“It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe
As a psychologist who works with those dealing with some of life’s greatest challenges, I have learned that the paradox of life is that we often come to see our difficult circumstances as “gifts” and that this perspective is a gift in itself because it allows for wonderful experiences, such a miracles, to occur. Haiti has been such a gift for us. It gives us opportunities to choose love, the highest of energies, leaving us in a state of miraculous bliss.
When terrible things happen, we are given a choice: to do the right thing – or not. Have you noticed how good you feel when you do what you know to be “the right thing” ? The events in Haiti motivate us to listen to our Higher, Intuitive Guidance, yielding a feeling of satisfaction that is comparable to that of joy. We just need to learn to listen and act on that.
For example, one woman in our community listened to her intuitive wisdom and began a collection of crutches for those people in Haiti who have fractured, amputated or lost legs. No doubt here that she is experiencing gifts which include a huge sense of bliss and satisfaction in knowing that there will be many who, thanks to receiving these crutches, will have greater mobility and a better chance of making it through difficult times.
Life can move so rapidly at times, be so filled with minutia and so overwhelming with responsibilities, that we lose touch with what feeds our soul, causing us to forget our priorities, which are, of course, people and love. The gift of the Haitian earthquake is that we are given a wakeup call which reminds us that we are all one, a part of the Oneness, and the only thing that matters is unconditional Love. An extension of this gift is that we are given opportunities to do something wonderful (such as being of service), which further contributes to our feeling true bliss.
The telethons for Haiti raised more money than ever before because all of us, from all walks of life, and all ages, have been touched and reminded that we are a brotherhood. The gift of this is that we are able to make the power of unconditional Love work for both the Haitians and for ourselves.. This was the first time that teens were able to participate and enjoy the heartwarming feeling of knowing their contribution could help fellow human beings make it through the worst of times. Imagine the sense of integrity and dignity felt by these young people! Talk about gifts!
Finally, when you are faced with a challenge and find that you can rise to the occasion, by making a difference in the lives of others, you discover that you are not alone. Indeed, you find that you are a part of a community which is also loving, kind, caring and compassionate. We all want the same thin: to know that we are loved and to love. We like knowing that we belong to a caring group of souls who think and feel as we do. How comforting this is!
When you choose to express your love, to give to your brothers and sisters, regardless of their religion, politics or any other difference, you feel you are a part of something greater, larger and more meaningful. The gift here is that you are given a sense of purpose..
A personal example I would like to share with you demonstrates the gift of the situation.. Several members of my family and I are privileged to be a part of a medical mission which will soon take us to the Dominican Republic and possibly to serve the Haitian refugees at the border, a well. We have received the gift of supplies from medical and dental firms, along with offers and purchases of small toys and toiletries to take to the inhabitants of both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Everyone, it seems, has been touched and wants to give and feel that their contributions are making a difference. I can actually feel the love coming from others; the energy is tangible, coming with the intention of unconditional Love, and very, very appreciated.
Susan Barbara Apollon
©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon
Part Three: Secrets To Finding Bliss As We Set And Keep Our Resolutions And Intentions For The New Year…
Life being what it is, you will at some point begin to notice that you may not be feeling as excited about your New Year’s resolutions and intentions as you initially were. Life happens. You will notice that your attention may feel as though it is disconnecting from your intention. Be prepared to anticipate such moments. This is where it helps to practice your ABC’s, something I created many years ago to help my patients heal themselves.
First, do A. Be aware of how you are feeling and what you are thinking! It is time to question Mind before it really does a job on you. Mind is what it is. Our job is, when we are not feeling good at our heart level, to question it! Ask yourself, “How am I feeling and what am I thinking?” Given that you will probably be in a beat-yourself-up mode, due to being pulled away by the events of life, your thoughts may be, I can’t do this. I am failing at my resolutions. I don’t do anything right!”
Then, do B, once again. Breathe! And as you breathe deeply, intentionally quiet yourself with each breath and go within. Once there, ask yourself: “How do I know that’s not so?” (I made it rhyme for young and old!) Now, in your stillness, ask your intuitive, meditative self for three proofs from your life experience when you were challenged and you thought you could not do something difficult, but you proved to yourself you could!
