by Derek O'Neill
Do you remember where you were when you had your first cigarette? Even if you can’t recall, think about that time in your life. What was going on? Chances are that when you began your habit, those cigarettes created a figurative smoke screen, hiding something you didn’t want to face. When smoking begins at a young age, it’s often a lack of confidence or need to connect your identity to your peer group. Though it may have been an unsurprising result of wanting to feel mature, the habit then took on more psychological and physical elements.
Over time, smoking becomes connected to relaxation, the irony being that nicotine is actually a stimulant. It’s the deep breath that you take when you smoke that confuses and solidifies the message your mind gives you. People continue to smoke because they become programmed that it is a relaxing thing to do! What other needs are seemingly being met by smoking? If you...
Although we can understand the ideas behind forgiveness and see its wisdom, the process of bringing forgiveness into our lives and applying it to situations where we are wounded and angry can be challenging.
Having an open heart is the best protection against being hurt. Vulnerability is something we try to avoid, but in reality, looking at each situation and person with an open heart strengthens you no matter if someone harms you or treats you unfairly.
Closing down your heart and never finding it within yourself to learn to forgive doesn’t protect you from pain.
On the contrary, you will ultimately have more suffering if you attach to the anger that arose from the hurt. Vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths a person has. If you are vulnerable, you will never be hurt, but if you are angry and fearful, then hurt is on the way – if it has not already arrived! Vulnerability is having the courage to say to...
by Derek O'Neill
Emotional pain serves as a message to stop, slow down, and look at the source of the hurt. Pain can obscure the reality that everything is changing all the time. Nothing is permanent. Though suffering will visit us time and again, knowing that the continuum of life is part of being alive reminds us that life is, indeed, worth living. When you clear the mind, you achieve a better sense of perspective about who you are, what you need, and how best to practice self-care. Self-care also means the ability to reach out to others for help if you need it.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Take two or three deep breaths. As you exhale on the third breath, close your eyes, relax, and let go. Switch off the world for the next ten to fifteen minutes.
Allow your mind to settle into a space of peace. Imagine that there is a gold orb of bright light – like a setting or...
by Derek O'Neill
Feeling pain and hurt is the only way to truly see that you are the one that gives it size and shape in your life.
Forgiveness is a powerful, often misunderstood, human experience. When we have been hurt or wronged by someone, one of the most natural reactions is to feel anger. If the anger persists, it can lead to deep resentments that may affect us for years. The idea of forgiving the offending party can seem impossible, unfair, and perhaps too difficult to even consider.
While forgiving others can begin with an understanding of what happened, and draw from a wide range of spiritual teachings about human nature, it is important to understand that forgiveness benefits you more than anyone else. We give a gift to ourselves when we forgive. No matter how serious the action that harmed us, working towards the goal of forgiveness will heal your heart and soul in a way that no person or event can ever take from you. Being a forgiving person...