All posts by Laura Lum Corby

86. Unexpected Journeys And Treasures

I was listening to U2’s, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” today. It got me thinking, and I realized that much of the time we don’t have an exact idea of what it is we’re looking for. Though we may often feel we haven’t found “IT” yet, putting our finger on exactly what “IT” is, can be a challenge. We recognize our soul is calling out for more, and we feel in our core that something is still missing. Yet, what exactly are we pursuing and how do we go about finding it?

Maybe it’s not about what we think we’re looking for, but rather what we run into along the way, and then take the time to nurture and develop. We’ve all heard the saying, “Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans.” How much of that life do we miss, being so focused on future plans, outcomes, and what we think it is we should be searching for?

We are so often oblivious to the amazing miracles and gifts of this very moment. They could bring us such delight, if we were fully present and aware, rather than distracted by our ongoing quests and disappointments with our current state of affairs. The unexpected journeys and treasures we stumble upon, when we think we’re searching for something else, may well be the most incredible valuables we encounter. They go unrecognized far too often. We miss them because we’re too busy contemplating and seeking a fictitious representation of what we think “IT” is, and we want “IT” in already perfect form. In actuality, it’s more often the process of development that creates such endearing value.

Last year, I went digging for crystals in a mine in Arkansas. My daughter and I dug from morning until sunset. I can remember feeling frustrated at times, as we worked for hours, yet the rewards seemed to be on the slim side. We were finding some pieces, but most of what we found wasn’t very impressive, or so we thought. My daughter collected about 3/4 of a bucket of crystals, while I amassed many times that. She was only keeping what looked really good straight out of the mud. I was keeping anything that looked like it had potential! In hindsight, I now recognize the importance of that distinction in perspective. I realized much later that week, after many days of acid washing and scrubbing to remove the clay and iron deposits from my crystals, that I had some absolutely beautiful pieces. They looked nothing like what I had dug out of the ground! Had I not spent the time and effort necessary to nurture and evolve these incredible specimens, they would have likely been tossed aside as undesirable.

I guess my point is this… whether we are talking about digging crystals out of the dirt, relationships with others, or even the growth and evolution of our own soul, quite often there are some magnificent gems we bypass because we didn’t perceive them as beautiful or worthy “right out of the ground,” if you will. The funny thing is, I could have saved a tremendous amount of time and effort and just bought some crystals in the store at the mine, but it would not have been the same.

There is something about actually doing the hard work ourselves, that gives us a greater sense of not only pride and ownership in the work we have done, but also value in the item we now hold. It meant more to me knowing the efforts I had put into bringing my crystals to this new and beautiful state. Had I just found a lovely crystal on the ground, or simply just purchased one already in its finished form, it would not have held the same value in my eyes. Those I worked on for a week, scrubbing and acid etching every crack and crevice until they were pristine, had value and meaning that could not have been bought. There is no price tag I can put on that experience, both in terms of time spent with my daughter and the resulting beautiful crystals.

I wonder, as I watch myself often still seeking things that measure up to a preconceived and very flawed checklist, how many diamonds in the rough I have bypassed and continue to leave untouched? How many treasures and opportunities to find zest in life might I still be missing, because “IT” doesn’t look like what I think I should be seeking?

My journey digging in the mine should have taught me that lesson, as some of the most beautiful pieces I ended up with, didn’t look like anything special when they were pulled from the earth. I can’t help but wonder how much we have cast aside, in search of something we deem better or more fitting, that with time and effort could indeed have become stunning treasures, that bring us immeasurable wonder and joy.

My prayer is that we become more attuned to the opportunities right in front of us every day, that might otherwise be missed. If we’re not actively and consciously aware of the present moment, we may very well miss the most incredible potential gems, disguised as common rocks, that simply need our time and efforts to brilliantly shine!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

85. There Is Always More To Come

There Is Always More To Come

This picture speaks hope to me! It’s a reminder that below the abandoned, rusty, locked away, deep recesses within that have been long forgotten, or at least attempted… there is still life looking for an opportunity to spring forth from the decay and hidden pain. It’s a reminder that just when we think we are finished, there is always more to come.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

84. No One Can Make Us Feel Or Behave Inappropriately

No One Can Make Us Feel Or Behave Inappropriately

I recently noticed a post in one of my social media feeds. It started off with, “I hate it when people make me behave badly,” and continued on with the story of being wronged by another, and the justification of their angered behavior that followed. I was a bit surprised by the statement. I continued to read, hoping I could find clarification for such an account, as I know that no one can make us feel or behave inappropriately! That’s completely on us, 100% of the time!

