Finding Peace and Joy through the Storm

Serenity is life’s supreme accomplishment. It’s not about living life without storms, it’s about finding peace and joy in spite of them.

According to James Allen, serenity is the supreme accomplishment. In his classic essay, “As a Man Thinketh,” he describes how we shape our lives by our thoughts, and how we create a life of joy and bliss by thinking lawfully… or we create a life of misery through unlawful thoughts.

This means that true prosperity is built, not upon principles of competition and brute ambition, but upon principles of successful right-thinking.

Let’s take a look:

The Law of Polarity guarantees that contained in every adversity is the seed of equal or greater benefit, so by law, there is good to be found in all circumstances. That’s why joy and misery are simply NOT determined by what happens to you.

This is proven by the fact that there are rich people who are miserable, and poor people who are full of joy. By the same token, there are poor people who are miserable, and rich people who are full of joy.

In all areas of life, it comes down to this: “Unfortunate” people can be miserable, or they can be joyful, if for no other reason than because the law guarantees the potential exists for both poles in every circumstance.

(Clinical depression or other mental illness can make it nearly impossible for a person to find or access the seed of equal or greater benefit contained in their adversity. If you feel this way, watch this.)

Finding joy

Some of our greatest joys come from growing and becoming all we can be. Growth feels good. It’s what defines us as “living”. So, if the lack of money prevents us from doing that, then we should use the fundamental principles of prosperity to obtain plenty of money. If the lack of positive relationships prevents us from doing that, then we should use the principles to improve our relationships. We can even use the principles to improve our health: physical, mental, and spiritual.

How is this done?

We must first realize that our thoughts are the only domain over which we have ultimate control. We must also acknowledge the fact that all areas of our life are affected by our thoughts. Something happens, and so we respond to it. But how do we respond? It all goes back to how we thought about the situation, and the resultant actions spawned by those thoughts.

We cannot respond gracefully to setbacks if we do not first think graceful thoughts. We cannot turn a bad situation around unless we first think of ways to turn it around.

Success always begins in the mind. (And so does failure.)

That’s why I’m convinced that the most important thing we can do is learn to control our thoughts. True peace and tranquility can be obtained in no other way than through self-mastery:

SELF-mastery, not ENVIRONMENT-mastery.

So when we stop waiting for our circumstances to improve, and instead make peace with—in other words—find happiness with, the way things are NOW, then The Law of Cause and Effect kicks in, and the world begins to soften towards us.

Sometimes making peace with the mess we’re in now is the only way our circumstances will ever improve.

But it’s a scary thing, to make peace with disaster, to come to terms with ruin.

We’re so afraid to go there, because we think it means we’re giving up; and if we give up, then maybe it also means that all hope is completely lost.

But it’s just not true.

Remember, it’s how you THINK that determines what happens next. So if you THINK that making peace with disaster or coming to terms with ruin means irreversible failure, then you’ll never let yourself go there. And that’s what keeps a lot of people stuck.

But what if I were to tell you the truth: that happiness, progress, victory, and goal achievement are ALL waiting on the other side of your coming to terms with the mess you’re in, and finding happiness just the way things are? What if I told you that you should let go of the need for your environment, pocketbook, health, or relationships to change?

Do you dare go there?

What if nothing EVER changed? Can you imagine that? What if I were to tell you that the way things are, are exactly the way things will be for the rest of your life?

How much time would you spend grieving? How long would you let yourself be angry?

And then what?

After a period of grieving, you would be different. We are designed to recover. We were born with the capacity to adjust, and adapt to change. It’s a natural process, in fact. Once we let ourselves give up on waiting for things to change, we can fight it and prolong the pain, but ultimately our systems are physiologically programmed to cycle through all of the stages of grief until we come to acceptance.

The Stages of Grief:

  • shock or disbelief
  • denial
  • bargaining
  • guilt
  • anger
  • depression
  • acceptance/hope

And so we go there (if only just in our minds), and then here we are: having made peace with the way things are NOW.

This is where Nature, the world around us, notices we have changed, and because of the Law of Cause and Effect, it begins to soften towards us.

It’s about finding peace in the storm. Not peace without a storm, but peace in spite of the storm. Greater success then becomes a natural byproduct of our increased serenity.

Ironically, if your serenity is real, and you’ve genuinely given yourself to the process, then it won’t matter to you if you gain more success, because you’re already happy with or without it.

Besides, isn’t happiness the reason for our pursuit of success to begin with?

In conclusion, let me just say this:

We will continue to face challenges. It’s a necessary part of life, because without opposition we do not gain experience, strength, or wisdom. Adversity is a blessing, and when we begin to accept and embrace it for what it is, we begin to experience the peace and prosperity that is ours to enjoy. Life just gets better.

It reminds me of the story of the farmer who complained that everything was always bad. God thought, “You think you have it bad now? Hmmmm. I’ll show you! I’ll show you what bad really is!” and so things got worse for the farmer.

On the other hand, another farmer expressed gratitude for everything, even his hardships, even without understanding why the hardships were good. He prayed: “Thank you for the challenge, because it helps me grow.” God thought, “You think you have it good? Hmmmm. I’ll show you! I’ll show you what good really is!” and things only got better for the farmer.

