Serenity

 

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

 

A woman becomes calm in the measure that she understands herself as a thought-evolved being. For such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as she develops a right understanding, and sees ever more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, she ceases to fuss, fume, worry, and grieve. She remains poised, steadfast & serene.

 

The calm woman, having learned how to govern herself, knows how to adapt herself to others. And they, in turn reverence her spiritual strength. They feel that they can learn from her and rely upon her. The more tranquil a woman becomes, the greater is her success, her influence, her power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find her business prosperity increase as she develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a woman whose demeanor is equitable.

 

The strong, calm woman is always loved and revered. she is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart? a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those who possess these blessings for they are always serene and calm. That exquisite poise of character that we call serenity is the last lesson of culture. It is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom–more desirable than fine gold. How insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life. A life that dwells in the ocean of truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of the tempests, in the eternal calm!

 

How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life, who are well balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character.

 

Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt. Only the wise woman, only she whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey her.

 

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever you may be, under whatever conditions you may live, know this: In the ocean of life the isles of blessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hands firmly upon the helm of thought. In the core of your soul reclines the commanding Master; she does but sleep; wake her.

Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is  power. Say unto your heart, “Peace. Be still.”

 

Adapted for the impassioned women. Source:  James Allen. As a Man Thinketh.

Emotional dependency means getting one’s good feelings from outside oneself. It means needing to get filled from outside rather than from within. Who or what do you believe is responsible for your emotional wellbeing?

There are numerous forms of emotional dependency:

* Dependence on substances, such as food, drugs, or alcohol, to fill emptiness and take away pain.

* Dependency on processes such as spending, gambling, or TV, also to fill emptiness and take away pain.

* Dependence on money to define one’s worth and adequacy.

* Dependence on getting someone’s love, approval, or attention to feel worthy, adequate, lovable, and safe.

* Dependence on sex to fill emptiness and feel adequate.

When you do not take responsibility for defining your own adequacy and worth or for creating your own inner sense of safety, you will seek to feel adequate, worthy and safe externally. Whatever you do not give to yourself, you may seek from others or from substances or processes. Emotional dependency is the opposite of taking personal responsibility for one’s emotional wellbeing. Yet many people have no idea that this is their responsibility, nor do they have any idea how to take this responsibility.

What does it mean to take emotional responsibility rather than be emotionally dependent?

Primarily, it means recognizing that our feelings come from our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior, rather than from others or from circumstances. Once you understand and accept that you create your own feelings, rather than your feelings coming from outside yourself, then you can begin to take emotional responsibility.

For example, let’s say someone you care about gets angry at you.

If you are emotionally dependent, you may feel rejected and believe that your feelings of rejection are coming from the other’s anger. You might also feel hurt, scared, anxious, inadequate, shamed, angry, blaming, or many other difficult feeling in response to the other’s anger. You might try many ways of getting the other person to not be angry in an effort to feel better.

However, if you are emotionally responsible, you will feel and respond entirely differently. The first thing you might do is to tell yourself that another person’s anger has nothing to do with you. Perhaps that person is having a bad day and is taking it out on you. Perhaps that person is feeling hurt or inadequate and is trying to be one-up by putting you one-down. Whatever the reason for the other’s anger, it is about them rather than about you. An emotionally responsible person does not take others’ behavior personally, knowing that we have no control over others’ feelings and behavior, and that we do not cause others to feel and behave the way they do – that others are responsible for their feelings and behavior just as we are for ours.

The next thing an emotionally responsible person might do is move into compassion for the angry person, and open to learning about what is going on with the other person. For example, you might say, “I don’t like your anger, but I am willing to understand what is upsetting you. Would you like to talk about it?” If the person refuses to stop being angry, or if you know ahead of time that this person is not going to open up, then as an emotionally responsible person, you would take loving action in your own behalf. For example, you might say, “I’m unwilling to be at the other end of your anger. When you are ready to be open with me, let me know. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a walk (or hang up the phone, or leave the restaurant, or go into the other room, and so on). An emotionally responsible person gets out of range of attack rather than trying to change the other person.

