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Monthly Archives: May 2012

What If?

I was talking to a friend one day about something I planned to do. Actually, I was worrying about how one particular person might react to what I intended to do.

“What if he doesn’t handle it very well?” I asked.

“Then,” my friend replied, “you’re going to have to handle it well.”

What if’s can make us crazy. They put control over our life in someone else’s hands. What if’s are a sign that we have reverted to thinking that people have to react in a particular way for us to continue on our course.

What if’s are also a clue that we may be wondering whether we can trust ourselves and our Higher Power to do what’s best for us. These are shreds of codependent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and they signal fear.

The reactions, feelings, likes or dislikes of others don’t have to control our behaviors, feelings, and direction. We don’t need to control how others react to our choices. We can trust ourselves, with help from a Higher Power, to handle any outcome – even the most uncomfortable. And, my friend, we can trust ourselves to handle it well.

Today, I will not worry about other people’s reactions or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same.

Source – The Language of Letting Go

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Posted by on 2012/05/31 in Language of Letting Go

 

4 Tips for when You’re Having One of Those “Why Me?!” Moments

We all have them. Life delivers a sucker punch and you’re left scratching your head wondering what the heck you did to deserve it. Perhaps it’s a health issue, relationship problem, family drama, or financial crap — it doesn’t matter which area of your life the challenge lies, chances are it leaves stains on all the good in your world as well. In other words, when you’re neck-deep in crap, it can be hard to smell the roses.

Down days are fine, and not something we should feel guilty about having. Surrendering to your sadness, or whatever other unattractive emotion is trying to come to the surface, does not make you a bad person. Nor will it manifest into anything undesirable. We don’t have to be happy one hundred percent of the time. In fact, it’s not good for us to suppress our emotions like that. When we don’t let the not-so-attractive stuff out, it festers inside and contributes to even bigger issues or manifests into physical ailments. Feeling is healing, my friends. The trick is to not allow these down days to turn into chronic periods of depression.

So, what can we do to pull ourselves out of the doldrums?

  1. Get some perspective.

    Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a while and know that as bad as things seem for you right now, there is always someone else who is far worse off. We humans are pretty freaking amazing. We can deal with the harshest conditions and find strength amidst the worst kinds of adversity. Understanding this has been my emotional savior while dealing with my own cancer diagnosis and that of my mum. All I had to do was turn on Oprah and I would see someone whose life was so much tougher than my own.

  2. Look for the blessing.

    Acknowledge the situation you’re in. Try to understand why you may have been given the challenge (there is always a greater reason!) and then surrender to learning the many lessons that are sure to unfold from it.

  3. Keep trusting.

    We are never given a problem that we don’t know how to solve. Just trust the process of life and accept that everything that comes up for you is there for a reason. When you truly believe that the universe is a kind place, and that you’re just one part of a much bigger plan, it makes it easier to understand that what you’re dealing with is a necessary part of the puzzle.

  4. Do something that makes you happy.

    Whenever I’m feeling a little icky, there are a few things that will instantly make me feel better. These are going for a walk, sitting on the beach, and spending time with my dog. Let whatever it is that makes you happy crash your pity party.

If none of the above works straight away, remember that’s okay. Honor your feelings, sit with them and really feel them. If you resist them they will only get worse, but if you allow them to froth to the surface and become exposed, they will soon pass and you’ll be left feeling lighter and more free than ever.

Source

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Posted by on 2012/05/30 in Uncategorized

 

Forgive Yourself! Let go of guilt and blame

“Forgiveness is the key to inner peace because it is the mental technique by which our thoughts are transformed from fear to love.”

THE ACT OF FORGIVING YOURSELF shows that you are living the awakened life. Many years ago, my sister-in-law made me a beautiful pillow that says, “I’m allowed.” For me, it is a reminder that I am allowed to live my life as I see fit, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. Many people live their lives believing they are not allowed. Judgmental adults succeeded in convincing them that there are irrevocable rules which state what you can or cannot say, be or do; to hate the enemies assigned to you, to disregard all religions except the one you were born into, to dismiss those who appear different from you, and so on. At some point in your life you adopted these rules for yourself and made them a lifetime code of conduct. Yet you also found that it was impossible to live up to all of them all of the time. Consequently, you filled yourself with guilt for not having lived up to the judgmental code that was imposed upon you.

