Christian Faith, biblical principles Personal Growth

Peace Of Mind: Thoughts vs “Thinking”

Lots to share this week, folks so best to make yourself comfy and settle in with your favourite snack or beverage.

We are now in the 5th week of physical distancing measures due to COVID19 here in Toronto and, like many people, I’ve had a lot of extra time to consider what this unprecedented time in our history is meant to teach me. During this time, I’ve realized that, in order to know the difference between the chatter of my own confused mind and that of the truth of my inner wisdom,  I have to be still and listen for that inner voice. 

To that end, I’ve been pondering many things this week and asking for clarity on what I should really be doing with this time. 

When the initial shock of the COVID19 news wore off and I began to recover from the severe attack of vertigo I experienced for the first two weeks, I dove into things like focusing on how to rebuild my business; organizing and cleaning my house; developing a better self-care routine and providing resources to help others build resilience. While all of this is a really healthy response to the immediate situation, I couldn’t help but wonder about the future… about what I should be preparing for when the world goes back to “normal”. 

Which begs the question:

What will “normal” actually look like and how do we prepare for that?

For those of us who are staying in touch with our friends/social groups and sharing our thoughts and information about what effect COVID19 will have on our society in the future, I think we have all heard the phrase “new normal” thrown around here and there. 

New Normal

I feel this is a very important thing for all of us to consider because the longer this goes on, the more humans and industries will be forced to adapt and I believe we may not be able to or, in some cases, even want to go back to “normal” once physical distancing measures are lifted.

I’m not going to go into my personal beliefs about what the future may hold but, rather, I’ll touch on what I am beginning to understand about what I need to figure out in order to move forward with integrity and peace of mind.

Which brings me to a few things that have influenced my thinking this week: 

Love God, Love Others

Very simply, this is the Golden Rule. You don’t need to believe in God to know that practicing selflessness and love for others is the thing we need now, more than ever. The entire earth is affected by this crisis and we are all being challenged to the core, in one way or another. Each day, we come face to face with the realities of what it looks like when we do not make selflessness and love for others our priority. I don’t need to spell this out for you. You have undoubtedly experienced this for yourselves.

Repair & Build Ourselves

Similar to what we are noticing about the realities of our love for each other (or lack thereof), this crisis is also revealing our own flaws and shortcomings. As much as I like to think that I’m a good person with good intentions, I can’t help but notice some of my more selfish survival instincts taking over, from time to time. Take it from someone who wrestles with this on a moment by moment bases, it is not always easy to be “good”, which is why it is important to look at our flaws clearly and commit to doing better. We must seek to repair what is broken in our lives and in our families and re-build from a new foundation. In fact, I believe that the one great gift that COVID19 has given us it that it has shaken the old foundation to its core. We may stand to loose a lot but the silver lining is that we now have an AMAZING opportunity to hit the “reset” button and start fresh and I, for one, am very grateful for that. 

Master of One

This is the title of a great book I’m reading called “Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do” by Jordan Raynor. It’s written for entrepreneurs who are seeking to find the “one thing” they have been called to do as a vocation. I’m only a few chapters in but what it has taught me so far is that our “one thing” is found at the intersection of what we are passionate about, what innate gifts we have been given and what opportunities are available to us.

As someone who has always worn so many hats and who has her hand in a lot of things, I have always felt fragmented, overwhelmed and unable to really succeed financially in any one of these things. What master of One has helped me to discover is that my calling isn’t about one specific business or another. My calling is much broader than that. This means that it makes perfect sense that I might be gifted in certain areas or be passionate about any number of “businesses” but in order for me to decide if they are my calling is whether or not they share my “one thing” in common. I’m still in the process of working through the book but so far, I’m getting the sense that my calling has more to do with learning and sharing than it does with whether I can be successful at being a “counsellor” or “officiant” or “artist” or “curator” or “writer” or…

It also fits in perfectly with something I discovered many years ago when a client asked me what my purpose in life was. After much inner contemplation, I was intuitively told this:

Live Your Life

Seek Insight & Wisdom From All Your Experiences 

Share Your Story

Inspire Others to Do The Same

I’ve tested this insight many times over the years and, to my amazement, it has continued to be the most accurate way I’ve found to describe the way I have always lead my life.

Best Day

This past Saturday was a “best day”. I woke up, spent time with God, cleaned my house, had a church meeting and then went out with my family. We walked the dog on the beach, chatted (at a safe distance) with a lovely, elderly widower and stopped for some groceries on the way home. It was simple, spontaneous, loving, practical and best of all, we got to share it together. Thankfully, I have mostly good days but I think this day with my family really stood out because we all felt the same way about it.

It made me think about the future and the kind of world I want my grandchildren to be born into. That world is changing by the minute and I know I can’t control the direction its been heading but I want to do my part to ensure that they have the opportunity to grow up with the right values and that they are able to experience truth, safety and freedom.

Come to think of it, my family days are always my best days.

10,000 Steps & Podcasts

Okay, full disclosure… I REALLY love my 10,000 steps a day routine but I think I’ve messed up my left knee a bit and maybe even my right hip. They both feel sore and kind of loose and “scarecow-ey” if you know what I mean.

I don’t want to give it up because I get SO much out of it… partly the uninterrupted time to listen and learn from a podcast or audiobook and partly the opportunity to just walk and breathe and be grateful. I’m trying to figure out what I can do to get myself “back on track” as it were.

