Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah






Thursday, 31 July 2014

An Examined Life by Sarah Tun

Inspiring Christians to Soar
An Examined Life by Sarah Tun may continue but it cannot be posted via email any more.

If you have followed this site and have received by email in the past and have enjoyed receiving it, check it out by going to:
http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com
or
sign up and become a follower directly from this site by clicking the 'join this site' box to the right of the posts window directly on the site.

I'd love to know your comments, share your insights, but I can't if you don't check it out.

I am going to take the month of August off, and so until September you can browse this website: http:sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com and join, so that when I post anew starting in September, you will receive the post directly as you have ordered.

I also post at: www.LarusPress.com/category/larusblog. You can join to receive those posts directly by signing up for the weekly newsletter, Soaring Post.

Hoping the best for you.. wanting that all share in the glory God has for us.

Blessings.

Larus Press

I am the founder of Larus Press: Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit. Those who know Jesus Christ will receive spiritual nourishment; those who have not yet chosen to walk his path may discover their desire.

See: www.LarusPress.com

Thursday, 24 July 2014

How to overcome the fear of success - from Fear... not - Part 7

Obscurity. What is the opposite of success? Obscurity is the opposite of success.

Do you know a cure for fear of success? Self knowledge is the cure for fear of success... at least it is for me.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke on the subject of Fear... not I branched into the subject of Fear of Success. I have continued to think about this issue, because until recently I'd not put my finger on why I am afraid of success. Now, I believe I have discovered the cause.

Last week I reached out, stretched forth, eager and willing to strain toward success and overcoming fear. Then, I hit on the root cause or the essence of my fear. Allow me to explain.

As an author, in order to achieve success my name needs to be recognized so that my words and my books will be read. Now, thanks to Lance Wallnau ("Take All 7" (c) 2008, Lance Learning Group), an expert and public speaker on personal and organizational transformation, I've recognized my own hand in my failure.

What provokes failure? In my case, success has eluded me because I've shrunk from notoriety. I have held onto my identity as a person who is unknown. I have done so because - at least in my perception - my peer group, who has different aspirations and interests, exists in relative obscurity.

While I've worked hard to perfect my writing craft and have sought to grow as a person with a worthwhile message, in secret I've wanted to maintain the status quo... I have remained obscure and have resisted the very success I have worked so hard to achieve, because I've clung to my peer group. I have feared the notoriety I need to become successful.

In order to succeed, I need to allow my identity to change... I need to allow myself to connect with a different set of peers. I don't mean I can't keep my friends. I mean I need to allow myself to reach into an identity that has a set of peers who is 'successful', who has the sort of notoriety I need in order to be successful.

I have friends and acquaintances that excel in their work. But for the most part, I don't have friends or acquaintances who strive for the public recognition that I strive for. In fact, the thought of belonging in a peer group of famed people intimidates me. And that is what has held me back. I have feared success because I've feared relating to people of that sort of success.

How do I change? My attitude needs to grow into one of accepting all people and of recognizing that notoriety is just a facet of some people's lives.

Without allowing myself the recognition I need to draw people to buy my books, I'm not going to succeed. I need to allow myself to entertain the notion of belonging to a different set of peers. I need to face the fear of loneliness. I need to allow myself to accept this new set of peers before I meet them, so that I can accept myself as a part of this peer group.

I need to accept myself as a person of notoriety; I need to accept who I will be as a person of success. I need to trust that I will not be different just because my position is different. And I need to be willing to allow myself to be in that different position.

Last week I said I was eager to soar. Now I need to spread my wings. I need to embrace whatever encounter I may have with whatever set of people I may encounter.

Then, I will no longer fear the recognition I need to build, and I will be ready to succeed.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Fear of Success (continued) : Fear... not - part 6


I stand at a deciding moment - the edge of the cliff. As I consider the options open to me someone asks me, "Imagine yourself in thirty years' time and you are in your rocking chair. Looking back what would you most regret not doing."

The answer is clear. I must jump. Here I go.....

A time to Soar




Thursday, 10 July 2014

Fear of Success: Fear... not - Part 5


How can anyone be afraid of success? Well, I have been.

I have worked hard most of my life. I'm a bit of a workaholic I suppose. Enjoying diligence, creative expression and doing my best to do my best, I don't mind how many hours I put in. But, while I love to achieve, I'm always held back by one thing: being in the spotlight.

I like to achieve in a craft. I have a work ethic that says, "Work hard, use your talents, enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done." I've always lived that ethic, I have the credentials and output to prove it.

But notoriety and worldly success have so far eluded me. And here's why...

I choke. I never quite get to the top.

First, I'm too modest. I find it difficult to promote myself, and get self-conscious when complemented. I guess I feel shy at the attention. I love it and I dread it. I have this tape inside my head that says, 'don't show how you really feel'. I am delighted by encouraging words. Yet, I tend to deflect compliments, thanking someone graciously, yet, rarely allowing myself to enjoy the experience of my work - or myself - being appreciated.

Where does this sabotage of joy come from? Who knows. It doesn't really matter. I value generous words but I don't fully receive them. And that causes an even bigger problem, which is that...

Second, every time I climb toward a major accomplishment, I can't quite get over the ridge. I don't quite let myself succeed.

There's a story in the Bible. 12 men are told to check out the Land of Milk and Honey that God has promised they will have. They go and spy on the land, which is inhabited. Then, they go back to Moses, their leader, to report on what they saw.

Two men are very excited. The land is, indeed, flowing with milk and honey - it's rich and luscious and very promising. The other ten men see the land but are seriously intimidated by the people who live there, the people who they'd have to conquer in order to gain the land.

