The “Just Wars” AKA The 4 Top Killers of Personal Growth

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Is there such a thing as a “just war”?  A right war? A moral war?  A needed war?  There are some who would argue YES.  What about the war inside?  The war of the mind that affects your  heart light and keeps you from authentically manifesting your magnificence.

Today we’re discussing growth inhibitors.  Unlike fertilizer, inhibitors include thoughts, phrases and behaviors that hold us back.  The stories we tell ourselves and the language we use even in our thoughts affect our action or inaction.

The top 4 growth inhibitors:

 

I just. . .

I just often precedes a statement that reflects conflict and internal struggle.  A dissonance.

For instance:

When discussing a friend who chooses to make decisions that may or may not be in his or her best interests:  “I just don’t want to see _____ homeless and unable to have _____. ”  Even though we know that we have no control over the situation, we want to be able to influence another’s behavior.  We don’t have that power.

“I just want them to understand.  I just don’t want to be the outcast” for setting healthy boundaries and taking care of one’s own well-being.  You can’t do both, dear one.  Personal growth requires sacrifice and self-preservation.  That often means leaving situations or people that have become toxic behind.

 Yeah but. . .

Yeah but often precedes a statement in which a person knows what he or she needs to do or that the advice or facts are true but isn’t yet ready to take action.

For instance:

When discussing healthy boundaries with family or friends:  Yeah but they’re family and I have to put up with them or there won’t be a relationship.  Yeah but if I don’t do what they expect, they won’t provide babysitting, etc.  Yeah buts come up in situations where we’re afraid of the outcome if we hold our ground.

 But it’s haaaaaarrrrrrdddddd. . .

Did that sound like a whiny 2 year old?  Good! It was meant to because that it is exactly what we sound like when we use it.  But  it’s haaaaarrrrrddddddd often precedes a statement in which change has either begun or is about to be embarked upon.  It is a reflection of inner resistance to change.

For instance:

The need to take time for oneself to study, meditate, do art or simply recharge.  “But it’s haaaaaaarrrrdddd to set aside the time.  I’m sooooooo busy, stressed, etc.”   The REALITY:  We all get the same 24 hours, dear one.  We each make the time for what we consider important.  Why can’t YOU be one of those treasured things?  Even 20 minutes to do what you love will make a difference in your outlook.

OR “I know I need to eat right/stop smoking/exercise etc but it’s haaaaarrrrrrrdddddd.”   Of course it’s hard.  Changing habits requires commitment.  Are you willing to commit to loving yourself enough to change?  You can’t punish yourself into self-love; you have to love yourself with affirming action.  Baby steps are fine but move yourself forward a little at a time.

I Can’t.

 

Intended to shut down uncomfortable conversations or thoughts, I can’t implies that you are infinitely limited.  But the word impossible contains the words “I’m possible.”  Trite, I know yet internalizing that truth is powerful beyond measure.

Reframing the “I justs, yeah buts, but it’s hards and I can’ts”.

I have a few journaling exercises to turn those thoughts around and manifest ACTION.

I JUST.  Take a moment to think about what you really WANT from a given situation.  Look at the change that needs to happen and identify YOUR needs.  Do you need peace, acceptance, self-love?  Identify how you can remove the toxic and create what you want.  Can you take a walk, make art, say “I choose not to entertain that thought/energy”?   When you have identified what you need, practice saying silently or out loud (in the instance of people who may be emotional vampires) “I choose not to entertain that.”

YEAH BUT.  Write down what is the worst case scenario.  Then decide what you really want from the situation and write down what is the BEST thing that could come from the situation.

Make a list of the difficult things you have done in your life.  What are the traits that you exhibited that allowed you to handle those situations.  You still carry those traits, dear one.  They may have fallen dormant for a period of time, but you have everything you need to make necessary changes right there inside your phoenix soul.

I CAN’T.  Write down your list of I can’ts.  Then in another column make a heading that reads BUT WHAT IF I COULD?  List what would happen if you could.  Then list small steps that you can take to turn the can’ts into I CAN and I DID!

