GAPs

It is up to us to be a prisoner of our past, by remaining in it; or to be a champion of our future by building it. If your life path was to travel from one of these formations to the next one and so on to the end, how would you do it?
You could climb down and walk to the next peak and scale up and repeat over and over again.
Or, you could become a bridge builder.
Neither way is wrong or right. Just different choices. We could for sake of argument take opposing viewpoints on the better, faster way to walk this path. We could discuss how those that follow us would make better speed with the bridge. Or how scaling up each peak would define us, and make us stronger.
But at the end of the day, the analogy is that each of us has our own path of divine destiny to walk.
Rainer Maria Rilke said, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” I love this. This is the synopsis my most recent experience of the past year.
For many years I knew that in my journey in life, I was having one foot on the gas, and one foot on the brake in accomplishing my goals. The pattern began when I was four years old and I walked in on my mom having sex with a man that was not my father. What I took from this experience is that it wasn’t safe to be seen.
So I spent years of my life trying to be invisible, and it worked. Thus one foot on the brake, and one foot on the gas. Every time my foot on the gas caused me to be close to my goals, I slammed on the brakes and hid.
I worked on this and in the past few years thought that I was no longer being invisible. I had widened my circle of comfort and felt that I had my foot off the brakes. Instead of hiding in crowds I am very social. I speak on stages to hundreds without fear. But the chameleon quality of this life pattern came to my attention this past week.
I had been trying very hard to get my website completed, and I realized that I was again driving with one foot on the brake. In the past 6 months I have been the hold up. I am expanding my comfort zone and that invisible foot was being slammed on the brakes. I was being defeated by a “greater” thing.
Many teach that we came into this life to have a certain experience. Mine seems to be dealing with this pattern of foot on the brakes, when I am pushing hard on the gas to accomplish a goal. Now I recognize it has chameleon like qualities. I know that when I feel like I am not progressing towards my goals, I have to go looking for that sneaky lizard.
This life pattern is my GAP – Gods Area of Preparation. This is where I learn about new ways that my life pattern has shifted, and I learn new ways to build bridges to close that gap. Can you see GAPs in your life pattern? Do you see where you need to learn to build bridges to close off the gap to get to your destination?

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Helping Hand for Cancer Patients

Picture those commercials with the mom sick with a cold, and the husband and kids make her breakfast. Then they pan to the kitchen, which is a disaster. Now think about how hard it would be to do housework when you are recovering from cancer treatments.

Stacey Steele was diagnosed with ovarian cancer nearly two years ago. “I was so weak that showering would literally be my main activity for the day,” Steele told Today. “And when you’re not feeling good, the last thing you want to do is go into a dirty bathroom.”

Steele said Cleaning for a Reason, a nonprofit that provides free housekeeping to women undergoing treatment for cancer, changed her life. Having a clean home freed Steele up to focus on her health and “keeping things routine and normal” for her kids, she told Today.

LemonadeMaker, Debbie Sardone, founder of “Cleaning For A Reason”, first had the idea to offer complimentary housekeeping to cancer patients years ago when she was the owner of a cleaning company. A woman called for an estimate but said she’d have to call back because she couldn’t afford it — radiation and chemotherapy treatment had left her unable to work

This year marks the organization’s 10th anniversary. So far the group has provided $5.5 million worth of cleaning services for more than 19,500 women. They work with partner companies across the country and Canada to fill about 1,400 requests for service each month. While the businesses do not charge cancer patients for services rendered, Today reports, their employees are paid for their work.

See More: This Amazing Nonprofit Cleans Homes for Cancer Patients Who Can’t

The Syrian refugee giving back to Germany

A friend had uploaded a photograph to Facebook of Assali feeding homeless people on the streets of Berlin. The caption below read: “Acts of kindness: A Syrian refugee mans a food stand for the homeless, to ‘give something back to the German people’.”
The image went viral – it was shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook and nearly three million times on Imgur. Assali, 38, had become an overnight social media sensation.
Over the past 11 years, Assali has had to flee two countries – Syria and Libya -after speaking out against political corruption and human rights abuses. He has built up businesses, been successful and lost it all. He knows what it is like to be homeless and hungry.
When in Syria civil war soon broke out and, in 2013, groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) entered Zawiya. Everything changed.
“When ISIL arrived, people were killed for having an opinion. Every day I saw someone dead on the streets or in the sea,” he says.
Assali created a Facebook group to expose ISIL’s crimes. It attracted 25,000 followers. This led to his arrest. Three months later, he was suddenly offered freedom – in return for his house and car. Assali agreed and the man he made the deal with paid for him to reach Sabratha city, where he was to board a boat to Italy.
For days, he waited for the boat at a farm alongside hundreds of others. When they eventually boarded, there were 380 other people with him. The boat sank mid-way through the journey.
For two hours, he was drifting in the sea, unable to feel his own body. More than 100 people drowned that night, but Assali was eventually rescued by the Italian navy.
A few weeks later, he arrived in Germany, where, in June 2015, he was granted asylum. Now he gives back to his temporary country, who has given him a chance to live there for five years, while he hopes he can return to his homeland when it is safe.

