Monthly Archives: June 2015

Liber part 3

If I put my hand on a hot surface, the pain causes me to remove it.  Pain is my body’s indicator that I need to change my action to prevent more damage.  Physical pain is usually more obvious to us, but in my experience, emotional and mental pain is more excruciating.  When I am hurting inside, I feel trapped and I want out.  I am highly motivated to make a change.

Image result for choicesBut, can we change without hitting rock bottom? Can we make significant changes to our lives and overcome weakness, change habits and paradigms, become a different person without an impetus as strong as pain?  I used to believe, that for me at least, the answer was no.  I would see something I wanted, but was unable to attain it.  I would start down a path toward it, but never reach the destination.  I would pick up a stick only to drop it again.  My experiences were telling me the answer was no.  But that  was still seeing through the lense of pain.

Little did I know I was making changes all along.  Changes for the better.  They were just small.  I was on the path I wanted to be on, it was just at a walking pace.  Some of those changes were motivated by pain, but in actuality the changes motivated by pain are the ones that slowed my pace.   If pain motivated me to pick up the scriptures or pray, once the pain was gone, I slacked off.  (Does this sound like the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon?) I only ever had one Psychology class in college, and it was on behaviorism.  In it, I learned that when pain (or punishment) is the motivator, the change is not as likely to last as when a positive reinforcement is the motivator.  When the cat is away the mice will play.

The lasting changes come from a desire for something good.  Freedom from bondage comes when we see a glorious destination and keep our focus on it long enough to get there.  When relieving pain is our motivation to change we are to some degree blinded by that pain, we do not see clearly, and any action that relieves the pain even temporarily seems like the right choice.  When in reality, we may be walking into a bigger pain down the road by changing according to what relieves the current pain.

For example, yesterday afternoon, I was busy, moody and hungry.  I was feeling a pain.  I took the first option I found to relieve that pain, it was peanut butter filled pretzels – junk food.  It temporarily relieved my hunger, was a comfort food for my moodiness, and took no time to prepare.  But that choice, in the long run, gave me a miserable experience at Crossfit a couple of hours later – physical pain.  And last night I was commiserating to Jonathan about changing my diet, and frustrated with my repeated inconsistency and failure – an emotional pain.  Both of which were greater than my initial discomfort earlier in the afternoon.

Choices based on pain, are usually looking at the immediate consequences.  They don’t give us the desired result.  If I had chosen based on my positive vision of wanting to be physically healthy, have energy, feel good emotionally, and perform well at Crossfit, I would have taken a little time to get myself some real food.

So my conclusion now is that pain is actually a worse motivator than a desire for something good. Pain may be the initial motivator, but I must learn to choose not based on relieving the pain, but rather on the vision of what I really want.  This ties in to the law of attraction.  If our mind is focused on the pain, we will not see clearly to relieve it.  Instead we must focus on the bigger vision of what we want.  But how do we do that when the pain is present?

Humility.

Remember my desire for the gift of Charity at Christmas?  Part of the description of charity is to suffer long.  That takes humility.  Submitting to the pain, even as child doth submit to his father.  That certainly describes humility.  When I can accept that pain – of whatever kind – is part of the mortal experience, take a step back to embrace that feeling, physical or emotional, and ask “what is there to learn from this?”  I open myself up to being teachable.  I may not have the answer within myself yet,  or I may, but I am forgetting it.  The pain is blocking it from my memory.  Either way I must be humble to allow God through the Spirit, or another person, to teach me.

I do have some crucial pieces of knowledge to help me.

1.  Men are that they might have joy.  This encourages me that the pain is not meant to last eternally, though in the moment I may be wondering.

2.  With faith in, and through the atonement of, Jesus Christ, men do change.  I do not have to do this alone.  He will strengthen me if I let Him.

3.  Embracing the pain, and finding humilty to accept, actually lessens it.  It lets the Savior take that pain from you.

So, yes, pain is an indicator that we should change, and a powerful motivator, but whether pain is present or not, to obtain any change, to reach any goal, we must find Humility. We must be ready to learn and work for the knowledge we need, hungering and thirsting after it.  Aware of our own ignorance and lack of knowledge and skill.  We must be ready to submit to the mentor – God, and others he puts in our path, acknowledging they have knowledge and skills that we need.

Humility is the first step in Liber.  It is the hardest and the easiest.

 

Liber part 2

A mentor is someone who has the skills and knowledge you want.  A person that God brings into your life when you are ready to learn.   The power of a mentor comes when you are willing to submit. To follow all they ask of you, even when it is really hard, or you don’t see the purpose – like in Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi asks Daniel to to wax his cars and paint his fence.

I could only submit to the mentor, because I knew in my heart it was right.  I knew she had what I wanted.  I knew that gaining that principle of self-governance.  The ability to live on purpose and according to my core values was going to bring me happiness, closer to God.  It would make me a better mother.  I knew I could take the mentor’s counsel, regardless of my understanding it, and that eventually I would attain the goal.

Another principle in mentoring is the sacrifice.  The mentor cannot really guide me unless I sacrifice something to compensate the mentor.  In Karate Kid – Mr. Miyagi got shiny clean cars and a white fence.  Daniel was willing to submit because he knew Mr. Miyagi could teach the art of defense and self-confidence he was lacking.  My sacrifice was monetary, enough to be a sacrifice on our budget. The miracle of the sacrifice is that you are overly compensated for that sacrifice.  Once you have fully gained your own liber (liberty through knowledge), the sacrifice becomes nothing compared to what you have gained.

A mentor may become a formal coach, that you meet with regularly, take assignments from, and report to, as mine was.  Or they can also be informal, someone that you observe and listen to and follow their counsel, without them being fully aware – a friend, a book, a podcast or blog, a course, a leader. Either way the power of mentor only comes when you fully submit and sacrifice.

What does this have to do with Liber?

It is the irony that submitting my will to that of a master is the path to freedom.  If I want to gain liberty in an area of my life in which I am in bondage, I must give up my own ideas and my natural whims.  I must look for one who has that freedom and follow the path they have taken.  They enjoy that liberty because of  knowledge and skill that they have and I don’t.

Of coarse, God is the perfect mentor.  As I submit our will to His, we find our greatest freedom   We have his words in the scriptures, from prophets, and through personal prayer and inspiration.  He gave me the mentor I needed, when I was ready to submit.  I was not ready to submit until the pain of my bondage was excruciating.

I have since learned that I can choose to submit to a mentor before the pain is excruciating, but I must have an emotion strong enough to motivate the change.

 

Liber part 1

[Li-ber] 1. free 2. bark, a book 3. to engage in contract 4. education for a free people

I have loved this word for many years. I first learned it in a thirsty quest to understand the freedom of a nation. Our nation: America. I became painfully aware that many of our freedoms were being lost through misuse of government power. I grieved at this awakening. I became passionate about learning and understanding what government was supposed to be, and what it had become. I wanted to know what I could do to make a difference for good, to try and change the tide. The answer led me to this word: liber.

I have since learned that liber, the root of liberty and library, has application to every area of my life. My personal self governance; my health, both physical and mental; relationships; parenting; education; finances; the war with Satan; food, clothing, shelter. Each area of freedom won, has been a journey of learning.

I have found a pattern in the journey to liber. It is 1. pain, 2. a realization of one’s bondage, 3. a quest for knowledge, 4. working to grasp, gain and eventually master the skills learned about, 5. then engaging with world in the paradigm of your new-found freedom.

My bondage to a chaotic, over-paced world led me to want self-governance. I found myself spread too thin between motherhood, homemaking, social and educational activities. Life was somewhat without purpose, just reactionary. Someone would present me with an idea, I would get excited about it. I would start down the road with conviction and find myself knee-deep in it, too tired to go on, and not sure it was worth it, so I would only half-heartedly contintue, until all the drive had petered out and I quit…only to feel guilty about the long train of unfinished projects and goals I had trailing behind me. I had not the discipline to accomplish. I had not the clarity of vision to choose the right path for me.

I kept reading about successful people. People who made a difference in the world around them – whether famous or not, they lived according to their convictions. They found joy in living because they knew they were right before God, and they were accomplishing their mission on earth. I wanted a mission, something to be passionate about, but deep down I knew that I did not have the discipline or skills to do much. I wanted them, so I took a leap of faith and courage – one of the most humbling and frightening steps in my life, and it started me on a new path. A path to self-governance, where I can choose the way I spend my time, and know that I am right before God, and that He does have a work for me to do on this earth – something I am passionate about!

That step was finding a mentor.