You are a Phoenix Uprising!  You are stronger than you can imagine and you have the power to be anything you dream of.  Vulnerability is power, strength and might.  Strength is born from vulnerability – from being vulnerable enough to be uncomfortable and to walk through the fire to emerge a Phoenix of your own destiny.

Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

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Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

 Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  A day to thank Mom for all she has done to bear us, for the sacrifices, the love, the meals, the guidance and for her presence.  Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history.  Mother’s Day began as a progressive movement advocated for by a handful of activist women.

  1. In 1858, when Anna Reese Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.  Anna began giving carnations to mothers in her Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
  3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

As the years progressed and commercialization of the holiday began to take over Jarvis’ original intent that the day be an intimate affair between mother and child(ren), Jarvis came to be disappointed in those who sought to monetize love and loyalty.

Source:  http://www.nwhp.org/news/history_of_mothersday.php

As the parade of pastel cards, memorials, tributes to Mom, flowers, dinner and even gardening centers benefit from the day, my thoughts turn to those for whom the day has a different meaning.  Those for whom Mother was not a nurturer, but the source of abuse and neglect.  For those persons, Mother’s Day can be a source of high anxiety and sadness.

For years, Mother’s Day has been a source of sadness and anxiety for me for a number of reasons:  My mother abandoned me at 8 months old, my grandmother and grandfather raised me and my grandmother was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  Mom, while occasionally present, really only dealt with me when there was a new relationship in her world.  I am incapable of having children of my own due to endometriosis and the resultant hysterectomy, so the opportunity to be a better mother than my mother(s) is gone.  As I near 50 years old, raising a child is impractical.  I was raised by parents who were in their late 60s when I came along; I know the disadvantages to both parties of that arrangement.

For those of us with abusive backgrounds, the saccharine sentiments on Hallmark cards don’t apply to us:

 

“You have always been there for me.” Huh? No.

“Thank you for always listening to me.” No.

“A mother is a gift from God forever.” No, I didn’t feel that at all.

“A mother sacrifices for her child.” That doesn’t work when mom abandons you at 8 months old and  your grandmother who raised you was abusive.

“Thank you for your love.” I only felt her “love” when there was a new man to show me off to.

So. . .what to do about this Mother’s Day thing.  This year, I will celebrate in a way that affirms me.  Today, I will spend time with Mother Nature.  I will walk with her, hold her in my hands, drink of her perfume, marvel at her beauty and the way she supports me, the way she has given me life and nourishment.  I will allow her to love me and me her.  Today, I will love Mother in a way I have never before.  I will define Mother in my own way and she will bring me peace.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp

A Gift For You! Open It – You’ll Never Be The Same

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Beloved,

The fact that you are still here and still being a Phoenix rising shows that you DO value yourself. It takes courage to face challenges, survive and to want to make a change. Maybe you don’t value yourself as much as you would like, but the spark is there and will be fanned into a flame that will burn brightly.

It has to begin with you – with offering your unique gifts. You weren’t meant to fit in amongst the mediocre, you were meant to SHINE. We are given a box of gifts at birth, it is our job to hand that box back at the end of our days and say “There is nothing left – I used it all up.”

When we do our me-work (the Beauty Uprising, self-development and self-awareness) because we are worth it, we learn that through vulnerability comes strength. We break ourselves down and get rid of the crap that no longer serves us – negative views of ourselves, habits that perpetuate cycles of defeat, relationships that no longer affirm our worth and we act from of place of love. You’ve beaten yourself up long enough, hon.

I challenge you to do some mirror work. There is a very specific reason: By looking into the mirror, we see ourselves as we are: human. Each day I would like you to look in the mirror and say the following ( a paulissaism that helped me tremendously in my path and perhaps it will help someone else):

I am ENOUGH
-Smart ENOUGH
-Worth ENOUGH
-Loved ENOUGH
ENOUGH. I am.

