Before the Getting, Comes the Giving

Before the Getting, Comes the Giving

Our culture may seem to be consumed by getting. However, giving first has always been and will always be a better approach to life, love, success, and happiness.

Giving is a fundamental part of living a meaningful life and doing God’s work on Earth. Not so deep inside, you know how important it is. But a huge crush of external sources would have you believe that giving is secondary. We’re told that once you get, only then can you give. This message comes from the media. It’s plastered in stores, on street signs, and is even heralded in songs. But this message is entirely backward.

Everyone struggles in life. When you are in the midst of your own personal pain, heartache or challenge, it can feel tough to give of yourself. Let’s face it, you already have so many demands on your time. From work and spouse and children to your community and extended family, it can feel like everyone wants a piece of you. Should you really take an always-giving approach on top of that load?

This get-first mentality is understandable; but again, backward. It’s tempting to chide people who think this way for being selfish, but a personality issue is really not the problem at all. After all, nearly everyone has moments when they think they would prefer to receive than give. That’s because each human being arrives in this world with a sense of self-preservation. It’s “us and ours” first, and we instinctively cling to this basic drive in the midst of challenge.

More importantly, sometimes people simply don’t have enough proof in their lives that the give-before-get mentality works. Maybe you grew up with trauma? Some people are in the grips of an addiction that rewired their brains to take whenever they can. Others are in relationships that seem hopelessly lopsided.

What are you supposed to do in these situations? How is giving possible?

Discover the Power of Giving in Your Life

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. Addicts who work with other addicts will tell you that such selflessness is what got them sober for good. Multi-millionaires say it’s not until they started giving away their expertise that they built dedicated followings and powerful businesses. Those in loving relationships freely admit that when they took a “me-first” approach, love suffered. Taking an “others-first” path meant more love and satisfaction for all.

This works on a more personal level as well. For example:

  • Before you see weight loss results, you must sweat it out in the gym and live without the second helping of your favorite food.
  • Before you can find love, you must love yourself and lose the faithlessness that you’ll find it.
  • Long before your children will give to you, you must give to them.

Again, you know these things instinctively. But sometimes instincts take over, hoarding resources and fleeing perceived danger.

The good news? You truly are charitable at heart. You just have to learn to listen to yourself. Natural instincts can change with practice. If you want to grow a giving approach that will improve your own life as well as the world around you, it’s possible. You just need the right community to help you follow through. We at The Journey are here to help, so reach out to us today.

A New Take on the Golden Rule: Are You Treating Yourself as You Treat Others?

A New Take on the Golden Rule: Are You Treating Yourself as You Treat Others?

You likely learned The Golden Rule a young age. It’s still a powerful guide for life. But are you applying it to yourself as well as to others?

The Golden Rule is a beautiful guiding star. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Today, it has been simplified to “Do unto others as you would have them do you.”

We all know this rule. Yet too often, we ignore it. Not in the way you might think, though. We don’t neglect the needs of others or treat them as less-than. Rather, we know how we want to be treated; and so we give that away to friends and family, co-workers or strangers. Sadly, we don’t ensure that we ourselves actually get treated that way.

This shows up in two ways. First, we don’t stand up for ourselves. We rush to support a friend who’s being emotionally abused in a relationship or at work. Yes, we give to those in need. We stand up for the helpless. But when it comes to ourselves, we find reasons to accommodate. We don’t give ourselves the same permission to set boundaries or walk away. Even when we have realized we’re in the wrong. Or when we seek earnestly to change our behavior in deference to the Golden Rule. We still let others treat us in ways we’re trying to give up.

There is a second way in which we fail the Golden Rule. We don’t give ourselves the same treatment we would give others. Consider if a friend came crying to you about:

  • a recent disappointment with a friend;
  • a romantic failure;
  • the loss of a job.

Your heart would bleed for them. In your conversations, you would offer comfort by assuring them it wasn’t their fault. You’d help find hope.  Help them see how they’re showing up – and how they could choose differently. You would never put them down or punish them. Nor would you ever allow external situations to reflect on their core self.

How to Apply the Golden Rule to Your Own Life

True Fulfillment

The Golden Rule is a beautiful message. Everyone would be happier if they could take this approach more of the time. But it’s critical to recognize both sides of the coin. You deserve to be done unto yourself as you would do unto others. Perhaps the kindness needs to come from yourself. Maybe you need to make it clear to others what you expect.

Would it serve you to dive deeper into this topic? Can you see how giving yourself the same treatment and consideration you give to others is crucial to a happy and well-lived life? If so, the support and opportunities for growth offered by a community such as The Journey Training could sure help.

You’ve got a personal invitation to become the best version of yourself here. We’ll support you in learning how to do unto others and unto you in a way that creates more light in your own life and in the world. Just reach out to us today.

You’re Staying Present … But Are You Staying Positive?

You’re Staying Present … But Are You Staying Positive?

They say “live in the moment.” They say “be positive.” And they say “be present.” Are you staying positive? How are YOU showing up?

Staying present is more than the mantra “be here now.” This fabulous phrase, popularized by Ram Dass, is everywhere in popular culture … but that doesn’t mean people are using it correctly. True, we can’t claim to have a corner on any phrase, life philosophy, or spiritual approach. But we can tell you that in our experience, being present and being positive are not the same thing.

First, though, a disclaimer: We would never want to convey the idea that people should avoid or look down upon negative emotions. All feelings are a part of life’s journey. They provide critical guideposts to help us navigate our inner and outer environment.

However, just like those base-jumpers in the flying suits… (Google them!) we go where we look. Focus on the negative, and the present can become a very unpleasant place indeed.

