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an excerpt from Rosemary's latest book,
You Own the Power
Getting to Know Who We Really Are
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"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is man."
- Alexander Pope.
THE THREE CHAIRS
Already it sounds like a nursery rhyme or a fairy tale, and I may even write this chapter as if it is exactly that. This is an exercise I have tried many times, always with the desired results. "What are the desired results?" I hear you ask, and for reply I smile and answer, "Don't you know?"
I especially like to do this with children, for usually children have no guile, are remarkably honest, have great imaginations and know how to tell a good story. I hope I'm not putting you off. My intention here is that we have fun, that we laugh, even though we might cry a little, but more, that we might learn. Before we begin however I must be honest and tell you that we already have confusion, for you see, even though the chapter title is "The Three Chairs," there really is only one.
My class was ready, eager to learn and listening carefully as I began to speak. There were about twenty of us this night, some veterans, some beginners. Brian had been my student for about a year, so he was a novice. Having gone through a very serious illness, he had first come to us as a patient, like so many others, and had then decided after his recovery, that he would like to learn to become a healer.
Now in his early sixties, Brian had experienced life in the raw. His family came from humble beginnings, and he himself as a boy worked as a farm hand, then a road worker, digging ditches, sometimes, he had told me, chest high in mud and freezing water. He married, had several children, worked hard, and he and his wife managed to save enough to eventually buy their own house. Always smiling, even though life had been tough for him, I knew that behind that contented exterior, this man had some stories to tell. I would begin, I decided, with him.
Sitting straight in my chair, aware of everyone's full attention now, I said, "Tonight each of you is going to tell me a story, and Brian," I paused and looked directly at him, "I think we will begin with you. I want you to tell me a story, but first I want you to imagine that you are sitting in the 'sad chair', which means that the story you must tell has to be the saddest story you can think of. As you sit in the 'sad chair' you must tell me a story that is so sorrowful that it might move me to tears. In the telling of this story," I added, "you must remember two things. The first, your story must be a true story. The second, it must be about you."
Brian, who had had little, if indeed any formal education, always afraid that he would sound inarticulate, began to shake his head, despairing that he would fail, and asked me how he could possibly begin. I smiled at him gently and suggested that he might try to think back in his life to a time of great pain and despair, and as I said this, he nodded, already knowing his story, for it was the one deepest in his heart. So deep, the pain had never gone away. He had never spoken of to anyone before, not even his wife, it had always been too hurtful a memory.
"When I was a young boy," he began a little shakily, "six years old, I became sick, and the doctors diagnosed tuberculosis, which in those days everyone believed was contagious. So I was sent away, into an asylum, a place that was miles from home. My parents were poor and could not afford to visit, except once a year, and I was there for two years. I had no books, no games, no pencils or paper. Each day I would sit and stare out of the window and hope someone would come and take me home." As he said this, tears began to trickle down his face as his memories, so many years buried, began to surface, and some of his fellow students also began to cry with him, seeing him struggle. He went on, telling us awful tales of how the other boys there, all older, how mean they often were to him because he was so small and pale and sickly. The saddest part of Brian's story, as he sat in the 'sad chair', was his account of bedtime, of how scared and lonely he was, and how he thought his parents had put him in the asylum for good, that he would be there forever.
It was a very moving story, a fitting one for the chair he was in, and it was several minutes after the telling before Brian was able to stop crying.
Now he thought he was done, that it was someone else's turn to tell their story, but he was in for a shock, because again I brought his attention to me as I asked, "Brian, I would like you now to tell me a story." His surprise showed plainly, and I laughed and said, "Don't worry, not another sad one. This time", I said, my eyes twinkling, "I want you to imagine that you are sitting in the 'happy chair.' This means that the story you tell must be the happiest, funniest story you can possibly tell. In fact, I would like it if you could make the story so funny I might cry with laughter." He looked at me dubiously, but I nodded my encouragement, adding, "Of course Brian you must remember two things. The first, that the story is a true story. The second," and here I paused to give emphasis to my words, "The story must be the same story you just told me when you were sitting in the sad chair."
Without exception, all of my students were startled. "But how can it be," said Brian, "How am I supposed to do that?"
"Well," I said, "look back at that time. Think hard. There must have been some bright times, maybe some funny moments in the two years you were there. I can't believe you didn't get up to some mischief." And Brian, as he heard me say this, began to smile.
The telling of this story was hard, as, like most of us, it is easier to remember the sad things, especially if the brighter moments are rare. But as I reminded Brian, he was now sitting in the 'happy chair,' and in the 'happy chair' there is no room for sorrow, only for sunshine. The story was a happy one, for Brian remembered that the older boys were not always mean to him, and that together they got up to many high jinks. Meal times were also often fun, and pretty soon Brian was recounting tales of the asylum that made us smile. I was proud of him, I knew he could do it, I knew he had it in him to search out the glimmer of light, even in what seemed to him to be his dark prison cell.
