Counselor's Corner ...

By Fred Cavaiani

Lent is here for those in many Christian denominations. It is a time to take a serious and introspective look into one’s inner life and to discover what the blocks are to living a happier and more connected life. All religious groups have their own version of Lent: a time for honest reflection of what inhibits us to live on a higher plane of love and union with God and all of creation. This time for honest reflection of what life is all about seems to be a universal experience and a built in principle in our journey through life. In some unconscious manner religious groups have understood this and set aside time for each member to consider an inner change within their own person.

Inner change happens when I begin to look deeply within myself to consider what my life is all about. Do I find peace in each moment of life? Am I a person so caught up in what I have and how other people think of me that my basic attitude toward life depends upon what other people say about me?

Inner change happens when I realize that there is Something or Someone that is much bigger than me and it is most important to discover how to experience this Someone.

Inner change happens when I begin to realize that the only purpose in life for any of us is to bring more love and gentleness to the world. When people treat me with love and gentleness I always feel better and walk with a little smile on my face. Love and gentleness disarms people.

Inner change happens when I learn to be silent and listen attentively to the whisperings of a Power beyond myself which can fill me with a peace and wisdom that I never knew could really exist so powerfully within myself.

Inner change happens when I stop worrying and fretting and thinking there is a God who would be angry with me and I begin to realize that if there is a Power beyond me, this Power always loves me and is always with me to nurture and lift me up to new heights of peace, wisdom and love.

Inner change happens when I realize that “Earths filled with heaven and every common bush afire with God.” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

Inner change happens when I realize that what other people think of me is none of my business.

Inner change happens when I begin to understand that every moment of life is death and resurrection. I need to embrace the present moment which can at first seem like a ‘death’ because I have to quiet down and experience what is before me, in order to experience a resurrection, which is a profound depth or experience of the presence of the Divine in each moment of life.

Inner change happens when I give up needing to be right and give up judging other people.

Inner change happens when I give up being angry and open my heart to kindness and love to all.

Inner change happens when I stop deciding in my mind who will be going to heaven and who will be going to hell. Freedom then begins and love can pour out of me to everyone without condemnation or judgment. And this inner change will create a peaceful and loving atmosphere for emotional and spiritual growth for those around me.

Inner change happens when I put into my life some fundamental principles that will force me to be more open and reflective, like spending time each day in meditation and spending time in exercise. These actions will energize my mind and my body into positive experiences and feelings.

Inner change happens when I spend much more time listening empathically to other people than telling other people my “words of wisdom.”.When I listen attentively, the words that I need to speak to others will be brief, wise and loving.

Inner change happens when I belong to communities or religious organizations that promote quiet, gentle reflection and a universal love and kindness to all without emphasizing what is wrong with the world but affirming what is right and good.

Inner change will begin to happen now. As I enter this Lent or time for renewal I am determined to look deeper within myself and embrace the blocks that have kept me from surrendering to a Power or God bigger than myself. That Power wants to embrace me with a resurrection to a much higher existence of living.

Inner change happens in the moment of surrender.

Inner change is always within reach for everyone. It simply begins now.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage and family therapist and ssychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com

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