With your proofs in hand, do C which is choose another feel good image, picture or thought you can play or say to yourself that reconnects you with your intention. For example, “Of course, if I could accomplish the impossible in the past, I can do this now!” See yourself doing what you intended to do, be it volunteering, interacting with people as you start a new business. balancing your budget, eating healthier, looking slimmer - you get the picture! Remember, everything is energy and, therefore, to feel good and accomplish your goal, you need to focus on a feel-good image or experience.
Finally, I highly recommend a journaling technique to accompany you in the process of fulfilling your intentions. I borrowed this from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen who borrowed it from her friend who is an anthropologist. It is amazingly powerful and transformative because it is based on your own intuitive wisdom!
At the end of each day, set aside fifteen minutes. In a quiet place, take a few minutes to breathe deeply and create stillness. In your journal, begin to question your intuitive mind and write the first question: What surprised me today? Put your pen down; breathe deeply, go into the stillness and wait to receive images or words from your Higher Intuitive Wisdom and then write a few lines as an answer. Then write the second question: What moved or touched me today? Again, do the same process. Finally, write the last question and do the same thing: What inspired me today?
Extraordinary awareness, experiences and transformative growth emerge as the result of engaging in this exercise. The simple acts of choosing to breathe deeply, create stillness and question your intuitive mind allow you to receive the imaginative pictures and words to discover who you really are and what really matters to you, as well as to come to love yourself unconditionally (without judgment or criticism).
Fulfilling your intentions and New Year’s resolutions is not what this journey is about. Rather, this is a journey of you discovering you, how powerful you are and of you coming to love yourself unconditionally. This is a process which has the power to transform you as it fills you with peace and enables you to fulfill your intentions. Creating peace in the New Year begins with self-transformation. Now this is what miracle-making is all about!
“I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me!” …Kermit the Frog
Susan Barbara Apollon
©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon
A truly powerful self-generated ritual, other than taking time to go into the stillness daily, via your breath or some form of meditation, is that of journaling. This ritual can be designed to occur when, where and however you wish and need it to be for you. The power of journaling is enormous.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard
How you live one day is eventually how you live your life. Phillip Yancey
There has been substantial research on the effectiveness of journaling. The work of Prendergast has demonstrated that the process of choosing to write enables you to gain clarity about your thoughts, feelings, questions and desire to know the wisdom of your soul or your intuition. Essentially, the process allows you to become conscious of your pain or what does not feel good, enables you to release it and then operate with greater clarity because you are in a higher, more relaxed vibrational energetic state.
My patients seem to heal more expediently when they begin to journal daily. As with prayer and meditation, there is no one right way to do this. You get to do this any way that feels good and right for you. You can journal just to express what is in your heart or your head. Or, you can journal with specific goals in mind. For example, you may keep an intention journal in which you write your intentions daily, perhaps stating them in one entry, and then in another entry, perhaps later in the day or evening, reviewing the actions you took to work toward manifesting them during the day.
You may also wish to journal daily about your awareness of your own gifts and your positive qualities. Journaling helps you fall in love with you! When you have difficulty connecting with your Higher Self, taking the time to write to your Higher Self, asking questions you have long desired to know and then allowing your Higher Self to channel wisdom, your wisdom, back to you, is particularly healing and empowering. Remember, what you focus on in journaling and everywhere determines your quality of life.
The ritual of journaling with the intention of noting what surprised, touched and inspired you during the day is a real eye and soul opener. I find that his tool, which I have gratefully borrowed from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen (who borrowed it from a sociologist friend of hers), is amazingly powerful. Just learning to be more conscious of what you are being touched and inspired by (which are higher vibrational experiences) during your day has the ability to change your perspective and open your heart to miracles in your life!
Meditation, of course, is an invaluable self-generated ritual which, when engaged in regularly, brings you so many gifts. Just taking a few minutes each morning to engage in the ritual of choosing to go into the “stillness,” connecting with your soul by breathing deeply or through the use of guided imagery, creates feelings of deep peace, relaxation and well-being (all causing you to shift to a higher vibrational energetic level). And this is in addition to the sense of sacredness associated with an experience which connects you with your Higher power. By engaging in the ritual of meditation, you also further develop your intuitive knowing, which, in turn, contributes to an enhanced sense of self-confidence –all wonderful gifts! (To be continued.)
Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
©2009 Susan Barbara Apollon