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Just this past week, I saw a pattern of mine.  People say they’re going to help me and for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen.  I can’t blame them because there has been a dizzying array of faces in this place for me.  It can’t be anyone’s fault but mine:   this even happens to me when the person hasn’t offered a thing.

Let’s say I have an issue.  I see that I have arrangements to meet with several people over the next few days who could offer some good perspective.  Lo and behold, the dates get cancelled, or I show up and the other person has something more important to talk about and my issue never even reaches the table.

This is clearly all about me and my pattern.  Why, I would tend to wonder, upon seeing this unfold once again, do I thwart myself like this?  With this latest go-round, I’d say I might have even expected it.  Don’t I want the help?  Of course I do.  Then, why?

Nothing.  Why would I do this to myself?  I can’t think of a reason. Okay, what if I take the positive slant and turn it around?  What if I ask instead, “What am I trying to help myself see?”  What would I do or say if I was going to use this a lesson?

When I phrased it that way, 3 things came to me:

1) Quite clearly, life is trying to tell me to just figure it out by myself and stop expecting others to do it for me. Conversations with God Book 1 says that there is no sin – except maybe to take someone else’s word for it.

2) That doesn’t mean I don’t need the help and support of others from time to time.  So maybe I can  be more proactive about getting help.  I’m the one who’s asking for it, after all.  Don’t let it slide.  Stay with it until I find the answer to the question I seek.  Get clear on what it is I want to know. The more specific I am, the more likely I am to get an answer. I might also try to ask for one thing at a time, instead of a general ~ I need help with this issue.

3) Be sure I follow through on my offers to help others.  It always pays to act the way you want others to act.  Like attracts like.  What goes around, comes around.  I have found in matters such as these, that it is not however, necessarily, the path you are expecting it to be.  (Networking, I believe, works on the same principle.)  You may be talking to one person, but that energy can spread to others.  Lots of others. You never know from where unexpected help may come.

In the end it just doesn’t matter if, in fact, I was thwarting myself because of some fear of success or deep down I’m afraid of what they will say or what I will need to do about it . . .   Waste of time.  That’s just an ugly quagmire.

This way, instead of kicking myself, wallowing in self pity or feeling myself a loser, a victim, afraid, I have an action plan for how I can move forward.

In “Conversations with God, Book 1,” by Neale Donald Walsch, God says, “If there was such a thing as sin, this would be it: to allow yourself to become what you are because of the experience of others.”

This is such an amazing piece of information! On the surface it says, not to take anyone else’s word for anything. Parents, teachers, preachers all try to fill our heads with notions. Even when our experience differs from what they say, we are reluctant to make them wrong.

It goes further, though, in saying that we use what others say to define who and what we are. That I’m only a “good writer” if X number of people approve of me. Or I make X number of dollars. The truth is, no one else can decide if I am being true to myself. No one else’s judgement defines how I write or what kind of writer I am. In the end it is my evaluation that counts.

I watched a Biography of Johnny Depp. The thing that‘s always struck me about Johnny is that he doesn’t let anyone define him. He has always taken the roles he wanted, not the roles that would make him the famous or wealthy. And then he just pours his heart and joy into his work. Whether it is being a musician, an actor or a father, his love of what he does shines through. When people tried to define him, he acted out or took a role that surprised everyone and shattered what they thought they knew about him.

I believe we can all more fully express who we are if we keep our own counsel. Make our own decisions about what’s important, what we believe, what our standards are.

In “Conversations with God,” God tells us that we can’t sin against a God who has everything. If He has no need for us to be or do anything in particular, how can He deem one thing wrong and one right. Commandments are like guidelines for how we can live more peacefully with each other – something we all say we want to do.

To say so clearly that the only way we can sin is to dishonor our own experience is too profound for words. Not everyone agrees with this. But surely we can see how powerful it can be to live this way.

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