Life has had many changes for me. As I looked at how to work on finding the balance and joy from life as I have hit many bumps in the road emotionally; I knew I wanted to start up blogging again. What I contemplated was whether to start completely over or to continue here. As I look at my old (WAY old by the way!) posts I believe that the story this blog shows is telling.
I have been one that wants true authenticity. If I started blogging somewhere else in more of a hidden manner that goes against what my heart believes. Is it scary? It really, truly is… Very Scary.
My biggest change; my husband and I separated and then divorced after being together for 19 years. That is a long time to be with someone. This was final in September of 2014. The year up to and including this period of time has been very much a roller coaster ride.
Now it is time to create the life that I want. This life includes my beautiful daughter and working to ensure she has stability and feels nothing but love. This life includes my work, the career of being a leader in the chaotic corporate world and leading others to find balance and joy amidst that environment. This life also includes ME. I have often put ME, last. As I did this, I found myself in situations that I stayed in without thoroughly thinking through.
Welcome to 2014 — Time for renewal – for clear intentions and lots and lots of joy and love!
“All my decisions had brought me growth in one way or another. I learned that taking responsibility for the love, or the lack of love in my life, was the tool through which to create a different experience.”
“Where once I’d been dealing with guilt, I was finding growth; where once I’d been dealing with hate, I was finding compassion; where once I’d been feeling resentful, I was feeling autonomous.”
When I first picked up this book, my first thought was “uh oh”… I often shut down when I hear or see something I consider “religious”. This is something I am learning to be more open minded and tolerant of. Reading this book gives me even more evidence that I should be more open and and a push to be less judgmental! Had I missed out reading this book because of an initial judgment that it was religious I would have been the one that missed out.
As my aim is to do things Right From the Heart, her preface captured my full attention with the first sentence. Betsy Otter Thompson’s first words of the Preface are “The heart is a magical organ.” She goes on to describe how she feels our hearts work independent from our body system. This book is basically her conversation with Jesus made through her heart. She indicates that she “opens her heart, receives a feeling, and lets that feeling express.” Do not expect the book to be historically accurate as that is not the purpose. The book takes and discusses topics; twenty-three of them in total. At the end of each chapter there are a set of questions that deal with the topic just read often leading you to think through something about yourself. After these questions there are some more that lead you to evaluate yourself even more. And at the very end she ends with her own personal insight and what she learned working through the particular topic. This book takes you on an internal spiritual journey that provokes emotions, thoughts and an analysis of yourself.
The title: Walking Through Illusion; refers to the idea that all we have around us is an illusion. It is a life we are living; but we only experience things as we assign meaning to it and that’s it… by changing the meaning we assign the experience we can completely alter our lives. This makes whatever we are dealing with – only an illusion. As she (and Jesus) describe in her book, we are actors working through lessons that we chose to learn and work through prior to entering this specific life. “They were illusionary experiments to expand our hearts so that when we left these dramas, we had the needed emotion for the next performance taking our hearts even deeper.”
I loved all of the chapters, they were all thought provoking; however, I thought I would discuss at a high level a few of my favorites.
Obstacles: What obstacles stymie growth?
“Obstacles enter your life when you deprive others of what you think you deserve.”
This chapter deals with obstacles, whether that be illness or lacking – basically any dis-ease. The key is to realize that all obstacles, no matter what they are – are emotional. This gets back to the illusion again, they aren’t something “out there” they are “in here” and all obstacles offer some type of personal development. Everything offers some type of positive outcome in the end.
Opinions: Can we control our opinions?
Bottom line, this chapter says you respect other’s opinions when you respect your own. As one fault finds; this puts our focus on the thing that is negative and it hurts and it also will cause the mirror to reflect on ourselves what we are inflicting on others. If we find ourselves in judgment it is important to focus on finding who it is we ourselves are judging. This chapter also dealt with blaming; how we often blame our parents. We can’t change our past, but we can change our future thus it is important that we look and decide where we want our future to go. Even if those we are blaming change that will not change our problems, it will improve their life, not ours. We can only deal with us, our emotions and what we-ourselves are dealing with.
