A GREAT Palm Sunday to you. You received a pussy willow stem this morning, honoring the custom of Ukraine, in place of Palms. Just one more way we are showing our support for those folks fighting for their freedom, something we often take for granted.
Rev. Mark Anthony Lord’s book, “Thou Shall Not Suffer – 7 Steps to a Life of Joy,” has given has many ideas to ponder and some helpful exercises and suggestions to improve the amount joy in our lives.
We have talked about “Getting a New God,” “Forgiving Yourself & Others,” “Love Yourself Madly,” and “Surrender” last week.
Your ‘homework’ was to fire your old God and then hire a new one in your 1st week. Then you were given the task of creating the 70 X 7 Forgiveness Circle…how did that go?
The third week was all about loving yourself, and Deepak Chopra showed us 7 ways that loving yourself actually means and we followed that with 15 way to love ourselves.
Week Four had us looking at what we wanted and we had a couple of exercises to find out about that.
Last week we looked at what surrender actually means on a spiritual level, and you were asked yourself to list your expectation for all your family, friends and co-workers.
And just for fun, what are your expectations for yourself?? Add that to your list of exercises to do.
Now, on to our discussion for this week, “Generously Receive”.
Why do you think Rev. Lord is talking about Receiving before Giving?
Not that hard to figure out, really….you can’t give away what you don’t have.
Or as Rev. Lord states it, “You can only give to the extent you can receive.”
Mark gave an example of an older woman who needed help after surgery. SO friends and family brought meals, walked the dog, mowed the yard, drove her to her appointments and all the time she would say, “Oh, you don’t have to do that” or “I’m so sorry for being a burden.” Even after her recovery she still referenced the aid she received with gratitude but also, guilt…”I just felt so bad that people had to go out of their way.”
She, like many of us, struggle with receiving. Giving is so much easier, is it not?
Part of our issue with receiving is we don’t feel we deserve it. Or then we feel obligated to reciprocate.
We have been taught to feel unworthy from an early age, so we deflect compliments, refuse a helping hand and many other ways that the Universe is offering support.
I can give you a personal example…I was a giver, always doing for others and doing things myself. Not generally asking for help. That is until I needed to have my knee replaced. Then I had to learn to receive the assistance into and out of the car, sometimes even up steps, I was working on the yard and my friends came to help finish the rock edging along the side of the yard, another came to massage the leg to help relieve the swelling.
This was just the first step in learning to accept help when I really, really needed it.
There were more to follow, almost as if the Universe was insuring that I got the message…it’s ok to receive assistance, just as its ok to give it.
But sometimes that’s a hard lesson. Instead of receiving the blessings of the Universe, we have been domesticated to make it shameful and embarrassing to need help. Our false sense of strength is, meanwhile, crumbling inside. That old belief, “Only the strong survive” is Old, way outdated.
The new era of being vulnerable and accepting help is smart, honest, and empowering. Honoring your needs and allowing them to be generously met create greater accomplishments and make you feel loved, connected, and cared for.
Being fiercely independent isn’t the name of the game anymore.
Ernest Holmes once said, “You are either attracting or repelling according to your mental attitudes. “
Your mental attitudes of being worthy or unworthy, happy or unhappy, open or closed, trusting or skeptical are all causing your natural ability to receive, expand, or contract.
Admitting our need for help, support, love, care, attention, and guidance is the first step in receiving generously.
Say this affirmation: As a child of God, I am a divine creation, worthy of all good.
Our ego refuses to admit it has needs. Thinking like, “I don’t need you!” Or, “Forget it! I’ll do it on my own!” are rebellious stances out of fear and false pride. They block our receiving and we suffer.
Here are some more rebellious statements that come from ego: “I can’t find anyone to help me;” “I’ll just do it myself;” “There’s no solution;” “I know he’ll forget to do it;” “I’m sure she won’t remember she said she’d help;” and the biggie, “I always attract losers.”
These diminishing phrases block our ability to see and receive solutions.
Any sound familiar?
