I tend not to talk about beliefs much. There’s so much argument out there already about religion – and Bryan usually contributes to that enough for the both of us (I mean that in the best way). Honestly? I don’t hold “religious” beliefs.
I’ve explored a lot of things that have peaked my curiosity, though, over the years. I have a strong penchant towards pagan belief but I don’t necessarily like all the ritual. I like Buddhist practices but don’t agree with the core of their belief system. I love the ancient religions that were based in mythology – the stories, characters, ideas, etc. All in all, I think every religion that exists boils down to the same things. That’s why I can never understand why everyone is arguing over it. I don’t believe there is one be all end all belief system. For me, I don’t believe in having a belief system, per se. I don’t practice the term “God”. I don’t like it – the social connotations surrounding the word do not still well with me.
Nevertheless, sometimes I’m drawn to a philosophical, theological, or self-help text for one reason or another. I like the idea and practice of visualization and affirmation. I feel strongly that meditation can be wildly good for you. I think our thoughts are powerful. What we spend the most time thinking about, both consciously and subconsciously, is what manifests in our life (and I’m not talking about empty prayers). I have already mentioned the experiences we have begun to have over the last 3 months or so here. So when I was doing a search on the Kindle for some abundance books to keep building on that flow early on I stumbled on the Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting Playbook, I added it to my wishlist. I had only read the book blurb and a few reviews and it sounded interesting. In addition, it was a workbook (something actionable) and I’ve loved workbooks since I was 5. Then I forgot about it until Christmas.
Thankfully, Bryan and I decided to go ahead and exchange small gifts this year. I had his blog wish list to work from and he had my Amazon wish list. Low and behold…here’s what I unwrapped. I dug in immediately when we had some quiet time on Christmas day. After reading the first two pages I flinched. There were the words, God and Creator – seriously? My initial reaction was, “well that sucks, because a lot of the other ideas are pretty intriguing. Why did she have to go there?” I took a breath and made a decision to keep reading, only I started to substitute the word “universe” for every external “God” reference (universe doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I think the universe is inexplicable and everything was obviously created in some manner, even if it was just energy and particles and not some big supernatural being in sandals and a white robe).
I just made it through page 20 and I feel like I’ve flipped a switch. I’m usually quick to try to justify this to the naysayers – to qualify my thinking in some way as to dismiss the foofy, fuzzy stuff. I’m over that right now. People may look at the content in this book and think I’m crazy. That’s not my issue – it’s theirs. I’m not “crossing to the dark side” and becoming some blind follower of a program or system designed to create passive believers. Right now, I am reacting to what I know to be true for myself (notice, I didn’t say believe).
The elements of this book that resonate with me so far are not necessarily new. Many have been a part of other books and ideals that I’ve explored before. In some instances, it’s a welcome recognition of ideas, a, “hey – that’s right! I remember that from before”. In other cases I’ve found that they are worded in a way to bring me an “ah-ha” moment. The exercises and ideas have made me feel different, physically and mentally. After I was reading a little this morning I was buzzing. So many things were coming to me that I practically couldn’t put them down on paper fast enough. I feel a definitive shift in my internal perspective right now.
One of the biggest ah-ha’s?
Change the feeling and you’ll change the belief.
Case in point….as I went through my open enrollment for medical benefits at work this past fall I discovered that through a couple of changes (including selling some of my PTO) our contribution per pay was going to be $7 – compared to the $204 it was in 2012. I got my first check of the new year today and I was anxiously awaiting the new payout. I looked only to find that the entire amount, plus some, was absorbed by the tax increases for 2013. We have been eager to rebuild our financial plans and potentially have the opportunity to do things that we miss (like traveling, remodeling, etc.). This was expected to be a great boost. Four weeks ago I may have been devastated, probably spiraling into a negative state for the rest of the day feeling like, “we’re never going to get to do any of this stuff”. Today, I reworked our household budget, found that we’re still quite okay, and took a breath. Was it disappointing? Absolutely. Was it the end of the world? Not this time. It would simply require a new plan and it would be just fine. I wasn’t feeling like it was the end of the world, so I no longer believed it would be the end of the world.
Am I contributing it all to this book? No. The pattern had already started. Some of my takeaways from Excuse Me, so far, have just helped increase and build on that momentum. Again, though, I’m only 20 pages in. I’ve done all the exercises and I’m keeping myself from reading ahead (a HUGE challenge for me as I’m the one who always wants to read the last sentence of a book as soon as I pick it up). I’m anxious to see what comes next.