Now for the third chair. You remember don't you, that there are indeed three chairs. And this the last, could be the most difficult chair of all.
My class, understanding there was more, waited, their senses tuned to my words, my teaching. I looked to Brian, "I would like you please to tell me a story, and yes, you know that it must be the same story that you told in the 'sad chair,' and in the 'happy chair,' and yes Brian, you know that this story must be a truthful one. But as you tell this story I would like you to imagine that you are sitting in perhaps the most important and rewarding chair of all, the 'inspirational chair.' Tell me your story and inspire me. Make me know and feel how inspired you have become by your experience. Let me see how much you have learned in the telling of your story. Help me to see what, if anything, you have discovered about yourself in the last fifteen minutes. Be inspired by your own discovered wisdom, and allow me to be inspired too."
And so, for the third and final time Brian told his story. He told of the lost little boy that he had been. In remembering his pain, he was also reminded of his joy when his parents had visited. Remembering these things he realized how his experience in the asylum had made him strong, more determined in his marriage, more protective as a father. For he had grown up, truly understanding how a child could hurt. In telling his story he also realized how this early experience had colored his thinking in many ways. He began for the first time in his life to understand why he was so stubborn sometimes, why often he had found it difficult to express his emotions. He had been afraid of hurt, and of being hurt, and of being rejected.. As he talked, he became more and more inspired by his own feelings, feelings he had not allowed himself to have for so long. He laughed, he cried and laughed some more, and as he talked, each one of us became inspired by his courage, by his honesty and sincerity. And by his true humility. It was perhaps two years later that Brian received his certificate and became a full healer member of the R.A.A.H. We value him greatly.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
My next story is about Tyler, a young boy of fourteen, who in my opinion, began his progress into manhood as he worked with me on these exercises. Having no idea really what I was going to ask of him, Tyler thought it might just be fun to be one of the characters in my book. This was his main motivation. "Cool," he had said, when his mother asked if he would help.
Unprepared but open, Tyler was at first a little taken aback when I suggested he might imagine himself sitting in the sad chair. "Think of a sad time, or a difficult time in your life," I said, "And tell me about it. Tell me a story which is so sad I might feel like crying."
He looked at his mom, who was sitting in with us, and bemused, he said he really couldn't think of a thing.
"Well," I suggested, "have you ever lost a pet, or did anything awful ever happen at school?"
Again he looked at his mom, and they had a bit of a whispering session. A couple of times I heard him say, "Oh no, I couldn't tell her that."
I waited, hoping, knowing, that something would come.
He sat back down in his chair, took a deep breath, then, "O.K., I'm ready," and as he began to speak I was reminded of a quote from Napoleon I. "Two o'clock in the morning courage: I mean unprepared courage!"
"I was caught cheating in school, last week." He lowered his head a little as he spoke the words, and I watched him as he peered from half closed lids, looking for my reaction.
Admitting you're a cheat is hard for anyone. Harder still when it's to someone whose opinion of you matters.
I kept my face expressionless, just nodded, and asked if he would like to tell me about it.
"Remember, you're in the sad chair, so you can only tell the story if it made you feel miserable."
"It was awful," Tyler replied, "I don't know what came over me. There was another boy sitting next to me, and I could see his paper very clearly. We were in a test. When I looked over I noticed that his answers were different from mine. So I scribbled out what I had just written, and copied from him. He didn't know though, I just kept sneaking a look."
"How did the teacher find out?" I asked, and Tyler replied, "She saw me, and boy, was she yelling. She just stood there and really yelled at me. And she asked me why. At first I made excuses. I really cared about being found out, about everyone knowing."
"So how did it make you feel?" I asked.
"At first I felt embarrassed, ashamed. All the other kids in class were there, which made me feel really small, stupid. Then, later, I felt even more stupid and angry with myself. When I went home I had to tell my mom. That made me feel bad. I knew I had disappointed her."
He was finished. This was a big deal, and Tyler felt that by telling me, he might lose my respect.
My only reaction was to comment on how tough it must have been to know that the whole school knew he was a cheat.
"Yes," he said, fidgeting a little in his chair, "and word got out fast, that was for sure."
"O.K. Tyler," it was time to move on. "Now," I said, "I'd like you to sit in the happy chair.
Imagine you are sitting in a chair which helps you to see the happy, even funny side of things. Tell me your story again, but this time, see if you can make me smile."
Tyler frowned, puzzled a little at my request, but willing to play the game, and with enthusiasm, for this was his opportunity to lighten the situation, he began.
"Well," he said, this time with a twinkle in his eye, "You know I told you how quickly word spread, all the kids in school wanted to know the story. None of them were interested in their own test results. They only wanted to hear more about mine. Then I got to thinking about the other times I had cheated and never got caught. That made me feel pretty good there for a while, for a little while anyway."
