Releasing Self-Criticism

Sometimes becoming new happens without you paying attention. I lost all my baby weight within the first 6 months after my daughter was born. I was astonished – there had been no exercise, no diet. But looking back I can identify a shift in consciousness – I had been making healthier choices. Breathing more deeply, drinking more water, doing everything a little bit more slowly.

There was no end of my old body and beginning of my new body. Just a constant emergence of new cells born under the attitude of a different mind.

They say if you get into your car in Sarasota and point it in the direction of Tampa, you’ll get there. But if you incorporate just the slightest degree shift in your steering, not even an inch difference in the steering wheel, then over time you’ll find yourself in a completely different location.

I look back at what I’ve achieved in the last three years thanks to the slightest degree shift. I have no idea where I will end up.

But! The new beginning does not involve going back to the old when things get scary. They will – they’re new. Newness is a tricky territory. And for a long time while you’re in newness, whatever that means to you, your old mind will be screaming at you to turn back to the old.

For instance, I used to have a strange relationship with alcohol. I couldn’t just drink one of two glasses of wine, I would have to keep drinking until the last drop was gone. It wasn’t a behavior that supported all my highest and best desires, so I made a conscious decision to change that destructive conduct. It took a lot of discipline and focused will, a lot of grace and cooperation with Spirit, but over a relatively short amount of time I managed to shift my relationship with that chemical. Until the other night, when a group of the loveliest, bubbliest, funniest girlfriends got together on the beach with two bottles of champagne, a hundred stories to tell and a clear midnight sky pricked with the eyes of the gods.

The next morning I woke up with my belly aching from laughing all evening, my toes buzzing from the memory of the cold sea water lapping against my skin, my skin tingling from the crystal quartz sand and my soul happy and full of the love of great girlfriends. But did my ego mind pay any attention to that? Not at all. It was howling and thrashing itself from the guilt of having drunk champagne.

The night itself was perfect. It was my thinking the next day that was faulty. An excruciating self-criticism.

Shakespeare wrote, “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” And self-criticism is the moment we sabotage our newness. It isn’t the individual choices we make, good or bad, that define the path we lay for ourselves. It’s our thinking along the way. Spirit can work in any configuration of circumstances, any decision we make can be the right one when we work with the power of God instead of against it. God’s good can be found anywhere – I’ve walked the streets of poverty-stricken shanty towns in Kenya and seen great kindness and generosity there.

I’ve been tempted my whole life to put my relentless self-criticism down as healthy introspection. Critical thinking is rational examination which is so vital to our progress. But for it to be that positive propulsion into expansion it needs to be conducted without judgment. I can view what I perceive to be faults within me and not love myself any less. The way I used to apply self-criticism though, was more like cynicism. An impotent complaint and embittered resignation. Totally destructive. The self-critical part of ourself is strikingly unimaginative. A relentless complainer which frankly drones on about the same old stuff any time we give it the space. I can still hear the dull, toneless chanting inside my head that tells me of my inadequacy—but I’ve sure accomplished some amazing stuff despite it! How much more would I have enjoyed my progress if I had been noticing the expansion instead of noticing what wasn’t?

So the secret to new beginnings is not in starting them—they start all the time. 35,000 times a day in fact, every time you make a decision. The true secret to new beginnings is in releasing the old thinking.

“Take off that worn out and stained outfit of your past life, with its selfish desires and worthless ways of thinking. It no longer represents who you are. You are now a true human being, with a new way of seeing and thinking. Put on the regalia of your new life, for you have been made new, created again to look like the One who made you; standing in a good way and walking a true and sacred path.” Ephesians 4:22-24 FNV

You don’t see this self-critical behavior in nature. You don’t hear the trees bemoan in flagellant analysis over their root systems or recount how many rocks they had to circumnavigate so they could grow. They know that the uneven texture of the ground is what keeps them stable. Were an oak to lay root in a moor or desert where the ground was smooth and free of obstacles, it would topple with the slightest gust of wind. And so the mighty oak stands, owning every knobbly bit and every twisted branch, growing and being, and being and growing.

