Tag Archives: overcoming fear

Trust Change

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The underlying theme of life over the last two and a half years has been change, change and more change. All roads led to change, no matter which path I chose. Whisked along at a rapid pace, whirling winds around and around and then quiet, like the leaves you see in the fall, spinning and spinning and then later just quiet beauty.  These winds carried  me to the here and now, setting me down like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz, placing me ever so gently in a place completely unexpected, a new land. I suppose none of us really see change coming, unless of course we’re buying a new home or having a baby. These are anticipated types of change on the life path, something we can see coming at least most of the time.

Almost two years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to move out of my long time role as a community college advising manager. A recruiter called with an offer from a small private college to serve as Dean of Academics where there would be opportunity for me to work directly with instructors and students. This appealed to me as I wanted to get back to impacting students lives in a personal and positive way instead of just program planning and managing staff. I interviewed with several of their administrators and researched the role before accepting the position.

Just three months after taking the job, the college added monthly travel across the U.S. to my role as an administrator. I would be home 50% of the time. Being a family oriented single mom, my response was, “If this had been in the job description, I would not have accepted the position. I still have young people at home I’m responsible for.”

I was told, “…just do the travel.” After a family meeting, I resigned. We decided it would be better for me to take a position somewhere, even if it meant making less money, in order to keep us a cohesive family unit. Tough, tough, tough decision. It meant job searching in a market where jobs are scarce. I found myself faced with my greatest fear, not being able to support the family financially.

In the midst of the job search, I dreamt of building a mosaic made up of little pieces of creativity, all of the skills, all of the talents I’ve acquired throughout my employment history. That morning I sketched a picture illustrating abilities, talents, people I knew and jobs I loved doing. The dream had provided me with a tool to see beyond what I’d pigeonholed myself into. The sketch became a palette of employment and there before me I saw something evolve and take shape. Looking for a job became my full-time career. I networked and sent out three to four resumes a day. I was a job hunting ninja. Three months, 120 job applications later, I interviewed with eight different organizations, chose and accepted a position.

The position in education did not allow me space to grow, and by space I mean inwardly. Spiritually, I was moving at a snail’s pace. Everyday office operation didn’t allow downtime for contemplation, even walking to the other side of campus during lunch in search of a quiet place, I found myself caught up in student or staff issues. Occasionally I would think about moving out of the field into something else. In looking back, I see I’d become complacent. It was easier and safer to stay where I was.

Spirit saw it differently. The only way any kind of growth would occur was with change. The offer for Director of Education came from the only college I might have considered, with work I loved and a salary that couldn’t be beat. The timing was perfect. I left my long-term employer for this new adventure. Three months later, they dropped the travel bomb with no alternative options. The decision to resign was frightening and the only right decision given my commitment to family. The job search, well for those of you who are out there looking, all I can say is God bless. It’s a tough market.

So in the midst of whirlwind job hunting, my “house” landed quietly in an executive assistant position, a place I never dreamed I’d be. I now mange the U.S. office of a small spiritually centered organization. Instead of forty people reporting to me, I have just a handful. The grounds are surrounded by forest and natural prairie with walking paths and meditation areas. It is a peace-filled and sacred place. I’m in a job I would not have imagined, surrounded by spiritually centered people and I am exactly where I was led to be. All events leading to this change were events I could not, would not have foreseen and would not have consciously chosen. I faced my greatest fears, discovered strength I didn’t know I had, and now find myself on a life path so much more appropriate to who I am, more than this.

“When my path seems too liquid and unsure, when I seem to be carried upon moving streams, having lost my familiar, solid and trusting pavements, when You are too much a mystery to me, Lord, when I am too much of a mystery to myself, when the familiar becomes unfamiliar, when my mind seems banished from itself, when my eyes see strange things, when there is distance in those closest to me, when blankness eclipses the face of friendship and smiles recede, taking the last sweet wrinkle of mirth from our moments together, when I am lost and impossibly alone, when flight fills me and I am wingless, when my soul is bullied with suspense, when normal seems indifferent, when I am naked and fretful, when I fear the light of day and long for shadows to hide me, to comfort me in a place where I am faceless and no one asks my name, when prayers like this say too much and leave no finishing mark, no punctuated end, for language itself is interrupted…”       ~ David Teems, 2004

There are only two words, trust change.

Weekend Confessions

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Walk Together in Spirit

 

Sister cousin and I have what we call our weekly “confession” with each other. We have no boundaries after having created this safe place where we can ponder, spout wisdom-like statements and fix all that the world has brought our way in these last seven days.

Today we talked about growing up fear-filled in childhood homes that were often loud and violent. She and I have resolved much of the fear over these many years of growing up and older, still there is a bit of residual stuff that hangs onto our bones, somewhat embedded, not wanting to let go.

While in the midst of trading stories of the week, there was a profound moment of realization. Very clearly I saw images of these bony fear-based attachments and the effect they have on my current relationship with others. Before me lay the anxiety, nervousness and skittish fear of wanting to feel not only accepted but also loved by the people I have allowed onto the path of my life. And yes, I did say allow. Recent years have provided enough wisdom to know that those who are toxic will bring toxicity with them, so I no longer walk with those people. The life path is easier to walk when you consciously choose who you will walk with and where you will walk to.

