Chasing Unicorns and Other Myths

Ariana Langford is an emerging motivational speaker and writer.  Her main theme, “Finding My Voice,” is directed at dispelling the shame of being a victim, while finding hope and forgiveness.  She encourages compassion and personal growth in groups which include victims, offenders as well as general audiences.  Ms. Langford lives in Oxford, PA with her husband, children and a variety of pets, all of whom she adores.

When I was young I loved unicorns.   These mythical creatures of purity and strength captivated me.  As the stories go, these elusive creatures could not be hunted.  The way to catch a unicorn was to have a young virgin sit alone in the woods.  The unicorn, attracted by her beauty and purity, would come and lay down next to her, resting its head on her lap.

I never heard of any cases where this actually worked.  As I matured, my interest waned.  Today I wistfully remember that youthful belief in myths when I come across an old unicorn keepsake.

These days, I find myself pursuing other myths.  I move through the landscape of my life seeking inner peace and forgiveness.  I live a blessed life, have a wonderful husband, children I adore, and a job that allows me to make a difference.  Still, inner peace and forgiveness can be elusive.

Just like everyone else, I have been scarred while traveling through this world.  For me, it was five years spent in foster care, only to be adopted into a nightmare of abuse and torture.  Escaping from that environment landed me in a place I thought was safe until it no longer was.  Completely on my own at 17, I was a victim of violent crime only a few years later.

Somehow, I always managed to survive, and by my late twenties, I even learned to thrive.  I largely put my past behind me, and found the first cornerstone to a good life:  hope.  I still struggled with depression, but according to the mental health providers, this was an expected outcome for the trauma I endured.  The depression could be controlled if I was willing to take a low dose anti-depressant – basically for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t willing to do that, so occasionally I suffer.

As part of my healing process in my mid-twenties, I had to accept my adoptive mother as the broken human being she was.  In retrospect it is clear that she hurt because she was deeply hurt.  I got to the point where I basically forgave her, and as an adult we had some semblance of a relationship.  That doesn’t mean I would leave my children alone with her.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.

I was able to come to acceptance, if not quite forgiveness, with some of the other people who hurt me.  Yet I continue to carry anger and bitterness.  I know these things only hurt me, and hold me back.

The people I need to forgive represented systems that betrayed me.  The doctor who said nothing when my mother claimed that I hurt myself after the incident with the wire hanger.  The policeman who walked away, believing my screaming had been the result of a simple spanking. He left me to pay the price for attracting too much attention.  The list goes on.  Systems put in place to protect people never seemed to work when it came to me.  These experiences left me with a lot of fear and hurt that decades later I recognize surfacing in my present life.  Gathering love around me, I face these, head on, one at a time.

Perhaps the hardest area to heal is the one that is hardest to see.  For when I get just a bit more honest, there is someone else I need to forgive.  Myself.

Wait.  What?  What do I need to forgive myself for?  When you grow up like I did, you have to make sense of the world somehow.  I did it by believing that there was something wrong with me that caused all these bad things to happen.

While my head knows that this is an invalid belief, somewhere, deep inside me, this belief lives on.  Now that I recognize it for what it is I am actively working on eradicating it from my belief structure.  I cannot use a machete to cut it from my psyche.  I can only coax it out with love and forgiveness.  I need to love myself despite choices I made while trying to survive, forgive myself for habits built up over the years which grew out of fear-based notions.  I am working to set aside the shame I carried for the better part of a lifetime.  I was taught to keep secrets as a child, and I was very good at remaining silent.  But this silence added to the conviction that there was something wrong with me, that people would turn away if they knew who I really am.

I know that we are all beings of Light.  Our very essence is pure, and it manifests in the experience of love.  Up until now, the silence I kept acted as a gatekeeper – only allowing so much light out at a time.  I am removing the blockages, dismantling the dam that limits the flow of life inside me.  As each piece of detritus floats away, it tells its story, allowing more light into the shadowy places. Amazingly, I find my voice grows stronger with every step.

I notice that inner peace comes, not when I am chasing it, but when I calmly sit and experience the Light that is within, the Light that I am allowing to fill me more fully.

I remain a work in progress, a traveler on a path still shrouded in mystery and magic.  I walk forward with faith in the Love and Light that resides in each of us.  And while the destination is unknown, I am certain I will find a deeper sense of forgiveness and peace.

Who knows?  Maybe I will sit down in a beautiful wooded clearing, and a unicorn, attracted by the beauty and purity of my Light, will come and lay beside me, resting its magical head in my lap.

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For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

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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 .