Look at any and all beliefs that you carry around with you in terms of how well they serve you in living a life of harmony and purpose. If you behave in a way that is in violation of those supposedly irrevocable rules, you have not really done something wrong! You have merely done something. And it is done. If you are plagued with remorse and guilt, then judging the action as wrong seems appropriate to prevent its recurrence. Does it really? Probably not. So instead, learn from it by deciding if it is something that you want to repeat based upon your values, and then move past it.

It takes effort to determine if you are still operating on the controls imposed by others. The effort is well worth it if you are not taking responsibility for your own mind. You are allowed, plain and simple. You do not need to be forgiven by anyone else, only yourself, and even that is truly unnecessary once you accept yourself completely. You will know when you have mastered the art of self-forgiveness. When you are no longer judgmental toward others, you will have forgiven yourself and be on your path of enlightenment.

Releasing judgment of another is actually releasing judgment of yourself. Your need to put others into categories defines you, not them. When you stop doing this, you have forgiven yourself for whatever aspect of yourself you see in them. The more at ease you are with the behavior of others, even if you would not act that way yourself, the more you are at ease with yourself.

Say to yourself, “I’m allowed.” Not because I tell you you are, or because your parents are no longer in charge of you, or because some authority figure granted you permission, but simply because you are lovingly there for yourself. No guilt, no anger, no self-flagellation over things that you consider mistakes. A simple understanding that you do not fail in life, you only produce results, and you have the right to learn and grow from any results that you produce. The word “failure” is itself a judgment, and if you label yourself a failure in any context, you are judging rather than accepting yourself. Self-acceptance will turn into self-love, and when you are filled with self-love, that is what you will have to give away.

Consequently, the willingness to forgive yourself is the necessary step to being in harmony with all of the universal principles. It gives you permission to be whatever you choose. And it gives you the right to self-determination. Everything that you have done is over, regardless of your opinion about it. It simply is. Try to simply be. The past is over, and everything you did got you to the point that you are at right at this moment. Everything had to happen exactly as it did, without any exceptions in order for you to be here, reading these words in the exact location in which you find yourself right now. You needed to do it all, and all you have to do, to really learn this lesson of forgiveness, is to allow that thought in and lovingly forgive yourself. Receive the lesson from it and be in harmony with yourself and everyone that you encounter. The more peaceful you are with that idea, and the more willing you are to be gentle with yourself, the more you will find forgiveness your way of life. Which means the more you will find acceptance, which is the absence of the need to forgive, as your way of life.

If you notice others violating the values and beliefs that you hold, refuse to judge them. Reach out to help when asked, and know that where you are on your path, you can choose to be unaffected by their conduct. The more you know that you are thinking and acting in harmony with what the universe can be, the less you will be inclined to judge others. And you will have stopped judging yourself as well, and that is a glorious aspect of this process. You are treating yourself the way you truly want to be treated, as the divine being that you are. You have the intelligence that supports all life running through you at all times. You are important enough to know that, and divine enough to give it away.

Source

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Posted by on 2012/05/30 in Uncategorized

 

Beneficial, Long-Term

We cannot approach prayer as we do everything else in our push button, instant society. There are no prayer pills or enlightenment capsules. — Janie Gustafson

Prayer is the relationship between each man and his Higher Power. Our approach to this relationship is guided by our understanding of God. How other men and women have prayed and related to God throughout history may guide us today.

Any relationship is a process, not a momentary event with an instantaneous outcome. It builds with repeated contact and dialogue. With give and take, prayer is our honesty encountering God and our openness hearing God expressed on God’s terms. Like any relationship, prayer includes all our feelings – anger, fear, and mistrust, as well as generosity, goodwill, and gratitude. Gradually, we see the events of our lives through the wisdom and detachment our spiritual relationship provides.

I return now to my dialogue with God, asking only for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.

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Posted by on 2012/05/29 in Uncategorized

 

Four Steps to Loving Yourself

Developing self-love is a process of speaking and acting according to your values, belief, and feelings.

Loving yourself means that you accept yourself unconditionally. Instead of negative self-talk you are your own ally, whispering words of encouragement. Often how we are loved as children determines how well we can love ourselves as adults. Those who were neglected, criticized and abused have a more difficult time loving themselves. The good news is that we can change this. Daphne Kingma has a four step recipe for loving yourself: speaking out, acting out, clearing out and setting out.

