Monthly Archives: December 2016

72. The Unexpected Storms Of Life

Planning For Inclement Weather

In my quiet time today, I was thinking about the last few months of my life and what a complete and total chaotic experience it’s been. Never have I encountered such uncertainty and threat to my stability. I’ve grown stronger and expanded more in this current, but ever-changing terrain I’ve been attempting to navigate, than I have in my last 51 years combined. My life has reminded me of the evolving plans I encounter at my son’s school when there’s a likely inclement weather event. Tentative plans are in place, yet there’s the knowledge that at any time, unpredictable storms could, and often do, make the roads impassable that I’ve chosen for my pilgrimage, requiring flexibility, and determining an alternate timeline, route, or even dismissal of plans all together.

Nothing But Strict Observation

Today, as I sat quietly looking out into the back yard, I watched as the wind was blowing the trees. Leaves were falling, beams of sunlight would streak through, shining in their radiant beauty, only to disappear a few moments later behind cloud cover. I had the strangest sense of understanding and parallel as I watched nature unfold, ushering in some darker clouds, blowing winds, and threat of potential rain. There was nothing but strict observation on my part, and the understanding that there is no controlling the weather. It didn’t succumb to my plans or desires, it simply is, and unpredictably so. If I choose to react negatively to the threat of bad weather it will not, in fact, change the course of the weather. It will simply change the trajectory of my day, by creating negativity and unnecessary emotional turmoil, regarding something completely out of my control. My only decision is how I want to proceed, based on what is being presented to me at the time, and the recognition those plans may need adjusting as more information is made available.

The Unexpected Storms Of Life

Just as with the ever-changing weather, our lives are constantly in flux. The best laid plans are often thwarted by the unexpected storms of life, that require our astute observation and consideration to work around, with the plasticity needed to alter course when necessary. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, frustrated, or even angered by not only the uncertainty, but the consequences that these life storms create. I have wondered so often of late why such intense events happen in our lives, yet I’ve been shown time and again that a period of clearing always precedes growth.

Extracting Trees Of Turmoil

I thought about the intensity of a tornado and the damage it leaves in its wake. It barrels through the landscape, stripping away exterior facades, imploding buildings, and pulling up firmly rooted, adult trees and tossing them like a child’s toy. Many times the very things that vex us, hold us back, and continually devastate our lives unbeknownst to us, are much like those adult trees. They’re our personal trees of turmoil. They are narratives, patterns, false beliefs, past hurts, and other areas festering below the surface, firmly and deeply rooted, often for decades, that require an impetus great enough to strip away all the exterior facades keeping them buried, and strong enough to extract them forcefully by the roots, to insure no further regrowth. A gentle wind would have no bearing on such. It often takes tremendous life storms that rock our world, strip us of all we think we have and need, and leave us laid bare before we understand. It’s these tumultuous events and upheaval that brings us to the place we not only recognize, but learn to accept, it is in the excavating and extracting of our trees of turmoil that we bring about the needed, healthy clearing that precipitates growth and forward movement.

Still Standing And Tranquilly So

I’m sitting here eerily calm today, just as if I were in the eye of one of the hurricanes I’ve been through while living in Florida. Having just experienced some devastating winds that threatened to pull my life apart, I’m yet still standing and tranquilly so. Strangely, calm is reigning, even though there’s damage and debris from the round of life storms that have just rolled through. There is pain, as any extraction leaves a sensitive, gaping hole, that only time and appropriate tending will heal. Yet, there’s a recognition and understanding that there are more bands of potentially harsh weather coming at some point. Knowing that, I’m somehow still serene, not fearful, nor am I cowering. I’m simply watching the weather and weighing the available information, understanding if adverse effects are encountered, there’s always clean up and restoration that comes afterwards. There is that brief moment of taking cover as the storm passes over, yet there is no reason to remain permanently in hiding.

