Women of Inspiration

Women of Inspiration

by Carol JamesApril 2000 issue

A WOMAN OF INSPIRATION -- As a child I didn't learn how to deal effectively with conflict, so my usual way of dealing with it was to run away. At 17 I ran away from home, and a few years later I ran away from my marriage. When people took advantage of me, I dropped them like hotcakes. When employers didn't acknowledge me for the great job I thought I was doing, I quit. When boyfriends tried to control my life, I dumped them. I moved from relationship to relationship and job to job looking for fulfillment and happiness. Yet, at every turn, a conflict would arise that I was unable to handle effectively, sending me crashing into sickness, stress or depression.

In 1981, after ending yet another dysfunctional relationship while concurrently getting laid-off from my job, I reached the breaking point. "Enough is enough! I thought. I don't know how I'm attracting this garbage, but I want it to STOP!" Feeling frustrated and incredibly unhappy, I began a journey to understand the secret to sustained happiness and well-being.

After reading hundreds of psychology, parapsychology, self-help and positive thinking books and attending dozens of workshops, I came across a statement that shattered my belief system, "If you don't like your life, change it." Until then, it had never occurred to me that I had control over the circumstances of my life. Yet the insight turned my life upside down as I moved through the stages of blaming others, blaming myself, feeling powerless and making little progress to eliminate my unhappiness and stress.

As my search for answers progressed, my life bobbed around like a drunken sailor. I started my own business in 1985 but made some stupid management and hiring mistakes a few years later that eventually caused a bankruptcy. Depression took hold as I convinced myself that I was the biggest loser on the face of the Earth. My body was ravaged by stress and illness, my personal effectiveness was at an all-time low and my spirit nearly broken.

Yet time heals all wounds and eventually I rebuilt my life financially and professionally and regained my self-esteem. But I still had a big hole inside of me filled with questions for which I had no answers. Above all, I wanted to know how I kept creating the unwanted circumstances that caused me so much stress.

After years of study and self-observation, I came to understand how my beliefs, perspectives, decisions and behaviors lead me to the results I encounter. My approach to life now includes mindfulness, self-inquiry, openness, compassion and focusing on what I want (instead of focusing on what I dont want), and the results have been astounding. My business is more successful than it has ever been, my relationships are more fulfilling, my health has vastly improved and stress, anger, regret and worry are things of the past. At last I have achieved the happiness and well-being that seemed so elusive long ago, all because I decided to hold my own thinking accountable for the circumstances of my life.

Carol James is a consultant, speaker, teacher, coach and creator of the Inspired Living web site, author of the powerful new book, Transformative Thinking: a Course in Spiritual Empowerment and publisher of the Inspired Lifestyle Newsletter.

Email Carol James at carol@inspiredliving.com Inspired Living web site to http://www.inspiredliving.com
Powerful new book reveals secrets of lasting happiness, well-being and stressless living "Transformative Thinking: a Course in Spiritual Empowerment" http://www.inspiredliving.com/ttprogram/tt.htm

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