Review: Walking Through Illusion

December 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Book Reviews 

Walking Through Illusion –
By Betsy Otter Thompson

 

“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.

The Personal Development Journey Continues

December 7, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Play by Play 

It is ever so exciting. The Thanksgiving Holiday was a wonderful time spent with my family and so I did have some time away from everything “computer”. However, there was still time for moving forward on my path. The previous week had been spent on writing articles and this week my time turned to more training. I did some training on WordPress Blogs and have, in response to that training, revamped my blog. Although I did lose my “hearts” I believe it has a much more professional look as well as being able to take the first steps towards monetization. (If you don’t know what monetization is click here.)

One of my struggles with this journey has been the balance between doing the job that I always have done in my corporate career and the work it is taking to get my business running. How much energy and dedication do I put into my J.O.B.? With that struggle and question, this week the answer came in a combination of forms. First was a book I have known about for years but have never read. I have had it in my possession since April 2006. During the week off, I downloaded Science of Getting Rich. It was written by Wallace D. Wattles in thesecret1903; published in 1911 and it became the answer to the thoughts and questions I have been putting out there. This book was Rhonda Byrnes motivation behind The Secret. Bob Proctor built a program around this concept. There are other Law of Attraction teachers that quote and mention Wallace D. Wattles as well. Wallace mentions Emerson as one of the philosophers that he pulled his material from. The Science of Getting Rich really is Law of Attraction at its core. What I immediately got from it (and I am still working through it and studying it) dealt with the struggle of working to start this business and still working in the corporate world. The advice from this book was really what I needed to hear.  My summary is

1.   I don’t have to hurry
2.   My actions need to be those pertaining to the work I am engaged in
3.   I must do all that I can do where I am
4.   I must fill the place that I am presently holding
5.   Do not overwork
6.   Do not rush blindly into actions
7.   Be efficient in everything I do
8.   Believe in the truth – to spite appearances

Basically, I had a renewed engagement in my corporate job knowing that my business will take shape as I continue to that the steps that I need to take daily. Those steps may be with my corporate job, those steps may be my business but I will do what I can do every day and do what needs to be done every day and do each thing I do efficiently. It seems somewhat simple but it brought a huge relief.

The next thing that happened as an answer to this struggle and went hand in hand with this book was the reading of a friends blog… Mary Salfi ( Check out her blog here! ) In this blog she is talking about the same material and I took a couple key points away:

1.   Even if you are not in the ideal situation you can get there
2.   That we have things in our life exactly as they need to be

After reading this blog one early morning I did a quick turn into one of my favorite books Notes from the Universe: New Perspectives from an Old Friend by Mike Dooley

What I do, is when I am drying my hair, I will randomly find a page and read it for the day. This particular day, after reading her blog I read the following:

You see, it’s the same

With everything. It must happen in thought first. It must. Even when, especially when, by all outer appearances, your desires seem preposterous.

Anyone can think happy thoughts when they’re happy, wealthy thoughts when they are wealthy, healthy thoughts when they’re healthy.

Your life’s mission was to create the state you’re on now so that you’d have reason to awaken from your slumber. To have dreams worth pursuing and the passion to press on in spite of the conditions surrounding you. To learn you must look beyond your illusions and grasp that your dreams are indeed what’s meant to be.

This is the Holy Grail. Your search is over. Go out on a limb, give it your unending best, and never, ever, ever give up. There haven’t been any accidents, you haven’t made any mistakes, and the perfection is excruciating – you’ll see.

Carry on brave heart.

And then… I received a really nice phone call from a friend in NY who wanted to call and let me know her thoughts on my blog.

lawAll of these things, were to me, clear signs and indications that I am on the correct path, that I continue to do what I am doing each day knowing that I can’t make a mistake and that what I want is there even to spite the appearances, that there is truth in my vision and my desires.