A New Plane Of Existence

This is a new plane of existence for me. I’m calm and accepting, rather than reactive, even as I’m tending my wounds and clearing the debris. The past would have dealt me the usual hand of cards, stacked with pain, remorse, self-doubt, isolation, fear, and a newly donned protective posture. A battening down of the hatches, if you will, protecting against the next band of heavy winds and battering that are sure to ensue at some future point. Only this time, there is no battening down. There is no closing up or protective posture. There is no self-debasing, painful inner discourse, or trepidation about what future potential storms may bring to bear. There is simply a survey of the landscape, an assessment of the past damage done and the necessary intervention to address and clear it, along with the directional tweaking of potential paths leading forward, as tomorrow is a new day.

No Longer Afraid Of Getting A Little Wet

I’m just about to walk out the door to visit my mom. A recent injury has left her in a rehab facility. I’m taking her some needed supplies, but outside a storm is brewing, the wind is blowing, and it has just started to rain. I could choose to not go out. I could cower in my home, fearful I might again be affected, but my mom would be so disappointed and I would be less having not seen her. Instead, I think I’ll venture out into the storm, but I’ll take my umbrella, for I’m no longer afraid of getting a little wet!

Love and Light,
Laura Lum Corby

71. Learning To Close The Door – An Exercise In Intimacy

What’s Necessary To Build And Sustain Intimacy?

One of the greatest tragedies I see today is an inadequate understanding of what’s necessary to not only build, but also sustain intimacy in relationships. The nurturing of relationships often comes last in terms of priority. Couples are regularly inundated with busy work schedules, demanding financial pressures, juggling the responsibilities of children, and running a household. When the obligations of the day have been met, there is little to no time or energy left for stoking the fires that lead to the consuming flames of passion and communion, designed to be experienced within this relational bond. If partnerships are to thrive, it’s critical that boundaries are set, and proactive steps are taken to insure the necessary alone time to journey through this vulnerable, unlimited expanse of both emotional and physical intimacy.

Learning To Close The Door

One of the most important steps couples can take to build intimacy is learning to close the door. What that means is having a consistent, sacred time set aside. Once the couple crosses over the threshold of the bedroom and closes that door behind them, the outside world temporarily ceases to exist. There are no conversations of work, school, children, or life outside this moment. What takes precedence are the deep soul discussions, whispered from a place of longing to profoundly understand their partner, and disintegrate any potential barriers that create disconnection or separation.

Diving Into The Depths Of One Another

Until the conclusion of this hallowed time, there are no external interruptions, no kids knocking on doors, no phone calls, no distractions. Mom and Dad simply cease to exist, and the couple is afforded the opportunity to dive deeply into the depths of one another, on all levels, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, without the distractions or intrusion of the outside world. This is where the deepest of friendships are forged, and where the white-hot fires of passion burn away all obstacles that stand in the path of complete surrender to one another.

Paving The Way To Greater Understanding

Once the door is closed and the dance begins, trust, transparency, and the safety to engage in total emotional nakedness is what paves the way to greater understanding of fears and desires, profound connection, and the deep, physical intimacy most have only dreamed about. That level of all-consuming physical intimacy can only be achieved when the ego has been abated, and both individuals are willing to keep their hearts fully open, as they venture unguarded through emotional areas that need to be discussed, exposed, and healed.

The Rules Of Engagement

The rules of engagement are simple… all masks must be removed and left outside the door, along with any perceptions or judgments, so that unconditional love and acceptance may abound. When one can look at their partner, knowing their deepest, darkest secrets can be exposed with no judgment, and no change in the level of love and affection, fear is extinguished.

Fear Drives Emotional Closure

Fear is often a driving force in our need to remain emotionally closed, which significantly limits intimacy. Once trust is established and fear of exposure is no longer an issue, this allows for the release and healing of deep wounds that have remained buried  below the surface for fear of exposure and  rejection. Once healed and released, growth and expansion freely happen, which in turn fosters greater emotional understanding.

Imagine the levels of intimacy possible when there is no longer any anxiety or concern about disapproval or rebuff. The increase of gratitude, passion, and affection towards one who knows our every ill and yet chooses to selflessly love us anyway is intensified exponentially.

