Lesson 23: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.
One word threw me when I read this Lesson--attack. What do they mean by "attack thoughts?" I don't lie around thinking about attacking people or them attacking me. How does this apply and how do I use it? As with so many of these Lessons, I have to stop and think around my knee-jerk reaction to what it really means, or think of a different meaning for the word and then it makes sense.
Attack thoughts are not only the verbal denotation but any thought that springs from the fear side of the spectrum. People lamenting how horrible the world is are having attack thoughts. Those who want to change the world and all the people therein are also having attack thoughts. We have to understand that the things we see are nothing but the results. In order to change the results, we have to start with the cause. The cause is our thoughts...each and every one of our thoughts. We have to start with ourselves. We have to change the source to change the outcome.
We often lament about the world out there, the world we perceive, yet we never really see ourselves as the image maker. We are created in the image of God. God created man so that he/she may create man. We have to take responsibility for the world as it is and as we perceive it. We cannot be saved from the world but we can escape the cause. This is salvation. For where is the world we see when its cause is gone? If we envision the images alight with love and transform them into things and people we love, we are changing the world, even if those images are made from hate.
We are not trapped in this world we "see" because we can change it's source. As with everything in life, identification and letting go is key. Then it can be replaced. Willingness to do so is paramount. I struggle with this on a personal level.
There is a member of my family that is so negative and she holds onto that negativity like a lifeline. She seeks help and when solutions are offered, she takes great joy in rejecting each and every one of them. I realize this is her choice but it frustrates me so much. There is a solution for every problem if only we are willing to accept them. I find it very hard to be around this person because of her negativity. When I stay at her home, I have nightmares because the energy of the home is so dark and so penetrating. In these nightmares, I cycle through her life and her negativity, her insecurities and worries. Let me tell you, they are horrible! I have chosen not to live this way and I reject it. I want to help but it isn't welcome so I let her be. Yet I can't...she is my mother. I live a life so that I have no regrets and I don't want avoiding my mother to be one of them. The Lesson tells me I can change this if I change the source--myself.
I need to remove my tie to the outcome. This is her life and she is leading it the way she wants. Where it crosses the line is when it affects me and only I can choose to allow it or not. So, if I envision her surrounded by love and light, the Lesson says I will achieve a transformation in my perception and thus my reality. I work with this constantly and can usually achieve it. It's holding onto the achievement that is difficult.
My mother has a way of circling around and poking at everything until it folds, or until you can't take it anymore and blow up. Then she has another lament in her bucket to dwell on. But here I go, dwelling on my perception, on my issues. I MUST CHANGE THE SOURCE AND THE SOURCE IS ME! This will be the only way I can make peace within myself and my mother, whether she accepts it or not.
The Lessons are always personal, whether we accept that or not. Some are more challenging than others. Yet I/we must give up the challenge in order to succeed.
Somedays there's just not enough alcohol in the world to get me through parenting. I'm having one of those days when I just want to lock the door to the bedroom and fall into a heap, curl into fetal position and cry my eyes out. I admit it--I am tired. I am tired of trying to do all the right things and feeling like I fail at every one. I am tired of cleaning and straightening only to turn around and find a mess behind me and four lazy bottoms planted on the couch. I am tired of asking for help and then having to stop what I'm doing to direct them. I am tired of breaking up fights and hearing the tattling on each other. I am tired of dealing with emotional issues and cleaning up after someone elses' mistakes. I am tired of having to direct, organize and prepare. I am tired of going from one disaster of epic proportions to another. Yep, I am just plain tired. (I realize I am using the two most powerful words in the Universe--I AM--but God, I AM!)
I realize that I chose this. I am the one that married a man with a child, and together we adopted three more older children from foster care. I know from all the adoption classes, and listening to parents, this was not an easy job yet we signed up anyway. I knew there would be good days, hard days and sometimes impossible days. Lately, it's been bordering on the latter. I tell myself, "I am a life coach. I specialize in this stuff. I work with people to change the mindset and turn the negative into the positive." Yet, I still struggle.
