Here are the last of the revised steps. Like I said before, they haven’t changed – they are just tweeked. New and improved! I don’t know if they can help anyone else or not, but they help me. Whenever I feel bad about ANYTHING I go through these steps. Because, anytime that we feel bad, it’s because some how, some way, we have moved further from the Spirit that lives in our soul. So, we need to stop moving the wrong direction, turn around, and fix it. These is a way to fix it. It may not be the way for you, but it works for me. I can’t guarantee that I won’t tweek them some more, but here are the revised Steps 3 & 4. I hope you like them!
Can’t change anything about gratitude. It’s still HUGE. Being grateful for what you have, makes it seem like it’s enough. It keeps you from always wanting more and never, truly feeling satisfied. So many times we feel jealous or bad because we don’t have something that we want. Whether it’s more money or more friends or more ___________ (fill in the blank). Gratitude will bring you peace, becaues it will make you feel like you have enough. It’s not settling. It’s being grateful for everything that comes to you in life – both good and bad. Bad?!!! How can we be grateful for bad things? It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, but while we can’t be grateful when hurtful things happen, we can be grateful for the lessons we learn from it. We can be grateful for the personal growth that comes from it. We can be grateful for the fears that we get to face and then release. Gratitude is one of the best ways to actually create contentment. It doesn’t just bring you contentment, it creates it from nothing. So, make it a point every day, several times a day, to stop and think about what you are grateful for. Be sure that you think of different things. You can’t just keep saying, I’m grateful for my family. Think of all of the things that you are grateful for. Then try to think of things that upset you and find ways to be grateful for that area of your life. Gratitude can actually work miracles in your life. Try it. What can it hurt?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is where I’m putting the “you don’t know what other people are thinking” step. This step is huge because we are all connected. We think we are our own little separate island, but we really aren’t. What happens to someone on a little bitty island in the South Pacific will somehow, someday, affect me. How is that possible? Picture yourself in a big raft, with a bunch of other people, getting ready to go down some white water rapids. You are all individual people in one raft. You think your own thoughts and feel your own feelings. One person may be loving the adventure while another person is terrified of falling overboard. You’re all different. But, you’re also all connected to the same raft. Whatever happens to that raft happens to everybody. If you are all paddling in the correct direction, that’s positive energy. You are going where you want to go. If somebody decides to paddle in the opposite direction, they’re putting out negative energy. It might not be enough to change anything. But, it makes the other people have to paddle harder to overcome it. Now what if 2 people start paddling the opposite direction? That’s more negative energy. Now it’s getting really hard to go where you want to go. What if 3 people start paddling in the wrong direction? Now there’s so much negative energy, you can’t go where you want! You get turned around and you are fighting the current. You don’t seem to be making any ground as the rapids push you backwards. Your raft starts spinning in circles because everyone is paddling differently. It’s chaos. The negative energy caused chaos. You were all different people thinking your own thoughts, connected by one raft. When you were all putting out positive energy (paddling the same direction) life was good. But because some people put negative energy out there, you can’t go where you want. The thoughts and actions of other people affected you. So when someone on a little island in the South Pacific is upset, they send out a tiny little ripple of negative energy. Probably won’t affect you just like when 1 person was paddling the wrong way, it didn’t affect you much. But if everyone in all of the South Pacific were sending out negative energy, then even more ripples would be sent out. Maybe those ripples would reach Hawaii. Then maybe those ripples would be sent back to the mainland U.S. Then maybe those ripples would be carried to your state. Do you see where I’m going here? We are all connected.
Let me give you another example. Picture everyone on the planet like little rays of sunlight coming out of the sun. Those little rays aren’t separate little suns. They’re all connected to that same thing. The sun. Without the sun, there are no rays. And because of the sun, all of the rays are connected. Some are pretty far apart, while others brush up next to each other. One ray is not more important than another, and no rays are less important. Deep stuff here. So when that person on the island in the South Pacific is sad, that sends out a little ripple of negative energy. That ripple will make its way back to the sun and go through all of the other rays. We can send out happy energy and it will ripple through all of the waves. Maybe it will reach that person and they will feel better!
Have you ever noticed that energy feeds off of itself? It’s like watching the whole mob mentality thing when people who are part of an angry mob do things they wouldn’t normally do. Energy feeds off of energy and creates more of that kind of energy. So if we send out positive energy – positive energy will be created. If we send out negative energy negative energy will be created. That’s just the way it is. You can’t create positive energy by using negative energy and you can’t create negative energy by using positive energy. So why do we keep trying to do that? Why do we try to fight negative energy with more negative energy? When a child does something wrong, why do we yell at them and belittle them? That might make them do what you want them to do for a little while, but you are creating negative energy that will come back to bite you in the butt some day. The political world seems to have gone crazy today. It feels like it’s us against them. That will just create more negative energy. It won’t create anything positive. It will just come back to hurt us. We have to turn it around if we want peace in our lives. We have to treat people with love and respect if we want to be happy. That’s just the way energy works.
Step 5 – Make room for God I’m ending the steps to contentment with making room in your head for God. Our minds get so cluttered up with stuff, that we just focus on what’s happening to us and on what our problems are. We completely forget about what’s important. We forget about what the whole purpose of our life is – to reconnect with our soul. It’s sort of like being in junior high. Remember those days? You think that your friends are the most important thing in the world. Most of your thoughts are about them. You go to school, so you can hang out with your friends – your actually school work is just something you have to do to see your friends. They are everything. Having them, keeping them, losing them.
The drama of your social life makes up most of your thoughts. But, now that you can look back on it, was that really the most important thing? Were your friends really more important than school? Were they really more important than your family? Did you really need to put so much of your energy into them? For most of us the answers are no. But that’s exactly what most of us are still doing. Most of us (myself included) are in spiritual middle school. We’re focusing all of our energy and attention on our families and work and responsibilities and fun and relationships. But, we aren’t focused on getting closer to the Spirit of God in our soul. I’m not talking about going to church every day (although that’s great for a lot of people). I’m not talking about saying certain prayers or observing certain religious rules. I’m talking about getting to know God again. I’m talking about spending time with Him in your soul. I’m talking about noticing that you’re actually connected to Him.
So how do you reconnect with God? How do you talk to Him? How do you feel Him? You have to turn off the noise in your head. You have to stop, for a few minutes and just empty your mind. You can do this lots of ways. There are hundreds of different ways to meditate to turn off the noise. There are even meditation apps that you can buy. I have a meditation that I do with a prayer bracelet I made. It just lets me empty my head of what I’m usually thinking about and just focusing on God instead. I’ll write a blog sometime to share what I do. It might work for you too or you might find something else that you like better. It has to fit you and your personality. You could practice visualization. Go to your happy place and get into your meditative state and then visualize yourself with God. It could be a glowing light that surrounds you with perfect love and acceptance. It could be whatever you want. I sometimes see my image of what I grew up thinking God looks like and He’s hugging me or holding me on His lap. It could be whatever you want. Just spend time with God.
That’s all there is to it. Just let Him inside of you. You don’t need to say any special words or do anything special. You just need to let Him in. You just need to spend time with Him. Pretty simple step. It’s also really relaxing to do this, so I would do it all throughout your day. Whenever you get a few minutes of down time, just try spending it with God. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel. Now, if you were sad or angry when you started, you may not feel like skipping happily through a field of flowers. But, you will feel better. And that’s something. That’s moving in the right direction.
So these are my revised steps to contentment. What do you think about this? Do you think I’m nuts? Do you agree with me? Are you having problems with some of them and you need some help? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Wishing you all the peace in the world,