Spiritual Blueprints

Do you believe a blueprint exists for your life? A path forward that is already laid out? Or do you feel that everything that happens is random?

These are interesting questions to consider.

My father was an architect and dealt with blueprints his whole working career. For many years he had his own architectural firm in the town I grew up in. He eventually moved from a small set of rooms on a second floor that he rented to a two-story building that he owned. It was quite large, with a full basement and huge attic space.

I got to know every inch of the building because in the summers I worked there performing a number of different tasks. I cleaned, took care of the yard, did small repairs, helped with office work and whatever special jobs my dad needed.

The most challenging was when he decided, one incredibly hot summer, to have me move all his stored blueprints from the basement to the attic. He was concerned about the moisture degrading their quality and potentially needed them for future reference.

It turns out there were hundreds of them, and they all needed to travel up three flights of stairs and be organized and stored in the attic. That may not sound like much, but consider I’d start out each trip in the 60-degree basement and end it in the 110-degree attic. Those 50-degree changes, done over and over, were exhausting and I ended up drinking an unbelievable amount of water just to stay hydrated.

I remember having to take quite a few breaks. On one of them, I pulled out and unrolled one of the blueprints to see what I was transporting.

If you are unfamiliar with blueprints, they are large sheets of blue paper that show various levels of detail on different pages and are used by contractors to build structures. They’re meant to be unrolled on a flat surface and often are organized to display different levels of what is being built and are extremely detailed.

On several occasions my dad would explain them to me and even let me do some basic drafting, a simple version of a blueprint. I found them fascinating, but not enough to follow in his footsteps, which fortunately, was okay with him.

Recently, I was involved in cleaning out my mom and dad’s house to get it ready to sell and came across some of his blueprints.

Something registered with me.

According to my personal spiritual beliefs, each of us comes here to earth from heaven with our own spiritual blueprints. They are all unique and serve as a guide for our lives. We are not bound by them because we have free will, but they rest in the background and provide wisdom and direction, much like the mechanical blueprints architects create.

So how do you access your spiritual blueprint? Where can you unroll it and lay it flat to look at?

I first became aware of mine during one of my conversations with god. god made a reference to it, saying that each human is made up of physical, emotional, intellectual, ego and spiritual components. They intertwine, but the spiritual component is the only one that knows their spiritual blueprint.

I wanted to know how the rest of me could be let in on this.

What I discovered was that every quiet contemplative state allowed some access. So, when I sit and breath, stilling myself, I open the door to it. When I slow down and wait patiently and give my intuition a chance to come to the surface, I open the door. When I meditate, going deeply within, finding harmony and calmness, I open the door. These are peaceful, wonderful practices to open to the wisdom available in a spiritual blueprint.

And there is one more.

When I can’t seem to settle myself and find the open door, I ask for help, promising to pay attention. I ask god to help me find a stillness where I can listen carefully. I ask god to unroll my spiritual blueprint and help me see it clearly.

I’ve seen it many times and am always grateful for the insight it provides. I believe you can see yours too and hope that in your stillness it comes through your open door.

The Nature of Forgiveness

Do you find that you are able to forgive others?

Are you able to ask for forgiveness from others?

I realize both of these offer their own challenges. Life is often messy and complicated and it’s easy to fall out of harmony with family, friends, and others. Even when doing our best, we may offend or hurt them or be hurt by them.

Balance is easy to disturb but not as easy to mend.

Much is said about forgiveness. There is a school of thought which says an apology must be offered first before forgiveness can be granted. Another school takes a far different approach and says that forgiveness easily given releases everyone.

After struggling for most of my life, I was finally able to come to a place of peace with the whole forgiveness process. It happened as I wrote about it. A story took shape inside me and needed to be brought into the light. This is how my book, Little Buddha (Book One) was born. In the first chapter, a man, Sam asks a wise six-year-old sage (Little Buddha, Claire) if she can help him understand the nature of forgiveness.

Here is the passage.

