September 20th - The Enemy Within

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Start Quote
It's hard to accept that you can be your own worst enemy

In fact, this realization is so painful 
that we go to great lengths to prove otherwise.
It's always fate, circumstances, or lousy luck
that messes up our best-laid plans...
[there is always someone else to blame.]

[Your authentic self has an evil twin:]
the ego...

The ego has everything to lose 
once your authentic self grows strong enough 
to act consciously on your behalf, 
guiding your creative choices, decisions, ambitions, 
and actions for your Highest Good. 

What was standard operating procedure before 
- denial, sublimation, repression - 
is recognized for what it is: 
subtle self-abuse

When you become authentic, 
you become greater than you ever thought you could be, 
and this greatness allows you to 
heal yourself, your family, and your world. 

Your authentic self is your ego's worst nightmare,
and the ego will do everything in its power 
to eliminate her rival's influence from your daily round. 

The way the ego goes about this is to bring out the heavy guns: 
fear and intimidation.

Fear has derailed more dreams than we can ever know.

Physical distress 
- a racing heart, pounding head, nervous stomach - 
is the first assault when we edge 
to the perimeter of our comfort zone.

It's a natural, primordial instinct, 
a remnant of the fight-or-flight syndrome

But although it may feel excruciating, 
making a telephone call, speaking up...
is not the same as fighting off the charge of a woolly mammoth. 

We don't have to run scared

We DO have to learn to recognize 
the physical manifestations of fear and acknowledge them.

The next time you're physically sick 
at the thought of leaving your comfort zone, 
calmly reassure your conscious self that the feeling of fear 
is passing through you and will dissipate 
as long as you keep on moving forward.

Many actresses are so scared that they feel nauseous 
just before walking on stage, 

but they've learned how to transform fear 
into the creative energy of forward motion. 

They burst through to the other side of stage fright 
to applause.

Intimidation works differently from naked fear.

She's a shape changer, 
capable of adopting different guises to control you. 

The moment you step bravely out 
from the bounds of your comfort zone, 
she's likely to rise up inside you like a lion tamer, 
complete with whip and chair. 

"Get back!" she'll scream.
"Who do you think you are? 

You'll make a fool of yourself! 
You're risking your marriage! 
You're neglecting your children! 
Get back to your cage immediately!"

When these scare tactics are no longer effective, 
intimidation often takes another shape, 
as the voice of reason.

"Look, I don't want to alarm you but...
You know you've taken on quite a lot, 
I wouldn't if I were you..."

The worst thing about intimidation is that 
she knows all our buttons and just when to push them. 

But if she doesn't succeed with scare tactics, 
she'll kill your dreams with kindness. 

She's your best friend: 
she'll enable you to dig your own creative grave 
by handing you the shovel. 
She's the only one who knows how tired you really are, 
so she'll encourage you to take a nap 
instead of writing prospecting letters. 
She understands that you just don't have much time for relaxation, 
so what's the harm of catching a soap opera in the early afternoon
 instead of working on your resume 
before the kids come home from school? 

Relax, she tells you, "You've got plenty of time...
If it doesn't get taken care of today, there's always tomorrow..."

If none of the above works because now 
you're older, wiser, and more experienced, 
she'll begin a whispering campaign, 
sounding very similar to your intuitive voice. 

How will you know the difference? 
If the suggestion you hear doesn't bring a sense of peace, 
it is NOT the voice of your authentic self. 
It's the ego in one of her many guises. 

Tell her to shut up.

Then turn on some beautiful music that 
uplifts, inspires, and drowns her out. 

Today, just begin observing your behavior pattern...
One significant quality found in the women we admire 
is that they have identified their personal patterns of self-sabotage 
and learned to let their own best friend - their authentic self - 
outsmart the enemy within. 

And so can you.
End Quote

Gratitude Journal

1) So what I thought was just a cold virus turned out to be hand foot and mouth! All of a sudden there were sores everywhere, and I was like where did those come from?! We went to the doctor to confirm. All three have it at the same time. And that's a blessing. Better to get it all over in a week than to have one get it right after the other and have this go on for a month.

2) Everyone who has offered to help. Thank you so much! If I need anything, I promise I'll call you.

3) I'm not sick. Not yet anyways. I feel like I'm going to throw up...

4) We're on day three of this virus, so it's almost halfway over!

5) TV. Did you know you can watch all three books of Avatar the Last Airbender in three days?

September 19th - Ambition

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Start Quote
Ambition is achievement's soul mate.

Action is the matchmaker 
that brings these affinities together 
so that sparks can begin to fly 
and we can set the world on fire

We think highly of achievement.

He's a fine fellow 
- honorable, desirable, the perfect gentleman.

But ambition is considered more of a tramp than a lady,
a vixen rather than a virtue.

