Archive for category inspiration
Where does self-confidence come from? Where does it go when we need it most?
How does an energetic child with a mountainous capacity for curiosity grow into a narrow-minded, emotionally constricted adult full of hopelessness and suffering?
The answer is simple. We lose the key to the door that opens to a satisfying existence; belief in ourselves and the faith that every day can be sculpted into a masterpiece of joy.
Self-confidence is an elusive commodity that fluctuates with life’s events including, but not limited to; our mood, brain chemistry, the weather, acceptance or rejection. It is a fragile, unpredictable elixir; here today, gone tomorrow. Yet for a fortunate few, it is a constant, a second nature, a faithful servant and friend.
With self-confidence, we can create the next, great wonder of the world. Without it, we walk bent over through life, a mere shadow on the wall, a faint reflection of our glorious and noble human potential.
If your self-confidence is at a low ebb, you can take the first step towards a more joyful and productive life by LOVING YOURSELF. Forgive yourself for past transgressions, whether real or imagined. Start each day with a clean slate. The past is dead. The future is a possibility based on how you think and what you chose to do in this very moment.
Think with hope in your heart. Hopeful thoughts are positive, creative, loving thoughts. Hopeful thoughts will fill you with possibilities. They will fill you with confidence in yourself because they come from your true self, the real you.
There are always two roads stretching before us. One road leads to freedom and joy. The other one leads to misery and limitation. Take the time, right now, to cast away doubt and fear. Listen to your inner voice, the one that wants to set you free.
Self-confidence comes from being the person you truly are; your best self. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Let the flame of love grow in your heart. Seek the sources that support and nurture your truest and best self. Self-confidence will bloom automatically, along with passion and a free enjoyment of life.
I enjoy reading words of inspiration as much as you probably do. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I love practicing the art of creative visualization. (My man Jordan Spieth, last week’s winner of the US Open Golf Championship, is the ultimate practitioner of creative visualization.)
Having said this, I have to say something more. You probably guessed I’d go on for a bit in this week’s blog. It takes more than a stranger’s words to affect lasting, positive change and success in any endeavor. It takes loving support from caring mentors. The ideal personification of this support comes from a set of caring, loving parents. Let’s take Jordan Spieth again as an example. He seems to have an ideal relationship with his loving, caring, teaching parents plus a monumental talent that have helped him to win two major golf titles in his young and promising career.
Jason Day, a young professional golfer from Australia, battled bravely through dizziness and nausea caused by vertigo to finish high in the US Open final standings. Jason, unlike his contemporary Spieth, did not have a strong connection with his parents while growing up. He had a troubled youth before meeting Colin Swatton at Kooralbyn, a golf-centric boarding school in south-east Queensland. Jason’s mother had to borrow money to send her son to Kooralbyn in a desperate attempt to do something about his delinquent behavior after his father died of stomach cancer when Jason was 12.
Colin Swatton was a golf instructor at Kooralbyn when he first met the head-strong, rebellious Day. Swatton’s non-confrontational style won Jason over. When Swatton moved on to teach at Hills International College, Day followed him. From there, Swatton became Day’s golf coach, mentor, close friend and full-time professional caddie. Jason Day is now one of the top-ranked golfers in the world with a family of his own and the admiration and affection of his peers.
After I’ve read a self-help book the inspiration and advice usually fade within forty-eight hours. Formulaic self-help exercises quickly become dry practices that yield little or lasting benefits. I picked up a few Wayne Dyer books a year ago and two things became immediately clear: (1) Wayne has a lot of nice things to say and (2) I could not practice or live what Dyer says if I tried for a million years.
So what does it take to move forward, achieve, and grow? To amplify what I said earlier, it takes a special personal relationship. It is a relationship that always accepts and honors who you are and where you are. It can be a parental, mentoring, teaching, romantic, or friend to friend relationship. In the case of the first three, the relationship begins with the child, mentee, or student receiving more at first. I’ve learned that over time the best of these relationships blossom into mutuality where both parties reap significant rewards. There’s an energy and information exchange in these relationships; call it love, call it caring and concern, call it chemistry. Whatever it is, it’s a radiant, magic elixir. It produces extraordinary human beings; some famous and others who live and work quietly outside of the limelight.
The transmission of an awakened human being can be life transforming and life enhancing. It is like cosmic orange juice–a vitamin for the soul, water for the seed, nectar for a heart thirsty for joy, wholeness, well-being and fulfillment.
“As [students] lose more conceptual, belief-based faith in their old pursuits, the pilot light of their intrinsic being becomes more accessible to the catalytic heat of our transmission. With a sufficient exposure to that energy, Being itself is then able to initiate the awakening and transformational process within the individual. The results are no less profound than that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.”
One of the major obstacles to personal and spiritual growth is an inability to admit that we need something outside of oneselves to truly activate and accelerate the process of self-realization. That something is hard to define and harder still to find. We can admit that we need family, friends, a spouse or boy/girlfriend. We can accept the help of a trained mental health counselor when our limited internal and external resources are not enough to meet the difficulties life hurls at us. Yet it usually takes a rare form of desperation to seek the help and wisdom of a spiritual teacher.