Again, I merely nodded, smiling a little, knowing it was time to move on, I now suggested that Tyler might imagine himself sitting in the inspirational chair. "What, if anything, have you learned from this experience?" I asked, "see if you can inspire me. Tell me the same story, but this time give me if you can, a little insight into how the experience of being caught at cheating may have affected you?"
Now I heard the man. "I never want to cheat again," said Tyler immediately, "and I hope I never will. Not just because getting caught is a major embarrassment, but because I don't want to live my life as a cheat. I'm not perfect, and I don't want to be, but there is a lot about me that is nice, and I want to know if I'm capable, on my own merits, of succeeding.
I don't like it when other people cheat from me, especially when I've worked hard. I realize it wasn't fair of me to cheat from someone else. Anyway, I want it to be "my" grade, to know "I" did it.
I told my teacher I was sorry for doing it, and sorry for embarrassing her too. She said she hadn't expected my bad behavior. When she told me this, I realized that I hadn't expected it either. I was disappointed in myself.
When it happened, I felt miserable and ashamed. I also felt very lonely. I don't want to live my life feeling lonely like that again. Everything I do, I want to know I did it myself. And that I was honest.
I don't want to disappoint my mom, or my dad or my brother or my friends. But mostly, I don't ever again want to disappoint me!"
I kept my face expressionless, nodded, and thanked him for his cooperation, and for sharing his story with me.
I was the teacher, teaching the student, who was teaching me. A lesson long ago learned, yet I felt value in its reminder, and I felt inspired by the story teller.
To Tyler, my thanks.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
From the woman whose fear drove her to extreme measures to control, to Brian Brumby and his story of the asylum. The story of my young friend Tyler, and the story of my friends and their behavior towards each other in the car. Then my own story, a childhood hurt, the reactions of both myself and my sister. I decided to tell these stories because they are great examples of how much we can learn when we are encouraged to look within, to rummage around in the conscious and unconscious mind. Many people consider an explorer to be that person who climbs the tallest mountain, or the person who flies to the moon. Columbus is one of the world's great explorers, discovering lands and people once foreign to us all. Great men and women who found the pyramids of Egypt, the rain forests of Africa, and so on, and so on.
Reading this book, each of us can become an explorer, but like Columbus, we have to dare, for without daring we would passively watch the world go by, and be left to wonder, as we grew older, what was life all about?
Without our explorers, we would not know the world as it is today. Some of you may think that that might not be a bad thing. But I believe that, even with all the negatives in the world, I am glad that we have had, over the centuries, those many daring individuals who, with courage and determination, strong in spirit, went forth to bring us our world, and all the knowledge that comes with it, for our world is a beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and of the universe of which we are a part.
In relation to this planet of ours, some would say that the individual is an insignificant speck. Certainly in relation to the universe it would seem that this is so.
In "THE EAGLE AND THE ROSE," when writing about the great men and women of our world, I made a comment, an observation born of much experience, an observation I still believe.
'It can take but one man, one voice, to rock the world.'
As insignificant as we human beings may seem to be, we are truly, a powerhouse. And in order to become fully operational, we must become explorers too, intrepid explorers. Explorers of our mind, of our body, and most importantly, of our spirit, of our own spiritual existence, and of our power. We must dare to be. Not rash, impulsive, reckless or impetuous, for to take that route simply spells confusion and will get us lost. The route we need to be on requires courage, a certain amount of bravery and dedication. It also requires us to be determined, resolute, enthusiastic and strong in spirit. This last, strong in spirit means understanding that the spirit can only be destroyed if we wish to destroy ourselves.
Some think that the worse that can happen is to die, or to watch someone you love die. God knows that the pain of losing a loved one, of watching a child suffering and in pain, a mother, a sibling, a husband or wife, is to suffer pain beyond description. But in remembering that the soul has lived before this time, and will survive all things mortal beyond this time, the worse thing that can happen to us, to us as souls, is to lose ourselves, to become lost in the process of life and death. To not know who we are, who we have been, who we can become. To not know what kind of soul we are.
What can we do to save ourselves, to know who we are, to find ourselves if we feel lost? For those of us who don't feel lost, what can we do to retain, understand, and remain loving to ourselves. Our next exercises might help.
They may appear at first, to some of you, designed to destroy the self. In fact they are designed to remove all unnecessary trappings, all the cumbersome emotions which are negative and destructive, and which weigh us down, hold us back on our journey towards the self and towards spiritual growth.
As you work through these next exercises, try if you can, to be inspired by the stories of the three chairs. Hard as it is for us to accept, God gave us one of our greatest gifts when he gave us tears and heartache. Remember that through pain, through struggle and through adversity come our greatest lessons.
These next exercises require honesty and truth. If you are to benefit from them at all, they require you to be brave, and to dare. There can be very little that is worse than someone putting a mirror in front of you, and showing you the kind of person you really are inside. It takes not only courage, but great humility to be that someone, to hold up the mirror to yourself.