If her passion and power aren't 
creatively and constructively channeled,
she could turn on the one who invoked her presence.

Just as electricity can be life enhancing or destructive, 
so can ambition. 

What ambition really needs is a new press agent.

The only time we ever hear about her 
is when she's blamed for somebody's downfall.

But ambition only becomes dangerous when, 
blinded by her charms,
we become easy marks for greed.

When the soul is impoverished
the ego is easily seduced. 
Greed is a very effective pimp for the dark side.

It's no wonder that many women flee from authenticity.

It's too dangerous to admit, even to ourselves, 
that we possess not only aspirations but ambitions.

But what if ambition is a gift of Spirit?
What if ambition is part of the authentic package, 
generously bestowed on us all 
when we were given our personal gifts

If sex can be both sacred and profane, 
if power blesses as well as destroys, 
why should the nature of ambition be any different?

What if we are supposed to be ambitious?

What if our refusal to channel our ambitions for our highest good,
the highest good of those we love and the rest of the world,
is the real corruption of Power?

Think of all that could be accomplished 
if women cherished their ambitions and 
brought them into the Light where they belong.

Think of how our lives could be transformed 
if we respected ambition and gave grateful thanks 
for being entrusted with such a miraculous gift.


One thing is certain.
We cannot achieve without ambition.

Action - ambition in motion -
is what produces achievement.
End Quote


Gratitude Journal

1) I'm grateful that the kids don't seem to be getting any worse. I checked their ears, no signs of infection, and their fevers broke around nap time. Of course they just spiked again, but hopefully this will all be over soon.

2) McDonalds. When you're sick, it's what you eat.

3) An entire day cuddling and watching Avatar. 

4) Robbie went to work in the vineyard.

5) Feeling refreshed. And this little thing that popped it's head up today.

September 18th - The Gift Of Failure

Monday, September 18, 2017

This morning I was listening to Elder Eyring,
and one of the things that stuck out to me
was he said something along the lines of
knowing your weaknesses is a blessing.

I once had a visiting teachee who asked for my advice,
and I gave it to her,
and she didn't like what I had to say.

Part of being a visiting teacher is to watch and care for
the sisters that are put in our charge. 
To love and help them, 
physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
If we can, or if they allow us to. 

I know that what I said was right,
I did apologize later for how I said it because I was blunt,
and she asked that I not come back.

I think one of the lessons we need to learn 
is that we all have weaknesses, we all have trails, 
we all make mistakes, and we are all going to fail.

And it's okay.
Or at least it can be okay,
if you don't let it destroy you.

You have to be open, 
to see your weaknesses and where you're failing.

If you don't open your eyes, or your ears, 
or your heart, 
how will you ever know?

Today Sarah tells us about Clare Booth Luce
While you read, think about how maybe you are a little like her.
Do you look successful on the outside
but feel like a failure inside?

Start Quote
In the eyes of the world, Clare...was one of the most successful women in the twentieth century. She was a playwright and author, a two term Congresswoman, and Ambassador to Italy. She was also a mother and the wife of publishing magnate Henry Luce, cofounder of Life and Time magazines. 

But this extraordinary woman confessed that she often thought 
"if I were to write my autobiography, 
my title would be The Autobiography of a Failure."

Now I ask you,
if Clare...felt this way about herself and her brilliant career, 
what hope is there for the rest of us?

Gratefully, there is a great deal of hope 
as long as we stay on the path to authenticity. 

Clare...felt like a failure 
because she believed she had lived inauthentically, 
having not followed her true calling.
"I would say my worst failure...
was a rather long-drawn-out series of relative successes, 
none of which were in theater.
In other words, my failure was 
not to return to the real vocation I had, which was writing. 
I don't remember from childhood ever wanting to do or be 
anything except a writer."

To begin with, she never wanted to run for Congress, it was entirely her husband's idea; Henry Luce was a powerful man because he knew how to wield power for his own benefit. Clare Booth's theatrical career was thriving...when she married Luce in 1935, and her play The Women became a smash hit on Broadway he following year. But her husband believed that theater was an avocation, nothing more than "night work." So, when Clare Booth added Luce to her name, she reluctantly sublimated her passion

After two terms in Congress, she tried to resign from political life to resume her writing. Then, in rapid succession, came a series of staggering losses: the deaths of her mother, brother, and of her only child, a daughter, in an accident. For came to an abrupt halt, and it was a long time before she felt able to continue as an active participant. 

After a while, she began to tell herself, 
"Maybe you're not a writer. Maybe you'll never be a writer again."
 And although she did eventually write articles and books, 
she never went back to her first love, the theater. 
She mourned the path she had abandoned 
for the rest of her life. 

Clare Booth Luce's loss was a hidden one, 
Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb tell us in their [book]...
"Hidden failures suffer less from a sharp sense of loss 
than a chronic sense of disappointment.
But they suffer nonetheless,
longing somehow to change, often as scared and ashamed 
as those who have been fired. 