Renewal is happening anyway. Watch it. Be in it. And be brave enough to release the old way of self-critical thinking so you can fully embrace the higher, brighter and clearer version of you.

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“Remember not the former things, nor consider things of old. Behold, I AM doing new things—I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18

A statement of healing for newness:

I AM in and of God, and God is in me, as me. I know that through my imagination I can reconfigure my cells, and by feeling so wonderful about my new healed state I can draw that reality out of the quantum soup and into my experience. I AM excited about feeling stronger and healthier, about my new body, and revitalized mind. I AM already feeling Spirit coursing through me like water, washing away all that is less than my highest and best. I call on my healers in Spirit and they lovingly and unquestioningly respond by directing the Light through me. I AM renewed, strong, healthy and vital.

And so it is. 

My Crystal Kid’s Infuriating Perspective

I was never a real thinker until I propagated and spawned a little guru-brain. She has an uncanny way of delivering punch-in-the-gut philosophy in the form of seemingly innocent questions.

There we were, driving through downtown Sarasota, when she pointed out a vast building under construction right by the Ritz Carlton and the turquoise waters of the bay. Its location is only relevant because it sets the setting: here is the stunning Sarasota skyline, the perfect blue sky pierced by the odd dive bombing pelican, the crystalline waters sliced by a couple of grey dolphin fins. And there, like foul and violent eruption of concrete termite hills, are the new skyscrapers in progress. 

Olivia asked me what they were building and why, and I explained that they’re developing luxury condos. Pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars and hours and hours and weeks and weeks of labor into pushing up these titanic ogres in the hopes that someone will pay $3.5 million for a 3 bedroom apartment.

“How do they know someone will buy one?” she asked.

“They don’t,” I said. “They have to trust.”

“Otherwise they’d never build anything…” she whispered, staring out of the window as we drove past, the thousands of gallons of newly solidified concrete reflected in her eyes.

Here we go again. Olivia makes some profound comment. Because yes, we do have to sacrifice some effort before we can expect our just rewards. The Law of Attraction is set in motion by action, a momentum that we ignite by intent, expectation and the first efforts to sow the seeds. There they are, the builders with their pants sagging down over their arse crack, their roll up ciggies hanging from their lips and their endless streams of sweat, contributing applied action to what is currently just a vision. Laying down the foundation, building the skeleton, pouring cement like it’s lifeblood.

“It is pretty ugly though,” I mumbled.

“It won’t always be, will it Momma?” said the little voice.

I almost puked right there in the car with the sudden realization that my life has so much in common with that massive steel turd. Time and time again I get a great idea, visualize its completion, set in motion right action towards it, and then stare at the circumstances in bafflement at how unfinished and ugly it looks. How can I have manifested this hideous concrete monstrosity, I wonder, when it was stunning architecture I had in mind? 

It’s infuriating, because I actually enjoy dwelling in self-pity sometimes. And it takes my kid sometimes to remind me that this is what it looks like while it’s happening. Life may look like the opposite of what I designed right now, because the perspective I’m using in my scrutiny of it doesn’t include the potential. Which, as we all know, is unlimited. Offensive as the construction may be, every steel beam, piece of scaffolding, clunking clang and gallon of cement is in its perfect place so that the carefully and lovingly imagined architecture can emerge in its right time. And there, months from now, will stand a new sculpture on Sarasota’s turquoise bay, and it’ll represent a growth in economy in the multimillions. A worthy ideal for some, certainly. I must remember that next time I get into a spiral of self-criticism. This is what it looks like while it’s happening.

And so it is. 

Elizabeth is a mom, author, minister of metaphysics, and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available to the living, now, online, at all major retailers. Stay in touch through:

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I want my daughters to be like Disney Princesses

Before I had kids I was pretty enthusiastic (to the point of being belligerent) about never giving in to their demands for up-to-trend Disney toys, especially princesses. Princesses, I decided, were a symbol of centuries of men turning girls into stupid, weak and completely dependent little porcelain pets. Little girls, no older than 16 in most cases, ushered promptly into the arms of powerful, marginally pedophile royalty. Not that for my daughters! No! My children should only play with good, solid, wooden, organic, gender-neutral, educational toys.