Once out of range, the emotionally responsible person goes inside and explores any painful feelings that might have resulted from the attack. For example, perhaps you are feeling lonely as a result of being attacked. An emotionally responsible person embraces the feelings of loneliness with understanding and compassion, holding them just as you would hold a sad child. When you acknowledge and embrace the feelings of loneliness, you allow them to move through you quickly, so you can move back into peace.

Rather than being a victim of the other’s behavior, you have taken emotional responsibility for yourself. Instead of staying stuck in feeling angry, hurt, blaming, afraid, anxious or inadequate, you have moved yourself back into feeling safe and peaceful.

When you realize that your feelings are your responsibility, you can move out of emotional dependency. This will make a huge difference within you and with all of your relationships. Relationships thrive when each person moves out of emotional dependency and into emotional responsibility.

Love your life, body & soul,

Louisa x

Contrary to a widely held belief that people do not change, I know that people do change and often in dramatic, life-altering ways. I say this with full confidence as I have witnessed it happen time and time again. Creating positive change in your life is totally possible. You can change yourself and thereby your life.

When you are fully committed to making changes in your life, it will happen. That commitment, based on a deep desire for growth, is half the journey. Once you have made that choice, one made with total awareness and a honesty of your present reality, you are free to move forward towards a better or even new you.

The one constant in this universe is change. Everything that exists is in a state of change. Ask any quantum physicist. As part of the universe, we are part of that cycle of change. The experiences you have today will impact you in such a way that you will awaken tomorrow changed in some way. Once you have hit your forties or fifties, the kid you were in your twenties is pretty much gone and a wiser you is standing.

Change is desired on a number of levels. In business we might be looking to be a more effective leader or manager in order to increase productivity. That might entail changing how we deal with people by improving our motivation and communication skills. Change might mean a new career, lifestyle or relationship. It might mean building more confidence and self-esteem or learning how to be less aggressive.

Change involves inner work before the outer work can begin. That is always the case.

As Albert Einstein said, “ The significant problems we face cannot be solved on the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Steven Covey, in his critically acclaimed book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, stresses the concept of inner work before outer work or change:

“The inside-out approach to change means to start first with self; even more fundamental, to start with the most inside part of self – with your paradigms, your character and your motives.”

So, if change is to happen and if it is to last, we need to acknowledge that we must take a look at who we are now and who we want to be in the future. We will have to be honest with ourselves and recognize reality as it exists and not as we think it should or could be.

We need to develop a high level of awareness and clarity about everything that we do as all too often, our subconscious tends to run the show and not us. Most importantly, we need to take full responsibility for our lives and not place the blame elsewhere. That also involves giving up the need to control things…except of course, yourself. Until you are willing to do this kind of work, change will not occur, at least not enduring change.

Where are you feeling dissatisfied?

Where are you noticing dissonance in your life?

Where are you feeling stuck?

Identify the issues. Now, recognize exactly where you are and then consider where you would like to be in the future if everything were running smoothly?

If for instance, your sales team is not performing up to budget and you are having a difficult time motivating them towards success, consider what a sales team that is highly motivated and successful would look like.

Consider what your role would be in achieving that goal? Who would you be? How would you function? How would you feel?

The gap between where you are now and where you want to be is where the work will be done.

In Life Coaching I find that your ability to succeed at your job is highly dependent on whether your values and passions are in alignment with your job and it’s requirements.  After some serious inquiry, you might discover the things that are called for in motivating your sales team. Say it will consist of more patience, more enthusiasm, more nurturing and more of a team atmosphere. Are these the kind of things that hold value for you? If not, you will be unable to be effective.

Do the important inner work of discovering who you are now, what matters to you, what you are passionate about and what you place value on.

Are these things showing up for you in your everyday life? If not, there is sure to be dissonance.

If being successful in your work is of great value to you then what are you willing to do and not to do in order to be a success?

