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I have been going through A Course in Miracles. Thanks to Chris Cade, an enlightened being who is working it well – giving, selling, and supporting others’ in their work.  Every day I get an idea to work with.  The practice doesn’t take a lot of time but generates plenty of insights.  This Blog entitled Lesson got me thinking.

The Course is rooted in Christianity, at least in its speech.  I tend to shy away from the word God in these writings, but I do, very deeply, believe in Him. Susan Jeffers said, “There is just too much that nourishes and supports us to deny the existence of something . . . whatever that something is.” Surely, the fact that we come equipped with such amazing tools could be seen as proof of His existence.  Every one of us has at our disposal, whenever and wherever we want it, things like Imagination and Curiosity.  We all have the capacity for Courage and Love.  We are well supported by these things that come built-in.  By His nature, God can be anywhere and everywhere.  So, His presence can be achieved with simply a thought.  Barbara Sher offered a tool she calls The Ideal Family.  You pull together in your mind anyone you choose.  Knowing a little something about who they are and what their experiences have been, you can imagine asking them questions.  I know a few things about Marianne Williamson who I have chosen as my ideal sister.  Whenever I have something I’m churning in my head, I can think of her and imagine what she might tell me. Angels and Saints.  Music and Art.  Not to mention all the people I can reach out to with a word, a phone call or an email. All of this adds up to some serious strength at our beckon call!

When it came to the second part, I balked a little.  God has given so many gifts!  I’m healthy, I have a wonderful husband and live in a beautiful place.  I’m able to give of my talents to support others, etc. etc.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe Vision is one of His most important gifts.  We’re not talking about physical sight, but inner vision. So even those who are sight impaired can use this vision.  If I don’t see all those blessings in my life, they don’t do me much good.  The most pervasive change I’m seeing in myself from working The Course is my perception.  It is really all about how I see things.  I don’t know if there’s anything more valuable than being able to see who I really am, the truth of a situation, what I have to give and all that I have.

I read somewhere that if writing isn’t drudgery, isn’t hard work, than you’re not really writing.

I think that writing is a joy.  I like to say that writing can not only make a living for me, it also helps me plumb the depths of my soul and reach out farther than I could’ve ever imagined.

The most challenging part of writing is figuring out what you want to say.  This is simply a matter of clear thinking.  The next step is to express what you’ve decided you want to say. This takes courage.  To commit to paper or screen where others can see and judge, takes some bravado.

One could say this part is difficult.  I believe though that everyone who has a mastery of a language can say what they want to say.  Granted, those of us who have written our 100K+ words may find this easier than others. Wielding words, after all, is what we do.  And surely we can create more poetic and flowing words than those who have not put in the time.

It does take time.  It takes effort.  It takes thinking and dedication.  But none of that is drudgery.  It’s magical.  Some might call it holy.  Making a wonderful Thanksgiving meal requires planning, shopping, preparing, patience, attention and effort.  But the joy of serving the meal to those you love eradicates any thoughts of drudgery.

When words come together in just the right harmony and resonance, there just is nothing like it.

If you find writing hard work, I suggest you take up something else.  You might try recording your thoughts and taking dictation to make it easier.  Or hire a writer who loves it!

I love playing with words!  Comparing them and finding the subtle differences.

Confidence feels to me like something that is built.  I find myself using what’s going on around me in the construction.  If things are going my way, I tend to feel more confident.  Others can fill in the gaps in my confidence by praising me, too. Confidence with deeper roots comes from doing what I say I’m going to do.  Accomplishing things.

What a wonderful thing it is to have Confidence!  With it you feel your strong back bone. There’s empowerment in your steps.  In this state, you may be less susceptible to the changing winds.  Confidence is a very good thing.  Due to the material it’s built with though, it can, alternately, come crashing down at any time.

Another aspect of confidence is that it can grow too big for its foundation.  Too much confidence makes you do things you maybe shouldn’t try.  When it’s in abundance, it sure feels good. But it requires a certain amount of regulation.

In a recent conversation with Annette Carpien, The Relationship Coach, she suggested that to build confidence I could be more assertive.  No, I thought, I need confidence to be assertive, right?  Annette sees it a different way.

Unlike confidence, Assertiveness is not “built.”  It need not be erected on what you or others say or do.  It is something you, alone, must choose to wield.  Like Courage. We all come equipped with it and to use it takes merely your activation of it.

Sure. There is no denying that having confidence makes it easer to be assertive. But there is no reason you have to have it to assert yourself. You wield Assertiveness simply through your choice.

I will admit that it’s wise to give the use of your assertion some thought. Answering some questions about how you’re going to use it, for instance.  Choosing your words for the least amount of impact on the other. You may want to think about when and where you wish to exercise it, as well

Practice in using your Assertiveness muscle will certainly make it stronger and contribute much to the job of building Confidence.

I’ve been asked to write a piece for an e-Newsletter called Follow Your Bliss.  The November issue is going to be about Courage.  So I thought I’d dive in and  explore it a bit.

Courage is an interesting trait.  It’s one of those qualities we come equipped with if we choose to engage it.  Much like imagination or forgiveness.

Many times we are courageous without knowing it. Like young people who can do things older folks wouldn’t.  Maybe too much knowledge and well honed images of what could happen scare some people. I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter books on CD.  Harry does brave things without thinking, “Gee, aren’t I courageous!” He just does what seems to be best to do in the moment.