Advice: Whose advice is worthy?
“Trust that you are everything you need to be. Trust that life has meaning. Trust that goals have purpose, trust that ‘being’ is enough.”
Because I often get defensive when others try to give me advice (more so for those that are closer to me – like my husband!) this chapter hit home. This chapter points out that we are always mirroring our own behavior. Thus I was urged to look at my own life and understand how often I offer unsolicited advice. Understanding that if I focused on giving others support and only offering advice if asked that I would break through the illusion of having others offer their unsolicited advice. I now see a very interesting illusion in our family. Between my daughter and husband, they are both telling each other how and when and why to do things and I am left out of most of this interaction.
Hearts (of course!): What constitutes a big heart?
“An obsession with the picture to the exclusion of his heart created a mind out of sync with its purpose. A mind out of sync with its purpose created a body out of sync with its purpose. A body out of sync with its purpose had no reason for being.”
This chapter spoke to purpose and legacy, which, is at the top of my list of topics (am teaching it at CFU) so this chapter also resonated with me. It is important to look at the different legacies we want (and perhaps do not want) to leave. I took away from this chapter that it is important to appreciate life and that our bottom line purpose is to look for personal growth and development within our own lives.
Betrayal: Why is betrayal so painful?
“Betrayal is an act of doing in a way you’d hate to be done to.”
My notes from this chapter: If I am resenting others, I am resenting myself. If I resent myself others will resent me. If I resent myself resentment poisons the mind. If it poisons the mind it will poison the body. Basically outward actions reflect an inward action. Betsy’s personal notes captured much of what I felt as well. When you hear the word betrayal you picture something quite bad, but betrayal is basically doing things to others that you do not want done to you… thoughts, judgements, laughs, snickers and any other minor offense counts.
Bottom line – READ THIS BOOK!!!!
About the Author: A native Philadelphian with a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Betsy worked as an account executive for WFIL radio in Philadelphia, and from there went to radio stations WPEN and WFLN. After that, she became a commercial print model and acted in television commercials in New York and Philadelphia. For seventeen years, she worked in Los Angeles at the motion picture and television company Castle Rock Entertainment as the Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In August ’99, she followed her boss to Warner Bros. as he took a new position there as President and COO, and became his Executive Assistant. She is now writing full time. Betsy’s writing began unexpectedly while going through an especially difficult time in her life. She believes that her books were the answer to her prayers.
I do love Thanksgiving – it is cool to see everyone giving gratitude for things in their life. I know it is important for us all to do this everyday and I do, every morning I spend 5 minutes giving gratitude for the awesomeness that is my life, but I still love the extra love in the air around this holiday. If just FEELS good.
We have found a very comfortable routine for the holidays. A routine on where we go, who comes over here and what we do on each of the holidays around my divorced parents. We are fortunate that we have only these two local family obligations. And it doesn’t feel like an obligation. At least until one particular “newer” family member – gets angry that we aren’t doing something they want us to do.
I don’t want to feel guilty. I refuse to feel guilty. My life is different today. I do things that I love, things that make me comfortable, things that make me happy. Our lives are busy, it is important that we ensure that we arent doing things out of obligation but because it makes us happy. I want to be me, I want to be around others that I am comfortable with during the special times of the holiday. I do not want to be crazy busy only to make everyone happy. Our holidays should be filled with love, with beauty and with enjoyment.
How do we tell those that we love that we don’t want to be with them? How do you make someone understand that just because you don’t want to do what they want you to do, that you care deeply about them?
My answer, show the love. Ensure you do what you need to do for you and show others that you love them. To spite their anger, show them you love them. Be strong, Be you, Be happy – and do it in love. If we act Right From The Heart, it can’t be wrong!!