A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself.“
When you were born, you believed in yourself. You knew your purpose. You trusted the Divine.
Then it happened…you began to believe in the illusion around you. What other people thought and believed became your truth because you wanted to belong and be a part of something. The fear of being alone drives more self-limiting behaviors than any other fear. You began to move from your heart guiding you to your mind guiding you. The mind is a beautiful tool, if used correctly. We began to individualize our minds and then believed we were separate from everything and everyone around us. We felt alone…the one feeling we were trying to avoid.
Whatever your beliefs might be, know this…the human mind is simply the place where we individualize God. What if your life was about letting go of your self-created limiting beliefs and instead letting God be God as YOU?
Our world is transforming. What is “breaking down” is not the world, but the consciousness that created it. We did that…now it is our turn to balance what has been done. The confidence you have in yourself does not come from anything external; it comes from that silent place within that is YOU. You can do and be anything you wish…your only job is to define those wishes, find that peaceful place within and allow the brilliant tapestry to unfold. On the surface it may look broken, not how you imagined, and maybe even frightening. The path you ended up on may not be the one you imagined. Know that everything in the Universe happens for the highest good. Souls do sacrifice their time here so others can learn what they need to learn and fulfill their purpose. When a tragedy occurs, instead of focusing on the horrible aspects of it, step back and look deeper. See people coming together, helping each other and letting compassion win. We must believe we scripted what we did in our lives for a reason, knowing we could handle all that has occurred and will occur.
Life is not so much about living…it is about allowing life to come through as YOU.
Stop focusing on what may or may not happen to the foundation on which you find yourself standing. Look forward, take a breath and believe in yourself. You are so special God chose you to be here at this time. He is living through you to experience life AS you. The answers are there…you just have to silence your mind enough to hear them.
We love you just as you are. No strings attached…promise.
When you come to the edge of the light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” ~Patrick Overton
Believing in you,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.A Power Greater Than You…
* This blog is dedicated to my daughter and anyone who suffers from an addiction, as well as the loved ones that are standing by watching, loving and encouraging them to wholeness again.**
The 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, that are to be practiced as a way of life for those suffering from addiction. The idea is to help expel the obsessive behavior (drinking, drugs, or any addiction) so the person can feel and become happy and whole again. These principles are so powerful they can be used to overcome not only addiction, but limiting beliefs and harmful thoughts and behaviors in the non-addict as well.
Reference: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1981), Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.
Step #2: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
As most of you who are regular readers know, I am working my way through the 12 steps in honor of my daughter who is a recovering addict. In order to better understand her and the process, I decided to do the 12 steps myself and as I did, write a blog about my experience with each one.
Step #2, to me, is all about believing in miracles. We all have had moments in our lives where we are faced with something so big or so terrible that we have no choice but to surrender. Surrender to whom? Surrender to that power that you know exists but cannot define, see or touch. We all feel that power. We all know there is something that exists that is greater than we are. Some call that power God; others may call it the Universe. All that matters is that you feel that something else is with you watching out for you…willing to take on what you feel you cannot do yourself.
My lesson during this step was not so much believing in my higher Power, but trusting my higher Power. I have had enough spiritual experiences in my lifetime that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not alone in this journey through life. My struggle exists with feeling worthy enough that my Power knows I exist. It sounds kind of silly when I say it out loud to myself, now that I think about it…but true none-the-less. Letting go and letting God was never something that I really could understand. We recovering control freaks think we can control and handle anything that comes our way…usually a side effect of having to deal with a lot of life situations on our own. Once I was able to realize that I really do not have control and stopped fighting it, I began to see more clearly and really feel that Power in my life. I, for the first time, felt as if God had my back. When I looked back at my life challenges, I realized I was never alone to begin with…he was there the whole time. I am reminded of the poem “Footprints,” which is a perfect metaphor for Step #2. It is through our most challenging times that God does not leave us…he carries us. Michael, a facilitator in one of the Nar-Anon meetings I attend has us say a prayer at the end of every meeting. It is very simple yet powerful: “Your will God, not mine. Your time God, not mine.” I slowly came to realize that it is not about MY will, it is about God’s will for me and my life. And let me tell you, when you finally realize that, it is a huge relief!
