I am pleased to announce that my newest book, Soul of My Voice, is now available at Lulu.com. Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This text was written as a workbook/journal to accompany my first book, Soul of Voice published in 2016. However, Soul of My Voice is just as effective as a stand alone book, chuck full of essays, poems, quotes, photos, writing prompts and mandalas. Happy reading (and writing, and coloring, etc.)!!
Often it is said that people get what they least expect, but I’m not so sure that is true. It’s been my experience that when I expect a certain situation to turn out either poorly or fantastically, I get what I expect. The same is true with my clients for if they expect to not get well, they usually don’t. However, if they expect to feel better, to experience wholeness, and to find some peace of mind, they usually do.
Perhaps the real issue is how can one turn their negative expectations into a positive mindset. Rather than say “I could never do that. Who do I think I am? I’m such a loser!” Instead, “I think I’ll give this a try. I have the courage, determination and discipline to see this through. I am a winner!”
Power resides in expectancy for both good and bad. Our assignment is to expect the best life can offer, to never be satisfied with anything less than just that. Positive expectancy opens the way for success, victory and miracles. It produces an energy that can either build us up or bring us down.
I suggest we meet the challenges of life each day by declaring “I can do that! I can have that! I can be that!” And not be surprised by the changes we see in our lives for the better.
Whether it be solving a problem, meeting a challenge, or making a decision, it is important to make the most creative choice possible. In other words, one should attempt to choose a path leading to a positive win-win conclusion. This isn’t always easy, especially when we become closed-minded and want nothing more than our own way. I’ve found this particularly present in couples counseling. More often than not the two agree to come into counseling only to prove that they are right and the other person wrong.
However, it’s been my experience that the best solution, action or decision comes out of a third thing. Finding that third thing takes an optimum amount of creativity and just plain old playfulness. When we are creative, we give ourselves permission to rely on chance, serendipity and silliness. In fact, through humor many wonderful ideas burst forth from the imagination—the psyche, if you will. Possibilities abound and as a result, one has a sense of freedom to explore and find deeper meanings in the process.
For example, say I want to go on vacation where there are many historical structures and museums to discover and wander through. I want to go with my significant other, but he or she wants to go someplace warm and lie on a sandy beach. We could argue back and forth until one or the other of us gives in, but that is hardly what I would call a win-win situation. We could also opt to not go anywhere since we cannot decide. But that is what I see as a lose-lose situation, not much different from choosing to take separate vacations. I mean, both people get to do “their own thing,” but not together.
After some long talks and research (good old Google), a creative solution can manifest—one which not only satisfies both parties, but excites them as well. This very situation came up for my husband and I; I wanted to go to Europe and he wanted to go to a sunny beach. (I’m sure he was thinking of some Caribbean island although he was never specific.) Where did we end up vacationing?
Now these kinds of things take time and effort as well as creativity to produce. Yet, in the long run they are worth it, especially if both parties can approach the issue with a sense of play, good humor and creative energy. It is almost like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time for one must hold their own while at the same time giving in. The answer is to be seriously goofy and goofily serious at the same time. Tricky stuff but it can be done as long as one commits themselves to finding a third way with an attitude of joy, excitement and abandonment.
I count myself as fortunate to not only have a close girlfriend who had a baby in March of this year, but my new neighbors also have a baby turning one year old this November. I am inundated by babies, and I love it! And now with the end of the year’s holidays upon us, I am especially mindful of all the gifts babies can bring to a person’s life.
“All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.” Abraham Maslow
For me the presence of a baby reminds me that renewal is always possible. A baby promises a new chapter in our lives, a new beginning—perhaps even a second chance. Babies figure prominently during the holidays, foretelling that a change of year will be soon upon us. And with the New Year comes a sense of starting over, of beginning anew, of transformation.
“The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift, and our job is to untie the ribbons. That’s the Law of Esprit: living life with joy.” Greg Anderson
Babies also signify the birthing of a new idea, project or adventure. Babies require our diligence. They need to be nourished, disciplined and guided toward positive growth in all areas of their lives. Just like the birthing of our new endeavors, we need to give them the necessary nurturance, focus and positive energy they need to grow and stand on their own.
Babies demand our full presence. Absent-mindedness or laziness cannot be allowed, otherwise danger may follow. The same must be said about that which we are birthing as the New Year approaches. In either case, we must stay healthy, positive and patient, for we are asked to take on a new kind of personal responsibility that pushes forward into realizing our best gifts, whatever form they may take.
“If there are flaws they are in ourselves, and our task therefore must be one not of redesign but of renewal and reaffirmation, especially of the standards in which all of us believe.” Elliot Richardson
Therefore, sharpen your spiritual eyesight and be on the lookout for all the babies within the scope of your vision, for you are entering a time or renewal and reaffirmation—the adventure of bringing into the world the seeds of your life’s purpose, the birthing and re-birthing of your heart’s desires.
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
― John Henry Jowett
Thankfulness has a much different connotation to me than the work gratitude. When one is in the state of being grateful, they are attuning their soul to their innermost thoughts. It is a private, inward experience. A way of Being—analytical and reflective. However, thankfulness or being thankful means that action in the present is being taken. One is purposefully thanking Providence, God or the Universe for any number of things that a person is glad for or joyful about. A person may also be thanking others for their words and services—perhaps their very being.
“Joy is thankfulness, and when we are joyful, that is the best expression of thanks we can offer…” ― Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Thankfulness is a sign something or someone has brought us joy—that our world is that much happier of a place to be in. In other words, we are happier people due to the fact that we have something or someone we are grateful for. Yet, true happiness comes in the act of verbalizing or demonstrating our thankfulness in meaningful ways.
So … it seems fairly clear to me …
If you want to be happy and have a joy-filled life, be grateful for your blessings.
But more importantly, speak out your thankfulness in both word and deed. Make clear to the Infinite Presence as well as those who cross your path that you are thankful for who they are and what they do!