unico_love: (sailor moon beauty)
Michael and I had a discussion about our spirituality. We are similar in some of our beliefs, though Michael is more cynical than me in some ways. Also he tends to be more scholarly, reading many religious texts, whereas spirituality for me is more experiential. I sometimes get ecstatic experiences where I feel one with God and the universe. It is incomparable bliss. I also just "feel" like God is with me at all times, like a friend. I pray regularly. I believe in panentheism -- that God encompasses the universe and more. I connect my spirituality a bit with my feeling-oriented, creativity-oriented, lateral thinking brain. I'm more "right-brained," as the term goes (not that that's a very accurate description of what goes on in the brain).
unico_love: (crystal ball)
Habits 5 and 6 of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People )
unico_love: (Hotaru with umbrella)
Habits 3 and 4 from  )
unico_love: (sailor moon beauty)
Quotes and Personal Responses )
unico_love: (childlike empress)
"Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings."
-Tiny Buddha, by Andrea Johnson

I liked this quote, so I'm saving it here.
unico_love: (yellow girl with rose)
I just watched the church sermon I missed on Buddhism. A lot of emphasis was given to the fact that we are all, at core, united and exist as one. I do believe we each have a divine spark and connect to one another, but I also believe that a certain individuality is maintained before/after death. I really liked one thing the reverend (I feel so dumb... Are they reverends at a UU Church?) said, which was that when we have foul thoughts and behave unkindly to one aspect of the unity (any individual) we are, in fact, hurting ourselves and all the rest of existence. Despite some of my recent anger, I have been feeling positive about most people. There's no one I hate or even actively dislike. There are, however, people I don't want back in my life. I think I'm pretty caught up on my apologies and taking responsibility for my wrongdoings to other people. I want to do more, though. I would love to volunteer again. Maybe sometimes Michael and I can volunteer at the church. If it's feasible I'd like to teach English to refugees again. That was an amazing experience. I had never been treated with such profound respect. It's incredible how people can go through torture and horrific experiences, losing almost everything and everyone, but still be so full of grace and love and kindness. I like tutoring Americans, too, but I always preferred working with ESL students.

I'm in a good mood now:-) Unfortunately our bicycle tires need pumping, so we couldn't bike ride today, despite the good weather. We went for a short walk but went back before the park because I'd found chocolate all over my sweater and it was making me anxious and I had to get home to clean it:( I'm reading a bit, but I have a lot more to read tonight. I'm going to try to focus on that now and then do my usual nightly routine.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
-"Anytime we undergo an initiation, we experience a death of our previous identity. When we come through the other side, it's as if we were a new creature, emerging gloriously from the primordial ooze that was our former life. Shaking off the muck and the fear, we turn our face to the sun and move forward boldly in our new skin. After the initiation of death, we no longer identify with the circumstances that used to seem so very important. The new self has a wisdom the old self lacked. When you are resurrected, you realize you have a sacred power to participate in making your world a paradise."
-pg. 173, Illumination: The Shaman's Way of Healing, by Alberto Villoldo
unico_love: (crystal ball)
"Shamans believe that, because people are unaware that their hostile energies can penetrate others, they are unconsciously causing damage to their fellow human beings much of the time."
-pg 116, The Way of the Shaman

I believe this.

Here's one last quote from today that I really liked:

"Showing up for your life means actively participating in our own life rather than hiding and going through the motions."
-The Daily Om
unico_love: (crystal ball)
I think I learn both from the good and the bad probably about equally, in the long run. However, I make a very strong effort to learn from the bad and often I don't learn the first time around when something bad happens (that something bad usually has to happen over and over for me to learn from it). I also spend a lot of time suicidal or depressed or self-loathing before I can gain enough distance from the problem and learn in a productive way. I find learning from good experiences far more rewarding and I learn more quickly. Good experiences give me inner strength and positive memories to hold onto. I remain more optimistic, including about my own life, and find it easier to help other people. I imagine some bad experiences are necessary under some circumstances... There are probably things I have learned from bad experiences that would be more difficult to learn from good experiences.