In order to receive, we need to become comfortable with this truth: YOU NEED. You need all day long. We all do. It is our nature to need and then to have our need fulfilled by receiving. It is a circle of life—need it, receive it, fulfill it, and then start all over again.
Here’s the reading I choose for today:
I am worthy.
Perhaps I feel that I am not worthy of some good that I truly desire. I may have let seeming mistakes or harsh judgments of me by others cause me to be self -critical. To begin feeling worthy, I must believe in my true self, that worthy person that I was created to be.
What is there that is inherently good about me? I am a spiritual being, for Gods spirit of life and wisdom is within me. Knowing my worthiness does not make me feel better than anyone else, for I also know that the spirit of God is within each person. When I feel worthy, I know that I am a divine creation, and I can recognize everyone else as such.
If someone in the past has labeled me unworthy, I now know that this is not true. When I get in touch with who I really am a spiritual being I begin to think, talk, and act according to the best that is within me. I am worthy of expressing and receiving the goodness of God, and I do.
We are worthy of God’s love and help
So if we have determined that we are worthy, then why are we not receiving all the gifts our Creator has for us, just waiting for the asking?
Obviously, we block the receiving. We place limits on how we will receive, who will be giving to us what we need. But not only that, we say who, what, when, where and how!!!
You have probably done it too. You have the idea of what you perfect mate should look like, what their job is, even what car they drive!!
Or maybe it’s actually the car you’re dreaming about, a specific make, model, color, engine size, the color of the interior….every possible detail. What if the perfect car comes along, everything you have on your list but in interior color scheme? Do you take it?
There’s a story of a woman making a vision board, looking for her perfect mate. She had all the pictures and words cut out of magazines and made up her board and then placed it at the perfect place to see daily. A few months later, she found a man who looked just like the one in the picture, and they got together. Later she discovered he was an alcoholic….the picture had him holding a can of beer.
Watch what you wish for!
Maybe it would be prudent to let the who, the how, the when to the Universe. There are many channels from which our good may come to us. But our source is always from God. It can look like the job, our family, one of our friends…but it’s always God.
“I believe and am open to receive.” And then be open and watch what happens. You must believe.
Here are some other thoughts for you to help you know yourself, and what you want, and how to be a better person.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Part of our problem is the common tendency to have unrealistic expectations. There’s nothing wrong with having an ideal scenario or outcome, but overly lofty goals or hopes when you have a hard time controlling the outcome is self-defeating behavior.
People can become quickly discouraged and frustrated, thinking they have failed when they haven’t or given up when they’ve just lost steam.
We often have expectations of other people, and when they fail to meet them, we become frustrated, hurt, or angry. You can’t control others, so manage your mental health by releasing expectations that others resist.
2. Find Your Inner Peace
If you’ve watched high-tension action movies or cooking shows, there’s a lot of multi-tasking and intensity. But the people seem relatively calm, even with all the chaos and tension.
Achieving that equanimity in high-stress situations is difficult but not impossible. Many people use meditation as a daily practice that helps them reach that center of calmness.
You can also spend quiet time in nature or even take a few minutes for mindful breathing to find your source of inner peace.
The more you practice, the easier it will be to return to that source during times of stress.
3. Develop Clarity of Thought
To have a healthy mindset, you need to think clearly. Confused, unrealistic, or negative thoughts hinder your progress in achieving your goals. If you can think clearly, you can plan clearly and manage your time and resources better.
To practice greater clarity, look at a situation first using the facts and ask yourself, “What is true about this?” and “How do I think and feel about this?”
Be clear on the outcomes you want to achieve, and regularly check to ensure your actions lead you to the results you want.
Also, monitor what you put into your mind that could impact your clarity of thought. Reading or listening to negative information that can distract or discourage you doesn’t contribute to a healthy mindset.
4. Strengthen Your Concentration
Concentration is just as crucial as calmness. You need it to honor your goals and dreams. But to concentrate, you need to pay attention and focus for long periods.
Our digital distractions and overscheduled lives make it difficult to focus. It’s up to you to manage these distractions to build concentration.
