Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey

Greetings: For those interested in a deeper exploration of love from both the spiritual and human perspective. Check out my book: Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey.  

Inspired by messages from a master teacher. This book is a series of vignettes on ways we forget we are love, through our struggles and painful life experiences. More importantly, Just Be Love, offers encouraging spiritual messages and guidance to remember we are love, innocence and goodness.

Just Be Love, reflects on ways love is familiar to us, and provides inspiring ways to remember love. I take you to the hidden and mysterious places where love is often not realized. The book weaves my personal and professional experience, reflections and insights on love, and the teachings and wisdom of the spiritual masters and poets of many traditions.

Just Be Love, is a human and spiritual journey of looking within, as well as experiencing love through natural wonders, and the appreciation of life from the higher divine perspective.

 

 

 

 

One of my poems in the book:
Love as Awareness
Love is not found in the thought of love

rather in the awareness of love.
It is through our humanity, that we remember our divinity.
It is through our holy breath that we commune and 
communicate with all that is. 
It is for us to remember with higher awareness that God is Love.
And all that makes up the universe is an expression of this Love. “

 

Book is available through the publisher  http://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookstoreHome.aspx
and online book stores: www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com


What some readers have said about David an
d his book  Just Be Love:  More reviews on Amazon.com

Densely packed with great promise and a refrain of love! I found I could open it almost anywhere and dig into its core themes and the power of love. Glad I was directed to this thoughtful volume.  I like fiction

What a gift this book is!  A gift to the hearts of all of us who open its pages. Page by page, chapter by chapter, the author leads us on a journey of a lifetime, to Just Be Love. Those of us who are open to the beauty and grace of this world — and who have the courage also to accept the challenge to find the beauty within ourselves — will find it here.  This work is well written and the message is do-able and life changing, and so I recommend it to you. An accompanying workbook is also available to support the process of inner change laid out so clearly here.  Dorothy

You are a Spiritual Being.  David has written about life-altering experiences and lessons from his heart with the perspective of both a human being and a spiritual seeker. This work will challenge conventional thinking and guide you to explore the deeper meaning of life. All of our life experiences are opportunities to practice acceptance, patience, compassion and forgiveness. Trusting the process, understanding who and what you really are – an expression of the Divine – are beautifully spoken through David’s new book. Trust your instinct if you are being called to read this book. You will come back to it again and again as your spiritual understanding of life unfolds.  Jeanne

A go to book for anyone seeking to better understand all the many facets of love.  This is a beautiful book, one to sink into, meditate upon and cherish. Useful and practical information. Well written with a poetic flow. Many facets of love are discussed with a fresh and inspiring understanding. The message of hope and reminders of our Oneness are comforting in these challenging times.  Jane

Read this book.  David walks us along the path of our soul’s perspective, encouraging us to accept our life as it is and maybe more importantly, what it might not be. He invites us to allow ourselves an opening to Divine Love and forgiveness for our own inner peace and healing. This will then extend to the world of our daily experience. Reading this book once is not enough. Each chapter is a gift that can be savored and, like David’s raindrops in Chapter 34, fall gently on your mind and heart.  Jan

 A Book for All.  I love this book. There is so much good information in it to help with living daily life. This book reminds us that we are on a spiritual journey that we are here to learn what we can and make the most or our time on Earth. I’ve learned in order to grow as a human being I have to let go of some of the old beliefs, stories and habits that I have clung to – in order to love and appreciate who I am. Then to extend that love and appreciation to others as well. The insights and experiences. Thanks David for a great book, and a book I can pick up any time, and turn to any chapter and feel more focused and grounded throughout the day. You are a gifted writer and have offered something that is so needed and appreciated in today’s world.  Kate

In gratitude to you, for taking time to read this blog about Just Be Love. I would be delighted if you felt guided to order your copy soon. Much Love and winds of the Spirit your way, David

Do you desire to explore and evolve with greater love in your life. I’m a phone call or email away, to assist you. David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit my website: transitionpathways.com

 

12 Benefits of the Power of Acceptance

In uncertain times, we struggle with trusting the process of life. We are fearful, so we want control, we want to know the outcome, yet we tend to predict a negative outcome ahead of time, while bypassing the process of “what is.” All this feeds our fear, the sense of powerlessness and loneliness, which fuels depression and anxiety. 

