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inner strength

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Your Strength Is Just Hiding Under A Pile of "Stuff"

It's wonderful to watch people go from strength to strength, taking the difficulties and wounds from their lives and chipping away at the healing and growth that come with time, practice and patience. We're really pretty amazing beings.

We can "take a licking and keep on ticking", as the advert for Timex watches used to say a million years ago.

People don't always react in the same ways to particular stressors. Some people seem to sail through extreme difficulties, whilst others crumble with fairly minor setbacks. What is it that makes the difference?

Well, there's no simple answer to that. Personality plays a part in it. Some people are just generally more easygoing than others, right from childhood. There are those little kids who never seem to get wound up, and others who come unglued over the littlest things.

So we've got a predisposition to cope well - or not - right from when we come out of the chute, so to speak.

Then you throw in learning and experience. Are you someone who has been through a long list of challenging events? Has the universe been hurling things at you over and over again? Have you been finding ways to cope with them through counselling, or support from groups or friends?

Or have you just slammed the door on all of that, and muddled through somehow, despite feeling completely overwhelmed?

People who have seen a lot of adversity may have developed some coping skills that those with less difficult lives haven't needed to use. It's the kind of practice no one wants, but whether we like it or not, some of us get anyway.

Whether your problems are enormous by someone else's standards or not is irrelevant. If they feel like they are to you, then they are. No one else has to live in your shoes or deal with your experience, just you.

So what do you do when you're overwhelmed by troubles? When you feel like you've had one boulder too many piled on top of you?

I've lived there far too often in my life, so I know what that's like. Sometimes I've bounced back quickly, other times not so fast.

It's always hardest when the only light you see at the end of the tunnel is the train coming at you.

There have been times when my usual tricks haven't worked. When it got really bad, I mean really, really bad, I couldn't find even a glimmer of hope, and that's a terrible place to be. I'd look down the road ahead and couldn't see anything positive.

All I could think was that there was no point being here any more, because it was just too much of a struggle with no end in sight.

It's not often that I've been in that place - thank heaven. But at least I've found something that helps me to get out of it.

When looking ahead doesn't do it for me, and in fact just makes it feel worse, I look behind me. I look at some of what I've been through in the past. I look at the traumatic and terrifying times, or the extreme financial struggle, or the life-threatening health issues.

I can look back through my entire life and see decades of difficulties lying there behind me, events I thought I'd never survive, struggles I thought would never end.

But here I am. I did survive, and those troubles did end. So when things get really awful now, I remind myself of that. I look behind me and see what I've overcome. I remember that I didn't think I could have done this or that - but then I did. It's like losing your car keys or that all-important pile of documents you need first thing in the morning. You know they're here somewhere, buried under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to dig around a bit to find them.

When you're feeling like you can't go on, or you don't know how you're going to cope with the mountain of stress or problems you're encountering, you can reconnect with your strength by remembering that you've had it in the past.

You've come a long way, dealt with so much, and quite possibly with a whole lot worse than what you're going through right now. But you got through all of those hard times. And you found more of your strength with each problem you overcame.

Your strength doesn't leave you; it's always there, hiding under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to remember it.

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Your Spirit Is Stronger Than Your Ego

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." The first time I heard that, I was a kid. I had no idea how many times I would be confronted with that lesson in the years ahead.

I remember hearing stories of mothers tearing car doors off burning vehicles or overturning them to rescue their trapped children, or similar stories of physical strength in emotional situations such as those. Adrenalin, they say, is what makes those stories possible.

That kind of physical strength is impressive but it is also fleeting; it cannot be sustained.

Then you hear remarkable stories of survival in unbearable, horrible conditions, people trapped or lost for days, weeks, even months, given up for dead after terrible accidents. How do they carry on?

It's more than just a will to live. That kind of survival is driven by the spirit that is inside each and every one of us.

So where is it, then, when we feel defeated? When we want to just give up and check out? Where is it when we've been slammed onto the pavement over and over again after repeated disappointments?

It hasn't gone anywhere. It's still there. We've just allowed Ego to get in the way, and no, I don't mean Ego as in "boastfulness", which is what people often take that word to be. The Ego is a sense of self and personal identity. It's your human side.

When things go wrong, it is Ego that says, "I'm a failure." Or it might point the finger of blame at someone else and say, "It was your fault!" It is Ego that says, "I'll never be able do that! I'm not even going to try!" Ego says, "I've been beaten down too many times. I simply cannot get back up again."

When we remain locked into these kinds of thoughts, invariably we will be overwhelmed with "negative" emotions, such as sadness, grief, jealousy, frustration or anger. What you're thinking about will always lead to what you're feeling. So if you don't like how you feel, you must change your thoughts.

