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Dr. Liara Covert

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Breathwork Psychotherapist, Author, Speaker, Coach

   

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Most people spend their lives reacting to feelings rather than creating with them.

- Neale Donald Walsch

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Thursday
Jan182007

Grace

Grace comes free of charge to those who don't deserve it.  It comes in the form of goodwill or a generous disposition.  It can seem like indulgence or mercy when we're resentful or full of negative energy.  If you have a spiritual side, and believe in God, then you believe that God's love comes free of charge with no strings attached, no matter what you do.  Whether your friends and family react the same way is debatable. I think many people have been conditioned to accept their lot in life without realizing there is always light at the end of the tunnel, something positive within reach. 

 For example, I read about a woman in Boston who surprised a lot of homeless people in the early 1990s.  When her fiance backed out on their wedding and she couldn't get the deposit back on the banquet, she thought back to her time 10years before spent in a homeless shelter.  Rather than be upset about a lack of refund, she send banquet invitations to shelters and gave homeless people a champagne and chicken cordon bleu banquet.  Imagine their sense of a pleasant surprise! Those strangers who look out for us in unexpected ways are like guardian angels.  That's grace.

Consider forgiveness can be an unnatural act for people who struggle not to form grudges.   It's human instict to desire to 'get even'  when someone does you wrong.  If a date stands you up, you may secretly hope someone returns the favor in the future.  If your boss fails to respect you or treat you with respect, you may secretly hope the boss gets what he deserves.  If an adversary takes advantage of you while you're down, you may hope Forces beyond you even the score.   

Yet, people enter our lives to remind us success and peace of mind can't be founded on revenge.  In the story of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Jean Valjean stole bread when he was starving and was sent to prison,  When he was released, he was given the chance to stay overnight with a clergyman. During the night, Valjean stole the church silver and fled.  When the police brought him back the next morning, climing Valjean said the silver was a gift, the clergyman lied and said it was. He told Valjean to use the silver to make himself an honest man. For the first time in his life, he felt touched by an angel. He went out into the world and never saw the clergyman again.

Valjean is transformed by forgiveness and detective Javert spends his life trying to persecute him for past wrongs.  When Valjean shows grace to Javert, the detective is unable to cope and can find no corresponding forgiveness.  Valjean teaches me to do for others what they're unable to do for themselves.  Troubled people have a hard time with forgiveness because they've never learned.  You may grow to act as a saving grace.  Then, someone will oneday return the favor.

Personally, forgiveness isn't always easy for me.  Letting someone get away with dishonesty, malicious or harmful deeds without reprimand isn't exactly satisfying.  Injustice bugs me yet, then I remind myself that when I forgive, the negative energy loses its grip on me.  Whether or not earthly or Higher authorities deal with a situation as I would like, its not for me to decide.  When I let the burden of acting as judge disappear, I rethink scales of justice and mercy.  That's another kind of grace.  Perhaps guradian angels instill positive thoughts in our hearts and minds in order to influence our will and attitude toward good.

Thursday
Jan182007

Who sees you as you are?

How might I take steps to better myself? Too many projects ongoing? What about you? I suppose my desire to learn what I can about myself and the world prompts me to act in the time I've been given.

Today, I was thinking about the book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom. Now, this isn't because I hope I die soon.  Though I admit the concept of heaven is uplifting for me. Some people think death and dying is a rather morbid subject, but this book is actually quite surprising. The writing style and concepts raised expanded on my view of the after-life.  I open my eyes to new possibilities about the significance of the 'here and now' and what events have yet to be. 

In the book, on Eddie's 83rd birthday, he dies unexpectedly in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart in an amusement park. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his, and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns heaven is no lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or strangers. Each of them changed your path forever.

What did I learn from Eddy's story? Don't give up. Whatever happens to you right now, it prepares you for a future. This is the way of the earthly world. People you know and don't know are helping you along all the time with their choices.  Everything is linked. You're loved.  You're being heard.  Your sense of time doesn't run the show.  Life unfolds whether or not we think we're ready.

