Grievance or Miracle: Your Choice
|by Gina Mazza, November 2012|
It was a weekend of personal growth that I will never forget. After enduring an emotionally devastating couple of years with as much poise, grace and sanity as I could muster, a dear friend generously gifted me and a few other girlfriends with a beautiful retreat weekend in southern California. Gathered amidst hundreds of others who were all in some phase of healing or recovery, we were encouraged to “reframe” the traumas that had occurred in our lives and move ahead with increased self-awareness, clear intentions for the future and, ultimately, forgiveness.
Our lead facilitator, the late Dr. David Simon, gently led us through a series of individual and group exercises that purposely took us out of our comfort zones. In one session, he spoke about Lesson 78 from A Course in Miracles:
“Let miracles replace all grievances,” the Course states. “Perhaps it is not yet quite clear to you that each decision that you make is one between a grievance and a miracle . . . Today we go beyond the grievances, to look upon the miracle instead.”
Dr. Simon then challenged us to incorporate this philosophy into our lives going forward. “Pay attention to your wake,” he advised, referring to the trail we leave behind, like waves left by a boat, as we walk through our days. “Do you leave a trail of grievances or miracles? Judgment or love? Fear or courage?”
That retreat was four years ago and even now, this lesson still serves as a relevant benchmark for how to live each day. It’s true that miracles occur on their own accord when we make the decision to spiral out of familiar patterns, let go of our grievances and simply allow circumstances to be what they are. How we “see” each moment informs the next, and the next, and the next—eventually creating the true foundation of our existence.
In my book, Everything Matters, Nothing Matters, I write that it’s not about what happens to us that’s important, but rather our response to it, how we choose to go through our experiences and, most importantly, who we become as a result. As I’ve taken David’s advice to heart and paid even closer attention to my response-ability towards what happens in my life, I’ve learned so much about myself and others in the process. Here are some of my road tested observations about how we can all best move from “grievance” to “miracle” mode.
- Be willing to give yourself time and space to be contemplative. This is something that women, especially, have difficulty doing, but it’s vital. Seeing the miracle requires quiet time for introspection.
- Have the courage to ask yourself three essential questions: Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve? The answers to these questions will probably evolve over time as you change and grow.
- Get clear on what you don’t want, as well. We cannot make improvements in our lives unless we know what we don’t want. The contrast between what we want and don’t want is the basis for our “expansion.”
- Be bold enough to claim your life. Again, women often have difficulty with this because we are natural “pleasers.” Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to live your own life, instead of someone else’s version of it. This invariably leads to grievance! When we are in our true essence, we have more to give, more love to share.
- Make sure that you’re not suffering from what I call “paradigm allegiance”—meaning, you are set in your ways and unwilling to experience a breakthrough. Step out of your box and drop patterns that no longer serve you. Miracles will rush in.
- Get comfortable with uncertainty. Embrace the paradox that difficulty, confusion and loss can lead to opportunities for personal awakening.
- Realize that there is no one to “blame.” To let go of grievance, we must get past our own BS and not say things like, “I can’t do this because my mother wouldn’t approve” or “My husband won’t allow it.” Those who truly love us will have our highest and best interests at heart.
- Ask for support. Unspoken needs can lead to grievances. If you need help, ask for it. Reach out to family, friends, counselors and advisors. Ask for higher guidance; prayer and meditation are gateways to the miraculous.
- Practice non-judgment . . . of yourself and others. The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judging yourself, and to do the same with others.
- Abandon perfectionism. As you look back, you may view certain situations with regret or remorse. We all make mistakes. And that’s a good thing. Our alleged errors help us refine ourselves and to define, again, what we want and don’t want.
- End (and begin) with forgiveness. Work at clearing the lower emotions of guilt, shame and remorse. Is there someone you need to forgive? Mend the fence. Does someone deserve your forgiveness? Build a bridge.
Above all, the best way to shift from “grievance” to “miracle” is to be in gratitude, which is total acceptance of and appreciation for what is. The choice is always yours, and the rewards are great, even miraculous.
Gina Mazza is a Pittsburgh journalist, book editor, creative muse, publishing consultant, corporate copywriter and author of Everything Matters, Nothing Matters: From Women Who Dare to Live with Exquisite Calm, Euphoric Creativity and Divine Clarity. Visit www.ginamazza.com.