Are Your Relationships Helping or Hurting Your Spiritual Progress?

Are Your Relationships Helping or Hurting Your Spiritual Progress?

I posted on Instagram the other day about the power of relationships. It was a Les Brown quote: “What am I becoming because of this relationship?”

It got me to thinking. We often think of “relationships” only in terms of dating relationships. But, all of our relationships play a role in our lives. Sometimes, we are absent-minded about our relationships – meaning, we do not always think deeply about how they started, or how (or why, or IF) they should continue.

We meet people at a certain stage in our lives and, sometimes, due to nostalgia, or fear, we hold onto them long after they have ceased to feel nurturing or satisfying. It is good mental, spiritual, and emotional housekeeping to occasionally do an inventory of our relationships.

Asking the question “What am I becoming because of this relationship?” is a good starting point. If you ask this question, you will get answers. Here are some possible answers:

Because of this relationship, I am becoming…

  • More success-minded
  • More physically fit
  • More relaxed and cheerful
  • More optimistic, happier
  • More and more in debt
  • More stressed out and suspicious
  • Drained and unfocused
  • Angry, sad, and negative

Obviously, the way you answer this question can, and should, affect how you view this particular relationship. If your answers were more negative than positive, ask yourself why you are still involved with this person. Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of the person (afraid of making them mad, or having them think less of you)? Do you carry the limiting belief that being in ANY relationship, regardless of how toxic or unsatisfying is superior to being single?

If so, why do you have that belief? Who told you that? Is it actually true? Can you think of examples where it might not be true? Are you willing to sacrifice your future success – being all that you were created to be – just to avoid (temporarily) making someone mad (they will get over it, believe me). Are you insecure and overly dependent upon other people? What amazing things might be possible in your life if you were willing to distance yourself from negative or unproductive  relationships?

Asking yourself these questions requires bravery, honesty, and character. This is the beginning of wisdom. After a certain age, we ourselves are responsible for how our lives turn out. We alone will reap the consequences for our life choices. It is no one else’s fault, ultimately. You cannot blame your family, friends, lover, or spouse if you’re not succeeding, even if they are toxic and negative.

As an adult, you get to choose who you spend your free time around. If you insist on spending time with people who belittle you, put you down, let you down, waste your time or money, laugh at your dreams, or encourage you to stay the same rather than evolve into the person you were meant to become – that’s “your bad.”  It is your responsibility to take your life seriously, and do for yourself whatever you need to do. If you don’t support, respect, and value yourself, please don’t expect anyone else to.

On the flip side, once you take the brave action of stepping out alone (or with fewer people) – even though you might feel lonely, afraid or insecure – the Universe rewards courage. Once you are free from any emotional or spiritual anchors, you will be surprised at what you can achieve! Some of those lingering bad habits might start falling away. You may shed all that procrastination and start working towards your dream-life. At the very least, you will no longer be limited by the mindset of your environment.

Don’t sell yourself short. You are a powerful being. You are the Greatness of Spirit living in human form. But as humans, we are sensitive to our environments. Our environments consist primarily of other people. We can love people where they are, for who they are, without allowing them to infect our own mindset, and limit our potential. It is important to be mindful about who we spend our time with. We need to consider what seeds they may be inadvertently planting in our consciousness.

People mean well. But, if they are unconscious, they are subject to the prevailing negative, toxic mental attitudes that flourish in society. If you want to break away from mediocrity and do something different, you have to do something different.

Take the brave step and set the boundaries you need to set. Allow your greatness to shine unhindered and undimmed. You’ll be glad you did!

Peace and love,

Raven

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Why I Believe in Visualization Now

I was listening to a Tony Robbins YouTube video today while doing something else. But one of his exercises made me pay attention. He had the listeners stand up.

So, what the hell, I stood up.

He said “point your right arm and right index finger straight out in front of you.” Feeling dumb, I did it anyway.

Then, with both feet together and facing forward, he had us turn to the right as far as we could without straining, arm and finger outstretched. I wound up pointing to a little poster on my wall. Big whoop.

Then he had us sit down. This time we were to do the same thing. Only in our minds.

We were to imagine ourselves standing up, pointing our right arm and index finger straight forward. Then we had to imagine ourselves turning twice as far as we did before. Only in our minds. Then we were to do it again, imagining ourselves going three times as far. Finally, we were to imagine it once more, turning almost all the way around in our minds.

I saw what he was getting at, but I’m not a teenager. These bones can only do what they can do. Anyhow, as expected, he had us stand up again. This time for real. Point your arm and happy little index finger forward. Then turn to the right as far as possible.

WTF!!!!!??????

I went WAY past what I had previously done, teenager or no teenager. What?? I was blown away.

So, corny or not, I have to admit that there is something to this visualization thing. I tend to be skeptical of anything that sounds “woo-woo,” but, I’m also a pragmatist. If it works, it works.

Then I realized later, while I was editing one of my scripts, that I use visualization all the time when I write. I see everything before I write it. I have to. I watch a scene play out in my head first, then I try to figure out how to “direct” the action on the page. After I reread my edited script tonight, I felt like I had seen a movie. I always feel like that after reading any script.

So, maybe visualization isn’t so woo after all. Maybe I should keep doing it. Maybe, like Tony says, I, too can become “unstoppable.” Okay, too far.

Have a beautiful weekend of “seeing” whatever it is you’re working towards.

