the hardest and scariest of all, but by far it is the most important one!
You see, forgiving isn't about the other person. Forgiving is ALL about YOU and only you! When you forgive someone, it breaks down YOUR walls, not theirs. It allows for healing in YOUR heart, which can then influence healing in their heart... but there that is one of the many consequences of forgiveness. But it is not the first and foremost result. We are not responsible for other people and the consequences they will have for their actions. God is the only one in charge of justice and mercy. But we are the ones commanded to always forgive. Forgive 70 times 7. That's a lot.
And that's a lot because we need it a lot. Not for anyone else. But we need it for ourselves. Every time we don't forgive, we place a brick in our wall. And as that wall grows our hearts harden. The sun is blocked from our view and we start to wither and die. There are no windows in this wall of unforgiveness. And eventually it suffocates us.
BUT when we do forgive, we break down that wall like Chip on Fixer Upper! (I don't know if I've ever seen someone get so much pleasure from tearing down a wall. Makes me want to try it!) It's exhilarating! It's freeing! and it allows for the greatest healing of all!
When we forgive, we are made free. We are released from anger, hate, and resentment. Our burdens are lightened. We let go of the triggers of pride. We are at peace. And when we forgive God - because when we are angry about our lives or the aspects of our lives, we are angry with God, because He has given us this life with all the goods and bads. And when we forgive Him, He is no longer on one side with us on the other. But just like He is waiting to do, we now allow Him to do, and that is LOVE us. His love is perfect. I cannot explain with words the full encompassing feelings of that love. But I have felt it. I think forgiving God is the most powerful thing we can do in our lives! Even if you don't believe in God. Try it. Tell the air that you do. (and when you mean it... commence crying now. It is something that I need to do on a continual basis.)
Anyway... I don't want to get all quirky and weird. But my point is, is that there is a lot of hate in this world right now... and oozing over from last week. But we need to FORGIVE!
Now before you refuse to and tell me all your reasons again of why you can't, let me tell you some truths of forgiveness that might help change your mind.
Forgiveness does not mean that you are ok with the wrong actions you are forgiving.
Forgiveness does not give the go ahead for the person to repeat the bad actions.
Forgiveness does not mean that you stay in harmful situations, or that you tolerate a certain behavior.
Forgiveness does not release the person from being accountable for their actions.
Forgiveness does mean you now sit back and do nothing.
Forgiveness is not weak.
Forgiveness is not accepting someones views or behaviors.
Forgiveness is NOT about the other person. It is about taking care of yourself.
Forgiveness does hopefully lead to repaired relationships, happier and healthier lifestyles.
When you forgive someone, you still act towards a desired result. You don't go burn down their home. But if needs be, you report them to the police, you stay active in your local politics to ensure that your voice is continually being heard. You stand up for truth and fight bigotry - but you don't pick sides. If you find yourself picking sides, you might need to forgive again.
But the thing is, is that IF YOU CAN FIRST FORGIVE, you can fight your battles in appropriate ways. You can do so with love and respect. You can do so in a productive manner that will actually produce the results you want!
Anyway, this one turned out to be really long. But I think it's so important.
Taking last week as an example. There were a lot of people who were/still are angry. But I did not read one comment from an angry person that was kind OR productive. Rather, what was coming from these unforgiving people was leading to the exact results that they were "fighting" against. They became the exact thing they hated to begin with. That's the damage and danger of not being willing to forgive. Just like the Language of the Spirit, love and hate cannot coexist together. The translator between the two languages is forgiveness.
DON'T DRINK THE POISON.
So anyway. Forgive. By the end of last week I found myself picking sides, and I knew that I had had enough. So my last think is to not drink the poison. If I immerse myself in what everyone else is doing, there is no way I can keep my hands out of the mud too.
So I'm going to stay off social media, except for my fun business stuff. Or to be positive and happy. No more Facebook for a while! Less time on Instagram. I need less time drinking the poison, and more time doing the things on my list. What is that saying, you are what you eat?! Well, what I fill my time with, is what my life becomes. I can't spend my life on Facebook and then in 40 years say that I explored the world. Nope. I can say that I spent 40 years on Facebook. Wow. Is that ever a depressing thought if I ever heard one!
So there is my list. What do you think? Is there anything that especially stood out to you? What would you/are you going to put on your list?
Over the weekend I realized just how much last week affected me. I feel like it put my life and my goals on hold. So in the end, yes,
HOORAY FOR MONDAY!!
Now I think I'm going to go finish up my Locked in Spots pattern finally, and maybe have time to quilt! It's the important things, right?!