So just remember:

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”James Allen

For more on this topic, visit How to Surrender (and why you’d want to). Originally published July 29, 2006

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Strange Surfer Wisdom

Positive Thinking Tip: the raging turbulence in life can propel you toward your goals.

We all wish life could be a little easier sometimes: peaceful, tranquil, smooth.  I know – I’ve felt that way.

But the last time I found myself in the middle of a turbulent, disruptive, high-pressure life challenge, an image popped unexpectedly into my head.  Now, I’m not a surfer – and I don’t live near an ocean, so you may think this is a little strange… but this is what I saw:

Here is a surfer zooming through a wave tube.  The shot was taken from the point of view of the surfer.

The surfer is traveling at high speeds and is on his or her way out of the tunnel and into the sunshine.

When this image showed up in my head, it was instantly clear to me that my business momentum (and even some rapid personal growth) was happening because of the destructive forces that were around me, coupled with my determination to get out from under them.

Do you have destructive forces around you?

Are you determined to get out from under them?

I had been doing my best to keep my eyes on where I was going, without giving heed to the difficulties that threatened to destroy everything, but it was not an easy thing to do.  I believe this image popping into my head was God’s way of telling me that the challenges I faced were good for me, and that if I didn’t give up, I’d come through just fine.

It amazed me to realize how the destructive forces and my determined focus on the goal were literally working together to help me utilize the power of those destructive forces to propel me forward.

Can you see how hunkering down and keeping my eye on the end of the tunnel was the best thing I could do, rather than looking around and putting my energy into trying to stop the waves from crashing onto me?  Picture that!  Imagine me zooming down a wave tube on a surfboard, and then turning toward the wave, holding my arms out to block the water from pushing me over.  It would be ridiculous, really, and I suspect I’d come away pretty beat up.

Yes, trying to stop the waves is futile – it’s true in surfing, and it’s true in life.

Remember this! Waves of opposition are part of life, and you can destroy yourself trying to push them away.

By letting the waves of opposition just be what they are, you can focus on where you’re going and they become the force that takes you there.

Whether the force propels you or destroys you depends on where you put your focus, energy, and attention.

Surfers understand this principle; and the best in the field are even happiest when the waves coming at them are the most forceful. They’ve learned to make the most of the very thing that threatens to pull them under (or knock them unconscious), and they use it to travel at breakneck speeds out of the dark tunnel and into the light.

Have you heard about the Law of Polarity that says, the worse things are, the better?  Perhaps now you can see why.

The stronger the wave, the faster you can travel.

By contrast, here’s a picture to the left that symbolizes the life we think we want.

I call this picture “shark bait”.

Things are peaceful, but he’s going nowhere.

So be grateful for your challenges… they’re taking you places.  Don’t be overcome by the appearances of impending doom – let them be what they are, and focus on where you’re going.  It’s an exercise of faith to think this way, but one day you’ll look back and understand what all the disappointments, setbacks, and trials were for.

Feeling gratitude now will put your thinking on a frequency that tunes you into the solutions – genius solutions – to your problems that you haven’t even thought of yet.

For more on this topic, read Portal to Genius – FREE.

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Human Empowerment, in Perspective

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There are a lot of success “gurus” out there, and in spite of what some of my readers have said, I have to admit I don’t really see myself as one of them.

Having traveled the seminar circuit, and having written two award-winning and three best-selling books, I’ve been lumped in the category of speakers who “have it all together”—which is laughable to me.

I am an ordinary person who tries her best to do the right things, but who still makes mistakes just like anyone else—if not more so. Perhaps one difference between me and other people is that I’ve made a project out of publicly sharing the lessons I’ve learned (and have yet to learn) along the way.

(Thank you for coming along on my journey—it’s nice to have your company!)

So what’s the difference between me and the other “gurus”?

Well, one difference has to do with my perspective on human empowerment.

While some gurus teach that you are the ultimate master of your own life, and that you can have, do, and be whatever you want, and that you deserve to have everything life has to offer—my take on it is similar, but it’s different enough that I think it’s worth bringing up.

Some gurus will tell you that you deserve it all.

That’s reasonable, but realize this: They tell you that so you’ll overcome the common mindset that you don’t deserve abundance.

In that light, it’s a good philosophy. But it’s incomplete.

Yes, we must overcome the feeling that we are unworthy or undeserving of success—but the flip side of that is NOT that we are entitled to it, or automatically deserving of anything.

The antidote for feeling unworthy or undeserving (from my perspective, at least) is to believe that the gap between who I am, and my potential, can be bridged when I lean on the power of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Frankly, I “deserve” nothing because I fall so short of living the principles perfectly. But gratefully, I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be perfect to enjoy the blessings, I just need to recognize my shortcomings, acknowledge them, and rely on Him to make up the difference.

Think about it: if we’re really talking about Universal Law, and if it’s as absolute as the term “law” would indicate, then you would have to maintain a perfectly positive, expectant attitude ALL the time or the law of attraction wouldn’t work. Period.

Yet, while nobody keeps their thoughts perfectly (and I mean perfectly) positive at all times, goals are still achieved; victories are still won.

