Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘unconditional love’

Conditional Love is Never Enough

Have you ever heard someone say that their love for another was simply not enough? How can that be we wonder? It sounds ludicrous to the untrained ear yet when we listen more deeply we hear a love that was conditional – based on making someone else happy and meeting their needs. Eventually, it becomes apparent that it is a fool’s journey.

But we may think that if we really love someone we would want to make them happy, satisfy their desires or shield them from pain. Yet, when we are in a constant state of ‘doing ‘ for them we are actually impeding their own growth as human beings as well as our own. We have become simply a host organism that provides emotional, psychological and physical nourishment to someone with an insatiable appetite. Eventually exhaustion sets in.

For those of us who have perfected the art of being a people pleaser we may rush in where fools fear to tread to help, assist and even rescue someone from themselves. Eventually, the label of people pleaser looses its shine and we come to the stark realization that we have been important to others and valued by them for what we do – not for who we are – that’s conditional love and it hurts. Is it time to love yourself enough to say gently but firmly, ‘enough – if it’s going to be it’s up to you…not me.’

There are other forms of love. The highest being what the ancient Greeks called Agape or unconditional love. This love does not need, seek or expect. It’s much deeper than mere physical attraction. It does not depend on anything – it simply is … It’s the type of love that encourages others to grow and is big enough to move out of the way so that lessons can be learned in their own way and time. It’s not swayed by time or circumstance and cannot be bought or sold. It is Universal love. The kind that gives energy to us and envelopes us with a confident knowing that we are on the right path.

Unconditional love is an inside job. It must start inside ourselves first with a strong sense of self esteem and confidence before it can authentically radiate out to others. The question to ask ourselves is, do we love ourselves conditionally or unconditionally? A huge but critical thing to ask because we know deep in our hearts that conditional love is never enough.

Have a great few days!

Follow Your Hunches!

Remember when we were kids and a parent or other close family member would encourage us just by being there when we needed to talk. Their comforting words such as, ‘You’ll be okay’ or ‘Just sleep on it’ gave us a sense that everything would work out. We felt a degree of peace knowing that they cared deeply and understood what we were going through at the moment. We trusted their counsel and knew they were in our corner as they gave us a sense of hope for tomorrow. As we grew older some of those individuals may have passed on leaving a feeling of void in our lives. Just when we needed to hear a reassuring word and were questioning what to do next we realized that we could no longer turn to them. Yet, in the midst of our thoughts we may have felt an urge to follow a certain path. Could our loved ones have left an indelible mark on our psyche that serves us even today? Unconditional love is like that – it remains forever in our hearts. Maybe they taught us to believe in ourselves and trust that things will always work out. Is it possible that their energy remains around us to cheer us on especially when we are struggling?

When was the last time you had a hunch or feeling that urged you to take a certain action. Where did it come from? Did you follow it? Regardless of where these messages come from they are meant to help us as we live through the many challenges we encounter. Often, when we are doing everyday things such as taking a shower, working in a garden or just driving a familiar route to work a thought will come to us, supposedly out of the blue, regarding something that we have been wrestling with for some time. All of a sudden the answer seems so obvious. We have clearer insight regarding the issue. The clouded thinking we had been experiencing vanishes just as it did long ago when we were able to seek the comforting shoulder of our loved one to lean on. When we follow our intuitive sense of knowing our paths just flow more smoothly. We think to ourselves, ‘Things are just falling into place’ or ‘This is easier than I expected.’ Why? Simply put we are following the loving guidance of the Universe and those that have come before us.

Conversely, when we ignore these urgings or inner guidance the road seems to be full of bumps and detours which often cause us to feel we are living life in the neutral zone of waiting. Waiting for what we wonder? Yet the answer does not come and we continue to perseverate on the issue. For the moment our life journey has become too difficult to traverse. Our thinking seems confused, scattered and we choose to put off any decision making until we feel more in control. When we feel out-of-sync in our lives it is a message from the Universe that we are not listening – not following our reticular activating system which is our internal guidance system that finds our emotional home base. We have put this inner guidance system on hold.

