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From the Daily Republic: California 25 December2011

Problem and crisis control

Always affirm: I am calm, poised, and serene, centered in the presence of pure Spirit.

No matter what it is, God can handle it. Life sometimes is difficult, but with God we celebrate and go on. We must remember the Japanese symbol for crisis also means opportunity.

“In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

“Then a poor peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

 “After picking up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins, enough to be sufficient for life, and a note from the King indicating an invitation to join the royal court and that the gold was for the kind person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what others may never know.”

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. Every problem in Unity is an opportunity, a challenge.

How do I remember that this too will pass, when I am facing a large boulder in my path . . . loss of health, an ended relationship, a lost job, a lack of work, a lack of money?

There are ways to quickly find your footing when hard times hit:

  • Faith is the first key for those of us in Unity. We turn to God within and remember we are never alone. With God we can do all things. With the spiritual faculties, such as faith, we can handle hard times. Faith in God within us is believing, despite appearances or circumstances that the perfect pattern of God’s life is within us, as our divine inheritance. God’s life is the truth of our being. God can’t be ill, nor can our life in reality. So, we lovingly affirm and peak to our bodies or one another’s. You are the life and strength of God. Every cell, system, and organ expresses this truth. In time, with faith, we feel the shift and see a difference in our manifestation of life.
  • When crisis hits, remember you have far more control over your endurance and success than was previously believed. Mark Matousek, author, has several steps or insights and skills that provide support through “wrenching challenges.”
  1. “Let the bad news sink in.” “Crisis Control” by Mark Matousek (Good Housekeeping October 2011). Acknowledge that you have hit rough times. Pretending not to be in pain is stressful in itself.
  2. “Our culture says that it’s not OK to feel pain and stress. But when we sidestep our inner anguish, our lives, then  morph into being all about avoiding pain.” (Dr. John Forsyth, Ph.D., Director of the Anxiety Disorder Research  Program at University of Albany, N.Y.)
  •  When crisis occurs, instead of “duck and cover,” we must face it, so emotions can’t be bottled up. If we try to avoid it, far higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder may evolve. Watch using words like “always” or “never,” it could mean we are catastrophizing, “awfulizing” and that is a bottomless pit. Instead, catch yourself and disengage from those thoughts. Affirm the truth “I AM calm, poised, and serene, centered in the presence of pure Spirit,” then breathe deeply and repeat deep breathing.
  • Take a journal or notepad with you during these difficult times and journal your feelings, fears, anxiety. Journaling is an excellent way of tuning into this reassuring voice of Truth within. Your higher self, the Christ in you, knows “this will pass” and all will be well; for it is in Spirit within you. Write out your fears, your helplessness, and let it go without getting more involved with it. Use your mind power to focus upon the possibilities of Good and God’s Spirit placing a purse of gold under this seeming block in your path. In time, we see the thoughts we have, like “I’ll never survive this . . .” are just thoughts. I recognize I’m having this thought, it doesn’t have to be my reality.

Our bodies have the ability to heal when our minds and hearts support them. There is a direct link between increased productivity of the stress hormone cortisol and a person’s inability to function during crisis.

The best way to handle naturally the cortisol level is to breathe deeply in through the nose and out the mouth. Then repeat and in your mind, affirm “I AM calm, poised, and serene, centered in the presence of pure spirit. Relax, I’m handling this.”

When overloaded with stress, breathe. Controlled breathing may help within a minute. Meditation, exercise, and especially yoga, tai chi, and chi gong, are other ways to relieve stress.

St. Paul said, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” So when we change our mind, our perspective, and we look for evidence of hope, the good, we transform how we deal with stress.

Finally, psychologist Thomas Moore, author of “Care of the Soul,” gave this advice, “Even when things don’t work out, you can still say you trust life. It’s an approach based not on logic or factual evidence, but rather on lived wisdom. Circumstances may not be perfect, yet you still can be a trusting, optimistic person. Each of us must ask ourselves where we stand when it comes to mystery. Do we try to hide from life, or do we instead trust that whatever happens (with God and our indwelling Christ), we are going to be OK.”

Maybe we will live a better life after the crisis, remember the purse had gold coins in it, under the boulder.

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