Then my first daughter Olivia turned 2 and spotted her very first Princess in the window of a toy shop. It was Belle, with her chocolate hair and golden dress, holding a blood red rose there she stood inside that pretty box with the see-through panel. Olivia tossed her wooden block and had to have her.

The other thing I wasn’t prepared for before having Olivia was that the joy of fulfilling her fantastical desires far outweigh my values (read: prejudices). I want her to know that she has the power to manifest the aspects, tangible or not, that she desires in her life. Right now she desires Princesses.

To my huge surprise, I bought her the Belle doll. And since then she’s been hooked. She has all the Princesses now, and all the villains too. But it’s not the pretty dresses and the tiaras she loves. It’s the stories! Adventures, journeys, conflict and trouble. Witches’ spells and brave quests to rescue the victim (and yes, sometimes the victim is a stupid and weak girl, but sometimes it’s the butcher, the witch’s pet stingray, or a banana).

Snow White Dead

 

Above is my Olivia in the depths of one of her Princess stories. Snow White had recently perished after falling in a pool of slime. Her funeral was attended by Van Helsing, Sophia The First, Maleficent, Anna and a Barbie priest. 

 

Upon closer examination, I discovered how foolish and egotistical I had been in my judgment of the Disney Princesses. If my girls grow up to share some of the qualities of Belle, Cinderella, Ariel and the gang, then I will class myself a hugely successful mother. Here’s why:

Belle

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Belle rejected societal pressures to marry the man most likely to fulfill the arbitrarily chosen measures of success. Instead she emphasized her own intellectual pursuits, until she fell in love with a man who was marginalized and rejected by society because of his deformity of body and mind. She showed great integrity and strength in standing up for him when under pressures from popular opinion, an act and attitude which ultimately transformed him and uplifted both her and the community they lived in.

Mulan

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She saved China from the oppression of the Mongols to uphold her father’s honor. Enough said.

Cinderella

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Despite years of neglect, Cinderella maintained her belief in the innate good in people. She displayed compassion, patience and kindness throughout her lifetime of abuse, which kept her in the vibration of divine grace. By the Law of Attraction, this eventually manifested the love of her life. It is incredibly hard to believe yourself lovable when you have been shown time and time again that you’re worthless, so to have been able to keep her connection with her higher self and nurture self-love until she attracted someone to reflect that is an extremely admirable quality.

Merida

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This young princess believed so strongly in her right to determine her own fate that she went against the will of her parents and publicly rejected the tradition of arranged marriage. She showed incredible courage, not only in standing up for her own divine right to freedom, but in her actions to rectify the damage caused to her relationship with her mother as a result of her rebellion.

Tiana

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As a black woman in New Orleans in the 1920s, Tiana adopted the “work hard for your money” mentality. Although it’s always admirable when a woman sees herself as the source of a bright future instead of seeking good luck, better breaks, wealthy husband type cheats, it’s even more admirable in my eyes when she is open to the lesson that good fun and joy comes first. It is tempting to say a woman should work work work for her career, but unless she is spiritually fulfilled she’s nothing more than a factory cog.

Pocahontas

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The young Powhatan Indian in the early 1600’s demonstrated that love transcends cultural boundaries. Her understanding of Spirit and the collective consciousness is so beautiful I still burst into tears whenever I hear “Colors of the Wind”.

Snow White

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Nurturing, gentle and motherly characteristics are rarely championed in women these days, I think. Yet there is little that is so close to a woman’s true nature as the divine Mary aspect of her soul. Snow White portrayed such a soft strength with her sweet kindness and compassion, and still she had that unparalleled maternal quality of being stern in her soft-spokenness.

