STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Originally posted on FROM STRUGGLE TO STRENGH:

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To thine own self be true.

I remember not too long ago pretending to be someone else. It seems so dishonest now, but in my active addiction it was a survival mechanism.

I always pretended to be more than I was. In other words I disliked the real me so I created an alternative. I just knew that If I didn’t like who I was, You wouldn’t either. So before you could get the chance to reject the real me, I pretended to be someone I thought you would approve of.

This went on for years. I created and deleted images and ego’s like some people change their socks. Everyday I had to switch up depending on where I was at. I felt I had to be someone else in order to fit in. To be a part of the crowd. To be loved, liked and accepted. After years of…

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Another One Bites The Dust: Yemen in Crisis.

Originally posted on middle east revised:

Yemen is finally getting some media attention. The country is falling apart. One of the most beautiful countries in the world is falling apart (when it comes to beauty of the nature and architecture – Yemen is the shining jewel). Photos by the great Steve McCurry (throughout this post) are here to remind us of that beauty.

Yemen was for centuries the center of civilization and wealth on the Arabian peninsula. The Romans referred to the area as Arabia Felix, or “Happy Arabia.” Tim Mackintosh-Smith writes inYemen: The Unknown Arabia: “Yemen…had something of a Dictionary Land about it: as well as the talking hoopoes and dambusting rodents, men chewed leaves and camels lived on fish; they (the men) wore pinstriped lounge-suit jackets on top, skirt below, and wicked curved daggers in the middle; the cities seemed to have been baked, not built, of iced gingerbread; Yemen was part…

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“You have GREATNESS within you, and responsibility to manifest that greatness!” – Les Brown

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Life is not so much about “Mission Accomplished,” as it is “Mission Accepted.” It is an Invitation to Dance. Loosen up a little. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from trying.

“I had hoped to end this book on a triumphant note… Unfortunately, such a tale, while possibly uplifting and feel-good, would have to be filed in the fiction aisles. For much of the writing of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts I continued to relapse: bingeing and lying, shamed and hollow.” – Dr. Gabor Maté.

Dr. Maté goes on to say that it wasn’t until recently that he would clean up his act. But rather than shout, “Mission Accomplished!” He says, “Mission Accepted” would be more accurate (reference: Dr. Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, p 349).

As I read this, I realised this sounds so much like me. And what a relief.

I, too, was hoping to end my book on a triumphant note, a “Happily Ever After”. I’m thinking when life starts to fall smoothly into place, and when every little dream and desires are fulfilled, and everything is in the order of perfection, THEN I’ll be happy. THEN I’ll have something to shout about.

As we all know (and yet, how often we forget), life doesn’t quite work out like that. If we go by that definition, we’ll end up waiting our whole lives.

We are not called to Perfection. We are called to WHOLENESS. And that means, we’re not just called to live the Good Life, but a life that is made of the Not-So-Good, as well. Wisdom, is born of Pain. It’s how we learn, it’s how we grow. And for most of us, it’s the only time we’d ever learn or grow! We need the darkness, as much as the light. It’s what makes us WHOLE and complete.

I am reminded of this, when I read Dr. Mate’s bold and honest statement.

I am reminded that instead of my “triumphant note”, I’ve progressed, and regressed, one step forward, two steps back… then step up again.

Doesn’t it sound like a dance?

Two steps forward, three steps back,

One step forward, then another, and back again.

Then forth, then back, and back and forth we go, twirling around in this dance of life.

A friend once shared his observation, “You’re going in circles!” And he meant it as a friendly warning, to bring to my awareness my life’s pattern.

There was a time where I feared my own regressions and mistakes. But I’ve come to the point where I recognise something else, besides fear.

The two steps back keeps me humble and compassionate. The one step forward again, fills me with Faith, Hope, and Love, giving me strength for the long journey ahead.

Perhaps, this is the reason why out of the 6 books I had hoped to purchase recently, 2 of my orders were cancelled by the bookstore. I felt a mix of disappointment and amusement. Both the books that happened to be unavailable were, ‘The Dance of the Dissident Daughter’ by Sue Monk Kidd and ‘The Dance’ by Oriah. Is it mere coincidence that both titles with the words ‘dance’ in it were not making it’s way to me? It could be.

But I know that I didn’t specifically select these books for the theme on dancing. I merely wanted to complete my collection of Sue Monk Kidd’s memoirs, and Oriah’s series of books. So I ordered whatever I didn’t have.

Today, I’m beginning to see that this incident is not a sign that my invitation to the dance of life has been cancelled! Rather, it is an Invitation. It is drawing me to the word Dance, as I yearn to be whole.

In a dance, and in dancing, it’s important to maintain a certain tension (arm tension, core tension), and yet, to be graceful, we are to loosen up.

This is not an easy thing to do. One seems to be the opposite of the other!

I remember going to a Tango Open Day, to watch my friend dance. The instructor, in the hopes of recruiting new students, began drawing the audience, one by one, to the dance floor. I was chewing bubblegum, to hide that I was feeling terrified! I was hoping she wouldn’t pick me, but she did, and I did what I could, and was pretty happy with myself by the end of it.

Moments later, that silly smile from conquering my fear would be wiped off my face. Apparently, the instructor had whispered into the ears of the guy she pulled to dance after me, and said, “You’re a better dancer than that girl. She’s so stiff, she can’t dance… But you, you’re a natural.”

I had thought of enrolling in her class. As you can imagine, when said guy relayed the information to me, I was crushed, and never saw her again.