Perhaps there’s a factor of trust in Courage.  If you trust everything will be okay, you’re more likely to go where others dare not.  There is a point beyond trust even where Courage becomes superfluous.  We might call it Faith.  In that place you have a deep sense that you are protected.  You just know what you’re doing is Right (or you don’t even think about whether or not it’s right or wrong) and that’s enough.

Courage keeps you a safe distance from fear.  A timid person is always afraid of something. Courageous ones lower that number significantly.

“Fear is the little mind killer,” we were taught in Dune.  It’s true.  Nothing shoots down more dreams and great deeds than fear. We might define Courage as the absence of fear.

“Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty,” Merriam Webster says. The origin of the word is Heart.  I like that.  We might say a person with courage has heart.

Perseverance is an important quality. Julia Cameron wrote a book called “Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.” What good is anything you do if you give up at the first sign of struggle or fear?

Some may need to wield more courage than others.  But perhaps the more you use it, the less you need it.

I’m going to look for places in my life where I’m courageous without even knowing it. And when I start to feel scared or frustrated, I will engage my courage muscle and see what happens.

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

As promised this week is all about support.  Maria says, “Behind every great success is a team of supporters.”  I have also found this to be true.

We are energetic beings. And we are all connected.  The giving and taking energy is what created us and what sustains us.  What are we without others to interact with?

There is much we can do on our own, but there is not one of us who hasn’t felt scared or unsure at one time, or many.  When you’re in that state, it’s not easy to bring yourself out of it.  It’s like trying to pull yourself out of quick sand.  You, literally, don’t have the footing.

Others can give us the courage we need when we feel we don’t have it.  They can remind us of the promises we’ve made and lift the mirror so we can see all we are and have to give.

It is my experience that people love to talk about what they know.  I am in awe of the generosity of my writing support team.  There is never any hesitation or competition among writers.

Must of us want to help each other and are eager to share what we have.  The water can get murky when we don’t know what to give.  I have often struggled with trying to give someone something they didn’t want or need.  I’ve had many do the same to me. One of the challenges I face in this give and take game is that I don’t always know exactly what I want or need.  How can I possibly know what others want?

So, step 1 in getting support is to figure out what you need.  I think that makes it so much easier to ask. That is the second step (and one many people have difficulty with).  You are unlikely to (or you leave it up to chance to) get the support you really want if  you don’t ask for it.  Step 3, to connect the two, is to receive.  I was surprised to find how difficult that is for me. SARK says most of us are far more used to giving. You need to stay open to receive and allow the other person to give.  Finally, to complete the exchange, say thanks; let the other person know.

Some people think it’s selfish to ask for help.  But this process is always of mutual benefit.  Maria says, “letting others know their value to us is far more precious than any gift you could buy them.”  Self esteem, Maria reminds us, comes from creating value for others.  Does anything feel better than that?

Maria also wants to warn us that support is different from co-dependency.  In co-dependency the other is trying to fix us.  Notice how the help feels.  Does it make you feel empowered or lacking?

Exercise: Getting Support on Your Hero’s Journey.
Maria asks us first to take a look at our structure of knowing about getting support.  Be willing to go beyond that.

Here are some qualities of a good support team person:
* Genuinely supportive
* Someone you like and trust who cannot be manipulated
* Someone who will not manipulate or collude with you in talking about what you don’t have
* Ruthless compassion in reminding you of your promises
* Without a vested interested in the outcome

1. Make a list of the people who have these qualities.
2.  If you come up short, Maria assures us that the act of thinking about how to “give and get quality support” will open us to ideas.  Allow yourself time to ponder, if necessary.  (Really, I’d say, one or two is sufficient to get started.  For this exercise, you only need one person.)
3. Choose a project in which you are willing to be supported. (I like the way she says that.)
4.  Of the people on your list, ask, “Am I willing to let this person have success in supporting me?”  Maria suggests looking at the ways you have used in the past to avoid support.  See how you have kept yourself from moving forward on this project.  It may be uncomfortable to look at that, but the results of doing so will be well worth it.
5.  Within 48 hours, ask one of the people on your list  for help.  You might share with them the ways you have used to get out of it doing it in the past.
6.  Tell the person about the project and make a promise to do a specific Authentic Action in the next two days. This action should be a bit of a stretch, but one you are relatively sure you can do.  Success breeds success.  Tell the person to call you to support you before you do it, or afterwards to celebrate it.
7.  She says you might give the other person your Standards of Integrity so he or she can throw them in your face if you’re not following them.
8.  Tell the truth!  If you haven’t done it, say so. Restate your promise and try again.  Keep coming back.
9.  Acknowledge each other.
10.  If you want to, make another promise.
Maria, of course, adds to write about any thoughts or feelings that come up.

The rest of the chapter goes into detailed instructions of how to create a success group.  Here are the questions she wants you to answer:
1.  What specific qualities am I willing to contribute to the group session so that all of us will be successful?
2.  Am I willing to dismantle my structures of knowing?
3.  Am I willing to use everything that goes on in the group session as a personal lesson for myself?
4.  Am I willing to listen to the support others in the group offer?  Even if I do not agree with what they are saying . . . especially if I do not agree with it?  It’s possible you are being defensive.  Check for that.

This “Sturdy Platform of Support” as SARK calls it, according to Maria will, “Feed you the energy to go beyond where you would normally stop yourself.”  And that’s how we can all be successful. Here’s to moving forward!

Next week – Gratitude, ahhh!

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