Archive

The Power of Memory

“Love’s the only engine of survival.” – Leonard Cohen

           Inevitably, there comes a time in every child’s life when they wonder about or question, how and why humans can treat each other in such awful ways. It would serve us all well to remember that moment and what that felt like, so we can connect to that part of our humanity prior to identifying with groups, religions, and political parties, a time when there wasn’t a need to be right or better than someone else.

Wonder

          This is a place we all come from. If we are to be sustainable as a human species and move forward as the Global Community that we are, we need to nurture and cultivate the qualities we inherently glean from the innocence of our childhood that help to unite us, such as connection, cooperation and openness. We are interdependent and what we do has an impact on one another in unfathomable ways.

Bring yourself back to that moment of wondering how we could treat each other so awfully and wonder again how things have gotten to be where they are now? Has fear made your choices along the way, or love? Love embraces and connects, fear separates, having us choose sides and trying to be right, instead of cooperating to find solutions that work for everyone. I see W.A.R. as an acronym for We Are Right. This is the cause of so much conflict in the world.

It is time to use the lessons we have learned from our time of wonder and innocence.

            Next time you engage with challenging people or situations, take a moment to remember that curious child and wonder again if you are being what you wish to see in the world and become it, if you are not already. Give yourself that extra moment to embody and bestow kindness, and it will ripple outward making a remarkable difference in your interactions and the world.

What’s Wrong With Boredom?

Often people ask how they can get past boredom. The simple answer is presence. Presence is a state of Being, there is no doing needed. People tend to seek excitement or entertainment to avoid boredom. Part of uncovering what boredom has to show you is being with it and inquiring about it, getting curious.
-What is it about boredom that you do not like?
Ex: It means I am not doing anything.
-What is “wrong” or “not ok” with not doing anything?
Ex: I won’t get anywhere, or reach my goals, or be successful
-What does that mean? Or What are you afraid will happen if that were to occur?
Ex: I would be a failure

Association: Boredom = Failure

Boredom 1

At this point, one could delve deeper to understand what failure really means. We usually make it personal, about us as a person. For example, failure could mean, “I don’t matter”. What really gets triggered when this person is bored, is that they make it mean that they don’t matter, and won’t matter. Here is the complete set of associations triggered by boredom:
Boredom = Failure = I Don’t Matter

This is precisely why we avoid things like boredom, because we will do just about anything to avoid feeling like we don’t matter, it is an emotionally painful belief. As soon as one begins to feel a twinge of boredom, out come the distractions with lightning speed. The only problem with avoidance, is that whatever we run away from, we run right into. We can’t run away from ourselves.

Boredom is really a gift. It is a chance to Be in our busy lives of doing. These pauses in our lives give us opportunities to be creative, focus our intention on what we want for our lives, and reflect. We need these pauses to reflect, take inventory, and prepare to receive the fruits of our previous labors.

The next time you encounter boredom, sit with it. If you experience discomfort or have a hard time with just Being, then inquire. See if you are making boredom mean something it doesn’t. It is okay to do nothing sometimes. Some of the greatest ideas and inventions have come to people in those open and receptive times when they were doing nothing or just daydreaming.

What Does It Mean?

While leading two workshops on Spiritual Bypassing this past week I realized that I needed a more clear way of conveying the concept of Magical Thinking (**defined below) and how to practice more discernment around it. First off, there is nothing wrong with magical thinking. As Robert Augustus Masters says, “[Magical Thinking] can be a reality-reordering playfulness of mind, a life affirming poetic license that takes its rightful place in our psyche, coloring, but not animating our perspective.” At the same time, it can lead us astray in trying to find meaning in everything. For those wondering about synchronicity, it is different than magical thinking. Synchronicity involves the meaningful connection of two casually unrelated events. We can recognize it intuitively rather than coming to an analytical conclusion that it has happened.

 

So, just HOW can we best discern when we are employing the Bader-Meinhof Phenomenon (**defined below) and making unrealistic assumptions about our omnipotence for creating our reality, or authentically experiencing synchronicity or a genuine reflection of ourselves?

-1

Well, I thought about this question and I devised a simple saying that would also provide the answer: “There is no reflection without projection.” In other words, we are the ones that apply meaning to things. We project on to people, situations and things in our environment with labels, judgments and internal resistance to what is in the form of emotions. With true presence and stillness, we are neither separate from, nor identified with what arises in ourselves, or our environment. When we are present we are not attaching labels, judgments, seeking meaning or resisting. When you have an emotional response or reaction to a person, situation or object, then it is reflecting, because something from your outside environment stirred something within you, hence there was a thought or perception about it. Emotion is a reflection of mind in the body.

