Hampton Inn and Suites,
Chicago, IL November 7th, 2015
Column: All About Town…by Theresa Puskar
How many miracles have to occur in your life before you have enough faith to know that you are protected, guided, and loved?
My life has been an unending symphony of miracles, each with its own magical song. Yet, despite the barrage of evidence of a benevolent, conscious, and co-creative universe, I still harbor so much doubt. As of late, I’ve been asking myself, “How many miracles is it going to take before I surrender my fearful attempts to control everything, and allow my divine to take care of me?”
I was recently at my weekly Oneness event and the leader, Savita, shared her understanding of what the deeksha blessing is and how it works. One of the things she said was that it clears blocks in the parietal lobe of the brain, and activates the frontal lobe. This energetic surge helps to quiet our minds, and quell emotional blocks such as fear.
I have been asking myself, “If I am in this much fear, how much faith do I really have?”
It has been two years since I went to Oneness University in India, and as I reflect, I note how much fear impacts my life. I have traveled throughout the world on my own. I have pursued a risky career as an actress, and I have moved to new cities without knowing a soul. Compared to most, I would be considered quite a courageous individual. That being said, during the past two to three months in particular, I’ve noted how much energy I burn
on fear-based thinking. I have come to realize that my body often functions in fight-or-flight mode. My breathing is very shallow, my muscles are extremely tight, and my mind and body are constantly racing. I encourage you to take a moment and check in with your inner fear detector. Are your muscles tense? Do you usually breathe in a shallow manner? Do you often find yourself worrying and anxious about your day-to-day encounters?
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King
This weekend I took my first step towards exploring my lack of faith when I attended an Immersion Process (IP) seminar hosted by husband and wife team, Jim and Christiana Herbert. Entitled Empower Yourself and Create Your Life, the fundamental teachings of this workshop were based on the insights of bestselling author and spiritual teacher, Mike Dooley. Amazed at how quickly and immensely Jim and Christiana’s lives have shifted in the past one and a half years, my friend, personal coach, and Immersion trainer, Marcy Walsh encouraged me to join her for the day. I’m glad I did.
I think that sitting with the fear, and observing it is a powerful first step.
During the workshop, Jim and Christiana shared their own stories of emotional and spiritual awakening. Christiana told a particularly moving account of how she pulled herself out of a deep depression and low self-esteem into her flourishing relationship with her husband, Jim. The sharing she did was a great example of the power that comes from living an authentic life, and telling our true stories – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think that sometimes we are so busy “doing” our lives, that we forget to take a breath, sit back, and observe the magnificence of our existence. So, as she reflected on her life, I reflected on mine. My life has truly been extraordinary. It has been a rollercoaster of laughter, love, hatred, peace, fear, angst, and everything in between. The fear that I ponder is one of the key ingredients in my life’s recipe. It is part of the experiential stew that has taken me to where I am today. I am a hero in my own life’s journey. I believe we are all epic heroes in our life journeys. If we stop long enough to observe where we are and where we have come from, we’d each own the rights to some pretty amazing docudramas! Take a moment to ask yourself what role fear has played in your personal epic.
“Emotions that are unpleasant can serve to open our hearts and deepen our understanding of life’s truths.” – Unknown
I find the fear that I experience to be unpleasant, to say the least. I don’t like it, and I judge it. In this judging, I resist it. There is a price that I pay for that resistance, however. The saying, “What you resist persists” is so true in this case. Does this mean we should all walk around playing out our fears in the fiercest way possible? Perhaps the first step, as Christiana and Jim so aptly presented, is owning the fear, and seeing it as a way out. As I publicly share my struggle with my fear, I hereby own it. However, what is the next step?
A Course In Miracles teaches that there are only two emotions: Fear or love. Which do you choose?
As we get caught up in the dramas of our lives, often we forget that we have a choice. I can choose to be in fear, or in love in each and every moment. Many times I have chosen fear. It has driven the limiting beliefs that keep me from achieving and living my dreams. In the workshop, Jim defined limiting beliefs as: “Anything you have in your brain that puts a barrier on what you can do.” It is easy to replace “limiting beliefs” with fear, and in doing so we reach the same conclusion. Christiana reminded us that our beliefs were instilled in us at a young age, and that we didn’t necessarily consent to them. As adults, we can now look beyond our fears and choose to instill new beliefs. The Herberts outlined the three steps to instilling new beliefs as being: 1) Choose beliefs that serve your life, 2) Claim those beliefs through thoughts and words, and 3) Act as if they are true every day. Doing so is simple, yet not always easy. Oops! I just caught myself weaving yet another web of limiting beliefs.
“Joy is only a few thoughts away!” – Mike Dooley
As the day came to an end, we each opened sealed envelopes that we chose from a deck that Jim fanned out in front of us at the beginning of the workshop. Each contained a different word. I opened my envelope, and of course, it was the perfect message. The word on the card was “Faithful.” I know that as I become truly faithful, the fear-based thoughts, and my body’s fight-or-flight response to them will decrease significantly. The task now is to cultivate my faith. How will I do so? I don’t know, yet I do know that the road I need to take will surface, as I wholeheartedly commit to finding that answer.
As we drove home, Marcy and I discussed ideas and insights that came in response to the workshop. She shared a potent Byron Katie quote that really moved me, “If you have a thought and it feels bad, it is not the truth.” Wow! What an aha moment that was! If I have a thought and it feels bad, it is not the truth. I immediately take note that when I think fearful thoughts, they always feel bad. They are not the truth. Then what is the truth? I am immediately taken to the powerful words of Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” The truth is, our greatest fear – my greatest fear is the power that rests at the core of my being. While I can blame everyone else for keeping me small, I know that I am the sole composer of that fearful tune.
Flashing back to my training at Oneness University, I am reminded that all thoughts are part of the “thoughtmosphere.” I do not own them, and they are not me. The prescription for this spiritual malady is first to acknowledge such thoughts and the feelings they spark within me. Then being open to fully feel them, and finally to allow them to move through me. This I know to be true –now all I need is the faith to do so!
To learn more about Jim and Christiana Herbert and any upcoming Emerging Into Joy workshops, you can log onto www.emergingintojoy.com.
Theresa Puskar, our All About Town contributor, is a writer, trainer, speaker, and inspirational audiobook producer. She has recently authored The Terri Series – seven books that focus on social issues such as bullying, honoring diversity, celebrating creativity, non-judgment of emotions, finding alternatives to technology-based entertainment, discovering a non-judgmental God, and overcoming fears. She has also recorded a powerful experiential audio program, How to De-clutter Your Mind and Live a Heart-Centered Life. To learn more about Theresa and her upcoming engagements, log onto www.theresapuskar.com.