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Deepen Your Faith

Do you feel lost in the darkness of uncertainty? Many people I encounter these days are struggling—facing layoffs, worried about the volatile world financial situation, concerned about paying their bills, dealing with difficult partners and challenging children. They feel exhausted from wrestling with their fears; their mind continually frets. How will they make it through yet another crisis?
We often become frantic when trouble strikes. Anxiety distorts our thoughts. Sleepless nights become the norm. Could it be there is a different approach to take when walking through difficulty? When our hearts are shattered and our lives are crumbling, how can we deepen our faith and walk calmly forward?
In recent months I have experienced times of darkness in my own journey. I am learning that especially in moments of intense inner struggle, I can open to see a glimmer of hope. As I quiet my mind and pull myself completely into the present moment, I become aware of a deep tranquility that surrounds me and infuses my soul. I am always amazed when I feel peace in the midst of the storms of life.
Whispers come to me from the Universe, “Dear One, have you always been provided for?” My Soul answers, “Yes.” Another question follows, “Have you eaten today?” I respond, “Yes.” Spirit continues, “Do you have a place to lay your head tonight?” My heart echoes back another, “Yes.” The voice inquires, “Have you always been provided for these 35 years?” I humbly respond, “Yes, I have.” With this knowing, why do I doubt?
How could there be any fear left in my heart when I have constantly been cared for and kept safe? Again and again I’m reminded that hard times in life are opportunities in shadowy disguises. Each challenge is a gift, wrapped carefully and chosen specifically for me to experience. I see clearly that each apparent crisis has stretched me and molded me into a more compassionate person.
Since life changes are inevitable, why do I resist them? In the deepest cavern of my soul I still react with a silent scream of terror, “What if I am not going to be okay? What if my whole life falls apart? What if I lose those who love me? What if I am left penniless?” Even as I say I believe in the power of the Universe, I realize fragments of fear are still embedded in my inner being.
These fears imprison me. I want complete freedom. So I understand the value of feeling shattered. I’ve been at that point recently. What I realized is that this is a breaking down of my ego. These circumstances overwhelm me, showing me that I can’t control the outcomes in my life. I can only choose my response. I finally surrender fully, seeing that I can’t figure out the solutions on my own. At last, in my brokenness, the love of the Universe flows through me, comforting and uplifting me.
It is a blessing to be faced with our deepest fears. When we get out of our own way, allowing Spirit to permeate us, the space for the miraculous is opened. Why would I choose to struggle when the Universe can carry me? Why must I be so determined to do it all on my own when I am offered Divine help?
The Universe beckons each one of us to trust. These times are for deepening our faith. They are opportunities to join with Spirit to look at our fears head on and allow them to be dissolved. Are you willing to let go and let God work? You will not be disappointed. In fact, there is immense relief in surrender. Of course we still must take the steps, one-by-one, to which we are guided. What we release is our need to let our thoughts and minds spin us into endless confusion, trying to figure it all out. Why would I stay in my small mind when I have access to Universal wisdom?
There is a place in every storm, the eye, where safety and stillness can be found. How can we as individuals, families and communities consciously move into this space when it feels like our lives are falling apart?
I’d like to share some ideas with you from my own experience – the things that I see work for me and for my life coaching clients. If you take the time to apply these ideas consistently in your life, you will find a way to move more calmly through times of great difficulty.

1. Stay fully present. I remind myself of this all the time. Release the baggage of the past. Trust the future to your Higher Power. Place your attention on what is happening right now. This is the formula for peace. As you do this, you will be guided to the next step.
2. Understand you are not alone. Find comfort with friends and family members who you trust. If you do not have this support, remember that Spirit surrounds you with love and holds you in times of darkness. You are never, never alone.
3. Take stock of your miracles. If you are going to focus on the past, then review the many ways that you’ve had amazing resolutions to issues you have faced. Take the time to recount these miracles whether they are big or small. By doing so, you will revitalize your hope and remind yourself that you are truly loved and cared for.
4. Savor every bit of good. In times of stress and challenge, try to bring your attention to everything good in life. Whether it is a glass of water or a mouthful of food, a hug from a friend or a smile from a stranger, give thanks. We often become so focused on our problems that we fail to notice the positives, yet they are always present.
5. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Bring your deep, heartfelt emotions up to the surface. Don’t ignore them. Embrace these emotions even though they feel intense. By experiencing them honestly you learn that you are bigger than these emotions. If you allow them to run their course, they pass, leaving a space into which peace can flow.
6. Use affirmations as reminders. In my dark times I use the following statements to help me focus: “All is well. All is on schedule. I open to miracles. I trust the Universe. I am safe. I am cared for. I am secure. My daily needs are provided. I deepen my faith. I learn and grow from every circumstance.” Words are powerful activators of the possibilities within us.

Your assignment this week is to notice a fear that is causing you distress. Observe the impact it has on how you feel. Watch what it does to your heart, your mind and your body. Then use the above steps to deal with it in a different way.
The more honestly you monitor your own experience in each moment, the more peace and power you will find. You can learn to walk calmly through each moment of life.
Don’t miss out on a great FREE opportunity to improve your leadership skills. Daniel-Adeniyi Obafemi of NOWLeadership Inc. is inviting you to be a guest at the median edition of the Friends of Leadership Breakfast program. Join in an interactive breakfast session designed to Educate, Enlighten and Entertain you on all tenets of leadership.
Daniel will be speaking on the topic, “Understanding the Dynamics of Self Leadership.” In Daniel’s words, “Every human on the face of the earth is built for leadership. You, myself and everyone you see at any perimeter near you is a potential candidate for leadership and success.”
Join with other attendees as they mentor, network and lead themselves to optimum greatness. The event will take place May 1, 2010, at 8:45 a.m. Registration is FREE! Venue is Sweet Sensation, Opebi Road, Ikeja Lagos. Please confirm your availability for this event by sending a confirmation mail or texting your confirmation to either 07064625229 or 07031335332 .

Food For Thought

The Place of Peace
by Edward Markham


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.