uealse Change - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

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The Change Table

Come to the Change Table

 

In the time it takes to read this column, approximately four billion five hundred million cells have died and been replaced in your body. Metathesiophobia is a phobia for fear of change. We are afflicted by it. We may have difficulty pronouncing the word, but we have more difficulty, even when the irrefutable facts change, coming to the table being open and comfortable with change. For instance, a wife whose husband has beating her for years, may tell me “But I promised for better or worse.” My heart might be breaking for her but knowing I have to change my response of “pack your bags,” allows me to quietly ask, “How long in your world must one be abused before change is an option.”

My life has blessed me with the wonderful awareness that I need to marry change, invite it in, serve it tea. At seventy-one things drop, lines form, necks wobble and restrooms become more important. The values of my children and grandchildren may not be the same as my values. I watch them flounder and remember that I too often resisted change. I too brought my self to my knees a few times with my own misguided decisions and unwillingness to change before I was able to make change a friend.

What might it be like if change was not a dirty word? Might we treasure it as the art form of transformation? Might we embrace the deeper meaning in “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”? Could we perhaps see change as a pathway of self-discovery or would we continue to color only within the lines? Without change women and minorities still could not vote, there would be no computer for me to create these words on and we would still not be talking about addictions. We wouldn’t be examining our life styles and food intake and levels of toxins in our bodies. No, we’d still be slapping a buffalo on the fire pit and uttering guttural sounds.

It’s time to come to the table on this issue and let change create you and the kind of life you desire. The winds of change ore blowing our hair back and we are still trying to stand still. If we are to thrive, we must see change in the context of purpose, both individually and as a human family. We are not listening to the voices of our spirit or our hearts. Change will repair the separation we experience with our own souls/spirits and with each other. We can to allow the new parts of ourselves to be born. A change from radical individualism and “me-ism” to the consciousness that there is just one human family will heal the pain in the planet. We need a shift in awareness from this or that and either or, to a simply “and & both. In every moment, there is an end to an era and a beginning to a new one, just as precious and rich but for newfound and more current purposes.

What would happen if you never turned the page to your favorite book or listened to the next heart-warming song? Whether change is happy or sad it is movement to the next beautiful thing life offers. It’s a sacred experiment. We are stuck in lack, thinking that letting go of this or that and what we hold on to in the moment means a loss, when in fact it makes room for a new gift.

Have you noticed that even when you resist change it still comes knocking at your door? Our spirits call it in so that we can evolve our own souls, so it comes back repeatedly. Sit at the table with it without fear. I lived in eleven different schools by the time I was in 12th grade. That has given me experiences in life about people that are invaluable. I can recognize authentic loving energy before it walks through the door. I also, recognize instantly when a person is not authentic or loving and I can shut the door which allows me to create the quality of life I want and deserve. Great lessons and tools.

Embracing change gives you solid proof that you are capable of having your own back and being your own best friend with circumstances that may not be in your round house of experience. Embracing change creates continued growth, and increases your quality of life and empowers the strength of your courage and spirit. The next time change knocks, invite it in and wait to see the gift it brings.

 

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

This or That

 

This or That

 

Life is seldom this or that. It’s really all of it. In twenty-five years of counseling, I have never met an all bad person, nor have I ever met an all good one.  One person’s story or perspective is never all right and the other person’s is never all wrong.  The bad guys we vilify in the news are never really all bad and the good guys are really never all good.  We should lose the words good and bad because they require a judgment from someone about someone or something. As Shakespeare says, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Everything just is.

There is a great deal of difference between judgment and discernment. We might discern that someone or some activity is not in our best interest, however, if we are simply discerning, we make that decision, without judging the person or the activity. We might even wish that person or thing could be different, but we don’t make a judgment about the situation or the person’s value. Peace of mind comes from accepting things as they are. The foundation of all our unhappiness is a lack of acceptance.

Our boyfriend breaks up with us and the agony begins because we want it to be different. Actually, the longer we hold on, the more we are saying, I am willing to be with someone who doesn’t want and love me. We lose our house and we agonize over it feeling like a failure, never thinking the next one might be better. Someone dies and we hold on refusing to let life in because we cannot accept the loss, which is a natural part of life and being human. I am not implying we shouldn’t have feelings about these challenges in life. We will have big feelings because we are human and capable of feeling everything. However, at some point in order to live life fully we have to get to a place of acceptance. Life is not out to get us, life simply happens. Things come and go and so do we. What might change if you considered it all good?

The people who have empowered lives, filled with meaning, are the ones who get up everyday feeling that they love their lives and every challenge that life gives them. After all, aren’t those challenges the way we push our souls forward and hone our character? How else could we become who we came here to be? Thomas Edison said of things that didn’t go right, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ways that won’t work.” Edison had no concept of failure; only opportunities to discover what didn’t work.