Meditation can help strengthen your focus muscle. So can activities and games that require sustained focus. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and even listening to classical music can help.
5. Practice Courage and Determination
When you think about courage, you might believe it means having no fear in the face of danger. That’s simply not true. Courage means acting despite fear.
Otherwise, fear controls you and won’t let you push through. Fear can appear as an anxious thought or a full-blown panic attack, but the result is the same. You resist, procrastinate, or passively allow an opportunity to pass by.
Determination is a character quality that allows you to push past fear. You have your goal fixed in your mind, and your tenacity and drive overcome the fear of tackling the goal.
It’s daunting the first few times you act in the face of fear. But with time and experience, you realize that fear is almost always a smokescreen.
6. Develop a Compassionate Outlook
Compassion is the feeling of concern and care for the suffering of others, even people you don’t know. You feel compelled to alleviate their distress because you are aware of the commonality of the human condition.
You develop a healthy mindset through compassion by connecting to others’ pain, enhancing your resilience.
Compassion also extends to you and your distress. Self-compassion allows you to move past your mistakes and flaws without harsh judgment and self-criticism.
7. Focus on Good Nutrition
Eating should be for pleasure as well as nutrition. Some people take eating as a day-by-day habit, and it’s often the best way to start eating healthier.
Healthy eating improves your physical and mental well-being and contributes to longevity. Simply knowing you are treating your body well by feeding it nutritious meals can improve your self-esteem and confidence.
8. Get Plenty of Restorative Sleep
When you’re young, it’s easier to deal with not getting enough sleep. As you grow older, getting the right amount of good quality sleep can make or break your day.
It’s hard to be positive, focused, and clear-headed when tired and bleary-eyed.
Chronic sleep deprivation has a lasting impact on mental health and can even lead to depression. A healthy mindset requires prioritizing good sleep routines and getting 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
9. Exercise Every Day
Exercise keeps your body healthy, works your heart, develops muscle, and relieves stress. Even the most exercise-adverse can benefit from low-impact cardio, such as using a recumbent bike, which you can do while listening to music or watching tv.
Walking is another easy exercise that you can enjoy outside in nature or indoors on a treadmill for convenience. The best weekly combination of exercise includes strength training, cardio, and stretching.
Best of all are the feel-good chemicals your brain releases while you exercise, including endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. They make you feel happy and get rid of chemicals that make you feel anxious or stressed.
10. Manage Stress
Chronic stress is detrimental to a healthy frame of mind. It leads to mental and physical health problems and makes life feel joyless. It can also negatively impact your relationships.
Some people deal with stress by exercising, but it’s not always possible or desirable to exercise during stressful events.
Even if you exercise regularly, you should have other ways to manage your stress that work in your daily life or at work. Stress balls are a useful tool, as are breathing exercises and short meditation sessions.
Once you alleviate the initial stress, you can try other means, such as talking to a therapist, taking walks, or playing with a pet. The important thing is to address stress as soon as you notice it.
11. Developing Positive Relationships
Having the right people around you is essential to feeling optimistic and confident. You want supportive, healthy-minded people in your life to inspire your growth toward wholeness.
Find people who encourage your journey to a healthy mindset and help you stay with it.
Nay-sayers and toxic people who criticize and put down your ideas and choices will make you feel bad about yourself.
Being with people just for companionship or for fear of being alone can make you accept bad or even abusive behavior. It can take a dramatic toll on your mental health and self-esteem.
As you learn about healthy-minded people, you can decide whether you want someone in your inner circle or even as an acquaintance. It’s good to socialize with many people, but avoid those that make your life worse rather than better.
Having a healthy mentality is not just a trend – it’s a lifestyle. With these healthy mindset tips, you can start practicing positive habits that may turn your life around.
Your exercise for this week is look for ways you are blocking your abundance. Do you push away compliments? Do you make others guess what you need?
Every time you say “no thank you” to someone trying to help you, you really are saying “I can do this alone. I am not open to receive.”