I've always thought I was like one of the two men who saw the possibilities and did not shy away from the challenges. But now, I think I'm seeing myself as I really am. Perhaps I've always been like one of the ten. Although I'm disguised, wearing a cloak of courage to take a risk, I'm actually clothed in fear underneath, and never quite go for it all.
Contemplative Gull

Right at this moment, I am at a precipice of decision. Shall I press forward in a particular aspect of my
work, or shall I draw back? Shall I soar, or hold back; right now I'm just thinking... I guess what I've always done in the past is to press forward in action but in heart, I've held back.

Now that I see this in myself, which choice will I make?

In the Bible story, the ten won the vote over the two, and the people waited 40 years before they got to the Promised Land. I'm not getting any younger. It seems to me, either I push forward 'for real' or I don't bother even to pretend.

What would you advise?

God bless... I remind you to have a look at the website for my publishing company, Larus Press: www.LarusPress.com. Have a look at the blogs... consider signing up for the free weekly newsletter, Soaring Post. Everything I write is to encourage others to discover their identity and purpose and to grow to be all God has created them to be. Larus Press seeks to inspire, encourage, equip, empower your living spirit.

Until next week....



Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Fear... not - Part 4


Lack of Control produces Feelings of Fear.

Previously in this series looking at Fear, I suggested that control is evidence we are trying to fight fear.
We fear some event or circumstance in the future, and so we attempt to control our situation in order to control the outcome. BUT control is an illusion. We don't have the power to control our circumstances, but only our own attitude to or behaviour in those circumstances. It may seem like a fine point but it is a significant one.

Control is an attempt to shortcut our own frustration or pain. It's a knee jerk reaction to our fear of a situation where we otherwise feel helpless, scared or unable to be effective. But because we haven't absolute power, Control is ultimately futile. We can use control to contain a situation in the short term, but we'll never dominate it in the long run.

Control usually involves other people. Parents of a willful child will punish uncooperative behaviour, but punishment in itself does not destroy the willfulness of the child; it will contain him only in the presence of the parent, or only until he is a teen.

Spouses may dictate or even abuse a partner to get what they want, but it may also lead to isolation, loneliness, loss of intimacy and, eventually, separation.

Control seeks to get what it wants but it destroys the relationship it's trying to hold on to. If we fear another person's attitudes or thoughts, and try to repress them, though this may be an instinctive response, it's the wrong one. It may give the controller what s/he wants immediately, it may achieve superficial compliance, but it will destroy good will and intimacy, trust and mutual respect.

Trying to control others is self-defeating.

What about finding yourself in a situation where someone is trying to control you? Sometimes you are put in a path where a dominating person uses abusive remarks, criticism, or mocking to knock your self confidence or sense of purpose. When that happens - and it usually will at some point - consider it a complement. The other person, in trying to impose, dominate or control you, is demonstrating their fear. You needn't let them get to you. Remember, they haven't any real control over you - you always have a choice to agree, ignore or disagree with them. As you overcome their domination, you will see your character becomes stronger.

Sometimes people will be put in your path to try to control you. While their control is unhealthy, the situation is an opportunity encouraging you to grow. Trust that truth, and watch how you can overcome domination and control simply by being detached from their manipulations and true to yourself.

Until next week... enjoy every encounter and experience, trusting that all has been a part of your journey to becoming who you were created to be.









Thursday, 26 June 2014

Fear... not - Part 3


Fear of Failure:

What is failure? Why are we afraid of it?

Although I touched on the issue of failure last week, I'd like to look into it more deeply now.

Failure is not achieving the outcome we hoped for or worked for. It is an unpleasant experience. We tell our kids the best lessons come from making mistakes, yet in schools we don't like to dwell on their lack of achievement, and anymore, kids are rarely held back or 'fail' a grade.

We certainly don't like to dwell on our own shortcomings or a failure to achieve. But the truth is, failure is like medicine; it makes us stronger. Failure teaches us what we need to learn. Then, if we're wise, we take the lesson and apply it, making success a greater possibility.

So, if failure is our best teacher, then why do we fear it? Wouldn't it make more sense to embrace it as an opportunity?

Failure is a bit like pain: we need it to tell us we're at risk, in over our heads or aren't ready for a particular experience. But we don't like the feeling of failure. Failure, like pain, hurts. We don't want to experience pain, and so instinctively we wish to avoid it. We fear it because it is uncomfortable and because - we believe - it is undesirable.

We also fear failure because it exposes our weaknesses to others. Perhaps we'd rather appear strong and confident than weak or lacking in ability, because we believe if our weakness is seen, we'll be less attractive or will receive less respect than if we appear strong, able and proficient.

But you know what? When I am vulnerable, I receive love, compassion and respect for my openness. I am affirmed in my weakness for my ability to be real. Friends draw closer and relationships deepen when I allow myself to risk failure and am open when things don't go the way I'd hoped.

Allowing others to see us at our weakest can be a scary experience. And yet those others reflect back the uniqueness that is 'us'. They hold up a mirror to us so we can better see ourselves. We might not like everything we see, but if we never look at ourselves, not only do we miss seeing the failings, but we don't see the beauty either.

Failure happens to everyone at some time or another. There is no shame in failure, but is a common experience. While it isn't something we seek, inevitably, it does find us. Isn't it just as well to get the most from it? Embracing failure when it comes demonstrates maturity, humility and confidence.

We can learn from our failures and grow.

So, let's not seek failure, but when failure does come to us - and it will inevitably - let's embrace it so we get the most out of it that we can. Embracing failure is an heroic gesture and a demonstration of wisdom. Be courageous: admit failure, learn and move ahead, stronger, wiser and more resilient than before.
Seagulls Soar: See Over All Repression*


Everything I write is geared to encourage us of all to overcome whatever tries to hold us back. Fear is a prison when it prevents us from being all we were created to be. Seagulls are survivors. They soar freely across the sky, symbolizing survival and freedom.

So, will you embrace fear and overcome it? Then you'll soar to be all you were created to be.

*Larus Press is Sarah's publishing label. To learn more see: www.LarusPress.com



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Fear... not - Part 2


When fear looms, look at your situation this way...