Meaning-Of-Life-wide-600x300-1

Here are some questions I came up with to help bring more clarity to your discernment and within your own motivations and desires:

  • Can you allow things to just Be, without resistance, labeling, judging, or seeking meaning?
  • If you are looking for evidence of what you are intending or working to manifest, what is in your desire or wanting of that evidence?
  • What is the void, value, or fear that is trying to be quelled or fulfilled?
  • Does the desire for meaning, proof and evidence arise from wanting to feel more in-control, safe, or “special” in some way?
  • Is there fear around it not meaning anything?

woman meditating on rock

When we are present, there is no ego in what we are doing. There is no, “I manifested this”, or “this happened for ME”. Presence is devoid of that sense of “I”. When we are calm, present, and centered in our heart we are connected to all that is without attachment or separation. There is a time for Being and a time for Doing, make sure to make time for the inquiry and time for Being present with what is.

 

**Magical Thinking – a kind of pre-rational cognition. It is a mix of superstition, perception of illusory connections, and conflation of correlation with causation, attributing to our wishing, wanting and imagining an inordinate power of manifestation.

 

**Bader-Meinhof Phenomenon – (AKA-Frequency Illusion) When a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. It is caused by two psychological processes: Selective Attention and Confirmation Bias. Selective Attention kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea. After that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it and find it surprisingly often. Confirmation Bias reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.

A Key To Growth

A key to growth resides within your discomfort.  Yes, that is correct.  Feeling uncomfortable is really an impetus for growth, just like a lobster.  When a lobster is ready to grow, it begins to get tight and uncomfortable in its shell.  It then seeks out a rock to hide under, relinquishes its old shell and grows a new one, making it able to come back out into the world again.  The difference with us, is that we usually avoid our discomfort by turning to something pleasurable or distracting.

maxresdefault
Feeling uncomfortable is really a signal to turn inward and look at what is coming up.  We can begin this journey by asking some key questions.

What can you do or how can you Be (or some combination of the two) to reconcile what is happening?

What is being asked of you?

Do you need to show up, or show up differently in your life?

Do you need to empower a particular aspect of your life?

Before you go and grab that ice cream, or a drink or call a friend, or something else in the realm of distraction, take a moment to look inward and acknowledge what is really coming up for you.

Begin to learn to get intimate with your discomfort!

What Made Me Cry?

At some point in most people’s lives, I think we have dreams or notions of changing the world. So did I. In fact, when I first started my business, it is what became part of my “why”. In many different business trainings, I was asked this question: “What is your why?” In other words, why do you do what you do? For me I wanted to change or revolutionize the world with the tools and techniques I have to offer people. I was also told, by some friends and mentors, that if I didn’t cry, my “why” wasn’t big enough. I thought my “why” was big enough, as I was almost able to muster a tear at the notion of changing the world by helping people create more peace and love in their lives… until today.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” -Rumi

Breakthrough Barriers

Today I was asked the same question, I gave my answer, and then he asked this question in a slightly different way, in a way that I could hear, that wasn’t about my business and me, but about me. He said, “I don’t want to know just what your why is, but tell me your “selfish why,” tell me exactly what it would mean for you if your business were to be as successful as you want it to be and you were making what you want to make.” He paused there and that is when I started to cry. I realized in that moment what my real “why” was. My real “why”, is that I want to be able to witness and experience all of the joys that life has to offer with those that I love the most, the ones I hold the most dear, because who they are and who they are becoming is the most beautiful thing in the world to me and I want to co-create and be there for as much of it as I possibly can. At that moment, I was also envisioning all of the things I wanted to learn, and see, and explore with my family as well. It is my desire to lead a fulfilling life with those I love, because each experience that helps them to grow and become who they are fills me up too. As I had that realization, I also understood that I could not want this for myself without also wanting the same thing for others. This is my “why” and this is what I really want to help others to do too.

