Weave the Threads of Your Life – Chapter 1 – Reflections

The word reflection triggers many thoughts and images for me.

I remember a day years ago, not long after beginning a new journey of spiritual exploration and personal growth. While dressing for work in the morning, I used the mirror in my closet to tie a bow on my blouse. I struggled with the bow, and then decided to look down directly at it rather than looking in the mirror. It was much easier to tie the bow when I looked directly at it, when I concentrated on the bow rather than its reflection.

The thought struck me that several of my teachers, and authors of books, said that life is like a mirror for us. I had accepted that idea and understood it, but now there was new personal significance for the mirror of life concept. I realized it would be more effective to concentrate on my own experience from inside rather than depending on outside advice and feedback. I wanted to look at my life and experience directly rather than through the mirror image.

Most of the time I tried to please other people. I was living through them and for them; their expectations and perceptions of me were important. Using the mirror to tie a bow was difficult, and using other people to judge my value was not working very well.

I decided to get in touch with how I perceived my experience, and act according to my own Inner Guidance. Feedback from people gives me information about how they experience me; it is an indicator, not the full picture, of who I really am. It is OK to use a mirror to check how I look to others, like I did with the bow after it was tied. Discovering how others perceive me teaches me about my outer image in life. That certainly helps me prepare for how I might be treated. However, in making important choices, I want to be more aware and respectful of my own inner urges and deep desires.

This was a powerful turning point, a decision which led to exploring my wants and needs in more depth. I discovered that it was difficult to identify what I truly wanted or needed, and I found it a challenge to express it, even to myself. When I began to express my wants and needs, people around me were uncomfortable, because they were not used to it, and I was awkward in my first attempts.

After months of training sessions with Lifespring, an experiential personal growth program, I used my new insights to make profound changes. I discovered what was important to me, like traveling and teaching. I began to make choices based on my needs and desires, rather than simply allowing other people to influence me based on their needs and desires. Independence and self-reliance are high priorities for me. I like to give to people, and I began to see the need to balance giving and receiving.

I was on the path of integration, a search for wholeness, rather than the disintegration and disillusionment I sensed before that. Life took on a new meaning and excitement for me. I can still recapture that sense of excitement now, as I remember the special moments in front of that mirror, and exploring the implications for my life.

It has not been an easy journey since then. I discovered much pain and grief buried within me since childhood. For many years, I was not able to remember anything before the age of seven. I got professional help to explore my early years. I needed help to work through the pain of a traumatic experience with my mother when I was seven and my sister was nine. My mother locked herself in the bathroom with a butcher knife, and threatened to kill herself, with only my sister and me in the house. It took time for me to work through the emotions of fear, anger and guilt from that experience. After doing that I could begin to remember the events before I was seven.

Many of my childhood memories are good. Some of them are painful. During one underwater rebirth session, I relived a memory of nearly drowning when I was one year old. It was painful to recall the sensation of not being able to scream for help. My family never talked about that particular event in my early life, and I suspected I might be imagining it.

During a family reunion, I asked my brother about it. He was rather distressed by the memory and told me, “Yes, Bon, it did happen. I took you out with me and my friends on a sailboat. You fell into the water. I pulled you out fairly quickly.”

It was a relief for me to realize that this memory was accurate, and it explained why I rarely asked for help. That experience of not being able to breathe, or scream for help, was buried deep within. I made a decision at that time that there was no point in calling for help since no one could hear me. I still struggle sometimes with the issue of not being heard.

These are a few examples of the memories I have uncovered. This process of discovery has resulted in my release of the pain and grief from childhood. I have discovered a new joy and appreciation for life.

There are many mirrors in life, besides the ones in our bathrooms or closets. The physical mirrors show us our physical image. People also serve as mirrors for us, and there are many things around us that give us messages. I now observe and listen more carefully. I lived at a marina years ago, and loved to watch the water through the living room window. Sometimes, early in the morning, the water was calm and quiet. The reflections of the boats and sky were very clear. At other times, when the wind was blowing, the reflections in the water were disturbed, almost unrecognizable compared to the real objects reflected there. Life can be like that too. The mirrors around us can be distorted and not reflect accurately what we are doing, or who we really are, like those funny mirrors in a fun house. Just as the wind can disturb the water, the past experiences of people can distort their reflections of us. Their reactions are affected by their past.

What about our own reflections on our past and present?  Our memories of things that have happened affect the way we observe ourselves and the world around us. Our memory of the past is affected by our unique set of filters, the lenses we use to view events. It is powerful to understand the truth Ken Keyes, Jr. shares in his book, The Power of Unconditional Love, “people can always be trusted to live out their programming!”  If someone learned as a child that anger was the best way to get attention, then the habit of getting angry is understandable. If someone learned as a child to not trust the emotional moods of a parent, like I did with my mother, then having a difficult time trusting people as an adult is understandable. I got the message as a child that my anger was dangerous, so I spent many years hiding my anger, or denying it. Knowing the importance of past programming makes it easier for me to trust people, to judge less, criticize less, and to love unconditionally both myself and others.