Of the 3 podcasts I listened to this week, (Akimbo with Seth Godin; Rich Dad Radio Show with Robert Kiyosaki & Worklife with Adam Grant) the one I felt the most impacted by (in relation to today’s theme) is Akimbo

I have come to really love this show. 

Seth’s episodes are short (30 mins or so including the current theme and questions answered from the previous episode) and very succinct. I see him as a “back to basics” kind of thinker which really resonates with me at this time in history. As each day passes, I find myself growing more and more at peace with the slower pace and simpler concerns of life in quarantine and, as I said, I am considering very strongly how I want my life to look when everything goes back to “normal”. 

I think it was at the end of his “Monkey Selfies” episode where Seth is responding to a question about his previous “Leverage & Gearing” episode and addresses the choices we make as small business people where he says:  “The idea is to focus on the change you seek to make, not maximizing the return on investment… the opportunity is to focus on… [what] are we here for, who is it for, what change to we seek to make in the world and do we get to do it again, tomorrow.”

That pretty much sums up where my head is at these days…

Stubbornness v Strength

There are two instances where I’ve struggled with this theme over the past week. 

In one instance, I’m dealing with a situation in which I’ve had to draw on incredible inner strength in order to stand my ground and not be bullied into agreeing to something that would prove to be extremely compromising for me, financially. Even though I know there is no other option than to say no, I experienced a lot of anguish as I second-guessed myself, over and over again. 

In another instance, I found myself stubbornly resisting something which was not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but which I knew was the right thing to do in the moment and would be good for me, spiritually. I felt terrible about it as it was happening but I still resisted and the opportunity passed.

Needless to say, both experiences have caused me to go deep and pray about what the ‘right choice’ was. 

In the first instance, I believe there is something going on within that situation that is far greater than the implications of my decision alone. There is an opportunity for growth of all the parties involved and it’s possible that my ability to stand strong might facilitate growth for all of us, even if it blows up in my face. I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t know if I’m making the ‘right’ decision and what the repercussions of my choice will be but I pray that, whatever I decide, we will all learn something valuable from the experience and that our lives will be changed for the better as a result.

In the second instance, however, I already knew what the right thing to do was and, even though I resisted it and missed the opportunity, I have learned something from the experience of not doing it which was that my stubbornness was just coming from fear. There will, undoubtedly, be other opportunities in the future and I’ll probably be just as scared but I pray that I’ll be wise enough not to make the same mistake again.

Resilience Toolbox

This is a weekly Zoom meeting that my friend Barry and I cooked up as our response to help those in need during the COVID19 crisis. Even though our intention was to help others, we are both learning and growing from the experience. The process of collaborating, preparing and facilitating each meeting speaks to many of the other items on this list:

  • It allows me to demonstrate my love for God and others
  • It helps me discover and teach ways in which we can repair and build ourselves
  • It confirms and informs me about my “one thing” or “calling”
  • It’s a simple, spontaneous and loving way to spend time in community while doing my part to help rebuild my tiny, little corner of society, according to my values
  • It reminds me of what I’m doing, who I’m doing it for and what the change is that I’m hoping to see in the world

If you’d like to check it out, we go live every Wednesday at 3 pm EDT for about 45-60 mins. Register here

As you can see, it’s been a very full week of learning, struggling, praying and growing so the last thing I’ll add is the kinda miraculous thing I experienced this morning:

Finding Peace: Thoughts vs “Thinking”

As I was in the shower, talking to God (yup, I know) I was praying (again) about the stubbornness vs strength issue… you know, just to be sure that I had learned absolutely everything I needed to learn from it (oy)… when all of a sudden, I felt a kind of soft “click” in my head. In that moment, my thinking stopped and I felt an immediate sense of peace. 

It was so subtle yet completely amazing.

I didn’t want to lose the feeling so I quickly toweled off and went to lie down. I closed my eyes and the feeling continued, a feeling of sweet, silent “blankness” and the image of a rushing river moving through my heart, cleansing me and removing obstacles as it flowed. 

But then, I started “thinking” again and I noticed the peaceful feeling getting “bumpy” and a sensation as if my brain was getting hard and closing in on itself. It was like my “thinking” was, quite literally, interrupting the peace. And so, I stopped thinking and the peace returned, immediately. 

I lay there for quite some time, maybe an hour or so, in this blissful place of soft images and “thoughts” but the thoughts were very different from the experience of “thinking”. The thoughts just floated around like clouds… words, images, phrases… and didn’t land anywhere or lead anywhere. they just kept floating. I was simply an observer just witnessing them. They didn’t even feel like they were coming from me. The “thinking”, however totally came from my mind, was invasive, distracting and completely interrupted the peace I felt. 

As I lay there, experiencing this, I realized how detrimental our thinking mind can be and how, in my case this morning (with the situation I was concerned about), they really had no value insofar as they just served to confuse me and distract me even more from the truth and the peace of mind I was seeking. It wasn’t until I felt the peace “click” in my head that I realized how I had been exerting my own “thinking” into the problem, rather than allowing the space to feel the peace that was already there. In that place of peace, the “problem” didn’t exist. It only existed in my thinking mind. 

If you were to ask what all this means, I would say that we tend to rely too heavily on our intellect and our ability to think (or even pray) our way out of a problem. Instead, we need to step back and give our minds a chance to rest. In this way, we can experience the peace that already exists beneath the exertion of our minds and, in doing so, gain access to the wisdom that is hidden in that silent space. 

I’ll leave you with that in the hopes that you will find something useful to apply to your own life.

Until next time,

May you have peace of mind, today and always…