What are you most afraid of? Chances are it has something to do with the future. The thing about the future is: we can anticipate it but we can't predict it. We can prepare for it, but we can't control it.

Focusing on the future is the road on which fear likes to creep, because fear often revolves around the anticipation of what if... I fail?

When we want a particular outcome it's good to work hard for it. We study for exams, we network with key people, and we focus diligently to achieve success. What we can do about the future is to prepare for it and hope for the best. But we cannot control others or outcomes. It is not for us to make a specific future happen. We aren't sovereign.

Sovereignty means having ultimate control; as much as we might like to try to prepare, influence or concentrate, our will is not all-powerful. So what's the point of worrying about it?

Sometimes, don't we try to trick ourselves into believing our future is under our control? We make plans and consider all the possible outcomes, aiming to ensure our future is bright. But this sets us up for worry. With disease, natural disasters and busy roads, we can not be sure of our life span, never mind of determining our destiny.

Recognizing this simplifies life. It is freeing...

We are responsible for being the best we know how to be - now, and doing what we know is right -now, of loving ourselves and one another - now, and of being kind and considerate - now. For those who have made a commitment to God, we are responsible for being as godly as we currently understand. The results are out of our hands.

It's a relief to me. I make my path, and make my effort as concerted as I can, without tromping on anyone else. I follow the opportunities and healthy relationships as they present themselves to me, and I forgive when I'm wronged. I'm grateful for opportunities and aim not to miss any, knowing if I do I will learn from my mistakes. Being open to learning is one of the keys to overcoming fear. We're not in charge of the future, only of our own choices, and our choices are based on what we know - now.

This is my path. Knowing I'm responsible for my life but that I'm not ultimately in control, releases me from fear. I don't know the future. I know I'm not in control and so I am free from failure. I live, I love, I learn. There is no room for fear.

There's a lot more to talk about failure and control. See you next week.

In the meantime, do stop by www.LarusPress.com/about and sign up for Soaring Post, a weekly blog about how God moves in and through us to make us all we've been created to be.

Have a great week... may you enjoy the moments.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Fear... not - Part 1

Nothing to Fear

Invisible. I like to be invisible. And yet, as a writer, I want my words to be heard, considered, quoted, remembered. I hide behind words, my identity wrapped in my thoughts but my body preferably secluded from show. Odd that I used to be an actress. Or perhaps not so odd, as I quit.


Seeking Reflection by Sarah Tun


Invisibility is, perhaps, a bi-product of fear. I prefer my own company out of habit, having chosen a profession that requires vast amounts of time in solitude in order to perfect the writing craft, and complete projects that, for the most part, are one-person jobs.

I like the company of friends; I even enjoy large gatherings from time to time. I'm not afraid of people, per se, though I do shy away from superficial conversation as I find myself self conscious and awkward with silences. But I am immobilized by fear, from time to time, challenged by change - the unknown - whether it's a new project (or digging deeper into one I'm working on) or facing new people.

Then I remember I have nothing to fear. Nothing to fear.

The opposite of fear is not courage. The opposite of fear is love. When we focus on fear, we do become immobilized. But when we focus on love, there is nothing we won't do to accomplish the task, as we are motivated by the desire to display or convey love to the person or situation we need to face. Love conquers all fear. Perfect love casts out all fear. When we love, whatever challenges we may face - real or imagined - become surmountable, necessarily because we need to show our love. Love is the motivating factor that enables us to face our fear and to overcome it.

So, as I sit by my computer, recognizing I need to go a lot deeper into a particular project (currently it's a novel I'm working on), I fear - failure, the unknown, success. But as I remember the people for whom I am writing, ministering, praying for - the audience I know needs to hear the voice of my character and read the thoughts and insights I want to convey - I overcome the immobilization I want to hide behind, and I begin to dig. I dig, not for fame or finance, nor for personal achievement. These motivators are not enough to enable me to take a risk, to face my fear. The one motivator that engages me to look into the mirror, and to overcome what holds me back, is love.

This is the first in a series about fear - identifying it, facing it, overcoming it.
I hope you'll also sign up for my signature newsletter, Soaring Post, through my website: www.LarusPress.com. The newsletter is free, weekly and particularly palatable and nutritious for Christians seeking to discover their purpose or deepen their identity in Christ.

Love Hearts by Sarah Tun

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Seasonal Pleasure

Seasonal Pleasure - a poem:

Cascading Sunlight by Sarah Tun
The warmth of the sun on my face
Is the epitome of pleasure
In summer.
When all the world's in bloom
And fragrant offerings abound
The simplest joy, I find,
Is in the gentle touch of sunshine
On my face.


The sun's rays teach my face that light, warmth and love all come from the same place.
Where do you find your simple, secret pleasures?

See you next Thursday with more food for thought.
In the meantime, why not test my consistency by looking up my new website at www.LarusPress.com. I'd love it if you'd sign up for the free weekly newsletter, Soaring Post.
Or just get to know me a little better by exploring the site. I'm delighted with the opening video.

Lots of Love!!

Sarah

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Itching for Discomfort?

Have you ever felt so at peace you were unnerved by it? I have. In times past, to calm my restless soul I've taken great measures - to eat, to watch television, to putter around the house - to distract myself from feeling too peaceful.

The fact is, rest has been hard for me. It's unsettling, because I'm not used to it.

But I'm growing used to peace. I'm discovering the pleasure of gazing out a window without a particular purpose, or going for a walk just to clear my head. Refreshed by the pause, I can tackle the next item on the 'to do' list more effectively and enjoy the process.

I've discovered I don't always have to attend to my list. It is ever-growing anyway, and I'll never able to accomplish everything; so instead, I've opted to enjoy doing what I can accomplish within a given time frame, and have recognized most of the must do's that get pushed aside aren't critical to anyone except me anyway. Leaving them undone hasn't made the outcome a whole lot different to my life, nor to anyone else's.