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Introduction to Weave the Threads of Your Life

Have you ever seen a mural made with Mosaic tiles? Or a tapestry made with woven fibers?

When you stand very close to either, what you see are the individual tiles or threads and colors. It is only when you stand back that you begin to see the bigger picture.

A few years ago I visited the Charles M Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. One wall is a mural designed by Yoshiteru Otani. It is composed of 3,588 ceramic tiles selected from the Charlie Brown comic strip  –  about ten years’ worth of daily strips. Otani hand-selected each strip to compose a secondary scene of Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown.

When you stand very close to the wall you can view each individual scene from the comic strip. When you stand back about eight feet from the wall you can see the images of Lucy and Charlie formed by the dark and light areas of the tiles.

Have you ever worked on a picture puzzle? When you look at one piece, it is difficult to imagine what the full picture is going to be. After you fit the pieces together, or if you look at the cover on the box, you can see the bigger picture.

Many years ago a friend suggested that I would reach a point in my life when I could step back and see the bigger picture. Just as I stepped back from the tile mural in the museum, I sometimes stand back and review my life so that I can see how the many threads are woven into a bigger picture.

This book is a way to share my process with you. I hope that you will consider doing something similar in your own life. It can be very rewarding to discover a higher perspective of our lives.

The book is separated into three parts.

Part 1 is an opportunity to step back, and reflect on the past, to determine our patterns, stories, fears and values.

Part 2 is an opportunity to answer the questions:

What now?
What next?
How can I create a new life?

Part 3 is a journal you can use as you read each chapter, where you can make notes and use this process for your own life journey.

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Foreword to Weave the Threads of Your Life

I started writing this book in 2002, 12 years ago! It has been a journey. I am ready now to finish it.

Foreword

We are all unique. We created what we have and will have. Our thoughts create the results in our lives. Our actions make things happen, and yet we must believe something is possible before we are willing to take action.

Are you aware of your thoughts? Do you notice how you talk to yourself internally? Are your thoughts bringing you satisfying results or things you want to change?

Our beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts shape the reality we create and perceive. There is a lot of research to demonstrate this. If you want to read more about this subject, I suggest books like Ask and It Is Given or The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks, or Wayne Dyer’s You’ll See it When You Believe It, or Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life. Other good books are The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood, The One Command by Asara Lovejoy, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. I think the reason we see many books now on this topic is that the timing is right for people to evolve and receive all the good that is meant for us. There is much dissatisfaction in the world. What used to work no longer seems to work for most people.

A friend suggested I read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I was interested in Robert’s comment that most people believe that we should get a good education, a good job, work hard and retire. This was good advice years ago. Today this strategy is not as effective.

How many people do you know who are being laid off, or having trouble finding a job? I was a teacher in the 1970’s and they closed my school because of loss of enrollment. They laid off many qualified and well educated teachers. I got a job at the phone company as a computer programmer, analyst and manager. In the 1980’s they had several waves of incentive programs to reduce staff, and eventually they laid people off.

I decided to take early retirement in 1987 to start my own business. I am glad I did, because it no longer seems realistic to have a job with one company or organization for twenty-five years and then comfortably retire. Times are changing. I am glad I had a head start in shifting my attitudes and finding ways to generate money without depending on an organization to give me a job.

Do you know how your beliefs developed? Are you aware of the messages you received as a child?

Have you heard the messages:

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

“Another day, another dollar.”

“I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”

“Life is a struggle and then you die.”

“You can’t win for losing.”

“Money is evil.”

It helps to search for what we believe, and to find better ways to think and do things. We need to test our new ways in the world to get what I like to call ‘feed forward’. I have experimented and made changes in my life. I want to share my discoveries, and support you in discovering important things in your life.

Do you have a vague sense that what you have been doing is not ‘enough’ or what you came here to do? Do you wonder “Is this all there is?” Would you like to create a different life than you have today? Can you see the possibilities for being more satisfied, more passionate about work and life in general? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then this book is for you.

I tend to ask lots of questions. It helps clarify my ideas and beliefs, and focus on what is important. In this book, there are many questions, and I hope you are the type of person who finds this stimulating and useful.

Here are some questions that I have found useful:

Do you wish you could do what you love and be rich?

What would your life be like if you were able to ‘have it all’, to have everything that was of value to you?

Do you believe that work must be a struggle, that work and play must be separated, that people who enjoy their work probably don’t earn much money?

Do you believe that ‘dreamers’ are not successful in making money or implementing anything?

What does prosperity mean to you — money, harmonious relationships, security, a lovely home, freedom to travel?

Have you discovered your passion and purpose in life?

To what are you committed?

I ask myself these questions, and over time the answers change. For instance, I used to believe that work was a struggle, and if I was doing something I really enjoyed it seemed wrong to be paid for it. I used to believe that people who really follow their passion and joy do not make much money. I chose to shift some of my beliefs. I still have some old beliefs that I think no longer serve me, and I am working on shifting them to beliefs that will serve me better.

Bonnie Best

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