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A time comes in your life when you finally get it ...

when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity,

you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out


Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.

And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside,

you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change...

or for happiness,

safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that you are

neither Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings

(or beginnings for that matter)

and that any guarantee of

"happily ever after"

must begin with you...

and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love,

appreciate or approve of who or what you are...

and that's OK.

They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...

and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you

(or didn't do for you)

and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what they mean

or mean what they say

and that not everyone will always be there for you

and that it's not always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...

and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers

and you begin to accept people as they are

and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...

and in the process a sense of

peace and contentment

is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself,

and the world around you,

is as a result of all the messages

and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche.

And you begin to sift through all

the junk you've been fed about how you should behave,

how you should look, how much you should weigh,

what you should wear,

what you should do for a living,

how much money you should make,

what you should drive,

how and where you should live,

who you should marry,

the importance of having and raising children,

and what you owe your

parents,family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds

and different points of view.

And you begin reassessing and redefining

who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between

wanting and needing

and you begin to discard the doctrines and values

you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with...

and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive.

And that there is power and glory

in creating and contributing

and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a


looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as

honesty and integrity are not the outdated

ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that

holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything,

it's not your job to save the world

and that you can't teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility

and the importance of setting

boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only

cross to bear is the one

you choose to carry

and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love.

How to love,

how much to give in love,

when to stop giving

and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships

as they really are and

not as you would have them be.

You stop trying to control

people, situations and outcomes.

And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You also stop working so hard

at putting your feelings aside,

smoothing things over

and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of

entitlement are perfectly OK...

and that it is your right

to want things and to ask

for the things you want...

and that sometimes it is necessary

to make demands.

You come to the realization that you

deserve to be treated with

love, kindness, sensitivity and respect

and you won't settle for less.

And you learn that

your body really is your temple.

And you begin to care for it

and treat it with respect.

You begin

to eat a balanced diet, drink more water,

and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels

doubt, fear, and uncertainty

and so you take more time to rest.

And, just as food fuels the body,

laughter fuels our soul.

So you take more time

to laugh and to play.

You learn that,

for the most part,

you get in life what you

believe you deserve...

and that much of life truly

is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving

is worth working for

and that wishing for something to happen

is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that

in order to achieve success you need

direction, discipline and perseverance.

You also learn that

no one can do it all alone...

and that it's OK

to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing

you must truly fear

is the greatest robber baron of all:

FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into

and through your fears

because you know that whatever happens

you can handle it

and to give in to fear

is to give away the

right to live life on your own terms.

And you learn to fight for your life

and not to squander it

living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't

always fair,

you don't always get what

you think you deserve and that sometimes

bad things happen to

unsuspecting, good people.

On these occasions you learn

not to personalize things.

You learn that God isn't punishing you

or failing to answer your prayers.

It's just life happening.

And you learn to deal

with evil in its

most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings

such as anger, envy and resentment

must be understood and redirected

or they will suffocate the life out of you

and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong

and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful

and to take comfort in many

of the simple things we take for granted,

things that millions of people upon

the earth can only dream about:

a full refrigerator,

clean running water,

a soft warm bed,

a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take

responsibility for yourself by yourself

and you make yourself a promise to never betray

yourself and to never,

ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside

your window so you can listen to the wind.

And you make it a point to keep smiling,

to keep trusting,

and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart

and God by your side you take a stand,

you take a deep breath,

and you begin to design the life

you want to live as best you can.

-author unknown-


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