If you choose to remain attached to your Ego, you will continue to have these negative thoughts, which will lead to the negative feelings. You will remain stuck, unhappy, frustrated with your life or your situation and will be unable to move forward. It is only when you reconnect with your spirit that you will experience its power. All the adrenalin in the world won't do you any good without that mighty spirit urging you on, telling you "Yes, you can do it!"

When Ego is in the way, it is easy to make choices out of pain, need, anger, revenge, guilt and all sorts of other toxic influences. A decision that comes from a toxic foundation cannot possibly yield a healthy result.

But when you let go of the Ego and reconnect with your spirit, you are giving yourself access to the greatest power that is available to you. Your spirit believes and trusts in Divine wisdom and in your ability to use it. When you get out of your own way and listen to your spirit, it will guide you to the best choices you can make for yourself. Its enduring strength and mighty power will see you through anything, if you make the decision to use them.

To be 'in-spired' is to be filled with spirit - to be guided by Divine influence. When we are inspired, we get up and get moving. We create, we accomplish, we achieve. We are motivated, urged to do, to be, to build. That spirit never leaves you because it IS you! Ego shoves it out of the way, given half a chance, but if you make the decision to reconnect with it, your spirit will make its presence known very quickly.

Ego will steer you wrong, every single time. Your spirit never will.

Ego will get you into trouble. Your spirit never will.

Ego will allow you to self-destruct. Your spirit never will.

Ego will con you into self-deceit. Your spirit never will.

Ego will always be weak and fragile. Your spirit never will. 

Your spirit is far stronger than your Ego could ever hope to be. But Ego is a master of trickery and illusion. It will make you think it is the one in control, or that it is all-powerful, or that it is calling the shots and you have no say in the matter. It will make you believe you're weak, that you cannot achieve or accomplish, that you cannot create or move forward. It will make you believe there is reason to fear, and it will push you to make poor choices because of that fear.

It will make you think there is no reason to live, no reason to fight for what you want, no reason to love.

Your Ego would have you think there's something inherently wrong with YOU, and that your spirit is some separate and elusive entity that is hiding somewhere dark and difficult to find. But in reality, it is Ego that is a separate entity, a human identity that is not the real "You" at all, for you are a spirit contained within a body.

Any time you are thinking self-destructive or negative thoughts that make you feel disempowered, dark, unhappy, fearful and so on, this is your Ego speaking. Just as it shoved your spirit aside, reconnect with your greatest, purest power and let your Spirit shove your Ego aside.

In doing so, you will find the strength to move forward and to heal. You'll find the passion to create and accomplish. You will find the joy of living; you'll discover your greatness.

You are a beautiful, sparkling, extremely powerful spirit who just happens to transport itself through this Earthly life by using a body as a vehicle - a body that is comparatively weak and powerless, and that has an equally weak and powerless Ego attached to it.

To remember your spirit and to reconnect with its power, just get out of your own way and tell Ego to take a long walk off a short pier.

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Happiness is not a destination; it is a choice.

sunflowers.jpg

I'm probably gonna take some flack for that title. I can well imagine people will be popping up with all kinds of objections, like how can they possibly be happy in this or that horrible situation or while surviving some tragedy or other.

I get that. I've lived that. I'm still living it because I have a pulse. All of us get nasty stuff lobbed at us if we're breathing. It is the nature of being alive on this planet; it is an inescapable fact of life.

I've got a life story that reads like a soap opera (more like several) - all your standard issue insanity, and pretty much everything you'd find on daytime TV, apart from having an evil twin appear out of nowhere (not yet anyway) or being cloned (I could use a few of those).

And although some people have had it much better than I, many have had it much worse.

But that is neither here nor there. This isn't a contest to see who's had a more traumatic life; we've all got our own pain to endure, and our own obstacles to overcome.

Within that pain and those obstacles lies the challenge to pursue happiness, whatever else is going on. That challenge is what stretches us, teaches us, allows us to expand, to grow, to find strength to get us through the darkest of times. And in doing so, we learn valuable lessons that we can pass along to others - an added bonus beyond our own progress and development.

Happiness is not something you find and keep; it is as elusive as the shroud of mist that hangs in front of the moon. It is not a destination; it is a choice you make every moment of every day. The pursuit of it is its own reward, for it is in travelling that road that we are open to finding happiness here and there, dotted like bright sunflowers peeking out from the brush and trees. The more of them you find, the more you will want to seek.

It doesn't matter what else is going on. No, it really doesn't! There is always, always, always room to step out of your 'stuff', your pain, your grief, your abject misery and find a bright sunflower. Even if you just take a peek, it is sweet relief for your soul when it is allowed to set its gaze on such beauty and rest a while.

Sometimes we're blessed to have an unexpected little 'sun shower' of happiness and how wonderful it is when that happens! But in between those lovely glittering drops that brighten our lives, it must be understood that the only way to find happiness is to discover it as if playing Hide and Seek. It will hide and you must seek, moment by moment, and in so doing, you will create the happy life that you desire.

 

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