We are preparing for a move. Is this what is triggering the acting out with one of the children? My experience tells me yes and that love, patience and reassurance will eventually move us all through it. But escalation to violence against one another as what happened today? Now that has gone too far. What gives him the right to think it's okay to hit his sibling with fists and have to be physically pulled off each other?
Now before we go in to the "therapy" angle--been there, done that, multiple times. These are children that have been in the system since they were 4 years old, 15 months, and 3 months, respectively. They grew up in the system and therapy is paramount in all foster childrens lives. They know the angles, the story line and the avoidance. Each and every therapist tells us we are the ones doing the work. Why keep them in therapy when they don't want to be helped? "You can lead the horse to water but you can't make them drink," is the old adage. And why pay someone else when we are doing the work?
I fantasize about our former life--the childfree one--where Ridge and I travel, lay on the beach and the biggest worry that night is if we want seafood or steak. I also remember feeling that there had to be more than this. More than just the materialistic. I had such a drive to give back, to contribute, to make a difference. No matter how great the memories, or the fantasy, I remember that empty feeling that having a family, and a purpose outside myself/ourselves, fulfilled.
Anyway, I guess I just needed a sounding board--a way to release that doesn't involve calling my husband or girlfriends and having a meltdown myself. We are committed to these children and to the family we are creating. There are days that I dream of their 18th birthday and/or them running off to join their birth families. But I know when that time comes, it will be painful.
Parenting is a thankless job. What do other parent's do to keep their sanity and take care of themselves?
Lesson 22: What I see is a form of vengeance.
Like Lesson 21 and anger, I am all too familiar with thoughts of "vengeance." The Lesson states because we have thoughts of vengeance, we project our anger into the world and expect to see vengeance strike back. Hmmm....
I do have angry thoughts and fantasies of watching people get what's coming to them. But I can't really say that I experience paranoia in that I'm about to be attacked. I see the world as basically good with the people in it all wanting the same thing (love, sustenance and to be understood). Perhaps it is because I only tend to have these thoughts after multiple and usually pretty hateful things done to me, or against someone I love. Then I move on, figuring it isn't my job to see justice done. It's their walk and although it would give me great pleasure to know that vengeance was done, I'm not going to live my life seeking it for them.
I agree with the Lesson in asking ourselves, "Is this the world I really want to see?" Our dominant thoughts create our reality and we know that they are either fear-based or love-based. And, the Lessons teach us, these thoughts and resultant "realities" aren't even real. We are still in training to see "the truth." "The truth" will bring peace and salvation, but first we must recognize and appropriately deal with the thoughts that do not serve us, nor the world we want to see.
Lesson 21: I am determined to see things differently
I warn everyone about this Lesson - I am still processing things and the issues it has brought forth.
The Lesson encourages you to search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated that arouse anger in you. Oh boy...unfortunately, anger is an emotion I am all too familiar with. I don't like it but yet it's "comfortable." It doesn't matter what level this anger presents - annoyance to rage. I find myself focusing on events and people that bring about intense fury.
Maybe it's me and one of the many things I am to work on in this lifetime, but when I "perceive" someone has done something so atrocious to deserve punishment, or horrible karma times seven, I want to be on the front row with a bag of popcorn watching their come-uppance. The idea brings a smile to my face as I think of all the horrible things these people deserve. The Lesson notes that all forms of anger (even slight annoyance) is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury. Got that one covered...
We feel that some thoughts, and some people, deserve attacks that are more justified than others. When these attack thoughts present themselves, the Lesson instructs us to hold each one in mind while we tell ourselves:
"I am determined to see __________ differently."
So....as I envision using my subject's testicles as pin cushions, I hold that joyous thought and then try and see it, and him, differently. I also realize that if the situation hadn't turned out like it did, I wouldn't be where I am. I also understand that the whole experience was part of my growth. By experiencing a bad relationship(s), it opened me up to a good relationship(s). I defined what I did want in a partner, and also what I found intolerable. It molded me into who I needed to be to find the person that was perfect for me. And I did.
