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II. On Choosing Peace Instead of Problems
"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."
-Saint Francis of Assisi

Last month I said that this month I would talk about past life regressions; well in the meantime Michael, my husky has become sick and is probably dying (actually if we think about it, aren't we all?). However, the reality that it may be sooner rather than later, has certainly brought up lots of challenges and insights for me. My sense is that these are what need to be discussed this month. We'll get back to past life regressions next month, OK?

As quite a few of you know, Michael has been my best friend and constant companion since I rescued him from the Humane Society eight and a half years ago. For the past two years we have been inseparable as I work out of my home and we are together all day most days. So when I heard that he may have liver cancer and that it had probably metastasized to his hip, I felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces and I didn't know how I was supposed to go on. I went into a depression of hopelessness and felt like it was all I could do to make it through a client session by shear will power. Nothing but the bare minimum got done for my sense of loss and sadness was overwhelming and I couldn't focus on anything but him.

I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself for all the losses I had already experienced in my life. I lost my mother when she was only forty-nine and ten years later my Dad died. Two years ago this past Christmas I lost one of my closest friends. So why did I have to have another loss in my life?

I felt isolated and beat myself up for bringing Michael to Connecticut at this time. I scolded myself for taking him away from his and my "home" in the desert (Tucson) at his age and bringing him to this "strange" land, even though I know he loves the beach and the cooler weather.

As a coach, I started to think about what we coaches call tolerations. These are the things we are putting off or putting up with that drain our energy. Well, Michael being ill was certainly draining my energy, but how was I supposed to deal with this toleration? This was not something I could "fix" nor was there something I could "do" to make him better. I could make him more comfortable, but even that would do nothing to stop draining my energy and would probably take more of it. So how could I coach others on eliminating their tolerations if I could not rid myself of this energy drainer? Then I thought well, sometimes "life happens" and this is certainly a part of life.

But how could I support others in creating and living lives of abundance when I felt so far away from abundance in my own life? Well, as it turned out I went to the library and there was Wayne Dyer's latest book, "There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem". I took the book home and started to read it. Isn't it wonderful that when we are on a spiritual path, we always get what we need?

In the book Dyer talks a lot about the concepts in "Course in Miracles"". One in particular struck me as certainly a way to look at this "problem" I had. And that is the concept that "I can choose peace instead of this".

Having done the "Course In Miracles" twenty-five years ago I "knew" this concept but must have forgotten it. As soon as I started to really feel that "I could choose peace instead of this", I started to see all the abundance that was and still is in my life. I now see and am grateful for having had Michael for these many years. But even more important I see that for right now, today, Michael is still with me. He may have slowed down, but he is comfortable, pain-free and enjoying his life. For me and for him the most important thing is that I am here with him now and that I stay with him through each step as he makes this journey.

I am grateful that I work out of my home so I can be here for him during this time. I can spend this time with him and I don't have to go off to a "job" someplace else for eight hours.

And there is so much more to be grateful for. Before I got Michael I was never one to be concerned with my physical body and got little or no exercise. I am grateful that when he was younger he loved to run and walk long distances and he made me take him for a long walk/run everyday. This made me aware of how important it is to take care of my own body. Just because he can't do this anymore, doesn't mean I need to abandon my own exercise needs. I am most grateful that he made me aware of my body and its need for exercise before it was too late.

I am grateful for all that he has taught me about unconditional love; about loving unconditionally and about being loved unconditionally. He has taught me that I am an incredibly wonderful human being as I have learned to look at myself through his eyes. He has shown me that I too can love unconditionally and I have used this lesson in my relationships with my human family, friends and clients. He has shown me what's important and what's not.

I am so grateful for the times we have had together when I have been able to sense and experience God in my life through him. For Michael whose name means "Who is like God", has been there no matter what I am like; whether I'm happy, sad, angry, depressed. Nothing has made him leave my side even when I am angry with him, he stays just as God is always there for me and for each of us.

And as I think of the space that will be open when he does decide to leave I realize that that can be put to good use too. Maybe it's time to give the time and energy I have devoted to Michael to a relationship with a wonderful man. Or who knows, maybe something or someone else will come in?

All I know is that my life is so much fuller for having had Michael and for now he is still here and enjoying each day with me. What abundance I have in my life and how fortunate I am. He and even his illness no longer feel like tolerations; they feel like another opportunity for growth. So for now, I have only joy that we are still enjoying and spending our days together. And no matter how "bad" it gets, I can always choose peace.

I hope you too can now look at something in your life you thought was a problem and see that "you can choose peace".

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