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Getting Out of Prison

Where’s your prison? What IS your prison? I was a volunteer at the local Women’s Correctional Facility for several years and being the Aquarius that I am (Aquarius people love freedom above all else) found the idea of being imprisoned beyond comprehension. What I then realized is that we humans imprison ourselves in numerous ways on a daily basis and never realize it’s happening. We are prisoners of our own thoughts. We are imprisoned in our own minds.

This idea of imprisonment, our fears and expectations around the roles we play in life and the dreams we hold on to, has never been more apparent to me than in the last few days. It seems as if the sun in the desert, which is where I live, has melted the self-assurance of many of the people I talk to (myself included) and not all of them live in the desert! They don’t express it as such — No, they make such statements as:

“ I’m scattered; I’ve been moody; I’m not sure what’s wrong, but I can’t seem to get it together; I just haven’t felt social lately; I’m having an identify crisis, it’s like I don’t know who I am today; My clients are dropping like flies — what’s happening? I didn’t close that sale and lost a big opportunity — what’s wrong with me? My challenge is that I’m scared; I don’t know what to say in my marketing materials - I don’t feel very accomplished; I’ve suddenly realized I don’t have a lot of friends; My child didn’t make the team — we’re devastated; My boyfriend moved out — my life will never be the same, One of my employees is losing money for the company; My father-in-law doesn’t like me; Everything costs too much money.”

Have you gone into major depression just from reading the above or are you laughing? Actually they do sound humorous even to me when I group them all together. Perhaps a few of them even sound familiar to you? The truth is we create these thoughts by the pressures and the expectations we place upon ourselves to perform. I’m not saying results is not important, it’s what keeps the business world moving along, but what I am saying is let’s step back and look at the situation from a different perspective.

Perhaps my clients are dropping like flies because I need to rethink my client base or my marketing strategy. Perhaps my child didn’t make the team because she is better suited for another sport. Perhaps my boyfriend moved out because it’s time the roller coaster stopped and I learned to love myself. Perhaps my father-in-laws’ dislike is mirroring something I dislike about myself. Perhaps I’ve lost my identify because I have disconnected from God. Perhaps I’m scared because it is time for me to step up to my full potential and it’s natural to be scared. Perhaps the sale didn’t close, but I only had dollars on my mind rather than the needs of my customer.

I still subscribe to the theory that everything happens for a reason — if only I will open my eyes and see it. For the truth is: Where I am now is exactly where I need to be. I am totally free (not imprisoned) to think whatever thoughts I choose. I am totally free to focus on the solution and the opportunity and not the problem and failure. I am totally free to look at each stumble, mis-step, or slap down as a mere hiccup. It is never what happens to me that is the ‘deal breaker,’ it is the meaning I give to it.

Just because I feel fear does NOT mean I have lost my courage. If I didn’t feel fear there would be no need for courage. Actually if I didn’t feel fear on occasion, I might never get off the sofa. It just means I have chosen to focus on feeling scared rather than feeling courageous. Choice it’s a beautiful thing!

A Course in Miracles(R), a book/set of teachings that combines spiritual wisdom and psychological insight has been my chosen path for many years. Its message is that the perfection and harmony of God that we seek is already ours and need only be uncovered, not created. Our mission, what the Course defines as a miracle, is a mind-shift from fear to love. Today’s lesson, Lesson 188, states: “The peace of God is shining in me now.” The key word here is NOW. No matter what you’re feeling, what your challenges are, how insecure or fearful you feel, all you need do is re-connect to your Spirit, to what’s truly important, to what you are grateful for in order to find that light within you in the present. It’s still there; you’ve just temporarily misplaced it. It’s like the sun in the desert sky, when I hold my hand in front of my face to keep the sun out of my eyes, it doesn’t mean the sun is gone. It only means I’m obscuring it. Whatever thoughts are obscuring your vision, your peace, and your light can be removed as soon as you make the decision to look at life from a different perspective.

Yes, it’s true, the future is uncertain.

This means there is no limit as to how bright and joyful you can make it.

~~~~ COACH'S TIPS taken from Judy's LIVING COURAGEOUSLY IN A CHANGING WORLD: 101 Tips for Authentic Success.

Tip # 7 Detach from fear! Become the observer; see fear for what it is - an emotion, an illusion. Fear is fear, it is not you! This could be the biggest test of courage. You can do it.

Tip# 98: Decide to release anything that is keeping you from peace. The obstacle is usually some form of fear (anger, resentment, hatred). Deciding there is something more important than the fear and being willing to release it takes courage.

The Foundation for Inner Peace is the registered copyright holder for A Course in Miracles(R)

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