Quick Start Gold Nugget #1:
Leave the past in the past. Life is a journey. It’s not always going to be easy. Sometimes we all just have to pick up the pieces and begin again. Guilt, shame, and resentment are all products of living in the past. I’m not saying to “forget” the past. That’s impossible to do, and it would be a waisted experience. You do have the ability to look at the past with a different perspective. You can look at the situation from outside yourself. Since our lives are temporary, and none of us are getting out of here alive, I encourage you to step back and take the long view. Look at the bigger picture. The thing itself is always neutral. It’s only good or bad, depending on how we have learned (or have been programmed) to think about it. I know you’re probably saying to yourself, “No, some things are just bad.” I understand why you may feel that way. But, when we expand our awareness, we begin to understand the old saying, “It’s 10% what happens and 90% how we respond or think about it.” When we take the longer view, no matter how bad we think it is, it’s all part of a much bigger picture. We can choose to trust in something bigger than ourselves. We have an opportunity to look for the good, take the lesson or wisdom, and keep advancing forward.
As far as feeling guilty or shame for anything you’ve personally done, remember, you are always growing and your awareness is always expanding. Life is a continuous journey, and we are always “becoming.” You’ve done what you’ve done, and so has everybody else, based on individual growth and our awareness in that area. Let go of any guilt, shame, and regret. The root of those feelings is fear of being punished, or judged. God isn’t judging you, and you shouldn’t be judging yourself. Not yet anyways. You’re not done with you yet. Take the lessons, learn from them, and move forward in a more life-giving direction. As long as we are breathing, as long as we are given the gift of another day of life, we have an opportunity to do just that. We can choose to move forward in a more life-giving direction. You get to decide to continue your journey on a more meaningful path.
But, how? That brings us to the 2nd Gold Nugget:
Quick Start Gold Nugget #2:
Embrace GRATITUDE. What are you thankful for now in your life? What if you are in the middle of a storm, maybe you’re grieving, struggling with your health, going through a divorce, or some other major challenge in life. I’ve heard it said this way from various authors, “We don’t have to have gratitude for the circumstances going on in our lives right now, but we can always be grateful in any circumstance.” Regardless of what’s happening or what has happened, there’s always something for which you can have gratitude. The sun came up this morning. You’re definitely breathing (hopefully fresh air) right now. You may have enjoyed a warm shower this morning or a cup of coffee. Since you are reading this blog, you can probably read. You probably enjoy one or more of your five senses, walking and/or talking. You may be even blessed with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors you enjoy, etc. You may be thankful for electricity, a warm blanket, a pet or pets, a roof over your head, a vehicle to get you to and from places…the list goes on. Look around! The point is, when we ask ourselves this question and begin to recognize all the blessings we currently have, we are putting ourselves in alignment with feelings of abundance and faith.
You may be saying to yourself, but I don’t feel like I’m grateful for any of those things right now. You may be in the middle of a challenge so great, that you don’t know how to feel grateful for anything right now. Think of our Savior when he said, “…Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42 – KJV). We can always be grateful in our circumstances by choosing to trust God. All we need is the faith of a mustard seed while we are going through the storm. You are not alone. You can reach up and say, “God, I don’t understand, but You do. Please carry me through this process.” Keep advancing confidently with God, and eventually the storm will calm and you will be strengthened.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10 KJV)
Quick Start Gold Nugget #3:
Get over yourself. I know. I know. Ego gets a bad rap sometimes. Our Ego is important to motivate us to do things. It’s not good, however, when our only motivation is purely “What’s in it for me?” At first, it may be a great motivator, but if acquiring stuff or status is your only reason for doing anything, you will be in constant need for more stuff or more status. Eventually, you will burn yourself out, and may even think, “Why am I doing all this?” “This stuff doesn’t really matter.” You will probably wind up feeling empty and possibly alone, especially if you’ve hurt people along the way of accumulating your stuff. To have joy, we must get over the “It’s all about me” syndrome. When you set a goal, or have a dream ask yourself this question: “If I accomplish this, what good will come from it for others?” Of course, you want there to be good in it for you too. If you want fulfillment and joy, you want to contribute something to others as well. By the way, even if your desire is to fall in love, there is absolutely good in it for the other person and the people around you. People love witnessing expressions of love. When we find ways to get outside of ourselves, and focus on bringing good for others, we end up finding joy and fulfillment for ourselves. Crazy, huh? The point is, when we choose to go after a cause greater than ourselves, we usually end up finding our best selves. Joy is hidden in serving or being an example to others. You want to take care of yourself, of course. If you don’t, don’t expect anyone else to take care of you. However, getting yourself out of the way, and doing something that is good for others, (as long as it is in alignment with your core values), is where you will find joy, meaning and purpose in your life.