Jasmine

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I’ve always encouraged curiosity and adventure, and my daughters know to look for their own Truth beyond the walls of our home (and by “home” I also mean the doctrines and values that are important to their father and I). Jasmine shows the confidence and open-mindedness to look for meaning in cultural settings “beneath” her station.

Aurora

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Aurora is perhaps the most passive of the Disney Princesses, but I am reminded by her that there is a space in this world and a time in our life for just being feminine and graceful.

Ariel

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She’s a stinker – she represents to me the rebellious teenage coming-of-age defiance that is imperative to all young girls at one stage or another. She openly defies her father over some petty thing and displays absolutely terrible decision-making. I’ve been there. Learned a lot. Wouldn’t change it for the world.

Rapunzel

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Maybe my favorite Princess, Rapunzel is whip smart, brave and yet there’s an aire of imperfection, like she has a lot of growing to do. She’s almost clumsy in her emotional control and she floats between being firm in her ambition, to wavering in insecurity, then finding her conviction again. She has no idea who she really is but is called by a knowing deep inside that she is more than what she knows – she is greater than the tower that has contained her and the woman her mother has raised her to be. Pow. Punches me right in the mother organ.

So I changed my mind about the Disney Princesses when I saw how my Olivia interacted with them. I saw that my judgment of them was as shallow as anyone’s judgment may be of my daughters, for the facets of each other that we experience are to us what we perceive them to be. I choose to show my daughters the uplifting characteristics in every person, real or fictional, that has an impression on them.

Elizabeth is a mom, author, minister of metaphysics, and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available to the living, now, online, at all major retailers. Stay in touch through:

Make The Right Choice!

Election season is here…do you even know how to use your ability to choose?

ONE OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL AND MOST UNDERUSED FACULTIES WE POSSESS AS HUMAN BEINGS IS THE POWER TO CHOOSE. WE CAN CHOOSE OUR THOUGHTS, OUR EMOTIONS AND OUR BEHAVIORS.

It isn’t always easy. We have been programmed and conditioned into certain behaviors since birth. Parents, teachers, peers – they all had their opinions on how we should live our lives, and since we trusted their judgment we employed their tactics.

We make 35,000 decisions a day. That’s a whopping number, so our conscious mind delegates most of those decisions to our subconscious, which acts on autopilot and defaults the decision to what it has stored as our preferred response. For that reason, so many of our results, good or bad, depend entirely on that programming. Considering most of the programming was done by someone else, isn’t it time we took a look at the conditions our subconscious mind is working under?

Every decision we make takes us down one path or another. When we become consciously aware of the choices we are making we can turn those decisions into ones that support our mission for success. Bit by bit, we reprogram our subconscious until it operates on an autopilot that effortlessly and smoothly makes every decision in accordance with what is for our highest and best.

Nutritional choices become easy. Financial decisions yield greater results. The people we associate with bring more value to our lives and careers. All because we change the way we think.

It helps to first know how our mind works. We don’t need to be psychologists, it’s enough to understand the basics! Essentially we take in information through our intellect or conscious mind, specifically through our senses and intuition.  This information is then arranged by our perception and judgment, and analyzed by our thinking and feeling tools. Our conscious mind employs the power of choice to formulate a response to that information, and sometimes the response is to delegate the decision to subconscious programming, forming habits and paradigms.

Through mindful observation of our thoughts we start to recognize the patterns that create the paradigms that control our results. Perhaps we notice that when we think about money, for example, we dwell more on the lack of it than the opportunities for growth. Perhaps we notice that we think more often about obstacles than solutions. Perhaps we think about how we’re not good enough, or not worthy, or not able…

And once we notice how we’re thinking, then we can set about changing those patterns. It takes discipline to begin with, and it helps to have a toolbox of tried and tested techniques for treating our automatic negative thoughts. It helps even more to have a mentor to work with.

With conscious and focused efforts towards learning how to think, we find our decisions become effortless and our results are seriously impacted. It can be done by anyone. Anyone!! And it takes no time out of your day because your brain was going to be doing the thinking anyway.

