Cleaning Up Crap
What's the Lesson When You Think You Figured Out the Lesson, and You Really Haven't? Chp. 1 from Iyanla Vanzant's "Yesterday I Cried".
"Sometimes you pick up something, thinking it's something else, and by the time you realize what it really is, you've got a real mess to clean up. Life is about being willing to take your naked body, your most vulnerable self, out of the warm water where you are comfortable and clean up the crap without getting angry and without losing your Self in the process. When you can do that, life becomes a joy rather than a chore. . . You can't get caught up in the crap! If you do you will surely lose sight of the real meaning of life and lose your Self. You cannot, under any circumstances, get caught up in whether the crap is yours or someone else's. You can't get caught up in what it looks like, smells like, or how much of it may be piled in front of you. You can't get caught up in where it came from, or why it keeps coming your way. 'Caught up' is another way of saying 'being stuck.' You can't get stuck in the right or wrong, good or bad, injustice or fairness of cleaning up the crap in your life. You cannot compare how much of it you have to the amount someone else may have. Life is like a crap-cleaning test. It is a test that we all signed up for, one we must all take. The best students get the hardest tests. Our only job, whether we like it or not, is to keep a vigilant guard over our lives and to clean up the crap as soon as it comes to our attention. . . My experience has been that, no matter what you call it, the result of cleaning up crap is spiritual growth and development. . . There were things in my life and about my life that had absolutely nothing to do with who I now was, what I did, and what I now knew to be the truth about me. 'What is it that I am doing to create the present situation in which I find myself?' . . Who I am-is not who I used to be. But who I am is all of who I used to be. . . I understood that even when we change, our history does not. What you have learned through your experiences in life will influence, affect, and motivate everything you do. . . Often, when you are on the spiritual path, there is a war that goes on between the person you once were and the person you are becoming. Some call it 'thought patterns.' others call it 'habit.’ . . The old you, the one who helped you survive, the one that was there for you in the rough times, is going to fight to stay alive. The old you knows your secrets and your history. The old you knows your defense mechanisms, what you will do when your buttons get pushed, and exactly where your weaknesses lie. The old you knows what works for you and is terrified by the thought of trying something new. The old you is comfortable with the way things were and are. The old you wants to stay in control. The old you has home-court advantage. The new you, the spiritually conscious, spiritually grounded you, is fumbling around trying to figure out what works now. It is the part of you that has yet to be proven. You may believe strongly, you may want deeply to change, and for your newfound identity to emerge. But the new you is not quite sure it will work. It is there, in that glimmer of doubt, that the old you goes to work. It nags at you. It challenges you. It is called self-doubt and lame excuses. It looks like not having time to pray, to meditate, and not being able to figure out how praying and meditating are going to put food on the table. The new you views problems as challenges, knowing that with every problem comes the solution, the escape, the way out. The new you is willing to confront challenges and wants to do so in a spiritually grounded way. When, however, the new you is backed up to a wall, it will, out of habit, borrow from the old you. The instant the borrowing occurs, the new you is rendered dead—even if it is only for a moment. The challenge is that when the new you is brought back into focus, there is probably a pile of old-you crap that needs to be cleaned up. . . I learned the hard way that you must be disciplined, vigilant, and obedient about the practices that will build your spiritual muscles and put the old you to rest. The truth is that you really are sleeping with the enemy, and the enemy knows that you are doubtful and fearful. . . There were things that I wanted to say, needed to say for myself, but for some reason the words were stuck in my throat. I was swallowing my truth because I was afraid to upset people. I was people pleasing because I was afraid to deal with confrontation. . . Even when it seems that your life is falling apart there is divine restoration going on. . . When you know one thing and believe another, you experience conflict. . . Healing takes place from the inside out. . . Whenever we don’t do what we need to do, for whatever reason, we create crap. I once thought that if I prayed enough, meditated long enough, and demonstrated enough faith, things would work themselves out. I had thought I could live with the pangs of something being not quite right. . . ‘Don’t be so fast to jump to conclusions. You have never seen this day. You have never seen the beauty this day holds. Just because it rained yesterday and the ground is flooded, that does not mean you are going to get wet today. . . You have been through a lot. I know you have made some mistakes. But I also know that nothing you have done has been because you are a mean or malicious person. Most of what you have done has been what you were taught to do. Do you know that you are not a bad person?’ . . ‘Sometimes I think I almost have myself convinced. Then I will do something, somebody will criticize me, and then I’m not so sure anymore.’ ‘You are not a bad person, but you have placed yourself in bad situations. . . You are a different person now than you were then.’. . Seek the truth and speak the truth. Learn all that you can about teaching and healing. Learn all that you can about mercy and grace. Learn all that you can about God, because God and the high Spirits of God are the only friends you have. People are going to challenge you. [You are] welcomed by all, but feared and despised by many. When you know, do not be afraid to say you know. When you do not know, say so. You will be shown what to do. You will be told what to say. Only if you build yourself on the strength of good character will you be able to receive the answers you need. Know who you are. ‘You may want to be as spiritual as all get out, but you are a human being, prone to making mistakes. When you do make a mistake, only a good, solid character will help you move through it.’ That is what this day . . . and these tears were about: building character and integrity. . . I had forgotten that you must put your spiritual knowledge into practice all of the time. You have to tell the truth all of the time. You must declare your goal, state your intentions, ask for what you want, and remain true to yourself, all of the time. The minute you forget any one or all of those principles, the enemy will step in. When that happens, you have to work harder. The time had come for me to heal at a deeper level and get the lesson from another perspective. Dear God: Please bring me this lesson gently and lovingly. Please let me see and understand what is really going on, and give me the courage to do whatever is necessary. Remind me of what I have forgotten. Inform me of your will for my own spiritual progress and the good of all others involved. I am ready and willing to know the truth.”
Major Points: Whether you feel life is fair or not, the crap isn’t going to stop coming, so clean it up before it piles up. While cleaning up crap, be conscious of it; don’t just try to quickly push it under the sofa (back of the head) in embarrassment (it will stink later): What is the lesson that you need to learn from this? Though it’s very difficult to see the positive in negative situations know that there is always a hidden treasure; even if it’s only learning the lesson so that you don’t find yourself in the same situation again, it’s called growth and is good. Don’t beat yourself up when you do make a mistake, because that is not moving you forward. Most often than not, you will look back at that time of your life and realize that you became wiser, stronger, aware, ect. because of the experience. It's okay to let go of the old you, don't forget where you came through, but let go of your old ways that no longer work to make room for what's working for you now.
Big Lesson: You cannot make everyone happy, even if you were “perfect”, so be content with making yourself happy for only you know what’s best for you and only you know the hell you’ve been through to become the great person you are now. Celebrate yourself, but above all BE YOUR TRUE SELF, and never apologize for it. Always Love, Truth, and Peace to you.Filed under: Books / Documents, Iyanla Vanzant
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