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The Ego and the Spirit (Paperback)
Insights on Living, Loving and Letting Go
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Author(s):  Fran Hewitt
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Have you ever been faced with a decision when your head says one thing and your heart says another? For example, you want to make a career change; your head tells you to follow the path of security, but your heart tells you to follow your passion. Or you are locked in a personal relationship conflict and your head says you are right, but your heart tells you to forgive and let go. It happens to me too. I call these two conflicting influences the Ego and the Spirit.

I is not about religion or philosophy; in fact, it's a simple, profound book about living fully, loving freely, and letting go. In these pages, you'll discover 35 authentic snapshots of life that will entertain, enlighten, and challenge you to think about your own life experiences. Some of these vignettes are poignant, others are funny, and some will challenge you with thought-provoking questions. You will relate to many of these situations and hopefully find the content a springboard for stimulating discussion. As you read the chapters, many of which are personal, you'll witness the daily struggle between Ego and Spirit.

The Ego is that controlling voice of your mind that drives you to seek safety, perfection, and the approval of others. Like a taskmaster, its demands are constant—be nice, look good, don't make mistakes. Many women relate to this pressure for perfection and approval but do not recognize their Ego's influence behind it. Unfortunately, unless you recognize and master your Ego's desire to control your every choice, it will keep you captive. In the chapters 'The Masks We Wear' and 'Too Nice for Your Own Good' you'll witness the manipulative power of the Ego.

In contrast, the voice of your Spirit is that reassuring voice that insists, urges, and shows you the way to love. It's the voice of your heart. The Spirit is a call to live life without fear and to trust in its guidance. When you live in harmony with your Spirit, you'll discover a new level of creativity, healthier and more loving relationships, and the freedom to be authentic. The results of listening to your Spirit instead of to the louder voice of your Ego will be obvious and sometimes instantaneous. You will know with certainty that your life is richer and more meaningful.

In my early years growing up in Ireland, my Ego was my protector, but as I grew older its need for control got in the way of how I wanted to live. Today, as you will discover, I much prefer to listen to my Spirit.

When I chose to follow my heart to write this book, I was choosing to follow the voice of my Spirit. There was a creative energy wanting to pour out of me onto these pages. If I had chosen to follow my head instead, I would have been listening to the voice of my Ego, urging me to seek the security of a paycheck or some new business activity. Usually when I listen to my heart, good things happen and I is the result. This little book is packed full of life experience and has the power to make a difference to your life.

Maybe you'll be inspired to make some exciting changes, decide to live life more fully, or learn not to take the same ill-conceived path that I did. Perhaps you will awaken to the power of your own Spirit by consistently asking, 'My Ego says this … but what does my Spirit say?' By choosing to follow your Spirit's guidance more often you will liberate your life.

No matter what age or stage of life you are at there is a gift waiting for you within these pages. My wish is that you'll find it and use it for your greatest benefit.

I respectfully offer The Ego and the Spirit as a gift from my life to yours.

For many years I found it challenging to purchase a card for Father's Day. I would stand and scan the rack for ages, looking for something—anything—that would truthfully fit my relationship with my dad. Most of the cards were either too gushy—You're the best dad in the world—or simply untrue—You were always there for me. The words other people bought to express their love reminded me year after year of how different my relationship with my father was. It

was guarded, conflicted, and challenging at best.

I usually settled for a silly card; it was safe and Dad was always good with humor.

His sense of fun had served him well before his life began to erode, before his body stopped co-operating and dementia clouded his reality. In fact, on his 78th birthday Dad bought himself a new Mini Cooper. It was his pride and joy. He loved that little car and all the attention that came with it. Wearing his black leather jacket and racing cap, he'd go whizzing around the neighborhood. My father lived to drive!

But three years later, Dad suffered from a serious debilitating illness that revealed a failing mind and forced him to move into a nursing home. Worse, his driver's license was revoked. In a matter of minutes, the authorities snatched away his independence and robbed him of his reason to live. Losing his license was no laughing matter. It was the beginning of the end.

On admission day Dad stubbornly left his walker at the door and walked around the nursing home unassisted. That's my dad! That first day he played the piano, chatted with some residents, and winked and smiled and sang. That's my dad! I breathed a sigh of relief; he was going to be all right. But the next day, as if in a sit-down protest, he plunked himself into a wheelchair, never to walk again. 'I want to go home now,' he declared. My heart broke. That's my dad!

Taking care of my father in his last years was tough in every way. I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I juggled my busy life around his care. In a desperate attempt to make things easier for him, I tried to soak up his pain and frustration like a sponge, denying my own feelings of resentment and guilt. To cope, I kept myself focused on the practical issues of his care. This was more comfortable than having to sit, chat, and visit. I meted out my time with him and rationed how much I was willing to give. Although my Spirit wanted me to engage at a deeper level, my Ego kept me disconnected. I didn't want to see his pain or feel his helplessness. I needed him to be happy for my sake; but he hated his life and I dreaded our visits.

Then something changed in both of us. One day when he was particularly lucid, he asked me, 'Where did my old life go?' In that moment of vulnerability both our shells seemed to crack. I felt my hardened heart begin to break, then soften. Love and compassion replaced the anger I'd known most of my life for my father. His vulnerability had triggered in me a surrender to everything that our relationship had been and what it could become.

My father started using words like gratitude and love—I nearly fell off my chair in shock! This new Dad was softer; he seemed more approachable. He too seemed to have surrendered—to his helplessness and the reality of his situation. He started to joke again and welcomed me on each visit with a delighted grin.

A lot of healing happened under the bright fluorescent lights of the nursing home cafeteria. I started to enjoy being with him. On his good days we would sit, chat, laugh, and be together. When the warm weather beckoned beyond the windows, I would wheel his chair into the garden and we would silently watch the birds together. He would hold onto my hand. 'Don't go yet!' he'd plead. Now that he's gone, I wish I'd stayed longer.

I bought a Father's Day card just a week before he passed away. It still took me ages to choose because now I had too many loving verses to pick from.

I love you, Dad, and I miss you.

©2017 Fran Hewitt. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Ego and the Spirit: Insights on Living, Loving and Letting Go. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

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