Gratefully Reviewing

Another week has come to an end. During these preceding days we ventured into a new month and a new season of focus. In addition to our year long intention to “Resurrect Positivity”. November we are also determined to express “Thankfully” for all that  our shared paths bring us to and to us.

So on this edition of “Becoming Today”, we’ll be “Gratefully Reviewing”, the week that was.

Monday we began our time together with a discussion of “Expectant Living”. 

Life is less about what happens to you, and more centered upon how you choose to respond to it.

In order to seek happiness we must decide to do so.

When you are feeling less than joyful, it’s a conscious decision for you to take the necessary action to foster the growth of Joy inside you. That’s where it resides. It’s not a destination, it’s more than an attitude. Joy is  power, a strength and a reward that exists within each of us. It’s our individual responsibility to nurture it , co-create it and share it.

It is through how we choose to react to obstacles, circumstances and life in general as to how we do or do not experience joy. No one can truly take it away from you. Only you can prevent yourself from experiencing it.

Joy is extremely important to overcoming tests and trials as well as on our path of “Becoming” as it is through joy that we lead ourselves out of the darkness, to aid us in finding our answers, solutions, authentic lives and to “Becoming” our destiny.

All really can happen quickly and when you are expecting something, especially change, growth opportunities or a new attitude, outlook or state of mind it really can occur sooner than you’ve ever imagined. You must remain open to the possibilities, accepting of the change and work your A.B.B.s – “Always Be Becoming”. 

Still not fast enough for you? How about NOW? 

Living expectantly it can all occur that swiftly; hastened by dedication and commitment, expedited by grace and  with acceptance. So we’ll Expectantly explore the state of “Now” on “Becoming Today”. 

Most simply it is living in a continual state of expectancy.

Expectancy

The act or state of looking forward to some occurrence; example ‘that feeling of optimistic expectancy that fills theatergoers as they wait for the curtain to rise”

The state of being expected occurs with an expectancy slightly greater than usual.

Then we began the new month with a question, “Are You Deciding To Decide?”. 

As the election season continues, we are entering our final days to make some important decisions regarding the future, our direction and what kind of lives we want to live.

So this past Tuesday we examined some of the steps towards making better decisions.

Then I knew it was time to say, “OK Google, what is involved in making a decision?”

So that search led me to UMass Dartmouth and their criteria for the Seven Steps to Effective Decision making. Now I have no connection with, have never been to and have not ever not knowingly known anyone affiliated with the University of Massachusetts, much less this campus, but their graphic really caught my eye.

Much like “Becoming”, their steps were drawn out with motion in two directions. Forward and Upward.

So let’s examine these momentum building steps:

Step 1: Identify the decision

You realize that you need to make a decision. Try to clearly define the nature of the decision you must make. This first step is very important.

Step 2: Gather relevant information

Collect some pertinent information before you make your decision: what information is needed, the best sources of information, and how to get it. This step involves both internal and external “work.” Some information is internal: you’ll seek it through a process of self-assessment. Other information is external: you’ll find it online, in books, from other people, and from other sources.

Step 3: Identify the alternatives

As you collect information, you will probably identify several possible paths of action, or alternatives. You can also use your imagination and additional information to construct new alternatives. In this step, you will list all possible and desirable alternatives.

Step 4: Weigh the evidence

Draw on your information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of the alternatives to the end. Evaluate whether the need identified in Step 1 would be met or resolved through the use of each alternative. As you go through this difficult internal process, you’ll begin to favor certain alternatives: those that seem to have a higher potential for reaching your goal. Finally, place the alternatives in a priority order, based upon your own value system.

Step 5: Choose among alternatives

Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternative that seems to be the best one for you. You may even choose a combination of alternatives. Your choice in Step 5 may very likely be the same or similar to the alternative you placed at the top of your list at the end of Step 4.

Step 6: Take action

You’re now ready to take some positive action by beginning to implement the alternative you chose in Step 5.

Step 7: Review your decision and its consequences

In this final step, consider the results of your decision and evaluate whether or not it has resolved the need you identified in Step 1. If the decision has not met the identified need, you may want to repeat certain steps of the process to make a new decision. For example, you might want to gather more detailed or somewhat different information or explore additional alternatives.

I would also add to step seven. Review your decision and ask, is it worth the risk? Consider the rewards. Oftentimes we must step outside our comfort zone and take a chance in order to receive a significant return on our investment. 

Every decision we make. Every action we take are all investments in our “Becoming”. Conversely every action delayed or decision not made have their consequences and those costs can and will compound greatly.

I never said “Becoming” would be easy. I never said “Becoming” would not be uncomfortable or require some risk taking. I do say that “Becoming” is worth it.

Wednesday we focused on “Gratefully Persevering”. 

To persevere allows us the ability to get through the tough times, that no matter how severe things may seem, realize we have the ability to overcome and continue our becoming.

For several days I have felt this way. I have not been able to put my finger on it. I’m just ill at ease, anxious and dealing with some physical manifestations of anxiety.

Now I think I understand the source of my nagging concerns and while reviewing some of my symptoms I have certainly found what needs to be done to correct them.

Yes worry, doubt, fear do manifest themselves in us physically.