365 Day Meme )
unico_love: (childlike empress)
I am having an ecstatic experience right now. This is my first one in quite awhile. It feels like "going home." I feel like I've been away on a long, arduous trip, separated from important parts of myself that I am just now getting back. I feel like I forgive everyone, bear no ill will toward anyone, and deeply love everyone. I feel union with God and the universe. I feel pure and good instead of my usual feelings of inferiority. Everyone who has hurt me or others is hurting themselves at a very deep level -- even if superficially, right now, they don't feel it. Someday they will. And in my beliefs, someday they will turn away from that cruelty and feel love, because deep down they are love.

I haven't meditated today yet, but I'm finding it pretty easy to meditate and so far have not had any bad experiences from it (like falling into negative obsessions or seeing horrible things mentally). Unfortunately my anxiety often returns pretty quickly after meditating:( But, overall, my anxiety is much better than even a couple weeks ago. Maybe I am heading in an upward trend...
unico_love: (crystal ball)
"One of the most destructive negative attitudes toward one's past or toward one's memory is the attitude of regret. Often regret is very false and displaced, and imagines the past totally other than it was [...] I know a wild woman who has lived a very unprotected life. She has had a lot of trouble, and things have often gone wrong for her. I remember that she said to me one time, "I don't regret a bit of it. It is my life, and in everything negative that happened to me, there was always something bright hidden." She brought a lovely integrating perspective to her past, a way to retrieve treasures that were hidden in past difficulties. Sometimes difficulty is the greatest friend of the soul." (pg. 186, Anam Cara).

I'm trying to keep this in mind when I think about things that happened that went wrong or bad decisions I made. I'm trying to focus on what I've learned from each problematic experience. It's important for me to find meaning in everything and it's usually this inability to find meaning which makes me obsess so severely over bad experiences. Right now I think I have a sense of meaning regarding all the major negative experiences I have in my history. I've made a lot of mistakes, but I think I am learning from them and hopefully won't repeat them.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
I really like the book Anam Cara ("soul friend") very much so far, though I have to read it very carefully to ingest everything. A lot of the descriptions of eternity and love being the basis of our souls resonate very deeply with me. There are some things this book has brought to my attention that I need to work on -- like appreciating my body and my senses. I'm very inwardly drawn a lot of the time, and though my senses tend to be hyperactive, at other times I drown everything out. I am awkward with my senses and get confused. I'm not comfortable with having a body. This book discussed how our souls encompass our bodies and our senses are our connection to the external world. Our bodies are part of divinity and should be appreciated. I should try to keep this in mind. I also need to work on accepting change. I tend to be resistant to change (sometimes even "good" change), but change is constantly occurring and is an invigorating part of life. The soul really is mysterious and we can't see all of it, just parts. There is inherent mystery in life and souls, and there's an inherent unity in everything (I am in everything and everything else is in me). I believe in panpsychism, pantheism, and animism. I believe divinity is everywhere, which makes this book relevant to me because similar beliefs are shown there. I have to also learn to be more yielding, open to possibilities, seeing everything as an adventure, and not fighting life. Life holds many magical potentials and being rigid only limits me. Another interesting thing was the idea that we should be gentle with ourselves (what my psychologist has told me before); we should accept our more negative qualities and work with them, try to use them to our benefit and transform them into something positive in a natural way instead of just trying to cut out the parts of ourselves we dislike.

By the way, I found that skirt I was so worried over.
unico_love: (Unico)
I'm feeling rather forgiving and non-judgmental right now... Here are some nice forgiveness quotes I found.


From: http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/forgivenessquotes.htm

We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies
--Voltaire

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown

Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively.
--David McArthur & Bruce McArthur

Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time—just like it does for you and me. --Sara Paddison

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. --Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again. --Dag Hammarskjold

"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare." - Lance Morrow
unico_love: (Cat mask)
I find it interesting how the bad experiences of our past shape us and change us. I have more fears than I did before some bad experiences happen. I guess that's fairly normal, but I let my fears get the best of me and they often turn into obsessions. Some people seem more resilient, learn from their mistakes, and live happily while just being a bit wiser. I'm shocked at how Michael's friend Dan can go on so happily despite being homeless and losing his fiance to his best friend (and she also started prostituting herself). They also stole all his savings. Yet he goes on with life, works at Walmart, and seems to be doing fine emotionally. Even little things can really upset me and make me obsess. I'm trying to think that my bad experiences that traumatized me can make me stronger in some way. That I haven't died or become permanently unhappy yet, so I should keep going on without too much fear because I will somehow recover. I still have a lot to recover from, but I'm doing better and I'm content a lot of the time.