I've come to realize that time is on my side. Those things that need doing will rise to the surface again. I've had time to do that job when it really needed to be done - and often not before.

I don't actually run out of time. Admittedly, as I've tried to get ahead of myself it hasn't actually worked. Instead, as I let each day's tasks be sufficient, allowing tomorrow's tasks to wait until tomorrow, each day seems to flow into the next without anxiety.

Rising of a New Day by Sarah Tun

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Walking on Water

Walking on water? Only metaphorically-speaking - so far. Still, it's a whole lot better than walking on egg shells.

I'm wiped out! It's 4 am and I've not finished yesterday's work yet. But I'm enjoying being up - at my typewriter - er computer - and loving it.

I've heard the rain, and the wind; it's very romantic being up into the early morning. And no one phones in the middle of the night, so I carry on without interruption, except for the moths trying to break through the window panes to get into the lighted room. It's a glorious night.

When there's too much work to do, I'm discovering a safe way forward: not to panic but to relax into the stress, knowing that I'm due for a character upgrade. The more pressure tries to close in on me, the more I realize I'm having an opportunity to grow - to overcome what stresses me.

Have you ever noticed that, when you find something difficult to cope with, the circumstances keep repeating themselves? But then, eventually, when you get fed up enough to refuse to let them get to you, then: ta da! The circumstances don't come back again. Well, that's what I call 'learning to walk on water'.

When things bother us we can either let them get us down, or we can realize it's an opportunity to be stretched. I choose the latter perspective, and I've never been disappointed. Always focusing forward, always hoping for the best, things do work out.

I'm incredibly busy these days, as I've said. But instead of losing my cool, I've learned and choose to focus on one job at a time, doing what I can with the time I have. This it's forcing me to learn to prioritize - something I've hoped and prayed to learn how to do.

Funny... how life and what comes our way is either grand or chaotic; it all depends on our perspective.

Before I sign off for today - (do you remember, I was going to stop this blog 2 weeks ago, before being granted the honour of an award?) - and I expect to return next week, I would like to ask you, dear readers, to seriously consider subscribing to my newsletter the Soaring Post, which comes from my upgraded website. The site is www.LarusPress.com and going beyond the homepage will give you access to the subscription form. I'd be so delighted if you'd have a look/listen to the home page reel and subscribe to the newsletter. Weekly on Thursday's you'll find words of encouragement to lift you, inspire you, challenge you, delight you. It's Bible-centred, equipping you to walk in the Identity God has for you. After all, Jesus walked on water - literally - and he is the perfect model to show us how to do it.

Still Water by Sarah Tun

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My Heart

Hurray, Halleluijah; I am delighted!

I have launched an upgraded website: www.LarusPress.com To know what really makes me tick have a view of the video on the home page.

Please know my heart: it is not to be famous or noted (I've been there, tried that - that's another story). It is to serve.

I believe, after years of seeking a mentor's support, and the direction to fulfill words spoken over me a long time ago, that I have finally matured sufficiently to be trusted with a mentor (other than my darling hubby Alan) and with a mission. Thank you Tony Marino for your assistance and encouragement to extrapolate from me a fuller picture of the responsibility God has for me, and the opportunity to launch out.

The mission or ministry is, simply, to use writing as a tool to encourage and inspire others who seek to grow in the identity God has put in them, and to offer application of Biblical scripture to readers seeking to grow and fulfill their purpose. Through blogging for example, phrases like: identity in Christ, building self esteem, spiritual fitness, old man versus new man, soul versus spirit, born again and inner healing will surface from time to time.

Also I offer a promotions platform for other like-minded self-published authors.

I also write books which overtly or in a less obvious way, encourage us to seek God and His righteousness, to live in the fullness of our unique identity and purpose and to strive to live in the freedom for which we were created.

It may sound like a tall order. But it isn't me whose spear-heading this. It's Christ who lives in me.

To subscribe to the free newsletter Soaring Post go to: www.laruspress.com/about and subscribe. In the meantime you can look up the LarusBlog posts that are already installed on the site.

In Christ we live and move and have our being. So, let's grab hold of the promises He has for us. Looking forward and not back, pressing in and not being pressed upon. Believing and hoping that all He promises has been fulfilled for us and will be fulfilled in and through us.

Bless you Guys!

Sarah



Thursday, 8 May 2014

Nomination for the Liebster Award for Blogging

An Unexpected Gift

This morning I was surprised by generous encouragement; I've been nominated for an award for this blog. How kind! What a lovely encouragement!! What am I to do???

This was meant to be a reminder to say I am not currently writing for this blog as I'm spending my time building the new platform at Larus Walk: the blog for a publishing ministry called Larus Press.

What is a girl to do?

I'm so touched and encouraged and take on this 'food for thought'. Thank you so much, Jeannie Prinsen for the nomination. I understand there is some protocol I need to follow, in order to fulfill formalities for the Liebster Award. While I take on all of this, I'd like to invite you to Jeannie's blog where you can get to know her lovely writing style, considered thoughts and lovely disposition.
She's posted some information about the Liebster Award too.

As for me, for now, I'd like to direct you to the new Blog and invite you to subscribe to the Soaring Press newsletter. Today is the day for it's initiation. I hope you'll stop by. And if you choose to subscribe, I'll be delighted. Not only will I find that encouraging, but you will automatically then receive emails of subsequent posts.

Very best... until next Thursday.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

A Journey of Love

Larus Press
Creating, writing and sharing An Examined Life is a journey of love and joy for me. And so it is with excitement and sadness that I've decided to suspend the writing on this forum and transfer my efforts to a newsletter called Soaring Post and the blog, LarusWalk - both in conjunction with my publishing website, www.LarusPress.com. I will continue to post weekly, on Thursdays (I think I was born on a Thursday - must explain my affinity for it!), but contrary to what I initially considered, the content will have a different flavour...

