Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘unconditional love’

Unconditional Love

Life is nothing without love and through love everything is possible. The interesting thing about the topic of love is that we are often guided on the importance of loving others but are not taught the importance of loving ourselves unconditionally. Some of us may have been blessed with unconditional love from a parent or other significant adult in our lives. For others who did not experience this type of love they may have many things yet to unlearn in life. Until we can love ourselves unconditionally we are incapable of unconditional love toward others.

Unconditional love has no limits or boundaries. It can’t be bought or sold. This kind of love does not dictate conditions but is offered without expectations of receiving in return – no strings attached. It is the kind of love a mother has for her child. The distinction between conditional and unconditional love is huge. We can think of examples where love depended on what was being received. The person who had enough money to give, give, give and when their ability to give was changed or compromised their friends or even family members no longer had time for them. That’s conditional love and it hurts.

Could it be possible that if we do not really love ourselves unconditionally others feel it and in return do not experience unconditional love toward us? Seems to me that since the energy we give off attracts more of the same type of energy back to us, the importance of truly loving ourselves unconditionally becomes even more crucial. We are, in essence, like a magnet with a positive end (unconditional love) and negative end (conditional love) and we attract more of the same type of energy to us that we are giving off. Makes truly loving ourselves even more important doesn’t it?

If we find ourselves thinking ‘I’m not … enough or I’m too …’ or in reference to someone else, ‘they are too … or not enough …’ that kind of thinking reflects conditions. That hurts you and others. Is it time to fully accept ourselves and others and realize that all of us have chosen our life path, in this body and at this time in history for our own unique purpose? The lessons we are being presented with in life were designed by each of us for a specific reason – to learn from them.

You truly are perfect in the eyes of the Universe and in the eyes of those who love you unconditionally. There is no ‘if’ in their loving. They just love you because you are you. That’s what really counts in life. It is not about the number of ‘friends’ you have on Facebook but the number of friends you have when you need them, without judgment or conditions, simply because they love you unconditionally. It has been said that most people can count the number of true friends like this on one hand and have fingers left over …maybe so. Maybe that’s the way it is supposed to be …

Do we all make mistakes, need some rework and growth experiences during our life? Absolutely! However, we can face these challenging times with a much larger tool kit if we have first accepted ourselves, as we are – a person who is growing and becoming all that we can be – and making a difference on planet earth -because we cared and dared to love unconditionally.

As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, “the ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”

Have a great few days!

Defining Normal

How many times have we thought when observing a person or situation, ‘that is not normal.’ Or better yet, how many times have we thought another person is not doing things right or correctly …according to what we judge to be so. The operative word here, of course, is JUDGE. If we are honest with ourselves, most or all of us would say, yes I do that frequently when what I see or hear doesn’t match MY definition of regular or normal. My question to you then is what do you define as normal? Do you think your definition is the only right one possible? Is there any flexibility in your interpretation of the word?

By definition, normal is stated to be ‘conforming to a standard, usual, regular or natural – a common behavior in society.’ However – and this is the biggie here – the definition of normality varies by person, time, place, situation and changes with societal standards and norms. In other words, ‘normal’ is intended to be a FLEXIBLE concept by definition. Yet we seem to define the word using a rigid standard according to what we are comfortable with at the moment. That sort of makes us judge and jury for everyone and everything in life doesn’t it? We place others unwittingly in an untenable situation because they are not meeting our own arbitrary standard of normal. Trust me on this one, they can feel your judgment and negative energy and will react accordingly. That is a rather dangerous or hurtful place to be don’t you think?

I believe defining normal is rather like defining beauty. It is in the eyes of the beholder as long as no one is hurt in the process. Each of us has a right to decide what works best for us without fear of reprisal or condemnation. It is sort of one of those inalienable rights given to us by a power much greater than ourselves.