Consider the following situations:

  • You suffer a romantic disappointment;
  • Your boss yells at you with the door open, and for the rest of the week your team members eye you with pity;
  • One of your children has chosen a path you don’t agree with or that breaks your heart;
  • You aren’t happy with your body;

The list goes on and on, of course. In situations such as these, many people have an immediate fight or flight reaction. Too often, they flee to the past, when things were cozier or better, and the adverse event wasn’t happening. Or they take refuge in the future, where perhaps life is rosier. Maybe they even fantasize about seeking revenge. Hey, we’re all human. But you see the problem: You’re not here now.

If you do stay in the present, your thoughts might turn toward the dismal and self-flagellating. You may utter phrases such as “I wasn’t worth loving anyway,” “I hate my boss and I’ll never enjoy work” or “I knew I should have been a better parent. It probably all goes back to that time I failed to…”

Take a Moment for Introspection…But Just the Positive Kind

Introspection is, without doubt, one of the handiest tools in your interpersonal (and intra-personal) kit. However, it can be damaging if you don’t take the right approach, which is to look for the good in each situation.

You can start by re-framing. Even with a broken heart, it’s possible to see that if someone dumps you, then they weren’t right for you. If your boss yells at you, they’re making themselves look bad. No one is responsible for your child’s actions but your child, no matter how much you might suffer from their decisions. And your body is what it is for now. If you want to alter it, you must face it with positivity, hope and a willingness to change your actions as well as your mindset.

Your elders were right: Each situation is a learning experience. You can choose to stay with that experience long enough to glean the good from it. Or, you can repeat the lesson another time.

When that feels like too much for you, and staying present becomes too heavy a burden, your spiritual community can help. If you want to learn to stay present, even in the midst of hurt and heartache, our community at The Journey Training is here for you. It’s time to become who you’re meant to be.

How to Avoid a Croissant  By Alison Loyd

How to Avoid a Croissant By Alison Loyd

Some of you will see this title and think, “Why would you want to do that?” Others may find it pretty easy to understand. When you struggle with a food addiction, it’s never easy. Who knew that a croissant could bring awareness and freedom, thanks to the tools I received at The Journey Training and a friend who I met there?

My friends and I were having a magical breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My meal came with a croissant. I can normally say no to croissants, as there are breads that are much more satisfying and calorie-worthy to me. I told myself I didn’t need it. I offered it to my friends at the table who were not gluten-free. They both politely declined. I even offered it again, and then I just left it on my plate.

I finished breakfast first, and a little voice whispered in my ear: “They’re still eating and you’re done. Just eat it.” I gave in and regretted it.

A little later I was talking to my friend. We are so transparent with each other. The Journey Training enabled us to do that – to go deep and feel safe. She said, “I know you offered it. I was surprised when you ate it, but didn’t want to say anything and hurt your feelings.”

A huge light bulb came on. I struggle with food addiction and I have shed a lot of tears over the years when people have made comments about what I’m eating. I have an inner monologue that says, “They think I’m fat. They think I’m eating way too much. I’m a pig.” I’ve learned to recognize these negative lies. We call them tapes, the stories we make up in our heads. My friend knows this about me and didn’t want me to make up any stories.

I thought about it and had a huge revelation! It wasn’t about WHAT she says, but WHEN to say it. I could see the difference now! I shared with her that if we are eating and I’m clearly trying not to eat something, she can suggest I not eat it or help me get rid of it. That way, she’s helping me do what I’ve already decided beforehand that I want to do.  However, if I’m enjoying my food or already eating it, she can just let me eat it. That was a huge awareness for me because I can now communicate this need for support to others.

Two powerful tools from the training were at play here.

  1. I distinguished between the truth and self-limiting beliefs. It was true I didn’t need to eat the croissant. It was true that my friend could see that. It isn’t true when I make up stories that people think I’m a fat or that they are controlling my food because they suggest I don’t eat something or that I don’t want it from their perspective. They are simply trying to help me.
  1. I communicated what I needed from my friend. In The Journey Training, we learn to ask the question, “How can I love and support you?” This allows the person to share how they need love so that it will be received as love and not misunderstood or received as something else. You can also tell others what you need from them instead of waiting for them to ask you the question.

What’s your croissant? What do you want sometimes, but need to avoid most of the time?

Do you have beliefs you tell yourself that aren’t true? Do you wish you had someone to hold you accountable when and where you need accountability?

Do you feel like you need better skills in communicating love?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, The Journey Training is for you!

Sign up today!


Guacamole  By Christina Loveless

Guacamole By Christina Loveless

I learned to make guacamole from my dear aunt, Liz, a number of years ago. She taught me a certain way and for a while, I did exactly what she had showed me: I diced the avocado, tomato and red onion, added in some lime juice and cilantro, and stirred it all together. Then one day, my husband asked me to mash it all together, providing me an opportunity to stop and think.

That moment, that decision, was a gift. It allowed me to truly examine why I was doing what I was doing. It presented a crossroads to either continue with the way I had been going along or to take a turn and change directions. So often we choose to continue on down the way we have been going without thought, on auto pilot. But when we embrace the pause, we take a step back and evaluate the WHY of our actions.

Another gift was presented to me in the guise of guacamole. I chose to mash the avocado into a creamy paste and fold the tomatoes in. My husband and I chose to substitute milder green onions for the stronger red onions and we incorporated garlic powder, because we like garlic. Each decision was reached together.

This is the power of compromise. Finding something that bridges the gap without either party feeling like they have gotten less. We may not get everything we want, but sometimes what we get is even better than what we wanted in the first place.

In The Journey Training I learned tools that help to bridge the gap in communication and find solutions that benefit both parties. I also learned the value of pausing my life for the training weekends and discovered the most amazing things about myself and others.