Spirit Matters by Shirley Barr – Shirley Answers a Reader Question – July 29, 2012

To Spirit Matters,

I read your column and most of the time I don’t know what you are talking about or how I could use it in my life.I have been thinking about what you said about working from the future. I feel like I want to be a really good person when I leave this world, but I have no idea how to get there. I work all the time and have some things I feel passionate about. I am not living like I am a good person and feel conflicted all the time.


I don’t have anyone to talk to about this as all my friends and family are into drinking and partying. How do I get there from here?

From: Troubled Soul

Dear Troubled Soul,

Thank you for confiding this issue and letting me offer some thoughts.

I think that when you decided to look at yourself in the future this was such an important step forward.

I have some suggestions for you.

I would suggest that you pick a family member that you know had qualities of character that you want for yourself. Really think about this. What qualities do you really feel are going to serve you best? One suggestion is to think about the virtue of truthfulness. It is the foundation of all human virtues. Without truthfulness, nothing can really grow in your character. So think about a relative that you have that was, or is truthful. If you do not have a truthful relative, then you can enlarge the circle to include friends, teachers, acquaintances or even outward to historic figures that you can study.

When you find that role model, write down what it is about their qualities that you want to have for yourself. Is it that they are courageous? Are they committed to excellence? Do they have a close and loving family? That will guide you to understand what is important to you.

Take some time to think about what you’re really passionate about. You can use a couple of ways to do this: you can just write down what comes up when you use your non-dominant hand. If you are right handed, use your left, and if you are left handed, then use your right hand. This exercise can help you access your creative spirit.

You can also try using colouring on paper to express your emotions. People are so afraid to feel things and that keeps us stuck in old patterns. Just get lots of sheets of paper and some crayons, take a few nice deep breaths as if you were breathing right down into your hips, and then pick a colour and start releasing your emotions on the paper. For example, let all your anger, grief and fear come out in the darker colours and scribbles. Since we all have these emotions, letting them out is a good thing because they will finally get heard instead of staying inside your head and body. Let them out and then put those sheets to the side. Then work on the next emotion that comes up.

Keep doing this until you get to the feelings of love, what you feel really connected and loving towards. That is the direction which leads you forward. What comes up for you?

There are no bad emotions, what is not good is staying stuck. In life, if you are not going forward, you are going backward, there is no standing still. Like a dear friend tells me, “Life is like a conveyor belt” leading you to the future, regardless of what you do. It will be exciting to hear about your discoveries about yourself, if you want to share. There are so many issues going on around us that require us to rise in our role as protectors and guardians. I am really grateful to you for working on your own development because it helps all of us evolve.

Hope to hear from you how that went.

Be well, Shirley.


Shirley Barr is a member of the Baha’i community and lives and works in Cornwall, Ontario.She can be reached by email at: spiritmatters9@gmail.com

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