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The Awakening

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!
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 through a mantle
of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world
through new eyes.

This is your Awakening...

You realize that 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 he
is not Prince Charming and you are not 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 & 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
& contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself
and the world around you,
is a result of all the messages
and opinions that have been ingrained
into your psyche.You begin to sift through
all the junk you've been fed about how you should
behave, how you should look and how much you
should weigh, what you should wear
and where you should shop and what you should drive,
how and where you should live and what you should
do for a living,who you should marry and what
you should expect of a marriage,
the importance of having and raising children
or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up
to new worlds and different points of view.
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 "consumer"
looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty
and integrity are not the outdated ideals
of a by gone 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. Romantic love
and familial love. How to love, how much
to give in love, when to stop giving
and when to walk away. You learn not to project
your needs or your feelings
onto a relationship. You learn
that you will not be more beautiful,
more intelligent, more lovable or important
because of the man on your arm or the child
that bears your name.

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.
You learn that just as people grow and change,
so it is with love; and you learn that you don't
have the right to demand love on your terms,
just to make you happy. 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 that
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.
You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you,
to glorify you with his touch and in the process,
you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple.
And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect.
You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more
water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that
fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear.
So you take more time to rest. 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 in life, you get
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 that the only thing you must truly fear
is the great robber baron of all time; 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 terms.

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.

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. 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 with 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 as you can.

~*Virginia Marie Swift*~

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