images-1

Coming to this realization was not an easy task. It has taken quite some time to get enough of myself out of the way in order for me to arrive at this place, this awareness and this outpouring of joy and gratitude. All the time I use the tools I teach in my own life, and I have experienced some profound shifts and changes. It has been a real struggle at times to shed light in to the darkest recesses of my own being, and I can say it has been worth it a thousand fold. It used to be that I would experience joy, but with a filter of all of the negative conditioning and internal dialogue, that would keep me from being present and really enjoying my experience at all. When we take the journey of loving ourselves, even the darkest parts, that is where the light enters and we begin to integrate and transform those aspects of our lives where we feel stuck, frustrated, angry, sad or anxious. When we walk through our fear and reclaim those parts of ourselves that we have pushed away long ago, that is when we come to really understand what changes the world. What is that you may ask? It is the awakening of our own hearts, which then begin to awaken the hearts of others, and on and on. When you live from what brings your heart the utmost joy that is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to the world and it is a gift that keeps giving.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

 

What Are You Avoiding?

One of the most popular coping mechanisms and often one that goes most unnoticed is AVOIDANCE. When something causes us distress mentally, emotionally, or physically, this is the way many of us deal. We all do, and have done this at some point in our lives, because it is natural for us to want to avoid pain in any of its forms. This is not a bad thing. Avoidance and denial are relatively harmless methods of coping that can be quite useful in the short term to help us manage the tasks that keep our lives moving and functioning. However, over the long term, these strategies can result in significant internal damage and may end up coming out in other ways, such as physical or mental illness, poor job performance, relationship issues, or self destructive behaviors. Ultimately, there are so many great gifts within our pain, we just need to be courageous enough to face it.

AvoidanceMuch of what causes us such “distress” is when we encounter our “shadow elements”. Shadow elements are the traits and qualities that we typically keep in the dark and project onto others, both at a personal and a collective level, creating the very convincing illusion that such elements do not belong to us. Our life situations and relationships with others are constantly reflecting this stuff back to us for us to see and work with.

 

This is why learning the tools to do shadow work, and/or finding a well-versed practitioner to help you do the work and be a mirror for you, is so important. Shadow work can be defined as the practice of acknowledging, facing, engaging, and integrating what we have turned away from, disowned, or otherwise rejected in ourselves. Our specific issues become most apparent in our judgments of ourselves, others, or our life situations.

Avoidance 1Our suffering arises from what some would call our conditioning or our domestication. Often, these childhood events that compromised our sense of feeling safe and/or wanted in some way were the causal factors in our learning to enact behaviors of control and acceptance. Our suffering does not come directly from the conditioning per se, but our identification with it and the issues it brings up for us.

If you find yourself engaging in the following avoidance mechanisms (more than just moderately), it may be time to seek some help and/or learn some tools that you can use in your life to work through that which you are trying to avoid in the first place.  You can only avoid something for so long, but eventually, life will keep putting it in your face until you deal with it, learn from it, and give thanks for it.

Avoidance 2Key Avoidance Mechanisms:

-Drinking

-Smoking (Tobacco or Marijuana) (Or a combination of the two or three)

-Excessive TV Watching

-Over Eating

-Over Exercising

-Procrastination

-Spiritual Bypassing – employing spiritual beliefs and practices to avoid dealing in                                                  any significant depth with our painful feelings, unresolved                                                        wounds, and developmental needs.

-Projection – seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people

-Acting Out – not coping, giving in to the pressure to misbehave

-Denial – refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred

-Displacement – shifting of intended action to a safer target

-Distancing – moving away

-Fantasy – escaping reality into a world of possibility

-Idealization – playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of thins desired

-Intellectualization – avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic

-Passive Aggression – avoiding refusal by passive avoidance

-Performing Rituals – Patterns that delay

-Rationalization – creating logical reasons for bad, or self-destructive behavior

-Reaction Formation – avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position

-Regression – returning to a child state to avoid problems

-Repression – subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts

-Symbolization – turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols

-Trivializing – making small what is really something big

When you begin to notice that you have been enacting avoidance mechanisms, they can be a really good indicator that something more significant is a play behind the scenes of your conscious mind and that it is time to start looking at where you feel uncomfortable and some of the best ways to begin to engage and work with that discomfort before it becomes something bigger mentally, emotionally or physically. That is precisely the service I offer people. If you want to understand and overcome those difficult and uncomfortable things that you have continually struggled with, then book and appointment today! I will help you find the transformation and peace of mind you have been looking for.

Who Is Criticizing Whom?

Have you ever started something new or set out to achieve a goal and then notice that little voice inside your head start to speak up? That little voice is usually not very nice and it can be downright mean. It likes to say things like: “You’ll never make enough money doing that!”, or “I don’t know if you can achieve that goal, look at all those obstacles in the way!”, or “If I only had more money, more knowledge, a better education or a better job, or lost 10+ pounds…then I could really live life!” That not so little voice is the inner critic and it likes to pass unfavorable judgments on most everything we do that stretches our comfort zone even just a little bit.

Inner Critic

Well, what can we do about these characters that use up our time and take space in our mind? One of the biggest things you can do once you get awareness around one of these voices that consistently shows up is to give it a creative name. It helps to make it funny! For example, I had this voice that liked to doubt everything I attempted to do. It sounded kind of meek and said, “Welllll, I don’t know…(if that’s such a good idea, if that is possible, if you have the money for that, if you look good enough, etc.)” before a lot of things. It would then start making a list of all the obstacles I would have to face before I could achieve a goal, some of them real and some of them distant possibilities, but nevertheless, they were added to the list until the list looked overwhelmingly in favor of the goal not being obtained. I decided to name this voice Danny Doubter.

Inner Critic 1

What does a silly little exercise like this do for you? One of the best things it can do for us is to help us begin to loosen their grip on us. When we can create a little space around these voices with our awareness and humor, what that then gives us, is the ability to relate to it rather than from it. This allows us the space to make clearer and more empowered choices, because we are not coming from such a fearful place anymore. It gives rise to our more authentic nature and allows us to be just a little more, free from our conditioned and unconscious behavior. Try this on for size and give a fun and creative name to one of those voices that you so often hear in your internal dialogue. Write or message me back and let me know how it went!

Is Baseball Spiritual?

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.
-Babe Ruth

When baseball is put in the context of a story that I heard from one of my dear mentors, it certainly can be. I am not usually one for remembering jokes and stories, but this one really stuck with me because it was a very clear example of how perception, or one’s perspective really functions. It is also a tale of wisdom. Another reason I really liked this story was because it was short, but packed full of little nuggets I could remember and take with me. So, what is this amazing story you may be asking?

Umpire

Well, maybe it is not super amazing, but it is “The Tale of Three Umpires” and it goes like this:

Three umpires were standing around and talking at home plate, waiting for the home team to take the field. They were discussing how they each call balls and stikes.

“I may be a new umpire,” said the first one, “but it just isn’t that hard. I call them as they are.”

The second umpire smiled and shook his head knowingly, for as a more experienced umpire, he knows that isn’t really the case.

“I used to think I called them as they were, but now I know better. I call them as I see them.”

The third umpire, the most experienced and wisest of the three, smiled and shook his head knowingly.

“I used to think that I called them as they are, and then I realized that I simply called them the way I saw them. But now I know they ain’t nothin’ until I call ‘em.”

Baseball-2

This story exemplifies the growth of wisdom through experience and understanding.

The first umpire thinks he is dealing in facts, that the thoughts in his head are the Truth. Like us, he is making judgment calls as we do about ourselves: “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do …,” I will look ridiculous,” “I’m a disappointment.” The next thing we know, life reveals itself to be consistent with our thoughts, providing further evidence for our self-proclaimed statements.

 

The second umpire realizes that he makes judgments about what he saw, that he doesn’t deal in facts. When we find ourselves at this stage, we realize that our perspectives and attitudes have a big influence on how we experience and live our lives. At this point, we are also open to learning from others, reading books, taking classes, and workshops that help us develop our potential and get past obstacles that present themselves in our lives.

 

The third umpire knows he has the power to choose his perspective and that his choice is what determines “reality” for him. When we reach this stage, we realize that not only does our attitude affect our actions but we can also choose our attitude. Regardless of circumstances, at this point, we see ourselves as the source of our choices and actions. We are no longer victims of circumstances, but take responsibility for our thoughts, emotions, and choices every moment of every day.

Which umpire are you going to be today?

How Many Days Are In A Day?

Have you ever woken up “on the wrong side of the bed” feeling as grumpy as ever? Ever think the only solution for your day would be for that day to be over? I have too, and it is no fun! What I have come to realize throughout the years though, is this: there are many days within our day. Let me tell you about my day the other week, and maybe that will clarify what I mean.

Grumpy

My day started shortly after I went to bed. I was awakened roughly six times throughout my nightly slumber by our feline friend who felt compelled to snuggle, and once snuggling suddenly had some other urgent business to take care of. Each time he enters the room it is preceded by shrill meowing. As you can imagine, I was working on falling back asleep only to hear my alarm for the day chime in.

tired

I was so tired and grumpy I could hardly form words. I proceeded to put together an edible lunch for my daughter for school, made some feeble attempts at helping her get ready and out the door so we could arrive on time, before 8am. We walked through the doors at 7:59, just barely making eluding the dreaded tardy slip. After that, I knew I needed some strong caffeination fast if I was going to turn this day around. What I have also come to realize over the years, is that there are many aspects to a day, and a nice, warm Americano was just the thing to begin this process. What happens to so many people is that those waking moments have a great tendency to define and shape our entire day. When we begin to look at those many aspects of our day as new days within our day, it is much easier to “start over”, “hit “reset”, or recalibrate our course. I chose to redirect mine with a cup of coffee and a pause to choose how I wanted the rest of my day to go.

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. – Nido Qubein

In another fifteen minutes, I was at my Chiropractic appointment. I had about half of my coffee before I got there and it hadn’t quite kicked in yet, but I was already feeling better. They call what a chiropractor does, making an adjustment, and this morning, it couldn’t have been truer as I was getting physically adjusted, so was my attitude. As I was feeling better, I also realized that I needed some breakfast, so I stopped to get my favorite scone at the local market. As I sat there eating and drinking the rest of my coffee, the sun literally and figuratively poked its head out of the clouds.

 

What I have come to know and practice in my life is that any act can be a meditation, if you give yourself the time and space to be present. I used to think that meditation meant sitting, or lying down for a period of time, but I now do my best to make the actions in my life a meditation as well. I can be sipping my coffee or going for a walk and that is my meditation. I give myself the space and time to clear my mind, then focus and decide how I want to proceed with what I am doing next. Outcomes are not determined by what I do as much as they are by how I do them, and that goes for the course of my day too.

What Do You Struggle With?

With the days getting shorter and the holiday season upon us, the things we struggle with can become much more apparent. Issues with relatives come up again or Seasonal Affective Disorder can begin to show its face, or you begin to wish you were somewhere else, whether it is the comfort of your own home or some tropical paradise. Whatever the struggle is for you this time of year, it is asking for your attention. Everything needs attention to live, including the things we struggle with. The question is, how do you respond to your struggle?

 

Do you identify with the emotions you feel from your struggle?

 

Do you ask questions about it and try to feel better?

 

Or do you look for the cause of this struggle and seek to find peace with it?

Struggle

As Dr. John DeMartini said,

“The lowest state of human awareness is the victim mentality, where there exists disassociated perceptions and blame. The highest state of human awareness is where you realize there is no separation between cause and effect, where your perceptions are the true causes and your reactions are the true effects of your life, where you are the cause of your own effect.”

 

When we react and identify with the emotion our struggle is producing, we can feel stuck, or like there is no way out of our present condition. Next time you find yourself suffering or in struggle, ask a few questions, so that you can begin to respond instead of getting stuck in reaction.

 

What am I really upset about?

Many times, what is truly upsetting us can be veiled by our perception of the situation and our emotions. A recent client of mine was upset that his brother had “taken his seat” out of turn more than one evening in a row, three, actually. What he thought he was upset about was something getting taken away from him. When I inquired further and asked what that meant to him, or how he felt because of that, was “left out”. So often, we perceive an event and think what we are upset about is what is directly happening, but there is usually a story such as “left out” that is getting fed by your upset at the current situation.

Struggle-1

Each event that triggers an emotion is an opportunity for us to love, or bring peace to an aspect of ourselves that we are not ok with, an aspect of ourselves that is asking to be loved and integrated. When we integrate these wounded parts of ourselves, we feel lighter and more whole. This is the cornerstone of the work that I do with people, helping them to bring more peace and freedom to their lives and many relationships.

 

Comment below and share with me what you struggle with this time of year and into the New Year. I would love to hear from you, as I am developing new programs for the New Year and into the spring, and I would love to create programs around your needs and desires. What programs would you love for me to put on in the New Year? What is it that you most want to transform or know more about in the coming year? Take a moment and send me a message so I may better serve you in the coming months.

Thank You! I wish you all the best of holidays and an even better New Year!