The next time you find yourself feeling scattered – unable to confidently move forward just think about that certain someone in your life that was or is always there for you, cheering you on. Ask yourself what they would tell you and then just listen for your intuitive sense to pick up the message. It is always there for us – unconditional love just works that way.

Have a great few days!

Have You Arrived Yet?

Have you ever had someone ask you to call them when you have arrived at your destination? How did you respond? Did you interpret it as a sign of caring and love or an infringement on your personal space? The truth is that like many things we do in life we interpret things as a negative or positive based on our early conditioning.

People who dealt with fear growing up as a predominant factor in their early lives often need reassurance that all is okay. It is such an integral part of their makeup that they unwittingly perpetuate it on others and, at times, restrict growth. Taken to a further extreme they may even help create a fear of life in those they love the most. Do they do it purposely? Absolutely not! They are simply living out the life they experienced and passing it on to their loved ones. Is it time to hit the delete button?

As adults if we fall into the category of fearing life we can begin to confront that free floating fear and work through it by refusing to allow ourselves to continue to live in a state of constant anxiety and worry. The other option, of course, is to blame our responses on our upbringing and continue to live out a life script of fear. The truth is that once we come to grips with the fact that 99% of everything we worry about never happens we are at a cross road for decision making. Do we continue to worry and fret or slowly, gently wean ourselves away from the need to know – to control – to have something to worry about.

Teenagers often interpret the request to ‘check in’ as a sign of lack of trust. Sometimes it is due to events of the recent past. We know that as our children become young adults everything in their world becomes an issue of control. The challenging yet critical issue for parents is the gradual timing of letting the reins out slowly as our children mature. Too fast and they flounder, too slowly and they resent it.

For those who did not have an adult – a consistent mother figure in particular – in their lives that tried to loving watch, suggest, even direct the actions of their children at times the idea of ‘call me when you get there’ is foreign, an affront even, to them. They may stay stuck in the stage of a rebellious child for the rest of their lives. Deep down they know something was missing – what that was exactly – they are not sure.

Everything can be taken to an extreme. From eating and drinking at one end of the spectrum to advice giving and the ‘checking in’ factor to the other. Anything can become excessive. If we encounter a behavior or response directed to us that appears to be excessive try a gentle reminder to the person. ‘I’ve got this handled,’ is a statement that speaks volumes about personal responsibility and independence. Like life the issue is one of balance. It is a tricky road to negotiate at times.

Responses change as we mature in life. That is the beauty of it all. We don’t have to remain stuck behaving or responding the way we did in the past because everyday with each new life experience we are given the choice to see it as a potential for growth and deeper understanding or an excuse to remain stuck in the past. It is always up to us.

Maybe the next time someone asks you to let them know when you have arrived at your destination, you can take a deep breath and be grateful that someone who cares enough to request it is still in your life.

Pay it Forward and Thank Someone!

We have heard that we can count on one hand, and have fingers left over, the people in our lives that we know who we can really depend on to accept us unconditionally. That statement is probably true but look for the positive in it. You have someone that really cares enough to be there for you! Think about that for a moment. That’s big …really big!

Who is the person that truly listens to you and makes you feel good about yourself? When you think about this person often a smile spreads across your face and you feel confirmed as you remember a recent conversation with them that somehow just left you feeling better – more right with the world. You know that you can be open and frank with them not only because they expect that from you but more importantly because you know they accept you for who you are without judgment. When you find someone like this that encourages you to drop the mask that you wear to the outside world and simply be yourself, you exhale deeply with a feeling of gratitude that this human being is in your life.

This type of relationship does not develop quickly but is nurtured slowly over time – maybe even lifetimes – and is based on trust. Like a flower that starts with a seed and with proper nurturing and attention grows to be beautiful beyond belief so it is with trust. We all experience times when we are not at our best but with these folks in our lives we needn’t worry. They can hear both literally and intuitively our fear, concern or anguish and are always willing to lend an ear or hand as we talk with them about a recent experience that may have left us doubting our real potential. They help us see what is possible not merely problematic and help us remember that all facts – even an ugly truth- are safe to share with them.