According to professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Arthur Barsky, “When you are under stress or anxious, this system kicks into action, and physical symptoms can appear — headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain”.

Four out of five. That’s what I’ve been experiencing  for about four days now. Severe stomach distress, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, and far messier episodes of a distressed digestive system. Plus the headaches, and at times an inability to focus and balance myself properly.

Numerous sources across the medical communities agree that these symptoms are related to the body responding to the mind and they are almost unanimous in their suggested treatments which include things like exercise, learning to relax, and eating healthy foods, but none I found would even consider what I have learned is the best option…

That option is prayer. 

As the Bible reports, quoting Jesus in Matthew 18:10 (N I V):

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven”.

So since we know we can gather exponentially here on the Internet I’m calling for you to assist me. Not only with my healing in the moment, but also in ensuring a peaceful completion of this week. 

More on that second part later, but first let’s discuss the power of prayer

What is it? How does one  correctly use it and what can we expect from it. 

We’ll begin with a definition. 

Prayer is an evolving means of interacting with God, most frequently through a spontaneous, individual, unorganized form of petitioning and/or giving thanks. It is also at times glorifying God through praise.

So, why should we pray? We should pray because we have needs. Great and small. Prayer should be our first strategy when seeking results.

To whom should we pray? God. Simple one word answer for the one undoubtable Source of all goodness, Grace and Mercy. 

How should we pray? We should pray  sincerely, regularly, continually, in humidity, faith, trust, obedience and with gratitude, thanks and praise.

Thursday our conversation turned to the topic of being “Gratefully Provided For”. 

Throughout the Scriptures there are examples and teachings that point to the fact that we are provided for. So why do we doubt?

On this edition of “Becoming Today” we’ll examine how to prepare ourselves to accept that we too are capable of being provided for.

Acknowledging it can be difficult to ask for help, previously we have discussed how to ask for help and outlined some steps to allow ourselves to ask for help.

  1. Clarify Your Focus
  2. Get UnComfortable 
  3. If At First You Don’t Succeed,…Get over it. Then try and try again. 
  4. Be Honest with Yourself 
  5. Know What You Want To Ask For
  6. Don’t Ask Just Anyone 
  7. Be Open To Accepting Help
  8. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

At times we all need help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. Turning to others in times of need should not involve shame. Instead realize it is a  strength. A sign that you have achieved the wisdom that you can not handle everything by yourself. 

Be willing to realize that you may not need the help you think you do. We don’t always require a solution  to the problem we think they have. Sometimes you just need a little guidance. Help in establishing a new direction, finding a new center. 

In asking for help we can receive a change in perspective, inspiration, or some practical encouragement that may result in transforming not only your circumstance, but your life as well.  

You don’t always get what you think you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just get what you need. So now let’s explore what happens when you do try and help is offered…

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Then yesterday we took some time to talk about, “Gratefully Detaching Lovingly”. 

While the essence of “Becoming” involves enlarging our circle, reaching out to one another and aiding those we can, the reality is there are times in life we must detach ourselves from certain people, places, things and even ideas. Now this does not have to be harsh and should not be done cruelly.

While I certainly have been no stranger to the theory of “Tough Love” popularized by Leo Buscaglia, I think too often there is a wrong emphasis, with too much attention put on the being tough aspect. I know at times in my life I have certainly been guilty of that. Admittedly it may have helped for a mere moment but the fallout or repercussions in some cases have taken years to overcome. Impacting not only others, but my own self healing and personal development. Those are lessons I do not want to repeat. 

I understand there are times when this theory is very effective and can even be life saving, however it’s important to keep the emphasis on the Love part and while realizing the need to let go and overcome adverse situations, being tough in an uncompromising manner is not the key.

That’s why I’ve grown to understand and better embrace the idea of Lovingly Detaching.

While both Tough Love and Lovingly Detaching require us to remain steadfast, strong and forbearance, or sticking to our principles and beliefs, detaching is less harsh. We cannot force anyone to take personal responsibility, nor should we try to take on the management of their actions, rather we must learn to love within wise choices rather than simply be reactionary with emotional responses.  

It is far more compassionate to love from a distance rather than allowing ourselves and loved ones to spiral down together. 

Learning to love while at times disengaging from being reactionary allows us not only to protect ourselves but help foster the emotional and at times physical health of the others involved.  We all must deal with our own consequences, the result of our actions, decisions, attitudes and beliefs. So why not make it so we are celebrating the outcomes rather than trying to repair, overcome or run away from?

If you are recognizing the need to put some distance between you and someone or something, here are some questions for you to ponder:

Is this healthy for me? 

Can I accept the outcome of my decision? 

What is my motivation?

Do I have other options?

Is this a wise choice?

Self examination of your own motives and needs are essential in developing and sharing compassion along with lovingly detaching.

The process also aids in empowering your own personal freedom and improving your true sense of self.

And that’s the week that was, the 44th of this year. “Thankfully” we hope you are continuing to enjoy a time of peace amidst chaos and are seeking solace in new directions. I p[ray this weekend brings you some rest and respite and then   invite you to come Monday, join us again for our next edition of “Becoming Today”. 

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