Desire to change, invest in the development of your greatest asset, and discipline your thoughts to focus on your success. This is how you become your best self and raise your thinking to the level that matches the results you desire.

LEARN HOW TO CHANGE YOUR THINKING AT “THINK LIKE A LEADER”, AN IMMERSIVE AND LIFE-CHANGING EVENT AT MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS, SARASOTA ON 28 APRIL 2016. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.

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You’re NOT a Real Leader Unless You Know Yourself

“Leadership” is an overused word that may seem arbitrary to most people. In the workplace the term itself becomes obscure when muddled with management training, as leadership and management pertain to traits that actually have little to do with each other…

Instead of looking to reference books for definitions on what leadership actually is and how we can “fit” into the accepted leadership styles, we should turn our gaze inward and examine the inner traits we possess as individuals. Once we understand who we really are we can begin to develop the sides of our personality that make us great leaders.

We all know the importance of “Being Positive” or having a “Can-Do Attitude”. But how many of us truly understand the actual psychological mechanics of these statements and how they apply to leadership? True positivity is an elixir for the inner leader, but it is not achieved by feigning a chipper disposition if we are not leading in a way that fulfills us. On the contrary—attempting to act out a leadership style that is contrary to our natural preferences while forcing a positive attitude can actually focus energy towards the friction caused by that misalignment and not towards the desired result.

So, how do we achieve a positive, productive and natural leadership style that encourages our followers to believe in our authenticity and have confidence in our agenda? Well, first and foremost we need to understand who we really are. Like really.  Not the title we carry at work, or the order we rank in our sibling hierarchy. Not the father, daughter, mother, son we are at home, or the volunteer we are on one of the many extracurricular boards we’re members of (though these are all important facets of our ‘whole’). I mean who we truly are deep inside.

According to Jungian psychology, there are certain traits we possess inherently. These are referred to as our ‘preferences’. We can uncover these through personality assessments, but to be truly informative that needs to be paired with learning. I cannot stress this enough: it is crucial that we study what the results of personality assessments actually mean and how we can apply them practically in our life.  The Buzzfeed style assessments that go viral on social media can tell us what ‘Superhero’ we would be or what our vocation might be in the afterlife, and similarly the respected and well established Myers Briggs (MBTI) assessment tool can reveal what is known as our ‘TYPE’. But this information will not pull us into expansion or attract the successes we are yearning for unless we really examine what these preferences truly say about us. Like truly.

My husband is an expert MBTI practitioner and he never uses the tool or attempts to ‘read’ people’s personality TYPE unless he has the opportunity to really sit down with them to explore the meaning of the way they work. Great thought leaders across the ages have done much to educate on thought patterns and the power of positivity, but they have not so far given much energy towards how this learning affects different personality types differently. A deep thinker will react very differently to exercises in consciousness than a deep feeler, and to effectively develop our higher faculties we MUST be cognizant of how we operate as individuals.

Learn about yourself and how you work. Learn how you function in groups, and understand deeply how you function when alone.  Acknowledge how you make decisions, and how you take in information, and accept the way you organize yourself to the world around you.

When we can do this we can become leaders.  We can become moral and ethical leaders who people will support and work hard for. The projects we work on become easier and less stressful because we play to our strengths and attract team members who complement. We stop trying to improve on our weaknesses and instead start acing our strengths.  The key to being a great leader is not knowing everything about everything, but playing to your strength and supplementing with powerful team members who know exactly what their strengths are too.  Leaders surround themselves with great teams, and great teams follow great leaders.  Be a great leader, not only for your business but for your life!

When you go to the gym and work your body you expect results and more often than not they appear. This is the same process for your inner self. Introspection should be a bit painful if done correctly—nobody likes confronting their demons, but trust me, everyone has them! But once the process has begun we find ourselves more authentic, more powerful, and much more at peace.

When we understand our own innate traits our thoughts will be focused on our skills and strengths, not on our shortcomings. In turn, our actions become efficient and precise, and our teams will deliver over and over again because they trust us and our decisions.