How do you explain that?

I explain it this way: God has provided a way for the demands of the law to be satisfied, but it requires honest effort to be obedient to the law, while I do my best to bounce back into right thinking as soon as I can, and having humility—humility which is demonstrated by acknowledging the role of, and my need for, a higher power in the delivery process, and hoping that God will make up the difference where I fall short when I trust him. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

It takes faith to believe that my Creator can and will help—but that’s the price I pay. The price is not to achieve perfect, unfailing obedience to all the laws of success every moment of every day. The price I pay is to do my best, and then have faith in God that he’ll line things up for me, anyway.

The key is unwavering faith.

Not unwavering faith in oneself, not unwavering faith in the laws (because that would mean nothing but predictable failure, from imperfect obedience to an absolute law), but rather: unwavering faith in God.

Related: Trick, or Treat?

So, do you subscribe to the philosophy that you ALONE are powerful enough to make your life the way you want it? It IS a better philosophy than believing that you are powerless to change anything—

But faith in yourself alone can only get you so far. Faith in a divine Creator takes you the rest of the way. In many ways, it can be harder to do, but when you get into the groove of it, it’s definitely the easier of the two options.

Some gurus will tell you that you’re the creator of ALL that comes to you. I see myself as a CO-creator with God. It’s a partnership. Yes, I am capable of original thought, and I am even capable of creating circumstances in my life with some independence.

But I’ve also learned (the hard way) that when I take the independent approach and get what I want, I find out that it may not have been the wisest thing to ask for.

(Be careful what you pray for, as they say—because you might just get it.)

Yes, I’ve seen astonishing results from applying the laws of success and utilizing the power of intention. But I’ve seen even better results when I first make the effort to determine whether my desire is in alignment with God’s divine plan. When I know with certainty that I am in alignment, it’s infinitely easier to have the faith required while I wait for the necessary elements to line up.

You might wonder, “What if what God wants for me is less wonderful than what I want for myself?”

I feel assured that we cannot possibly imagine the unbelievable rewards that are available for us; rewards that are beyond our comprehension.

We’re like the child who wants nothing more than the plastic toy in the store window, while our parents know that the joy will be short-lived, and that life has much deeper joys to be experienced.

So it is with us. Trust that the object of your desire may be, relatively speaking, childish in comparison to the rewards that are available to us. Check with the parent to see, “Is this something that will bring me ALL the happiness I’m capable of experiencing?”

True, you can use the laws of success to get what you want, apparently without God, sometimes with amazing ease. And using the laws in alignment with God’s purposes often puts you first through tougher challenges than by going independent…

That’s because He’s a good parent.

He’s smart enough to let you first grow into the person capable of appreciating and completely utilizing the reward when it finally comes.

Don’t begrudge the challenge that shows up when you set a goal. Embrace it with gratitude because it’s there to shape you into the person who will be able to fully appreciate the reward you seek.

Haven’t you heard that you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are? How else do you think you change who you ARE, without opportunities to grow through opposition?

Yes, I am the captain of my soul; I am a creative being, capable of original thought, and able to build a better life for myself—no matter who I am, or where I come from.

But without God I am nothing.

Before you get all up in arms about that, think about it: I don’t dictate whether I have the breath of life in me today or not; it could literally be gone in an instant. (Try attracting another breath with your positive attitude when God shuts off the power fueling your life.)

You may not already have everything you want, but you HAVE been granted another breath, at least. How much say did you have in that matter?

It’s a gift worth acknowledging. I look at all I receive as a gift, even when I’ve worked my tail off for it.

So in summary, I am constantly reminded by my weaknesses how dependent I am on that higher power for strength. I rely on unseen help for the guidance I need, which leads me to the necessary resources to accomplish the goals I have. Call it the law of attraction, call it guidance, call it your subconscious, call it whatever you want. The point is, there’s something bigger than all of us that helps us along.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been successful at achieving a goal with an attitude that I “deserved” it or was “entitled” to it. I think this is the reason why:

Sometimes when one of my own children comes to me with a request, and s/he approaches me with an entitlement mentality, I am more inclined to deny the request. (What makes me think a cocky expectation of a goal achieved is what will impress my Creator?)

Related: God or Science – Who Pushes the Apple?

But when my child comes to me with gratitude for what they already have, and make the request for something additional, sometimes I’ll test them with, “What if I say no?”

If their response is, “That would be okay…” then I usually freely deliver.

When their response is anything resembling a tantrum, I hold it back. I can’t reward the ingratitude. Even if I want them to have it, I can’t deliver, lest they conclude it was their tantrum that did the trick.

It’s all just food for thought:

How are YOU asking Life for what you want? With an entitlement mentality, a tantrum, or with gratitude?

Are you going to be able to find peace of mind if it never comes? I think you’ll find that sometimes it only finally arrives after you’ve learned to live in genuine peace and happiness without it.  My newest book, Portal to Genius (free) helps you understand this better in a story form.

Wow, that post was longer than I intended. Sorry about that.

If you want to travel this journey with me, I can help you better if you’ll read The Jackrabbit Factor. (It’s free.)

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