It does not matter if your beliefs match mine. What matters is that you know your own beliefs and they need to work for you. They must be yours. It does not matter what anyone else in your world believes…only what you believe. Your beliefs are the blueprint from which you live your life and make your choices.
I will share with you several questions I pondered and answered as I worked through this step:
Your relationship with your higher Power starts and ends with your relationship with yourself. God is in you, works through you and IS you. He is expressing himself through you.
Ernest Holmes, the author of The Science of Mind, says the following about treatment and your own personal role in it which I think is a perfect summation for Step #2:
Treatment is not willing things to happen; it is to provide within ourselves an avenue through which they may happen. Treatment opens up avenues of thought, expands the consciousness, and lets reality through; it clarifies the mentality, removes doubt and fear, in the realization of the presence of Spirit (your higher Power), and is necessary while we are confronted by obstructions or obstacles. We already live in a Perfect Universe, but it needs to be seen mentally before it can become a part of our experience. Every problem is primarily mental, and the answer to all problems will be found in Spiritual realization…(your own personal relationship with your higher Power).
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.Waiting for Normal
“Hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue, your own physical and mental limitations – you will feel all of these. This teaches you about nature, more than that, you come face to face with yourself.” ~Willi Unsoeld
If your life has been anything like mine over the last year, high and low tides rather than “smooth sailing” has been the norm. I personally have noticed that whenever I am in the middle of a “low” I am anxiously awaiting for things to get back to “normal.” In the middle of tears the other day and feeling pitifully sorry for myself, I stopped in my tracks and asked “what the heck is normal anyway?”
I realized that, to me, “normal” meant having absolutely no bad feelings or events happening in my life. I get to stay in my daily routine, uninterrupted and pleasantly invite the highs into my life, praying for the lows to stay at bay. If that is the case, in the last 42 years my life has rarely been normal! Life is easy to live when things are going the way you think they should. You go about your life with ease and are feeling pretty good about yourself. The minute something happens that knocks you out of that routine, something that makes you uncomfortable, we feel “off” and try desperately to get back to our comfortable routine.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop by Gregg Braden, author of the new book “Deep Truth.” Gregg addressed this idea of waiting to return to normal using our economy as an example. When our economy takes a down turn, many people put their lives on hold, waiting to spend their money or take that trip until things return to “normal.” What I find interesting is that when things get back to normal, it is never how it was before anyway. Something (or someone) has always changed. Has it really gotten back to normal or has enough time gone by that we are now just used to the new way things are…the new normal?
As humans we do not like discomfort. We try desperately to stay comfortable and predict the future events of our lives. We like to know what is going to happen when, how others are going to react to us…even go so far as to structure our lives around the weather.
I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t like waiting. Instead of waiting for my life to get back to “normal” I decided to re-define my personal definition of normal.
“Normal” = a state of centered consciousness and balance an individual maintains no matter how the outward circumstances of the individuals life present themselves.
I am here to live my life, not to wait for it. Yes, during trying times, it is sometimes much harder to find the joy and balance we so enjoy but those feelings are simply a state of consciousness, which means WE have control over them. We so often give the power of our lives over to outside circumstances, people and events and then allow our lives to get out of control, all the while blaming someone else for our misfortune and bad feelings. Ultimately, YOU are in charge of your life, your feelings and your thoughts. Instead of waiting for things to be normal and perfect in order to feel better, create your own state of being by choosing how you want to feel and do what you need to do to make that so.
Life will never be perfect if you constantly expect it to be. You must create your own perfection.
Light and love to you for a “normal” day,
“Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live: How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.The Fine Art of Worry
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it is not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.”
Worry = a state of anxiety over actual or potential problems.