Experienced events are woven into our flesh and bones, and our Spirits. They are what protect us and move us forward, but they are also what hold us back in fear. What voice do you hear that tells you can’t do something, better yet, who’s voice? As a youngster, when we came home from school my mother would give all nine of us an afternoon snack, get us settled and head to the couch for a short nap before cooking dinner. My father, who was often home by 4:00 would walk into the house and immediately begin his tirade, “Get your fat ass up off the couch! Why the hell are you sleeping in the middle of the day?” We ran in fear. My mother would wearily get up from the couch to start dinner. Raising nine children alone is no small feat. She was, is my hero.

I write of this one experience because that voice, his voice, echos in my head when I sit down to meditate and pray, when I hang out on the deck to watch the birds, when I sit on a park bench in the prairie or when I just plain sit. As a child, I wondered if I would get fat if I took a nap during the day. During today’s confession, when the discussion about the voices that brought fear into our lives came up, I recalled images, deciphered how I felt and resolved to make a change in how it affects my relationships with others in the present. All of this was done in a matter of seconds. It was the conscious recognition of the words and images. It was the grace of Spirit moving through the spoken word to find resolution.

Today, find a “confession” buddy and set a time each week to talk and listen with each other, a sister, friend, cousin, mother, brother, father, partner. The keys for effectiveness are no judgement, a listening ear, and safe “place” to speak thoughts and feelings.

Reach for More

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www.rassouli.com

Sea of Serenity by Rassouli

My work with the Women’s Journey group in the early 90’s led me toward living consciously and confidently. But what most stimulated change in me were the dreams and what I call “events” that unfolded as result of deep meditation. One particular event that occurred during meditation transformed reality bringing spirituality to the forefront of my daily life.

In March, 1994, I’d come down with a major flu. Sneezy, achy, and generally uncomfortable, I took to sleeping in the spare room so as not to spread germs to the rest of the family. The morning of this event my now ex-husband was leaving for a trip to Europe. I was upset. I felt abandoned. Here I was down, flat-out sick with three young children to care for, school, sports, homework, cooking, and he was leaving. I resented him and the situation.

I heard the limo arrive, doorbell ring, front door open and shut, and then quiet. Four in the morning, lying there feeling miserable, I decided the best course of action given my state of mind was meditation. It would calm me down, help bring me to a better place and generate healing energy. Using imagery, I brought myself to peace, comfort, and…

“…in the midst of meditation, asking, praying earnestly for comfort from the fear and pain in my life, I found myself pleading with God to take away the pain and to help me understand the fears so that I might better deal with all of it. Using gestures, talking out loud all the while, I pointed out each hurt and injury, each wound for Him to see. They were many, but they were small. They existed within my heart. Somehow I was able to open my physical body to display my inner heart with all of its despair and pain and bleeding tears. “Please God, help me,” I prayed.

As I lay there gazing at the stark white ceiling, a form began to take shape, it moved and molded, and finally became the profile of a face and neck. As I watched, I thought, “What is this? No, who is this?” Then I saw the face taking shape, “It looks like my brother Paul, it’s my brother…”

It was very white and smooth and it spoke saying, “Look, I too have wounds. I too feel pain.” And as I looked up at the face, I saw that it was not my brother Paul, it was the face of Christ. And as I looked up at Him, He became yet more human, He became flesh…the smooth whiteness turned to flesh. And He showed me His wounds. Opening his robes, His heart also bleeding, dripping with blood, and He spoke to me of His pain, “I too have the wounds you bear,” He said. “We share the same pain.”

I knew then that we were one. I knew that my pain was His, that he felt what I felt and that I would never walk alone in despair. I reached out to Him with outstretched hands. I wanted to go with Him, “Let me come with you,” I said. Reaching for me I felt his hands lifting me up…and then he let me go. I felt myself fall back to the bed and awoke.”  March 3, 1994

I offer this entry to share awareness. Although not having practiced the Catholic faith since age 16, upon awakening I recognized the images as the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a child, I found the mystical images to be just pictures connected with words in our religious ed books. This experience opened pathways to thought I had not previously considered.

My interpretation of this event is that Jesus exists as our brother in Spirit. He was born human, lived and died so that we might know that we are more than this, and there is no death. That we are all individually manifested brothers and sisters, each and every one of us connected as Spirit. We, at a deeper level feel each other’s pain and despair or goodness and joy, and somewhere in the history of humanity we lost the ability to recognize this connection.

That morning in 1994, my perspective of reality changed completely. Years of meditation, prayer, studying world religions and belief systems and trusting Spirit would lead me exactly where I’m meant to be, here sharing with you dear reader.

Recognizing you are a spiritual being having a physical experience, that you never walk alone, making conscious life decisions, choosing to live with mindfulness each day will lead you to a joy-filled reality. Find a meditation method that works for you, walk during lunch in a quiet place, stare out at the sky from your deck or family room window, listen to favorite music, purchase meditative imagery segments or music and cultivate your spiritual connection. I look forward to reading your stories.

Unlocking the Door

“She lay back

her face in heavenly repose

revealing secrets

that would

shatter the glass dome

under which she had lived

as an innocent Earth child.

After the terror passed

she gathered the splintered shards

and planted them

in a garden she watered

with light and love and tears

watching them grow

emitting prisms and rainbows

and shafts of blazing brilliance

that promised

all she had ever dreamed of

all she had hoped for and

more.

The new crystals

could grow into shimmering towers

and sacred places

it all depended on her vision

and her power

and the strength of

a gardener’s love.”

~ Angela Passidomo Trafford, 1998