I think sometimes I act in worse ways as a defense mechanism due to bad experiences, and maybe that wouldn't have happened if my life had gone more ideally, but hopefully it's something I will someday overcome. I want to be kind to people, helpful, and not difficult or fragile. I don't want to judge people and be cruel just because bad memories surfaced when that probably wasn't even their fault -- they were just a bystander to my personal internal drama. One of my biggest goals is to stop being verbally abusive, to stay calm in disagreements, and to take care of myself and my needs without harming anyone else. Maybe someday I will be more empathetic and sympathetic due to my bad experiences. I want to be a benevolent and patient person. I've often felt my bad experiences made me a more vicious and unkind person, but it's my responsibility to make the best of what happens in my life and to become the kind of person I want to be. All of that is more important than my goals that involve writing or art. I love those things, they're fun, but being a good person takes priority. Being a happy person, too.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
From time to time I am still having negative feelings or judgments, but I am getting better at noticing those thoughts/feelings and reasoning with myself why I shouldn't act on them and how those thoughts/feelings will pass. They always do pass. I go back to feeling happy with my life and the people I know. I don't want to ruin a relationship to spout vitriol which temporarily relieves me. Just reminding myself those negative thoughts and feelings will pass usually works, though a few times I have been caught off-guard and have been unkind back. I get so afraid of being walked all over again. I need to continue working on expressing myself and how something affects me while still being respectful and kind, even if the other person isn't respectful or kind back. I'm still too sensitive about what others' impressions of me might be. Criticism and accusations still give me panic attacks. If someone said something awful about me I'd probably take them too seriously instead of assuming the person saying such negative things probably has a problem they are taking out on me.

Sometimes I still feel powerless, but knowing I can change my perspective of myself and the world and taking steps to live a different lifestyle makes me feel more in-charge of my life and happiness. And my medication helps, too, so the anxiety and bipolar don't rule my life so much and I can make wiser decisions and don't feel bad for no reason. I still have to work on my worrying or focusing on the past or future instead of on the present. I am getting better about worrying about the future, though, and keeping my thoughts more on the present or near-present. The past I'm starting to see as an unfolding story that led me to wear I am now, which is overall a pretty good place, so even the bad things that happened seem purposeful and less destructive. It was a state of great pain and wishing to die that made me want to turn around my communications and focus. Hopefully those incidents in March that made me so desperate and depressed won't repeat themselves. I may feel very negative feelings and have very negative thoughts again at some point, especially due to being bipolar, but hopefully I've learned how to better handle those situations when they arise.
unico_love: (crystal ball)
I finished reading A New Earth and really liked it, though not all of the viewpoints fit for me. However, it's given me a lot of ideas on how to improve my outlook on memories and staying more present "in the moment" instead of focusing so much on the past and future. I'm trying to look at past problems and seeing what I learned from each incident and how I can prevent those bad circumstances in the future. I already write gratitudes down every night before bed, but I'm also focusing during the day on staying "in the moment" instead of worrying and enjoying the good things that are going on right now. Ever since I decided to start working on being a happier person I've come across a lot of useful information I could apply to my own situation and it so far seems to be working. I haven't had morning anxiety the past few days and I had been getting it badly for months, even on good days. I'm trying hard to focus on my own goals and views of myself instead of letting other people influence me too much (though I'm open to constructive criticism or new ideas from others). Like in other books I've read, such as The Happiness Project, I'm going to make sure I enjoy the process of creating instead of just looking for the end product.
unico_love: (Cat mask)
When I woke up this morning I felt sick to my stomach again because I had to get up before my body was ready. However, I had no anxiety when getting up. I was too tired for obsessive thinking. I have to learn ways to just let go of my negative ruminations in the morning. I should try and keep my mind occupied right away and try to just let the negative thoughts/feelings float on past me instead of thinking they are facts. I'm also going to keep working on my exercise and try to focus on what's around me and what I feel within me so I stay more in the present instead of obsessing over bad things in the past or worrying about the future. I don't think I'm ready for "still" meditation (though visualizations when I'm calm are okay), but trying to be mindful when exercising/moving is more possible for me. I'm also going to try to focus on how I can change things to make myself happier and more content instead of asking why bad things happen/happened. I will try to learn from everything I can. I'll probably always be sensitive and pretty easily hurt, but I want to get to the point where I can observe my thoughts and feelings without letting them control my actions. I want to just let go of negative things instead of dwelling on them.
unico_love: (childlike empress)
A friend on Facebook wrote down this quote, and I want to remember it:
"We compromised our pride and sacrificed our health / We must demand more not from each other, but more from ourselves." - Jewel, "Deep Water"