“Do you think you could answer a question for me?” I asked a little timidly. “Perhaps” she said. “Well, I was wondering if you could tell me about forgiveness. Do you know anything about that, even though you’re so young?” I admit, I thought I was being foolish asking, but in light of her wisdom and my lack of it, I didn’t see how I had anything to lose. She sat for a minute or so filling the bucket to the top with dry white sand.

“Can you imagine something?” she asked. “Sometimes I have a hard time with that, but I’ll try hard”, I responded.

“OK”, she said, “Imagine that my bucket is you. It’s everything you think and feel and experience during your life. Imagine that everything that is within you- YOU chose to put there. Nothing got in without your choosing. Nothing. Whether conscious or not, every thought, feeling, idea, reaction, and prejudice. Every cruel word, every kind gesture, every act of faith, every indifference, everything. Imagine that each of these things takes up space, just like the grains of sand in my bucket. Once it’s full it’s very hard to find more space for anything, no matter how valuable or important. There are ways you can empty part of your bucket if you choose. One way is forgiveness. But first you have to imagine one more thing.

“Can you imagine that everyone else here is just like you? They’ve lived their lives filling their buckets and sometimes they don’t have any space left either. They’re doing the best they can with what weighs them down. In their hearts, they too wish to be free and to have open space to experience more of the beautiful things in life. But they too don’t know how. 

“They probably sense it, dream about it and desperately want it just like you do. This is very important to know. To forgive anyone anything, requires YOU make a conscious choice. No one else can do it for you.”

She eyed me carefully saying, “Now bring to mind something which begs forgiveness. Feel the space it holds within you. The weight of it, the size, color, and dimension. Imagine knowing it needn’t exist and that you can fill its space with something beautiful. Now, close your eyes. Welcome it in. Let it rest in front of you. Believe that it has served its full purpose for you but does so no longer. Look inside your heart and allow love and compassion to open within. Breathe easily. Smile for a moment. Know that no matter what, this decision is up to you and no one else. Picture your love and compassion surrounding you and the focus of your forgiveness. Now, allow it to fade and fade and fade until it disappears. Breathe and feel the space inside you open. Feel the sunshine enter you and the air move around you. Listen for the sound of your own being. Sense the room created inside of you, now open for that which does serve you. For beauty. For wholeness.”

I believe that these words came ‘through’ me and are not my own. They have more strength, wisdom, and insight than I possess. I believe they were meant for me, to help me, to free me. And now, I offer them in the hope that they do the same for you.

PS

Should you want to know more, this book is available through Amazon in print and eBook versions.

Learning Gratitude

Is it possible to learn gratitude or does it come naturally?

Maybe, it’s both.

If I asked you, what do you think you’re likely to answer?

More and more I hear about gratitude as a practice, something you incorporate into your life, so when I read a book recently that focused some attention on this, I decided it was time to see what it meant to me.

While in Maine this past summer on vacation I came across an intriguing book. It’s written by Chris Gentry and is titled, The Little Book of Prosperity. It’s divided into twelve chapters, which I discovered were organized in a very thoughtful progression. It starts with goals and dreams, then taking action and growth. These chapters are followed by self-confidence, gratitude, and positive self-talk. The book escalates into a chapter on master mind (groups) and concludes with positivity, decision, perseverance and giving back. I dutifully read and did the encouraged exercises in order with one exception. I waited until the end to complete my dream collage.

I found each chapter provided a great deal of inspiration and support for my earth adventure. When I arrived at the section about gratitude I decided to proceed slowly.

At the end of the chapter, Chris recommended that readers commit to a daily practice of gratitude for ninety days. He suggested that each morning a journal be kept where you would record at least five things you were grateful for. The items could be anything, big or small, quick or long lasting, it didn’t matter as long as they were true for you.

I decided to embrace this practice and see what sort of change(s) it made in my life. I confess it was difficult to do every day because sometimes I got distracted or felt too busy. I had to remind myself of my commitment and that I would never know the worth of this if I didn’t give it my best shot.

