Blowing Our Clouds Away

I absolutely love the sun. I think in a past life I must have been a sun-worshiper haha.  I am so excited by the solar technology and all the advances that are taking place to let sun play an active role in our lives as humans, just like it does for plants.  I love catching a few rays whenever I can. What does the sun have to teach us about healing?

One day I discovered that behind the clouds the sky was actually blue! Clouds covered the beautiful blue sky.  The sky didn’t change color and the sun didn’t really go away.  They were both just covered up!  It’s hard when you’re struggling with a physical or emotional pain to see anything but the clouds, believe me, I know.  But somewhere behind the clouds that are around or inside you, is your absolute beauty, your unique personality, you! You haven’t gone anywhere, you aren’t lost, you are simply covered up by the gray stormy clouds.  So while you’re in the midst of the storm, how do you get out?

The power of the sun is amazing.  It has healing properties, warms the planet, gives life to all who live under it and is a source of power.  When you’re buried beneath your clouds, remember your sun.  Remember that it is just hiding beneath or behind the clouds.  You are waiting to re-emerge after the clouds disappear.  Until then, do things you enjoy.  Take a walk on the beach (or around your neighborhood), paint, garden or do other hands-on activities, read inspiring books, listen to spiritual music; do whatever relaxes you, what you enjoy most and you feel most natural doing.  Doing these activities that are the very essence of you will help you shake off the clouds and be reunited with the sun deep inside.

I encourage you to share below what makes you shine!

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Spiritual Battle: Distractions

As I was reading the book of Judges in the Bible last week, I saw one recurring theme: after a judge or leader died, the people they led fell back to their old habits and beliefs.  So as individuals, regardless of the particular belief system you ascribe to, what do we do with the distractions that cross our spiritual paths?

First let’s talk about what the distractions are.  They could include your pastor/rabbi/teacher retiring or moving on to another location.  It could include a drastic event in your life, or the life of someone close to you.  Perhaps you’re struggling with whether your belief system really matches up with who you are, or you’ve discovered something that doesn’t feel or sound right to you.  It could be your coworker who has a big mouth, or the shows you watch on TV.  It could be having a bad day where you work, not having work or your commute.  It could be your amazing kids, their homework and their needs.  It could be a physical or emotional problem you’re struggling with, or recovering from.  Whatever your situations, it’s safe to say that most of us have lots of these situations, and therefore distractions, in our lives.

So what can we do with the distractions?

Make conscious choices:  Observe what you say, what you watch, who you’re with, the things you eat, the places you go and the habits you have.  Make sure that your choices are helping you and not adding to your struggles.  I am one of many who want to enjoy life to the fullest.  I realized the other day that watching cop shows and crime shows on TV is actually turning our focus on death and not to life.  Why watch something that is absolutely surrounded, infused and consumed by the topic of death?  Do you grab for the yummy chocolate and caramel bar in the cabinet or take a handful of grapes or some carrot sticks for a snack?  Do you spend time with people who constantly complain or do they realistically look for the good in everything?  The choices you make in life absolutely affect your spiritual walk and habits.

Leave reminders around: Leave inspiring quotes and verses around the house to see, put them in your work space, spend time reading the Holy books and books by those who have studied the Holy books.  Put your inspirational and spiritual reading materials where you see them frequently so you are reminded to read them and think about them.

Dedicate time to your spiritual journey: This means more than meeting with a group of like-minded individuals once a week (i.e. at church/synagogue).  This means daily spending time with your spiritual practices, from exercise, meditation, reading, listening, praying etc.  This means having friends you can call or email with your situation when you need advice, encouragement and support.

Having a support group, consciously making choices that affect your life in positive ways and making sure that your spiritual life frequently is at the top of your mind (and visible to your eyes), are ways you can deal with the distractions in your life.  This way, when distractions do happen, you will be reminded visually of the power of your spirituality, encouraged by your spiritual brothers and sisters, able to make good, spiritually based decisions, and will have good habits that will support you until you make it through the distraction.

If you or someone you know are struggling with a distraction or dark time in your life, don’t have anyone you can share with or would like to speak with someone outside your situation, please visit my website, I would love to talk with you and help you.  http://brandnewdaycoaching.weebly.com

Faith in a Faithless Government

As I was finishing up my reading of the book of Mark in the Bible last week, my attention was drawn to a few verses at the end of Mark 15.  Let’s take a look at these verses.

Mark 15:42-45 “This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)  Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet.  The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.”

Some background is necessary for this passage.  Right before these words, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, was crucified on a cross.  In verse 37, he died.  Now, in verse 42, Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body so he could bury him properly.  So who was this Joseph and why is he so important to talk about?  We learn from other New Testament references that Joseph was a wealthy man.  Verse 43 also tells us that Joseph was “waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.”  Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, and wanted to see him buried with at least some respect.

The important part is in verse 43 where it reveals that Joseph was “an honored member of the high council.”  This means he was probably a member of the Sanhedrin, essentially the supreme court, back in Jesus’ day.  Most of the members of the Sanhedrin were vehemently against Jesus and his teachings.  By stepping up to Pilate, Joseph was putting his faith before his job, even before his life.  Who is to say that he wouldn’t be crucified right after Jesus for making such a request?

It’s not always easy to stand up for what you believe, especially in situations where it isn’t popular to believe something or you are downright against the faith/practices of the others in the group.  Work places, homes, and families are all examples of places and situations you will be challenged to display your faith like Joseph, or cower like some of Jesus’ other disciples.  I think what Joseph knew was that no matter what those he worked with and associated with thought of his request, it was the right thing to do.

When you do right by your gut, heart and faith, you will feel better knowing you did the right thing, just like Joseph did.  When have you stepped up bravely for your faith?

Finding Support

The other night I was listening to the radio and the song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol came on.  I’ve always been intrigued by the song and want to share a few thoughts with you about it.  Part of the song goes like this:

“I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”

It’s hard to watch someone you love or know struggling with emotional challenges, with the loss of a family member or friend, with health and physical issues, or with career/financial challenges.  You tell them that you’re there for them and that they can talk to you about anything they want to, yet they don’t.  I think “Chasing Cars” really illustrates what it means to support someone in this situation.  Just physically being there for someone, perhaps holding their hand or giving them a hug, can be so important, and so healing.  Even if you feel uncomfortable or don’t know what to say, just being there to support your friend or loved one can be all they need.  How can you support someone today?

*If you or someone you know could be a danger to themselves, or needs professional assistance, there are tons of resources available, you/they don’t have to struggle alone, please get help.

Courage for Today

What is courage?  Courage can be many things, and can be found through many sources.  What happens when you add Source, God, and/or A Greater Being to your courage?  Let’s take a look at the wisdom of 7 individuals who are connected to their Source, and have learned something about courage.

Neale Donald Walsch “You are goodness and mercy and compassion and understanding. You are peace and joy and light. You are forgiveness and patience, strength and courage, a helper in time of need, a comforter in time of sorrow, a healer in time of injury, a teacher in times of confusion. You are the deepest wisdom and the highest truth; the greatest peace and the grandest love. You are these things. And in moments of your life you have known yourself to be these things. Choose now to know yourself as these things always.”

Mark Victor Hansen “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.””

Les Brown “It takes someone with a vision of the possibilities to attain new levels of experience. Someone with the courage to live his dreams.”

Charles Stanley “When God speaks, oftentimes His voice will call for an act of courage on our part.”

Iyanla Vanzant “Courage comes by taking action before you are forced to.”

Bill Hybels “Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.”

I encourage you to find the courage to do even one small thing in your life that you have been struggling with or waiting to do.  I would love if you would share below what you need courage to do today.

Patience

In the age of instant dinner, instant coffee, instant romance, instant messages and fast-paced life, how long do you expect things to take?  In my reading of Jeremiah and Mark this past week, I found some interesting stories relating to time.  Let’s start with Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 42:1-3, 10.  “Then all the guerrilla leaders…and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go.”…Ten days later the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah.”

WOW 10 days!!  If we waited ten days to hear back from someone about something, we would figure they either hated us, forgot about us, didn’t get the message or gave the opportunity to someone else.

We’ll come back to this story from Jeremiah in a moment, let’s take a look at Mark’s story:

Mark 8:22-25 “When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him…Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,”  he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.”

Wait, did I read that right? It took Jesus TWO tries to heal this blind man’s eyes?  Hmm.  Let’s look at Jesus’ language for a moment.  He asks if the man can see “anything” first.  Not can he see perfectly or clearly, but anything.  The second time Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes, the man can see “clearly.”

So what can we learn from Jeremiah’s story and this ex-blind man’s story?

1) We learn the lesson of patience.  Sometimes you must wait for the really good stuff to manifest itself.  It may not happen instantly, but the results, or answers will be made clear.  In this age of instant, don’t be afraid to wait a little.  The old saying of  ‘good things are worth waiting for’ definitely applies here.

2) If you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Your business effort wasn’t really a complete failure, your marriage, now divorce, wasn’t a complete failure, your life, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, isn’t a failure.  From each of those something good has come.  I’m sure that the blind man was just fine with seeing people who looked like trees for the rest of his life.  But, with a little more work he was able to see people who looked like people. Don’t be so quick to throw things in the garbage or retire them to the furthest shelf in the closet.

I encourage you to wait it out a little longer, and keep putting for the effort, don’t just sit there, while you wait.  Soon you will see results.  If you need to try again, I encourage you to do so.  Think of all the inventors who would not have succeeded in inventing things if they gave up on the first, or 100th try.

I would love to work with you personally in your change and waiting time. Visit my website http://brandnewdaycoaching.weebly.com and sign up for a *free* consultation with Laura (me!), or subscribe to my newsletter.

Growing When You’re Down

There will be many times in your life that you will be blindsided by a challenge or problem.  There are many things that you can do to help you through the tough time.  One thing you can do is to work on yourself.  Look for opportunities for growth and development in your life.  Take online seminars, read books, hear inspiring speakers, work on your life purpose and read the blogs of self-development enthusiasts.  I can hear the resounding ‘what are you crazy?!’ all across the world.  No, I’m not.  Let me share a little of why growth is helpful to getting through challenges.

The more you sit in your challenge and fight it, the worse it will get, and the worse you will feel.  Almost anyone you talk to will tell you that they didn’t get through their challenge because they sat and sulked.  They didn’t spend weeks and months crying to friends about how pitiful and pissed off and sad they are.  No matter how determined you are to not deal with a problem, and no matter how much you wish it away, it won’t go away.

If you can’t find a solution to the problem immediately, you’ve really exhausted many and all solutions that you can find and your friends have suggested, take a break.  Work on something else that will benefit you in the long run, like reading a book about communication, listening to Zig Ziglar share an inspiring message, read the blogs of some of the leading coaches and inspiring leaders and see how they have grown and developed through their struggles.   You will come across new ideas and new perspectives on your challenge through your learning, and perhaps the answer you are seeking to solve your challenge.  If you’ve been working too long and hard on your challenge, you may also be getting near burnout and need to recharge yourself with some exercise and some inspiration.

No matter how you come out of the challenge, what other problems come up as a result of the challenge, how badly beaten down you are by it, you will do yourself so much good if instead of focusing on the bad, you focus on moving yourself forward and upward to better things.