Before we begin, I must stress that patience is really required here. These exercises call for self-appraisal, and I would suggest that you work on and complete exercise one, before you even begin to attempt exercise two.
We are going to be making lists, and we are going to be discovering our negative and positive traits. Some of you may be tempted to ask others what they think of you, what they think your flaws and good points are. If you do this, you will completely undermine the value of the exercise and will gain no benefit from it whatsoever. Only your opinion of yourself matters here, and your honesty.
Try to complete exercise one first, before you look at and study the second exercise. This will ensure that you will not be influenced in any way by the two example lists contained in exercise two.
Exercise 1 - Who Am I?
So far, in Chapters 1 and 2, we have tried relaxation and meditation, learned a little about energy, and about our energy centers, and we have begun to explore how to use that energy constructively.
We have also discovered new potential, new possibilities, but it is impossible for us to use that new potential to the fullest until we find out who we are. How can we do that? First, we must learn to know ourselves, then we must learn to understand ourselves, after which, we can then learn to like ourselves.
Learning to be tolerant of our own selves, of our shortcomings, makes it easier to accept that it is O.K. to be imperfect. We all have fears, but our hopes and aspirations are what really matter. We can learn to be truly tolerant of others, and fully appreciate the hopes, aspirations and dreams of those around us, both those on the earth plane, and those in the spirit world, who are with us, and see all things.
This chapter is designed to strip away the many layers of pretense and protection which we all accumulate as we grow from childhood to adulthood, and which most of us are not only afraid to discard, but which we are afraid to acknowledge are even there.
It might seem, as you work, that a process of self destruction may be taking place, but what we are really doing is ridding ourselves of any delusions. After we remove the façade, whatever is left, no matter how little it may be, this is what and who you are, and what you can build on. This is how we grow, for what we have left is precious, and we must nurture it.
Don't forget the golden rule...at all times be gentle with yourself..,no matter what.
You need a note pad and a pen, and you begin by writing up the heading--
Draw a line down the center of the paper and head the left column--MY BAD POINTS
and the right column MY GOOD POINTS.
So, clearing the mind, by relaxation and meditation, find an inner calm, an inner peace, preventing any harsh unnecessary thoughts towards ourselves.
Look carefully at yourself and begin writing your list. Compile a list of points in your character which you consider to be flaws, or bad points. Don't be too hasty in writing things down. Take your time about it, and think about each point carefully.
When the list on the left side of the paper is complete, then begin on the right side. This is the side headed MY GOOD POINTS. Again, think carefully before writing anything down, and also about each point as you make it.
It is most likely that the list on the left of the paper will be longer than the list on the right. Somehow, most of us are far more ready to acknowledge our bad traits than we are to acknowledge the things about ourselves which we consider to be good. We remember the old adage 'Self praise is no praise at all,' or we feel uncomfortable because we might appear to be boastful or bragging. Try to overcome your embarrassment, understand that none of us is all bad, and that it never hurts to say so. If you can learn to appreciate the good in yourself, then you can learn to appreciate the good in all things.
You might want to give yourself a few days to think about your lists, and to change them, but when you feel that your lists are complete, you are ready to begin to work with them.
I thought it might be a good idea to give you some examples of what it is you need to work on, and at first I considered using one of my student's work. Then I thought again, and decided that the only example I could honestly give would be my own. My thoughts, my feelings, my expressions, not someone else's. If you look at my lists, and study them carefully, you might find it easier to open your mind to a way of reasoning you may not have tried before.
Exercise 2 - Why Am I?
My lists, and the detailed analysis of each point, are examples of how I tackled this exercise. If you feel that you could deal with your lists differently, then by all means give it a try. The main thing is that you look to your inner self for your answers, for as Grey Eagle will always remind me, there is not one question I can ask, that I do not have the answer to, inside me.
|MY CHARACTER LIST 1|
Sense of humor
Quick to laugh
|MY CHARACTER LIST 2|
So, there are my first two lists. Notice how different they are. In list No. 1, there are many more points in the left column headed Bad Traits, compared with those in the right column, headed Good Traits, and it would be easy to assume that the writer of this list is self-condemning. I am the writer, and I don't feel that I am self-condemning in any way, as you will see from list No. 2, which shows some real shifts. It could be that at this stage of the exercise we can begin to realize that there are very few issues which are black or white, and our character traits are not nearly as cut and dried as we thought they might be.
Let's take a closer look at the "Bad Points" in my first example.
Number 1: Thoughtless.
Now why do I consider myself to be thoughtless? Is it because I don't care about people or is it just that life takes over? After consideration, I decide that I do care about people, especially those close to me, and I am not always thoughtless, only sometimes. Forgetting to invite a friend to a party, or not always saying thank you for a gift given. Missing someone's birthday, or anniversary, that's a big one on my list. Of course, I could give myself excuses, and I often do, like, I'm really busy, have a lot on my mind, travel. All this is true. But when I don't remember a friend's birthday, for whatever reason, the consequence is that, unintentionally, I hurt my friend. Not one of the many valid reasons for my forgetfulness makes a good enough excuse.