You may feel funny at first and that it is OK. You may feel phony or feel lots of resistance and that is OK too. The most valuable lessons are found when we are uncomfortable. That is where the growth happens. Fake it until you make. Say this until you believe in your heart of hearts that you truly are enough, in the state in which you are now because you are a Phoenix and you are rising!

Don’t be a yeah but either. . .you know “Yeah but it’s hardddddddd”. Yes it is hard but you are worth every effort. Mega hugs and lots of love. Hope some of this helps.

Don’t Take That Yoke!

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Text and Image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Don’t Take That Yoke!

A heart full of love compensates for a heart and mind that is filled with hate. The hope for a peaceful future exists in the way in which we love others. Evil will always exist, as will hate. Hate arises from envy – envy of liberty, freedom, opportunity to move with a minimum of restriction and envy of a way of life. Hate also rises up from places of deep pain and misplaced blame, for is it easier to blame others and circumstances than it is to take responsibility for changing the paradigm. Yet that is the challenge. Hate is only combated through love.

There are some – including our “intelligence” agencies and President –  who feel that it is important to understand why this act of violence was perpetrated.  I do not agree.  Allow me to explain.  I believe that our burden and responsibility at all times is to love.  The act of transferring my energies to wondering why others would wish harm upon me personally, my community or my country shifts my focus from the good I can do by fostering humanity.  I don’t need to know why someone would wish harm. That is not important.

Further, there are those who wish to engage in the one-upmanship of pain and death.  Those persons or entities use the red herring of “What about the ____X______ number of people who died in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or any other country in which there is unrest and in which America either volunteers or is begged to be the world’s police force.  Please do not misunderstand me:  I believe that all life is precious, that all humanity needs to be affirmed.  Therefore, I couldn’t care less about this one-upmanship of pain.  To me, it is all tragic but I choose to focus my energies upon the corner of the world in which I am most equipped to make a difference.  That is my own back yard.   I do not need to wear a yoke of guilt and responsibility for the hatred of others.  I do not need to be personally responsible for why someone chooses to carry out harm against others.  Neither do you. There are more important things.  Love is more important.

 

Fostering Humanity Manifesto

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Fostering Humanity Manifesto

Leonard Cohen observes that “everything has a crack, that’s how the light gets in”.  We soak up the rays, tell time and mark the seasons with the sun and grow with the help of the sun.  We turn our faces to the sun, always seeking the good, the beautiful and the happiness we believe is found there.

Yet along with the pursuit of happiness and warmth of the sun, often those who are the most vulnerable can be caused to be overlooked. Darkness brings fear, anxiety, monsters under the bed and cold truths we might rather avoid.  It is easy to see the light, yet darkness has value as well.  There we find the lost and lonely who are always left behind.  The homeless, the veteran, the mentally disabled, those with depression or any one of us on a given day who need a kind word, a gentle touch, a smile and understanding.

Instead, many of us look away as though by not laying eyes on humanity and need, it will not exist.  Yet vulnerability and the need for love always exists and neither ignorance nor apathy will change that.  The only thing that changes darkness and neglect is love.  You don’t have to love someone romantically to practice love.  The challenge is this:  Do not cause harm.  Give the benefit of the doubt.  We do not inhabit another’s mind so we will never know the full story at any given time.  Simple recognition of that fact will go a long way toward fostering humanity.

This is my vision:
1.       No one is insignificant.  Never brush aside anyone..  Who knows what they can teach us?
2.      “Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.” ~ Henry S. Haskins

Whether a person is a believer in a higher power or not, do not tear at the fabric of another’s belief system to feed your ego.  We all come to faith (I do not necessarily mean religion) in our own ways and our own time.  Who is to say that the person who walks silently along a brook doesn’t feel moved by a spirit?  Allow each person to engage in his or her own belief system.  At the end of the day, it matters most whether or not a person is kind.

3.      Choose love.  It is easy to be negative, to think that others have it in for us and to think the worst.

4.      Protect the vulnerable.  Don’t assume that someone else will be your backbone.
5.      Listen to others.  The most basic human need is someone to hear our story.  It matters.