If we allow ourselves to see the behaviors of others as ‘not normal’ that implies that something in their behavior needs to be corrected. But if we haven’t walked in their shoes and understand what they are coping with, how can we possibly believe that we are so smart, powerful or wise to determine what is normal or right for them? Could it be that what we are observing is simply a temporary or ‘normal’ state in reaction to that person’s circumstances at the moment. Could it be that they need understanding and acceptance and are just waiting to see if we are willing to get out of our own comfort zone and give it to them?

I believe that we would all be happier in our individual life journeys if we consciously worked at accepting others as we want to be accepted – without value judgments or conditions. The bottom line is that we are all seeking the same thing – unconditional love and understanding as we proceed on our paths. What we give we receive in return – no more no less.

Have a great few days!

Listening to Others

What makes us emotionally richer and deeper as human beings is when we try to walk in the shoes of another and search for a point of understanding rather than judgment. John Lennon wrote a song entitled, ‘Mother.’ It was not a particularly popular ballad but I would challenge you to listen to it. Simply google his name and songs to hear it in its’ entirety. It is a song of deep longing and the gut wrenching grief he felt even as an adult by not having a mother or father that was there for him during his short life. ‘You had me…I didn’t have you… I wanted you…You didn’t want me. Mama don’t go…Daddy come home.’ When we hear his name, thoughts of success, talent, even a lifestyle of the rich and famous come to mind. But how many of us realize that inside his heart he was as raw as any of us due to his early experiences.

Most of us are blessed with at least one parent if not two who offered unconditional love. So it is difficult-or nearly impossible to understand the feelings of those who have not been loved with heart and soul. Yet, there are so many walking wounded who struggle in life due to traumatic early experiences. They are waiting, hoping for a smile or even a kind word as they face the challenges of life with a hole in their heart from a deep seated loss.

When we consciously take the time to try to even marginally understand the struggle of others it just causes us to be a bit more gentle, a tad more understanding and more aware that none of us gets through life unscathed. We have all chosen our path to learn unique lessons – as painful as they may be.

Loss comes in so many different forms. Not having a parent figure or significant other in our life can cause us to experience the same stages of grief that others do when they lose a loved one through death. If you listen to the lyrics of Lennon’s song and hear the emotional pleading in his voice, you can better empathize with those who have feelings of abandonment and loss. The heart of this talented song writer and performer remained raw even after years of living what most would label a highly successful life. Some losses are just like that – forever deeply embedded in the cells of our being. Sometimes we just need someone to take the time to recognize our sorrow. It allows us to regroup and move on. At other times, we find it impossible to completely move on but we still need others to hear, to care and to offer us a hand on our life journey.

As we evolve as human beings we realize the importance of feeling gratitude for each other and gratitude for each day. We recognize the importance of judging less and caring more. We remember that everyone has a story and that through greater patience and understanding we can make a difference in our world.

Have a great few days!

Happiness is a Learned Skill

There is a new branch of psychology entitled, Positive Psychology. Rather than the more traditional study of the field that looks at unhappiness or dysfunction and attaches a label and recommended therapy to the circumstance, this branch of psychology does just the opposite. It examines happiness and recommends activities to optimize feelings of well being. It gives us specific findings from studies of human behavior that can help us learn to increase our own happiness level and experience the elusive butterfly of happiness as a permanent resident on our shoulder.

Supporting the Positive Psychology movement, a documentary entitled, ‘Happy,’ interviewed people in various countries of the world to determine where the greatest happiness or lack of happiness existed. Interestingly, Japan was listed as the country with the lowest level of happiness. Interviewing Japanese workers and their families it became apparent that due to the demanding expectation of their culture to work harder, longer and achieve more has left the Japanese people too physically and emotionally exhausted to enjoy life. Their faces told the story of their plight. It was shocking to hear that the Japanese are working themselves to death. Conversely, the random faces of the people in Denmark, Bhutan and even those living in the slum housing of India portrayed a completely different story. They were ranked much happier by comparison to the Japanese! Why?

Well, we are social creatures by nature. Time spent with family and friends gives us a sense of belonging and joy. We feel both valued and loved by the significant people in our lives. When we give and receive unconditional love, the rest of life is kept in perspective, our heart sings and our happiness soars.

Creating more happiness in our lives includes regular physical exercise, relaxation and variety in our daily activities – even changing the route we take to work or on a walk is important. Trying new experiences gets the synapses in our brain to function in new ways. Change expands our comfort zone and keeps us sharp, energetic and creates more self confidence.

As the Dalai Lama has said, compassionate regard for others, and making the world a better place also increases our own happiness index. It’s true, we make ourselves happier when we take the time to care for others.

Next, taking even 10 minutes a day in meditation or simply quiet time in contemplative thought allows our minds to relax and reflect on all that we have to be grateful for in the Universe. It helps us right ourselves with the world.

These findings from the studies on happiness are important factors to consider incorporating into our lives. They can help us create a happier more positive view on life and our own capabilities. When we engaged in these activities our brains release dopamine which is an important element to our overall mental and physical health. As a result, as the inevitable challenges surface in our lives we are stronger and better equipped to handle them.

Greater happiness is a learned skill. By personally applying some of these research findings on happiness life becomes the gift as intended and not a burden to be carried. The challenge is to expand our repertoire of happiness experiences and not simply do more of what we are presently doing. Just as the phrase implies, variety truly is the spice of life.

Have a great few days!

The Tree of Gratitude

Gratitude comes in different forms. Let’s visualize the levels of gratitude as the three main parts of a tree. The beautiful canopy of leaves that shade us from the sun is the gratitude we feel when something good happens to us or a friend or loved one. These daily experiences come in all types and variations just as the many leaves on a tree. All are significant, purposeful and give us a sense of thankfulness and appreciation for life. They give us hope for tomorrow.

The second form of gratitude could be visualized as the powerful trunk of the tree. It keeps the tree stable and allows it to withstand pelting rain, strong winds and heavy snow. This is the type of gratitude we feel from an unconditional belief that God/The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. We know in our hearts that everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) in our life is for a reason. We accept that we live in a purposeful Universe and that anything that happens can be seen as a message or lesson from the Universe. The hidden gift in this level of gratitude is in our ability to seek the purpose behind the experience and learn from it. Whether the ultimate result was what we wanted to happen or not we know it is important to search further to glean the lesson from the experience.

The highest form of gratitude can be compared to the actual life sustaining root system of the tree. It is the true thankfulness we feel when we remember that our entire being is a gift of love from the Universe. We were created perfectly with all the gifts, talents and love we will ever need. We just have to stop chasing that elusive butterfly of happiness and let in land in its rightful place and home on our shoulder. We know the answers to the questions we are asking or the right response to the challenges of the moment. The type of happiness that results from this form of gratitude is life transforming. Just as the root system of the tree remains the strength of life for the tree, this deeper level of gratitude is our root system of authentic, never-ending happiness. When we accept that living a life of love, happiness and peace is our birthright it frees us, allows us to breathe more deeply and face life with a smile from the inside out. We have chosen this life we are living to learn our own unique lessons and to make the world a little better place by being in it. We can do all this an more when we face our tomorrows with the strength in our belief that we are a part of an incredible energy field of love, designed to be happy and confident that we have all that we need to be successful.

Today is the perfect day to start believing in your inalienable right to live a life of happiness, joy and love. You deserve it!

Make it a great few days!

Communicate Through Love

Messages come in many different forms and sources. In my book, Just Behind the Door, I share the messages that I have received for over a decade from my son, mother and sister on the other side. Have you ever experienced this type of communication? If you haven’t, I can tell you that it brings a peace – a knowing – to your life like none other. Gone are the questions and angst of ‘what could I have done to prevent this from having happened.’ Explaining this to someone who hasn’t experienced it is difficult, maybe even impossible, but worth the try. After all, we are here to make ourselves and our world a little better.To me that means helping others move through the stages of grief and bewilderment and into a deeper knowing that, as hard as it is to accept, the Universe doesn’t make mistakes. All is as it should be.