So, in late September 2021 I began keeping track. I noticed that the ‘quality’ of the items I chose varied substantially and their range was extremely wide. As a sometimes overachiever I added some items in the evening and occasionally noted more than the suggested five items. Since I was doing this for me and not as an assignment to be handed in, I felt fine with setting up my own rules.

Several times through the first ninety days I lost steam and considered abandoning the challenge. That only lasted a day or two and I ended up sticking with the program and being very grateful that I did.

When the ninety days was up, it wasn’t even a consideration as to whether to continue or not. I found the practice to be so valuable that I incorporated it in my daily routine. When I’m too rushed, I give myself permission to record my five (or more) items when I get to it, as long as it’s the same day. It’s now been 146 days and I can foresee this continuing far into the future.

Why? And what could be in it for you, if you decide to embrace this as one of your practices?

My simple answer is…A LOT.

The most striking impact this had on me is the change it brought about in the way my day began. It helped set an extremely positive tone. It raised my conscious awareness of how many wonderful things I experience in my life. And although this was a morning practice, my attitudinal shift stayed with me throughout the day. I found myself feeling thankful for so many things I’d previously taken for granted, which added remarkably to my positive outlook on life. It also broadened what I considered valuable and worthwhile and helped make me more aware of expressing gratitude to others.

And I discovered that the changes in me were reflected in who and what I encountered during the day, which was a huge bonus.

If you decide to give this a try, I’d love to know what your experience is like. And if you know or ever stumble across Chris Gentry, please be sure to tell him how grateful I am for his contribution to me and the world.

PS- I did try to reach out to him but wasn’t successful.

Certain Outcomes

When you are uncertain about an outcome does it create doubt, anxiety, and fear in you? And are you concerned you’ll make the wrong decision? Or are you open to the adventure and excitement of the unknown?

I wonder, if we believed that there were many possible outcomes and that we could choose which one to experience, would that change things for us?

It feels like the answer to that for me is…yes, but how would that happen? How would it be possible to choose a specific outcome, the one I want most and have that be my result?

I wonder if that is within our control. I want to think so.

It’s a challenging thought to consider…do I truly believe I can experience exactly what I want, and in the way I want it to happen?

Part of me does not believe this is possible. It sees the events that occur in the world as more random and less planned. I realize the reason that part of me feels this way is the training I’ve received during my life. Perhaps you’ve been trained the same way.

There is an underlying sense that because there are so many factors at play, you get what get as a result. There are degrees of this kind of thinking. The bright side has me hoping for the best, without necessarily feeling it will come true. The dark side has a fatalistic bend to it which tells me I have no control and must accept whatever comes my way.

I stop and ask myself, if I ignore my training and open to a wider range of possibilities, how else can I see this?

The first thought that comes to me is simple. Change my beliefs. Let go of the ideas that guide me and shift to an approach that serve me, that provides beauty and wonder and promise.

After all, just because I was trained to think in a particular fashion does not mean I’m bound to it. I have the free will to alter any choice that does not feel right to me. I can abandon harmful and counterproductive mindsets and instead choose thoughts, ideas and strategies that take me where I want to go in my life.

I believe that you have this same awesome power at your disposal. It’s inside you already and merely awaits your command, before rising to the surface.

When I struggle to break free from thoughts that hold me back, I seek an example to focus on. Something that will create a template that I can use to help me with my next challenge.

Here is one I offer as a personal example.

I have big dreams. I have something deep inside which longs to be shared with the world. But the world is such a big place, and I don’t know how to make my dreams come true. I need help. I need someone who knows things I don’t. Someone who knows ways to connect, like social media. So, I went in search of a professional who could guide me. I know my desired outcome. I want a partner.

My search hit a series of dead ends making me question whether I could truly choose the outcome I desired.

Time for a shift. Time to reassess and ask myself some questions. It turns out my answers all pointed in the same direction…a belief that the outcome I will experience is, in fact, up to me, if I am willing to put my faith in it into action.

This step reminded me about what I consider to be a sacred principle. Conceive, believe, and act. I do conceive that there is a perfect someone who will want to help me. I believe they exist and will come into my life. And I will take the actions necessary to make this happen.