Could it be in these uncertain times, that our individual and collective shadow aspects are being exposed more than ever? Could it be the contrast of light as love and dark as fear, is coming more to the forefront; to be recognized and reconciled within us individually and collectively? Sure seems like it to me, how about you?

Transformation and growth always comes from the uncertainty and the struggle. Creation and renewal comes from darkness.

Uncertainty, is a lesson and opportunity to practice Acceptance. So in uncertain times, we are called to the act of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you like or agree with “what is.” Acceptance, is to just be present to it. To be in the thoughts and behaviors of love and compassion with what is, rather than fear, resistance and resentment.

When we resist, deny, avoid or blame, we delay the opportunity for our happiness and growth. 

If we are unhappy and unfulfilled: we haven’t asked and more importantly answered an important question: What’s happened in my life that I’m not accepting?

Acceptance is to ride the wave of uncertainty, without losing yourself in the unknown of what is. Acceptance is shedding our will and way, and aligning with the divine power and will. With the knowing, we will gain more than lose, as we trust and allow in the power greater than ourselves. 

Acceptance is getting to know and understand our neighbor, from their perspective, not just our own. To respond, rather than react to differences and conflict.

The following are 12 Benefits, of why Acceptance is Powerful and of Value:

1. Acceptance is a sign of spiritual maturity.

2. Acceptance is being present and mindful to an experience without being defined by the experience.

3. Willingness and understanding lead the way to acceptance. Acceptance is wisdom in action.

4. It embraces the acts of spiritual surrender and willingness of “what is” creating realistic neutrally and non-attachment to experiences.

5. Acceptance, as spiritual surrender; magnifies our connection to the divine, and to love. Which restores hope, and allows for a higher meaning to life experiences.

6. Acceptance is an act of love and courage. Accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change what I can. Furthermore, it moves you from powerless to  Empowerment.

7. Acceptance transcends denial, creates emotional calm and inner peace. In addition, it widens one’s perception.

8. What we Accept – we Conquer. What we resist – will Persist.

9. Acceptance is a forward moving energy. It allow us the opportunity to rise above our struggles. 

10. The willingness to accept another’s and our own imperfections, is to discover the perfection. Perfection in divine terms means: To have Compassion for. The divine has compassion for all that is. 

11. Acceptance leads to Compassion, which allows for Forgiveness or Reconciliation.

12. Acceptance begins to transform fear, sorrow and bondage to love, joy and freedom.

With acceptance, comes tolerance, resilience and confidence to weather life’s uncertainties and difficulties. I close with my quote, which seems to fit during times of uncertainty. Realize, the choice is always ours, as to who and how we want to be in times of uncertainty. I choose Understanding, Acceptance, Compassion and Forgiveness, for they equal the power of Love!

 

Are you struggling with accepting some life experiences? Are you anxious and/or overwhelmed by change or uncertainty? Help is just a phone call or email away. Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your acceptance and change issues; and how to work through them. David offers life transition and spiritual growth counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and move through life transitions.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through his website: transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

3 Myths and 6 Truths about Self-Love

Cultivating Self-Love is one of the foundations of self-esteem. The most important person to have a loving and caring relationship with is with you. Self-love is the basis of your happiness, as well as your physical and emotional health. Self-Love is vital toward developing and sustaining healthy relationships with others, or the ability to move on from an unhealthy relationship. If you struggle with loving yourself, you will likely struggle with loving relationships with others. Spiritual truth says: what you to do yourself you do to others.

There are both myths and truths about self-love.  