Love Your Enemy

Your enemy reflects back to you everything that you do not like about yourself. He shows you exactly where your fears and insecurities lie. If you listen to what your enemy is saying to you, you will know exactly where you must make corrections in yourself. Only one who opposes you thus can be such an effective teacher.
~Paul Ferrini, “Love Without Conditions

 

Admit it…we all have someone who makes our blood boil.  Maybe you have more than one.  Mine usually come in the form of ex-romantic significant others.  Did you ever wonder why these people exist in your life?  I don’t mean “on the face of the earth exist” (I know that was where you were going…wishing they had never been born!  Lol!) but why are they showing up in your life in what you perceive to be a difficult form?  Do you think God is just playing a mean trick on you, purposely trying to make your life miserable?  Don’t laugh, some people really do run the victim mentality of “God is out to get me.”  I personally would think God has better things to do, but it is a question that begs to be answered.

Anytime we are faced with someone in our lives who disagrees with us, makes us uncomfortable in some form or simply does something to us we do not like, we are being asked to look deeper.  These situations do not arise simply because “that is life.”  These situations arise because there is a lesson to be learned by both parties.  A lesson, more than likely, that cannot be taught by anyone else but someone who annoys you to the core.

Those who hurt you the most are your greatest teachers.  How can that be?  Ask yourself this question:  How have you learned your most valuable lessons, through pain or joy?  Most people have learned the lessons that stick with them the most through some kind of pain in their life.  The Universe uses pain because it is by far the best way to get our attention.  We do not like to be in pain.  It hurts.  We will do anything to not be in pain…even give up and give in and finally change.  Until the pain of where you are is greater than the fear of changing, you will stay where you are.  Those individuals that you call your “enemies” that have wronged you and hurt you so bad that you use words like hate, can’t stand and despise when their names come up in conversation, are the ones who are teaching you the most about yourself.  They are the mirror to your own soul.  They are reflecting back to you the exact things that are inside of you that need to be seen, released and healed once and for all.

Name anyone in your life right now, enemy or friend, and they are in your life, at this moment, for a reason.  They are here to teach you something you need to learn about yourself.  What feeling comes up when you are with this person?  Where does the feeling show up in your body?  Does it trigger any other past memories from your childhood or past?  Are there any patterns you can identify around how this person makes you feel and how anyone else in your life makes you feel?  Is your pain with these “enemies” in your life always work-related or personal?  It is ultimately your choice if you learn the lesson they were brought to teach you.  If you chose to not learn it, trust me when I tell you, another person and opportunity will come around shortly to teach you the same lesson, only this time the pain will be greater.  The pain will continue to get greater until you learn to let go.

Just because “a teacher” is showing up in the form of someone you do not like does not mean you need to allow them to treat you poorly.  Trust me; I have given many the boot that have crossed a personal boundary for me…sometimes after it has gone too far.  The key is to be very self-aware of your feelings and be vigilant with your personal boundaries.  Nothing is as important as honoring yourself.  Look at the relationship and situation and ask yourself, “What is this person or situation trying to show or teach me?” and then take the steps needed to release your feelings, do what is needed, and move on.

You will always have challenges in your life.  People and situations will challenge you constantly and that is a good thing.  When you are being challenged you are growing and learning and becoming a better human being.  We are spirits having a human experience…let’s show the heavens that we can do it right!

“If you work hard on your job, you make a living.  If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune.”
~Jim Rohn

Loving my “teachers” in whatever form they show up,

Chris

Purchase your copy of Chris Sopa’s new book, “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” published by Balboa Press.

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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 .

But I Don’t Wanna!!!

When a thought hurts, that is the signal that it isn’t true.” ~Byron Katie

Relationships have not always been my strong suite.  Relationships with men, that is.  Every other area of my life is amazing; my girls refer to me as “their best friend,” I have a career I absolutely love that takes me all over the world, I get the privilege in this lifetime to be a part of changing people’s lives for the good, I have plenty of money to meet my needs … I could go on and on.  Did all of this come easy to me?  No.  It took hard work and the willingness to take many risks, not knowing how each risk would turn out.

As I have learned over the years, the Universe has a funny way of putting right in your face the exact situations you need.  Whatever you need is always exactly what you get.  It’s true.  So, what did I get in regards to “relationships?”  The offer to be one of the authors in a book that will be out January of 2013 titled, “Breaking Free:  Overcoming Self-Sabotage,” published by an internationally renowned women’s network.  What did they ask me to write about?  You guessed it … relationships!

