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False Evidence Appearing Real

July 8, 2010

“In those few moments, he comprehended everything. He was very excited and his heart was filled with peace. He could hardly wait to tell his people what he discovered. He tried to tell the others, but they could not understand. They could see that he had changed, that something beautiful was radiating from his eyes and his voice. They noticed that he no longer had judgment about anything or anyone.  He was no longer like anyone else.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

In “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz begins by explaining attention, which is “the ability we have to discriminate and to focus ONLY on that which we want to perceive. We literally take in millions of signals on a daily basis (and our subconscious mind never sleeps so it’s always on – imagine if you will, one amazing data storage system) but by using our attention, our conscious mind, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind.

WE CAN HOLD WHATEVER WE WANT TO PERCEIVE IN THE FOREGROUND OF OUR MIND. I remember focusing all my attention on how rotten my ex-husband was for a very long time. I wish I could reclaim all those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months I spent solely focused on his downfall.

Who or what are you holding in the foreground of your mind? Just a question…I don’t expect you to answer right away…give it some thought. Because where thought goes, energy flows. Where are you using your attention? And who’s attention are you trying to get?

According to Ruiz, from the time we are born, “we develop a need for attention which can be very competitive. What situations do you find yourself in that you’re competing for attention?

  • Your family
  • At work
  • With your friends

Everything in the outside world is vying for our attention. The outside world teaches us what to believe and who to believe. When we agree to the information being stored, we believe it. And if you’ve listened to my last two shows on negative self-talk, you remember that we grow up with all this outside programming.

For example: we’re taught that the sky is the color blue. We agree to the information, we believe it, and sky=blue gets stored.

Another example and one that trips up nearly all of us are the words, “should” and “should not.” Simple words, right? But they keep as at war with what is so – let me explain, if I think “my husband should help out more” and I agree to that thought, I then attach myself to that belief  – and it gets stored in my massive data storage unit as “husband must help out more” and that puts me in direct conflict with reality because my internal agreement and belief have no basis in fact.

As humans, we’ve bought into a body of agreements and beliefs. And with this body, there’s a punishment and reward system. Even as I say these words, I know that I’m just as much a part of this system as you are because I punish others by not paying attention to them (my children, for example) and I reward them when they follow the rules by paying attention to them. Talk about having to shine the light on myself and expose my own underbelly!

What happens when we’ve lived this alternate reality our whole lives – when we live in fear of being punished and in fear of not getting the reward, “we start pretending to be what we are NOT, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else.” We do this because we’re afraid of being rejected and as Ruiz so brilliantly points out, “the fear of rejection becomes the fear of not being good enough.”

I know what it feels like to be rejected. I was eight when my parents divorced and I didn’t see my “real” mother until I was 28 with two kids of my own. I was 39 when my first husband walked out on our 19 year marriage for another woman. I was 40 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know what it feels like to be rejected.

About the time I was going through my divorce, Don Miguel’s book found me. And when I read his words, “the fear of rejection becomes the fear of not being good enough,” I thought, “What do I have to fear? I’ve already been rejected by my real mother, my first husband and my own body.” I’m still here, I’m still breathing. The sun still rises every day.  And the big blue marble called Earth stays in orbit.  Overtime, it became obvious to me that my fear of being rejected and not being good enough was simply “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

I came to understand that most of the beliefs I had stored in my own super computer were untrue and not very useful. In fact, my false beliefs were keeping me from being my true authentic self and living my life to its fullest potential. As long as I held onto my fears and false beliefs, I was creating my own personal hell. Always doing what others expected me to do. Always being who others expected me to be. Where did it ultimately get me?

Divorced and Dis-eased.

I was far from happy and nowhere close to being at ease.

A life threatening illness was my wake-up call; my own light illuminating moment that if I died, what was my legacy? What dream of bitterness was I leaving my daughters? I prayed to be shown and learn a better way, an easier way, and a more joyful way.

In the seven years since my divorce and the six and half years from my breast cancer diagnosis, I have learned to live my life on my terms, to take care of myself, my needs, to fill my soul with creative projects that make me happy. I learned to live my life from my point of view and not from someone else’s point of view. I no longer fear not being accepted and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am better than good enough – and so are you. I learned a key ingredient to a joyful and content life – self-acceptance and self-love. Accepting me as I am is what allows me to accept others as they are.

As women, we are taught that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We buy into the lie, the myth that we must do and be for others at the expense of our true authentic self and often at the expense of our own physical body. I had to be diagnosed with a life threatening illness and lose my left breast before I. Got. IT.

What will it take for you to get it?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2010 5:51 am

    Hi Peggy .. Having heard F E A R some years ago .. I now understand it a little better .. especially with all the wonderful bloggers around whose knowledge of life seems to be able to bring out and explain so many things more clearly.

    I’ve learnt that focusing on the moment and living with it dealing with it appropriately despite other things in the background .. I’m not sure how I’d have dealt with life if I’d known this years ago .. and yes I’d have loved to have understood earlier in my life … but then I wouldn’t be here now with these experiences.

    I think it was Wilma’s mother who used to take time out during the day – shut herself in her room for an hour or two .. and then carry on with being a mother – she had her break .. I do think learning to relax from the world is so important – I am looking forward to settling down and getting into the habit of bringing meditation into my life .. and opening up that side.

    I’m sure I’ll be a whole lot wiser – well more balanced probably .. once this period of my life moves on .. however I take each day at a time & that is a learning process .. and I still learn from my mother .. and I have Janice .. who really is inspirational to me – as she is the living embodiment of a number of you wonderful bloggers .. and that actual person makes a difference – an example to watch, but also I need to think before I speak or text her .. that’s a good lesson. Janice has yoga and reiki qualifications … & more – so I’m very lucky to have found her for my mother.

    Have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

    • Peggy Nolan permalink
      July 10, 2010 12:49 pm

      Hi Hilary,

      I am beyond happy that you have found Janice for you and your mother! Continued blessings for you both!


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