I also realize that each of us has our own walk, our own growth, our own experiences we signed up for, and they all don't agree with each other--at least on initial review. Maybe in the end, when we all have cycled through what we need to to get where we want to go, we can see the big picture. The hurts that seem so large and personal now will neatly fit into a puzzle that define the soul and provide us the salvation we desire.
Until that time, I will focus on seeing things differently as I cycle through my memories, and current events because "the beat goes on." I won't always understand, because it isn't up to me to understand. But I will try and give it the energy it deserves to heal and move forward to be the person I am meant to be.
Lesson 20: I am determined to see.
This is the "truth" that the Course is all about. The clearing of the cobwebs over our eyes; the removal of the reality we have created. The Lesson centers around the reveral of our thinking and states that the salvation of the world depends on it. But what is salvation?
Christianity defines salvation as "deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption." A more secular definition is "preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil." (The Free Dictionary by Farlex) What is more destructive, difficult or evil than negative thoughts about people, issues or things? We all want to be happy, to be peaceful. We don't have it now because our minds are undisciplined. We are unable to distinguish between joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain, love or fear. Being aware enough to tell them apart is the first step towards this goal of salvation.
I realize I use the definition of "salvation" as defined in the secular version. I am not a religious person anymore. I used to be--very religious. I was also very judgmental, opinionated, prejudiced and very alone. It took a lot of life experiences in the hard knock's category to bring about a more spiritual purpose. It also took getting to know all kinds of different people and realizing that we all just want the same things--to be nourished, loved and understood. I desired those things, and found them. I truly believe this is salvation--finding the part of yourself that is the God center, and celebrating the uniqueness each of us has in this life we lead now.
Going back to the Lesson, we are creations of God and we are also one with God. We are given great power to conceive, to create. This is truly "cause and effect" as it operates in the world. What you are determined to get, you get. As my grandmother used to tell me, "Be careful of what you want because you just might get it!" Amen...
Let's play a game. Let's choose ONE thing that we desperately want. Be selective in your choice, and be specific. Let's think about it--all angles of it. Feel it, smell it, touch it, hear it as you gaze at your wish. Now say it out loud. "I want _______" and state why. What is the purpose? Is it to feel or give love? To be comfortable without worrying about how to pay the next bill? Perhaps a new job? Remember the purpose because it will give you meaning and state to the Universe the higher power of what you will accomplish with your item. Now, finally, act like you have it. This is where the old-fashioned game of "pretending" comes into play. Now I'm not telling you to go out and max out your credit card, or buy something you can't afford, but can you act like you have it? If it's a car, test-drive it and think about how it would look parked in your driveway. How do your hands feel around the wheel? Or if it's having children, how does it feel to be pregnant, or holding that newborn?
Do this game for me for one week. Just pick one thing and have at it. Then please write me and let me know your results and experiences!
"I am determined to see." How about you?
Lesson 19: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.
If we are not alone in experiencing the effects of our seeing, then we are not alone in experiencing the effects of our thoughts. Group consciousness is alive and well and very, very strong. Anyone that has worked with a successful, directed team can testify to the power of those thoughts when directed towards a goal.
In the world of balance, there is light and darkness, good and bad. If we can bring about a lot of good from our group consciousness, there can also be the bad birthed too. Where your attention goes, energy flows. I honestly believe that that is one of the reasons we are seeing such an increase in natural disasters. Between the doomsayers of the Apocolypse, "End-of-Times," the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, etc, there's a lot of attention going to the "prophecies." By putting our thought into it, talking about it, we are giving more and more power to these elements.
I for one believe in keeping peaceful, loving thoughts. Now, I admit, I am not always successful, but I do try and catch myself and change my channel. I want love in my life, health and happiness. I also want people around me that feel the same way. As I attach these frequencies to myself, I operate at a higher wavelength and bring good in, not the "bad." I would encourage you to do the same! Where your attention goes, energy flows...it's a fact, folks!