This is a revisit to Inner Life and Soul: Musings of Life and What Matters. I wrote this post originally November 23, 2014, and decided to revisit it now a year and a half later to see if things are any different for me. First, I will let you read it and then I will let you know what has changed for me since it was written. Susan…
Inner Life and Soul: Musings of Life and What Matters
In my musings on life and what truly matters in our inner life and soul one of the biggest questions was “Who am I?” That is what led to my journey to get in touch with who I was. There was a time when I identified as nurse, mom, wife, woman and chauffeur. But I didn’t really know who “I” was. Everyone gave me an identity that involved my relationship with them. However, when I was alone those things I was identified with didn’t work for me. I gave so much of myself away that I didn’t really know who I was when I was alone or by myself. This knowledge left me empty and longing to start the journey to know myself alone or my inner life and soul without all the labels that society and others put upon me.
So my journey into my life and inner soul and my identity began. I realized why I felt so alone even in a crowded room. It was because my inner self was alone and lonely. I felt different. I was in a marriage with someone who was an alcoholic. I had two stepchildren with limited relationships and one child of my own from our marriage. Day after day our lives were filled with chaos and discontent. There just didn’t seem to be enough of me to go around. Everyone wanted and needed something from me but I never took any time for myself. Therapists call this a lack of self-care. This lack of self-care left me with a dilemma. How could I care of my inner soul if I didn’t know who I was? There was a good list of 12 Steps for Self Care from Pinterest.com that I have included below.
I was not practicing most of what was listed. I did know in my gut when something was wrong and most of the time didn’t do it (#1). I tried to trust my instincts or my gut when I was aware of them (#4). I was not afraid to say “No” when it came to my children although it made me feel guilty when I did. I often said “No” to myself. But I rarely said “No” to my spouse or other adults (#7 ). I often said “Yes” but probably for the wrong reasons (#8). I was not KIND to myself often putting myself down for what I did or said (#9). I was not able to let go of what I couldn’t control…my alcoholic and the chaos it included (#10). I was definitely a people pleaser (#3). I often spoke negatively about myself to others and in my head (#5). I was not able to say “exactly” what I meant (#2). I had given up on my dreams so long ago that I couldn’t remember what they were (#6). I LOVED or at least felt like I did but it didn’t always feel like love (#12). And oh the drama in my life and the negativity were in abundance (#11). So I began daily to concentrate on this list and tried to practice these steps daily. I wasn’t perfect at this but I slowly began to care for myself becoming more positive with less negativity and drama. Practice does make perfect and today I stay in the present rather than the past or future, I like being in the “now”. Life is simpler that way.
As you look at your life and inner soul today how are you at your self-care and knowing who you are? Are you able to stay “present” in your life and know what really matters? If not, know that with some knowledge, support and love for yourself that you can begin to practice living life the way it is meant to be lived. In an article written recently in Tiny Buddha ,”Simple Reminders to Focus on What Matters in Life” by Shannon Kaiser , she reminds us to make time count by staying in the present; choosing to be happy now; loving more deeply and believing in miracles. You can be that “miracle”. Have the courage to change what you can control (yourself) and practice what Maya Angelo said…”If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” It is possible to change by paying attention to your inner soul. You can do it. I know you can because I did.
So my answer to the question of “Who am I?” is that I am a work in progress. As I look at the self-care list today, I am much more forgiving of myself and others. I am much less rigid in my rules and limits. I trust myself more and I trust others more. Oh, I do have my days, but most of my days are good ones and getting better as each one passes and if I fall down, I get right back up. I don’t try to be perfect anymore. Nobody is except God, of course, and He is the One who is best at that. I just practice the Serenity Prayer one day at a time and handle life one day at a time. That is all I have to handle. Today.
Easter is coming this weekend and I wanted to wish you Easter Blessings. Although today is Good Friday when the Lord was tried and beaten, and Saturday marks the day of His crucifixion, the story didn’t end with His death. On Sunday, He was not found in the tomb where He had been placed and the Disciples found that Jesus had Risen again defeating sin and death. In celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection, I wanted to share some positive and uplifting inspiration with you, about you.
I pray that you have a Blessed Easter Weekend. Remember that you are someone special and Christ died for you. Also, remember to pray for Brussels, the people that died and were injured as well as their families and friends.
Today, I was going to do my usual Weekend Coffee Share but then decided to write on Love and Valentines. I listened to the sermon from my old church in Florida via my computer this morning and my pastor was preaching about LOVE. This was the type of love that Jesus and God believe in…”loving your neighbor” love. With Lent just starting this last Wednesday for 40 days preparation for Easter, what would it be like to love one another for 40 days?
Bear with me as I express my Christian views about love since it is Valentine’s Day. I do this not because I want to convert you from your own religion because I believe that LOVE is part of all religions of the universe. It is just that I can only speak honestly with integrity from my experience which is Christian.
1st John 3:11 says,
“11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
and verses 18-22 say,
“18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”
“21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.”
So love is more than just Valentine romantic love but love even of those who we do not particularly like. It is a love of compassion toward others being able to see them through God’s eyes…to see beyond their sin. To care for them and love them and show compassion toward even the loveless. That is what is called for.
I want to challenge you to look at love differently during this next 40 days of Lent. Look at love as God looks at it and calls us to love…with compassion and understanding. That doesn’t mean that we have to love their sin. No. But see beyond the sins as God does and love the person beyond the sin as God would. Show your love and compassion through your actions toward them. Pray for them. Offer assistance to them. Support them financially if needed. Open your heart to them. See them as God sees them.
After 40 days, see if you don’t experience love differently. See if you don’t see that love is a 24/7 action 365 days a year and not just one day, Valentine’s Day commercialized by society to make money.