Tag Archives: Marianne Williamson

Struggle Less

Sarah Boucher

Struggle Less

Do you feel like all you have ever known is struggle? Even though you know you are blessed, at the end of the day, you still feel like you are struggling–struggling to live peacefully with your spouse, to be consistent with your parenting, to encourage your children to get along, to stay on top of everything at work, to keep the house and yard in shape, to pay the bills, to make ends meet, to ever get ahead?

What if you woke up one morning and life no longer felt like such a challenge? What if all of the circumstances above remained the same but when combined, they no longer had the power to unravel you?

A couple of years ago, I had the honor to go through a 12 week program called What One Person Can Do. Grounded in loving kindness and personal responsibility this program allowed me to discover my value, the power that exists in each of us, and the ability I have to produce a joyful life of contribution and create an atmosphere where others are able to experience that same ability in their own lives. This program has been conducted with individuals and organizations ranging from school systems, Job Corps programs, the Maine State Prison System, YMCAs and corporations for 30 years by Bill Cumming and individuals who he has trained to do this work, known as conveners. I learned a great deal from that conversation, ended up going through the training to become a convener, and am pleased to share one of those life changing lessons with you.

One year ago, my father passed away from complications of Multiple Sclerosis. One month later, my husband and I separated.

Separated

I was blindsided. Although he continued to support us financially, for eight months I was a single mother to our five children. Because of the foundation that was laid through the What One Person Can Do conversation, I was able to walk through these painful circumstances with more equanimity than I would have otherwise been able to do. I still went through shock. I still cried on and off for a couple of months. I still made mistakes trying to readjust my life plan, but I survived. I took my life one day at a time. I did not get out in my future and let fear of the unknown take over.

Those of us raised in America, with televisions in our homes, have been taught that it is an outside in world. We have been taught that the right combination of the right possessions, the right job, and the right partner will make us happy. The truth is that happiness is ALWAYS an inside job. It is not our circumstances that make us happy or unhappy, but our thinking about our circumstances. Author Michael Neill says, “We think we are experiencing reality but what we are really experiencing is our thinking.”

So how do we get our thinking about our less than perfect circumstances to improve?
The answer is to develop a daily Self Care routine that includes visiting these four thoughts for a few minutes before you start each day.

1. Life is a gift. The only moment we have any guarantee of is this one.

2. We are ALL interconnected.

3. The ONLY thing I can control today is the way I CHOOSE to BE in the world.

4. Do the best you can and be gracious to yourself.

Self Care is a personal practice and you have to figure out what works for you, but the core ingredients are these four thoughts. Spend a few minutes thinking, meditating, or praying about them and then follow that time up by reading a couple of pages from one of these books that point back to the Self Care thoughts.

Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love & Fulfilling Relationships

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

By making Self Care part of my daily routine, these simple but powerful thoughts changed the way I experienced my life. My life consisted of the same circumstances but my thinking about those events changed.

Thinking about the gift of each day, the brevity of life, helped me become more present in my life. One of my favorite quotes is by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. “The days are long but the years are short.” This life is speeding by and I want to be aware of and cherish each day and person I come in contact with.

Every person on this Earth is interconnected. Our actions each day have a ripple effect. One of the first life changing lessons I learned from Bill is that we don’t have to go out and look to make a difference in the world. We already are making a difference. Is it a positive one or a negative one?

I do not have the ability to control anyone (spouse or children included) or anything (broken appliances, vehicles, or the weather) but myself. Once I stopped trying, I experienced less stress, less worry, and more peace.

Learning to be gracious with myself, recognizing that I am doing the best I can each day, accepting those efforts, letting go of the mistakes or shortcomings, and trying again tomorrow has been great for me in conquering feelings of low self esteem and inferiority to others who appear to have the game of life down perfectly.

Yesterday a friend said, “Who wouldn’t want a family, a school, or a business with people in it who have mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation?” Those qualities happen to be the definition of equanimity.

You will still experience off days. They happen. By developing your own Self Care routine, most days you can be that person pointing the way to less stress and less struggle for those in your circle of influence.

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Sarah Boucher happily encourages women to find their power daily at
I Am A Powerful Woman. Come join the conversation there. If you are interested in learning more about What One Person Can Do or one on one coaching, you can contact Sarah here.

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Am I A Fool?

Am I A Fool

Am I A Fool?

I am forever saying no negative self talk and I mean it missy, but humor me here. A wise person suggested reading a chapter of Proverbs a day and according to Proverbs 1:7, I must ask myself–am I a fool?

“but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

I do NOT despise wisdom. I could drink wise words in all day long and as Steve Chandler suggests in much of his writing, I can get drunk on all that knowledge. The execution of the knowledge is where I get stuck. I do NOT like being told what to do. I do indeed despise discipline.

If nothing changes then nothing changes.

Are you like me? Do you despise discipline?

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
she raises her voice in the public squares;

Am I A Fool
Mother Teresa

at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
helen-keller
Helen Keller

in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
marianne williamson
Marianne Williamson

How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?

Suze Orman
Suze Orman

If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.

Chalene Johnson
Chalene Johnson

Am I A Fool?
Wisdom is calling out to me not just through my Bible, but through people who have listened to wisdom and enjoyed the fruits of discipline. Wisdom calls to us through our t.v.’s, through facebook, through books and magazines. She’s calling to us and are we listening?

Wisdom tells us to get our finances in order, serve others, to push past any obstacle in our way like deafness and blindness and REALLY live, to eat right and exercise. And if we don’t listen to wisdom, to the voices calling out to us, “Take care of yourself,” this is what we get to look forward to.

Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes,

OUCH!!!

It gets better…or worse actually.

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

I think about this with my health especially. I don’t eat right. If I listen to wisdom and switch my eating habits, it is a fact that I will live longer than if I eat frozen pizza and drink coke all the time. The complacency of fools will destroy them. I am complacent about my food intake. That is slowly destroying me.

Wisdom calls aloud in the street.

but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.

She raises her voice in the public squares

Will we listen to her call? Will we be disciplined and implement what we learned from her?

We have the same capacity as all of the women above. They are our fearless leaders. They paved the way for us and they cry out to each one of us, “It is completely possible for you too.”

Is there an area of your life that you have had great success with because you were disciplined?

Share your victory with me below or come over to I Am A Powerful Woman and let me know what you thought about this post.

Make your week a great one, one day at a time!
Sarah

Sarah Boucher

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