Committing To Consistently Close The Door

True unconditional love pursues that which nurtures, grows, heals, edifies, and ministers to the needs of the beloved. If couples can commit to consistently close the door, spend the necessary time honestly communicating their deepest hopes, dreams, needs, desires, beliefs, and fears, while completely surrendering to one another emotionally and physically, there are literally no limits to the extent and intensity such a degree of love can experience.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

70. Learning To Extend Love And Compassion To Myself

Loving Myself Has Been My Greatest Challenge

I’ve always been a very empathetic and compassionate person. As one who deeply feels what others are experiencing, it makes it almost impossible to not be commiserate. In many situations, that charity has extended to a fault, as there’s a fine line between assisting others and enabling them. There’s also a fine line between assisting others and doing so to my own detriment. It’s taken years to learn and set those boundaries, and even so, loving others has rarely been a difficult factor for me. It has been in learning to extend unconditional love and compassion to myself, that I’ve experienced the greatest challenges.

Depriving Myself To Ease The Struggles Of Others

It’s interesting, the lengths I am willing to go in order to assist others. I’m often prepared to deprive myself, if it means easing the struggles of another. Yet, often the very thing I am inclined to do to help someone else, I would rarely, if ever, consider doing for myself. Why is that?

We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

It’s often said we are our own worst enemies, and the judgment we wage upon ourselves far outweighs any standard we would consider holding another to. Throughout the ages, the wise ones have spoken time and again, that we cannot truly love others until we first learn to love ourselves. How can that possibly be, when my heart has ached to love, comfort, and serve others, yet until recently, I had always been devastatingly deficient in compassion towards myself?

Identifying And Moving Beyond That Which Is Holding Us Back

It has taken a significant amount of introspection to answer this question, and in all honesty, I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome and what it had to say directly about me. Yet, it’s more important that vulnerability exposes a common thread among many of us, that we might identify and move beyond that which is holding us back.

The True Motives Behind My Behavior

Helping and serving others is something I have always engaged in and have been passionate about. Some of that has been rightly driven by my empathy and compassion towards others. Yet, some has been motivated by the feelings about myself that were generated when I helped others. In the midst of some of my darkest times, when my self-esteem was low, my worth was questionable, and my purpose was lacking to say the least, assisting others helped me to ground, feel better about myself, and made me feel more accepted by others. Feeling good about myself is great, yet when it becomes a driving force in my behavior, it’s questionable at best. Recognizing this, I’m learning to spend a good bit of time looking at the true motives behind my behavior. I’ve started asking myself each time I’m afforded an opportunity to help, am I doing this selflessly because it’s the right thing to do, or because I need or want to feel better about myself?

Seeking Approval And Acceptance From Other Sources

Why is this so important? When I don’t truly and unconditionally love myself fully, I then begin seeking approval and acceptance from other sources to fill in those gaps. The problem here is that no matter how much love and approval I receive from others, it is never enough to compensate for the lacking love I have for myself. It is only in doing the deep, internal soul work necessary to develop an unconditional love and acceptance of myself, that I become whole and I’m no longer driven by any external need for worth or approval. If I find myself continually engaging in behaviors to assist others, yet can’t honestly say that the deep, accepting, unconditional love for myself is alive and active, then I have some internal questioning that needs to transpire.

Valuing Others Far Above Myself

Another matter that began blatantly staring me in the face, was a strong history of valuing others far above myself. When I find myself gladly and without hesitation doing things for other people that I would never do on my own behalf, it’s a dead giveaway, and poor self-esteem and worth are typically at the source.

Feeding The Need To Feel Good About Myself

There’s a false narrative that’s quite prevalent these days that goes something like this…
“By making great or even painful personal sacrifice for the benefit of another, I’m proving my worthiness and the good state of my heart.” Sadly, any time I find myself proving something through my behavior, whether to myself or others, those motives are usually anything but selfless. The martyr complex feeds that need to feel good about myself at my own expense, yet that good feeling is far too short-lived, as it’s coming from external stimuli. True satisfaction, contentment, and lasting joy is something that can only be achieved from within.

