“Are You Going to War for Peace?”

peace

Don’t worry, this is not a story of the often sad and scary news in our world today. This IS a story about how choosing not to go to war for peace will grace your life with the integrity and the peace you are seeking in life and the world.

10 years ago, my marriage of 25 years ended and I found myself alone with 3 children, the mortgage, and marital assets made unavailable through creative accounting by people considered friends-ouch! Person after person challenged me to go to war (court) for getting back what was mine, misconstruing my reluctance to do so as fear.

So what was my hesitation if not from fear?

I knew what my former husband was capable of (I’m a fast learner), but fear was not what was holding me back from going to court with my former husband. It was my clarity about the price my children would pay if I were to focus my time, energy, and resources on battling in court with someone who wanted a war. My children needed their mother to focus her time, energy, and resources on their needs as children, including peace in their home and in their family. My children needed me to choose war or peace.

I was faced with the choice to go to war for making peace with my finances- knowing my children would pay dearly for this choice- or making peace with life having a different plan for me. My wounded pride and sense of betrayal were romancing me onto war and yet silent on the true cost of doing so. Sound familiar? How many times have you found yourself at war for soothing pride injured or feelings hurt by someone you love? And only later, realized the cost to you or the relationship?

This was my hardest challenge so far in life and many were the days I did not know if I was capable of making a victory from what felt overwhelming and devastating. Yet embracing my faith and demanding grace be made tangible in my life had previously transformed my chronic illnesses into good health, my infertility into 3 children, and being without a home into a lovely abode.So was having 3 children to support, a mortgage, and no job the challenge given by life to break me or simply sacred faith in my integrity and faith?

There is a price for every choice you make; the choices which cost you are the choices out of alignment with your values. Your mind may convince you “it’s ok, it’s just this time, it’s not a big deal”, but your soul knows your integrity just got dinged and your self-respect pays a price. It’s how we find ourselves in a world which considers going to war an acceptable means for creating peace, with civilians and children-the regrettable, but acceptable-cost of peace.

Where in your life or relationships are you living at odds with what you truly want, compromising what is true in your heart and soul?

Where are you going to war and telling yourself it’s for peace? Do you offer yourself reasons practical or personal for doing so, selling yourself or life short? Take it from me, it’s the little choices you make each day which build the muscles and courage of your integrity…..the integrity which gives you the strength and faith for when life challenges you to choose war or peace.

Being Authentic is Your Authority

Happy Springtime!

A few years ago, a client reeling from choices made by her husband, was not happy with me after I suggested she spend some time learning about herself for healing her marriage. Her outraged “It’s 2012 not the 1950’s!! ” made me wince, for she was confusing today’s opportunities FOR women with understanding herself AS a woman. Misunderstanding this difference was making it hard for her to care for herself, have a happy marriage, and messing with her peace of mind 

Now before you accuse me of going retro about women or being an advocate for Saran Wrap greetings, let me explain where I am coming from. When I was 1 of 5 women in a class of 80 architectural students, a few design professors were proud about grading my designs lower for using curves instead of right angles. And as an architect for Boston hospitals, my decision to include the “not as important” janitors and nurses on the design team landed me in very hot water with my boss and the hospital. (The usual design team was only the head surgeon, architect, and hospital administrator).

Claiming my authority as an architect required my being authentic in what I thought best as a designer and a woman. As I woman, I understood “not as important” from my experiences in a world where women still lack import and impact. Yet these experiences did not diminish my authority as an architect; quite the contrary. My own “not as important” experiences inspired me to exercise my authority as the architect for an even better design. My authority as an architect benefited from being authentic as a woman.

False authority labels your experiences and life as good or bad, right or wrong, and limits you in claiming your own authority and being authentic. Your experiences in life are intimate opportunities to learn what is true for you vs simply claiming yourself as a victor or a victim. Thankfully, my client took up learning to be authentic, claimed her authority for making the needed changes in their marriage, letting go of considering herself a victim. Her choices also inspired her husband to work on being authentic as well and their marriage has never been better.

So how do you become authentic in your authority?

1. Begin to trust what you know within you, what you feel, what inspires you, what repels you as important for you to honor in your choices and life. Even if what you know, feel, desire is different from those you give authority to, say is true, important, a priority, etc. You are the authority of what is true for you and many of the facts you were taught as truth, are being debunked by science, by time, and by people voicing what is true for them instead.

2. Put aside judgement of yourself being either a victor or a victim when things don’t go the way you want, expect, or are “supposed to”. Instead, ask yourself what you are feeling, telling yourself, and gently ask yourself if it really is true or simply your defense against being wrong. Be suspicious of voices within you which are not kind as being true in what they are saying about you. (And check out my blog on the perils of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”).