 3 common Myths about Self-Love:

1. I need to please others: In childhood I experienced and learned that in order to get love, acceptance and approval, “I needed to please others” and I still believe this today. In pleasing others, we tend to forget the self. Over time, this depletes you especially, emotionally, leading  to resentment, unhappiness and overall life dissatisfaction.  

 2. Self-Love is being selfish: Childhood taught me that to love the self, was being selfish, arrogant or egoistical. I became programmed to feel guilt or shame if I took  care of and loved myself, if I said, “No” ‒ set boundaries for myself. We learned to love and value others unconditionally, yet, “conditions” apply to loving ourselves. 

3. Life is 90% what happens to me and 10% what I do with it. This myth caused me to develop an unhealthy and unloving relationship with myself around a difficult circumstance. I become the victim (blaming/hating myself) or the villain (blaming/hating others) because of the circumstance.

Life circumstances can cause us to become sad, fearful, angry, bitter, and resentful. There is a part of us that ultimately needs to blame someone or something for our feelings and emotions. In the end, I either blame you or I blame myself. This blame is judgment, and judgment is simply the withholding of love. Within my difficult situation, I do not love you or I do not love myself. Either way, my wounded self is not being loving. It’s protecting/defending itself or condemning the self. This is fear, not love.

The truth is: life is 10% what happens to me and 90% what I do with it. This means I take responsibility for my thoughts, beliefs, choices and behaviors regarding the experience. This is a more loving, accepting and empowering way to move through life experiences.

6 Truths of Self-Love:

1. You instinctively know your true worth. Question: How easily do you give up your value and sense of worth when things go wrong? People, who love themselves, instinctively believe and know they are worthy and of value.

Within the struggles and hardships of life, they have accepted and learned that life offers a series of problems in the form of lessons, and their life experiences are the lessons. Within these experiences, working with and through their circumstances, they have developed a more positive, self-empowering and life enhancing relationship to their unfortunate circumstances.

They are not defined by the unfortunate experience, rather they see it as an opportunity to deeply love them self, have compassion for themselves and others within and because of the experience.

They choose out of love and a desire for higher learning and growth, not to diminish their self-worth and love of self. They realize the circumstance was a test of their faith and to not lose our self-love, within the difficult experience. They accept it’s not always possible to like yourself or the experience, but you should never give up loving yourself, because of the experience.

The truth is, loving the self is one of the most positive and healthy ways to live and cope with life. To love your self is to value yourself and know your worth. Self-love and worth, naturally spills over to loving and accepting others.

2. Return to the Source of Love: In my humanness I tend to forget I am love, innocence and goodness, due to difficult and painful experiences. I experience, rejection, abandonment, or betrayal, which leads me to feel embarrassment/shame or injustice i.e. the world is not fair. My perception and belief of separation takes shape in my reality.

There is however, another truth and reality beyond what I have made true. There is a source and power within me and all around me that is pure and unconditional love and acceptance. This love is the source and basis of all that exist.

To return to this source is to remember and return to love. It is to remember and return to that which I am‒Love. This ends the perception and belief in separation and returns me back to inclusion.   

Love, innocence and worthiness represent inclusion. Fear, shame and unworthiness imply exclusion. To have self-love is to include myself again.

3. Self-Love creates and builds resilience. Resilience embodies the qualities of flexibility, hardiness and determination. I love and care about myself enough, that I choose to see my circumstances through. So I am open and accepting to my circumstances. Moving away from avoidance, resistance, shame or blame.

To be flexible and adapting, offers me the motivation and determination to change what I can. The greater my self-love, the greater my resilience and willingness to change what I can. The greater my resilience the deeper my self-love.

4. Loving the self without the conditions. The unconditional love and acceptance you offer others, is to be offered and expressed to yourself first and foremost, without conditions or “yah buts.” The airplane ride proves this statement. When traveling by plane, with a small child, the flight attendant says: “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before your child.” Why? Because, in order to keep your child safe and secure, you need to have yourself safe and secure first.

