How to Start Resetting Your Life (5)

I used to think that if I did one more thing, took one more step, made one more resolution toward a new goal I would eventually arrive there. Radicality, instead, has become my new approach. It is true that we take one step at a time, that the law of graduality means we will develop in spirit much as we develop physically—slowly, but if we hope to touch the sunrise by deciding to make micro changes in our life, it will not happen. In the darkest mid-night we could decide to light a match or we could choose the eventual promised dawn, and the sunrise that dispels the night.

If you are suffering the effects of not being able to forgive yourself, you will get nowhere by deciding to forgive yourself again. Instead, like Angie start resetting your life. For the moment, let’s not worry about the issue of your self-forgiveness. Instead let us take a step back and start from the beginning. Reset to factory mode is the quickest and easiest way to return a computer to normal, cleaning it of viruses and temporary files so that it can run at optimal performance.

We can also “reset” our life.

A very easy way to start is to simply breathe. Take a few deep breaths. You may not realize how shallow your breathing has become as you carry around your secret shame. Breathing brings you home, while shame causes you to disengage from yourself. What do you feel as you breathe? Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus on just breathing for about eight minutes.

What do you hear in the room around you?

What are the thoughts that you are thinking? Take some time to begin to be aware of them. Are they life-giving thoughts? Are they harsh? Are they fearful?

Turning within, what do you hear within yourself? What do you see? What do you taste?

In coordination with your breathing, say this simple reminder to yourself that only this moment is yours: I am here. I am now. That is all. I am here. I am now. That is all.

Do you perceive any shift in your awareness of yourself? What are you feeling? Whatever you feel is alright. Some people feel a great inner peace. Others experience an inner agitation or anxiety. The agitation and anxiety are probably closer to the truth of what is most deeply going on within most people.

I often tell people I work with about the time I was helping to upgrade a building before moving our apostolic department. We were pulling up carpets, scraping up glue, stripping and waxing floors, moving furniture. After a while I wasn’t sleeping at night at all. I moved to the living room one evening and started doing the simple breathing exercise outlined above. Within seconds my feet started to “scream.” I looked down and there were open blisters on the soles of my feet. I soaked them in epsom salts and soon my insomnia passed.

I tell this story because it is a simple way of explaining what emotionally/spiritually happens to us. We are in pain–even spiritual or emotional pain–all the time, but we often aren’t even aware of it. It is when we stop and do an exercise that helps us become present to the here-and-now that we suddenly touch what is here-and-now. Then we say OUCH!

The pain you are living with as a result of not being able to forgive yourself hurts. You may be able to keep going, put on a smile, take care of others, but inside you hurt.

To reset your life, you first need to begin by coming home to yourself. The easiest way to do that is to breathe.

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Question Every Thought

Three questions to ask every thought you let in the door of your mind:

1) Where did you come from?

2) What’s are you going to want me to do?

3) What will you give me? What will you cost me?

Then decide whether or not you will let the thought in. I started doing this and as a consequence my mind is now quieter and more peaceful. Not as many thoughts make it through the front door!

Guarding Our Minds

It wasn’t till I started following the news more closely on the internet, and now on my cell phone, that I found my mind invaded by fears, confusion, uncertainty about my place in a world so filled with violence and pain, my mind progressively collapsing in on itself even as it hungered to see and read more and more.

Our minds were made to remember God and God’s action and benefits in our life. Does that mean we don’t care about or hide from the problems that riddle the lives of others in today’s world?

Today I turned to the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Zechariah and the annunciation to Mary to find my way. The angel could have talked about the Roman occupation, the poverty in the community, the political efforts to find a just life. Instead he called Zechariah and Mary to rejoice. He came to bring good news. He announced what God was about to accomplish in the world. The canticles of Zechariah and Mary, the Benedictus and the Magnificat respectively, are very similar in their responses: They bless the Lord, offer thanksgiving, proclaim the continuity of God’s faithfulness from ages past to the end of the ages, and, particularly in the song of Mary, announce what God is going to do as already accomplished.

Both Zechariah and Mary lived through and endured the tragedies of life. Both saw their child enter the public stage, manifesting the vindication and compassion of God in the face of obstinacy and rejection, both lost a child to persecution and martyrdom. But I would like to believe that the verses of their Canticles were the memories they carried through their life, the remembrance of God forever in their mind and imagination. Through all situations of clouds, confusion, and darkness, they proclaimed that God is faithful, God has a plan that includes them and their child, that they don’t understand the plan and can’t personally advance it other than through surrender and trust.

The news is in our pockets and on the screens at our desk and in our homes. It is omnipresent. Our minds were given us for the remembrance of God that we might become deified. God is omnipresent, not as a passing ticker of news, but as an eternal Rock upon whom we can put our trust. It’s actually very simply. Memories and imagination filled with the remembrance of God leave no room for the incessant army of passing thoughts that invade our soul with fears and trouble. The remembrance of God is not an escape from reality. The remembrance of God is the proclamation of Reality.