Often I can be very demanding in what I expect from people. I always expect people to have the best of intentions and to keep promises and make great efforts. I get disappointed fairly easily in people, though I don't often show it, or I try to compensate for it. I also just ignore imperfections when I put people on pedestals, but then sometimes if they do something "wrong" I get disproportionately upset with them. I fall apart emotionally if something goes wrong in a personal relationship. I often think if people did things how I wanted I would be so much happier and so would they. Maybe sometimes that's true, but often it isn't, and people have to follow their own paths. Instead of judging people or trying to control them (even mentally) I should show my respect for their choices, beliefs, and preferences. I should love them for who they are and what they want to be. If they seem to be making bad choices, I can try to help out if they want me to, and I can be supportive, but ultimately their life is up to them and I can still care about them just as much. I certainly can't live up to everyone's expectations. And there are so many flaws and faults I do possess that I should be working on instead of nitpicking others. I want to be a better person and that should be my main focus.

Some things to improve:
-Getting easily frustrated with people I have a miscommunication with or who holds a different opinion from me
-Getting frustrated when people try to debate with me
-Judging people who say or do something unnecessarily mean instead of just judging their action and realizing I don't know what's going through the guilty person's mind
-Holding grudges when people have moved on from the disagreement
-Assuming certain people possess negative qualities because they trigger an insecurity in me
-Lashing out when I get triggered
-Saying/doing really nasty things when I'm upset with someone instead of being honest in a simple and calm way
unico_love: (crystal ball)
Even though I don't fit into a specific religion's doctrine, I do believe in God and pray. I feel it's right to try and love every living thing (and nonliving things) unconditionally and treat them with respect. I don't always do this. I know everyone has issues and makes mistakes, but I know I am not doing my best. It's very easy for me to like people and to think positively of them, and it takes a lot for me to dislike someone, but I have certain triggers that make me lash out. That's inappropriate. Even if it's hard and I have to stand up for myself, I should do it calmly and with respect. And even if it's hard to love some people, I should try. Even when forgiveness is difficult because the person isn't at all sorry, I should be wary of them yet forgive them "for they know not what they do" as the saying goes. I want to be a kind person and not just to people where it's easy, but in difficult situations too. I want to reach the point where I always act out of love.
unico_love: (Delight)
Here's something I wrote someone in an email about my spiritual beliefs:

My father was Irish Roman Catholic (not practicing, though he went to Catholic school) and my mother is a Scandinavian Lutheran (mixed in with a variety of other beliefs like reincarnation). I wasn't raised that religiously, at least not directly. I did spend 3 years at Catholic school and I went to Sunday school (like church classes) at a Lutheran church for a few years when I was quite young. I believe in God and pray daily, and I do believe in Jesus, but I don't tend to think of him as the same as God. I think it's quite possible a person like Jesus existed, regardless of whether miracles were involved, but I do believe in miracles (and I think even if things are later explained scientifically it doesn't make the world less magical).

I believe everything is occurring at the same time and we are just limited by our brains into seeing things sequentially and with time, but after death/not inside bodies we see our lives and everything else spread out right before us. We understand other people and creatures and all sorts of things much better when not in bodies/in this time/space existence. I believe in reincarnation, but that it's optional, and though we are supposed to learn things from life it is not straightforward and it's not where people who are good in one life get a better life in the next incarnation or anything like that. I try to learn from my life and my mistakes (which I make a lot of), and though I've often been very depressed in more recent years, I never think life has been "unfair" to me. So many people suffer so much worse...

I think it is our duties to cause as little pain as possible and to do as much as possible to help other living beings to be happy, comfortable, and learning along their own path. I believe plants and animals all have souls, and I believe in the potential for more vague nature spirits, and that possibly every living thing (and possibly unliving) has a soul and that we are all connected to God/part of God lives within us. I believe all souls are innately pure and good and it's ignorance (or sometimes biological issues) that cause us to be intentionally cruel or destructive. Even though God is always with us, I think we're on a constant movement closer/further to/from God in our journeys. I like a lot of Origen's religious opinions/writings.

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August 2013

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