Are you willing to make the necessary changes in how you are being?

Are you willing to try something different?

Are the things you need to do aligned with your values and passions?

What are you willing to say yes to and even more important, what are you willing to say no to?

Awareness, as mentioned is of utmost concern when effecting change. When we are living our lives in a state of true awareness then we are truly conscious of our actions, we can free ourselves from reactive, self-defeating behavior and realize our personal best.

Unfortunately, although we may think that we make conscious decisions, in reality our unconscious mind often impacts our behavior and when it does our actions are not truly under our control. We can learn to recognize the unconscious, that part of our mind that has great power over much of our actions without us even being aware of its existence. In doing so, we can diminish its power over us.

As an example, try simply noticing that voice inside your head that gets very chatty whenever you are about to make a decision, especially an important one that could result in change.

Is it telling you that you’re nuts to consider what you are thinking of doing?

Does it say that you failed once before and will probably do so again?

We fail to understand that the voice is out to sabotage us. Just by noticing it you will realize that this inner saboteur is at work. In the act of noticing you begin to empower yourself to make truly conscious decisions that will result in positive and lasting changes in your life.

I have mentioned how changing reactive, self-defeating behavior is key to realizing our personal best.

What is reactive behavior versus proactive behavior?

When you are reacting to life and it’s circumstances you are on the defensive. You are not in control. Life’s circumstances are dictating your behavior and actions versus your being proactive and in control of your actions. There is a good chance that you are being activated unconsciously as well.

Here is an example: Your boss gives you what you consider to be a harsh criticism of your latest report. Your adrenaline rushes and a wave of angry indignation rolls over you. In that emotional state, you are unable to actually hear what he or she has to say because you are already defending yourself. Your response to him is defensive and somewhat irrational.

You cannot control what he/she had to say but you can control how you handle yourself.

Therein lies the key to non-reactive behavior: your ability to handle situations in ways that prove productive versus destructive. Stop and think. Pause. Get your heart rate back to the normal range. Without taking anything personally, was there anything in what he had to say that had merit? Is there some sort of deep learning to be had, either from him or you? Could the perceived harshness perhaps have been amplified by your defensiveness?

“ Being proactive means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.” ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey

Life will always be throwing things our way, much of it unpleasant and challenging. That’s life. We cannot control life but we can control how we handle it. If we are really aware and in tune with what is happening, we can learn not to add meaning to reality where there is no additional meaning needed. For example, in the above situation, you may have reacted because you assumed your boss thought you were in the wrong and therefore not up to stuff. But that was just what you thought he meant. What you think he meant and what he said are often two very different entities. Perhaps all he meant was that your work could have been better and he wanted to steer you in the right direction.

Often, adding meaning where there is none harkens back to childhood. Your Father was always highly critical and you came to believe that this meant that you were a loser and wouldn’t amount to anything. That is the type of meaning a child creates in response to an unpleasant situation.

What really happened is that you had a highly critical father. That’s it.

The most unfortunate part is that this type of reaction to criticism will often be carried into adult hood and anytime criticism is leveled at you, you respond with your childhood reaction: I am a loser. The ability to control reactive behavior and see things for just what they are can make a world of difference in your life.

Finally, a word about perspective or attitude. How we view the world or any given situation will dictate our effectiveness and our state of mind. Change your attitude and you not only change the way you see things, you will change your reality. If you approach your work/life as being tough, that perspective will trickle down into everything you do. Try a new perspective on, one that will work in accordance with your goals and desires.

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
William James/US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist.

Inner work means that we are laying the foundation for a mindset that allows us to make lasting changes that will create a more meaningful, productive and happy life.

Once the inner work is done, the outer changes will compound like bank interest.

Your authenticity will shine and people will be drawn to this new you. You will view everything that happens as an opportunity for growth and grow and change you will. The work you do and its subsequent benefits will spread into all areas of your life, not just the ones that you may have originally pinpointed. The vision you held of the will become your reality now.