A fundamental way to feel safe and secure is through self-love. Don’t wait for others to affirm you, affirm yourself freely and daily. True happiness comes from the unconditional love and acceptance with all parts of us.

5. All of our experiences are meant to bring us back to love. A difficult spiritual concept to comprehend is the notion that our experiences and the way we move through them, shows us how much we love or don’t love ourselves.

If I don’t love myself, because someone wasn’t very loving or kind to me, I have given away my power and my sense of love to that unloving person and/or experience.

It’s really not the rejection or betrayal by the other person that hurts me. What creates my hurt is the perception, belief and behaviors I take on because of the experience, the story I tell myself and others around the experience.

The key: within an unloving or uncaring act of someone toward you, keep loving and expressing kindness to yourself along the way. Some examples to help with this:

  • Connect with loving/supportive people
  • Write in a Journal
  • Take a warm bath/receive regular bodywork
  • Forgive the unloving words or act, sooner rather than later
  • Take walks/exercise
  • Mediation and prayer
  • Talk with a therapist or coach to sort out truth from your distortions and false beliefs.
  • Practice what I call the 4R’s (see below)

The 4 R’s:  Recognize, Reconcile, Release and Reframe

Recognize: Much of the owning process is about recognizing, becoming aware and identifying or naming where the hurt takes you in perception, feelings/emotions and belief about yourself within the situation. As I see how and where the situation or person triggered my perception, feelings and self-belief, this gives me the opportunity to:

Reconcile: within me where the situation is taking me in my belief about myself. How this belief builds me up‒makes me my best friend or condemns me‒makes me my worst enemy. When I can reconcile within myself, where the situation is taking, me than I can release the inner torment.

Release: To release is to say, believe, and act with confidence and determination to letting go of what no longer serves me. I release my unhealthy mind set and choose now to construct a more self empowering and loving mind set along with actions that reinforce the new way of being.

I choose to let go of the old, in order to create and live the new. I choose to focus on what I will gain and benefit as I embrace self-love, and release self-judgment and sabotaging thinking and behaviors.

Reframe: is the openness and willingness to view the upset in a different way. The mind is limited in perception and belief. We know what we know and we feel, and do what we know. To entertain a different possibility from my current point of view is to open the door to a different knowing. This helps create a more constructive and healthier story and reality‒way of thinking and acting.

To reframe my perception and belief, helps reduce the emotional charge I’ve had around the painful experience. This is an act of self-love within the fact that someone outside of me wasn’t very loving to me. This is a way we return to love and self-empowerment.

6. Can I look in the mirror and see love, my innocence and goodness? Or do I see what I deem as flaws, the bad hair day, the wrinkles, etc? I see my created distorted reflection, not the true reflection in my mirror. The one looking at you from inside the mirror only sees you as love, innocence and beauty. 

Can you accept and honor this truth of who you are? If you can, how would this make you feel in this moment? How would this start your day? What would this do to your state/frame of mind, and your attitude about yourself in life? When you reject the one in the mirror you are excluding her/him. To embrace and freely love the one in the mirror is to include her/him into your life. 

In my book, Just Be Love, I wrote a poem entitled: My Mirror, which illustrates the importance of staying true to the divine reflection of you from your mirror. 

My Mirror

My mirror recognizes and reflects the truth
that I struggle to notice and affirm.
My mirror only sees and knows me as love,
love I struggle to accept and embrace.
My mirror supports and nurtures,
what I choose to judge and reject.
My mirror only ask that I Just Be Love,
with the one who truly sees and knows me.

I look deeply in my mirror.
I see my innocence, perfection and radiance,
I would before hide and condemn.

As I let go of what I thought I was.
I see more clearly who I am.
What a gift I give to myself this day.

Thank you mirror, thank you,
I finally recognize and have found the one,
I’ve been looking for all along.

To come back to loving your self is to cultivate and value the self. You are expressing to yourself, you matter. Thus you find and connect with the one you have been looking for. You come back to the truth of who you are.