We teach what we most need to learn, so I took on the challenge.  For this entire week, I decided that I would focus on writing about different aspects of relationships.  We all have them.  We all have been hurt by them.  We all cherish them.  We all want them, whether we want to admit it or not.  The main advantage to being human is our capacity to love and be loved.  Will you allow love, is the question?  Why wouldn’t you allow it?   Not allowing yourself to forgive.

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It is something we know we must do to finally let go so we can move on; yet, we hold on to hurt and blame because it somehow gives us a satisfaction we cannot explain.  We scream to our selves inside, “I don’t wanna!” like a child because for some reason we like to sit in the pain of reliving a painful circumstance and holding onto anger over and over again.  The joys of being human!

Remember that how we treat others is merely a reflection of how we treat ourselves. If you have a hard time letting go of mistakes you have made, more than likely you have a hard time letting go of mistakes others have made as well. The only way to really find peace is to let the past be the past. Keep it where it belongs.

In regards to forgiving others, Louise Hay, I think, states it the best:

“We are the ones who suffer when we hold on to past grievances. We give the situations and the people in our past power over us, and the same situations and people keep us mentally enslaved. They continue to control us when we stay stuck in “unforgiveness.” This is why forgiveness work is so important. Forgiveness – letting go of the ones who hurt us – is letting go of our identity as the one who was hurt. It allows us to be set free from the needless cycle of pain, anger, and recrimination that keep us imprisoned in our own suffering. What we forgive is not the act, but the actors – we are forgiving their suffering, confusion, unskillfullness, desperation and their humanity. As we get the feelings out and let them go, we can then move on. Remember that all of the events that take place in our lives and all of the individuals we encounter teach us valuable lessons.”

Forgiveness is a soul choice and centers in your heart. It is not a logical, mental process.  It has nothing to do with whether or not you choose to have that person stay in your life or not. You can forgive someone and choose to not have them in your life anymore or choose to have them stay … it is up to you.  Every choice you make must be for your own peace.  Never sacrifice your inner peace for someone else.  Forgiveness is an act of self-love and healing.  The reason for forgiving someone is not so much because you feel they deserve to be forgiven, but because you love yourself enough to not want to suffer anymore when you think about the person or the event. We learn to suffer just to punish whoever abused us and, in the end, we are the only ones who are hurt.

Never forget that each of us is on our own journey. We choose to play roles for each other to give each other an opportunity to learn the life lessons we came here to learn. Thank the people who have hurt you for playing their roles so well. If it wasn’t for those who have hurt us the most, we would not be the people we are today.

Start with forgiving yourself for anything you feel you have or haven’t done in the past in regards to relationships.  Do what I do.  Look in the mirror and kiss your own hand and say over and over again, “Its ok.  No worries.  You are so wonderful!”  Ok, so maybe that only works for me, but regardless, give yourself a break today.  Stop waiting for the other person to forgive you.  There is nothing outside of you that can give you what you are looking for.  The answers and peace you seek are one place and one place only … inside of YOU!

“Once we have forgiven ourselves for something, it is easier to forgive others for the same mistake.”   ~Marianne Williamson

I wanna, I wanna!

Chris

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 .

The One Man (or Woman) Show


“The Trial By Existence”

By Robert Frost

And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth…

And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise…

And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt…

Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth…

But always God speaks at the end:
“One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you gave the assenting voice.”

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.

And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used there from
The mystic link to find and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

“Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets and this poem in particular is my all-time favorite.  It hangs in my kitchen to remind me of my Sacred Contract.

We have been talking all week about forgiveness and ultimately, forgiveness comes about because of the consequences of choices that are made.  Excuse me for getting what some of you may call “woo-woo” for a minute, but I have been strongly guided to share this with you this morning.

As human beings, we were given by God the gift of free-will.  We were given the opportunity to make our own choices, good or bad.  With that gift came the responsibility of being held responsible and accountable for the choices that you make. (This is the whole idea around us creating our own heaven and hell).  In order to learn the lessons you scripted to learn in this lifetime, you scripted certain scenarios in order to give you the opportunity to learn those lessons.  If you wanted to learn forgiveness in this lifetime, you need to have something to forgive so you may have scripted with one of your soul mates (a person who you have been with in many lifetimes) to betray you so you had the opportunity to learn that lesson.  Where choice comes in is if you choose to embrace the opportunity to learn that lesson.  If not, trust me, you scripted yet another scenario to come around to give you a chance to learn it.  Why?  Because it is a CONTRACT!  You contracted to learn that this lifetime.  Each time an opportunity comes around and you choose to NOT learn the lesson, the next time it comes around it will be more intense and yes, more painful.  Why?  To get your attention.  Remember the band-aid analogy early in the week?  You need to feel a big OUCH in order to become aware there is a lesson there to learn.