I will admit it…I am a recovering worry wart. Yes, it is true. I used to have worrying down to a science. I would worry going to bed, worry in my dreams and be worried waking up. Worrying is like any other habit that we have – the more we engage in it the more we do it without thinking. Half the time when I was worrying, I didn’t even really know what I was worrying about. Then, if there was nothing obvious to worry about, I would make something up.
As humans, our learning habits are formed when we are little. Whatever the dominant environment was in your household when you were growing up is the environment in which you learned to function. I love my mother dearly, but she will be the first one to tell you that she loves to worry. I grew up in a household where the dominant environment was chaos. There was always a crisis…even if it was an imaginary one. As I grew older, because that was the only environment in which I knew how to function, that is the environment I created. And worrying was my tool. Even if something is painful to us, as humans, we prefer comfort. Whatever is in our comfort zone is what we choose.
Regardless of what environment you prefer, we all find ourselves worrying at some point in our lives. Here are some things to remember when you find yourself worrying:
Gratefully I let go and let God be God as me…
Have a worry-free weekend…you can do it!
“To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all – but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing.”
I had an amazing experience happen to me this week…I became a Grandma for the first time! Little Noah James came into the world on January 8th and what a sacred little soul he is! 2012 was a rough year for many and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when the clock turned to 2013 hoping easier times were on the way. My little man came in at just the right time!
Throughout our lives, we see many things…some good and some not so good. We tend to believe that what we see is what is real. If we can touch it, taste it, hear it, and see it then that is our proof of its reality. During my life, the most amazing experiences I have had have been “surreal.” Synchronistic events that put me in the right place at the right time, a chance meeting with someone who seems to say just what you need to hear, smelling the scent of a loved one who has passed away making you wonder if they are near, and even the miraculous birth of child.
At this time, the most important job you have to do is focus on F.A.T. No, I don’t mean the excess adipose tissue around your belly and behind. I mean Feelings, Attention and Thoughts. Just like the fat on your body keeps you warm, protects your organs and a certain amount of it is necessary for a healthy body, so follows that your feelings, thoughts and attention keep you warm, safe and spiritually healthy.
Your feelings are the physical manifestation of guidance from above. We all have different beliefs about God and what is beyond this world we live in, but regardless of your beliefs, one thing we all have in common is that we all have feelings. There are really only two feelings…good and bad. The formula is simple. Once you learn to listen to your feelings, you will know that anytime you feel good, you are moving in the right direction. If you are feeling bad, you are off of your path. Pause and either wait if you are not sure what to do or make a different choice.
Where we focus our attention is the exact thing that magnetizes people, places, things and situations into our lives. Focus on the things that you want…focus on your dreams. Stop beating the drum of “what is” and beat the drum of “what is possible.”
Your thoughts are in your control whether you believe that or not. Focus on the thoughts that make you feel good. Your thoughts are connected to your attention and where your attention is dictates how you feel. Your brain does not work in a vacuum. If you have a not so good thought, don’t just ignore it, replace it with one that is in alignment with where you want to go and what you want in your life. Replace it with a thought that makes you feel better.
I challenge you to focus on F.A.T. and watch how your life begins to transform before your eyes. Believe in what you cannot see. What if there is a world just beyond ours where we can manifest what we want instantly, feel good all of the time and have a life of abundance, unconditional love and joy? That world exists…you just haven’t created it yet.
“Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live: How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.
Do you ever feel as if you must be walking around with a “kick me” sign on your back? A BIG sign…like, one so big the Universe even sees it and says “ok, no problem!” When this imaginary sign is on your back, nothing in your world goes right. No matter what you do or say, ouch, another kick in the behind.
I spent the holiday week with a “kick me” sign on my back. I have to say that I am pretty sure this past week was the worst week of my life, even worse than the one when my Dad crossed over. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to look in the mirror and see a shadow…that one thing you know has been there, lurking right in front of you, but you haven’t had the courage to do anything about it. But now you know it’s time. Who said courage was easy anyway? This past week I found my courage…but it broke my heart.