This past year - and even from the time I began posting An Examined Life in 2011 - I have experienced sheer delight. I've learned a tremendous amount about communication, the social network and about myself as I've shared with you. I have loved every moment of writing and posting on this 'wall' and want to thank those who've spoken or written to me, publicly or privately, sparked by this blog.

I'd like to thank Google for creating Blogspot - an easy and effective, reliable forum for blogging. I'd like to thank my niece Rebecca Tun for pointing me in the direction of Blogspot (not to mention her savvy experience and help with my first ever website. And for Jeannie Prinsen who has faithfully, consistently dialogued with me on An Examined Life. Thank you!

I'd like to thank time and space and God for giving me the opportunity to post, simply and easily, my ruminations and cogitations.

I've so enjoyed writing like this.

But as Geoffrey Chaucer claimed in 1374, "All good things must come to an end" and so it seems it's time that creating new posts for A Life Examined comes to an end, in its current form and platform at least. I'll keep the blog alive, because I'll refer to it and point to it now and then, from my website: wwwLarusPress.com . There, I'll be blogging on the blog, LarusWalk, through the four components: LarusWalk Wholeness, LarusWalk Witness, LarusWalk Word and LarusWalk Worship&Warfare... as well as through the newsletter Soaring Press. But while I had originally intended to more-or-less carry on A Life Examined from the website, I realize now it is better to move on to new things, while still preserving the former. I hope I won't lose all of you dear readers... friends I've met face-to-face, friends I may never see. In any case, for whatever I've said that has nurtured you, that touched or encouraged your heart, I'm so glad. That is what I've intended to do: to learn and share and grow together, with you.

I shall post next week and forward a message to you as I have always done, and invite you to look at more of my 'scribbling', this time at LarusWalk. But I will also respect any requests I receive to be removed from the group I've established. Please do let me know if you'd prefer to be removed from my list. As well, if it you have a friend you'd like to have included, ask him/her to look us up: www.LarusPress.com

Wherever this next chapter may take us, may it be illuminating and fun for us all.

Me at my lakeside home on L Ontario 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

What's Oprah Got?

How to make a difference in this world:


Oprah Winfrey - Courtesty www.people.com


Women want change. By nature, we are rarely perfectly satisfied with ourselves or with our circumstances. By that I don't mean to imply we are complainers but rather that we have a strong tendency to push boundaries, are keen to improve our situation for ourselves - and for others. Perhaps this is because, by instinct, we are care givers. Oprah is no different from the rest of our gender in this; by exposing her weight journey, for example, she connects with women, most of whom wrestle with this area of 'general dissatisfaction'. But Oprah is a woman of influence, unarguably one of the most influential women of our times.

Oprah Winfrey is a gentlewoman. In spite of her popularity, she is gracious, poised, and kind. She honours others, by deferring to them; yet she does this without making herself subservient, without any lack of self-confidence. She reveals herself through candour and humour, showing that she has much in common with her female target audience.

Oprah is dignified, intelligent; she stands up for what is important to her - her values toward humanity and her programming mesh together as she features compassion and respect for others in the topics she chooses, the guests she hosts and her sensitive interviewing style. Though unmarried and without children herself, she promotes the value of education. Further, she unveils abuse issues by hosting survivors, celebrating their recovery rather than sensationalizing their trauma. She gels with her audience and her guests, and brings in specialists when her own credentials are insufficient on particular matters; she demonstrates humility.

Oprah is positive and assertive, and an encouragement to others. By using vocabulary that inspires and builds others - talking about someone else's courage, for example - she offers hope.

Why am I writing about Oprah? She is a successful woman, popular and influential, without sacrificing integrity or authenticity. I wonder, as an entrepreneur and creative person myself, how she has achieved it and how I can learn from her.

Although Oprah is on her own journey, and is no template for perfection, she has also testified that there is one reason for her 'success', which is to be found in Acts 17:38: 'I know in whom I live and move and have my being.' She has stated on air that from the age of five, she has known that it is through Jesus Christ that she has been successful. Many people who follow Jesus may not think Oprah is the ideal Christian; but such is her testimony, which demonstrates her character - her ability to connect with others - without judgment or fear - placing herself on the same level as her audience.

So, I suggest that, being true to oneself, caring and loving others, knowing our strengths and limitations and operating out of that, are keys to success - not necessarily a recipe for financial gain or fame, but for a thriving and meaningful life.

Best to you until next week... Please note, however, that this blog will soon stop issuing posts. I expect it will be kept live for a long time to come for readers to find and enjoy. But soon my website: www.laruspress.com will feature my blogging - I still have much to share.





Thursday, 17 April 2014

Security - Part 7

As we draw to a close this series exploring security and insecurity, I believe the ultimate alternative to insecurity is peace. But how do we live - and maintain - a sense of peace in this turbulent world? My experience says that the ultimate solution is surrendering to God: to His unconditional love, to His wisdom which passes understanding, to His promise to be faithful to us.



From Preface of FREE TO BE: Defeating Insecurity, Transforming Relationships, Building Character

Peace in this fast-paced and competitive world is desirable but rare. There are different kinds of peace—peace from war, peace with neighbours, internal peace. The type of peace I refer to is peace of mind, which is anxiety’s opposite. To be free from worry is to have peace.
What causes worry? Finances, concern for others’ well-being, a lack of control over our circumstances—all of these trigger worry. This book focuses on insecurity, the anxiety that springs from the fear that we aren't accepted. We worry about our relationships if we don’t feel loved. Unconditional love is the only solution to insecurity.
So where do we find unconditional love? And how do we sustain it?
This book is about you and me and how to overcome the nagging doubts about ourselves and our relationships. To be free from hiding behind a false persona and to find total peace of mind is what we want. That is the secure life. Anything less falls short.
Friends, it is liberating to live emotionally and socially secure, to feel loved unconditionally and to express freely who we were born to be. When we are free to be who we were created to be, then we are ready to do what we were created to do.
I fought insecurity and won. I believe if I can, anyone can, which is why I've written this book. Through my journey, I have come to long for others to the find the same peace that I have found.
Do you experience lasting peace? Do you feel loved beyond measure and confident that love is unshakable? How wonderful to have such security! If you've got that, I believe you are rare indeed. This book is a prescription to get to and remain in that state, regardless of your circumstances.
Do you know that we were created and are meant to live in security, confident we are loved for who we are? It took me half a lifetime to realize this truth. I believe we were created to love and to be loved simply for who we are. There are different kinds of love: romantic, sexual, brotherly. But the love I am referring to is unconditional love, love that is based on our existence, rather than on what we do in our existence. And when we experience this pure love, we experience pure freedom too.
Many of us have unwittingly settled for less than the personal freedom intended for us. We endure insecurity, fearing we will make a mistake and bring rejection upon ourselves, because we don’t know anything else. From the cradle our greatest need has been love, and perhaps we have grown sensitive to rejection.
I didn't recognize the full extent of my insecurity until my thirties. I wasted many years being anxious and stressed about my relationships because I thought it was normal. But it isn’t. While conflict in life is unavoidable, insecurity is a learned response, and what has been learned can be unlearned. I’d like you to glimpse my insecurity and my journey to overcome it, so that you can identify yours and be encouraged also.
When I learned that peace was possible, I then became aware that I didn't have it. Only then did I begin the long but rewarding road to healing. Now that I've overcome anxiety and found the peace that comes with self-acceptance, I long for others to find the same, so that all of us can be who we were created to be.
Insecure: by definition means “unsafe,” “liable to give way” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English); “not secure,” “not confident of safety,” “not sufficiently strong or guarded” (The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language).
I lived most of my early life with a strong sense of self-doubt and uncertainty when it came to my personal relationships. Though I was an able student and popular within my circle, later becoming a competent professional in my field and respected by my colleagues, I always felt isolated and unlovable. I thought I was trapped, wanting to please everyone but unable, and therefore unable to be accepted by everyone. I have since transformed my thinking, and so I am no longer riddled with anxiety and fear.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”1 I don’t believe that we are designed to be uneasy in our relationships, but we look for love in the wrong places, and therefore, so often, we end up protecting our wounded hearts. I offer an overview of my experience, combining Scriptures and suggestions to guide you on your way to freedom. Having analyzed my circumstances, I offer the practical direction I took so that, like me, you will be enabled to overcome the nagging feelings of inadequacy and fear that I did. To replace negativity with inner acceptance releases us into wholeness.
During my journey from a sort of shadowy existence to a life of what feels like sparkling assurance, I discovered truths and tools that I want to share. None of us will be accepted by everybody we meet. But we don’t have to fear rejection, even when exposed to other’s disdain. Because fear saps our confidence and steals our freedom, we need to learn how to rise above rejection.
The first step to discovering freedom is to recognize that change is not effected by an act of will but by a surrendering of it. It is “not by might” but by the power of the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6).
The Bible says, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”2 When I discovered this quote, I was smitten by it. God tells us that oppression will come but it can be overcome. How to correct the oppression that lies within us is the course this book offers. Believe! It is possible to live free from fear—from the worry, panic and anxiety of approval seeking. My prayer and hope is that each of us who takes this journey to security will become the entire person she or he was created to be.
1 Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau.
2 Isaiah 1:17, emphasis added.
End of Preface

For further analysis, experience, and comment see Free to Be, my first book. Available on Amazon (paper, ebook) and Smashwords (ebook only).

I'll be back next week... same place. In the meantime, happy reflecting - on life, freedom and whatever are your aspirations.




Thursday, 10 April 2014

Security - Part 5

Guarantees:

There are few guarantees in this world. "The only sure things are death and taxes" used to be the cliche. That's a bit cynical but with divorce and unemployment on the rise, certainly some certainties are becoming less so in our Western Society.

If you Google 'security', the first items that come up have to do with financial planning. We put a lot of emphasis on money matters and give a lot of attention to acquiring, earning and managing money.

In 1929 when the stock market crashed some people who were wealthy on paper became impoverished literally over night. Some of those people jumped out of windows to their death because they couldn't cope with their loss. Their security lay in their financial circumstances and when that security was lost they were devastated.

And yet I would like to suggest that if we feel secure in ourselves - with the sense of who we are - whatever surprises life may throw at us will be less of a challenge to navigate. Furthermore, the more confident we are in ourselves the better our relationships will be. We will be better able to express and to listen to others. And effective communication has certainly been seen as the root of relationship success.

How do we become more confident in ourselves?
By spending quality time alone, discovering what we value, hope for and want most out of life.
By taking responsibility when we make mistakes and forgiving others when they make theirs, becoming less judgmental, more accepting and more transparent.
By reaching out, helping others in need and receiving help when we need it.

When I look at who I was as a young woman, how much I craved love and affection and put my emphasis on my yearnings, my decisions revolved around other people and having them satisfy my needs. I made bad choices, particularly in romantic love, because I had a need to be met and all my attention was on finding fulfillment in that. What I've come to realize is that when I am willing to give up my ambition and focus on what others need, my life is full of love, joy and far more value than if I clung to that one desire above all else.

Once I recognized my desires but gave up searching for them and instead began to see others and their needs, I became much more confident, contented and fulfilled. The fact is, what we think we want and what we really need can be quite different. Once we surrender our wish list, we can get on with living -- giving and receiving life and it's opportunities. Then we become enriched by the ebb and flow of existence, where the guarantee is that there will always be challenges that enable us to grow in character, personality and self awareness.

As for me, the irony is that once I gave up pursuing romantic love, it found me. I think that, when we enjoy where we are, rather than exist to find what we think we want, life is more fulfilling and the things which need to be are more likely to come into being.

The road ahead may not be certain but when we are comfortable in our own skin, the journey is far more pleasant.

Road Ahead by Sarah Tun
May you enjoy your week. And remember, before too long, this blog will morph into LarusBlog, a part of my website. You will still receive email notification or Google+ postings as you are now. The look and organization will be a little bit different, but it'll still 'me', examining, sharing, flying through life.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Security - Part 4

From Insecurity to Security

I've decided to re-post this series as a series about Security (as opposed to insecurity) - because it is my goal to encourage us all to walk in security... In security, we walk in the confidence that we are lovable and loved for who we are. Insecurity, on the other hand, is not having that sense of inner confidence.

To my mind, the pathway to absolute security comes from receiving unconditional love - love that loves no matter what shortcomings may be exposed. While I happen to believe we have a creator that made us, knows us and loves each one of us, some people may not want to look at that. So, I'm going to make a jump and look at what loving myself - unconditionally - looks like.

First, from my book, FREE to BE: Defeating Insecurity, Transforming Relationships, Building Character:
One afternoon, while sitting on my living room carpet, I was mentally beating myself up for having made a bad decision. It was habit for me to berate myself for days, or weeks, or even months, whenever I perceived I had made a mistake.  What triggered this occasion was a decision I’d made to decline a job offer.  I came to realize too late that I had turned away a blessing offered and missed a golden opportunity.  So, upon recognizing my "mistake", I began my usual lengthy emotional spiral into self-criticism and self-doubt, with an added touch of self-pity.
These interludes of self-torture will be familiar to anyone who tends to expect perfection.  In hindsight I see that it was a sign of pride.  I was surprised by my failure because I was over-confident about making decisions.  I fell short of my aspirations because I tried to prove myself and left God out of the equation.  Now by punishing myself for the decision I was still leaving God out of the picture.
When I first realized my mistake I was devastated.  I felt shame, regret and sorrow; I had worked hard only to miss an opportunity that had sprung from my effort and my prayer.  There is everything right with diligence, hard work and optimism.  However, my motive had been purely self-centred.  I suggest that to wrap our identity in achievement and to hope for success to the extent that our self-image and emotions hang on the result is prideful.  (It is also an example of acceptance-by-doing rather than of grace-by-being.) 
To know and to accept who I am, exclusive of result, is a new aim.  I have learned that my willing attitude and availability matters to God, and to leave the result up to Him.  This has taught me to be kinder to myself, to accept myself as I am today and to surrender that "self" to the Lord for His pruning. It has taken humility for me to accept my limitations, but in doing so, I have also become better at forgiving myself, and ironically, I have become a more capable person.  Learning to forgive myself has given me new freedom which has enabled me to think more clearly and to execute with more certainty. ((c) 2012, in conjunction with Essence Publishing, Belleville, ON Canada; Chapter 12)


I have learned to accept myself, with my weaknesses as well as my strengths. That's part of what unconditional love looks like. And in the journey to practicing self-acceptance guess what's happened? I've become much more accepting of others. Once I learned how to love myself, I was far less stingy with others.

So, in a nutshell, security hasn't come from capability and success but from knowing myself and accepting myself, warts and all.

Before signing off for this week, I'd like to notify you that soon - perhaps by the end of April - I will be moving my blog posting onto my updated website, www.laruspress.com (currently under reconstruction). This means the look of the blog will be different and how it's packaged will be too. BUT I will still send you a link through Google+. Or you'll be able to travel there at will and explore under blogs a lot of different channels for posts. Also, I'll be keeping sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com alive for a while, though there won't be any new posts there, once the website is up and running.

Hope you have a wonderful week.... 

You can purchase your copy of FREE to BE directly from Sarah or from Amazon.com (see www.freetobelaruspress.wordpress.com/get-the-book/ )


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Security - Part 3

What is Unconditional Love?

Are you, like me, the sort of person who is sensitive to what others think or feel toward you? Sensitivity to others is a gift, so long as what they think doesn't impact your own sense of self worth. While it is valuable to be aware of others' attitudes, if our identity comes from what others think of us rather than what we know of ourselves, our own self-image can be quite shaken or damaged by another's disapproval.

Children love to please. And if they are pleasing to a parent, they will learn to feel good about themselves. The only problem with this is, what if they are not pleasing to a parent (or later to a teacher, relative, or friend)? From the very beginning of our lives, if we know we are loved "no matter what," we will begin to build a self image that is confident and secure. Knowing we are loved unconditionally, rather than based on our behaviour, success, or appearance, is at the root of our emotional security.

Learning to love unconditionally is a start to learning to receive unconditional love... Or is it the other way around?

I don't believe, personally, that there is anyone on planet earth today who is perfect. Lots of people are very nice, kind or at least well-intended. There are a lot of very smart people and very creative ones too - Leonardo da Vinci happened to be both! And a lot of people try very hard to make their mark in the world. For some, that's raising children, for others it means inventing something or making a lot of money. But what we do doesn't make us who we are.

When we are content with who we are, then we have peace of mind - in spite of circumstances around us.

Who of us doesn't want to be loved, not for what we do or achieve, but for who we are inside? Because deep down, we all must know that, if the money or fame or success goes away, will there be anyone cheering us on anyway, loving us and supporting us, regardless of our situation?

Security is knowing I am loved, unconditionally, for who I am. Security is accepting myself as I am, and aiming to be consistent, integral to who I am, even if someone else might disapprove. It isn't licence to be anything but the best we can be at patience, love, kindness, gentleness, self-control. But it isn't reprimand or shame when we aren't as good as we (or someone else) expect ourselves to be.

If you're familiar with the film, LOVE STORY you'll remember the classic line, 'Love means never having to say you're sorry.' Or if you've read enough PEANUTS cartoons you'll recall Lucy's "Psychologist is In" sign or Snoopy's placard that begins with: "Love Is..." We all have a take on what love is.

I think, "Love is... Unconditional". Real love doesn't stop if we don't achieve or fulfill expectations or behave perfectly. Real love is hard to find - and hard to practice. There are some relationships where love never fails, never gives up, wants only what's best for us. And when we have a taste of a relationship like that, we feel, believe and know we are loved. There is where our security truly lies.

We can find that sort of love in ourselves, in God, in parents, in partners, in friends.

To the extent I have experienced unconditional love, I've felt safe, secure, relieved. To the extent I've felt judged, even condemned, I've had to draw on the resource of unconditional love to help me through loneliness, disappointment, or self-berating. I've learned to recognize another's approval or their disapproval and not let it shake my self-concept as a person who is doing her best, always seeking to grow, love and learn more about life, joy and peace.

Although I've felt love and the pain of rejection, although I've fallen and picked myself up, my consistent resource for unconditional love is God, and He's never let me down.

Food for thought, 'til next time... 







Thursday, 20 March 2014

(In) Security - Part 2

Do I recognize Insecurity in myself?

The funny thing about insecurity is that it can be latent, buried under our every day interaction with others, and we may not even realize we live with it.

How many times have you seen someone dress or behave in a way you 'wish you could but don't dare?' Or have you never been concerned about someone else's impression of you, so that you behaved in a manner different from what seemed organic to you? I think most of us do modify our behaviour for the sake of the company we are in. Sometimes that's appropriate, like taking into account we are with elders, so we defer to them or behave in a more formal way. But sometimes containing our real thoughts or impulses is stifling and unnecessary, but we do it because we feel fearful or intimidated.

I strongly believe we are meant to live our lives in a state of peace, safe and confident within ourselves. And I suspect many of us appear far more confident to others than we feel inside of ourselves. (I've often been surprised when someone has commented on my 'obvious confidence' when actually I felt more like a jittery mass of formless goo than a pillar of strength.) I am motivated to write about insecurity because, for me at least, understanding the 'why's' of an issue or problem is half way to overcoming it. And I'd like every one to feel as secure as they are meant to be.

When I wrote my first draft of my first piece of non-fiction, originally entitled FIGHT INSECURITY AND WIN! I asked a friend if she'd read it with the view to having her endorse the book. She read it, she endorsed it. But what amazed us both was that she said until she had read the book, she hadn't realized she wrestled with insecurity personally.

Isn't that neat?

I'd asked a woman I'd known for years, a director of an organization and a manager of many people, if she'd read and endorse a book about overcoming insecurity, and when she read it, she discovered the subject was currently relevant to her personally. I find that exciting.

"Peace in this fast-paced and competitive world is desirable but rare. There are different kinds of peace -- peace from war, peace with neighbours, internal peace. The type of peace I refer to is peace of mind, which is anxiety's opposite. To be free from worry is to have peace." (from Preface, FREE TO BE: Defeating Insecurity, Transforming Relationships, Building Character by yours truly, aka Sarah Tun, in conjunction with Essence Publishing, Belleville, Ontario, Canada (c) 2012.

So, those of you who read this blog weekly, perhaps you'll think of friends, relatives or yourself as one who would benefit from journeying though your past and present, to ensure your future is full of peace. For some it may be usual, for others rare. But it is my hope that as we journey through this life, we grow to accept ourselves more and find greater and deeper peace as we do.

I had a nice break last week, but it's good to be back! Until next week, may you be very much enriched with each new experience.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Insecurity - Part 1

WHAT DO I MEAN BY INSECURITY?

Some fear is good, some fear is bad... If you're in the woods and it's getting dark and you hear coyotes howling, or you're in the bush and hear lions roaring, perhaps it's an occasion for healthy fear! On the other hand, if you are attending your high school reunion and you're worried that old friends may scrutinize you and find you of lesser value than they are, or you are dating someone whom you are trying to impress and are afraid s/he won't accept you just as you are, then you are demonstrating signs of insecurity.

Insecurity is based in fear. When we feel insecure, it is because we are afraid we won't get approval.

I'm the sort of person who is acutely conscious of other people's moods; I used to be afraid that, if those moods were negative, they were somehow linked to me. I am also sensitive; so in the past, I was generally emotionally on edge, based on the fear that I wasn't accepted or loved unconditionally. 

As a young person, I was incredibly insecure. I tapped into other people's negative feelings, and quite naturally took responsibility for them -- feeling as though I was at fault somehow. I'm sure contributing factors were that I didn't feel I fit in at home, or  that for 3 years I was bullied in elementary school, but for whatever reason, there was inside of me a longing for acceptance that I wasn't receiving in a way that I needed, and it controlled my attitude toward myself and my interactions with others well into adulthood.

I think what is common to all of us is that desire to be accepted and I think it's also common that, at one time or another, we don't feel we are accepted unconditionally, just for who we are.

But anything can produce a good outcome. What matters to me is the person I become, in spite of and because of my experiences, which includes adversity. I confess, I've had to work hard to stop being a slave to my own fear.... it took me years to break the habit of trying to project a perfect image on the one hand and feeling I was doomed to fail, on the other. A change in my thinking had to occur. Now, my attitude is no longer one of fear but of acceptance - of myself and of my circumstances. Now, I am enthusiastic, even in challenging relationships, knowing all experience is part of what shapes me into the person I was created to be. 

It seems to me worthwhile to write about the discoveries I've made during my journey to find security and inner confidence.

What do I mean by confidence? I mean that sense of inner peace and assurance that, in spite of shortcomings, I accept myself and live and relate from that place.

What do I mean by insecurity? I mean  that sense of discomfort and fear, because we're unsure that we're accepted, or even loved, for who we really are. 

When we value ourselves, we exude confidence and comfort that we may otherwise feel we have to earn.

Insecurity: In order to find the richness and hope that life has to offer, I have chosen to face mine and have learned to overcome. I look forward to sharing some of my journey with you. And I hope you'll feel drawn to share some of yours with me.

Until ... two week's time... I'll be back on Thursday 20th as I'm taking some family time (here in Canada it's March Break!).



Friends and Me at London Eye