 

The deeper lesson is to accept all things with a sense of reverence. A master stands, arms outstretched, in the middle of this and that and is attached to or attracted to neither. He or she simply says, ”Ah so, here is this, or here is that.” A master understands that life is filled with all of it. We have trouble and we have compassion and consolation. We have abundance and we have emptiness and loss. We have cold and heat, times up and times down and to remain in the flow and aliveness of life we must be willing accept all of it.

Ellen Bass, one of the authors of the Courage to Heal says, “…to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you,

Its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, how can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between

your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you, I will love you, again.”

Don’t miss it. Be your own best friend. Let yourself feel all of it, Cling to nothing. Embrace everything including every fear and feeling. Society will teach you to fear your feelings because they can kill you. In more than twenty-five years, I have never lost a client or seminar guest, family member, child or friend to a feeling. It does not happen. You will never leave the planet due to having a feeling, but you may leave wishing you had felt more of them with acceptance.

 

Dr Dina Evan

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Just Breathe

We must all be brought to our knees occasionally. That is the space in which we get to greet face-to-face the courage of our own spirits and the tender humility and humanity of our own souls. Great loss, great challenge, great struggle come to all. But only great spirits embrace these moments and the lessons they offer us. Much of humanity closes down in arrogance or fear, pretending these magnificent opportunities for growth do not exist. Hopefully, not you.

There are many things we can control. Life is not one of them. We can’t control what happens out there, nor can we control other people. The only thing that we ever have control over is our response to life at any given moment, in every circumstance. When there is an affair, when there is a death, when there is illness, when there is a lie that shatters trust with such voracity that you can barely breathe, there is also an opportunity for great growth. This is a time of great growth. The era we are living in demands it. As Diana Robertson says, “We may explore the Universe and find ourselves or we can explore ourselves and find the Universe.”

When terrible things happen our first tendency is to blame, find fault or project on to someone else the things we fear the most about ourselves. In the moment of tragedy, there are many mirrors. The first one is the truth of the moment. The second one is how we judge it, the third is what we instantly perceive ourselves to have lost, or given away and then, if we take a breath and stand in the gap, we have a choice. We can move into the dark side of our psyche with anger, rage, resentment, hatred, retaliation and depression or we can make a different choice. We can choose compassion, healing or acceptance through understanding.  Our truest beliefs are always mirrored in the moments of great crisis.

The choices we make are important not only in our personal lives but on a grander scale. Scientists tell us that it takes only a small number of people to literally begin a change in events and reality.  According to Greg Braden in a city of a million people, it would only take 100 who were fully aligned with their intention to create peace. In our world of 6 billion people, it’s only about 8000. The minimum number of people required to jump-start a change in world consciousness is √1% of the population. At some level, every thought matters.

When we wake up to the reality that we can have control over own perspective or perceptions about what has happened to us, there is a major shift in awareness. Every event and every person in your life becomes your teacher. The ones who hurt you the most and the situations that blow you away, and bring you to your knees, are often the master teachers of your life. On some level, consciously or unconsciously, you probably invited them in. Although there is also cosmic serendipity, if you lie to yourself, you will probably call in someone who lies to you. If you betray yourself, you will ultimately be betrayed. If you ignore your needs, so will others. If you love and respect yourself, chances are life is looking pretty good right now. Like energy draws like energy…. just ask Einstein.

When something difficult happens, just breathe. Take some time to ask yourself whether what you are feeling is really the truth of the situation. For instance, I had a young man in my office whose brother committed suicide. His immediate feeling was that his brother had done this to him. When people do things to hurt us, or themselves, it’s always about who they are and not about you.  Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people and life is just life unfolding. Your power and sense of balance lies in how you choose to see it. When you end up on your knees, remember that life falls apart occasionally just so you can put it back together, often  better than ever.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Ah So

I have often heard sages, even my own spiritual teachers, respond ever so gently to a student’s bemoaning life’s ups and downs with a simple, “Ah So.” I used to think they didn’t care much. I now say the same thing to my own students. This simple response is not about a laissez- faire attitude of not caring, nor is it about detachment. Rather, it is simply about the fact that life happens. It happens to all of us. There is no way to control it or stop it. Birth and death go on around us all the time. Change is inevitable and vulnerability is essential. It is only when we are vulnerable, and we stop trying to control life, that we are able to allow life’s lessons to teach us. After all these years, I have finally come to understand that, “Ah so,” is simply another way of saying, “ Be awake to knowing, get curious and explore what this new event or circumstance means for you. “Ah so,” simply means step back, get out of the drama or chaos and see what this new challenge is going to teach you about yourself.