 

Are you struggling with loving yourself? Are you pleasing others as a way to receive love, acceptance and approval? Only to find you are more physically, emotionally and socially depleted?  David Schroeder, can help you reclaim the love and goodness you are. If you would like assistance with reclaiming this love and goodness David is here to assist you with his life transition coaching and counseling sessions. He offers in-person, by phone or Skype sessions. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and love yourself again.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

The 5 C’s of Cultivating a Loving and Thriving Relationship

In order to have a loving and thriving relationship, a couple needs to have a good energy flow and synergy. These 5 C’s: Chemistry, Common goals, Commitment, Communication, and Consensus are vital in cultivating a loving and thriving relationship.

As a therapist and life transition coach, I’ve worked with many couples struggling with relationship issues. Most often the issues revolve around: ineffective communication, mistrust, lack of common goals, and the need to be right, which interferes with consensus. 

Each of these C’s is important and each will enhance the other C’s. The 5 C’s seek to enhance  connection, cooperation and effective problem-solving. They each offer opportunities to improve the level of respect, trust; and boost the feeling of being valued, understood and supported in the relationship.

The following offers more details on how the 5 C’s help to cultivate and maintain a loving and thriving relationship.

1. Chemistry: Is the natural and mutual flow with and between each other. It’s not just about physical or sexual attraction. A big part of chemistry is the desire to know more about other the person. In this desire to know more, you are truthful with each other; being open, curious, accepting, and respectful, even playful as you interact together.  

You acknowledge the connection and spark, and allow it to unfold with honesty, openness and willingness. You are mindful to the possibilities the relationship offers, while being patient and attentive to the process of coming together, not being focused on an expectation or certain outcome. Focus on an expectation and/or outcome disrupts the natural flow, energy and synergy between the two of you.

2. Common goals: Goals give our life meaning and increased value. Developing shared direction and goals, offers your relationship deeper meaning and connection. Competing goals and directions create tension and conflict, this is conditional love. Unconditional love and conscious relationships allow for individual goals and needs. Yet, there is equal importance to the value and connection of shared desires and goals. You must be aware of not letting individual goals diminish common goals. The key is the importance of finding the balance with your individual and the relationship goals.   

3. Commitment: A commitment is simply an agreement or pledge to do something in the present or future. A relationship commitment is the agreement to love, be open, willing, accepting, and be faithful in and to the relationship partner. The true intent of Commitment is to create increased satisfaction, understanding, flexibility connection and choice. It’s the conscious choice to put your energy toward the relationship, not just the “self.”

Commitment is the willingness to give of the self, without losing the self in the commitment. We choose to surrender to love. In this concept, surrender is not about losing or giving in/up, as our ego would see it. This type of surrender is to gain or benefit much more than we would lose or need to give up. Its intent is to compliment the self in relationship, to enhance the self through the relationship.   

Commitment can be difficult for some, because it can take you out of your comfort zone. The following list can be reasons why a person can be fearful, avoiding and struggling with commitment.

  • You perceive and believe the personal “self” will be threatened or intimidated because of the commitment.
  • If one perceives and believes that making a commitment is risky, and believes the sacrifice will result in losing more than will be gained.
  • A perception and belief of loss of personal and/or professional freedom.
  • If you need certainty, a commitment can seem like stepping into the unknown, creating uncertainty and a feeling of loss of control.
  • Feeling of vulnerability, that my partner will discover my flaws and weakness, and not see me as good enough.
  • A damaging experience from a past relationship. Where either you or your partner was traumatized, taken advantage of, rejected, betrayed or humiliated.

4. Communication: There are times in relationship when one intentionally or not, said or did something and it impacted the other in a negative/hurtful way. We can get triggered by this and go emotionally unconscious, so we get reactive, defensive, or passive (shutdown). In this, communication will get confusing, distorted and misunderstood.

 A big part of effective communication is to stay aware, to respond, not react, and to seek to understand the other. We often want to be heard more than to listen. The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. If we focus more on our reply; we’re not focused and listening to the other person, so we won’t really understand them. We are more focused on them needing to understand us.