The only time they call us on something is if we are attempting to deny what we truly feel. They care too much to allow us to bury our feelings deep within the nooks and crannies of our minds. Anytime we try to bury our feelings they just fester, deep inside, and will eventually erupt taking a toll on anyone in the path. These people who care so deeply about us do not allow us to short change ourselves through denial, anger or regret. They stick with us through the thick and thin of life for a reason and the reason is called unconditional love.

They come into our lives for a reason, a season and if we’re really lucky a lifetime. This Easter weekend may be the perfect time to take two minutes out of your busy schedule to reconnect and let them know how important they are to you. Everyone needs to hear from time to time that they are having an impact on someone. It feeds the fire of purpose in their souls.

Have a great few days!

A Lesson on Loss – Flight 370

My last blog entitled, ‘Fear of Change, involved the predictable stages of grief/loss that we all experience when faced with life altering changes. I used the topic of seniors about to graduate from high school to demonstrate that even when happy events (graduation) happen it is normal to experience a sense of loss. Why? When we leave the familiar and move into new unchartered territory fear rears its ugly head and can paralyze our thinking and action temporarily. Recognizing our fear for what it is (fear of the unknown) and verbalizing it to others helps diminish the negative effect and allows us to move, albeit, slowly, carefully forward.

These grief stages can be witnessed even more dramatically in sad or catastrophic events such as the disappearance of Flight 370. As of this writing, despite all the valiant search efforts by many countries there is still no information on the fate of those 239 people on board.

The 24/7 news coverage demonstrates the Stages of Loss (known by the acronym DABDA) of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We have seen people yelling, protesting, crying, praying, in shock, even unable to stand unaided as they experience the first 4 stages of grief/loss. The last stage involving acceptance is not even on their radar screen as yet. Why? How could anyone hold on to even a shred of hope after two full weeks?

For those of us who have lost a loved one … we get it. Sadly, reaching the final stage of acceptance takes an immense amount of time. The mind cannot process what the heart cannot yet accept. While concrete evidence or reasons help immensely for closure they cannot, in themselves, hasten the ultimate stage of acceptance. In the meantime, the families and friends of the 239 people number in the 1000’s – each of whom are experiencing the emotional roller coaster of grief in their own way and time.

We have all been swept up in this tragedy. Our hearts go out to those who wait with hope in their hearts to hear that a miracle has happened and their loved ones have been saved. Unrealistic expectations? Possibly, but who among us could simply say we wouldn’t be walking in those same shoes?

It does not seem to compute in our minds how in our technologically rich world a disappearance of this magnitude is even possible. Yet, as we hear of the heroic attempts being made to locate even a scrap of evidence we realize how small we are in the scheme of things in our world. A fact that truly humbles us.

What can we do as observers of this event? First and foremost we must realize that our thoughts, prayers and good intentions for the families of those who were on board the plane need to continue unabated. Regardless of the outcome we must remember that with love, understanding and time healing will take place. It is the type of healing that results when acceptance of the event finally begins to sink into our psyche and we move to the question…now what?

Acceptance of a loss forces us to a new level where we begin to question the meaning of our lives. We realize that tomorrow is not a given and only this very moment can be assured. We recalibrate our life compass to help us appreciate a bit more each and every moment we have on this earth. We try, with each new encounter, to make a more positive impact on others as we face our latest life challenge. We remember with humility that we have not walked in the another’s shoes and we learn to accept them unconditionally as we all work on our own unique life lessons. We appreciate life in a different way as we accept the fact that an expiration date is stamped on each of our souls. Ultimately, we move on with a greater sense of dignity and grace in this classroom called life.

Until next time remember, ‘All is as it Should Be.’

Balance – the Key to Life

In this classroom called life we are each working on learning our individual lessons. What seems difficult for one may appear easier for another. Not to worry, it’s all fair ultimately. Each of us has signed up to learn certain life lessons – no one gets a free pass on planet earth. When we think about what is THE most difficult thing to accept and learn to handle with grace we are uncovering one of our own lessons.

Learning unconditional love, letting go of the fear of living life fully, compassion for others, and truth are major themes that seem to be repeated in the lives of many. We know that whatever the lesson, the Universe will continue to present the challenges we need until we master it. Remember the saying, ‘First God whispers, then talks and may ultimately have to shout to get our attention.’ Whatever name you give the power greater than yourself, the process seems to be the same.