Is Behavioral Responsibility Tied To The One Creating The Offense?

I thought it might be a good topic to address, as this is something I wrestled with for years, and never saw the leading role I was playing in my own theatrical productions, until recently! This can be a difficult concept for us to wrap our heads around, as we often think in very black and white terms regarding emotions and resulting behavior. It’s quite common for individuals who feel victimized to blame their lack of emotional control and ill behavior on another. So many feel they are justified in their responses, and that the responsibility is tied solely to the one who created the offense. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We Have No Control Over The Emotions And Behaviors Of Others

We are all confronted daily with situations that are undesirable, to say the least! We encounter people from all walks of life, experiencing varying degrees of emotional damage and turmoil, that all play a role in the interactions we have with one another. Unfortunately, we have no control over the emotional state or resulting behaviors of others. Yet, we are fully responsible for our own, even when we have been grossly wronged.

What About Trauma At The Hands Of An Abuser?

It never fails that when this topic comes up, it gets quickly and defensively rebutted by someone who has experienced trauma at the hands of an abuser. There’s a lot of triggering that happens when our actions are called into accountability, especially when we’ve been the ones violated in some way by another. Not only does it seem unfair, it often brings a torrent of emotions to the surface that can trigger very heated reactions. I get it, and honestly not that long ago, I would have likely been the person rebutting! I hope what follows will shed some light on this challenging topic, and offer some insights that could change how we think about and respond to these situations in the future. The bottom line is, bad behavior is never justified.

No Longer Being At The Mercy Of Others

There’s a perspective shift that needs to be understood and incorporated, for our emotional state to no longer be at the mercy of other’s actions. Granted, even when we incorporate that shift, we slip up periodically, but the goal is for that to be the exception, not the rule. Part of the difficulty arises when we are unable to separate ourselves from the events that have just taken place. We often make the mistake of assuming the behavior of others is about us, is personal, and tied to circumstances that have just transpired! What follows is another one of those statements that gets refuted quite often, but the reality goes something like this:

The thoughts and behaviors we engage in are always about us and the things we are processing internally, even when we think they are about someone else! The thoughts and behaviors of others are always about what they’ve got going on internally, even when they might mistakenly think it’s about us!

Why? Because contrary to popular belief, no one can make us feel anything! Let me say that again… No one can make us feel anything! Others can only trigger what is already residing within us. No matter how hard someone pushes your buttons, if you do not already have anger in your heart, they cannot trigger anger within you! No matter how deeply someone loves you, they cannot evoke a love response that does not currently exist.

When It’s Internalized It Triggers What’s Already Within

A perfect example would be an unhappy, angry individual (Let’s call him John), yelling at two different people in public (Frank and Mary).

Mary has some anger issues and very poor self-esteem. When she is yelled at, it’s easy to take the assault personally, as she already questions her worth. This is just one more person confirming she’s as awful as she feels! When it’s internalized, it triggers her already brewing emotional instability, and she responds in a way that is also inappropriate. Mary gets angry, feels victimized, becomes defensive, starts yelling back, and returns very similar behavior to John! This is how the cycles of abuse continue.

Frank, on the other hand, has done a tremendous amount of internal work. He’s dissected the false internal narratives and stories that have been embedded and running under the radar for years, and has separated truth from fiction. He knows who he is and is very comfortable in his own skin. He’s learned to love himself, and has great confidence and self-esteem. When Frank is yelled at, he is able to step back from the situation and separate what’s happening from himself. It’s not taken personally, and because he can separate himself from the situation, he can recognize John clearly has some underlying issues fueling this encounter, that have absolutely nothing to do with him. John’s inner struggles have been triggered, and have unleashed rageful behavior on whoever happened to be present. Frank realizes it’s not about him, does not get emotionally involved, and is able to let it go and walk away unscathed. Frank may even experience sympathy for John, as he recognizes John must be a very unhappy individual to treat others in this way.

Mary will likely ruminate on the encounter all day, working up anger and a strong victim mentality, reveling in her justification for striking back in kind. Frank might later tell a friend about the weird encounter he had, but will let it go from there and likely not think about it again. The contrast between Mary and Frank is enormous, as Mary will continue to tell her story, possibly for years to come, to whoever will listen and offer their attention. Our stories are such powerful narratives!