Peace and love,

Raven

You Get to Tell Your Own Life Story

The stories that we enjoy in our lives provide not only entertainment, but a source of catharsis – a way to experience certain aspects of life vicariously through a character. We experience these stories through movies, books, plays, musicals, puppet shows, television, even ghost stories told around a campfire.

I am fascinated by the craft of storytelling. I always enjoy a well-told story, regardless of medium, genre, director, starring actor, or length of movie.

But there are certain kinds of stories that can potentially harms us. Stories that we tell ourselves about why things happen, or what’s going to happen, can either help us or harm us, depending on the story.

For example, if a man gets rejected by a woman, he can tell himself that all women are bitches; that relationships are a waste of time; that women only go for jerks, and since he’s such a nice guy, that’s why he can’t get a date. Or, he can tell himself the truth – that there’s some internal dialogue running through his head that is causing him to act in ways that are off-putting. He can study men that know what they’re doing and imitate them. He can improve his self-esteem and attitude through other accomplishments and positive self-talk. He can choose to approach women that are more likely to respond. And he can ask for honest feedback from a female friend or relative.

This hypothetical man has two story choices: 1) The world is against me or (2) I can do this; I’m going to figure it out.

Likewise, we all have two story choices: the Woe-is-me-why-doesn’t-somebody-help-me story or the I’ve-got-what-it-takes-to-make-a-great-life-so-let’s-get-after-it story. I like choice number two, myself.

But, like all stories, our life stories have authors. We are the authors of our own stories. We have the free will to tell whichever story we choose. If the woe-is-me story line works for you, you should continue writing it. If you’re tired of that story and want to write a new one, you absolutely can!

Best of luck to all of us as we become better authors of our Life Stories.

Peace and love,

Raven

The Relationship Between Weight Loss and Money Management

As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead. What is 2018 going to look like? You don’t have to wait around to find out. You can take the initiative to make 2018 amazing and beautiful.

One of the most clichéd New Year’s resolutions is weight loss. It’s a joke. In January, the gyms are packed to the gills. By the end of February, it’s like a skeleton crew on a ghost ship. Interestingly, the same is true with budgeting. The word “budgeting” has about as much glamour as the word “diet.” Nobody wants to hear it.  Just hearing the words makes people crunch up their faces into a wrinkled ball of scorn.  Yuck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Budgeting and dieting don’t have to be “Things We’re Mostly Likely To Fail At.” Both practices can become so natural that they become automatic and effortless. Both require similar skills. Because I’m one of those weird people who actually likes both dieting and budgeting, I want to share the similarities I’ve noticed about both practices.

Before I start, let me acknowledge that words are powerful. Let’s change the word diet to “way of eating,” “food choices,” “body fuel,” or whatever floats your boat. I refer to my food choices as a balanced way of eating. Call it whatever sounds good to you. I also budget my money at the beginning of every month. I call it a Spending Plan, not a budget. And I use Everydollar.com to help me.

So, these are the ways I’ve discovered that healthy eating is similar to smart money management:

Both benefit from a written plan. With both money and food calories, it is so easy to lose track of what you’re doing. A couple of cookies here, a trip to McDonald’s there. At the end of the year, you’re somehow carrying around 10 extra pounds. Where did the fat come from? Why won’t it go away? Same is true with money. You put $100 in your wallet. Four days later, there’s $35.00. Or, maybe, you have a zero balance on a credit card, wander into a couple of movies, or breeze through a few restaurants. Next thing you know, you’re carrying a balance you can’t pay. Really? How did that happen? You stare at your paycheck stub in disbelief. Where does it all go? (This is why you need a Spending Plan – and a Food Plan).

Both require attention to detail. Just as a slab of butter, a little bit of syrup, or a splash of ketchup add up to pounds on the waistline, a magazine here, and a candy bar there add up to an empty wallet. There’s no need to be obsessive. But, at the same time, those “little things” are not nothing. They add up.

Both require delayed gratification. Let’s say you have your planned budget for Christmas. You’ve stuck to it quite nicely. But then you start looking at all the nice things you’ve bought for other people.  But, hey! What about you? You want something too, dammit! You look longingly into the store windows, and your eyes fall in love with something. You have to have it. You’ll pay it off later. You want it NOW!! Same thing happens with food. You’re hungry. You were good and went to the grocery store the other day. You know your fridge is full of lovely vegetables. Which you have to…chop. Your nose catches wind of something fried… or barbequed. And, look! There’s a drive-through window! You abandon your vegetables and let them rot. You want some yummy food…NOW!

Both require discipline. Money planning and healthy eating are not punishments. They can be easy and fun. But, in the culture we live in, there is no way to avoid the fact that living successfully requires discipline. It is so easy just screw it and do what everyone else is doing – accruing debt and gaining weight. But, this does not have to be you. With just a little bit of willingness, you can rise above mediocrity and live an excellent life.

Both will set you free if you let them. Having control over your money, and what you put in your mouth, will raise your opinion of yourself. It can be hard, especially at first. But once you master yourself – which is the hardest thing to do, to control your own mind and behavior – there is nothing else out there that will be impossible to you. You will have a quiet confidence about yourself which no one will be able to shake – no man, no woman, no politician, no circumstance. Once you master yourself, you can master anything. And you can turn around and help someone else.

If you want help establishing either a spending plan or a healthy eating plan, consider hiring a wellness coach. At Grown Folks Fitness, that’s what we do. Contact me today for further information.

Peace and love,

Raven