What if overriding all the individual lessons that we are working on is the granddaddy of them all…BALANCE. It seems the more I observe the challenges we have in life the more it all boils down to achieving a sense of balance by enjoying the journey, bringing our entire self to the game, as we work on our lessons.

Do we work too hard and resent the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the week? Are we eagerly waiting for the time to come when we can be done with our hectic work schedule? Is that when we plan on enjoying life more fully?

Do we demand that things be ‘just so’ in our lives and come unglued when people or things do not meet our expectations? Good luck with that – sounds like a never-ending story of disappointments as we face the twists and turns of life on a daily basis.

Are we constantly on the hunt for ‘things’ that we want rather than being satisfied with things that we truly need. Funny thing about consumption – the more we have the more we want. It becomes a cycle of temporary gratification until the next ‘want’ pops into our minds.

Maybe life is a bit simpler than we imagine. Maybe it really is about learning to balance our needs, wants, lessons, achievements and ‘things’ with living in the now – being present in our thoughts, feelings and behavior. It may be near impossible to do so if we allow ourselves to be on a fast-paced course to get to tomorrow, next week or next month.

Simply put, we only have today. The future may be a fleeting thought that will never be realized. Something to think about when we are hurrying to get to the next meeting, rushing to catch the green light or half listening to another who is in need of our time and attention. The only sure thing we have is this moment.

The next time we are feeling rushed, overwhelmed or frustrated maybe we could take a deep breath and realize that if we continue living at warp speed we may ultimately regret the journey.

Have a great few days!

Helping to Heal

In my book entitled, ‘Just Behind the Door’ I write about communicating for the past decade with my son who passed on in 1999. From the other side he has deepened my understanding about many things in life. My goal in writing it was to share the information from him and help others who are dealing with loss, grief and healing. It seems to give people hope – that’s all I could ever ask for – and what I have received.

The first thing he has emphasized is about life lessons. We are all here on our own unique paths to learn the lessons we have chosen to learn. Dealing with the loss of a loved one, especially a child, is no doubt the toughest lesson. I don’t think a parent ever gets over such a loss but merely through it given enough time. There is no magic wand to wave to heal a broken heart. I found that reading the stories by other parents who had lost a child gave me a sense of hope. They seemed to live to tell the tale and their willingness to share their gut wrenching stories helped me to know that I would survive as well. Sometimes you do question. I also learned that the many mind games we play with ourselves about the loss is natural, normal and, in fact, even predictable.

The second thing my son has spoken about is energy. The Universal Energy is in everything and everyone. We can feel the difference in the different types of energy when we are around people who seem to just energize us and give us hope as well as those that seem to deplete us of energy. When a person is dealing with the loss of a loved one sometimes the best thing we can do is simply be there to listen. They are able to tap into our energy and strength and make it through another hour, day or even week. That’s a priceless gift to receive. When I hear people say they know they should go visit someone who has recently lost a loved one but haven’t done so because they don’t know what to say, I suggest that simply being with them does not require words – maybe just a hug and a cup of coffee while you listen to what happened and exactly how it happened. Allowing someone to talk about their loss helps them heal. One hour at a time and it is, indeed, a long journey.

The third idea my son continues to emphasize is that, ‘All is as it should be.’ That is a bitter pill to swallow when you have experienced a loss but true none the less. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. We can relax in knowing that there truly was nothing we could do to avoid the inevitable loss. The plan was set in motion long before we set foot on earth.

Since we have free will, what we do with these ideas is up to us. I know they are truth since I have lived them. We can gain a sense of peace about our lives when we think deeply about our life purpose and the lessons we are learning.

If you would like to read more about my communication with my son or know of someone who has experienced a loss and seems to be stuck in grief, please consider giving them my book (available through AuthorHouse or Amazon) and let me know what happens. I know you will be surprised to hear their response after reading it. If you are hesitant to offer a book of this type to someone that’s okay. I know from the book talks I give and emails I receive that those who will benefit from reading it somehow find a way to do so.

Have a great few days!