The Bigger Picture – Part 3

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BY SIMONE SMITH 

“Our vision must be big enough to inspire and challenge us, but always beyond our reach. Our vision must also be realistic and concrete enough that we can feel good for achieving a part of it.” (Dr. Paul TP Wong)

How inspired are you? Do you feel challenged in your life? These are important questions to ask yourself. They are important because they will give you some insight on how motivated you truly are in your life. On a macro scale, we have many forces in our lives that can cause us stress: recession, global warming and war are a few worth mentioning. These forces have more of an effect on us then we may realize. For some of us, we shelter ourselves from these macro level forces, because the micro level forces are enough for us to handle. Micro level forces can include societal issues such as racism, poverty and crime, cultural issues, ecological issues and existential problems also fall under micro level forces. At times, having to contend with all of this can cause some of us to feel overwhelmed. This can lead to stress and cause one to feel unmotivated. We are challenged in so many areas of our lives. Let’s be honest, life is hard and it does not seem like it will be getting any easier.

Last week I presented Eight Enduring Existential Questions, which were presented at the Summer Institute, 2013 Lecture 5: The Double Vision Strategy for Becoming Unstuck. It was presented by Dr. Paul T. P. Wong, one of the main contributors to Meaning Therapy and Positive Psychology. For those who are interested, you can find Dr. Paul Wong’s ideas and philosophies at www.meaning.ca. These questions helped to deal with one of our micro forces, existentialism. I hope that you had an opportunity to review these questions. They will give you a head start on figuring out how to deal with this world. Another way to begin to tackle dealing with life is spirituality.

The majority of Torontonians follow a religious faith, or hold their own spiritual ideas and beliefs. These beliefs are strong and usually are passed down generationally. Many of us turn to God or our faith to deal with what life is throwing at us. This week I want to share briefly with you some of the Spiritual Activation Interventions that can be utilized to deal with the negative forces that we face.

Prayer is practiced by all religions and is utilized as a way to connect to and communicate with God. I know that I have utilized prayer as an outlet. It allows me to speak what is on my mind and not have others judge my thoughts or my actions.

Meditation is also a practice utilized by the masses. Meditation is said to help a person gain inner peace, increase one’s self-awareness, keeps you present in the moment, increasing your consciousness about the world. It can be source of inspiration, it helps to rejuvenate you and finally it helps to increase your spiritual connection.

I have had the opportunity to connect with individuals who have incredible life stories. I hear about some of the issues that they have had to face and I am amazed at their ability to live such full lives after facing such adversity. What I have learned from them is that they have found a way to transform their life stories into a mythical path. This path is usually a passion that brings them meaning and purpose. Some popular examples are individuals like Steve Harvey, who tells the story about living in his car for months when he was first beginning his comedy career. He transformed his life by using comedy as his outlet. For those who don’t know, Steve Harvey is the current host of the show Family Feud. He also has a morning radio show and has starred countless movies. To add to that list, he also has a bestselling novel, ‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man’, which was turned into a movie. This is what it looks like when you are able to find meaning in your life and motivate yourself to move forward even when dealing with adversity.

Taking the time to reflect on life is important. This is how we examine our experiences and realize what we have learned from them. It allows us to look at the mistakes we made, our successes and our failures. Reflection must be mindful. If not, we can start ruminating about some of the negative things that have happened. Many of these negative experiences have kept us in the same position for a long time. Reflection allows us to identify exactly what is happening in our lives because of what we have experienced.

This thing called life is hard, no doubt. I want you to realize that it is okay and there are people who are here to help you. Stay strong, stay motivated, stay focused!

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