Stories I Tell Myself

Sometimes a day without a blog is like a day without my morning coffee fix.  This is one of them.  A couple of days ago I wrote a blog about kindness.  Today it may be about love but who knows?  If not today, then maybe tomorrow or the next day.

But no, today is about the fake news I tell myself.  This morning I caught myself asking how I would manage to check everything off my daily to-do list.  Christmas is snapping at my heels, there are letters to answer, a birthday present to deliver, a blog waiting to be written, phone calls to return, decisions to be made, business to handle, and the beat just on going.   How ever will I get it all done?  

Well I’ll just do the best I can.  Yeah, but my best could be a lot better.  Uh oh.  I can always be better but I’m not.  That’s a downer if ever there was one.  When will I ever be better?  How will I get there from here and how long will it take? Oh but wait just a minute . . .

Well, I’ll just do the best I can for now.  There may come a time when my best improves, but for today, my best is my best and I’m happy with that, because I know that I have time and room enough to grow into a better version of myself tomorrow.  Ahh.  Now I’m better!  

As a wise person once said to me, “If you could do any better, you would.”  We all would.  We just need to give ourselves the space to dream up a new and better version of ourselves, and in time we will wake up and be surprised that we have morphed into the person of our dreams.  It’s such a gradual process that we may not even recognize the change within ourselves until one day when we look back and say, “Wow!  I’ve come a long way, baby!”  Thank God for that.  And thank God for time, space, room, and a vision to grow into.

While we wait for the great morph event, it is tempting to fall into the guilty trap.  I’m a bad person.  I’m not living up to my potential.  Instead of doing what I should be doing, I’m doing what I shouldn’t.  Guilty, guilty, guilty.  Why is it that forgiveness is so much easier to give to another than to ourselves?  Why do we berate ourselves for our perceived sins and keep ourselves hanging on the guilty hook when we readily and willingly forgive others?  Isn’t God quick to forgive us as we are quick to forgive others?  And yet here we are, continuously hanging onto our perceived wrongdoings in an effort to punish ourselves for our so-called sins.  Oh, please.  

One of my favorite spiritual teachings from A Course in Miracles is that there is no need for forgiveness because we have not done anything wrong.  If we have not done anything wrong, there is nothing to be guilty about, nothing to punish ourselves for, nothing to keep us from experiencing ourselves as anything other than pure, unadulterated love.  It may sound blasphemous, but it is we ourselves who have made up the fake news that we tell ourselves, and who believe our delusions of wrongdoing.  We are the ones with the power to return ourselves to sanity simply by denying the self-created fake news, the part of ourselves that would have us believe that we are less than the Truth of who we are, which is love.

Identify not with the external, personality, ego self that you think you are for it is fake news.  Instead, love yourself as the beautiful soul that you truly are.  Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a world of a soul-identified humanity?  Just as we know that a toddler is destined to grow into an adult, so must we trust and know that day by day, soul by soul, we are changing and growing into the version of ourselves that we are meant to be and we have a front row seat.  Please join the parade of the newly-awakening so that one day we can take a collective look back, and say, “Wow!  We’ve come a long way, baby!”

Ahh.  There you have it.  This blog is about love after all.  It just didn’t quite take the form that I thought it might.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Oh and by the way—I just crossed one to-do off todays list and made space for the next thing.  Hmm—what will be next?  A letter perhaps, or a phone call, or check all of the above?  Has my best just gotten a little better?  I think maybe so.  Yay me and hallelujah!  I’ve come a long way, baby!

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

Goodbye to Guilt – Again

I must really be on a crash course on guilt-free living because apparently, it was the subject of my last blog written a couple of weeks.  That blog seems so far in the distant past that I forgot all about it, until I did a quick blog review, yet here I am again, still chipping away at the same old subject.  I guess I must still have a lot to learn, because I have given myself yet another opportunity to practice what I preach.  If you’re sick of reading about the subject of guilt, quick—push delete.  If not, check out Inching Toward Freedom and read on.

Yesterday was a useless, do nothing sort of day that highlighted my lifelong tendency to enjoy life in the leisure lane and take care of business whenever the mood strikes.  It was a day when I heard a few words emerge from my mouth that I later regretted.  They weren’t the kind of negative, damaging, words that would slice through someone’s heart had they been heard, but still, they were not words worthy of a soul seeking to understand, heed, and express the concept of living a life of harmlessness.  

It was the kind of day that invited guilt to move in and wipe out whatever enjoyment I might have experienced in my leisure.  Guilt—the master thief of peace of mind.

This morning I woke up with the realization that I did not do anything wrong or guilt-worthy, but rather, I did something that I would think twice about doing again.  It was a lesson, another learning opportunity to give me a choice about how and who I choose to be in this life.  It was another chance to practice self-forgiveness and have compassion for my still-human ways rather than contempt.  It offered a ‘what would Jesus do’ moment in which I was given another opportunity to get it right.  Guilt—the master teacher of how to turn sins into blessings.