Responding In Protective And Reactive Ways

Let’s look at another example. No matter how much someone loves you unconditionally, they cannot make you feel loved if you don’t already love yourself and foster love within! Remember, the behavior of others can only trigger emotions that already exist within you.

Let’s say Frank has fallen in love with Mary. Remember that Mary has some significant self-esteem, worth, and abandonment issues, among others, that remain unaddressed. No matter how intensely and sacrificially Frank loves Mary, she will likely not be able to accept and/or reciprocate that level of love, as individuals are only capable of meeting us as deeply as they have met themselves! Learning to do the introspective digging necessary to identify, address, release, and heal from past wounding, is what brings us to the places where we find self-acceptance and begin to develop a true love for ourselves. If we fearfully choose to abdicate those responsibilities, and consequently don’t yet know who we are authentically, deep meaningful love is not possible.

What she may feel is attachment, desire, and infatuation (which are often mistaken for love). As more difficulties begin to arise, Frank finds the relationship less and less satisfying. Mary just isn’t able to reciprocate the same depth of interaction and emotional vulnerability, which is not possible from her current state of protection mode. What happens instead is that Mary might sabotage the relationship, as it triggers fears of all sorts (potential abandonment, jealousy, unworthiness, and so many other negative, self-believed, false and embedded narratives). She will continually find herself responding in protective, reactive, but inappropriate ways that guard her fragile heart. Even though Mary longs to be loved more than anything else, until she clears away the embedded false beliefs that leave her in a fearful, protective, reactive state, she will not be able to receive, access, or return the levels of intimacy Frank hopes to engage.

Internal Struggles Impact The Ways We Interact With Others

These are just two of many examples where the internal struggles being experienced impact the way we interact with others. We really have no idea what has happened in the deep recesses of other’s lives. These are often invisible wounds that influence their emotional state and personal interactions significantly! The fact that Mary can’t deeply and freely show love in abandon towards Frank, says absolutely nothing about Frank’s lovability! It speaks only to Mary’s internal, unresolved wounds from the past. Frank may know nothing about her prior wounds, yet he’s healthy enough to be able to recognize these are her issues, not his, and they say nothing about him or his character.

We begin making profound changes in our perspective when we can learn to pull back and separate ourselves from both the situation, and the responses of others. When we finally understand that the reactive, and sometimes damaging, behavior of others is typically generated from already existing pain, it provides the insight we need to not get emotionally embroiled in a battle that is not ours.

We’re Not Completely Off The Hook

Let me clearly state that this doesn’t get us off the hook for carelessly triggering another or pushing their buttons. Though their reactions may not be about us, this doesn’t give us license to negligently or purposefully provoke a response from someone who is struggling. If we find ourselves in this situation, and can determine the response is about inner battles that don’t involve us, we still need to take responsibility and genuinely apologize for triggering an inner issue that resulted in further pain.

The Red Flag Of Blame

Considering what we’ve just discussed, I’ve learned that anytime I catch myself casting blame on another, it’s an immediate red flag that should be investigated further. Just as the original statement in this post was falsely blaming another for their poor behavioral choices, when the red flag of blame comes up, it should be viewed as an invitation and opportunity to identify, process, and release buried emotional debris that is begging to be exhumed! It wouldn’t be coming up again otherwise!

So the next time we find ourselves in the receiving position of someone else’s vitriol, remember to step back and consciously assess the situation before responding. If it triggers reactivity in us, that’s a clear indication we also have some unresolved work that needs to be done.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

83. Shadows Of The Past With Messages For Our Future

I’ve always been greatly moved by carefully chosen words. They are powerful catalysts, that can strike the deepest recesses of our soul with surgical precision. They meander through our thoughts, hauntingly at times, as shadows of the past, with messages for our future. In riddling language, often puzzling to our current conscious awareness, truths are often brought to light through the shared stories and experiences of others. These often require a healthy dose of marination or steeping, before we are fully infused with the accompanying knowledge and understanding that enables us to put them into practice. Sometimes this permeation takes minutes, sometimes decades will pass. Nevertheless, this is the depth of language and imagery that I both cherish and crave!