The most important part of communication is listening and seeking to understand, to ask questions for clarification and increased understanding. When you feel listened to and understood, you feel validated and valued. True?

Good communication enhances understanding, trust, and connection. It also leads to more effective problem-solving when conflict arises. Be as clear as you can in your expression of needs and intensions. Speak in terms of “I” not so much “You.” Another cause of poor communication is assuming or mind reading. This only leads to misunderstanding, confusion, mistrust and conflict. Good communication strikes a healthy balance with the goal/our intention and the relationship.

If you or your partner is too focused on the goal, you will likely be more aggressive and demanding in the communication process. If you are too concerned with the relationship i.e. don’t want to hurt their feelings or cause conflict, you will likely be more passive and/or passive aggressive in your expression and actions of your needs.

Neither the aggressive or passive communication style is healthy or productive. The aggressive communication approach is you win-partner loses, and the passive approach is you lose-partner wins. Thus relationship cooperation and consensus becomes an ongoing challenge.

5. Consensus: Is about cooperation-seeking the win-win, and is the result of a conscious and unconditional relationship. Consensus keeps in mind and balance the importance of both the goal/end in mind, and the relationship. It allows for mutual opinions and ways of being. There is dialogue, negotiation and compromise. Consensus is about power with. 

Consensus is a struggle to achieve if the need for power-over and need to be right is dominant. Self and shared responsibility and accountability are keys to creating consensus. Consensus requires effective and respectful communication skills, flexibility, and openness to understand the others point of view; while expressing your own view. It requires the ability and willingness to find the common ground. Honoring your individual differences and working with your similarities, builds consensus.

In closing, it’s important to pay on-going attention and focus to these 5 C’s. Relationships like life, change, and situations happen that can impact any of these C’s in unproductive ways. So being aware of how life situations can impact these C’s is vital and an act of love, caring and concern for the relationship, and the two of you in it.

 

Are you struggling with any of these 5 C’s in your relationship? Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your relationship issues and how to work through them. David offers life transition and relationship counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and your relationship during difficult times.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through my websites: http://transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

A Valentine’s Day Message

So another Valentine’s Day is upon us. Like Christmas, many scramble to find the perfect gift for their beloved, to show their love and how much they care. Love is a beautiful thing. The expression of unconditional love and acceptance is a gift beyond measure. As I express in my book Just Be Love, I define divine love as the unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit of all that exist. In the spirit of us, the soul essence of us is expressing itself in human form. The divine loves and accepts this spirit/soul in whatever form or formless state it may express itself. The ultimate of love, I’ve come to appreciate is freedom. The divine’s love is freedom, that’s why as human’s we have this gift called, free will. Whatever name you give the divine, call it God, Buddha Allah, Kristina, Jesus, Mohammad, etc. the name is not the point. The point and the message is clear, no matter the religion, culture, gender, belief or language of each of us. This power greater than ourselves freely loves to love. Divine love is always present and present in all ways.  

Whether you are in relationship with another person or not this Valentines’s Day, it need not matter. However, societies and ourselves in it, can make it matter, to the point of much unhappiness, even despair. This is a great error, similar to the error of attachment to our self-created story, as if it were life itself. What does matter is the relationship you have with yourself, and with the universal source of love and goodness. This love is always present, even when we don’t feel its presence and/or we deny its existence. This love is not defined by human struggle nor by our beliefs about life.  For the energy of divine love is existence. Without it, nothing else would exist, including you and I. 

So Just Be Love this Valentine’s Day. Give yourself permission and the opportunity to freely love to love. I ask: Can you be your own valentine today and to all you meet this day and everyday? For love is all we are, and what we truly seek to return to.