Guilt and sin are partners in the creation of insidious treachery that ruins the health and well-being of body, mind, and soul.  They hide out deep within the psyche and strike when least expected, catching the vulnerable victim off guard, sending them into a downward spiral of negativity.  I did something wrong, bad, unforgivable, I am a flawed human being, I deserve to be punished.  I am a sinner therefore I am not worthy of happiness, or joy, or the  love of God or anyone else.  

Sin is a devastating word, in and of itself a guilt-producer.  I prefer to use the word mistake instead.  Is that a cop out?  Am I letting myself off the guilt hook by telling myself that I made a mistake rather than a sin?  Maybe.  Sometimes it’s easier to correct a mistake than it is to forgive a sin.  For that reason, I’ll always employ my lazy nature and take the easy way out. 

The benefit of my do-nothing, lazy, selfish yesterday screams loudly in my ear.   It gave me a reason to get up, get moving, and do better today than I did yesterday.  It also gave me something to blog about after a two-week hiatus.    With patience, diligence, and maybe a little help from my unseen friends, this will be the last blog I’ll ever be writing on the subject of guilt.  

It seems to me that the extent to which I indulge in guilt is directly related to the extent to which I am practicing self-harmfulness. No thanks. I’d rather indulge myself in love and practice the art of harmlessness for all instead. I’ll keep working on it.

Inching Toward Freedom

Are you a guilt producer?  Wait—what?  What’s your definition of a guilt producer?  Well, the way I see it, there are two kinds of guilt.  There’s the guilt that’s heaped on us by outside sources, like a mother, or kids, or maybe the church.  Then there’s the inside guilt, the stuff that encompasses all of the self-perceived faults and flaws of the soul—all committed by an imperfect self who should-have, shouldn’t-have done, the self that finds fault over every tiny little oopsie and risks annihilation by self-judgment.  Sometimes, guilt is buried so deep that we don’t even know that it’s there until we find our heads buried in a plate of spaghetti with meatballs.

I realize, of course, that small libraries could be filled to overflowing with volumes written on the subject of guilt, but in the interest of an 800-word-or-less blog, I’m opting for the Reader’s Digest version, aka, my own less-than perfect unprofessional interpretation of the subject.  I learn by experience, and trust me, where guilt is concerned, I’ve produced a ton of that.

Personally, I have managed to become fairly immune to the outside stuff, but it’s the inside stuff that can still catch me off guard—the self-produced kind of should-have, could-have, did, or didn’t do sort of guilt.  The origin of guilt is not important, except that guilt in any form or from any source produces the tendency toward self-punishment, the result of which varies according to individual tastes and preferences.  

My particular form of punishment often appears as crippling self-doubt that typically results in procrastination and lowered feelings of self-worth.  The sure-fire antidote to my self-induced suffering leads me down a well-worn path straight to the refrigerator.  It used to be the wine bottle, but I gave that up a few years ago.  Now it’s the spaghetti.  Or worse.

Over time, my guilt production level has dropped from a ten to about a two or three.  I’m not home free yet, but I’m making great progress.  The key is to recognize the devil when I see it, and nip it in the bud before I beat a path to the fridge and dive into the ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and side of caramel sauce.  It requires vigilance.  Guilt is insidious.  It sneaks up while you’re looking the other way.  Beware.

It is here that I want to let you in on a little secret that I have recently discovered and am working to incorporate into my awareness and make a permanent part of my life.  It’s the discovery of a lifetime.  If I were out to make money by selling a product or service on my blog, I’d be selling like crazy here—you know—“This amazing discovery will change your life, this little secret is the key to happiness, it’s all you’ll ever need to know, blah, blah, blah.”  You’ve heard it all.  Nope I’m giving this one away for free, right here, right now.  So here it is.  Free.  My gift to you.  Ready?  Hang on because here goes . . .

Be who you are.  Be true to yourself. Whatever you choose to do is fine.  You are perfect exactly as you are.  Do whatever makes you happy.  You are doing the best that you can right here, right now.  Listen to your heart. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by the opinions of others. There is no need to change or do anything differently because you are already doing what you are meant to be doing.  Every so-called mistake is an opportunity to learn a lesson and make a correction the next time.  There is no need for guilt because there is nothing that you have done wrong. You are now and ever will be free.

I know—it’s pretty hard concept to swallow.  It might even be a touch guilt-producing to think in such a way.  Ludicrous. Hedonistic.  Blasphemous.

Still—give it a try, if only for a minute, if that’s all you can manage.  It’s such a new way of thinking that it’s going to require practice, but you’ll never know the freedom inherent within a guilt-free existence until you try it out for yourself.  It might seem like an impossible dream, but like anything else, anything worth having is worth working toward.  By the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch.  Think of what it would be like to live in a world without guilt.  

It’s a lofty and magnificent goal, a gift you give yourself, and to others in your life.  You’ll never know until you try, and experience it for yourself—if only for a minute.  By the inch, it’s a cinch.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)