I remember a story of a old monk who was mentoring a younger monk. The owise monk's peers repeatedly asked him why he was wasting time on his charge. After all, the young monk was openly obnoxious, negative, lazy and demonstrated the exact opposite of desirable monk traits.  The old monk replied "I could never turn him away. He is God's greatest gift to me.  As the result of his presence, I'm developing deeper patience, understanding and resourcefulness than I've ever had." 

The older monk reminds me every problem I encounter introduces me to another side of myself.  People who enter our lives mirror some part of us that we may not initially see or understand.  How we react teaches about our desires, needs and ego.  How I perceive my own difficulties is itself enlightening.  Issues don't just go away.  I learn to think differently to better understand and work through . Each one is an opportunity to develop my insight and ingenuity.  As the result, I raise awareness of the power within myself and encourage people to know benefits in the following:

1) seek experience dealing with problems rather than avoiding them

2) spend time to discover the real underlying issue;

3) actively explore several possible solutions;

4) consult individuals with relevant experience. 

Thursday
Jan182007

Teenage risk-taking trends

Teenagers take risks.  This is a key part of learning and personal growth. Personal choices allow individuals to assert independence and explore limits.  Developmental psychologists believe that unless individuals explore risk-taking, there is no growth.

Although risk-taking is experimental, some adolescents will be motivated by poor self esteem and lack of confidence.  Impulsive behavoiur and recklessness are strategies used by some adolescents to gain peer approval. The main problem for young people is their seeming inability to evaluate the potential risks and consequences of everyday behaviour . 60% of adolescent deaths are caused by accidents – many of these are the result of risk-taking.

Thrill-seeking, the desire to impress one’s friends, feelings of invincibility and the search for new experiences are all motivating forces that drive teens to act without concern for consequences or without even being able to fully evaluate the potential risks. For example, if a teenager engages in risky behaviour and doesn’t suffer the expected consequences, they are likely to deduce that the behaviour is not risky at all and that adult evaluations cannot be trusted.

This is often the case with drug and alcohol use. Teenagers don’t see drinking, drug use and driving as potentially risky in the same way as adults. For them, the risk is in social rejection – not being seen as cool - if they don’t do what their friends are doing.  Sometimes one risky choice can lead to others. For example, drinking alcohol to intoxication will impair judgement and may result in unwanted sexual activity or violence that would otherwise have been avoided.

Thursday
Jan182007

Live & learn

No matter what our age, we have opportunities to learn both in and outside of traditional school. We can also reflect back on childhood. Our early experiences influence the ways we live and learn later and also how we treat people.  Some of us learn more in the 'real-world 'than we did back in school.  Not everyone applies all the facts and details they studied.  Learning what is useful to retain from books differs from learning about emotions and developing relationships.

Think back to your childhood.  Maybe your parents desired for you to try many varied activities.   When children have things scheduled each day of the week, you may wonder whether a growing child's happiness is sacrificed to the egos of the parents.  As a child grows, the tables can turn.  A child grown may sacrifice pleasing parents in favor of appeasing his or her own ego.  Consider how much time you spend with your parents and how this relates to your childhood relationship. 

In one example, a grown son decided not to have children.  He said,

"Just think of how much money you can keep for yourself.  My dad says, 'we spend so much money on you three kids--just one of you costs about $250,000, just raising you...If you didn't have kids you could keep it all to yourself.  Just be rich.' "

 

Wednesday
Jan172007

Society going nowhere fast?

Young people in Western societies are told they will likely have at least 6 careers, yet school and university curricula are not keeping up with changes in the outside world.  As the result, students learn less about themselves, social skills and how to adapt in societies around them.  What would you think if educational institutions evolved to focus more on empowering young people to develop physical, emotional and moral well-being rather than emphasize competitive test results? What kinds of changes would you propose in order to help people reverse the epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness that is perpetuated by current addiction to economic growth?