Monday, January 29, 2018

You Too Are Priceless

Do you know the fascinating true story about the golden Buddha?  700 years ago a solid gold Buddha was built by monks in Thailand.  It was placed in a great temple there.  Then in the 1700's Thailand was invaded by Burma and the capitol city and many temples were burned to the ground.  In one city a brick Buddha covered in gold was melted down by the invaders.  In order to save their solid golden Buddha from being taken and melted down by the Burmese, monks carefully covered it with a plaster covering to make it look like a plaster image instead of a golden one.  Their plan worked.  The image was completely ignored by their captors.  Over the course of many years it was completely forgotten that the Buddha was made of anything but plaster.  In the 1950's in the process of moving the Buddha to a new location, a rope broke and the Buddha fell hard to the ground, cracking the plaster.  As the movers examined the damage they discovered something gold colored and shiny underneath.  Carefully the plaster was removed to reveal the solid gold Buddha underneath that had been hidden for several centuries.  It has now been named one of the wonders of the world, and considered priceless.  Today the Buddha in all its glory sits at Wat Traimitrwittararam, Thailand where many people can visit and enjoy it.

We are also priceless inside.  Many of us know only our outer covering that covers the beauty of who we truly are inside.  I know this because I used to think all there was to me was the plaster outer covering.  I did not know I was priceless gold inside, and that each of us is priceless.  

I have always had a problem seeing my value.  I remember for years wondering why my husband married me.  What could he possibly see?  I felt I was not extremely talented at anything, and considered myself a mediocre and somewhat dull person.  I felt I had little to contribute to the world.  I felt I was surrounded by many bright and wonderful stars who could do anything this world needed so much better than I could, so why try?  

This last year I decided to really look inside and see why I felt this way.  I decided to use the tool I call "Because Papers" which I have written about previously on this blog.  My first because paper was entitled, "I Feel Inadequate Because...."  I wrote down everything I could think of.  I cried a lot.  I felt small and worthless.  The next day I went back and read my paper, looking for a new perspective.  My second title became: "My Mother Was Wrong Because....." (OUCH).  I realized I had interpreted who I was through my mother's  eyes, or my perception of what she thought I was.  How could I still think that way at 52 years old??  I have no idea, but old wounds run very deep.  I wrote everything I could think of, and cried some more.  

On day three I read through my last paper, looking for a new perspective.  My third and last paper became titled, "I Am Very Precious Because.....".  As I wrote what came to my mind I knew it was inspired, and I knew it was not just for me, but is for all of us.  So today I choose to share with you why you truly are made of gold on the inside, no matter what outer covering you may have.  This paper is very special to me.  It is when I first truly knew that I was golden inside, and that everyone is.  Here it is, unedited:

"I am very precious because......(precious: something of great value, not to be wasted or treated carelessly, rare and of great worth):
I am the literal daughter of the King of the Universe - God, our Heavenly Father.  I have all value just in my creation alone.  
I am treasured by my Heavenly Father. 
 I truly have infinite worth.  Because I have been given the rare gift of the gospel and the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, I have been equipped to do anything and everything that is good and that God wants me to do.  
Through God I am unstoppable and fully capable of doing all that He prompts me to do. 
 I can act in all confidence, and move forward in any capacity with full assurance that I am an agent for good in the world under His direction.  
I will follow and trust God with all my heart because I know how valuable I am.  
I will move forward quickly and in all assurance.  
I have been empowered.  
I am the daughter of the King of heaven and earth.  I am truly called to spread God's light."

You too have been created by the God of the Universe.  You are his child.  You are priceless.  That's just who you are.  No one can change that.  Has who you truly are been hidden for so long that you have forgotten?  Do you see your plaster outer covering and think that is all there is to you?  I did.  But now I know the truth.  The plaster was cracked and is being chipped away and who I truly am is emerging.  You are golden too, we all are.  Find a way to crack the plaster and start chipping it off to reveal the golden you underneath, the real you.... priceless.  

p.s. Tune in next week for one awesome way to start chipping the plaster off!

Monday, January 8, 2018

You Can't Go Over It. Oh, No! You've Got to Go Through It!

Yesterday I drove to Idaho.  I did not even think to check the weather before planning this trip, especially since we haven't had any weather to speak of pretty much this whole winter.  As I got into my car I noticed a slight amount of rain on my windshield.  I checked the weather on my phone as I started my car.  The forecast was rain all day.  I didn't think much of it.  I figured we would be lucky to get a few drops the way things have been going, and off we went.  As we drove I commented to my two passengers that I hate driving in snowy conditions and will pretty much cancel any plans to avoid driving in snow.  I also mentioned that my second least favorite weather to drive in is heavy rain. 

