All of us have a limited time here. We can focus on what we are unhappy about and wish was different, or we can embrace the fact we’re alive. If we want to enjoy our time here, we need to find ways to live life with balance and appreciation. Not so easy, right? You look around and see the government in trouble, friends out of work and everything seeming to be falling apart. There doesn’t appear to be much to appreciate. However, becoming distracted by how things look on the outside is deceiving. Across time, how many crazy groups have “drunk the koolaid” or performed other radical acts because they thought the world was ending. They honestly felt there was so much evil, damage, or whatever, that life couldn’t possibly go on. Well, here we still are. We’ve made lots of mistakes and screwed up our environment but we’re still here. It’s never too late to change. In fact, we must all change or continue to suffer.

All suffering comes from fear. If you are afraid of other’s judgment or approval, you’re already living in hell. If you live your life afraid, blaming people and circumstances for your unhappiness, you’ll be wasting the precious time you have here. I know it’s not all that easy to be brave, especially when events happen in your life that seem out of your control. Life doesn’t seem to be fair. Other people appear to get breaks, why not you?


Everyone has challenges no matter how it looks on the outside. We are here to have difficult experiences that help us grow and evolve. Most people aren’t motivated to change unless they’re feeling discomfort or threat. This is simply the nature of the human condition. It takes focus and dedication to develop the practice of internal inquiry that gets us to the understanding of who we really are as unique human beings.

Understand that challenges are actually opportunities to expand and grow, to find out how much stronger we are than we believe. Without trials and difficult situations, we would bypass the real reason for our existence…..growth.  Socrates’ quote that the unexamined life is not worth living, speaks to this. If we believe that we’re here for fun and games, we remain only superficially involved in life. Everyone has a purpose. Real happiness comes from self-examination that leads toward finding our purpose.


Kids don’t waste time worrying about the past. They don’t even bother to hold grudges because that gets in the way of play.

I know that we’ve all been born to serve others. That is part of everyone’s purpose, to serve. At least that’s the way I look at it now. Ever since my attitude and focus became service directed, my life has blossomed in every area and I am happier than ever before. I didn’t get here easily. I kicked and screamed like everyone else. I had two painful marriages and lots of other experiences that kicked me in the butt. I used to think it wasn’t fair. Why were these things happening to me? Well why not? Did I think I was above the ordinary life experiences we all have? Everyone has relationships that force them to examine their priorities and motives. Unhappiness is a strong motivator and no one is exempt from experiencing it.

Being unhappy for a really long time made me finally have to re-examine everything. As long as I  believed myself to be a victim of other people’s actions, I suffered. People were doing things to me. It took getting sick and tired of being miserable to get me over this suffering.

Sudden “aha’s!” helped me see that my life was a video feed of every choice I’ve ever made. Where is the victim when I can see what part my actions, choices and decisions had in creating my circumstances. I had to learn that taking responsibility for everything I did and said was the only way to redirect my life toward outcomes I preferred. Abdicating responsibility for what happens to you is like walking around with blinders, running into a wall and blaming it for your injuries.


We all watch people make really dumb decisions and take actions that ultimately boomerang right back at them. It’s much harder to see this when we do the same thing. What goes around does truly come right back around and can potentially bite you in the ass. Until I understood that, I was a prisoner of fear. I couldn’t know who would be against me next in what situation. Because I believed I was being victimized, these types of situations came true. Our thoughts and beliefs also create our outcomes. Across my working career, I’ve had two bosszillas that were necessary for me to experience before I realized how my behavior added fodder to their fire. Had I not had those jobs, I wouldn’t have felt kicked to the curb sufficiently to let go of my stronghold on victimdom.

And what a relief to finally give it up! Freedom is understanding that there are only two choices: love or fear. Fear comes from giving away your power to others. If anyone else has the power to make you unhappy, it’s only because you’ve given away your power. No one can take it away. Yet blaming your situations on others is setting yourself up for upset. Yes, you can be fired from your job or evicted from your home, but if you don’t allow these situations to define you, you are making the decision to hold on to your power. No one can hurt you unless you allow them. If you are operating out of fear, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness.

I finally understood the only sane choice was love. That means loving yourself and making choices and decisions that are in your best interest, and not against anyone elses. An attitude of love means you are forgiving of yourself and everyone else.

What lessons have you learned from your own painful experiences? Embrace your life with gratitude and appreciation for every day you wake up again. You’re being given another day to work out the kinks on the way to self-realization and self-empowerment.

Embrace all of life, the good and bad and find you are glad to be alive in such interesting times. ~ Stay Juicy!

~ by Lorraine E. Castro on July 2, 2012.


  1. Thanks, Christine. I’ve been loving your photos!!! They perk up my day!


  2. Reblogged this on Lorraine E. Castro, LMFT and commented:

    I wrote this post years ago and just reread it. Still true today. I wanted to share it with you.


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