  1. Speak Out

    The first step to loving yourself is learning to honor your needs and feelings through communicating them to other people. Kingma defines speaking out as , “Taking the risk of saying the things you’ve never been able to say before. Saying what you need and want, what you hope for, what would make you happy. Saying what angers, disappoints and irritates you. Saying what kind of support, passion and friendship you need…” (2004, p. 48).

    So how do you learn to speak out? First you need to know what you want to say. Look over the last week, in what situations do you find it difficult to speak up? Once you’ve clarified what you need to say, start small. Find people who are easier to express your needs to and practice with them. Soon you can move on to more difficult situations. Speaking out requires courage but ultimately will lead to feeling higher self-worth.

  2. Act Out

    Action is the root of change. To love yourself more is to act in accordance to your beliefs, values and feelings. Actions can include doing new things or following through on plans and goals. Kingma defines actions as “…energy, a new beginning, the transformation of how things are into the way you’d like them to be” (2004, p.81).

    It is important to know where you need to change. Take a few minutes to write about what is working in your life and what you would like to change. With the items that need action, write down specific steps for change. Make these steps small enough to be manageable. After you make a change, reflect on how you felt after you acted. If it didn’t feel right, adjust your goal.

  3. Clear Out

    Clutter fills your life creating a sense of weight and dread. There are many ways to clear out, including clearing your space, energy, and body (Kingma, 2004). Kingma says, “When your body is clear – of chemical toxins, negative emotional residue, excess weight, and mental chatter – your soul can proceed in the direction of goodness, truth and beauty” (2004, p.111).

    Where are you needing to clear out? Make a list of the areas which need some clearing. First prioritize from most important to least important. Starting at the top, break each item down into small steps.

  4. Set Out

    What is your biggest dream? What is your top passion? Do you love to cook? Do you love to dance? Do you want to offer service to humanity? What’s your vision? Setting out is about beginning on a journey to follow your dreams. Kingma writes, “You must set out on a new path, to a higher level, to what has greater meaning. You must to move away from what you’ve always done, and set out in the direction of something new” (2004, p.148).

    If you are unaware of what you love, try remembering your hobbies as a child and teenager. What did you really enjoy doing? Most likely it is something that made you forget yourself and lose track of time. If you know what you love, how can you do it more? Write five ways you can incorporate your passion into your life now.

Loving yourself is a four step process. The first step is acknowledging your thoughts and feelings through communicating them to others. The second step requires making life changes so that your life is aligned with your goals, values and beliefs. The third step is clearing out emotional, mental and physical clutter. The final step is creating life goals and working towards them. These steps help create self-respect and happiness.

Kingma, D. (2004). Loving Yourself: Four Steps to a Happier You. Conari Press: York Beach, ME.

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Posted by on 2012/05/28 in Uncategorized

 
Aside

I don’t do what I do just so people will think kindly of me. I like doing what I do. — Janice Clark

We’re lucky if we like everything that we do. But many of us have to develop a willingness to like many of the activities we’re involved in. Is that unusual? Probably not. Nor does it matter. Acting as if we enjoy a menial task or an unusual pursuit offers us a different perspective on it. Just looking at it through more willing eyes changes not just how we see it, but how we feel about it. Often we discover that we can enjoy that which we dreaded before.

Because we wanted to be liked, and it’s human nature to want that, we often volunteered for committees, for jobs, for assignments of all kinds that we didn’t want to do. There’s no shame in that. But at long last, we can dare to be more selective about what we’ll do.

We are needed. That’s why we’re still alive. And while not everybody likes us, those currently in our circle of acquaintances need us and we need them. The work that is yet to be done relies on all of us. Pitching in begins to feel good when we have the right attitude.

I don’t have to like everything I need to do today, but I’ll feel more open to all the tasks if I remember they need my input.

Source

We’re Needed

 
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Posted by on 2012/05/25 in Uncategorized

 

Gettin’ Nekkid

This isn’t a meditation, it’s an entry from a blog I follow. Holy wow, this is powerful for me.

These are the last words you’ll ever read from me.

Are they really?

I hope not.

