This morning I passed by a new Tasti D-Lite ad. In hot pink letters the advertisement read, “Dessert your Guilt.” I said to myself, ‘is that for real?!’ I thought we’d found every escapist method in the book, but Tasti-D had proven me wrong. Now our society has kicked it into high gear by promoting four ounce, chemical filled stirafome containers to help us avoid discomfort!
This sent me into a tizzy. I work very hard to help myself and many other people stop drinking, shopping, dating, desserting etc. over feelings of guilt. Now Tasti D is combating my self-love movement! Instead of fighting back I chose to shine some light on the subject. Really, any sensation as good as a donut or a pizza or maybe even a TastiDiLite will soothe the garden-variety guilt, but true happiness comes from something much deeper, and will save you the cost of the confection as well.
Why all the guilt? And where did it come from?
You think you feel guilty because you lied to a friend, ate too much ice cream or because you drank too much last night. But from the metaphysical standpoint you feel guilty because you’ve chosen to think with fear over love. From A Course in Miracles perspective, guilt is the affect of choosing to identify with the voice of fear (the ego) rather than your true inner voice of love. You experience this guilt because you’ve turned your back on your loving truth and chosen the ego’s fearful attack. Whether you know it or not you feel as though you’ve committed a crime against yourself by turning your back on love. Then unconsciously, these negative feelings are reflected in nasty, beliefs about yourself and others. The Course describes this feeling as guilt. This guilty feeling then leads you into self-sabotage mode. For instance, if you feel funky because you hate your boss, you might turn to Tasti D for some comfort. This kneejerk reaction to grab fro-yo instead of forgiveness is how the ego convinces you to “dessert your guilt” rather than address it.
So instead of piling on the empty calories let me offer you some healthful tips for relinquishing guilt.
Choose love over fro-yo
Tip One: Laughter This is a tool directly from A Course in Miracles. It is suggested that we do not take the ego’s fear seriously. When we listen to the ego we make it real in our minds. Instead, the Course suggests that we laugh gently at the ego’s “tiny, mad idea.” Laugh at your ego’s mischievous thoughts and guilty attacks.
Tip Two: Stop Future Tripping Future illusions are of the ego. When you start focusing on the future you eventually get tripped up. It’s super easy for the ego to find fear when the future is involved. Remember that all future projections are situations that do not exist. When you find yourself getting heady about the future, take a deep breath and say out loud, I’m right where I need to be.
Tip Three: Smile When your ego’s got you in a headlock break out with a long EEEEEEE. It sounds super silly but you can’t help but smile. Smiling leads to laughing and laughing shines light on the ego. Keep it simple with a smile.
Tip Four: Forgive Given the fact that the ego loves to attack others when it feels threatened the best way out of this spiral is through forgiveness. Take daily inventory of who your ego has judged (including yourself). At night review the list of those you have attacked and release these thoughts and actions with a forgiveness prayer. Simply say out loud, I choose to forgive this person as I know my attack was merely a projection of my ego. For further protection from the ego’s attack trick make a point to forgive others and yourself all day long.
Tip Five: Serving One of the best ways to step out of the darkness and back into the light is through service. Helping others immediately gets you out of your own head and away from the ego’s tricky guilt spiral. By bringing love to others through service you amplify the light inside yourself. Being of service can be as simple as picking up the phone to check in with a friend, or helping an elder cross the street. If you are a woman reading this you can use my Web site www.herfuture.com (the social network for women to find mentors and be mentors) anytime you want to help another woman. There are thousands of women on this site helping each other daily. The feedback I receive from them is that they always feel better after they’ve reached out to help someone through kind words, sharing a quote or a simple responding to a message board. Shine light on others and reignite the light in you.
This week, shine light on your guilty thoughts by test-driving one of the tools above. By taking fearless action to shift your guilt to love, you’ll be empowered to stop desserting and start living!