Thoughts on Human Love

It’s been said, Love is just a word until someone gives it meaning. Many of us have different meanings to love, because of our different experiences with love. For some love is to be guarded against, maybe even avoided due to painful experiences around love. Feeling betrayed, rejected or abandoned. Many learn to please others in hopes of love and acceptance, only to deplete themselves by giving so much, yet forgetting themselves. Some people act out a “crime of passion” toward a love gone wrong. Hurting the one they love or themselves, because love was denied. Others have even become ill, even died from a sad/broken heart, due to lost of a loved one. For others love means joy, passion, and sense of connection, so they’re eager to connect not just with people, but to the fullness of life.

Love can build up our sense of self, creating an emotional and physical high on life, or can put us down into a deep dark hole of loneliness and despair. Our brain is wired for love; we yearn for love, acceptance and approval.  Human love is a drive and can be seen as a quest. To love someone, for someone to love me, and see me “as enough.”

Love is one of the most powerful emotions. Yet, I believe love is more than an emotion. Its a state of consciousness. The higher our level of consciousness is with love, the greater our willingness and ability to offer love, support, nurturing and forgive an unloving act.

Questions to consider: What does love mean to you?  What meanings have you constructed about love? Do you have a belief and meaning about love that is including, accepting, supportive and offers freedom?  Or is your belief and meaning about love, excluding, judgmental, and a barrier to love and be loved?  

 Feel free to leave a comment.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  My book Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

Forgiveness: Moving Beyond the Injustice

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools we have for reconciling and moving beyond from the hurts and wounds of life. It’s also a profound act of love and acceptance, especially self-love. For when we forgive another person or ourselves for a wrong doing, we set ourselves free and we benefit the most from the forgiveness. Despite the healing and liberating power of forgiveness; for many of us, the act of forgiveness is one of the most resisted and thus difficult acts we can offer to others or ourselves.

I’ve come to appreciate the only reason we have forgiveness, is because we make something matter. When we make something matter, we create an intense emotional charge within us. So an unjust “cause” done to us creates a strong “effect”, often having lasting emotional, physical, social and spiritual “effects” on us. The act of forgiveness helps to lower the emotional charge and intensity within us and helps liberate us from the painful experience.

Forgiveness is not about excusing the offense or saying/believing it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is not really about the offender, it’s about the one who is affected by the cause, the one holding on to the anger, resentment, grief. Being trapped in resentment, anger, depression, grief; waiting for the offender to take responsibility and ownership of the hurt toward us, is giving away our own power, inner peace and freedom. The more we can take charge of our own healing without an expectation that the offender needs to say something to us, or do something for us, the more empowered and liberated we can be. The quote by Lewis Smedes speaks volumes about the importance of forgiveness: “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and to discover that that prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness is an act of love, and love is freedom. To forgive is to be free and a way to love. Forgiveness means to go beyond our wounded ego self, in order to free the self. The willingness to go beyond the wounded self is to rise as love, to let go of what no longer serves us, so in time we can be restored to wholeness. 

Perhaps you’re not willing and/or ready to forgive someone. That’s okay and where you are currently at. Forgiveness is not something to be forced upon or to do out of guilt, if you are not ready. One should be open, willing and accepting in order to truly forgive. Human nature is such that, we are all at different stages of willingness and readiness. If this be the case, at least consider the importance of reconciling within yourself how hanging on to negative perceptions, create toxic emotions of anger and resentment leading to paralyzing beliefs and resulting self-defeating behaviors. How all this can affect many areas of your life in ways that are not helpful to you.   

I offer you the possibility and opportunity of considering a process I call “inner reconciliation.” Inner reconciliation is a way of reorienting our perceptions and beliefs about the experience and ourselves within the fact that our life has been disrupted either mildly or severely by a wrongful act toward us. Our ego defenses and beliefs often says: “They wronged us/hurt us and so let’s stay mad, bitter resentful, etc, that way we have a sense of power and control; since we didn’t have power and control during the offending experience.” Our anger, resentment and such, become a lens through which we see ourselves and the wrong doing. Its destructive thinking, beliefs and behaviors we create as a way to keep feeding our hurt and pain, in order to keep it alive and justify it. This is only hurting ourselves now, within the fact that we were hurt by someone in the past. This is unfortunately how victim energy and behaviors begin to take root, and if not tamed and reconciled can become our way of life.