3. When you feel or hear the “meanies” within your head, take the time to tell them to stop and offer yourself support and compassion in their place. Inner bullying is hurtful and “taking it” as what grownups do is simply cruel. Standing up for yourself-your feelings, your preferences, your experiences-is being authentic and creates authority with yourself and with others. Who doesn’t need to offer themselves more kindness?

4. “There is no small thing” disputes the myth of how only what is big has power in life. The truth is, your life is created by the little choices you make over time, to be true (authentic) to yourself, to honor your authority in life…..or justifying why you abandon yourself. Honoring your small choices of integrity with what you are feeling, for what you desire, standing to what is true for you, builds trust and faith in yourself for handling life’s curve balls and creating a life full of love, joy, and delight.

Oh, and redemption for my choice to include the “not so important” janitors and nurses on the design teams came in the form of awards for both the design of the intensive care units as well as significantly lower rates of infection in the units. (Funny thing about including the janitors and nurses). Being authentic and living your authority, offers inspiration to others known and unknown and isn’t that a comforting thought? You truly are essential to the world just as you are – warts and all.

Want some support for being authentic and living with integrity?
I invite you to contact me for setting up a free consultation with me.

“The Peril of Lacking Integrity with What is Sacred to You”

Healing Your Legacy

Almost 40 years ago, I sat down in a yoga class, closed my eyes, and opened up to the world within. I was a reluctant participant to the new age of ancient spirituality, wisdom, and healing, not always inspired by the way “being spiritual” was being used to bypass the sometimes hard work of relationships and life. Yet my own experience of transformations and healing through engaging ancient technologies taught me to not throw the new age baby out with my judgement of others…..funny how life teaches us at times!

Matthew Fox, a renowned theologian, wrote “ I seriously question the spirituality and ethics of anyone whose integrity in life has never gotten him or her into trouble”. In my work with couples and families, I find a lack of one’s integrity often lies at the root of pain and conflict in their life and relationships. Taught as children love equals not hurting the other, what is to be done with feelings, thoughts, and desires you fear will hurt or cause rejection from those you love? Too often the answer is to become silent and not risk sharing with those you love, judging them as what is holding you back from living what is sacred to you.

What is sacred to you is intimate, tangible, and known by the priorities of your life. What is sacred seeks sharing with those you love, forming the foundation of the intimacy and security of relationship you long for and all too often, confuse with control. What is sacred invites those you love to share what is sacred for them with you as well, offering safe harbor for the power of our vulnerability to be shared. Scary? Can be. Yet without the courage to risk sharing what is sacred to you with those you hold sacred in life, the pain and rejection you fear you will create. Ironic. (Irony I have come to understand is the sacred’s way of reminding us of the limitations of human’s linear logic ).

What is sacred in your life will test you, will challenge you, will demand change you fear and are afraid to make. These trials and tribulations are not proof something is wrong with what you hold sacred in life-quite the contrary. What tests you in life is simply reminding you to engage with faith and courage, what is sacred to you, an intimate reminder of the faith and trust the sacred has in you….trust and faith when extended to ourself and those we love, creates the integrity of intimate relationship that is sacred as well.

The Contemporary Spirituality of Women

 I am blessed by my work of guidance and support with women transforming challenges to their happiness through the strength and skills of their spirit….or as I say, “taking the grit life delivers to us as our divine instructions for engaging our grace!”.  I remind women how spirituality is not following rules and obeying authority outside herself; it is actively living her deepest values and visions and making her choices with integrity. I remind her how spirituality is not something separate from her daily life; her spirituality is lived in showing up, speaking up, and standing up right where she has been planted.

Contemporary spirituality is conscious partnering with our spirit and soul for practical guidance and support in our daily life. Contemporary spirituality is living grace that is practical and honoring the grit of life as sacred.  Contemporary spirituality honors the teachers that are animal, plant, and “the other” and contemporary spirituality honors our body as not simply a vehicle, rather as a teacher and healer divine.

Contemporary spirituality demands we update our beliefs, definitions, and concepts for daily living of our active, embodied, and emboldened spirituality as women.  Ask yourself these questions-your answers create your choices for living your life: 

  • If you knew you were always being divinely guided and supported, how would you live differently your life?
  • If you were to embrace “where you were planted”-to the beauty, to the challenges, to the gratitude-what would be different? 
  • If you took 100% responsibility for your life vs deferring your power to “karma” or “God’s will” or “I have no power to make things different” where would you take up your voice, your power, your outrage? 
  • If you truly honored your spirit and soul as your most intimate partner in life, how would the priorities for your time change? Would time for meditation, prayer, and self-care become less luxuries and more essentials in your daily life?

Contemporary spirituality is not about furthering our means of control; it is daily living our power, our purpose, and our presence as guardians for all life.  Contemporary spirituality honors relationship, integrity, and creativity and where these are lacking, the responsibility for bringing them forth. Contemporary spirituality is living there is truly no separation between what is spiritual and what is not spiritual….and that our humanity is simply divinity in a body.