We all make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn our lessons. Some mistakes affect only us, but some affect those around us as well. Those are the ones that are the hardest. Hardest for those who realize they made the mistake and hurt others and hard for those in the sidelines who watch and are affected and hurt by that mistake.
When we are faced with doing something that is hard, we lose our breath, can’t focus on anything, have a sudden urge to run away from it all and either want to be totally alone or around a ton of people so we do not have to face what we are certain will come up if we are left alone. The movie, “A League of Their Own,” with Tom Hanks has a classic line I sometimes repeat to myself when life gets tough: “If it were easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!” This line reminds me that it is the hard times in our lives that make us who we are. Those who we look up to and admire because of who they are or the life they have, have that kind of life because they made choices (hard choices) others may not have had the courage to make.
Courage is not acting without fear; it is acting in spite of fear. When you feel lost inside because of something that has happened to you or someone you love, there is one thing and one thing only that is the cure to feeling better: YOU. Life is made up of hard choices and painful events. It is not what happens to us that makes us, it is the choices we make after that “something” happens that build us into who we will become. Tragedies, death, poor choices made by the ones we love dearly, financial hardships…all of these things are enough to break a normal human. But, you are not just human. You are a divine spiritual being having a human experience. That means you are more than the physical body you can touch and the feelings you are currently feeling. You are an essence that never dies, feeds off of joy and loves unconditionally. Never underestimate your true divine nature. We are all small pieces of God on earth playing a role to help move humanity forward. No one said it would be easy. You cannot take away other peoples lessons just to spare them pain. Your path is the only path you can walk. Don’t try to live your life and everyone else’s at the same time…trust me, it will only exhaust you. Live your life the best you can and remember to take one day at a time, breathe, choose those who surround you wisely, feed your mind and body positive, nourishing “food,” and practice trust. Trust that you knew what you were doing when you came here and trust that God has your back.
I’ll pray for you if you pray for me?
“Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live: How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.
There I was, sitting at my kitchen table in the new house my husband and I had just bought. It was 2003. I had a stack of bills in front of me that always seemed to be higher than the amount that was in our checking account needed to pay them. I had just come through a life-threatening illness and was finally asymptomatic.
I recently had returned to my corporate job after four months of being on short-term disability. I knew it was a mistake but the bills had to get paid. After all, I had a responsibility to my family to take care of them. The problem was, no one was taking care of me…including myself.
I sat there staring at the pile of bills and a question hit me: Which one can I do more without, money or my health? It was then that it hit me. If I continued down the same path that made me sick, I would surely end up sick again. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I had to make a change in order to keep my health. Money means nothing unless you are healthy and feel good to enjoy the benefits having money brings. Who wants to travel when they are sick? Who can enjoy their beautiful house if they are working all of the time and then when they are home, they are in bed because they are so exhausted?
It was then that I made a choice. I chose to leave my corporate job and start my own business where I had the flexibility to choose how to spend my time as well as how much money I deserved to make. I chose faith over fear. There were a lot of unknowns in front of me. Would I be successful? What exactly would I do? Would I make enough money? What if I didn’t? I decided I could not afford to be afraid and took the leap. My life depended on it.
Now, almost 10 years later, I can tell you a few things that I learned about choosing to make my decision on faith instead of in fear.
Finally, every single day take time out to do at least one activity that nurtures you and your soul. Do something that brings you joy even if it is only for 10 minutes. If you find that fear creeps up on you again, realize that the only thing that changes from one moment to the next is the thought you are holding in your mind. Change your thought, do something kind for yourself or someone else and watch with open eyes what the world looks like when you see it through the lens of faith.
Trust me…it is a beauty! ðŸ˜‰
Now on the Best Seller list at Balboa Press, “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live: How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life.”