If you can do this you can lead a company, a family, a team, or an entrepreneurial endeavor into greatness.  This is why I’ve partnered with my husband to deliver “Think Like a Leader”, an immersive training event in Sarasota Florida that will really dig deep into who we are, why we think, act and feel the way we do, and how to be the best leader we can be.

Check it out.

How Generous You Really Are

 

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at the Sarasota Center of Light on the topic of generosity and giving. Most of us understand the importance of giving, but it can be hard to truly understand what it means. I know that, because I used to be one of them. It is so easy to look at the most altruistic and selfless people, note how much of their money they give away and how often they visit soup kitchens, and then feel down on ourselves because we don’t have the time or the cash to be as generous as them.

But I want to remind you of how generous you really are, and how much you already give.

You are important, skilled, and brimming with incredible things that you can share with those who need it. Here are four extremely easy but valuable ways of giving that are just as good for your soul and for your fellow people on this tiny planet. I suspect you already gracefully give in this manner, and it my hope that this will remind you to feel as generous are you are:

1. Give of your attention.

Did you know some many people go through their day, or week, or year, without ever being really noticed? Perhaps you yourself know how that feels. When someone talks to you, really listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying, understand it and record it in your memory. Analyze it. Is there a meaning behind the words? If so, does it change how you should respond? With more compassion or patience perhaps? See the effect on people when you actively listen. See how you strengthen their confidence, make them feel comfortable around you. Soon what you hear will begin to have a deeper meaning for you too, and in turn it will enrich your life as well.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

2. Give of your knowledge or skill.

Regardless of who you are and what you do, you own a deep reservoir of knowledge that can be useful to others. Sometimes we feel stupid or less capable when we compare ourselves to the brightest lights, but:

“If you judge a fish on his ability to climb a tree he’ll spend his life thinking he’s stupid.” – Albert Einstein

There is something you know that many others don’t. Explore that, embrace it, and study further. Then teach it. Give it away. As you become a mentor to someone you will see how your knowledge and skill develops both them and you. Perhaps you yourself will find a mentor and continue your own path of development, and then who knows what opportunities will come your way? You will end up gaining every grain of knowledge and ounce of skill that you need to manifest your dream.

3. Give of your happiness.

Joy is extremely contagious. It’s also a powerful healing emotion that can inspire the stagnant, cure the stressed or depressed, bring courage to the fearful, you name it. It spreads in the form of good vibes, or karma, or whatever you want to call it. You know the sort of person who carries this highly infectious condition. They brighten the room. They leave you feeling sort of bubbly and excited. You can easily pop on a cheery disposition, adopt that state of joyfulness and let it ripple through your surroundings, brightening your own life and the lives of everyone you meet.

You can’t help everyone, give everything, be everywhere and save the world, but you can give, give, give of this sacred state of consciousness. Focus only on the things that give you joy, and help brighten the world.

4. Give of your thanks.

Be grateful. But meaningfully so. Notice the things in your life, tangible or not, that are yours because of someone else. Give thanks for someone’s time, or an inspiring thought, or a good smell. Express your gratitude simply and genuinely. Wave a thanks to the driver that let you in off the merge lane. Nod and smile to the supermarket attendant who let you squeeze your stuffed cart in front of them. Whenever you get, give thanks.

And not a penny has to leave your bank account. (But I’ll wager you’ll end up giving joyfully of your money very soon, because if you follow my Guide For The Greedy, you’ll end up getting a lot more too.)

Do you have any other hints and tips for giving?

Elizabeth A. A. Wilson

*Photo credit: Care2

Why Joy comes Before Kindness

I don’t mean to indoctrinate my children, but I want to establish values. Every parent feels that way, but, like every parent, I think my values are best.

Joy comes first. It’s a simply philosophy, but my belief is that joy is an expression of gratitude, which is in itself a focusing of the vibration known as love. Not only does this philosophy set a high point of attraction for my children, but it also has an incalculable ripple of cause and effect as they spread their golden light moving joyfully through their day. So in our house the number 1 rule is “Have Fun.”