I should’ve known that what happened that night, speaks volumes about the instructor, too. She looked so beautiful and elegant for her old age, with her grey-white hair slicked back into a bun. And her movements were as fluid as any sweet young things. But even at that age, she had not grown comfortable in her own skin. If she was, she would’ve recognised my stiffness as a sign of discomfort, and saw a young girl with no confidence.

If she was sure in herself, she would’ve taken that opportunity to speak words of encouragement, leading me to bring out the dancer in me.

Everyone can dance.

But she didn’t believe that. And I didn’t believe that. She needed to cling to her superiority. And I was too busy clinging to my inferiority. I think we both could learn how to Loosen Up a little.

I watched the Tango Scene in the Scent of a Woman last week. The blind man, Frank Slade, asked Donna to dance. Donna’s response is natural. She speaks for most of us when she said, “Ah, I think I’d be a little afraid.”

“Of what?”

“Afraid of making a mistake.”

“No mistakes in the tango, darling. Not like life… If you make a mistake, get all tangled up, you just tango on. Why don’t you try?” Slade is persistent in his invitation, “You’ll try it?” Donna responds with courage, daring to make a silly mistake. “All right. I’ll give it a try.”

The Hope, is in the trying. Remember, Life is not so much “Mission Accomplished,” as it is “Mission Accepted.” It is an Invitation to Dance… Loosen Up. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from trying.

Love,

Mish.

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Pretty bird, why do you hide your head and cry? Lie awake and you’ll find love waiting.” – Bruno Merz

Lele’s Song – Words and music by Bruno Merz

“Far away, ends a summer day.
And the breeze it carries your quiet sigh.

‘Cos you’re tired today, and sleep won’t come,
Pretty bird, why do you hide your head and cry.

Ooh, there is a love that stays now.
Ooh, let it all fly away now.
Ooh, lie awake and you’ll find love waiting.

Little one, how far you’ve come,
Down a path that never was an easy one.
So rest your head, come lay it down.
Hear the wind calling you to fly the moonlit clouds.”

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Moving Mondays: Offers of Knowledge

Originally posted on Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg:


No matter how old we are, personal growth should be a priority in our life. By making it a priority, we ensure that we are living life to our fullest potential. It isn’t necessary to attend seminars or read self-help books, though we may find these tools helpful. The truth is that we have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons and soak up wisdom and knowledge from everyone and everything we come across in our daily lives.

The key is to be conscious of such opportunities. By cultivating awareness and being present in each moment, we will become more conscious of the opportunities to learn the lessons that are presented to us. And once we decide to value personal growth, how can we not be grateful for everyone and everything that offers us a chance to learn something new?

Reflection of the Week: Is there something that has held me back…

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Life is an Invitation to Grow. Turn your Struggle into Strength, Pain into Gain.

Today, I am recommitted to turning my Struggle into Strength, and my Pain into Gain. I feel motivated as I regain the clarity that Life is an Invitation to Grow.

It took days and weeks and months of struggling to return to this point of awareness. For the longest time, I’ve been struggling with the question, “Why me?”

Why am I caught in a bad situation I can’t seem to walk away from, since “the situation” involves family? Why does the suffering never end, and why can’t things ever be “normal” for us? Why are we being stretched to the limit and challenged in the areas of Addiction?

It’s heartbreaking. But it’s undeniable we’ve also been pushed harder and deeper to higher and stronger levels of Growth we never would’ve gotten on our own, had there not been an urgent, painful, and pressing need to.

Meanwhile, as the wrestling with the Pain of my life continues, my friend, too, shared her struggle with the card she’s been dealt with in her life.

“Why do others have it so much easier? Why must I have it so much harder? Why do some people  get everything without even trying as hard? Why must I keep on waiting? How much longer? It’s not fair.”

I understand her pain. It’s true the world’s unfair. But though we can’t always choose what we’re given in life, we get to make the best out of what we’ve got. It is a powerful choice. And as of Sunday, it became clear again:

My battle ground is also my training ground.

I can make full use of this challenge I am up against to gain more awareness on the areas of Addiction. In time to come, this awareness will help me with my own personal Addictions, and countless more out there.

Our Awakening, awakens others. In this way, the Awakening continues.

But it begins with us stepping up to the plate. Daring to risk the fear and discomfort of “facing the dragon”, instead of running away from dealing with what may feel like the toughest, most miserable time of our lives.

What struggles are you up against this week? What challenges are finding its way to you? What pain are you forced to grapple with? Could it be Life’s Invitation for you to Grow? Whatever situation you find yourself stuck in, you still get to choose. Choose to grab hold of it until you learn something from it. Choose to grow even better from it.

Choose GROWTH. Choose Life. Chose You.

Love,
Mish

The Love Culture
www.facebook.com/theloveculture
www.theloveculture.wordpress.com

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Addiction is always a poor substitute for love.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

Addiction is always a poor substitute for love. – Dr. Gabor Maté, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, p 259

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Our most painful emotions point to our greatest possibilities, to where our authentic nature is hidden.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

“Once a student’s eyes are open, instructors appear everywhere. Everything can teach us. Our most painful emotions point to our greatest possibilities, to where our authentic nature is hidden.

People who we judge are our mirrors. People who judge us call forth our courage to respect our own truth.

Compassion for ourselves supports our compassion for others.

As we open to the truth within, we hold safe a space of healing for others. They may do the same for us.

Healing occurs in a sacred place located within us all: “When you know yourselves, then you will be known.” – Dr. Gabor Maté, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, p 421

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“…no human being is ever beyond redemption.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

“Not every story has a happy ending, … but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.

How to support that possibility in others and in ourselves is the ultimate question.” ― Dr. Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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