“Oh, God, help me! And I walked faster, my thoughts pursuing me, and I began to run, my frozen shoes squealing like mice, but running didn’t help the thoughts to the left and right and behind me. But as I ran, The Arm, that good left arm, took hold of the situation and spoke soothingly: ease up, Kid, it’s loneliness, you’re all alone in the world; your father, your mother, your faith, they can’t help you, nobody helps anybody, you only help yourself, and that’s why I’m here, because we are inseparable, and we’ll take care of everything.“
~ John Fante,
Running doesn’t help. Sleeping, drugs or alcohol only create an illusion to make it go away for a little while. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never get away from it. You are always there. How many times have you said, “I just need to get away!” and you do…only to find out when you get to that “get away” place, nothing has changed but the scenery.
I don’t know about you, but lately my life has felt as if I am in the middle of a huge haboob (the word us Arizonians use for a dust storm)! When I look in the mirror I see the same ole’ (notice I said “ole” and not “old!”) Chris but something has changed. I look around my life and feel as if I am standing in a place where a haboob just moved through and wiped out everything in its path. People that were in my life are gone or have changed drastically (or is it “I” that have changed?), what I used to do for my business to make money does not seem to be working anymore, my oldest child is choosing a path for her life, that although I know it is her choice, is very hard and painful for a parent to watch, and I have felt more alone lately than I ever have in my life. What used to work no longer works and when I try to make the old work, things seem to just get worse.
So, I made a decision. I remembered recently a conversation I had with a friend who said to me that when your life seems to be falling down around you all that means is that the finger of God has come down to touch your life…not even us humans can make that big of a mess! In order for change to occur and new, beautiful things to enter our lives, “the old” has to go. But we hang on for dear life…hanging onto that pole as the haboob winds toss us around screaming, “NO! I won’t let go!”
Nothing of heavenly importance can be figured out with the human mind. There is no logic to heaven. If your life seems in chaos right now, rejoice! That is a sure sign that God’s hand is in it, sweeping away the old (since you wouldn’t do it yourself because you were holding on so tight) so he can bring in the paradise and dreams you came here to experience.
So what was my decision? To finally let go of the pole I was holding onto so tight and allow the haboob winds to take me in their arms. Yes, there is a risk to just whipping around in the uncontrolled wind, but let me ask you this? Trying to completely control the situation…how is that working for you? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s not anymore. I choose to let God’s winds take me…take me home…take me to the next chapter in my life…wherever. I choose to let God have my back.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you the most you would leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
~Author Unknown, “Footprints“
Blowing in the wind,
“Until we see what we are, we cannot take steps to become what we should be.” ~Charlotte P. Gilman
Anyone who has coached with me has heard me say over and over again, “We cannot get to where you want to go until we define where you are now.” Many of us have goals. We have aspirations of what type of person we would like to become, places we would like to visit, our ideal career, the amount of money we would like to have…you name it, we know for the most part where we want to be in the future. Now, ask that same person about their present situation; how they like their job, why they have a habit of never keeping their word, why they cheat, or even as simple as how their marriage is and the answer is either a blank stare or a platitude of some sort to avoid the question.
Why is it that we avoid the truth of who we are? Maybe its embarrassment because down deep we know we can do better or maybe it’s that we fear who we really can be if we just let go of the fear? Either way, the only way you can move forward in life is to look straight in your own eyes, define the type of person you have allowed yourself to become (good or bad) and make a choice. A choice to change, a choice to move on and a choice to finally live the life you were born to live.
You know what you are here to do. Yes, you do. It is that feeling in the pit of your gut that nags at you all day long. That feeling that comes directly from the things you dream about that bring you joy. The feeling that comes when you are doing that “thing” that you can do for hours, non-stop and lose all sense of time. Stop telling yourself it is impossible, that you “can’t” because you have responsibilities, that you are too old, that you had a bad childhood, that if your parents would have been different you could, that if you weren’t in this relationship you could…STOP! What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Start believing in yourself and do something about it instead of spending endless hours reading and watching others live their dreams. How many lives do you think you have? This is not a dress rehearsal.
Shift from Entitlement to Humility; Control to Trust; Attachment to Letting Go; Fear to Faith.
Our Deepest Fear…
is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us,
it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~ Marianne Williamson
Honoring the truth,