So having thought carefully about my thoughtlessness, I have decided to keep it in the left column, as you can see in example 2, but in pondering this point I have discovered another trait in my character which I can put in the right column. I have accepted that I am a caring person. So now, making up my second list, it has already changed. And I have only just begun.
Number 2: Cruel.
Putting this trait down is a really good example of how, when analyzing oneself, we can do a really good job of beating ourselves up. Of course I'm not a cruel person, but in looking at myself I know I'm capable of harsh words, and I have my share of meanness. Like the old story of the lion with a thorn in its side, if I'm hurting, there have been those times in my life when I have hit out. These are the times I like myself the least, and even as I write, thinking of those times when I have behaved less than I should have, and knowing better, these are the times in my life I have felt ashamed. But, not excusing myself, I am only human, and not by any means a saint.
I look again, to see if the world cruel really does apply to me. Well, I am never cruel to animals, and can be quite kind and generous. Sometimes, if I'm hurt, I can be hurtful back and I can say cruel things, but only rarely. Obviously this doesn't make me a cruel person, only human, and remembering the golden rule, to be gentle with myself, and I have decided to take this point off the list altogether.
Once again, in analyzing this point I have discovered a couple of other things about myself. In wondering if I was really cruel, I remember that I really can be quite kind and generous. Two more points for the right column. So I put these points, as you will see, in the right column of list-Example 2.
Number 3: Selfish.
Unfortunately I have no argument with this point, as I have to admit that I am very definitely selfish. But instead of just saying yes, I'm selfish, the purpose of the exercise is to examine the various ways in which I am. And is this really a bad trait? Of course it is, but sometimes I feel that it is really necessary to be selfish. Surely as long as I am not selfish to the point of being destructive with other people's feelings then isn't that all right?, I ask, and now I have to do a little soul searching, which is what this exercise is all about.
I will walk into a room, and without a thought, take the most comfortable chair. I'm told that this is a typically Taurean trait, never-the-less it is a selfish one. No excuses. I might buy a blouse for my daughter, decide I like it, and keep it for myself. When she reads this, Samantha will definitely have something to say to me.
On the other hand, I would willingly give up the comfy chair for someone elderly or frail, and I have bought Samantha many things, so the odd blouse or two I may keep are not so important.
I am selfish with my time. I need to be. I am selfish with my friends. I see them so infrequently that when I do see them I don't want to share the time we spend with people I don't know.
One act of total selfishness was when I hid my favorite chocolates from Jim so he couldn't get to them. One act of total selflessness was when my mother, many years ago, knowing I had no money, sent me twenty dollars. Five dollars for Samantha and fifteen dollars for me. It was Christmas, and this was the first time since I was a child that I or Samantha had received a gift from her. It eased my mothers' guilt. She knew we were below the bread line, and she could easily have helped us out, but chose not to. Little did she know, little did she know her daughter, for no matter how desperate we were, I would not have accepted her financial aid had she offered it, but I would have given anything for some loving support.
I opened the envelope which contained the twenty dollars, saw the note which read, "Spend the fifteen on yourself." I sighed, relieved that I now had the money to buy a nice Christmas gift for my little girl, happy to spend the twenty dollars on her. Samantha was ten years old at the time.
Selfishness in the extreme is a bad thing, but in order to be my own self I must be selfish in some things. If I were not, then that would be equally bad. For one thing, I would not be indulging in writing this book, but would be out there doing community service. So I keep this point in the left column, and endeavor, as I will with all the other points in this column, to do better. I will also, however, put this same point in the right column and endeavor to enhance this trait. In doing so I recognize that there are certain traits in my character which can be equally destructive or constructive, negative or positive, depending on how I exercise them. This is a point well worth remembering, and I make a note of it mentally.
Number 4: Over-sensitive.
This point is one that I must readily put on my list, and definitely belongs in the left column. I feel sure of this because after all, this is a fault which has been pointed out to me by many people in my life since childhood, and I have often been accused by others of being either too sensitive, or over-sensitive.
I must think seriously about this point as with all the others, for after all, I remind myself, that is what this exercise is about, thinking clearly.
But wait a minute, I almost fell into the trap. This is an exercise on self awareness, so what is important here is not what other people think I am, but what I think I am.
After much thought and careful consideration, I have begun to realize that without exception, all the nicest people I know are very sensitive. It is often this trait in another person's character that I look for first, and in someone else I definitely consider it to be a good point.
My biggest problem in life has been my sensitivity. Because I was born with that rare and special gift of communication with the spirit world, one of my character traits is my ultra-sensitivity, without which, I would indeed find it impossible to access this gift. Unfortunately though, my 'gift' of sensitivity means that I am very easily hurt by other's words or deeds. I have, in the past, been quick, often too quick, to take offence at some comment or phrase used at me or against me by some person not meaning to hurt, but not as sensitive as I. And, for many years, lacking self worth and self esteem, I was willing to believe the opinions of people in my life who were perhaps lacking sensitivity, and insensitive to me. People like my mother, my father, my family. Definitely my husband, who used to tell me that even though he didn't find me attractive, it was possible that some men might. How's that for insensitivity?
Having given even more thought still to this point, I realize that perhaps I have listened and believed, for too long, the opinion of some insensitive people in my life, and I have decided that I like being sensitive, that for me there is no such thing as being too sensitive. It is this part of my character which helps me to do my job, to be aware of others, of others pain and anguish and loss, and to recognize the sensitivity in others that I so appreciate.
I place this point very positively in the right column of the list, example 2.
Numbers 5 & 6: Bad-tempered and Intolerant.
Yes, I decide, I am both of these things, not all of the time thank goodness, but certainly more often than I would like. So they stay in the left column, but I have to ask the question, why? Why and when, and for what reasons do I become bad-tempered, and is it that I am intolerant with others or am I also intolerance with my own self?
Well, let's see, my temper becomes frayed mostly when I'm tired. I become irritable and intolerant and unable to think clearly. Travel is the most tiring, and unfortunately I am unable, unwilling, to do too much at this time to change my life in this way. It's part of my work, it's what I do, so when I think about these traits, I know that I must simply learn to deal with the tiredness and not take it out on others. I must also learn not to take it out on me. There are those times when we must accept our human frailties, and hope that those around us accept them too.
As I ponder on this further I also realize that I can also be very tolerant when I need to be and also very patient, a discovery. I should now put tolerance and patience in the right columns.
I decide that I will, even though when I now look at my list it seems that I am fast becoming a saint. Don't worry, I most definitely am not!!
Number 7: Bossy.
The word bossy conjures up the image of a nagging, forceful woman, who regardless of others needs and requirements, pushes and bullies and directs her own will upon others. Boy, I hope I'm not like that, I don't think I am, in fact I know I'm not, mostly because I don't want to be, but there are times...O.K. this is another of those awful traits which I readily have to admit to, but again thinking hard about this I realize that there is a very fine line between being bossy --- not a nice thing to be --- and being assertive, which in my life is a very necessary thing to be. So even though bossy stays on the list because, I'm ashamed to say, I sometimes can be, once again I have discovered another point for the right column-
Number 8: Lazy.
There are so many people who think that working for yourself, having no boss telling you what to do, must be great. And it is, it definitely is. But those who work for themselves will tell you that it is also the hardest thing. No one to blame but yourself if it doesn't work out, no one else to 'carry the can.' No clock to watch, no starting at nine and finishing at five. The most difficult and also the most necessary requirement for any measure of success however, is self discipline. This is the area I have to work at the most, and this is the area I most often fail in.
There are days in my life when, if I could, I would do nothing except laze about, maybe take a gentle walk, watch TV. I'm a great movie fan, and I love crosswords. As hard as I work, I can also work hard at doing nothing. I'm a great 'idler.' I was born with an idle or lazy streak in me, which, if I were to indulge too often, could turn me into a bore. So I make an effort to indulge as little as possible, which in turn, has probably turned me into somewhat of a workaholic.
The more I think about the hows, whys, and wherefores of my character, the more insight I have of who I really am and who I really want to be.
I am basically lazy. I have no argument with this point, and it most definitely stays, in the left column.
Number 9: Untidy.
I am an enigma, a puzzle. Complex yet simple and straight forward. Unfathomable, yet easily understood in some areas. God made me different from others, yet he made me the same. This could be said of all of us.
My kitchen cupboards are immaculate, as are all the cupboards and closets and draws in my house. A place for everything, everything in it's place. Tins placed, evenly spaced, labels at a certain angle, so they are easily seen. Jars in rows, like toy soldiers. I pride myself that I know, down to the smallest detail, where everything is. Mustard? Second shelf, top left hand cupboard, on the right, next to pickles. Garlic? Bottom shelf, left hand side, at the back. Olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil? All in rows, nothing out of place.
Closets. Well, let me see. Coat hangers all facing the same way, as are the clothes on them. Color coordinated, suits all together, black on the right, leading to lighter colors on the left. Blouses on left, pants middle, skirts on right. Sweaters range from lightweight short sleeve to heavy long sleeves. All have their place, and are in order. I think the picture is clear. So why is the word untidy even in my vocabulary.
The strange fact is that everything which is unseen, closed away, is in neat order, but all else is not. I leave my papers in piles. My office desk, often my kitchen table, is covered with piles of who knows what kind of papers. Faxes, books, parts of manuscripts. I make these piles, then forget what's there, so every few days I have to sort through them. You have no idea the time I waste because of my inability to be tidy in this area.
What does this tell me about me. Totally ordered on the inside, a mess on the outside. Not quite, not really, for I am, or try to be, meticulously dressed, make up on, hair done, even when I'm on my own and not expecting visitors. However, I do admit to a certain kind of ordered mind, and rarely will I show my inward emotions without careful thought and consideration, particularly when I'm working. I try to be controlled and precise of action, without being cold and indifferent to my situation. My thoughts are rarely scattered, my inner cupboard is in order, yet I will outwardly appear relaxed calm and easy, sometimes too much so.
As for the rest of it, yes, I am untidy. I intend to work on not being, but smile as I write, for I know myself well enough to know I won't make it.
Number 10: Demanding.
The last on my list of bad traits, it is true that I am a very demanding and exacting person and it is this trait which has caused some problems for me with other people.
I recall one particular time, a Tuesday evening, and I had decided to visit one of my healing centers, Thorne, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire in England. This was the first of our centers, run by very capable healers, who I trusted completely to do their best job.
It was a busy night, and there was very little time at the beginning for chit chat. A few new patients, as well as many old ones.
My visit was unexpected, although my team were used to having me drop in unannounced. As I walked into the healing room I saw that there were about six patients, each with a healer, and three or four student healers, beginners. There was also, seated on a chair, to the side of the room, a new patient. She had been twice before, and she was watching the healers at work.
As I always did, I quietly surveyed the scene, going from patient to patient, saying little, nodding or smiling my hello's, stopping to help, placing my hands on each one for a few minutes. My team stood, attentive to my every motion, as they had been taught, alert and watchful, always ready to learn some new thing. Mindful of their responsibilities, and wanting to give their patients the best they could.
I was their teacher. I felt and saw only their love and human kindness towards those who had come to them in need. I saw and felt only their respect for me as that someone they could learn from.
It was Robbie Burns, that wonderful Scottish poet, who wrote in his poem 'To A Louse,' 'O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as others see us.'
Translated, it means to wish that God, or some heavenly power would give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Would we be shocked, amazed, hurt, maybe awakened, perhaps confused?
I was so busy doing my job, the best I knew how, I failed to see or to be aware of the effect I, or my presence, was having on the lady who was seated by the side wall. Nor was any of my team aware of her either. It was only when she called one of my healers a couple of days later that any of us knew how upset she was.
She had not seen me as a gentle healer, nor had she seen me as a stern but fair minded and dedicated teacher. Rather, she had witnessed the reaction of my team, and in her eyes, had seen how they had stood to attention as I appeared in the doorway. She had seen me as intimidating, demanding, had seen my team fearful of my presence. In her eyes I was a tyrant.
Yes, my team had stood a little straighter, a little
taller, though not from fear. They were my team, and proud
to be. They stood proud, wanting my approval and my respect, as they approved of and respected me. This I know, even as I know that no organization can achieve and produce such miracles as we for as long as we have, if that organization is fear based, for such work must be based on love and true dedication.
"Who does she think she is," our complainer had said of me, and, "If she's going to be there often, I won't come. It's not right that they're all afraid of her." She said this last, without having spoken to any of my team, I might add.
I smile as I think back, realizing that this woman was the one afraid, not my team, and I briefly wonder, of what?
"What should I say to her?" asked the healer she had complained to, and my answer was simple and straight forward. "She wants to know who I think I am," I replied. "Tell her that I am the founder and teacher of this organization. That I am fully aware of my responsibilities, to my team, and to my patients. That I run the centers as I see fit, in the way that I can benefit all who come to us the best way possible. I am a medium and a healer, that's who I am, and if she would like to know more, let her come and ask me herself." Sadly, she never did.
There have been others too who have criticized me in my work. Recently I received a letter from two women who had come to one of my healing workshops. I was fifteen minutes late starting. I had the nerve to begin the workshop by asking everyone if they considered their lives to be dull, boring, or full. I posed the question, "Is your glass half full or do you see it as half empty?" My two complainers found my question arrogant, offensive. They wrote that they left the workshop in disgust and disappointed. They stayed, they said, a total of fifteen minutes and couldn't stand me any longer. Sadly, they missed a really great day.
"O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us."
Unfortunately for me, many people decide on the person I must be from reading my books, or watching me on the television, and they presume that because my work is special, wonderful and miraculous, then I must be these things also. Raised up onto a pedestal I did not ask to be raised onto, inevitably I fall off, again and again. And boy, does it hurt. It hurts and disappoints those who see me as special, superhuman, and it also hurts me too, for all too often, when people realize that I'm just like them, that I'm human too, they become angry with me, and want to lash out. Living this spiritual life, trying to be the best I know I'm supposed to be, is really tough.
Looking at this list of negative points, seeing myself as I really am, knowing that I'm supposed to be better than I am, having to admit to the world that I am these things...but wait. Is it what the world sees that's important? No. Is it how others view us, how others see us that's important? No, again. Does it matter that much that others put me high on that ridiculous pedestal? Yes, but only in that they will be disappointed.
Robbie Burns writes that it would be a gift to be able to see ourselves as others see us. I would change his words somewhat, knowing that I am human, knowing that, yes, I am a demanding human being at times, understanding that to change is often to grow, I would have his words read such, 'O, wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, to see oursels.'
I demand high standards of myself, therefore I often expect unreasonably high and exacting standards from others. This inevitably leads to disappointments and it has sometimes seemed to me that other people have let me down. I must work at being more tolerant of what I consider to be other people's shortcomings, and try to be less demanding of others. If I had done this in the past, in certain circumstances, I might have been less miserable.
Of all the points in this column, this is the one I feel I have to work at the hardest. I must change this, for my own sake, my own happiness.
Although it is not complete, as I have now to reflect on my good points and deal with them in the same way I have just dealt with the bad points, let us now examine the new list, List 2, and see how it looks so far.
Immediately we can see that the list is much more evenly balanced, and I have changed the headings, deleting the words bad and good and replacing them with the words negative and positive.
Remember that this list is only an example and the comments indicate possible ways of assessing each point. The way in which this exercise has been constructed is designed to help you to reach deeply into yourself in a positive way. A way which will lead to self discovery.
You will have your own way of assessing and dealing with the points, both negative and positive, which you have on your list. The thing to remember is to try not to be influenced by what other people say or think about you, or rather what you think other people's opinions of you are. Be yourself. Good or bad. Positive or negative. Then let these self-discoveries help you. Learn to acknowledge the negative points and work towards changing or improving on them if you can. And if you can't, then learn to accept them. After all, they are part of you. As far as the positive points are concerned, learn to enhance these traits and gain confidence in the knowledge that you really do have some very fine qualities. We all have.
Your list can, if you let it, be very valuable to you. Not just for the time it takes to complete this exercise, but in years to come. It is something you can put away and not think about for a while, and then take out and study. It is changeable and indeed must change as your character changes, and as you grow. Your list can help to build your confidence and can strengthen your resolve. It will, if you let it, help you to learn to like yourself. A most important and necessary thing to do.
Hopefully, eventually, you will, after changing your list many times, be able to say:
"I may not be the nicest person I know, but as a human being, as just one little person, I am quite nice really."
The questions I suggest you ask yourself after completing this exercise are:
l. Have I learned to know myself better?
2. Have I learned to understand myself better?
3. Have I learned to like myself better?
And the answer should be YES, to all three, and given time and patience, it will be.
Don't forget, as with every other exercise, we expect that there will be many questions and queries concerning this chapter. Know that time alone will give you your answers. Be patient, and remember...BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. Your self-esteem will grow.
Did you dare? I hope you did, and I hope by doing these last exercises you gained knowledge, understanding of yourself, and compassion for yourself. Now, if you dare to advance a little more, you could, if you wish, be like Goldilocks, and try the chairs. They won't break, they won't be too big or too small, and you can sit in them on your own, or share your story with a loved one, or a good friend.
First you must sit in the sad chair, and reaching deep down inside, as you are learning to do, find the most painful and saddest of stories. We all have at least one, and even the happiest and most loved of us are no exception to this. As you tell the story it may help if you visualize me listening to you. Of course, I am only one person, and can't be in more than one place at once, or can I? But although I can't promise to hear what you have to say, I can promise that some one will. A loved one, a family member, or a good friend. We all have someone in the spirit world who loves us and is willing to listen. There are also no exceptions there either.
Sit in the sad chair, and in telling your story, bring out all the old buried hurts and pains that have been stored inside, just as my friend Brian did.
Sit in the happy chair, and in telling your story, search out those small rays of sunshine, and the silver lining which is always there if we look hard enough, even behind the darkest cloud.
Sit in the inspirational chair, and in telling your story, like our boy Tyler, be inspired that you not only survived your pain, not only can you smile a little despite your pain, but that your pain, your experience, has helped make you stronger and more sensitive to other people's pain.
As you sit in your inspirational chair, be inspired too, that even as I write, my heart goes out to each and every one of you who has dared to explore the depths of your soul. I send my loving and energizing thoughts to you, and will remind you, if I may, that as you tell your story, there are those, above and beyond all others who are listening to you, God's messengers...your angels.
You are already in touch with your world, through books, radio, television. Now you are learning to be in touch with yourself, and inevitably, you will learn to be in touch with your spirit, and with that place beyond our earth, which we call the spirit world. As you strive to learn, feel your power grow. As you grow, feel yourself become more powerful.
It is important to be "at home", to be welcoming and receptive to the spirit world, to our spirit nature. But it is imperative that we are "at home", welcoming in thought, receptive to our own feelings, knowing who we are, so that we can know our power.
"Two may talk together under the same roof,
Yet never really meet.
And two others, at first speech, are old friends."