However, that’s one of the fears that came into my mind when my heart told me I needed to write this particular article today. In the past, that fear would have been enough to stop me from writing it, and doing an article that was going to be “safer,” or one I would presume/assume you’d like better. Now, it simply can’t stop me, whether I wish it would or not. So, buckle in… this is going to be a longer article than most, but I believe taking the time to read the whole thing will serve you.

It’s time for me – and I’d suggest for ALL of us – to really get naked (not literally, except with a willing partner, of course). This is not a retro throwback to free love I’m advocating. What I’m doing today is I’m getting emotionally, mentally, and Spiritually naked. If it ends up having you not want to read this eZine anymore, that’s a risk I’m willing to take, because I feel and believe it to be so important for all of us – in some way or another – to get naked in the way I’m about to.

First, though, a little background. When I was first coaching back in 1995, the prevailing wisdom was that you never told your clients anything personal about yourself, and you didn’t reveal any of your own neurosis (at least not blatantly), because you needed to be an expert and authority on whatever you were coaching about and give the impression that you had your s**t together. After all, who would want to get coached by someone who didn’t have aforementioned guano together? Yet, over time, I’ve come to realize two things: 1) most people are dramatically suffering because of thinking and believing that in their daily lives, no matter what they do for a living; and 2) doing that “looking good and together” thing is one of the things causing so much physical, emotional, Spiritual, and environmental damage.

So, if I’m really an authority or expert on how to live and have an authentic, rich, and Spiritually led/driven relationship and life…I better not have all my s**t together, because having that kind of life means having a relationship with your baggage and wounds that takes it all out of the closet and acknowledges that they’re a part of you worth loving, honoring, and appreciating (while not letting them run your life). They’re not parts of you to kill off. And…I better be willing to be totally real and authentic, or I’m a friggin’ hypocrite. So, it’s time to come clean.

If you’re a regular reader, then you’ve seen me write in the past about some of the intricacies of navigating the terrains of your ego-mind (what I call the grandiose part of our ego that’s committed to controlling our lives, your Spirit (your heart and emotional body, if you don’t like the word Spirit), and whatever you may hold as a Higher Power or Consciousness in your life. For the last several months (most of my life, actually, but I’ve only just recently really seen it clearly), I’ve been living a war. It’s a war that all of you are living, one way or another, whether you realize it or not. One of my mentors calls it “The War Within.” It’s the war between my ego-mind, and all its innumerable distortions, and my heart/Spirit that is the clearest, most pure part of me and everyone else (in my opinion). How do you tell the difference between the two? I’ll get really transparent here about how I do, by sharing what each of mine look like.

My heart and Spirit, from the time I was a little boy, has never been anything but joyous, deep, compassionate, extremely tolerant, very empathetic (and empathic), generous, wise, playful, trusting, deeply rooted in the certainty of just about anything being possible, and love personified. That heart, as a child, sat in the body of a boy born with a cleft palate, and hare lip, who – literally – from the first day of Nursery School (yes, I’m that old) until about mid-way through my sophomore year of high school, was in some way ridiculed, teased, rejected, humiliated, and excluded. That was just at school. That was where I got to get away from a broken home with a clinically depressed, alcoholic mother (if not bi-polar), a biological father who literally abandoned me at age five never to be seen again, and – for a few years – a step-father who was an abusive drunk that terrified me (now 40 years sober and one of the loves of my life). I know I’m far from being the only person with painful, traumatic stories… but, I want you to understand that your versions of this kind of hurt, confusion, betrayal, feeling invisible… you name it… they’ve all had some kind of effect on building the constructs of your ego-mind that war with your heart/Spirit on a daily basis. They’ve all been a part of building the debilitating beliefs that you plague and sabotage you right and left… the ego-mind’s favorite tools, you could say.

As all that horrible and painful stuff was happening to me, I grew to become someone who felt horrified to ever have to speak, period… not just in front of people, but I’d get self-conscious about speaking, at all, with anyone other than my family. I had few friends all the way through high school, I tended to be housebound a lot to take care of my Mom when she couldn’t hack life (which was often), and I had no Dad from 6 to 16 that could help me get what it was about to be a boy (and, someday, a man). My need to act like an adult by age 6, combined with all the loneliness and isolation that I thought at the time was my best protection against pain left me feeling ugly, unwanted, unappealing, and that I couldn’t count on anyone or anything other than myself… period. But, I didn’t want anyone seeing any of that.