Honestly Questioning Why I Do What I Do

At the end of the day, I really have to start honestly questioning why I do what I do. Am I feeling the need to do more because I have an underlying sense of guilt, shaming me for not doing as much as I ought? Am I making sacrifices to accommodate for something quietly running under the radar that I would like to silence? Am I serving others because it simply makes me feel better about myself and the state of my heart? Or, am I truly offering my assistance to make a positive difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate? Can I honestly say I unconditionally love and have compassion for myself, just as those I find myself serving? Am I daily valuing myself as much as I value others, or I do place their value and significance above my own?

Genuine Love And Compassion Begins With Ourselves

I would venture to say that most of us have a great deal of work to do in the department of self-love and compassion. I know I still do. Perhaps we need to step outside ourselves and look in from the outside, asking what we might do in the same situations, if we were dealing with someone else. It may be only then that we truly consider the degree of love and compassion needed for ourselves, when we look with the eyes of an outsider. What we will find without question is as our love and compassion for ourselves grows, so will our genuine love and compassion for others, with little, if any, overriding and self-serving need. Genuine love and compassion begins with ourselves, and then overflows to others. We cannot pour out to fill other vessels until our pitcher has itself been filled. My challenge for each of us today is to gift ourselves with the love and compassion we would be willing to offer another. In doing so, our ability to impact the lives of others will increase exponentially.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

69. Hold My Hand And Walk With Me

Hold my hand and walk with me.
Speak deeply with your eyes and let your heart smile brightly upon me.
Be tender with your touch and fierce in your love.
For the fierceness can break through the walls, but the tenderness is needed to help heal the wounds found behind the once mighty fortress.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

68. I Love You, But…

I love you, but…
You’re so beautiful, but…
You have such an amazing heart, but…
You are so freaking smart, but…
You get me like no one else does, but…
You’re such an amazing friend, but…

The first part of each of these are such uplifting, encouraging, affirming statements that each of us would like to hear on a regular basis from those in our lives, to be reminded we matter, have value, and make a difference in this world we live in. Yes, it’s true, that we should come to a place where we don’t “need” affirmations from others to determine our value and worth. That’s really an inside job and a necessary one at that. However, even the most secure among us is deeply moved and greatly encouraged when sincere recognition of our positive attributes are acknowledged, appreciated, and shared with us. It’s something we should all have the pleasure of experiencing on a regular basis, if we are surrounded by those who truly care and love us unconditionally.

And then there’s the dreaded word… BUT! There are few words so small in stature, that can deflate a heart so quickly and cut so deeply. It’s the equivalent of making a deposit, with full knowledge we  intend to rob the bank afterwards. There’s this rather distorted theory that’s been floating around for ages, that if we have something unpleasant to say to someone, sandwich it between positive statements to lessen the sting. While there is some truth to making sure we accentuate the positive as well as being truthful about the areas that need improvement, this is not the way to accomplish it. Doing them simultaneously does nothing more than pillage any value that could have been gleaned from the commendation. In all truth, statements such as these serve no purpose other than to make the one speaking them feel better about the potential hurt they may have just inflicted. It’s damage control at its best, and it’s more about the comfort of the speaker than that of the receiver.

Anytime the word “BUT” is used after a positive statement, it completely negates what was just said. It takes what should have been spoken individually and received as an admiration, and riddles it with the haze of  inadequacy and judgment. Why is it that we often only think to issue positive statements when we have a criticism to follow, or we want to lessen the blow of an upcoming behavior we are about to engage in? In truth, if we honestly care about the building up of others and the state of their being, we will be acknowledging them often and with no qualifying comments or following judgments.

It is in building authentic, vulnerable, and trusting relationships that we garner the rights to sincerely voice our opinions and concerns. In any valued relationship, we are to uplift one another continually and consistently, encouraging one another to good works. When there is a strong history of support, affirmation, and encouragement, we then have the requisite to share potential areas of improvement. We don’t need to do so by sandwiching the difficult with platitudes, we do so by softly enveloping the uncomfortable with truth,  understanding, wisdom, and a great covering of genuine love. The addition of disingenuous positive attributes does not pave the way for the acceptance of criticism or dismissive excuses for the behaviors to come.

I propose each of us to take great pause prior to using the word “BUT” when a compliment is being rendered. Encouragement and admiration should always stand on their own. I’m also asking each of us to make a concerted effort to look for the good in others, and regularly remind them why they are so unique, amazing, and greatly needed. The deposits we make in these “encouragement accounts” of others are the words that will comfort them on difficult days, when they question their being, their purpose, and their value to others. It is often when those accounts are bankrupt that we lose beautiful souls. I’m asking you now to ensure a deposit is made into the account of everyone you encounter today. Just one, simple, positive statement, reassuring them of their value, with no “BUT” added.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

67. Walking Into The Places We Fear

As children, our hopes, our dreams were mountains to be climbed and conquered. Not knowing any better, never once did we stop to evaluate all that could potentially hold us back or do us harm. Instead, in our lacking experience and naiveté, we focused solely on capturing the flag at the summit’s peak. The excitement of the journey and the conquest kept us fixated on the prize, and able to push through anything that got in our way, without the need to analyze or understand it first.

What we never thought twice about in those earlier years, seems now to holds us prisoner, as experiences of pain and fear paralyze our progress and we remain powerless in our restraints. Our thoughts hold us captive, as we consider the agonizing possibilities that could await us. Days have turned into weeks, and weeks into years, as we’ve watched time pass by the place where we have remained anxiously suspended.

The flame that once burned brightly within, powerfully driving our engine, has dulled to a flickering ember that we guard carefully. As an act of preservation, we hold our breath and carefully build walls, deep and high, around our sacred ember; protecting it from any sudden, unexpected burst of wind that could endanger its longevity and render it extinct. All the while, not recognizing that a fresh breath of air is the very thing needed to fan our ember once again to a consuming flame.

If we’re quiet, and we listen carefully, we can still hear the faint cry of our fading dreams, beckoning for attention and pleading for action. What we often choose instead is noise and busyness in our place of stagnation, to drown out and help us forget those amazing journeys we’ve fearfully elected to ignore.

Our anxious thoughts cry out that there’s safety in dormancy, for if we never venture, we never risk injury or pain. Yet, our unfulfilled, discontented hearts grieve and yearn for so much more, as do the lives of those who lie waiting; those we were supposed to have touched along our path, but never encountered, as we chose the refuge of solitude instead.

We are being called now to go courageously walking into the places we fear. At first glance, these dark, imposing regions overcome our senses with trepidation. Yet, we are being reminded that within our hearts is a bright beacon, able to illuminate any dark spaces we find ourselves within, so our path remains clear and visible. Quiet those raging thoughts, sweet soul. Breathe deeply and know that all darkness and fear is dispelled when brought into the light. We are being summoned to renew our dreams and purpose, even in the face of uncertainty, knowing what lies beyond is far greater than any discomfort we may encounter along the way, and we’ve been given all we need to move forward fearlessly.

The very safety we have been seeking has itself become our dungeon. Instead, breathe in the beauty, expansion, and wisdom gained by journeying forward. It pours over our being as a healing balm, mending the wounds of our past and sealing our future fate with courage, strength, and fortitude. Understand that to remain stagnant is to withhold our own healing and that of others we are meant to reach. It is in facing our fears and stepping forward that we become healed and whole.

Choose this day to walk forward in your light, rendering darkness and fear incapable, and accomplishing that which was set before us to carry out. Know that we are loved and supported fully. All we need to complete the journey ahead of us has already been provided, and will be present as the need arises. Our only task is to allow our light to shine in the darkness and engage the steps that need to be taken this day. Set the thoughts and worries of tomorrow to rest, knowing a way is always made. It is in this space that the miraculous unfolds.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby