Playing with fire

It was a cold, damp day so I decided to light the fire. Watching a roaring fire and feeling the warmth, I thought about how comforting it is to have a fireplace in the house. Of course, humans have enjoyed fire for eons of time.

Immersed in these thoughts, I also remembered how deadly a fire can be when it is out of control. Fire is energy and too much unexpected energy all at once doesn’t warm nor comfort, it destroys. No one wants to be in the vicinity of an out-of-control fire. It can incinerate us.

Emotions are also energy. Although we think of emotions as something intangible and imperceptible, they have power. Like fire, expressed emotions can be comforting and reassuring but, if they are hot and out of control, they can burn people.

Many of my clients face volatile people either in their current lives or in their past lives. Learning what action to take when confronted with hostility is part of our curriculum as humans on our soul journey.

Think for a moment when you have been in the vicinity of someone expressing uncontrolled, hot emotions? You are likely to feel a blast of negative energy coming your way, especially if you are invested in the content and are emotionally connected to the angry one. Afterwards, you might have trouble putting the incident out of your mind.

How can you protect yourself from disturbing emotional outbursts?

Let’s continue with our fire analogy. Firemen wear amazing protection when they’re in the vicinity of a serious fire. Highly rated thermal insulation makes up the outer skin of their protective shield while next to the skin lie several layers of breathable thermal material. Sandwiched between the two is a substantial moisture barrier. Firemen also breath oxygen through a mask. All this protection means they can survive in temperatures of 370°C, even though skin burns at 55°C.  Still, in an enclosed space, they are always in danger of a flashover. A flashover occurs when material in a heated space spontaneously combusts. Temperatures are deadly high, once this happens. Each fireman needs to be acutely aware of the warning signs to survive.

Obviously the most sensible thing to do to protect yourself from a fire or someone having an angry emotional outburst is to move away. But maybe you, like the firemen, want to help. So, you stay and try to calm whoever is having an emotional outburst. If you do, you need to be cautious. What protection do you have? How are you likely to react? What knowledge and skills have you developed?

Firemen train constantly to be ready for a fire. What preparation have you undertaken?

You need to know how to access your protection quickly and you need to make sure it stays in place.

Firemen have their protective armour. If you decide to stay in the vicinity of a hostile person, what protection do you need to be safe?  

Strong boundaries are important. These are non-physical boundaries. Objectivity is the cornerstone of strong emotional boundaries. Your objectivity keeps you from being caught up in the inferno.

You need inner strength, the strength to stay calm and unrattled even though the blaze might be getting more intense.

You need to know when to leave, especially if you are in an enclosed situation and the person you are dealing with is getting hotter and hotter. You might be in danger. Are you aware of the signs?

You need unconditional love, wisdom and skill when dealing with angry people. Otherwise you are likely to inflame the situation. Love comes from spiritual maturity. Wisdom comes from experience and emotional intelligence. Skill comes from knowing and practising useful communication techniques.

Like water quenching a fire, unconditional love can quell an emotional outburst. But some people burn with such deep pain and hate, they are not open to being calmed. These are the “fires” that are dangerous.

Firemen are trained to make sure they have an escape route. When you are in a volatile situation with someone, you need to know how to safely get away. Don’t put yourself in danger by not having a quick accessible exit.

The best way to deal with uncontrollable fire is to immediately get away—unless you are a fireman with all the protections outlined above. And for most of us, the best way to deal with a furious, uncontrollable, emotional outburst is to walk away.

When you leave immediately, you are refusing to be a victim. You are giving the offender a clear message that you will not tolerate their fiery outbursts. And if you return later, leave again if all is not calm. Actions always speak louder than words.

A Short Cut to Real Wealth

A Short Cut to Real Wealth

When I was in private practice as a psychologist, one of my clients sheepishly asked me if I had a policy on receiving gifts. She was holding a small parcel at the time.

 “Yes,” I replied, “I do have a policy on receiving gifts.”

Her face fell. She assumed, as a professional, my policy was to not accept gifts. I continued, “My policy is that I accept all good that the universe offers.”

Her face lit up with a wide smile as she handed me her gift. It was a handmade patchwork, shopping bag. She had made it for me, choosing bright colours that she noticed I preferred.

Decades later, I still have the bag which I still enjoy using, a reminder of this generous client and my gratitude for all the good I receive.

That gift was great. But sometimes the gift we receive is not what we expected.

One day a friend of mine asked me to come to a free weekend NLP seminar. My antennae told me to avoid this free seminar. I remember being told that if you didn’t know how NLP worked you could be manipulated by unscrupulous people using it. I had studied NLP and observed its exploitative power. I kindly refused her offer to attend. My friend and her partner went along. At the free seminar, they both signed up for two, five-day seminars at the cost of $20,000. These seminars were supposed to show them how to become rich. Some years later, my friend and her partner filed for bankruptcy.

Whatever they learned at these expensive seminars did not help them fulfil their dreams. While they tried to apply their newfound knowledge, they lacked one essential ingredient—self-knowledge. As time progressed, I observed a lot of wishful thinking by my friend and her partner—the same trap evident right at the beginning when they were invited to the free seminar.

By trusting in this free gift, they opened themselves to deception. But really, they deceived themselves. They didn’t have enough knowledge to be discerning. While you might see their trust as a mistake, I do not. Bankruptcy is painful, while also presenting a perfect opportunity to learn. They stood on the threshold of gaining a deeper understanding of themselves, their motivations and actions.

Trusting and receiving are not mistakes. Opportunities are gifts from the universe.

During the regressions which I am privileged to conduct, spiritual guides give us their wisdom. They tell us there is a short cut to spiritual development that very few people are taking at this point in time.

In one regression, the client was told by the guide, “I gave you this shortcut many lifetimes ago, but you still haven’t taken it.”

The client and I both wanted to know more details about this short cut.

“Trust,” the guide replied.

At that time, the guide’s words didn’t seem to make sense. In her past lives and current life, this client had trusted, received what was offered, and had been terribly betrayed. Those betrayals had caused her great grief, and even death. Why would she want to trust?

The guides left it to us to figure it out. In the meantime, similar messages kept coming from other guides.

Gradually, I gained a deeper understanding what they meant. When we trust without discernment, we will be disappointed, but this is the fastest way to learn. Over time, we learn what not to do and who not to trust. Even though it is painful to be let down, through trusting we continually refine our ability to make better decisions.

Think about it! How do we learn if we stop trusting and say ‘no’ to new opportunities? We cannot learn without taking risks, without opening up to accept new challenges. The courageous learn quickly while the fearful develop slowly. That is fine. It is their choice. But some of us want to progress more efficiently.

Trust is the opposite of fear. It takes courage to trust even when there is fear.

Gradually I have learned an important principle. Take action motivated by desire, not fear. In other words, don’t let fear distract you from what you truly desire.

Recently, I was guiding a young friend on how to consolidate and pay off her many debts. Suddenly, she realised how much money she would be applying to debt in the next year or so. “Oh! I’m not going to have much money to spend. I love buying things. I like the freedom of having money.”

“What do you really want?” I asked. “Do you want the freedom to spend like you have in the past, or do you want your life in control? This is your choice.”

She sat quietly for several minutes, mentally comparing these two ways of living, which are mutually incompatible.

“I want my life in control,” she stated with considerable conviction.

My young friend was giving herself a gift. She had not been able to trust herself in the past. She didn’t have the wisdom. Her careless spending propelled her into financial trouble, and she didn’t feel good about it. But she was willing to look at her previous behaviour and motivations. Once she understood what she’d been doing and why, she committed to change. She is taking actions that will give her what she really wants.

She’d been naïve. In spite of her careless spending, she trusted that all would be well. It wasn’t, not in the short term anyway. But ultimately, her trust and her debts are a gift. She is learning to spend money wisely.

Trust is our short-cut spiritual path. By trusting, we are developing the greatest wealth anyone can have: Wisdom.

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