I was with my friend this weekend, the one I told you about who’s going through a crisis of faith/hope. She’s still grappling with her thoughts and feelings, yet I can see that she’s gradually finding her way through.
I’m very careful with my friend right now because I know she’s vulnerable and fragile. I also know that this crisis is actually very helpful. And, it’s a very good sign for her overall personal development. This crisis is getting her to ask and answer some deep questions–questions and answers that are essential to self actualization.
Some of the questions she’s asking herself are:
~Is this all there is?
~I’ve worked hard all my life; I didn’t think I’d wind up here!
~After a lifetime of supporting and encouraging others: What about me: my dreams, my Destiny?!
What about you? Have you asked–and answered–these questions lately? You may have asked these questions last year or a few years ago and, in the meantime, you’ve changed. Carve out a quiet morning or afternoon to answer these for yourself.
I have a dear friend who is in the midst of a crisis of faith–not necessarily in a religious sense, although there is a spiritual component to her “lost wanderings”, but more of a bewilderment at Life in general.
I’ve found it very difficult to know what to say to help her. I don’t want to parrot the old maxims that are insulting in their triteness but yet there has to be something that someone has said that can give a flicker of light to someone struggling in the murk and gloom.
Below are a few quotes I found that I thought might give her something to cling to as she works her way through this.
Let me know what you think of them:
Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it. ― J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation
Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go. ― May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
Those who make us believe that anything’s possible and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who have survived the bleakest of circumstances. The men and women who have every reason to despair, but don’t, may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change. ― Paul Rogat Loeb, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear
Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that has been denied.
When all else is lost, the future still remains. ― Christian Bovee
But hope is no less realistic than despair. It is still our choice whether to live in light or lie down in darkness. ― Rick Yancey, The Isle of Blood
The death of a dream can in fact serve as the vehicle that endows it with new form, with reinvigorated substance, a fresh flow of ideas, and splendidly revitalized color. In short, the power of a certain kind of dream is such that death need not indicate finality at all but rather signify a metaphysical and metaphorical leap forward.
~Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing ― Raymond Williams
Which quotes did you like? Let me know in the comments below.
Even though Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need is depicted as a pyramid, that’s just a rough way of characterizing esoteric concepts. There is no real “top” to get to. It’s all about being more of who you Truly Are.
It isn’t about getting more money, more power, more prestige
Although these things may come to people who are fully committed to self-actualization, they aren’t at all what these people strive for.
It isn’t becoming better than anyone else; it isn’t about narcissism or self-aggrandizement
It’s about being who you were born to be and doing what you were born to do.
It isn’t about finally getting to Easy Street
It can be a difficult journey because self actualization is about giving up ego and looking yourself in the eye and accepting yourself as you are in each moment; it’s about forgiving and letting it all go.
It isn’t about any religion or philosophy
Although, self-actualization is deeply profound and sacred.
What are your thoughts about self-actualization or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, or the Chakras. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
Before beginning a journey, it’s a good habit to have an idea of where you’re headed. We’re starting a journey of self-actualization and the following quotes give some insight into what it is, what we’re aiming for.
Read the quotes, think about them. Which ones did you like, which ones didn’t make sense? What are your thoughts about self actualization? Let me know in the comments section below!
The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination. Carl Rogers
The person in peak-experiences feels himself, more than other times, to be the responsible, active, creating center of his activities and of his perceptions. He feels more like a prime-mover, more self-determined (rather than caused, determined, helpless, dependent, passive, weak, bossed). He feels himself to be his own boss, fully responsible, fully volitional, with more “free-will” than at other times, master of his fate, an agent. ~Abraham Maslow
Instead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people live only for their image. ~Bruce Lee
It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of self-transcendence. ~Viktor E. Frankl
Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature. ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. ~Terry, played by Marlon Brando, in On the Waterfront
I met a friend of mine in the library the other day and we chatted for a moment. She’s older than I am and mentioned that many of her friends have been retired for several years but she’s had to keep working. She joked, “I think there was some mistake. I think I was meant to be rich!” We shared a chuckle.
But then later on when I got home, I started thinking…. It reminded me of Marlon Brando’s character’s quote in On the Waterfront: “I coulda been a contender.”
This movie quote has been famous for the past 62 years (and will probably continue to be famous for some time to come) because it resonates so profoundly with each one of us. It’s the very unusual person who has not, at some moment in their life, wondered what their life would have been like “if only…”, leaving them with a nagging feeling that their life might be “less than” in some way.
When you think through this thought you’ll see how it makes no sense.
This quote assumes that everything in our life following that “if only…” moment would have stayed exactly the same as we remember it, only now we’d have a leg up because we would have made a different choice in that moment.
But this is not necessarily true.
Our different choice would have opened the door (or close it) for different events to happen (or not happen). We have no way of knowing what those events that did or did not happen would have been! They could have had an even more devastating effect than what we actually experienced. And they could have been damaging not only for us, but for others who weren’t harmed with our original choice.
You may argue that the flip side could also be true: it could have turned out better–for us and for others–just as we imagine in our perfectly constructed “if only…” scenario.
But then, there’s the law of unintended consequences….
By living your actual life, you don’t know how many people may be better off because you’ve lived (think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life). Perhaps, the full benefit of your life may not be fully realized for several generations (think of all the artists who were ridiculed during their lives yet now, posthumously, are celebrated as geniuses).
We can go on and on with “our lives could have been better, but then they could have been worse”, which is precisely the point that makes all this supposing ridiculous. We’ll never know for sure if the choice we didn’t make–the road we didn’t travel, as Robert Frost muses about in his poem of the same name–if it really would have been the better choice.
All we can do is live this life right now in this moment, making the best choices that we can and leave all the supposings and if onlys to the gods to sort out!
Please note: I’m not sure what happened, but yesterday’s post ended up posting today…! I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience!
Yesterday we talked about coming up with a why that was deeply compelling for us—powerful enough to get us through the really difficult phases of going for our dreams.
It’s good to have more than one reason why we’re going for our dreams because sometimes the why that we’ve been relying on may not have the power needed to get through a particular challenge.
Today we’ll talk about coming up with one or more spiritual reasons why we’re going for our dreams. These reasons doing have to be based in religious beliefs or any type of belief in particular. All that matters is that the reason is important to you.
These are reasons that are bigger than you and me.
Some examples of spiritual reasons are:
~you know in your core that you were born to do this;
~the Still Small Voice won’t be—can’t be—silenced;
~it’s your Divine Destiny to do this.
Take time to think about this, to contemplate it. As with the more worldly reasons why that we talked about yesterday, this spiritually based why may change over time. That’s fine because as you work with it, you get to know and understand it in a deeper more profound way. This is good!
Feel free to share your why in the comments below.
Also, please pass this message along to a friend—thanks!
Take time today to connect with the Divine. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs or spiritual traditions are. It doesn’t matter if you have not at all.
The cool thing is that you don’t have to have a particular religious practice. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do any type of ritual. You don’t have to say or think any special or sacred words or phrases.
The completely fantastic thing is, all you have to do is Pause. Stop. Breathe. Notice the moment. See, feel, sense, the Goodness all around you.
Tune into it. Absorb it. Let it infuse you.
And, totally awesome thing is that this takes only a few minutes. AND you can do it ANY where at ANY time!
So it’s easy to do each morning when you first wake, and it’s a snap to do periodically through out your day. And, what an awesome way to end your day.