I covered all that (the beliefs, the feelings) up by being a fabulously co-dependent and seemingly indispensable caretaker of countless people (mostly in my family, originally); cheerleader for everyone other than myself; workaholic; over-achieving, make-it-all-look-good upper management corporate slave; and over-eating, 275-pound walking dead person with the great family, income, and house with two cars and two dogs. Then – as now, lately – my ego-mind would keep feeding me a steady diet of shame, doubt, fear, constant reminders of “nobody can be trusted,” endless worry about how things were going to turn out (especially financially), and rarely letting love in… from myself and those who loved me that I couldn’t believe really could. When I was drinking that Kool-Aid, I never really felt like ME.

I started healing all that, shifted my career from corporate zombiehood to life coach, then relationship coach… and I found a Spiritual Path that really worked for me. But, here’s the thing I really couldn’t grasp. Unlike a lot of people that I feel go onto some kind of Spiritual Path to try to bypass their pain and wounds into some Nirvanic constant feel-good, my path has actually required me to get that being connected with my Spirit requires me to also not shirk, run from, or deny all my remaining layers of current and old pain, my frailties, my fears… in fact, damn it, it requires me to love all those parts and aspects, along with the true nature of my loving, compassionate heart that I’ve been blessed to help so many others do.

But now, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. There are so many planetary, economic, metaphysical, and socio-cultural shifts happening around the world – at a pace more rapid than I’ve ever seen in my 54 years – and people (including me) are fundamentally scared s**tless, and the fear’s only getting intensified by the very distractive way of coping with it that helps create it in the first place! You may not be admitting it, or maybe even aware of it. But, I’m seeing it all around me in the way that people are struggling to hang on to material things and lifestyles that they don’t even see are keeping them more and more disconnected from themselves, from love, and from their loved ones. Making money has become more important than love. We are deifying our ego-minds, and achievements… not that achievement’s bad… but being deified above heart and Spiritual Alignment… that’ll kill ya.

So, I wanted to come clean that I’m scared too. My ego-mind for the last couple of months (not-so-coincidentally, by the way, right as I made an even more serious commitment to living a life dedicated to bringing love to as many as I can reach) has had me waking up many mornings feeling low-to-enormous levels of anxiety and fear, pre-occupation with trying to control my future (particularly with my business) and being scared to death when it seems I can’t, fearing that people are finally going to realize I don’t know a damn thing (even in the face of years of successfully helping clients get themselves truly back to themselves), and being absolutely convinced that I’m only days away from living under an overpass somewhere, even when I’m nowhere near that.

You see, your ego-mind, and mine, tells bald-faced lies, all rooted in an inaccurate sense of self-insufficiency, that defy what’s actually true (or even could be), and continually strives to keep you feeling out of control and in a sense of constant threat of some kind. That way, you’ll work harder to try to control it all, you’ll DO more, and you’ll deify DO-ing and getting – over BE-ing and allowing your Spirit (and the Divine, if you believe in such a consciousness) to guide and get you through everything – good, bad, and ugly – with flying colors.

I KNOW I’m not alone in all this. How I’ve been “fighting the War” lately, to get back to returning to my connection to who I REALLY am and have always been, has been by: 1) letting go of my attachment to not feeling pain; 2) ceasing hiding this part of myself from those I love and trust (including all of you); 3) finding and constantly doing the Spiritual practices (or for the athiests and agnostics out there, practices that connect you with love) that I KNOW work, but my mind tells me I don’t need to do; 4) getting coached from those who’ve lived this War Within longer than I consciously have; 5) building a personal team of trusted loved ones around me that I can vent to who won’t tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear; and 6) remembering that my (and, I assert, everyone’s) life mission isn’t much about what I do for a living, but how I will live as an Emissary of Love, no matter WHAT I’m doing…and no matter WHAT.

There’s one part in this that speaks resoundingly to me:
being connected with my Spirit requires me to also not shirk, run from, or deny all my remaining layers of current and old pain, my frailties, my fears… in fact, damn it, it requires me to love all those parts and aspects, along with the true nature of my loving, compassionate heart

I’m not sure how to do this, but I feel this needs to be a focus for me. It will eliminate shame.

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Posted by on 2012/05/24 in Uncategorized