See More: The Syrian refugee giving back to Germany

Getting onto the Right Path

One of my favorite stories comes from Love, Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Seigal. A young man wanted to become a violinist. His parents said no, become a lawyer. He went to law school and started practicing law. He then developed what was diagnosed as terminal cancer. Thinking he was going to die, he got a job playing violin for an orchestra. Years later, he was still alive because he realized he was on the wrong path. He had to live his life, not the life of his parents. Knowing when to walk away is wisdom, being able to do so is courage. Isn’t it amazing that cancer is what gave him courage enough to walk away?

“We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life” James Van Praagh. Our bodies know when we are not living our authentic life, and we will receive a wake up call. It is important that we listen, look within, and then have the courage to make the changes that need to be made.

It is also important to realize that just because we are walking down the right path, doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles. Our need of courage includes being courageous enough to know that we will still make mistakes, experience disappointments and despair. This is where the ability to look about and within becomes important.

It doesn’t mean that we are on the wrong path just because something goes wrong. It could just mean that we need to grow more, to be able to continue the journey. Don’t allow yourself to become the boulder blocking the path. Listening to the heart and soul is like the magnetic needle on the compass. Always go to “true north” and you will be on the right path.

I have always maintained that U-turns are part of every journey to some place that I don’t know. I expect them, I laugh when they happen. U-Turns can be really interesting. What I have learned in my life is that every single experience has something important in it that I needed to learn. I only understand later, why that piece of knowledge was required.

I have been in the mortgage industry for almost 35 years. So I have lived through good and bad cycles in the financial industry. Years ago I had a good job, but the owner of another company kept calling me to come and work for him. Finally after months of getting his phone calls, I gave notice and went to work for him. This job would end up being a U-turn for me.

He had hired a free lance writer to create a manual for the mortgage brokers he worked with, and she seemed unable to finish the project, so as part of my job I took that project to completion. Then two weeks later I was laid off, when the interest rates hiked up and his business slowed down.

I really yelled at myself, because I felt I had made a wrong decision in taking that job and should have stayed where I was. We ended up having to move out of state in order for me to find work. But what happened next, was really interesting. The Savings and Loan I went to work for needed manuals written for their servicing department, and because I had that experience I got the job of being both an underwriter and a trainer. I created several training programs for them, as well as the servicing manual.

Then I got a second part time job teaching at South Seattle Community College for an adult education class for loan processors and loan officers. I ended up creating new manuals for this position too, because their manuals were so bad. Both of these jobs would not have been available to me, if I hadn’t taken that earlier job and got the experience of creating a manual.

So we will fall down. We may even get lost. U-Turns are a given. But as long as we take out that compass, listen to our hearts and the courage in our soul, we will be on the right path. As long as we tune into true north, we can take that step into the unknown, knowing that this is the right path.

New Wonders Will Be Revealed

Years ago, when I was young, I had opinions on what would I do, if “such and such” happened in my life. I think that when most of us hear of an experience that someone has, we think “well if that happened to me, this is what I would do”. We sometimes don’t agree with the decision that another has made, when that same thing happened to them.

When life does hand us lemons, and we are the one trying to make lemonade out of it, many times we come to a totally different decision. There are many reasons for this. Each of life’s lemons come to us wrapped up in a different series of circumstances. You could look at multiple experiences of someone losing a loved one to violence, and you would find that each instance was handled in a different way. This is because although the label may be the same “man killed by random shooting”, the circumstances in each case tell their own unique story.

In 1995 Tariq a pizza delivery man was shot and killed by a 14 year old gang member. Initially Azim, Tariq’s father could barely function. But he came to understand that the 14 yr old boy named Tony who killed his son, was also a victim. He felt called to forgive Tony, and became friends with Tony’s grandfather and guardian. He started a foundation to help kids stop killing other kids. He began talking with kids in schools about the realities of that lifestyle and the importance of making right choices.

He made lemonade out of his lemons. This foundation (http://tkf.org/) has grown into an organization of 13 full time staff members and 30 volunteers that mentor over 20,000 students each year. In the article I read, in 13 years they had touched eight million kids (the foundation is now over 20 years old). But I would bet that if you have asked him if this is the road he would take if someone killed his son, this is not the answer he would have given. His unknown road that he journeyed on revealed what kind of man he truly was. This is forgiveness in action.

We are all on a road, a journey to discover who we really are. What we are capable of becoming. Buddha says “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” Azim saved himself by walking the path of true forgiveness. He wanted to not only prevent other innocents from being killed, he wanted to save those other victims “kids” becoming killers themselves. His difficult road has lead to a beautiful destination – saving others.

What I have learned in life, is to hope that I can emulate the grace I see in others lives, as they grapple with life’s lemons. That until I find myself in that same hard place, I don’t really know what my decision will be. I do know that there is no turning back. So each decision needs to be made in prayer and meditation, with that understanding.

What I have learned from the lemons in my own life, is that I no longer allow someone to make me swallow up my soul, and dam up the words in my heart. That I don’t have to apologize for my imperfections, and allow the darkness of others to cover up my light. This is who I am, a woman of deep strength who keeps walking the path, knowing that new wonders are going to be revealed right around the next bend.

Doing the Impossible

In 2013, in Oregon, teenage sisters Hanna (age 16) & Haylee (age 14) lifted a tractor to save their father pinned underneath.

In 2015, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Nick Williams lifted a four-wheel-drive vehicle to save a young boy pinned beneath its tire.

In 2015, in Vienna, Virginia, Charlotte Heffelmire was able to momentarily use incredible strength to free her dad from a GMC pick-up truck.

What do these three things have in common? They are what we call miracles, extreme feats of strength. Adrenaline on overload. What they demonstrate is that the rules, boundaries and limitations don’t exist. Why? Because we can blast through them, when we don’t stop to think about it. These examples show people that did something their mind’s would have told them was impossible. But because someone they loved was in danger, they did the impossible.

Hilary Swank said “I don’t think people should have boundaries put on them, by themselves or society or another gender, because it is our birthright to experience life in whatever way we feel best suits us.”

There was a commercial at Super Bowl XLIX for Always #LikeAGirl. In the video they have a woman show them what it was like to run like a girl, then a young teen, and preteen and little girl. The older girls ran in an unreal way that was weak and ineffective. The younger girls ran as fast as they could. The commercial highlighted the fact that women especially, when they hit puberty take in limitations to what they can do and be.

All of us continue to allow limitations to rule our lives as adults. Some limiting beliefs are conscious and some unconscious. What we need to realize is that they are all just a belief of our imagination. At one time, the saying was man will never fly. If god had meant for man to fly he would have been given wings. But people like the Wright Brothers refused to allow that limiting belief hold them back from their dream

“Boundaries are for those who are too afraid to take the leap” quoted from @Business Beware.

What wall have you built over the door of opportunity that you are ready to blast into bits? What limiting belief are you ready to let go of? Share with us your limiting belief that you are letting go of. Your share will help all of us to do the same.

Impossible really means I’m Possible

When you look across the ocean with the sunrise or the sunset, you see the colors mirrored on the surface. This is like our appearance, beautiful when calm and serene. But if you dive down deep, into the depths, that is where the true beauty of a person lies, in their soul. This is the beauty that we miss, when we make surface judgments about someone.

Rumi says, “Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.” Self knowledge is the place to start. We need to dig down deep within us, and question all of the stories we have told ourselves about our life. What do we know to be 100% totally true?

If we seriously ask and listen to the answer to this question, most of us would have to acknowledge that most of our stories about life are made up. We make them up to make sense of the things we have seen, done, and experienced. John Lennon said, “The more I see, the less I know for sure.” This is because the more that we learn about life, the more we see that most of our knowledge is surface knowledge. The deeper we dive, the more we see how much more complicated and interconnected our understanding of life is.

“Knowledge is knowing the depths of the ocean. Wisdom is knowing where to swim” Saleem Sharma. Sometimes life can be hard to navigate. When the storms come in, the waves churn up from the bottom of the sea bed. Things come to the surface that have been long buried. We are like this when the storms of life blow in. All those things that we stuff down inside of us, because we either can’t, or don’t know how to deal with them, come churning up to the surface.

Instead of being afraid of what we have buried, we need to rise up and calm the waters. Be still. Breathe. Be at peace. Realize that God never brings anything into our lives that we can’t handle. Wake up to your dreams. Live them out in your reality.

Lean on the divine, and on those who love us. Change what can be changed, release the rest. See the hope of a new day, the beauty that lies within each of us, and the love that never dies. Remember that you can do anything you “think” you can do, and impossible really means “I m possible”.