"In dealing with the negativity resulting from extended anger, old hurts, wounds, and injustices, it can help to ask yourself, What would I have to give up to be free from this anger, this turmoil, and these negative feelings I've been holding on to for so long? That might seem like an odd concept at first — what would I have to give up? After all, when we are abused, beaten, or raped, so much is taken from us. Why would we now explore giving up more? The reality is that in this world there are those who do thoughtless, heinous, and illegal things. Even with the best intentions, any of us can harm another. Young, inexperienced people have children, and although they do their best, their parenting can be unskillful and leave scars. Accidents, illnesses, hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, and earthquakes occur and leave terrible suffering in their wake. When we are victimized we can become angry — angry with a parent, an attacker, our body, or our God. An injury or illness may leave us physically or emotionally challenged for the remainder of our lives, often requiring considerable adjustments to the way we function in our daily activities. Long after our physical pain subsides, our suffering continues. Yet at a certain point, each of us can make a transformative decision. Although victimized, we can begin the process of healing — of no longer thinking of ourselves as victims. This can be the most challenging work we will ever do, but determination and an optimistic appreciation of our own efforts can get us through to a happier and more meaningful life.

"To advance spiritually requires a method of practice and the determination to carry it out. Slowly our practice intermingles with our daily activities and permeates our actions until all of life becomes our spiritual practice. Many of us read books, practice yoga, and attend workshops, seminars, and religious services, and yet we're still burdened by deep fears and anxiety. With our objective clearly in mind, we can look directly at our demons, do battle with them, and emerge triumphantly. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man who faced physical challenges and enormous responsibilities, said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' Well, sometimes we feel afraid and we don't even know why we're afraid. We wake up in the morning feeling fearful, or out of nowhere, fear and anxiety just seem to appear. It can help to remember that even though it can manifest in various parts of the body, the only place fear can exist is in the mind. It is part of spiritual practice to do battle with our fears. We may think sometimes that we're not making progress, but as long as we continue to practice with skillful awareness and determination, we are advancing. Even as we struggle, we're awakening, stimulating, and advancing our highest self — our true self.

"Have great reverence for yourself. The spiritual journey is traveled on a glorious highway, but it also goes through dingy neighborhoods like confusion, doubt, and insecurity. Nevertheless, it can be a joyous ride. As we allow our positive energy to be present and to strengthen, we encourage and stimulate our true loving nature, our compassion, and our generous spirit. We can work hard with courage and determination, and at the same time enjoy the ride, smile at our mistakes, and get back up and begin again, and again, and again. That's the joy of determination."