I have found it takes two things to be able to receive messages from our loved ones. Trust in something bigger than ourselves and letting go of the need to control. When you think about it the issues of trust and control are really different sides of the same coin. R. Bach described the ability to trust beautifully.

A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed,
It feels an impulse…this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds,
And you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.

If you have lost a loved one and are aching to reconnect, I would suggest that you begin meditating – even 15 minutes a day – to get yourself into the higher vibrational energy of the Universe. Think of it this way, being in a physical body we are weighed down and our signal is weaker- similar to an AM radio frequency. Our loved ones, in spiritual form, are now on an FM frequency. To hear their messages we need to be on the same frequency. It’s up to us to learn how to focus more deeply through meditation to open the channels of communication.

There are also many gifted mediums who can help make the connections for us. I mentioned a special person in my book. She is available if you are ready. Just email me at maryleiker1@mac.com and I will give you her contact information. Your life will never be the same.

My son told me the reason I was supposed to write this book was to let people know that after the physical death the spiritual connection continues because of the unconditional love we have for each other. There is no question in my mind that their energy is around us and we can receive messages from them. They want us to be happy and at peace knowing that they fulfilled their life’s purpose.

Have a great few days!

Diagonally Parked

Do you ever feel like you are diagonally parked in a parallel universe? You know, the feeling that you just don’t quite fit neatly in a package like other people seem to do? The image I get is like trying to fit a gift in a box so you can wrap it in beautiful wrapping paper and some pieces and parts just won’t quite stay put. I think many of us have these feelings from time to time. I know of only one person that I have met in my entire life that hasn’t appeared to feel that way. I have always thought of her as an angel on earth. Her gratitude and happiness for just being alive is a gift that just keeps on giving to all of us who are around her. For the rest of us, however, it just feels, at times, like something is missing or lacking in our lives. We just don’t feel like we totally fit. We have heard the statement before, ‘ is that all there is’ when referring to our life on this earth plane.Could we be searching for a higher purpose and deeper understanding for our lives?

Recently, I finished two books on NDE’s (near death experiences). Both were written by medical doctors – one an orthopedic surgeon and the other by a
neurosurgeon. Both had experiences – one drown – and the other contracted gram-negative E. coli bacterial meningitis and was in a coma for 7 days. All medical personnel involved in their cases said they would never survive and if they did would be in a vegetative state. Yet, they not only survived but thrived and committed themselves to sharing with us what they saw on the other side.

When we read about their life experiences, it is gripping, a bit overwhelming but, most importantly, reassuring that we are more than the sum of our individual physical parts. We were made in love, for love and about love. I’m talking here about the unconditional type of love that says I am valued, loved and purposeful because I AM? You know the type of love I am talking about, it can be seen in the eyes of a mother who looks at her child. We realize from this perspective of love that there is a purpose for our life that is bigger than ourselves, bigger, in fact, than we can ever imagine. When we read accounts of people who have been given the chance to see the other side we realize that there truly is a reason for all things that happen to us and that nothing happens by mere accident. The Universal Energy/God simply doesn’t make mistakes. When we finally get it, we can breath deeply and live in the belief, the knowing that, ‘All is as it should be.’

The two doctors who wrote these books have demonstrated such courage. They have willingly faced their own medical community knowing that this type of sharing would be discounted by many, if not all, of their colleagues. They were willing to risk their reputation, friends even income to share their life altering experiences. They felt compelled to write their stories in order to help all of us realize the importance of unconditional love and the significance of the life source from which we originate. I thank them for their efforts. It will help many realize that they are not diagonally parked in a parallel universe but are simply seeking a higher truth for their lives and deeper knowing that we are all connected.

For those of you who would like to read these remarkable stories, the titles are To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD and Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, MD.

Have a great few days!