Like grief, forgiveness is a process and takes time, willingness and commitment toward moving beyond what has hurt us and seemed unfair. When we can change our perception and belief about the experience, we begin to change our world and the way we interact in it. The process of forgiveness, like moving through any change we experience in our life, is an inside job. The job and empowerment of moving through what I call the 4 R’s: Recognize: who and how I am being with my current perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, feelings/emotions and behaviors. We can’t change or move beyond something unless we acknowledge it and tell the true to ourselves about ourselves. Reconcile: The willingness to resolve the inner pain and torment. Release: To let go of what no longer serves and benefits us. This offers space for healthier and more empowering possibilities to enter into your reality. Reframe: Is to now choose to see the painful experience, yourself and the offender, in a different and more constructive way. To see the glass more full than empty. This creates the willingness and courage to construct a more positive and affirming belief about yourself, within the unfortunate experience.  

In my own life, I’ve had many opportunities to practice forgiveness in what seemed at first, an unjust cause. I offer two experiences. One, was my wife of twelve years wanting a divorce, at the time it didn’t seem fair and not my choice. I was hurt, angry and frustrated. In time, I came to a place accepting her choice and let go of making her responsible for my feelings and behaviors within the stress and change. She made her choice out of self-love and what was best for her. I also had a choice of how I would move through it and who I wanted to be within a difficult situation. The choice of hanging on to anger, sadness and resentment and such, would only take me down a self-destructive and unfulfilling path. Through accepting the things I could not change, forgiving her and myself, and empowering myself to change what I could, which was only myself, this allowed me to change my situation from the inside out and move on in my life, and be a better version of myself and a father. Years later my ex-wife and I are friends and get along well on behalf of our sons and grand children. 

Several years ago, while driving my car I was hit head on, by a driver who was attempting to pass the car in front of him. The driver of this car was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way and his insurance company settled with me. Several months after the settlement, this man decided to sue me for mental harm. It was amazing that it ended up in a jury trial. I was in disbelief and just dumbfounded how I could be setting in a courtroom on trial for something I didn’t cause. Fear, anger, and uncertainty filled my days waiting for the court appearance and the verdict. I was found not guilty. A part of me with its voice inside me, understandably wanted to turn around and sue this guy, and many people suggested this. But another voice inside said, let it go, just let him be, he’s an old unhappy man, no need to put more fuel in the fire. I had compassion for this man and his struggle with needing revenge and justice, while not acknowledging and accepting he was in the wrong. He taught me, you never win a war – with war. So I forgave the error. In his need to get back at me, he was unaware of what his anger and resentment was doing to himself. I was at peace and moving on with life.

This man was after all, another teacher and opportunity for me through this difficult life experience. Through his actions, he was offering me the opportunity of learning and practicing the gift of moving beyond the injustice and my wounded self, toward acceptance, compassion and forgiveness.

You see, when you realize we have choices within difficult, painful and unjust experiences to see the offender as the threat and the enemy or the teacher and the opportunity. Depending on how you view it and think about it, is how you will experience it. What we think about we bring about.  When we can accept and understand that our experiences are really our teachers and opportunities to practice acts such as: acceptance, compassion and forgiveness, we take the high road with love, creating the willingness and commitment to move beyond the hurt, and learn the lesson for soul growth and self-mastery. Is this an easy task to get too? No. Is forgiveness a liberating and life changing act to engage in, that offers higher meaning? Yes, for sure. Life isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be meaningful.

Questions to consider: Why might you struggle with forgiveness?  What would be the benefits of forgiveness for you?  How does acceptance and willingness aid the forgiveness process?  Feel free to leave a comment, share your answers to above questions, and/or share your experience with forgiveness.

 

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  My book Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com