How many people, laid off jobs through no fault of their own, 
nevertheless feel they have somehow failed? 
[Robbie did. The company he worked for was dissolved, and so he was let go. Even though he still had a job at the new company, he still felt like a failure. I didn't understand, but I tried to be supportive.]
How many of us feel stuck in jobs we hate, are terrified to 
risk change, and despise ourselves for doing less than our best?
Often at the very moment the world is praising us, we know 
in some corner of our minds 
that we have failed our own best hopes."

Each one of us is terrified of failing.
But whether we risk it all or play it safe,
we cannot avoid failure - public or hidden - all our lives.

"Real strength comes from knowing we can survive," 
Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb reassure us.

Failure stretches us beyond our conscious capacity 
so that we can grow into our authentic selves. 

This is failure's generous gift.

In life the worst thing that can happen isn't failing.
It's never having tried. 

"Seen in the light, smart people can never fail."
End Quote

Isn't that wonderful?

Check out some great articles I was reading.

"God doesn’t want us to fail. 
Because of Jesus Christ, no failure is final. 
No fear in this mortal life need paralyze us. 
Faith can overcome fear. And if we trust that it does, 
we can move forward knowing that in the end, 
“it will all work out.”"

"Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail 
but to succeed gloriously." 

And last but not least, listen to the words of a living prophet.
"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.
This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life. The poet expressed much the same thought in these words:
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

   I hope that you'll study and ponder this,
and change your perspective on things like failure and weakness.

At the beginning of this year I had 10 piano students,
and I was driving myself crazy and my kids were driving me bonkers. You would think, 5 hours a week isn't too much to ask for three toddlers to behave, is it? 
Well apparently it was.

I would whine and complain to my friend about how I couldn't handle the stress, but I didn't want to change anything. Finally my wonderful husband told me what I already knew, that I had taken too much on my plate and needed to cut half my students. I was a mother first and foremost, and my kids needed me right now during these formative years. 

So I did it. I cut half my students, which ended up being two families. It broke my heart. I didn't want to do it, but I had to do what was best for myself and my family. I definitely felt like a failure, I felt like I couldn't hack it. But I told myself over and over that this was what had to be done and I hadn't failed. And after a couple weeks with only five students instead of 10, life was so much better, and I was so grateful.

When I told my friend that I had cut half my students she almost yelled for joy and relief. She told me how she had wanted to tell me earlier how worried she was about me, and she was going to say something if I hadn't come to my senses sometime soon, but that she hadn't wanted to offend me.

I wish she would have said something sooner,
because I was blind to my weakness
of trying to run faster than I had strength.
I've spent a lot of time learning how to not be offended.
Life is much easier that way.

I once heard a man say that he didn't want anyone 
to point out his weaknesses, he already knew what they were.

I strongly disagree.

Now there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things, 
and there's a right way and a wrong way to accept those things...

Some people have the right to say things, like friends, family, 
or leaders or caregivers etc etc, 
and others do not. 

Sometimes it's going to hurt to hear it, 
sometimes it'll hurt to give it, 
sometimes you're going to be grateful, 
and sometimes you'll need some time to cool off 
and put things in perspective. 
If it's someone who has no business saying things like that to you and they don't have good motives, you probably should avoid contact with them.
And sometimes you'll lose who you thought was a friend 
because she asked you for your opinion 
and then didn't like what you had to say.

Don't you think that Clare would have benefited from her husband asking her what she wanted to do? Or her friends? Instead of just accepting her career and success, what if they had noticed she was a little sad, or asked her if she ever thought about the theater? 

We are human. 
We have weaknesses. 
We are going to fail.

And they are gifts.

Sometimes we need a little help to see them,
and sometimes we don't. 

One way or another, 
we will see it. 
The question is when
and how will we deal with it?

And the knowledge that you and I are going to fail, 
that it's inevitable,
again and again and again,
makes the knowledge that Christ will not fail us
all the more unfathomable and amazing. 

Gratitude Journal

1) I'm now down to therapy every other week. And I'm getting a referral to see a psychologist? I'm so grateful that I have the time, resources and help to take care of my mental health.

2) Not taking care of your mental, emotional, and spiritual well being is like not washing your hands throughout the day and you're working in a prison or hospital where there are tons of germs and yucky things. You need to do it, or you'll get sick. Thanks for the analogy, because that makes so much sense.

3) Sick kiddos. I just had the thought today that I can't really just stay in my pajamas all day and do nothing now that Jacob is in school, and now the next few days that's all I'm going to have to do just that. Dear universe, sick kids is not exactly what I had in mind, just so you know.

4) Cuddles.

5) Ibuprofen and acetaminophen.