6.      Make your points without personal attacks.  Weak people attack others instead of clearly and civilly stating disagreements and trying to find common ground.  When common ground can’t be found, wish your “opponent” well.

7.      Find beauty in everyone.  Everyone has it.  If it isn’t apparent, that means that you haven’t waited long enough.  Everyone has humanity to be laid thread, by golden thread, and woven into a tapestry of joyful existence.

8.      Add joy where you can.  Kindness costs nothing.

9.      Label no one.  Labels negate worth.

We are all magnificent; we are all capable of love, hope, kindness and beauty manifested.  You have more to offer than you could ever imagine and the universe is waiting for your wisdom.

I leave you with this:

Let me assure you that you are loved. You were wonderfully created, and made to be someone special. You are ever changing but in every phase you are a perfect masterpiece. You are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you cannot fail. You were not made for that. You were made to be a beautiful human becoming. You were made to be a warrior, not a doormat. YOU ARE A WARRIOR! Stand tall. Know that you are more than you ever imagined. Know you are worthy of every blessing. Know you are loved more than you ever imagined.  Foster Humanity.

Text and image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

 

Poverty. . .Is It All In Your Mind?

It has been said that he who is grateful never knows poverty.  Yet we often think we are poor – financially, spiritual, socially, on an educational level or in terms of skills.  We think we don’t have the tools we need to succeed so we read articles, we take classes, we save, we hope, we pray.  We do everything but DO!  Sound familiar?

When we give power to the poverty mindset, it looks something like this

poverty² = inaction.  So often, overwhelm leads to the poverty mindset.  Our dreams are big and so are our fears.  Fear clouds reasons to the point that resources are overlooked.  We forget that we don’t have to do it all alone.  If we merely ask for help, admit what we don’t know and set out to dare to fail while learning, we move past poverty thinking into richness of experience.  In every trial, there is a blessing.  Yes, even when it does not immediately reveal itself.

What do you have going for you?

  • friends?
  • teaching skills?
  • contacts in areas related to your desired industry?
  • life experience?  Don’t downplay your experiences.
  • mentors?

The list could go on and on.  Your mission should you choose to accept:  Make a list of 10 riches you have that will move you toward your goals.  Once you have that list written, ask yourself why you may not be utilizing those resources to their full potential.  Allow that list to serve as your diving board.  Dive into your bold, rich life!

You are rich, dear ones, and oh so loved.

 

What The Human Spirit Can Do

I went to play pool last night with my team and as always, in a bar setting one never quite knows what one will see.  Yet last night with all of its drama and tribulation restored my faith in the human spirit.

There was a gentleman there who was a veteran of the war in Iraq.  His body wracked by injury, he wore a brace on his left leg which dragged behind him, his shoulder was twisted at what appeared to be a very painful angle and he used a walker.  Yet this man was dancing safely inside the confines of his walker and playing pool.  He shot the pants off of everyone he played.  He balanced his cue stick upon the walker and shot.  He showed joy in spite of his many challenges.  I took the opportunity to speak with him and walker dance a couple of tunes. 

At the end of the night I asked to photograph him, a request he graciously declined but was happy to allow me to share his story with you.  I asked him about finding joy in the midst of such challenges and thanked him for his service and sacrifice.  He told me “There are those who are paralyzed despite being “healthy”.  They don’t even realize it.  They don’t pursue joy internally or externally.  It is in the living that we thrive.  There are those who would prefer not to see me struggle and would rather I sat at home and withered away.  Yet socialization and activity ensure that I will continue to be productive and to give to others and society.  Don’t ever forget that no matter the challenges, the choice is ours as to what good we will share with the world.”  With tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and renewed resolve, I hugged this man and wished him well.  I left my card with him and offered him and his family a free holiday portrait should he want one. 

The human spirit.  May we all inspire others through the testament of how we live our lives.

© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp