Guest blog contributor, Chris Sopa’s daughter, Natalie Sopa, 19 years old.
“Above all, don’t lose hope”
~Pi, “Life of Pi”
When you look up at the stars, what do you see? Do simply see stars? Do you see beauty? Do they make you feel insignificant? Or do you look up at the sky, with the stars reflecting off your eyes like fire above a stagnate lake and feel possibility and hope?
Most of the time when someone looks up at the stars they don’t see the beauty or the possibilities that hold ungodly amounts of hope. They see a sky that is too large to comprehend; a large quantity of space that holds mysteries not yet known to the human race. Many feel themselves shrink back, feeling smaller and smaller by the second until they feel like an empty void of space.
Sometimes in life, things can make you feel small, unimportant, and insignificant. They can tear you apart piece by piece, ripping your soul so you feel like nothing but a deep, unexplored sea. Whether it is a divorce, a breakup, the death of a person or dream, or something as small as a deceptive lie told to you, these kinds of events can hurt you more than you would ever possibly think. The wound may heal, but most of the time there is always a scar left over on your soul. Then, once something happens that is similar to the event that created the scar, the wound is ripped back open.
Feelings like this should not be ignored. Like my Mom always says, most of the time if something keeps bothering you and ripping open a healed wound, there is a lesson that you need to learn from it. It may not always be so obvious because pain can leave such rough scars on our souls, our subconscious always remembers the pain, so; unless we do something to heal the wound to make the scar fade we will always feel reoccurring pain. We must strive past the pain and get to the source of the sorrow. You must keep digging until you get to the center of the earth. There you will find the lava that is fueling your pain.
Cooling that lava is where the peace will rise like evaporated water. As many experts say, “This is easier said than done.” The journey to peace might be more painful and rigorous than the wound itself, but the result is worth the fight.
Whether you feel like an endless space filled with stars or a deep sea filled with mystery, there is always hope for something new to be discovered. What will you discover at the end of your journey to peace?
For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc.The Jonah Complex
“More than any other kind of knowledge we fear knowledge of ourselves, knowledge that might transform our self-esteem and our self-image…While human beings love knowledge and seek it – they also fear it.”
Abraham Maslow was a brilliant psychologist who is most famous for the human hierarchy of needs he created, referred to as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, or Maslow’s Pyramid. The foundation for this theory lies in the premise that humans are ultimately seeking self-actualization, or in other words, reaching our full potential. We must have our basic needs met, such as food, shelter, safety, being loved and having self-esteem before this can be accomplished.
For those who are unaware of the story of Jonah in the Bible, Jonah was asked by God to go to the city of Nineveh to warn the people there that if they did not change their ways, destruction would follow. Jonah, fearful of his destiny, chose to go to a city named Tarshish instead. On his way to Tarshish, God sent a storm after him which alerted the others on the ship that Jonah was a danger so they threw him overboard. Jonah was then swallowed by a whale and spent three days in the belly of that whale. Upon being spit out by the whale, Jonah went on to fulfill his destiny.
The Jonah Complex refers to the fear of our own greatness…the fear of success. We all have a destiny – a unique reason we were brought here to earth at this time that only we can fulfill. Reaching our potential is up to us. We must learn to look at life and ask questions such as, “What am I supposed to learn from this situation/person?” The storms in our life are not punishments by God. They are not karmic situations happening to balance the scale. They are signs from above telling us we are no longer on our path. How else can God get the attention of humans who have a hard time believing what they cannot see? My own illness 10 years ago was just that…a sign that I was not on my path. God does not wish harm upon us, we allow things in our lives to happen (some of which are pre-scripted) to give us yet another opportunity to learn something about ourselves.
You are the only one who can choose what path you walk. Watch your environment, look into your life and see if there is a pattern in the things that have happened to you and instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me?” ask “What is it that I am not seeing?” ”What do I need to learn to get back on my path…to get back to a state of joy?” Please show me the way.
Marianne Williamson states the Jonah Complex the best:
“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…and as we decide to 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.”
Forging ahead on my path,
“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+.Worrying is a Form of Prayer
“One cannot weep for the entire world. It is beyond human strength. One must choose.” ~Jean Anouilh
Ok, hands up if you would label yourself a “control freak?” Its ok, my hand is up too.
Here is the thing about us control freaks…we worry. Worry about money, worry about our kids, worry about our friends, worry about the poor innocent ant we just accidentally stepped on and whether we are going to go to heaven now…we just worry. And if there is nothing to worry about, self-sabotage kicks in and we subconsciously create a drama so there is something to worry about. I know, it sounds sick when you actually say it out loud. But it’s true.
Why is it that we believe that by thinking and worrying about something incessantly it is going to solve the problem? It’s like we believe there is a little clock in the heavens that measures the amount of time we think about something and go over and over it in our minds and if we do that enough, Whamo!, the answer will appear and all will be good in the world again. Wrong! We are made of energy and so is everything around us. Our thoughts are a form of energy. When we think about something, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, we are giving energy to “that thing.” Since the universe’s language is energy, it picks up the signal of what we are thinking about most (our worry) and thinks that is what we want more of, since we are thinking about it so much, so it makes it so. Worrying is a form of prayer. Prayer is simply the process of giving our thoughts to God. What thoughts have you been giving to God lately? Are they of gratitude for what you do have in your life or are they worrisome thoughts of why things are not how you want them to be? God is a kind God; at least that is my belief. Nothing happens in this world, even if you perceive it as “bad,” that is out of alignment with God’s highest plan for you. Sometimes it is those things that tear us down that eventually are the catalyst that builds us back up later.