The hardest part about this whole process is watching people you love go through their lives constantly avoiding their lessons and watching them go through pain.  We are only responsible for OUR OWN lessons and life; no one else’s.  Sometimes the best thing to do for someone else is to let them hit bottom and fall, and then be there to help them pick up the pieces.  Be their “net” as they walk the tight rope of life, as my friend Sara puts it; the one to be there to catch them when they fall and help them pick up the pieces.  Forgive them if forgiveness is in order but remember, forgiveness means you release the hold the event had on you energetically.  It does not mean what the person did to you was ok nor does it mean you have to allow them in your life.  That is always your choice.

For today and the weekend, take note of scenarios in your life that seem to be happening over and over again.  Whether it is money issues, attracting the same type of mate over and over again, losing a job time and time again; whatever it may be but LOOK at your life, take responsibility for your role in it and then ask yourself these questions about your choices going forward:

What are the consequences of this choice I am making?

Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?
Then you can move forward with a clear conscious to know you did the best you could at the moment, regardless of the results or what other people may think.  Ultimately, this is a one man show.  YOU are the one who is the star and YOU are the one that scripts the ending.  Make it a show worth watching…and living.

Making choices one day at a time,

Chris

For more information on Chris Sopa International, Inc. go to www.ChrisSopa.com.

Is It Good or Is It Bad?

You presume poison is bad…that such things have no purpose.  Many “bad plants” contain incredible properties for healing or are necessary for some of the most magnificent wonders when combined with something else.  Humans have a great capacity for declaring something good or evil, without truly knowing.” ~”The Shack” by William P. Young

Pain hurts.  No doubt about it.  Whether it is physical pain or emotional pain, it is still the same.  Pain, as with all things, has a purpose.  Imagine you cut your hand and it hurt.  The “hurt” is saying to you, “Hey, pay attention to me!  I need healed!”  So, we grab a band-aid and Neosporin, tape ourselves up, and trust that our physical body knows what to do to heal our cut.

Now let’s make things interesting…you are in a relationship with someone and they cheat on you.  Emotional OUCH!  What do you do?  What is this pain trying to tell us?

One amazing tid-bit I learned from Caroline Myss, who is one of my absolute favorites (If you haven’t read “Sacred Contracts” or “Anatomy of the Spirit” they are a MUST!), is that we have 2 ways we can look at things in life:  Literally (from a ground-view, 3D perspective) or symbolically (the 10,000 foot above the situation view).  If you look at the cheating from a 3D perspective you only see an individual who made a choice that was hurtful to you, disrespected you, and lied to you.  From a symbolic perspective you “rise above” the situation and ask, “What is the Universe trying to teach me here?  What could possibly be the lesson?”  Maybe you have been a bit too trusting with romantic individuals in the past, maybe your partner has some unresolved self-esteem issues of their own, or maybe the “affair” was divine intervention because the relationship just wasn’t of the highest order for you and it was God’s way of “lending you a helping hand” to end it.

One thing I have learned, as hard as it may be, is that those individuals who cause us the most pain in our lives are our greatest teachers.  Their 3D selves may suck on the surface due to the choices they are making, but their higher selves (that spirit part of them who is perfection) scripted to help you learn this lesson.  If you want to learn forgiveness, my friends, you need to have something to forgive.  Who better to do that than someone who loves you so much they are willing to play the role of “villain” for you in this lifetime to give you a chance to learn that lesson.  Whether you embrace the opportunity given to you by the situation is up to you…it is always up to you how you look at something.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  Will I be bitter or will I make myself better and stronger because of this?  Until you learn the lesson you scripted to learn, you will continue to attract people and situations that are the same, giving you yet again another opportunity to learn the lesson.  The rub is, the way
the Universe gets your attention is that the pain of the situation increases every time.  How else will your attention be gotten…the “OUCH!…I need a band-aid and healed” attention!

Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you will stay the same.

Just as you trust your physical body to heal the cut on your hand, trust the Divine to heal you and know what is best for your life.

People move in and out of our lives because the roles they play for us come to a finale.  Once their roles are over, they exit the stage.  If someone leaves your life, whether you are ready for them to or not, let them go.  Their role in your “play” is over.  It does not mean they may not play another part in your play later, it just means their work is done.  Our relationships are sacred opportunities to see the Divine in others.  A sacred opportunity to FORGIVE!

So back to the cheating…is that a “bad” thing?  It is up to you…it is ALWAYS up to you!


God doesn’t give you the people you want; he gives you the people you NEED…to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be.
  

Choosing to See It All As Good,
Chris