Sanctuary and Serenity

You Learn

Posted on: April 4, 2010


You Learn…
When,
in the midst of all your fears and insanity,
you stop dead in your tracks,

and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out
– ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.

And,
like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum,
your sobs begin to subside,
you shudder once or twice,
you blink back your tears,
and through a mantle of wet lashes,
you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.
You realize
that it’s time to stop hoping and
waiting for something to change,
or for happiness, safety and security
to come
galloping over the next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming,
and you are not Cinderella (or vice versa)
and that in the real world
there aren’t always
fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter),
and that any guarantee of “happily ever after”
must begin with you;
and in the process,
a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect
and that not everyone will always love,
appreciate or approve of who or what you are…
and that’s OK.

They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving,
and become a companion to yourself;
and in the process,
a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining
and blaming other people
for the things they did to you or didn’t do for you
and you learn
that the only thing you can really count on
is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean
or mean what they say,
and that not everyone will always be there for you;
you learn to stand on your own,
and to take care of yourself;
and in the process
learn that in safety and security is born self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers..
and you begin to accept people for who they are
– not their family,
their spouses or their ancestors;

You begin to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties;
and in the process,
a sense of peace and contentment
is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself,
and the world around you,
is as a result of all the messages and opinions
that have been ingrained into your psyche;
and that the expectations you project
are often what you created.

You stop manufacturing excuses that it’s “others”
who miraculously stroll through life’s fires unsinged.
Embracing that those “others”
now include you.

You begin to sift through all that you’ve been fed
about how you should behave,
how you should look,
and how much you should weigh;
what you should wear and where you should shop,
and what you should drive,
and where you should live,
and what you should do for a living;
who you should sleep with,
who you should marry,
and what you should expect of a marriage;
the importance of having and raising children,
or
what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up
to new worlds
and different points of view.

And you begin reassessing
and redefining
who you are
and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing,
and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown,
or should never have bought into to begin with;
and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive.
And that there is power and glory
in creating and contributing;
and you stop maneuvering through life
merely as a
“consumer looking for your next fix.”

You learn that principles
such as honesty and integrity
are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era,
rather the mortar that holds together
the foundation upon which we must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything,
it’s not your job to save the world…
and that you can’t teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility,
and the importance of setting boundaries,
and learning to say “NO”!

You learn that the only cross you bear
is the one you choose to carry,
and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love.
Romantic love and familial love.
How to love,
how much to give in love,
when to stop giving,
and when to walk away.

You learn not to project your needs
or your feelings
into a relationship.

You learn that you will not be more beautiful,
more intelligent,
more lovable
or important
because of the man, or woman on your arm,
or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are,
and not as you would have them be.

You stop trying to control people,
situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change,
so it is with love…

and you learn that you don’t have the right
to demand love on your terms …
just to make you happy.

You learn that alone
does not mean
lonely.

You look in the mirror
and come to terms with the fact
that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10,
never escape your receding hairline,
and you stop trying
to compete with the image inside your head
and agonizing over how you
“stack up.”

You also stop working so hard
at putting your feelings aside,
“smoothing things over”
and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly “OK.”
That it is your right to want things
and to ask for the things that you want
and sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization
that you deserve to be treated
with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect;
and you won’t settle for less.

You allow only the hands of a person
with his or her “touch”
and in the process
you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

You learn that your body really is a temple,
and you begin to care for it and treat it with respect.
You begin eating a balanced diet,
drinking more water and taking more time to exercise.

You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit
and can create doubt and fear.
So you take more time to rest.

And, just as food fuels the body,
laughter fuels our soul.
So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn, that for the most part,
in life you get what you believe you deserve …
and that much of life truly is
a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving
is worth working for,
and that wishing for something to happen is different
from
working toward making it happen.

More importantly,
you learn that in order to achieve success
you need direction, discipline and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone,
and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.

You learn that the only thing you must truly fear
is the great robber baron of all time….
FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into
and through your fears
because you know that whatever happens you can handle it,
and to give in to fear
is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

And you learn to fight for quality of life
and not to squander it
living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair,
you don’t always get what you think you deserve;
and that sometimes
bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people.

On these occasions you learn not to personalize things.

You learn that God isn’t punishing you
or failing to answer your prayers.
It’s just life
..happening.

You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state —
the ego.

You learn that negative feelings
such as anger, envy and resentment
must be understood and redirected
or they will suffocate the life out of you,
and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong
and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful
and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things
that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about:
a full refrigerator,
clean running water,
a soft warm bed,
a long hot shower.

Slowly,
you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself;
and you make yourself a promise
to never betray yourself
and to never, ever settle
for less than your heart’s desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your
window so you can listen to the wind.

You make it a point to keep smiling,
keep trusting,
and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally,
with courage in your heart,
you take a stand;
you take a deep breath,
and you begin
to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

Knowing
it WILL BE the best.

(Author Unknown)

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