I made a new connection today with a fellow writer and deep thinker on social media. I always love it when I stumble across someone or something new, that feels as comfortable as an old shoe! It’s as if I’ve met up with an old friend who’s been absent for years, but can pick right back up where we left off! As the conversation quickly unfolded, one comment in particular caught my attention. They said,

“Your words resonate with a knowledge of life that we innately know, but have almost forgotten.”

What a beautifully depicted statement that stirs my soul in ways that are difficult to articulate! It’s not only humbling, but I share these words that they might be further investigated by others as well! There is such great treasure here to be unearthed, should we choose to pursue it. We play so many roles in this theater we call life. It serves us well to look at our parts in greater detail from time to time!

These words literally beckon us to step back into our “knowing.” They are a reminder that we each play a role in helping others to remember, both our origins, and our purpose or calling, if you will. They inspire both seeking and sharing the depths that have been traversed, which seem to have become somewhat of a lost art in our often superficial society. They are the remembrance that it’s in sharing our journeys and stories that we often ignite within others the kindling that has been carefully placed, but sitting dry and untended for far too long. There is great synergy at work here. There are so many hearths, ripe with tinder and ready to blaze, that have yet to encounter the needed spark to be passionately consumed. Our raw experiences, willing vulnerability, and authentic exchanges are desperately needed to not only encourage, but help fuel the passions of others, as we each search for our paths of significance.

For so many of us, there is a hint or a quiet whisper that relentlessly, yet stealthfully inhabits the recesses of our hearts and minds, calling us forward to so much more. Momentary glimpses and fleeting Déjà vu call attention to what will once again quickly be forgotten if we’re not mindful. The distractions of the moment devour our resources and call attention away from the road within, that we should be paying much closer attention to. These experiences, whether with people or places, are much like road signs. They give us advanced warning that there are things ahead, in the immediate distance, we would do well to pay close attention to.

For me, it all comes back to there being no such thing as coincidence. I believe every individual person and situation we encounter along the way has something important to teach us. The question becomes, will we remain oblivious, or carefully inspect each new piece of information, asking what we have to learn from this particular appointment, and how it might fit in our journey? The beauty in these endeavors comes when hindsight provides the occasional kaleidoscope . It’s these beautiful windows with an epic view, that allow us to briefly look back and see how many isolated pieces of our past have been woven together to create an incredibly exquisite picture within our present!

My prayer is that we remain open to fully investigating the purpose of each person and situation we encounter throughout our odyssey, and that we never stop being willing to share our lessons and insights with others, who might still be waiting for that initial spark!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

82. Acceptance Under Fire

I ran across a post in my social media feed today, that I believe could benefit from some clarification. This is not the first instance I have witnessed acceptance under fire! It seems to be popping up a good bit lately, which tells me there is a need for acceptance to be better understood and more clearly defined.

Here’s the post in question:

“This movement to be comfortable with our bodies has made us comfortable with being sick.”
Dr. Garth Davis, M.D.
Weight Loss Surgeon

I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is an incredibly short-sighted statement, that shows there is little to no understanding of the purpose of fully accepting one’s self. Yes, I do understand that there will always be some who take anything to an extreme, but for the most part, this is not what being comfortable with our body means!

When I say I am comfortable with my body, with myself as a whole, it does not mean there is no room for improvement and I will then be content to stay exactly as I am. What it does mean is that I am where I am, and rather than shaming myself, or engaging in self-deprecating inner conversations and behavior, it’s far more effective to learn to treat myself lovingly instead.

Think about it this way… Would you better spend necessary time and attention caring for something you love, or something you hate? Most of those who have learned to be discontent with themselves and hate their body image, engage in some pretty sad and destructive behaviors. At what cost? This sick societal notion of “meeting the requirements” in the looks department has caused far more harm than good. The emotional toll and stressors have created an onslaught of depression, eating disorders, body image issues/dysmorphia, and much more, which has only exacerbated the problem.

Let’s ask the all important question… How effectively has feeling badly about ourselves produced positive results? Not at all! Perhaps we should try a different approach and consider loving ourselves for a bit instead? Let’s be clear, loving and accepting myself does not mean I now have permission to sit on the couch eating 13 pounds of donuts because anything goes and I love myself no matter what! That’s reckless behavior, to say the least. What it does mean is that thinking poorly about myself doesn’t change anything about my current position, and it doesn’t motivate me to make any positive changes. Yet, it does encourage hopelessness and a overwhelmedness that often leads to shut down and a big bag of chips, rather than inspiring me to have a healthy meal and go to the gym!