For me, this is the way to all certain outcomes.

Are You Going the Right Direction

Is it challenging for you to answer the question, “are you going the right direction?”

For me, part of the difficult is in defining the word, ‘right’. Somehow, I feel an assumption exists based either on what I want to experience or what others expectations are of my choice of direction.

It’s fairly easy if we’re talking about physical direction. If you’re old school like I am, you can get out your map and plot a course to arrive at your destination. Those with GPS only need to enter the addresses and let the machine take over the guidance. If they get off course somewhere along the way, it’s okay, they’ll be told a recalculation is in process and then a new set of turns to take.

What makes some of this interesting is that you never know if your planned route is the best. There could be an accident, road construction, or an unexpected traffic jam, any of which could pose problems for you.

But the ‘right’ direction applies to so much more than where you are going physically. It could be your intellectual pursuits, emotional stability, or spiritual direction.

How can you know when you’re on the right track?

Perhaps one of the answers lies in whether you’re achieving your goals and objectives, but what if you haven’t identified them yet? What then?

Setting down what you hope to achieve isn’t always easy. There may be some benchmarks the world offers, but they may not suit you personally.

Often, we think we must accomplish a standard set of goals to feel successful. Goals that bring us more credentials, money, prestige, awards, or notoriety. But are these the only achievements worth directing our efforts toward?

How can you tell what your most beneficial direction would be? Is it an intellectual, emotional, or spiritual decision?

Some part of me wonders whether if, ‘what actually happens in our life’, IS the answer to that question.

I probably need to explain this statement a bit.

What I’m trying to say is that our lives have a way of moving forward, and that each open space we experience eventually fills up and what fills the space, IS the answer/decision/direction. This certainly seems to suggest that we’re not particularly conscious during the process and that it just sort of happens.

An entirely different way to approach this is to take charge.

My nature is that of a goal setter and planner for most experiences in my life. This is an effective way to map a direction, but it isn’t for everyone. There are those who treasure the ‘stop and smell the roses’ approach, which offers wonderful opportunities to engage directly with life.

And there are those that place a premium on flexibility which allows one to pursue whatever objective or goal they choose without stressing about how or when it will be achieved. This also provides some space to discover that it’s more about the journey, than it is about the destination.

I wonder too, which direction will be the most worthwhile for me, the one my head plans or the one my heart seeks?

Over the course of my life there’s been a transition from prioritizing what my thinking mind wants to what my heart feels. It’s a huge shift and I heartily endorse it, while realizing it isn’t for everyone or for every occasion. The reason I’ve chosen it is because my sense of inner satisfaction is so deep when I trust my feelings to guide my way and choose my direction for me.

What If There Were No Mirrors

I was struck by this question recently. What if there were no mirrors?

I’m guessing that we could still see ourselves in other surfaces like water or shiny metal objects, but the essence of the question was more about not being able to see our reflection at all.

Some practical things popped into my head. It would be pretty hard to comb your hair, shave your face, put on makeup, or fish an eyelash out of your eye, if you couldn’t stare at your reflection.

Then there were some other considerations. You couldn’t check to see if your tie was straight, if your clothes were on just the way you wanted them to be or…well, you get the picture.

And as important as these things might be at times, there was something much deeper in the question.

What do we think when we see ourselves in the mirror?

If you chose to answer that question right now, what would you say? Would it be a physical description that you gave or something more meaningful?

Can you look at yourself in the mirror for any length of time, say two minutes or would that be too uncomfortable?

How much judgement jumps into your thoughts when you see yourself in the mirror? Too old, too young, too tired looking?

Do you hear others voices in your mind when you catch a glimpse of yourself? Voices you would prefer not to hear.

It seems doubtful to me that we are all comfortable staring at our reflections and that it’s reasonable to think we’d see something we’d like to change about our appearance.

So, what if there were no mirrors, would that change this dynamic? Would we be willing to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and be satisfied with how we ‘think’ we look?

The funny thing is, we can do that now.

We can ignore any of the critical thoughts and judgements we place upon ourselves and those that others pass along to us. It may not be easy to let go of these recurring patterns, but it is possible. Not only that, it’s also very beneficial.

I attended a workshop once where the presenter asked each of us to stare into a mirror, and while looking deeply into our eyes, say “I love you” to our reflection. When asked how we felt about this exercise, each of us reported that we felt very uncomfortable.

Why?

That’s an important and eye-opening question to attempt to answer. It’s entirely likely that our answers would vary, but perhaps one reason is because we’ve become so conditioned to accepting our faults and failings, which are often reinforced by others, that we don’t acknowledge our innate goodness.

Sometimes we may think that we have do everything perfectly in order to be loved, by others and by ourselves. It makes me wonder if looking at our reflection in the mirror brings this to mind.

So, let’s pretend for a minute that there are no more mirrors. You’ll have no direct way to see yourself except through your own inner reflection.

To me, that’s an intriguing thought. It shifts focus from outward appearances to inner ones. What do we value about ourselves? What kind or compassionate acts define us? Who do we intend to be in this world? Are we centered in love?

And it gives us an opportunity to decide what sort of reflection we want the world to see.

I’m going to try to remember this the next time I see myself in the mirror.

A Different Diet Plan

Does anyone know how many diets plans are out there?

It’s likely to be a big number and there may be lots of folks who’ve tried several. It’s tempting to assume that if someone has tried more than one, it means the first one didn’t work. Naturally, there may be a host of reasons for this, with some completely outside our control.

I am personally not an advocate for any specific diet plan, so you won’t find that kind of advice here, but what I would like to share is a belief that a successful diet plan is far more than which types of food you do and don’t eat.

It’s also about more than how much or when you eat. Of course, those things matter. So does the amount of exercise you get and how much water you drink.

Here’s what I wonder.

What about all the other things we take in daily and their impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies? What is the weight we carry from our continual exposure to a hurting world?

I’m curious about the effects created by our concerns, whether it’s our debts, relationships, jobs, money, health issues. Do they add weight?

I sense the answer is…yes, and in more ways than we suspect.

If you consider that we may work at a job that does not fulfill or reward us, have challenges managing our own or others physical issues, or are heavy laden with family responsibilities that don’t seem to end, it’s pretty clear why some diet plans fail.

Add to this that we often live in a fear-based world as reflected by our news and social media content.

Okay, let’s say we accept that the world can be a challenging place to live, especially if you’re adding the idea of losing weight to your to do list, isn’t our next question, what do we do about it?

I’d like to offer you a few ideas. Only you will know if any will work for you.

There are a lot of people in the world who would like to see you succeed in reaching your goals, whatever they might be. If you know who they are already, that’s wonderful news.

If you don’t have someone like that, perhaps right now is the time to find them. Whether it’s an existing or new friend, family member, counselor or another professional, you deserve to have support in your life. You are a unique and beautiful being and are meant to thrive in all ways. Sometimes for this to happen, you have to ask for help.

So, take a moment and consider, what do you want your life to be like? Are there some practical things you could change that would make it easier for you? Could it be as simple as beginning some new routines, like keeping a gratitude journal? Or maybe giving yourself five or ten minutes each day that’s just yours?

Perhaps your top concern is losing physical weight, but it might be helped along by losing the emotional or spiritual weight you are carrying. And maybe once you lose these, the physical weight can be released.

I confess, asking for help has always been difficult for me. Maybe it’s the same for you.

I am an eternal advocate for asking help from the divine. I know things can get a little messy here because there are so many names and concepts, but I ask only that you choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.

When I ask for help now, I offer my gratitude in advance because I know that the divine loves me and will always provide care and support, so I am thankful even before asking.

It’s a simple process…sitting quietly, closing my eyes, breathing slowly and evenly, and opening my mind and my heart, then asking for the help I need. If it feels right to you and you wish to try this, my profound hope is that you are able to release the weight of the world.

Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…

Do you allow yourself room to dream? To release all the normal restrictions you accept in your life and run with wild abandon, giving yourself the chance to expand into your best, biggest life?

I know what my normal answer to these questions is…no, I don’t.

For me, this begs for an important awareness to rise to the surface of my life. An awareness that asks, “Why not, why don’t you?” It asks not in a mean-spirited way; it just wants to know my answer.

I suppose there are many reasons and if you are at all like me, they start with, not enough time, too many other obligations, it feels too selfish, not enough money and the list goes on.

Maybe it’s simpler than that.

Maybe I’m just plain scared to live my best, biggest life. Maybe you are too.

Enter Marie Forleo. If you don’t know about her, you’re in for a treat. One of my last trips to our public library I checked out her audiobook, Everything is Figureoutable. It takes a little bit to get past the title being kind of weird, but every moment of the book is well worth it. Marie has fabulous things to share with readers/listeners and fills the pages with her personal stories and insights.

Every time I read or listen to a book, attend a retreat or workshop, or watch a movie or TV show, I’m attentively waiting for some gold to come my way. Something that will help open my world and set me free.

I’ve come to believe that one will always be there and that was certainly the case in listening to Marie’s audiobook. She mentioned that one of the exercises she recommends is writing down an answer to this statement,” wouldn’t it be cool if…”.

I admit, I was intrigued by this. I didn’t do it immediately, but I filed it away for when I could spend some quality time with it.

When I eventually decided it was time, I got out my journal and sat quietly and waited for what desires came into my heart and mind that wanted to be expressed through me.

It was a deluge, one coming after another, along with a string of images. It was an immediate ‘high’ and I sensed how fantastic it would be if they all came true. In the moments it took to create the list of wonderful ideas I felt no need or desire to critique, edit or modify my answers. They just tumbled out and gave their light to me.

It doesn’t seem important to share my list with you because the point of the exercise is for you to give birth to your own personal ideas and dreams. To let them take a step or two into the world through you.

So, are you game?

Would you like to sit in the quiet of your own heart and mind and ask yourself to envision your world by asking, “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

What would you write down? What would expand you and broaden your life and allow your inner fire to flare up into acts of creation and joy?

I liked the idea so much that I now have a note I keep that reminds me to answer this question each month. I think it will be very enlightening to see my responses side by side and witness the changes that occur in and through me.

I encourage you to explore this idea and see what happens in your life as your dreams become real.

Acts of Creation

Have you ever wondered how you got here? And what about all the stuff that surrounds you? Where did it come from? Unraveling this mystery can be the work of an entire lifetime.

I am constantly amazed by the simplest things and wonder how they came into existence. Take this six-cent air mail stamp for example.

It seems pretty insignificant at first glance, doesn’t it? Out of date certainly. But, in my opinion still very cool looking. It turns out that if it were in mint condition, it would be worth about $100. And here’s an interesting fact, if it were a slightly different plane and facing the opposite direction, it might be worth $500. Not bad appreciation for a six-cent investment from the 1940’s.

My curiosity appears to know no bounds because here’s the string of thoughts that followed from first seeing the stamp. Maybe your mind runs away with sometimes too.

I wondered who had the idea for this airplane, meant to transport large heavy cargos from place to place. It needed a creator, a special kind of dreamer to envision how it would be possible to fill it with tons of equipment and yet lift it into the air. Then, of course, it needed technicians, designers, production staff, marketers, those wanting to ship their products and those wanting to buy the products.

And it needed pilots and technicians and crew to fly it and airport staff to keep track of it and help it land in heavy cloud cover and ground crews to unload it.

And everyone involved in the process needed to be trained.

I wonder, how is it possible to train someone on something completely new. Something no one has ever done before. Where do the skills come from? And where does the belief begin that starts this whole process?

Mirroring this line of thought, I began wondering about the stamp itself. Someone had to authorize its design, then there was the artist who crafted it, those involved in production, distribution and staff at the post office who sold them. And all those who bought them.