About an hour into our drive it started to rain, just lightly.  Half an hour later it began to snow.  About this time I missed a turn.  We did not notice this for a good 15-20 minutes.  By the time we did we were approaching Snowville (ironically enough) and the snow had started to pack the road.  In order to get where we were going we had to turn at Snowville and take back roads to our destination, another 40 minutes away.  The speed limit was 60 mph, but because of the snow packed roads I had to drive much slower.  At times I could not see the lines on the road or be sure where the road ended and the field on the side of the road began.  It was pretty scary.  As though that wasn't enough we had to climb a summit on a winding road that at one point had a sign that said "chain up area ahead" (um, no chains on board) and then try not to slide down and off the other side of the summit.  I was extremely grateful for good tires. 

I have pretty much committed never to drive in snow due to some close calls in the past.  Yet, despite my commitment here I was in another precarious snowy driving situation.  I very much wanted out of that situation.  I felt like the family in the book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" where it says, "You can't go over it.  You can't go under it.  Oh, no!  You've got to go through it!"  Yep, that's just how it was.  I couldn't get out of it.  I had to go through it.

While I was driving I thought about how difficult things in life are like my driving experience in the snow.  We do what we can to avoid getting into those difficult situations, but we can't always see them coming.  We can't see that far ahead of us.  Then when we find ourselves in the middle of something we didn't choose and didn't want we realize that we can't go over it, we can't go under it.  Oh no!  We've got to go through it!  We have to endure and navigate the best we can, and just keep going until the storm passes.  And it feels like it will never pass.  This has happened to me many times.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  (I wish we could sit down and share our experiences with each other, and how we finally did come out on the other side of the storm.  I would love to know your story!)

We finally did reach our destination, thankfully in one piece.  Though at times I wondered if the white roads would really ever end, or whether we would just keep going and going and never really reach our destination.

Whatever difficult times you are facing in your life, whatever snow packed, precarious and scary things are in front of you, just keep going.  You can't go over it.  You can't go under it.  Oh no!  You've got to go through it!  Trust that it won't be this way forever.  The storm will eventually end.  Hold on to that.

P.S.  By the time we headed home the roads had been plowed and we went a different way to avoid the summit.  However, we had heavy rain the whole way home, my second least favorite.  But we survived the storm and got home safely, which in the end is the thing that matters most.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Who Are You and What Do You Think?

Are you the kind of person who loves to sit down on January first and set new goals for the year, or are you the kind of person that doesn't set goals because you don't want to be tied down to anything specific?  Maybe you are the kind of person that  doesn't need a specific date.  You set a goal whenever something comes up that you want to accomplish. Or have you decided not to set goals because it's not worth the ding to your ego should you not accomplish them?

Every once in a while I learn something that causes an "aha" moment for me.  It's usually something earth shattering in the way I see the world.  This year I got a book for Christmas that has created a huge "aha" experience for me. 

In my mind I know that not everybody thinks the same way.  Yet in my day-to-day practicum of life, I tend to forget that.  This often leads me to misunderstand or misinterpret the actions and thinking of others.  My new book "The 4 Tendencies" is one of those personality books that help you understand the way people are, like "The Color Code", or "The 5 Love Languages", or the series of books by Carol Tuttle, or the Myers-Briggs personality test.  "The 4 Tendencies" focuses solely on one aspect of people's personalities - why we act or why we don't act.  As it turns out, not everyone loves to sit down on New Year's Day and evaluate the past year and set goals for the new year..........which thing I had never supposed.  Even my own husband pointed out to me that he never sets goals on New Year's Day.  He sets them whenever during the year he pleases, whenever something comes up.  Hmmmmm.  After 30 years of marriage how had I not noticed this?

What I love about personality books is that they seek to help us understand ourselves and understand others.  When we understand things about ourselves it helps us to be happier.  When we understand others it helps us to appreciate who they are and why they do what they do. It helps improve relationships. 

For example, from the Myers-Briggs personality test I learned about myself that while I LOVE people, social situations drain me.  Knowing this about myself helps me to gear up for social situations, and gives me permission to come home and crash afterward. 

From The 5 Love Languages I learned what says "I love you" to my husband, myself, my children and others around me. 

From the Color Code I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are in certain areas, as well as those of my husband and others.  I learned in what ways we are alike, and how we are different. 

From books by Carol Tuttle (Dressing Your Truth) I learned how my energy flows, what energizes me, and what looks good on me to accentuate my personality.  There were things in her personality profiles that shocked me.  I remember thinking, "She couldn't possibly know this about me!" or "Oh, that explains why I do that!"  Several times I called my husband in and said, "Listen to this!"  We were both surprised at the uncanny small things that fit each personality profile. 

I am not very far into this latest personality book, but I am already very intrigued by what I have learned.  I naturally assumed that EVERYONE sets new years resolutions.  Now I am learning that people do goals as well as just about everything else in life for certain reasons, and not necessarily the same reasons I have. 

I realize that some of you hate to be categorized.  You don't want to be stereotyped.  If it helps, I look at it more like learning about yourself, seeing what fits and what doesn't in order to understand yourself and those around you better.  And while not everyone wants to be stereotyped, everyone does want to be understood.

As we head into the new year, I encourage you to spend some time exploring and seeking to understand yourself and those around you better.  Doing so leads to better relationships and happier lives, and we all want that.