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Ask and Ye Shall succeed
I love to help people to create the lives that they love. As I was reflecting on this I recognized that many times in my past I’ve failed in asking for help for myself. I don’t know how this pattern got started, but if I could do something myself, I would just do it rather than “impose” on someone else. On many occasions, after I completed a task alone, others would ask me “why didn’t you call me for help – I would have been happy to help you?”
In my mind, I had created a “story” that included the benefits of doing things myself; “I wouldn’t impose on others, I wouldn’t be disappointed if someone said NO, I didn’t have to look weak or incapable.” How in the world did I learn to create those ideas?
As I analyzed this pattern more, I realized that I wasn’t the only person who felt this way. In looking deeper, I uncovered a fear about possible rejection and separation that many of us share. Author Amanda Palmer, explains it this way; “From what I've seen, it isn't so much the act of asking that paralyzes us--it's what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.”
Have you experienced this fear pattern too?
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Have you ever tried to grow a plant, care for a pet or other living being, or are you a parent or caregiver? If you answered YES, then you know that you have to provide PROACTIVE sustenance and attention in your role as a care giver to be successful. I hope that your efforts are providing you with meaning and satisfaction as you share your love, time, and resources.
What about your relationships with every other living creation in our world – those you know and those you don’t? Do you think about others who you don’t know living on your street, working in your company, living in another country? Do you make judgements about people who are reported on in the news? Do you react to information that you receive about people that you’ve never met personally? Are others influencing you to put your time and energy into caring about what they feel is important?
What if we choose to be PROACTIVE in all situations and tend a garden of relationships ourselves?
I heard a great speaker recently who shared how in the midst of a Storm as in an unexpected terrible situation, it can feel like we’re not going to make it. We can feel ready to give up and wonder “where is God in all of this?” The speaker reminded the audience that only we have the power to choose how to view and react to any situation. As part of that process, we can choose to be a victim and give up or choose to be a victor and survive. It’s a matter of attitude.
Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor and the author of a number of books including “Man’s Search for Meaning”. An incredible storm of injustice and terror was thrust upon Frankl and millions of other Jewish people. None of us, unless you’d actually been there, could possibly imagine what Viktor Frankl and others experienced in Nazi concentration camps. This was a terrible storm filled with horror, pain and suffering. Frankl tells us “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I agree – attitude is vital for survival. Attitude as words, thoughts and emotions, were keys for Frankl in enduring the horrendous situation he was put in.
Growing up as the last of 10 children in my family was fun and chaotic. We didn’t understand the value of listening to each other as children. In fact, we’d often talk over each other in order to tell our funny story, to share our love and support, and to reminisce about experiences of our past. Years later, we have learned to listen more and have gained some wisdom. As journalist Doug Larson points out, "Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk."
As I’ve matured, I’ve learned more about the value of listening as a tool for success and understanding. According to businessman, Bernard Baruch "Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." That’s been my experience and observation as well. The more we listen, the more we understand. The more we understand, the greater the opportunity that we’ll learn something about another person that will reveal a way for us to provide them with something valuable that satisfies a need.
I read a story that Ernest Holmes wrote about praying for another person for good health and freedom from an addiction. Holmes and his friend spent several hours proclaiming out loud the Truth about the other person who was in a different hotel room down the hall. They affirmed that the person was whole and complete, free from addiction, living a peaceful and healthy life. Holmes calls this form of praying, spiritual mind treatment. Holmes would proclaim his truth affirmations for several minutes, then his friend would do the same. They did this for several hours, back and forth until they both believed the truth in the statement. Then, they went to sleep. The next morning, the man with the addiction told them that he felt free and handed them the unfinished bottle of liquor. According to Holmes, the man had remained sober.
I sometimes wonder if my prayers for others work. This kind of story helps me to know that they do. There is an added element that is necessary for prayers to work in accordance with the outcomes that we desire. That’s faith in the power of your prayers. Do you believe that it’s possible for someone to be healed? Do you believe that it’s possible to live in peace with family, friends, co-workers and community? Do you believe that it’s possible to be free with the financial support necessary to live a good life? Do you believe that it’s possible to live an easy and joyful life with fulfilling and satisfying work?
Now that we’re in the midst of the Holiday Season, I can’t help but notice cards, banners, and advertisements all proclaiming a hopeful blessing of Peace on Earth. I stopped to think about what that means. One definition of Peace is “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” I have to be honest – most of what I notice in the world appears busy and rushed rather than quiet and tranquil. Every time I open my email, there are dozens of new messages. When I go onto social media, thousands of connections have posted stories, pictures, opinions and lots of lively activity. As I drove to a recent meeting, horns sounded while all of us crawled through city traffic. There wasn’t anything quiet and tranquil about that experience.
As I looked further for some metaphysical meaning on the concept of Peace, I realized that everything “out there” is simply a reflection of what is going on inside each of us. And, if I want to experience more Peace in my life, I have to choose to allow Peace to be present within me first and then share it with others. Mother Theresa said “Peace begins with a smile.” I like that.