Lately, my personal struggle has been worrying about my 20 year old daughter. She is 6 months pregnant and let’s just say “lost” at the moment. My first instinct…to worry about her. My second instinct…to jump in and “save” her by fixing it all for her so she is happy. But, what makes me think if her situation is “fixed” she would be happy? Is that true? I don’t know God’s plan for her. Only God knows that.
Let’s take Lazarus as an example. Jesus loved Lazarus like a brother and did not want him to die. When Jesus found out Lazarus was sick and dying, he did not intervene by running to Lazarus’ side, shoving raw food and vitamins down his throat and making him drink water to flush out his system…he left town as planned. He did not only leave town, he stayed away for 2 days. Was that hard for Jesus? I would guess it was agonizing. But, Jesus knew his Father had a plan for Lazarus and he did not want to interfere with that plan, even if it would make him feel better…even if it meant he had to watch his friend suffer. “Love one another as I have loved you”…that was the plan.
God never leaves our side during suffering…he and his angels are always there. We must learn to step out of the way and allow him to do his work. We need to stop playing God by thinking we know what is best for those around us. Just because it makes us feel better and would be what we would do, does not necessarily mean it is best for those we love.
Sometimes we must love from a distance, watch those we love fall and simply be the hand that comes in to help them pick up the pieces when it is all over.
Worrying never solved anything…
“Though we would love to run and catch them, we have to let the people we love stumble and fall. In this way, they can get back up, and without any nudging from us, go on to choose the best path for them into their Father’s arms.”
~Allia Zobel Nolan, “The Worrywart’s Prayer Book”
Praying a different way,
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+.Off We Go
OFF WE GO!!
Hi everybody! Thank you so much for joining us on our 12 day adventure to Peru and the Sacred Valley!
Those of you who have followed my journeys before via my blog know what you are in for…those of you who are “newbie’s”…HOLD ON!!! Although due to lack of internet service on a few of the days we will be journeying, every day a new blog post with pictures will be posted entailing the details of our day, who we met, where we went, what we look like doing what we are doing and the amazing insights we learn on each leg of our journey.
There will be 8 of us total and for the most part (other than me knowing everyone to some extent), we are all virtually strangers. We will have a local guide with us the whole time, a shaman (spiritual man), 11 porters, several private drivers and we will synchronistically meet several “strangers” along the way that will guide us on our journey.
Just to give you a little “sneak peak” at what we will be experiencing below is our 12 day agenda:
Day 1: Travel all day and arrive in Lima around midnight (although this sounds boring, you would be amazed at the things you see and can blog about when you are in “travel mode” all day!!!) This day the group will be getting to know one another and working through their excitement and possible anxieties for what is to come.
Day 2: We fly to Cusco this morning, which is at 11,000 feet, so we will immediately begin to acclimatize to the new altitude. This afternoon we will visit the sacred alters of Sacsayhuaman (a magnificent Incan fortress made of 3 massive parallel walls), Tambomachay (a sacred Incan site for ritual bathing), Q’enko (a beautiful example of Incan “rock workshop” and art), and Puca Pucara (an old Incan post house for travelers).
Day 3: Still in Cusco, by bus we will travel to Chinchero (believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow) and Moray (a sunken amphitheater of mystical quality).
Day 4: This day we head to Pisac (known for its marketplace) and Ollanyatambo (the best surviving example of an Incan town).
Day 5-7: On these days we will be hiking the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail hike is a stunning mix of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush forest and subtropical jungle through the Andes Mountains which leads you to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu. We will reach an altitude of approximately 14,000 feet and be hiking with individuals from all around the world.
Day 8: This is the last day of our hike and we will arrive in Machu Picchu this day. Machu Picchu is called the “Lost City “and is truly a place where you can feel the true serenity of your soul. We will spend time this day in the city of Aquas Calientes (after we shower of course!), visit the local natural hot springs and relax after our 4 day hike.
Day 9: We spend this entire day visiting Machu Picchu with our guide learning about her magical healing and sacred qualities. We will then board a train and had back to Cusco.
Day 10: Back on a plane, we will fly to Puerto Maldonado and check into the Corto Maltes Lodge after we take a beautiful 40 minute Amazonian boat ride on the Madre de Rios River, passing pure virgin Amazon forest and multitude of foliage and wildlife. We will have our first contact with the Amazon jungle on this day, going on an afternoon trek and an evening boat tour of the jungle.
Day 11: We are up early this day, taking a 5:30am trek to Parrot Clay, eating breakfast and then off again to visit Monkey Island, Tambopata-Candamo National Reserve and the heavenly Sandoval Lake. We will end our day on a canoe traveling back to the lodge viewing the spectacular sunset on the lake and then getting massages back at the lodge.
Day 12: On this day, a sad day, we head home…transformed, revitalized and whirling with the changes that have occurred within us on our miraculous journey through the beautiful country of Peru.
And, we’re off….. See you “on the other side!”