archive

New Horizons
      by Gail Carr Feldman, PhD

On our life journey, every change presents us with a new horizon. Sometimes these horizons are breathtakingly beautiful, and other times they appear bleak and barren. The New York City skyline now looks empty, the missing towers representing tremendous loss and pain. At the same time, a new spirit has arisen from that place of seeming desolation. People have turned within and come together to support the transformation of grief into renewed strength and lifegiving energy. Their creativity has given many forms to the expression of this loving care, so that as we become accustomed to the new horizon we can know it is filled with a new spirit of interaction.

Things wonderful can come from deficit. I was fascinated to read that when Einstein's preserved brain was reexamined last year, it was found to be missing a part of the normal human brain, the parietal operculum. Because of this defect, the inferior parietal lobe was able to grow 15% wider than usual. These brain cells, packed close together with more interconnections, brought Einstein greater mathematical cognition and visual-spatial imagery. The missing part of his brain actually allowed for the growth of his genius. We can remember from this that every seeming darkness gives way to light.

"Einstein advised, 'Go where the problem isn't.' Fear and darkness dissolve when we contemplate light, levity, and spaciousness."

When looking for a brighter horizon this new year, keep in mind the following:

1. Focus on the light. In order to do this, hurt, loss, disappointment and pain, the darkness that would pull you down into it, must first be acknowledged. Let this be an active, ongoing process of observing the feelings, thoughts, and behavior, the grief that would block acceptance of the past and joy in the present. Know that with intention, "this too will pass." The light is always beckoning at the end of the tunnel.
2. Nurture your body. You cannot be psychologically and emotionally fit unless the body, the carrier of your mind and your spirit, is sturdy and strong. Tending to the body creates energy that flows and feeds back to support the physical, mental, and emotional systems. In every way you know how to, care for your body, love it, and thank it for all of the years it has sustained you. If you have abused or neglected your body in any way, ask its forgiveness and promise to be a better caretaker of this miraculous container of the Self.
3. Feed your spirit. Light comes from an expansion of consciousness. Use prayer and meditation to recognize and open to your vision of greater service and life purpose. The world needs you right now to be a positive, creative visionary. Align with faith in all possibilities.
4. Be inspired. Einstein clearly stated that his efforts were, "to understand the mind of God." When dealing with problems, one spiritual teacher says to, "Take your mind off the problem and place it on God." Similarly, Einstein advised, "Go where the problem isn't." Fear and darkness dissolve when we contemplate light, levity, and spaciousness.

Two women stand out in my mind for their ability to "go where the problem isn't." Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey both experienced deprivation and trauma in childhood and they both overcame the seeming limitations of their early lives. Oprah has been willing to disclose her own experiences and challenges and bring psychologists and spiritual teachers onto her show. She effects the lives of 22 million people each week. She believes that life is a constant learning experience and that greatness, as Dr. Martin Luther King taught, "is determined by service."

Oprah serves. Her prayer is, "Use me God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself." Oprah's social activism supports many service organizations around the world, including a multi-million dollar college scholarship program, the Angel Network, for students in need. She reportedly, also maintains an entire village in Africa through her personal financial support.

Maya Angelou was named one of the top 100 best writers of the 20th century by Writer's Digest. She has been nominated for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She has written dozens of books, plays, poetry collections, essays, and screenplays. She is also an accomplished actress and is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and West African Fanti. Her honors and awards are listed by the pages.

Both of these distinguished women have aligned their personalities with their souls, in order to share their creative strength in service. The fifth step, then, in finding a bright horizon is to accept your power. It's right there inside, at the core of your being. It is the source of your self-expression and the silent spring of your creativity. Keep in mind, however, that the only thing we fear more than another's power over us is our own power. We worry that looking at a too-bright horizon will burn the eyes. We fret about stepping boldly into the light. We'll loose the comfort of the familiar, the ease of being common, and more, much more, may be required of us.

Find the courage to shine your light anyway. Be a beacon. You'll find that anxiety will transform to excitement. The body doesn't know the difference, and the energy from that excitement can fuel all of your efforts in moving toward a new, bright horizon. As Oprah says,"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe."