Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

Positive Intention

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

If you imagine each positive intention as a road, then the next step is to see yourself driving on that road toward your goals. When you are young you may be riding a bicycle on the road and then as you age you may drive progressively more expensive cars. Now, say you are forty-five and your teenage son leaves home under a cloud. Or, say you are forty-five and your wife leaves you for another man. Or, say you are forty-five and your business fails and you were cheated. Your positive intention of a loving family or business success has taken a hit. For the sake of this exercise picture your loss as a tire blowout on the road of intimacy. I know when this happens many of us would more readily picture this as a head-on collision, but remember we can recover from the loss of a spouse, business, or relationship with a child.

In this image you find yourself on the side of the highway trying to change a flat tire. Remember, it is common for obstacles to emerge. Maybe no one has ever taught you how to change a tire and you stand there confused and scared. Alternatively, you let your spare tire get flat and you are struggling to use an underinflated tire. You are then trying to figure out when the next highway patrol officer will come by. Throughout this experience you are likely muttering under your breath that you do not have time for this, that you are late for an important meeting….

As we connect to our positive intention we begin to find forgiveness. Forgiveness is the peace we feel as we cease resentment toward our car. Forgiveness is the peace that comes from understanding we are responsible for whether or not we feel okay. Forgiveness is the compassion we experience as we remind ourselves that by driving a car we run the risk of a breakdown. Forgiveness is the power we get as we assert that we have a deep well of resilience to draw upon. Forgiveness is the grace that helps us remember, while on the side of the road, we can look around and appreciate our beautiful surroundings.

Forgiveness is the positive feeling we have as we review the myriad of times our car ran perfectly. Forgiveness offers us peace as we remember the problem could have been worse. Forgiveness is the power we feel as we create a hero’s story where we overcome difficulties. In our hero’s story we talk about how well we coped and how little need we had to blame. In that story we remind others and ourselves that we are a survivor.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 144-145

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 14, 2019

Grievance Stories Turned Positive

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

In any grievance story, someone does not get what he or she wants. Unacknowledged is that behind each painful situation is a positive intention. Once found and reclaimed, the positive intention alters the grievance story. The story is no longer just about the person and or situation that caused pain but about the goal that was not quite reached. Suddenly, instead of just recycling pain, the grievance story becomes a vehicle for learning how to change to attain that goal. The grievance story becomes a part of the positive intention story.

The person or event that hurt us is important insofar as we can learn from the situation. In no way, though do we allow our grievance to distract us from our goal. If we continue to pursue our goal, we exact the greatest revenge on someone who has hurt us. We move on. We find peace.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 143

Photo: Torrey Pines State Reserve, California, July 10, 2015

Turn

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Whatever you call it, repentance is not about beating up on yourself; it’s about turning from old ways that don’t work, old habits that don’t work. Turning and turning, like a flower turning in the direction of the sun. First, we turn.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. 29-30

Photo: Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Positive Intention

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Positive intention is a central concept in my forgiveness process, and I will teach you to find your positive intention. Positive intention is an unparalleled way to reconnect with your big dreams. Positive intention also helps us to resist depression when a small dream is stifled. It reminds us of our deepest hopes and allows us to mourn our losses.

I have a hypothesis that one of the things we find most difficult about hurts is how we lose sight of our positive intention. When someone is hurt they focus their attention on their pain. They create grievance stories and tell them to others. By doing this, we lose sight of the big picture and of the goals we have for our life. I see time and again that when hurt people reconnect with their noblest goals they gain an immediate burst of power. Finding your positive intention reconnects you with your goals. The sad truth is, your grievances separated you from your most positive goals through your excessive focus on what went wrong.

Connecting to your positive intention is the quickest and most direct way to change your grievance story.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Goodp. 141-142

Photo: Centreville, Virginia, April 12, 2013

Unbounded Enthusiasm

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

If anything, loss is not meant to ruin us or our sleep for the rest of our lives. It simply prepares us to lose better the next time, to go into life over and over again, knowing full well that this phase, too, will end so that we can take our own unbounded enthusiasm into the next part of coming to wholeness. Whatever that may be.

— Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight, p. 105

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 10, 2017

Changing Your Story

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A victim is one who often feels helpless to respond to painful circumstances or to control thoughts and feelings. A hero has worked hard to overcome adversity and refuses to be beaten by difficult life events. Forgiveness is the journey of moving from telling the story as a victim to telling the story as a hero. Forgiveness means that your story changes so that you and not the grievance are in control.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 138

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 20, 2019

God Is Not Angry at Us for Our Sin.

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

First, God is not angry at us for our sin. While sin is a serious thing, God is not concerned about sin simply because it is sin. That is, God doesn’t tell us to stay away from sin because sin offends, hurts, or angers Him. Purely from God’s perspective, sin just isn’t that big of a deal. The reason God is concerned about sin and wants all humans to stop sinning, is not because God Himself is offended or angered by sin, but because we humans are hurt and damaged by it. Sin is an issue with God, not because it hurts Him, but because it hurts us. God loves us so much, He tells us not to sin because He doesn’t want to see us get hurt by it. When God says “Don’t” what He is really saying is “Don’t hurt yourself.”

This leads to the second truth about sin to keep in mind: God does not punish us for our sin. Yes, we may get punished for sin, but this punishment is not from God. Sin carries its own punishment. In fact, the punishment that comes from sin is the pain of sin that God wants to rescue and deliver us from. God doesn’t punish us for sin; He works to rescue us from the punishment of sin. God loves us, and doesn’t want us to experience the devastating and destructive consequences of sin, and so He warns us against sin.

— J. D. Myers, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, p. 54-55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 6, 2019

Returning to the Center

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

The more you take things personally, the more you suffer. You observe it, hold it up to the light, release it, and move on. One can choose to let suffering be the elevator to a heightened place of humble loving. You adjust the knot on the red string around your wrist and find your center again.

Humility returns the center of gravity to the center. It addresses the ego clinging, which supplies oxygen to our suffering. It calls for a light grasp. For the opposite of clinging is not letting go but cherishing. This is the goal of the practice of humility. That having a “light grasp” on life prepares the way for cherishing what is right in front of us.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 105-106

Photo:  South Riding, Virginia, January 13, 2019

Power in Love

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. 8

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 6, 2018

Praise and Blame

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

We all clamor for praise and recoil at blame. They are oddly and equally seductive. They pull us away from our center, and yet we strangely have grown dependent on blame and praise. Instead, we have to find our way to notice and return. Notice the positive sheen of praise and still refuse to cling to it. Choose to move quickly back to the center. Let the pang of this blame wash over you, abide in it, and then return immediately to your center. We want the “bliss of blamelessness,” as the Buddha would say, and yet find ourselves attaching to the praise of the crowd or the surly comment of the disgruntled. We try and gently catch ourselves when we’re about to let resentment harden into blame and let the illusion of praise define who we are.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 104

Photo:  South Riding, Virginia, October 24, 2018