And how did it get to me? To be a part of my collection of cancelled stamps? I wonder, did this stamp ever fly on board the very plane it pictured? Did it arrive at the Post Office, get purchased, then placed on the outside of a package and sent via air mail on the plane it represented? Wouldn’t that be an awesome string of events?

I like that thought because it seems rather poetic to me.

When I sit back and look at this stamp, I can’t help but ask, how did we all get here? What sort of acts of creation brought us into the world?

Okay, I know there is a simple biological explanation for this. I am a father and I understand about the birth process, but there is something infinitely more elaborate and exquisite going on behind the scenes. I know this every time I hold a baby in my arms. Their newness to this world helps me feel/see beyond the veil between here and heaven. I can look into their eyes and see they still remember what it was like there. They have no words to tell me, but their heartbeat against my chest while holding them, speaks to me.

They are all magnificent acts of creation.

I wonder what our lives would be like if we remembered this more often. If we appreciated each other and devoted time to honoring that we are all creative beings, bringing light and life into the world.

It’s funny to me what thoughts and ideas can evolve from one single six-cent air mail stamp. But then I think, every act of creation is a miracle and a cause for wonder.

How to Compost Your Fears

Would you like to continue our journey together into a greater understanding of how to compost your fears and turn them into fertile soil to enrich your life?

Note: This Post is a continuation of my post, How to Compost Your Fears, part one from January 16, 2022. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you may want to do so before moving ahead with this post.

So, it’s been four days and it’s time to find out what’s happened to the fears we placed inside our composting containers. I’m curious about what sort of breakdown and changes have been happening while we’ve been away having a good time.

I imagine that your contents and mine may appear very different. Since the only contents I can see are my own, I’ll describe them, and you can see if some of the same things happened to yours.

Before I do, I have to admit that I have some preconceived notions about fear. My sense has been that fears intention is to take something away from me. To somehow make me less, which can create a good deal of anxiety. Over time, I’ve come to a new realization, that this is not the only way to view the role of fear. I’ve discovered it’s possible to shift my attitude and see fear as a divine messenger whose intention is to give something to me to help guide me toward my best life.

A second concern about fear centers around my perceived inability to control outcomes. Ordinarily I want things to turn out a certain way and consider any other result to be unsatisfactory. This generates a tendency toward worst case scenarios and a fear of failure. At times my awareness kicks in and I recognize this isn’t what I really think, but what others have told me, which creates incentive on my part to shift and change directions.

Okay, back to my compost container. When I pried off the lid and peered inside, I discovered the contents had separated into layers, with the lighter pieces (not seeing smiles or being able to hug others, appearing foolish and feeling small) on top and the denser pieces (feeling unsafe, unworthy and a failure) on the bottom.

I realized that not all fears have the same effect on me but that it is still essential to acknowledge each one and be open to its message, rather than ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. I found that each fear offers its own insight and as I embrace it the fear I once experienced is released.

Maybe you are like me and need examples to make sense of the world.

Here is one of the dense fears I experience fairly often. The fear of being unworthy or unloved. I’m not saying it is based on any reality, but that’s one of fears hallmarks, because it only has to appear real to be a problem.

When this happens to me now, I try to come to a full stop and acknowledge the fear I’m feeling and remind myself that I have the power to take action. I have free will and can make any choice I claim. I can find a great self-help book, talk with a friend or counselor or, as I usually do, have a conversation with god.

Whichever I choose, my aim is to shift my level of awareness and recognize the deeper truth that my sense of feeling unworthy or unloved results from seeing myself as separate from god and others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve come to believe that fear lies underneath all things and shows through every time I need to be reminded of the truth, that I am a part of the divine and connected to everyone else here on earth and that I am loved and cared for and that there is always an answer available to me.

I remind myself that avoidance of fear is not the answer and that although it may seem counterintuitive, opening myself to fear and embracing its message enlightens me and robs fear of its power over me.

No matter what your contents look like or how they feel, know that you have the innate ability to release any of your fears and discover the divine message(s) they came to bring you.