This journey of self acceptance has been incredibly personal for me over these last 2 years.  I am speaking from personal experience, as well as professionally. I have struggled with weight for the majority of my adult life, as have many of my clients. Some of that had clear medical implications, while a good bit was also steeped in underlying emotional turmoil.

On and off for 15+ years, I sporadically engaged in diet and exercise regimes that rarely produced the outcomes I sought. In the last year, there have been 2 specific things that have led to healthy reduction in my weight, healthy eating and lifestyle, and a regular exercise routine. They were correctly addressing some underlying medical issues, but equally and frankly more importantly, addressing the internal, underlying emotional issues and false beliefs that had been ingrained about myself, my physical appearance, my value, and my worth!

So what has that accomplished, you might ask? For starters, I lost 50 pounds that the most vigorous of routines was unable to touch prior, and it’s continuing to fall! More importantly, because I now accept and love myself fully, exactly where I am, and I recognize my incredible intrinsic value and worth, I am willing and wanting to invest time and energy into my health and wellbeing BECAUSE I AM WORTH IT!

In the past, all of my efforts were geared toward meeting specific goals to please others and find acceptance, something I no longer really care much about. When we finally find ourselves in a position where we truly dig who we are, accepting all our awesomeness and flaws combined, we then are willing to extend life-changing efforts on our own behalf, because it contributes to our health, growth, and expansion, and makes us feel even better! Judgment is removed from the equation, both our own and that of others, and a healthy view of life unfolds in front of us, offering a virtual cafeteria of opportunities for continued growth and improvement that we want to willingly engage in! Funny how that happens, huh?

Do I still have some progress yet to be made? Absolutely! I don’t believe we ever fully arrive! There’s always something we can improve on. The difference now is that I no longer look at what currently is in a bad light. Does my weight, my complexion, my choice in clothes, or any other external means of measurement change who I am or what my value as an individual is? Absolutely NOT! If someone thinks so, that’s their issue, not mine, because I ROCK, and love who I am and I’m continuing to become on a daily basis!

Learn to love and accept yourself EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE! Then watch how showing true loving care to yourself in all areas (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically) will begin to transform EVERY area of your life, not just your physical body! We are miraculous creatures, wonderfully and amazingly made, and once we begin to see ourselves through the correct lenses, watch out world!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

81. Does Creativity Have To Come From Suffering?

I saw this post recently, and some very interesting responses to it on a friends wall. Does creativity have to come from suffering? I don’t believe it does. This is simply my perspective, but thought it was worth sharing. The link to the original article is below, for reference.

As an artist in many forms (music, writing, and more) I used to think all works were driven from struggle, pain, and suffering, as all of mine once were. As I’ve done more deep, internal soul work to address my core false beliefs and emotional issues (and believe me, that’s a continual process), I’m learning that pain and suffering can be drivers, but are not requirements for creativity. As  matter of fact, I’m far more creative and passionate than I’ve ever been in my life, without coming from a place of strife. I found that mindset was an underlying narrative that was not rooted in truth, it had simply been my experience up to that point, but thankfully that has shifted!

Creativity can just as easily, and often more intensely, come with great joy, ease, and passion, if that’s the experience we choose to have and expect. Much of it is a choice regarding how we view things, and the lens through which we view our world, which is the determining factor here, along with our level of consciousness and frequency.

I take into great consideration the emotional space I’m inhabiting when I create anything, as there’s a correlating energy created with it that impacts the reader. What I want to pass on through my work is love, encouragement, grace, joy, and peace. If all my creation comes from pain, that’s the energy I’m putting forth and not what I want those experiencing my work to encounter. The pieces that have been written from painful experiences certainly address the difficulties, yet also resolve with hope and awareness there is light at the end of the often dark tunnel, and both a purpose and exit strategy for the difficulties experienced.

I was shocked to see how many truly believed suffering was a requirement for their creativity, as I once did. It makes for a very unnecessarily tumultuous life. It also solidifies and emblazons the depression and negativity we see rampant in our culture today. I encourage everyone to consider creativity in a different light! It not only transforms us, but everyone else our work touches!

Love & Light,
Laura 🙂



Does Creativity Have To Come From Suffering?

Does Creativity Have to Come from Suffering?