It is only when everything else fails to satisfy that we are ready to go beyond the boundaries of convention and delve into the realm of the Spirit.
This point of extreme desperation is the beginning. It may require a change from one teacher to another. The deep need for spiritual nourishment may begin with curiosity and deepen with time, perhaps lifetimes, until the time is right to dive deeply. You may audition innumerable teachers and philosophies until you walk into the right room. Once you walk through that door, however, it soon becomes clear that what you hear and feel are what you are looking for. The transmission and the words fit like a glove—perfect for your needs. In time, you won’t hear everything that you want to hear, but that is another stage of the process.
I am grateful to have found in bountiful measure the cosmic orange juice that my heart craves. May it be so for you.
Blessings on your journey.
In my last blog, I promised to write more about my residential retreat with Saniel and Linda Groves-Bonder at their home in Sonoma, California. I left you and me hanging on the question whether I would have enough to talk about during my two-day retreat. It turns out my fear was almost groundless. I did run out of “personal stuff” to bring forward, but it didn’t matter. We filled the space by working on two projects I’m doing with Saniel and Linda, and by simply being together in simple, every-day terms.
For instance, I volunteered to drive Saniel into Sonoma to do some errands, including buying cat food and six rather large sacks of bird seed. Linda likes to feed the birds—every one of them, it seems, living in Sonoma County and beyond. I can imagine word of mouth traveling at warp speed within the aviary community about delicious, free food.
Have you ever been inside a hay/grain/birdseed store? Not this city slicker. I had only been to the main “drags” in town. Saniel helped me to experience Sonoma from a resident’s point-of-view. It’s a quaint country town with a population of only 10,400. Let me add, I gave myself a few extra days to explore some of the surrounding cities. I found Sausalito to be the most interesting of these. It’s a beautiful town overlooking the San Francisco Bay with lovely homes terraced into the hills and populated by artists, musicians, New-Age thinkers, and other adventuresome souls. The more conventional residents were probably working in nearby San Francisco somewhere across the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather in northern California at this time of year can only be described as “glorious and majestic.”
Pardon my digression.
I become really happy around Saniel and Linda thanks to their powerful transmissions. During our time together, we laughed, worked hard, and had lots of fun. There was a bonus event (for me) on Sunday called “a sitting” where Saniel and Linda hosted nine local people for a two-hour session of meditation and sharing.
After these two and a half days, I’m cooked. I can’t say if I’m rare, medium, or well-done. I just know I’m cooked and it’s a good thing.
While meditating at the Sunday morning sitting an image came to me: hands knitting golden threads into a golden rope. The image suggested to me a certain perfect harmony that surrounded everything Saniel, Linda and I said and did. There was another entity at work with us, weaving together the strands of our collective efforts into a golden rope. Everything that happened just sort of fell into place, as if by magic. (I know what my next book project will be about. It fell into my lap as lightly as a feather.) The golden rope brought us closer together; more comfortable in our Being and knowing of one another—linked heart-to-heart, now and into the future.
I’m on a Jet Blue flight to San Francisco. The purpose of my journey is a two-day “personal retreat” in Sonoma with my teachers, Saniel and Linda-Groves Bonder. The retreat is part of an intensive ten-month course entitled “The White-Hot Yoga of the Heart.”
I’m concerned about filling the two days with Saniel and Linda with enough meaningful material to discuss. It will be just the three of us. No other students will be present, which is usually the case with the other “in person” retreats and the tele-course seminars. I won’t be able to snooze or go off into my own little world. There will be no opportunities to take “time off” during our sessions. Gulp.
We’ll spend some time working on marketing projects that I’ve initiated and we’ll take a trip to the beach or the mountains. We’ll do some meditation. This still leaves a lot of time to fill in two days, including lunch and dinner.
We’ll talk about “my stuff,” or in more dignified terms, “my process.” As I’ve grown on this path, I’ve become less inclined to talk about myself, yet some self-talk is necessary. It’s a challenge to decide what is worth talking about and what isn’t. I suppose it’s hard to know in advance what to talk about, but it makes sense to come ready with a few notes. When push comes to shove, I think the shotgun approach is the best way to go: just blurt out whatever comes up on the topics I’ve come prepared to discuss. The golden nuggets will spew forth in the midst of the dross.
I’ve learned to try to listen to feedback and not sit there thinking about what to say next. For me, that’s easier said than done.
Lately, I’ve developed the habit of saying succinctly what little I have to say. This new habit only exacerbates the problem of how to fill the time. My teachers are experts in filling the awkward gaps in conversation. Still, I feel responsible for coming to the retreat with enough material to fill the space. I’m not exactly brimming over with material.
I’ll just have to be cool and see what happens. I’ll fill you in on the flight home.
A year after writing Scarlet Ambrosia, I see the story through a different pair of eyes. At the core of the novel is a young man’s struggle with darkness and light. The vampire archetype, I now realize, is a metaphor for my heart’s dream to realize its divine nature. The supernatural powers and ramped up energy level Devon acquires as a vampire make him half-human and half-god, something like the mythological Greek gods. He can choose to use his new powers for good or evil purposes.
*Blog title inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”