OCTOBER 13: You Are on Time

Quit wondering, worrying, and blaming yourself for being late. Or worse yet, missing the boat.

“Nothing else in the universe frets about being late. Does the moon ask itself if it’s where it should be? Does the sun say, “I must hurry, else I’ll be late?’” a friend asked one evening when I was worrying about not being on time.

Stare up into the sky on a beautiful moonlit night. Feel the quiet, timeless rhythm of the planets, the moon, the stars, the universe. Know that you’re connected, tuned into a rhythm deeper and more secure than all your wondering could imagine. Breathe deeply. Relax. Let your pace spring from knowing that inside your heart.

Trust the rhythm of the universe. You are right where you need to be. You’ll get where you need to go. You have all the time you need.

Being Gentle with Ourselves During Times of Grief: October 12

The process of adapting to change and loss takes energy. Grief is draining, sometimes exhausting. Some people need to “cocoon for transformation,” in Pat Carnes’s words, while going through grief.

We may feel more tired than usual. Our ability to function well in other areas of our life may be reduced, temporarily. We may want to hide out in the safety of our bedroom.

Grief is heavy. It can wear us down.

It’s okay to be gentle with ourselves when we’re going through change and grief. Yes, we want to maintain the disciplines of recovery. But we can be compassionate with ourselves.

We do not have to expect more from ourselves than we can deliver during this time. We do not even have to expect as much from ourselves as we would normally and reasonably expect.

We may need more rest, more sleep, more comfort. We may be more needy and have less to give. It is okay to accept ourselves, and our changed needs, during times of grief, stress, and change.

It is okay to allow ourselves to cocoon during times of transformation. We can surrender to the process, and trust that a new, exciting energy is being created within us.

Before long, we will take wings and fly.

God, help me accept my changed needs during times of grief, change, and loss.

October 11: Make use of your imaginative powers

It was a small ad in a catalog for an electric flossing machine. “I don’t have the time or energy to floss,” the man in the ad declared. “That’s why I need this machine to do it for me.”

Too busy and too tired?

Some of us complain about all the things we have to do to maintain spiritual health. Prayer. Meditation. Attending support groups. All these things take time and energy, even though we get a good return on the time we invest. Now, we’re considering adding another activity to our already full self-care activities list: spending time and energy visualizing to help create positive events in our lives.

When someone first suggested I use visualization as a tool, my reaction was similar to one of the man in the ad. I don’t have the time. I’m too busy and tired.

But we’re always thinking about something and creating pictures in our minds. Usually what we see are worst case scenarios. So why not take the time, effort, and energy we’re already using to see things not working out and instead visualize things working out? If we’ve got enough time and energy to see the negative what if’s, we’ve got the time and energy to visualize positive events, too.

Visualizing isn’t a form of control. Just because we see things working out well doesn’t guarantee that they will. But if we can see it, it’s more likely to happen than if we can’t see it at all.

God, help me use the powers of thought and imagination in the most creative way I can.

October 10

A friend had gone to work for an employer with a reputation for dishonesty. Then he wondered, in the end, why that employer lied, conned, and screwed over him. Story’s not over. He ran into the employer years later and got mixed up with him again.

“I was trying to make him be honest with me. I was insisting that he treat me fairly this time.” We all know the ending. He got screwed over again.

Dancing with the devil is seductive—in work and in love. It’s an enticing challenge; we want to make somebody change, treat us right, and give us what we know we deserve. Not living up to our own values can be seductive too. “This situation is an exception,” we think. “This time, the values I believe in don’t really apply.”

It’s easy to look around at the world and think that the only ones who really make it are the people who lie, cheat, and steal. Or we see something we really want, and we believe we can’t get it honestly, so we set our values aside for a time.

Acknowledging other people’s lack of integrity usually hurts. At least it stings. By the time we see it, we may be in over our head. “I’ll just keep dealing with this person,” we think. “Try and recoup my losses so I don’t lose any more.”

I’m as prone to dancing with the devil as anyone else. We pay a price each time we do.

Challenge: The hardest part about living with values can be simple pride. It’s hard to admit that we got conned. It can be humiliating to admit that we can’t have what we want, or that we’ve not lived up to our values, or that we have a lesson to learn because we made a mistake. Here’s a hint: Learn to take your losses and run.

OCTOBER 9: The Scattered Pieces Will Come Together

Scattered pieces. Sometimes we look around, and that’s what we see. Scattered pieces of ourselves, our lives, a project, a season of our lives. Where is the connecting thread, we wonder? How can we ever pull this together into something that makes sense, something with purpose, something with meaning?

There are pieces to every whole; yet each piece is complete. Don’t worry about how they will come together. Work joyfully on the piece that’s before you, the piece that’s in your life today.

There are many pieces of you, many beautiful parts. The universe will help you bring all those parts alive. It will bring mirrors to you, people who will reflect those beautiful pieces back to you. Look in the mirror of your life. What pieces do you see reflected? Know it’s you you’re seeing. Then let that part of you come alive.

Pull in the parts of yourself, the many beautiful parts that have come alive. Beckon your warrior, your healer, your playful child. Bring together your professional self, your adult, the passionate part of you, the nurturing part. Let all the parts come together. Don’t send any of them away. You need them all. Each is a beautiful piece of the soul, the life, the person you are.

Trust. Trust the process. Joy is yours, available for the asking and the desiring—even in the developmental stages. Even before the puzzle has been put together. The scattered pieces will come together—the scattered pieces of yourself, your project, your life. The connecting thread is love.

The picture will be beautiful. Wait and see.

Learning to Wait: October 8

I’ve started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things. Waiting can be very, very powerful. Time is a valuable thing. If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you threw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall….

—The Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey

The people who are most successful at living and loving are those who can learn to wait successfully. Not many people enjoy waiting or learning patience. Yet, waiting can be a powerful tool that will help us accomplish much good.

We cannot always have what we want when we want it. For different reasons, what we want to do, have, be, or accomplish is not available to us now. But there are things we could not do or have today, no matter what, that we can have in the future. Today, we would make ourselves crazy trying to accomplish what will come naturally and with ease later.

We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out—in us, in someone else, in the Universe.

We don’t have to put our life on hold while we wait. We can direct our attention elsewhere; we can practice acceptance and gratitude in the interim; we can trust that we do have a life to live while we are waiting—then we go about living it.

Deal with your frustration and impatience, but learn how to wait. The old saying, “You can’t always get what you want” isn’t entirely true. Often, in life, we can get what we want—especially the desires of our heart—if we can learn to wait.

Today, I am willing to learn the art of patience. If I am feeling powerless because I am waiting for something to happen and I am not in control of timing, I will focus on the power available to me by learning to wait.

October 7: Tell yourself how simple it is

Here’s another example about the power of simplification.

For years, I heard about hiking. It sounded so elusive, difficult, and mysterious. I didn’t do it, but I thought about hiking wistfully. One day, a friend asked me to go hiking with him. “Sure,” I said. As the day of our hike approached, I began thinking things through. I was getting a little nervous. What if I couldn’t do it well enough? What if I didn’t know how to do it at all?

Don’t be ridiculous, I scolded myself. You’re making this much more complicated than it really is. Hiking is just walking, and you’ve been doing that since you were ten months old.

The next day, I arose at 6:00 a.m., and my friend and I left for our hike. I followed my friend as he began walking up the steep incline.

Just walk, I told myself after the first ten steps. Put one foot in front of another. Walk like you’ve done all your life.

I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain that day, but I made it almost halfway.

Is there something you’ve wanted to do but have put off because it sounds too difficult and complicated? Are you saying no to something in your life that you’d like to say yes to, but it seems elusive and out of your reach? Try reducing the task or activity to its simplest form.

I have a friend who hadn’t dated for years. One day, a girl he liked asked him to go to the movies. He was anxious and nervous.

“Going to a movie is just sitting down and staring at the screen, then getting up and going home when you’ve finished,” I said. “I think you can do that.”

“You’re right,” he said. He went and had a great time.

Sometimes, we can scare ourselves out of doing the easiest things in life. Yes, hiking involves more than walking. And going on a date with someone involves a little more than sitting and staring at a screen. But not that much more. Simplify things. Bring them down to their most manageable level. Instead of talking yourself out of living, learn to talk yourself into it.

God, give me the courage to fully live my life. Help me deliberately talk myself into doing things, instead of scaring myself away.

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