The stock market is dropping. Ah so, what will you learn about your illusions as to material security. You have lost a loved one in death. Ah so, what will you discover about the spiritual bonds that extend beyond this physical realm? Your relationship is breaking up. Ah so, what are you about to learn about letting go, your own lovability and free will? What will you learn about the Universe’s way of meeting your needs with someone more appropriate? You have lost your job. Ah so, you are about to learn that you are not your job. What have you always wanted to do but never had the courage to do before? Do it now. You have failed at something you started. Ah so, how does this impact your sense of self and your determination? Someone thinks you are a bad person. Ah so, whose reality is more important, yours or theirs?

“Ah so,” gets to be even more important as you get older. When we are young, we think every decision we make is a life or death one. No refunds. No exchanges. No re-do’s or makeovers. The truth is that you are going to do everything in life a number of times and you get a million chances to do it different. You always have the option of changing your mind and your actions. That’s what life is for – learning to do it better. Being open and attentive is much more important than being judgmental. Judgment immediately cuts off the flow of energy and leaves you feeling worthless, powerless. Mistakes are only here to teach us what we do not want to continue doing. They are not an evaluation of our self-worth, or our lovability. Being open, without judgment, is much more potent and necessary to creating change.

When we are able to step back in the energy of “Ah so,” we find that it’s much more important to tell the truth than say things that sound right. We find that it’s much more important to create peace than be right. We find that it is much more important to be a good person than it is to have a good job. We find that it’s much more important to react wisely than have a justification or explanation. We find that’s it’s much more important to act from our own center, than give others the power over our lives and feelings of self-worth. We find it’s much more important to live in a state of grace than have a huge bank account. It is in the center of the silence and momentary pause of “Ah so,” that we discover these important things.

We cannot control life. We can only control our response to it. We can rail against the inevitable or embrace each new opportunity to learn more and become more. Where ever you are, what ever you are facing, take a deep breath, soften your belly, let your shoulders drop a bit, step back and just simply say, “Ah so.” In that precious space, I believe you will find, everything is unfolding exactly as it should. Including you.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

A Minute Ago?

A minute ago we felt safe. Getting the repair guy on the phone to fix the refrigerator could be more important than lingering for a moment to say I love you in a kiss. Running out the door without a hug was acceptable if you were late to work. Couldn’t our partners get that getting a new client was understandably a higher priority than dinner at home with the family? Checking stocks on line was time well spent on a Saturday morning and who cares if you and aunt Mattie went to bed mad at each other or you hadn’t called your folks in a couple of weeks.

A minute ago, getting angry at the busboy, stock clerk or service attendant was important because they ought to know better. Cutting back in front of the jerk who cut you off proved a thing or two and of course you had every reason for talking behind your friends back. Zipping through the intersection was acceptable and talking over Uncle Andy’s story was understandable because he was taking too long to get to the point.

A minute ago how we looked could be more important than our health or sense of well being. A minute ago taking time to support a friend could wait given the hecticness of the day. A minute ago God was something we talked about, not something we tried to live. Spirituality was something the woo woo folks played around with and getting conscious was something we’d all do later when life slowed down.

A minute ago it didn’t seem to matter if another angry word, thoughtless deed or act of violence took place in the world. A minute ago the world wasn’t lying with it’s belly blown open and there was time to teach that violence only begets violence in any situation – the harder you push at evil, the harder it pushes back. But that was a minute ago and now we are standing at the brink of our own destruction – or our finest moment.

In the same way that it is impossible to not be pregnant once you are, or not have heard a truth once you have – it is also impossible to stand on both side of love and hate, war and peace, life and death. There is no going back for do-overs. The weapons are too dangerous and the stakes too high. You and I must act now and create a miracle in our own homes and hearts. We must prayerfully, honestly and with every ounce of conviction stop the separation that takes place anywhere in our lives. Can you imagine what it could be like without another moment of name-calling, arrogance, disrespect or shaming for our partners and our children? Not another moment of inflicting pain or misusing power. No more support for violent movies, video or computer games that numb us to the reality of war and pain. When it is real, it stops being a game. When it’s a game it deadens us to what’s real.
The next time you encounter anger, take a breath and make a conscious decision not to fuel it with a response. Walk away, remain silent or silently offer a blessing for that person’s awakening, but move on. Remember what happened a minute ago.

The healing of this country and planet must take place in our own hearts. Put your arms around your beloved and never leave each other with anger between you. Tell your friends what a sacred place they hold in your life and get in touch with your families to do the same. Thank your teachers, your mentors and your guides. Embrace love and life today and stop planning and living for tomorrow. Get your priorities in order and make sure that from moment to moment, day to day and month to month, no matter what happens you will never regret not having said or done anything, a minute ago.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.