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When it Olivia has fun it normally means someone or something needs to go in the laundry later.

Every day when we drop off Olivia (4) at her school, we say “don’t forget rule number 1!

And she responds: “Have Fun!”

It’s one of our little family quirks, I’m sure you have them too.

Today, as Olivia was signing her name in giant, irregular letters in the school sign in sheet, we did our little joy exchange. “Have fun!” she cried, her voice a gleeful little tinkle.

Her teacher turned to me and said, “Well the number 1 rule around here is to be kind.”

It floored me. Because, let’s face it, being kind is pretty important. And when someone questions a parenting principle, as a mother you have no choice but to descend into the strange and multilayered confusing and contradictory state of mind known as “Mama Bear”:

  1. Crippling guilt: I’m always feeling guilty about something, and I’m told it’s a mothering phenomenon. In this situation I suddenly felt profoundly guilty that I’m not teaching my child to be kind: Would she grow up to be that terrifying schoolyard bully who seems to be able to turn anything into a weapon? Like a gym sock with the doorknob broken off from the science lab in it? Or a plastic ruler, snapped and sharpened with a breadknife from the home economics lab? (I still have the scar on my left hand.) What have I done??? Olivia may be the kindest, most well-mannered child right now, but with my awful sub-par parenting it’s only a matter of time before a monster bursts out of her tiny body.
  2. Fury: What did you say??? Be kind?? How dare you, madam? My child is the perfect being learning perfect lessons from her perfect mother, and should you utter any further expression of doubt in my infallible parental values I shall morph into a polar bear and whack you so hard you’ll cannonball across the classroom directly into the chest of dress up clothes. Oh yes! We shall see how you emerge then! Boom! Who’s the teacher now, bitch??
  3. Doubt: But kindness really is important. And joy is such a selfish thing.
  4. Confusion: Wait… What do I really believe here?

In that magical millisecond I processed all the layers, once more resulting in the miracle of rational response (always a surprise). I didn’t whack Miss Tilda across the room, for that would have been neither kind (her rule) nor fun (my rule). Instead my brain checked in with my higher self and computed the veracity and worthiness of my values and churned out the following conclusion:

Kindness is a word that describes behavior, not a state of mind. You can be kind in action while being cruel in thought – and the energy you’re contributing to all-that-is always corresponds to your state of mind, not your deed. Tossing a beggar a coin while silently thinking (and feeling) “take it, you filthy low life” is not truly giving. But if your state of mind is in a love vibration, true kindness is a necessary symptom. You can’t help but be compassionate towards others when your entire being is in a state of joy. Joyfulness is a way of living gratitude, and gratitude is an amplification of love focused toward the aspect of your life for which you are grateful. Like a magnifying glass in the sun. You can check out my article What is Gratitude for an explanation of why this is so, but it goes something like this:

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In other words, by living in the practical present state known as JOY you are submitting a vibration to the universe that tells it you are happy and content with the eternal here and now present. This translates as GRATITUDE, and your point of attraction is set to manifest more of what brings you joy. You can’t be in a vibration of gratitude without also being in a vibration of LOVE, because love is the root vibration in this particular case. Kindness therefore naturally follows. Teaching your child to be kind is training them to behave in a certain way, but show your child how to set their state of mind first and their behavior will be an effortless and natural result of their present vibration.

So I didn’t whack Miss Tilda. “Will you respect Miss Tilda’s rule while you’re in her classroom?” I asked Olivia instead, who had joined the other children at the painting table and was dabbing blobs of yellow paint on paper cut outs of lemons and limes (this week is all about the letter L).

“Yeth,” she lisped, too busy having fun to notice the complex and painful exercise of scrutinizing my values that I’d just completed just the split second before.

So, after careful consideration, I stand by my belief that joy comes first.

Now go and have fun! 🙂

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 Elizabeth is a mom, author, minister of metaphysics, and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available to the living, now, online, at all major retailers. Stay in touch through: