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A Coaching Blog: Helping You Help Yourself



December 2009 Coaching Blog 


December 31, 2009 9:11am

Celebration: How do You Want to Feel in 2010?

Well, it is the last day of 2009. Many people are grateful to get here, with the hopes of next year being better than this one. Lets not forget that every challenge, no matter how difficult always has something for you to learn about yourself in the process.

Challenges are the time in which you learn to let go of blame. It does not matter. What matters is putting your focus on what you want, not on what went wrong. There is a brief period where you reflect on what happened for the sole purpose of seeing what you can learn, and then move on.

If, when you look back, you find reasons not to trust or that it reinforces your fears about anything, you have not learned a thing! Learning is growing, not receding or moving backwards. Raising your own self awareness is growing. Not judging others is growing, as is increasing your levels of love and happiness.

As 2010 approaches, celebrate what is good in your life, no matter how small. Practice being appreciative, no matter what your circumstances. The more you focus on your problems, the narrower your perspective, actually keeping you from seeing new opportunities.

Hold you head up, breath in fresh new air and think about what good things you want in your life. Find and keep that feeling of peacefulness in yourself. While you move from day to day in this next year, fill the empty spaces with love and joy. It is a choice that is yours right now.

I challenge you to just smile while you are reading this. Put a big wide smile on your face and then think about how unusual it feels to just smile for no reason. Make it a big toothy grin. It feels funny, doesn't it! Practice smiling and now focus on feeling joy bubble up inside of you. That is how easy it is to feel it. It is always there if you remember to focus on it! Spread this wonderful feeling and remind yourself to feel this throughout the day.

May every day have at least a few moments of choosing to feel this happiness from within you, just because you want to. May this joy spread from person to person and help to lighten and lift up everyone. Make this part of your daily routine and watch how your new year unfolds in this frame of mind. If you are going to bother to feel something, choose what makes you feel good. Start training now!


December 27,2009 10:34am

Self-Determination: Choosing Happiness? Why Not!

We get so caught up in our emotions, what is wrong, what our stressors are, that we forget to be happy. There is this constant pull towards being happy when something will happen in our lives, sometime in the future. I periodically get caught up in that myself. Missing certain aspects of my past that made me feel happier that were "better" or "easier" and thinking about how much happier I will be when xyz happens in the future.

The thing is, it frankly sucks to feel like that. I don't want to wait to be happy. If I follow the "logic" of my mind when it thinks like that, I will be waiting a long, long time! I don't know about the rest of you, but the last 100 times I checked, there seemed to be some challenge or the other in my life, preventing happiness.

Once again a few days ago I had to remind myself of my choices. And yes, happiness is a choice that is entirely independent of what is happening in my life. I have been practicing the last few mornings. I wake up and regardless of where my mind goes and how I feel, I tell myself that I am happy and then choose to feel it.

And you know what, if I put my full intention behind it and attention on it, I can be happy all day long. I remind myself regular throughout the day to choose happy and I choose to feel it over and over. It doesn't seem possible to the "logical" mind, but it can and does happen if you really want it.

I attended a Christmas eve party with friends and I observed how the other girls could just so easily let go and have fun. I was recovering from a cold so I felt a little more reserved than usual. This particular group of girls have an amazing sense of humor that is awe inspiring. As I watched them, I realized just how serious I tend to be and that I needed to be less serious in general.

That thinking is what led me to remembering to choose happy over the last few days. In this process I noticed that I was able to make light of things that would have previously annoyed me. When your focus is on being happy and not being so serious, things lose their importance. Which really is a good thing.

Being happier, I more willingly do the things that are normally "chores". With this perspective I can have fun doing anything. You find the humor in things that you would normally miss. It is like going from night to day. Yet nothing has changed other than my perspective that I am choosing repeatedly throughout the day.

I still have the same stressors and challenges. I am just choosing to not make those feelings determine my experience. Worrying does not solve, accomplish, or get me anything other than more to worry about. I got tired of that and got tired of being tired from it! My energy level has been remarkable high the last few days.

This perspective gives me the sensation of looking forward to those same things that I was resentful of doing. It gives me a sense of adventure, of newness, even while doing the same old things that I have to do over and over again. I highly recommend that you try this.

There is no magic, no special technique, it is actually a very natural state that we have simply forgotten about. Just decide to be happy for a day. Fake it until you make it. You will be surprised how contagious it is for yourself. But you do need to put your heart and soul into it in order to make it happen.

Choose happy. Choose the feeling of happy. Focus only on happy. Be stubborn and insist on it in your own mind. You will be surprised at the results!


December 23, 2009 11:27am

Creation: The Birth of Christmas Within Us

If you were to think about Christmas and its meaning, what can you really get from it that is a bit different, but a lot more meaningful to you personally? If you think about this being the celebration of a birth, what does that really represent? Was this supposed to be a role model for people of that time to live by?

It really feels like there are very few role models for us in this time. There are people who do try to teach the rest of us the best that they can, but teaching is not the same as learning from watching. Too many times we just compare ourselves to those that we think are better than us to find ourselves lacking.

What that teaches us is to feel worse about ourselves. So how do we take the spirit of Christmas and turn it into something that helps us to learn and grow from? Why not start with the thought of giving..and receiving..to yourself.

Once again the world in general promotes the idea of happiness being "out there" somewhere. Even if you devoted your life to giving to others, once you stopped being able to give, for whatever the reason, who are you and what is your value?

As soon as you stop doing, you have to start being with yourself. What if in all that giving to others, you never gave to yourself? True unconditional love for yourself. The banishment of all doubt, fear, worry, and self judgment. That is the ultimate gift that you can give.

This is something that you can't give to anyone else. A person can only feel unconditional love by seeing it in themselves. Yet if every single person on this planet focused on giving fully loving themselves, miracles would happen.

Let this Christmas be the one where you give birth to this idea within you. Nurture it, feed it, let it grow bigger and stronger within you. We can all become role models for each other on how to fully love ourselves, and then share that love with each other. What a gift to give to yourself and to the world.


December 20, 2009 9:22pm

Harmonization: "Within You Without You" - The Beatles

Somebody recently sent me an email with a list of Beatles songs that linked to the lyrics and music together. It was a lot of fun to listen to many of their songs and to hear the evolution of their earlier and later music. There were many songs that I did not know the lyrics to and this was one of them.

This song really drove home how ahead of their time the Beatles were and how little people have learned about themselves since then. All these relationship problems and emotional issues that people have and that are so prevalent can only be dealt with by going within. There is incredible personal power by working on yourself. Happiness lies within you, not anywhere else.

Even though the Beatles sang about these concepts, I really wonder to what degree they actually learned how to incorporate them into their everyday life to the point where they were able to change their old programming of their minds. No matter what, we can't ever stop searching for solutions.

It is in your day to day life where you need to make a difference. Being a hermit is easy, but facing and changing all those old limiting hurtful beliefs is where the work needs to be done. Make it your New Years challenge, to become an even better person than you are now. Our options for growth are unlimited!

We were talking - About the space between us all
And the people - Who hide themselves behind a wall
Of illusion - Never glimpse the truth
Then it's far too late - When they pass away
We were talking - About the love we all could share
When we find it - To try our best to hold it there
With our love, with our love - We could save the world, if they only knew
Try to realize it's all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you
We were talking - About the love that's gone so cold
And the people - Who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know -They can't see
Are you one of them
When you've seen beyond yourself
Then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we're all one
And life flows on within you and without you


December 17, 2009 10:07am

Quotation: I Couldn't Have Put it Better Myself!

"Tiny sea creatures are eaten by little fish, which, in turn, are consumed by bigger fish. On we go, until we get to sharks, and even they have predators. Humans eat them, sometimes. Ah, but who eats us? The answer is, we eat ourselves, from the inside out. We eat ourselves up with worry, fear, shame and tension. In the absence of a real threat to our survival, we create a psychological enemy. Here, at the top of the evolutionary tree, we have a duty to be wise, kind and serene." a quote from cainer.com.

Just like we have to feed our bodies healthy food, we need to feed our minds healthy thoughts as well. They have been fed a steady diet of junk food and many barely edible and very difficult to digest foods, resulting in unhealthy minds.

For some people they get no sustenance at all from their thoughts. For others what they put into their minds is slowly killing them. This is not an over dramatization, it is fact. All you have to do is look at the suicide rates and the number of people that are ill from stress.

There is still a huge societal disconnect about the level of control that a person can be taught to have over their thoughts, how they feel, and how they experience life. This is slowly evolving, but sometimes at a seemingly agonizing pace. Changing how you think should be as high of a priority as food and exercise.

The amount of troubled relationships and affairs is a big warning sign of the dysfunction that is not being addressed, that is just being ignored or treated as character faults. People have learned to ignore their issues instead of getting help to look at why their relationships are deteriorating.

Too many people ignore that there even are any issues and just hope that things will change if they just want it badly enough. But how does repeating the same things over and over change anything at all? Miracles will only happen if you do something different than you have always been doing.

Learn these new, healthy ways of thinking and then apply them in your life. If you don't know how to do this, get help in learning this new language. Then be willing to work hard towards the goal that you want. Change comes though effort.


December 14, 2009 3:32pm

Implementation: Using your Past Experiences to Learn From

A couple of weeks ago there was one day where I was feeling rundown and physically unwell, I noticed very clearly how that affected my sense of safety, especially when we had to go visit some friends overnight that were a 3 hour car ride away. What I really wanted was to get some rest and/or some sleep, but was not able to take care of myself in that way as we had to get ready and go.

While on the road, I noticed that I was feeling increasingly defensive with my husband's comments and even though I could see it happening, I could not stop the full fight or flight from developing. No matter what I said it seemed to aggravate the situation even more and finally I had to withdraw into silence (flight) to avoiding further arguing (fight).

Normally, I can identify when my fight or flight is triggered and talk myself down out of it, letting my subconscious mind know that I am safe and to question any assumptions that my mind is making about the perceived threats that it sees. It works very well..most of the time that is!

As soon as we got to our destination and I was able to talk to our friends, I noticed that I instantly felt safe and was able to get back to a normal response even with husband. I really had to observe what had happened to understand why all my training and knowledge went out the window this time during the drive

While I was in fight or flight, it was the most frustrating experience to have my conscious mind being able to rationally explain what was happening in my thoughts, but as soon as I opened my mouth my subconscious took over and it fought tooth and nail to try to keep me safe from its perceived threats! I even consciously understood my husbands reactions, but it did not matter.

Both my husband and I felt unsafe and we were both mistakenly interpreting each others words as potential threats, making assumptions about the others intentions and then applying meaning that was not there to each others words. Of course it all built up on these initial mistaken assumptions and escalated.

But why did my subconscious mind conclude that I was so unsafe that it just took over like that?! What I determined was that when your physical body has its own set of stressors it feels weakened. When the body feels weakened, the mind starts acting like an overprotective mother in trying to keep the body safe to the point where you lose control.

The subconscious mind was just over stimulated by my physical tiredness and what was probably a weakened immune system. This is the strength of the subconscious mind in all of us. I was reminded of this again this morning when I woke up after a physically challenging weekend. I could feel that tiredness again.

I could feel my own subconscious mind wanting to be overprotective again, so I took the steps to ensure that I took care of myself. RI rest my mind and body when and where I can in between work. I do this by eating well, drinking a lot of water, taking many small little breaks where I get up and move around, and closing my eyes and breathing deeply for a few minutes to relax my body.

I have to work extra hard at helping my mind stay calm and safe and protected today. I will try to get a good nights rest so that my body recovers from being so challenged. I think we tend to underestimate how these physical and physiological factors affect our minds and ability to process information.

So the next time you feel very tired, sick, or physically exerted in any way, understand that your minds number one priority is to keep you safe. It will be on hyper-alert, so to avoid being easily triggered into fight or flight prepare yourself and do what you need to do to take care of you.

Overall you will become even stronger in both body and mind. And you take one step closer to ever deeper levels of peace of mind, the kind that you can only get by understanding yourself better.


December11, 2009 9:57am

Quotation: Attitude and Perception is Your Choice

When the boy David faced the giant Goliath, he could have said,

"He's too big! I can't go up against him!"

Instead he said, "He's too big to miss!"

Our attitude toward the giants we confront in life makes all the difference in whether or not we can conquer them. Think about your biggest problem or concern.

~ Mary Manin Morrissey ~


December 8, 2009 1:27pm

Cinematization: Food, Inc.

Intellectually I knew about a number of the issues and concerns brought up in this film. But I was not prepared for how all that information was put together in such a well crafted package, along with the intense visuals. Being a strong supporter of the belief that what we eat directly contributes to how we feel, I just can't ignore this.

What food companies are now calling food is truly frightening. The oligopoly (what a great word!) of only a few companies of our food production should be raising big red flags for us. Their goal is not our health, but their pocket books.

It is difficult to contemplate who is in bed with who, and how our food choices are manipulated very much like stocks, the financial institutions, and the government! So many people literally and figuratively are eating what somebody else is choosing to feed them without questioning it. What is in your best interest is barely being addressed AT ALL.

We all have to make our own informed choices as individuals, not as sheep blindly agreeing to and believing in what we are being told is good for us. The reason why it must be an individual choice is because everyone needs to be able to make the choices that are right for them, whatever point they are at right now.

One of the most compelling moments in the movie was when the point was made about why some parents feed their children primarily fast food or processed foods. When parents who work from 6am to 9pm can feed a family of four quickly and for somewhere around $5 at McDonald's, cheaper and faster than it is to buy fresh food at a supermarket, the harsh reality sets in.

A head of broccoli is more expensive than a burger. Two pears are a luxury item. Fast food and processed foods are subsidized by the government to make them more "affordable" for the consumer. This is just what we are being told so that these companies can maximize their profits. But at what cost to our health and well being?

I had started to get more complacent with our own food purchases. It is just so convenient to have fast, easy meals in the house at times. I love the idea of taking advantage of all those great sales that the grocery stores offer. But if I am to be accountable to myself and practice what I preach, I have to change.

It is through our choices of what we buy that casts our votes as consumers for what is produced by these mega corporations. Yes, organic, hormone and chemical free foods are more expensive. Yes, it take more work to buy local, in season fruits, vegetables, and meats.

The reality is that I can change my priorities and increase my budget for these items. There are many things that I can give up, that simply are not as important as maintaining my health. I have to do what I can, where I can.

I will not let this movie scare me; I don't believe in fear. What I do believe in is the power of my choices. I cannot change somebody else and I can no longer ignore or make excuses for what I do have power over.

If you have not yet seen this movie, this is one of the few times that I urgently insist that you see it as soon as you can. Your well being really might depend on it.


December 5, 2009 6:29pm

Revelation: A World Without Anger

In Yahoo News yesterday I read the following excerpt from an article titled: "Study Reveals the Angriest Americans." taken from LiveScience.com and written by Andrea Thompson.

"Anger is more likely among the young, those with children at home, and the less educated, a new study finds. A national survey of 1,800 Americans aged 18 and older questioned participants on how and when they feel angry in order to build "a broader social portrait of anger in the United States," said study researcher Scott Schieman, now at the University of Toronto.

These angry emotions range from mild annoyance to yelling and feelings of outrage. While anger is a normal human emotion, it could be detrimental if you hold on to it too long. And those who express their anger might actually live longer than those who keep it bottled in, one study found.."

What caught my eye was the comment that anger is a normal human emotion. It instantly triggered a series of thoughts and deeper contemplation because my first reaction was to disagree with it. As I thought about why I disagreed and on what basis, I changed my position to a slightly different viewpoint.

Humans have evolved with anger as a natural part of their existence. It is also currently taught and being promoted as being something that cannot be avoided, but it can be mitigated, controlled, safely vented, or managed.

That is what I disagree with. I think that as part of the human evolution that we can learn how to change our perception of events to the point where we no longer need to get angry; that it ultimately can become a choice and that we choose not to get angry.

I believe that anger being natural is such a strongly and widely held viewpoint that few people have thought to question it. The few individuals who have pursued an evolution of their own minds to change themselves have succeeded in training their minds to perceive situations differently enough so that anger is no longer a part of their subconscious response.

I only have to go as far as looking at my own growth and evolution to understand that this is possible for the human mind. My mind is not exceptional or vastly different than anyone else's, I have simply trained it to perceive things differently and as a result be able to make different choices.

Do I still get angry? Yes. But very rarely and when I do, I understand that I have just discovered another part of my brain where I still hold beliefs that I am somehow threatened or feel unsafe emotionally. I understand that anger is just a defensive mechanism that is based on the mistaken assumption that I am unsafe.

The more I work on my subconscious mind to help it learn how to feel safe, the less and less that it reacts and the more it chooses clarity and awareness and vastly different responses when faced with situations that would have previously triggered anger and hurt.

If you are a first time reader I encourage you to read more of the material on my website to understand what I am talking about on a deeper level. The power of choice that is available to all human beings is mind boggling. My mission is to teach this to whomever is willing to listen and learn.

Total peace of mind is an achievable goal for each one of you in this lifetime.

"When you change the way you look at things – the things you look at change" Dr. Wayne Dyer


December 2, 2009 11:51am

Harmonization: A Symphony of Science "We Are All Connected"

Every once in a while I get a great video sent to me by email and this is one of them. Watch this full screen to get the best impact, even if the image quality is not as good. I love the uniqueness of how John Boswell has turned the audio of people speaking into a song, "designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form."

When I watch this I think to myself, there are so many different ways for people to express their creativity. Even if you just do it for yourself there is great satisfaction in the expression alone. Honoring the uniqueness of who you are and what is important to you brings so much happiness, value, and satisfaction.

It is worth all the hard work to remove all of our fears and judgments one at a time to allow that expression to come out. It is there in each and every one of us. Everyone has their own set of abilities and talents. Yet these gifts are dormant in so many of us.

I can promise you that as you set yourself free from all those old limitations and beliefs, you will not be able to hold yourself back!


12 05 09
Jessica from Nebraska
Monday, December 07, 2009
06:59:32 PM

I literally got desperate and typed in online coaching. I am rageful inside on a daily basis. If you ever met me in person I look very professional and many people ask me if I would ever 'model'. I work a $10 an hr job, and get asked to wear nylons to work, AND scrub bathtubs prior to apartments getting sold. This is just a job irony to me. The anger and rage in me stirs from the ideals established long ago. When I was 17 years old. I expected to become a 6 figure income woman, with a degree in international business, and to get to look beautiful and fashionable every day, doing it. The $10 an hour job is a huge slap in my face that my dreams and ideals have hugely failed. It sucks and it's killing me. I can't even entertain a relationship right now where the guy acts like a serene, happy go lucky, play in the snow kind of guy. I am suffering deeply inside. Jessica from Nebraska

Ewa
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
06:59:32 PM

Hi Jessica, it is sad to see how a person's life can become so unbalanced when the beliefs that they believed in and relied on turn out to be different than what they were told. Your current experience is temporary. Anger and rage are learned behaviors and can be unlearned with a lot of work. What you define as failure is really an opportunity for you to learn and grow from so that you can keep pursuing your dreams and evolving them. Read my Ezines and other material I have on my website an then practice the suggestions and use the tools. You will surprise even yourself at the changes you can make.


12 05 09
Jessica from Nebraska
Monday, December 07, 2009
06:59:32 PM

I literally got desperate and typed in online coaching. I am rageful inside on a daily basis. If you ever met me in person I look very professional and many people ask me if I would ever 'model'. I work a $10 an hr job, and get asked to wear nylons to work, AND scrub bathtubs prior to apartments getting sold. This is just a job irony to me. The anger and rage in me stirs from the ideals established long ago. When I was 17 years old. I expected to become a 6 figure income woman, with a degree in international business, and to get to look beautiful and fashionable every day, doing it. The $10 an hour job is a huge slap in my face that my dreams and ideals have hugely failed. It sucks and it's killing me. I can't even entertain a relationship right now where the guy acts like a serene, happy go lucky, play in the snow kind of guy. I am suffering deeply inside. Jessica from Nebraska

Ewa
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
06:59:32 PM

Hi Jessica, it is sad to see how a person's life can become so unbalanced when the beliefs that they believed in and relied on turn out to be different than what they were told. Your current experience is temporary. Anger and rage are learned behaviors and can be unlearned with a lot of work. What you define as failure is really an opportunity for you to learn and grow from so that you can keep pursuing your dreams and evolving them. Read my Ezines and other material I have on my website an then practice the suggestions and use the tools. You will surprise even yourself at the changes you can make.

12 08 09
Jessica
Thursday, December 10, 2009
07:30:40 PM

Thank you for your reply. 2 days later I have missed 2 days of work and by some miracle will not lose my job come Monday. The anger has been my primary emotion for a year now, at least. My car died today after 8" of NE snow. Just 'triggers' for me. I hope a week from now I can say I'm alive, trying, and not jobless and carless. The self sabotage thing is very scary to me at this point too. I will read your resources. thank you



November 2009 Coaching Blog 


November 29, 2009 8:13am

Imagination: Swami Beyondananda for Some Good Laughs!

His bio reads: Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist, and workshop leader. For the past 18 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the “Cosmic Comic.” Swami’s comedy has been called “irreverently uplifting” and has been described both as “comedy disguised as wisdom” and “wisdom disguised as comedy".

As the Swami, Steve is the author of four books, Driving Your Own Karma, When You See a Sacred Cow, Milk It For All It’s Worth, Duck Soup for the Soul, and his latest, Swami for Precedent: A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction.

I am writing about Steve because I will get the chance to go see him perform next month and am very much looking forward to it. How nice to get an opportunity to have some good laughs in a manner that I love, combining laughter with spirituality and just plain having fun with any topic.

It is so important for all of us to remember to have fun and laugh, to go out of our way to experience this form of healing. Laughter helps to destress the body and mind leaving your muscles relaxed for up to an hour afterwards.

It boosts your immune system, helping to rid the body of stress hormones. It releases endorphins for a better sense of well being and temporarily relieves pain. It even improves blood vessel function and increases blood flow to the heart.

And of course when you are laughing, you stop thinking, so it gives you a break from your mind. When you are listening and or watching something funny it helps you to stay focused in the moment.

Just looking at his website and the unique and refreshingly humorous approach to everything, I am already laughing. I encourage you all to have a look at his website: www.wakeuplaughing.com. It should put a smile on your face.

Then go find other sources for laughter and make it part of your daily ritual. Find something, anything to make you laugh for at least a few minutes every day. When you think about and make choices on how you want to exercise, what healthy foods to eat, and now laughter..what will make you laugh today!


November 26, 2009 12:15pm

Appreciation: Happy Thanksgiving to Me and You!

I really do like bucking the trend. Today is the day where we are supposed to focus on giving thanks for so many blessings in our lives. But have you ever noticed how we are all reminded to be thankful and appreciate what we have. That's all very nice and all, but then how are people supposed to feel when they don't have those things anymore?

If you have recently lost your home, job, financial support, a loved one, etc., it is particularly difficult to be grateful and appreciative. Yes, we can still acknowledge what is good in our lives, but lets think differently about where we place our focus. Lets use today to look inside ourselves.

When you teach yourself to be grateful for yourself, the external gratitude falls into place. If you do not love and appreciate yourself all the other stuff does not matter. You can be grateful until you are blue in the face, but unless you have a loving place inside of you to come home to, that gratitude can easily fade away.

So many people are without that ability to see the delicious goodness in themselves. There is so much self hatred and even more self judgment. Yet life gives us a continuous parade of experiences to give us opportunities to break these habits, because that is all they really are.

Somebody has taught you somewhere down the line what to think of yourself. Use today to question the validity of what you think is true. Unless you were taught to fully love and appreciate yourself, then what you were told, what you learned about yourself IS NOT TRUE!

You have incredible value that you have never learned about or have been taught to cover up with these untruths. Regardless of your age it is never too late to rip off these horrible beliefs about yourself. There is such freedom and joy in changing your internal beliefs. But you have to make that choice, no-one can do it for you.

Today, on Thanksgiving day, lets put our heads together and be thankful for the endless opportunities to learn and grow. Every experience that you have can teach you something about yourself. There are good things in there, but if you don't know how to look for them yet, the help is here to teach you how.

I am grateful for my own life experiences that have led me to be able to help you. I am grateful for every ounce of pain that I went through because my path has led me to right here. I am grateful that I have enough love and confidence in myself to honor my uniqueness and bare my soul if I think it can help even just one person.

I am grateful that I have been able to turn my life around and I want to teach anyone who wants to know how to do this in their own lives. I am grateful for you and your continued support in what I do.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!


November 23, 2009 5:09pm

Quotation: When an Important Message is Confirmed

Given my earlier postings this month about my endless list of things to do, I thought that my Sunday astrological forecast from my favorite site cainer.com was too much fun not to share:

"You have a long list of things to organize, sort out and be responsible for. You will make pleasing progress, provided you follow what you feel truly inclined to do rather than paying more attention to some notion about what you 'ought' to be doing. 'Ought to?' Ought to according to whom? A sense of inspiration is a fine thing. Not so, a sense of guilt or obligation. Duty done in a spirit of willing enthusiasm is always constructive. But if it is done for the wrong reason, how can it ever have the right result? Be spontaneous, relaxed and willing to 'play' with all that now seems so serious. You've far less reason to worry than you think."

This flows together so nicely with the messages I keep giving about how important it is to stop creating stress for ourselves. But we can only do that if we first becomes of aware of how this happens and is being played out in our own lives.

We keep being told and the idea keeps being reinforced that the source of our stress is out there somewhere. But the only thing that that accomplishes is to keep us victimized. Stress is an internal result of an outward perception.

For so many people these days life is crazy and it doesn't appear to be getting any easier or slowing down anytime soon. There are just too many things outside of our control. Feeling stressed is in your control. You can choose to not feel stressed! But you have to learn how to do this.

In a world that promotes and supports the belief in stress, it can feel like you are swimming against a strong current. But as soon as you give up fighting and go with the current you realize that the current ends up taking you to where you were fighting to get to in the first place! It is one of those strange paradoxes.

But it is understandable that by not being stressed and exhausted you can make better choices, you work more efficiently, you make and take the time to rest, and recharge your batteries. You are in a better position to notice and take advantage of obscure opportunities. You have more fun and life becomes more enjoyable even with all its challenges!

This really is about your self value and taking care of yourself. It is about loving yourself enough that you make some radically different choices than the next person. Mr. Cainer is right, when you think about most of your beliefs, they are true according to whom? What nonsense that we still do as we are told to do at our ages, however old you happen to be.

Time to question all those nonsensical and harmful beliefs! Stressed? No way! Choose clever, creative, resourceful, dynamic, and any other word that you can think of. Let chaos fall around you while you remain at peace within yourself in this crazy world! It can be done and I challenge you to try it!


November 20, 2009 2:57pm

Gratification: And Why Can't I Have "That"?

Sometimes events just don't make any sense until they fully play themselves out. We moved in January and a few months afterwards I realized that I couldn't find my passport. I was sure that I had given my husband the responsibility of putting it in a safe place before the move. Absolutely positive about that one.

Well, we could not find it anywhere, despite turning the house inside out at least three times. No problem, just a small inconvenience to apply for a new one. Okay, maybe more than small, a bit fussy even, but it was still a solution. I just needed to find the various documentation to file with the application.

Well, could you see this one coming? Despite turning the house inside out another three times, we couldn't find the other paperwork supporting that I was who I was. Boy was I even more sure than ever now that my better half did not live up to his duties. And look at the inconvenience and stress this was now causing me!

As I contemplated what I needed to do to replace the now most basic paperwork, I have to admit to just ignoring it for the next few months even with the regular prodding of my husband that I would eventually need to deal with this. I would just agree and not do anything other think about it for all of a minute.

I am usually a master at finding anything. I can generally easily find what is "lost". I consider it a game even. My success rate is typically very, very high. But this one stumped me. But I just knew deep in my gut that this all was somewhere in the house. It was such a strong feeling that it was not lost or stolen and that it really did not need to get replaced. I also knew that I had to let go of my obsession with blaming my husband and for trying to think it through logically.

There is a parallel story happening in the meantime. For almost a decade I used to have long beautiful nails. You know the ones where other women look at them, usually with narrowed eyes, asking "your nails are beautiful..are they yours?" To which the answer generally was: "of course they are mine, I paid for them"!

After a while of paying for them, I decided that I could do them myself, especially since I was traveling a lot at that time. So I bought all the materials I needed. After a few times I actually got quite good at it, even if it did take me 3 hours. I loved the results and the ability to have them done regardless of where I was!

Eventually I had to stop, since I was doing so many physically active things that stressed the nails that they became a problem, even to the point of damaging the natural nail. The nail kit got tucked away into a dark corner many years ago.

Fast forward not to the present moment, but shortly after our move in January. All that packing and getting rid of years of accumulated stuff had done a number on my natural nails. They were just so short and not very attractive. I really missed having my long, lovely nails! But I would not risk hurting myself again. Plus I just didn't have a spare 3 hours to spend on them every 3 weeks.

Besides, my nails would grow long in the warmth and sunshine we had moved to..right? Wrong! As months went by, if anything, my nails were getting nicked and scratched and I had to keep filing them so short it was figuratively painful to see. Wanting to do my nails again started to become a strong itch.

But I kept telling myself, Ewa, do you remember the problems you had before? Remember having your nails catching and get ripped back? The gel lifting from the nails and popping off? The nail bed itself separating from the skin with the constant moisture? If you do your nails again that is what you will end up with.

Fast forward again to a week ago. My nails were progressively getting even shorter, which at this point was becoming literally painful because even though they were so short that there was no white at the tips, I was still getting nicks and gouges that I could only file down past the growing nail bed, which hurt like heck. But if I didn't file them they would catch on things and hurt like heck.

I finally reached the end of my rope. Problems with fake nails be damned! I couldn't live with nails shorter than my nail beds! Between the pain and seeing other girlfriends with their long beautiful nails it was just too much. I was going to throw caution to the wind and do my nails again. I didn't even know if my nail products would still even be usable they were so old.

Well, there is a reason why I have been going on and on about a seemingly unimportant, even frivolous aspect of my life. Because this is really a lesson about when you really focus on what you want, without fear, doubts, or judgment, you are given opportunities to get what you want, usually in an unexpected form. But only if you do not judge the direction in which you are being guided.

You see, I had a lot of judgments and fears about doing my nails again, including it appearing vain. I should feel valued and beautiful without them, they would be a health risk, I will have problems again, etc. All fear based assumptions that stopped me from having what I actually loved..long nails and the ultra feminine look that comes with them.

It was as if the universe gave up guiding (because of my judgments I wouldn't do it and stopped listening) and conspired to push, push harder, really strongly push me, and then get to a point where it finally had to create pain for me to push me into choosing to do my nails again. So are you (still) thinking "so what, what are you telling us this for..?"

I am telling you this story because when I finally took out the materials to do my nails, lo and behold, at the very bottom of the pretty deep blue bag with white flowers scattered on it, was not only my passport, but all the missing supporting documents. I was dumbfounded!

It all came flooding back. We had already packed up the important papers deeply into the moving truck. I didn't want to carry everything on me as we traveled so I had sought out and thought of a brilliant hiding spot, where no-one would ever find them. And I mean no-one, obviously not even me! It was brilliant! Mmm hmm, be careful what you wish for!

Many lessons learned here. Had I done what I really wanted to do, my nails that is, I would have found my passport right around the time I had first started to look for it. Instead I allowed myself to believe in all the fears from my past about doing my nails. In fact, I had decided that I would have the same experience as before.

Do you realize how often you make a choice because your subconscious mind has decided what your experience will be in advance? We define our current moment based on our past experiences far more than we realize, usually to our detriment.

I thought about the many fears and judgments as I sat and did my nails for the first time in about 5 years. I openly questioned each fear and assumption that my mind had about why I shouldn't do it and addressed every concern with new and realistic information along with different action. That included putting the nails on slightly differently, slowing down and being more careful using my hands, wearing gloves when cleaning etc. I'm okay with that added effort. More awareness really.

So look in your own life to see where you have convinced yourself that you should not do something or that you can't do something and really question the validity of your arguments. If you want something, you can just as easily think of a dozen reasons why you should and can do it as you can think of why not.

Listen to those whispers in your ear and in your heart. Listen, before they turn into a loud voice, a yelling voice, a slap in the head and then the proverbial 2 by 4 to get you to listen! The voices in your head are the ones who are suspect and not the voices of reason like they claim.

By the way..my nails look great and I couldn't be happier! They took only 2 hours to do with the added bonus of not having to replace my passport! What a gift!

..and of course their mine!


November 17, 2009 11:21am

Capitulation: Letting Go of Yet Another Form of Control

It seems that the recurring theme for me is learning how to better manage the overwhelming feelings of what needs to get done in my life. I have had to let go of the stress and open up to creative solution finding. This means I had to let go of some old beliefs, no matter how great I thought they were.

Case in point is my monthly Ezine. Some months I just don't seem to be able to find the time to write it. I myself made this a monthly goal and it seemed a great idea when I did. Easy even. Until life kept getting in the way that is!

I am sure that there are very many people who know what I am talking about. We all have the best laid plans and intentions. We start out all gung ho and then slowly the obstacles start to appear along the road we have chosen.

These obstacles take on the form of lack of time, money, energy, or focus, stress, too much to do, too many pressures, etc. Instead of fighting a losing battle and falling further and further behind, sometimes we just need to change our strategy.

With my monthly Ezine I came to the realization that there just will be some months where I will not publish it. This suddenly stops the daily obsession over finding time to do it. Instead, it falls back into a balance of being something that is supposed to be enjoyable for me, a creative process, a process of sharing.

If I hadn't changed my priorities and beliefs about how the Ezine should take shape, then I would have started to become resentful of the time it took to create it. Each one of us has to be very careful when it comes to our perspective on what we think we need to do.

We have to remember that life is supposed to be enjoyable, that even the day to day mundane things that we do can still contribute to making us feel good. It depends on how you look at things. You have to find your own creative ways to take the pressure off of yourself. No one else is putting that pressure on you.

It is your beliefs that create the pressure, so examine them and you will be surprised at the solutions that you can come up with. I will still get a wonderful Ezine out and I will enjoy the process, whether it takes me one two or three months. I have to make the choice to stop creating undue stress for myself.

Look in your own life to see where you have created a standard that can be altered, even the ones that you previously believed could not be changed. What meaning does it have for you and what judgment do you have on yourself if you do not meet that standard or goal? Change the judgment and meaning first to release the pressure that you have been putting on yourself.

Then make a different choice, changing how you are doing something, the time frame, the expectation, the form that you had been expecting..allow your creative side to help find new solutions for you.

All my Ezines used to have the date on them and seeing the dates or gaps in the dates acted as a reminder of my not meeting the monthly goal. I recently removed the dates because I realized that they had a relevance and meaning that just was not important. However many Ezines I can create in a year is how many I will create.

Now it's your turn to look at the things that are creating pressure for you and then finding ways to change the meaning and importance of them. We are all doing the best that we can given the tools that we have to work with and with the challenges that each of us have. Make life easier on yourself.


November 14, 2009 11:58am

Justification: How Past Pain and Hurt Appear to be Real

If a person experiences pain from their past, how can that happen when the event that caused the pain is long gone? It just does not add up when you think about it logically. It's the equivalent of breaking a bone and years or decades later saying that you still feel the same pain now as you did when it was broken!

It is impossible to have the same pain now as when an event occurred. So why do so many people still feel so deeply emotionally hurt about their pasts? What happens in a persons brain where there is this illogical connection? To that person the pain is very, very real. These words could even likely offend them.

A person who feels deep pain from their past is convinced without a doubt that their pain is real. It is very real to them. Some would fight to their death to defend that belief. But realistically, the event that caused the pain is long gone in most situations. But the pain mysteriously remains.

To look at it logically, the brain is very much like a computer. The information that it was fed (that a person experienced) is imprinted in the pathways of the brain, especially traumatic events. Every time a person refers to that memory, all the emotions that occurred at that time are still there with it.

The subconscious mind does not distinguish between the past and the present moment. It only provides you with the information or "data files" that are currently there. It pulls up the memory for you and plops it into your conscious mind. It does not know that the memory is not really happening in the moment.

This is why people can feel the same way they did about an event, whether it was 1 minute ago or 50 years ago! The brain needs to be fed new data and given a new file to understand that the past is the past and is no longer relevant in the current moment. But that is just the start because it is a little more complicated than that.

If a person is used to feeling pain from the past, they have not thought to question whether or not the hurt is valid anymore. It's just a part of them that they assume is normal to feel. No one has taught them otherwise. Many people do not even know that they have an option to not feel hurt. To contemplate not feeling this can actually bring up much fear, because then who are they without that pain?

Questioning pain from the past can bring up existential angst. If the pain isn't real, then all the beliefs that supported the pain and feeling hurt are now threatened to be exposed as invalid. That can be terrifying. In fact that fear can cause a person to hang on even more tightly to their beliefs than before.

Those first few steps can be very precarious. Is a person really ready to examine and redefine life as they understand it? There is a huge unknown looming in front of them. What if that unknown has the potential to bring even more hurt than what they have already experienced? That is enough to stop some people from ever changing. Sheer terror and fear of more pain, whether it is there or not.

Yet, if a person takes even the smallest step towards examining the incredible capacity of the mind and to clearly understand how it works, then that power can be harnessed not to remind them of the hurt form their past, but to experience life radically differently, without any pain at all. Ever.

From one extreme to the other. It's your choice.


November 11, 2009 10:24pm

Foundation: Rediscovering My Own Balance in Life

It seems like instead of being able to cross things off my endless to do list, that more and more things get added to it instead. I have gone through various stages of trying to deal with this giant list and the inevitable pressures that come with it. All the various strategies that I have tried haven't seemed to work very well!

I have tried putting more time into work and less into play; I've tried prioritizing, reprioritizing, unprioritizing(!), delegating, crossing things off, working harder, faster, stronger...and my list still grows ever longer. I have not tried running away, but it is oh so very tempting to contemplate it!

Finally, after all these unsuccessful strategies, I am trying giving up. Not in a defeatist way, but the giving up that comes with understanding that I can't control everything and make it work the way I think it should. I need balance in my life. I need to be able to play, to take time off and just do nothing once in a while, to spend time with the people that are important to me, to spend down time with me.

Some things (many things) will just have to wait and get pushed down the list. Understanding that the list will always be there and that there will always be many things on it helps. Thinking that it will ever get fully completed is just not realistic.

Sometimes my blog will have to wait, the house will not get cleaned as often, meals will be simpler, time spent doing various things will be shorter..I will do what I need to do to maintain balance. What is most important is that I take care of myself. If I am not happy, my list will torture me. I am not okay with that.

Nothing is so important that I choose to be anything other than balanced and happy. It really is a choice and sometimes I have to remind myself to choose it over and over. I have become even more vocal about what I need and want, I say no more often, I ask for help even when I don't think I need it. And it is all okay.

Living with even the smallest amount of stress is not acceptable to me. There is no need for it. Think of a warrior, with his body in a state of relaxed preparedness. That is what I want to achieve. If I feel stress in my body I work hard to first redefine it in my mind while using deep relaxed breathing to settle my body.

Stress robs me of the energy I need. Stress just creates more stress, as if it needs it to feed on. Being relaxed and ready keeps me fluid and far more able to adapt to the inevitable challenges. Like writing this blog late at night instead of adding it to the to do list in the morning!

The bottom line is that I will use my intuition more and more to guide me to make the choices that will lead me to an ever deeper peace of mind. My personal challenge of my magically never ending to do list has become another incredible opportunity to learn and grow. I am grateful for it!


November 8, 2009 8:36pm

Imagination: A Mind Without Fear..

One day an old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old dog thinks 'Oh, oh! I'm in deep trouble now!' Noticing some bones on the ground, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap the old dog exclaims loudly, 'Boy that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?'

Hearing this the young panther halts his attack mid-strike; a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 'Whew!' says the panther, 'That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!'

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes, but the old German Shepherd sees him heading after the panther with great speed and figures that something must be up.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal with the panther. The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, 'Hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks 'What am I going to do now?', but instead of running the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them yet and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says.. 'Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!

My moral of the story: Don't let fear let you get eaten alive! If you let it, creativity will always allow you to find a solution, no matter how odd, bizarre or threatening your challenge appears to be!


November 5, 2009 6:48pm

Cinematization: "My Kid Could Paint That"

In this film, there was a big nugget of gold deeply buried towards the end:

"Henri Cartier-Bresson, the photographer used to say that photographing people was appalling, that it was some sort of violation of them, it was even barbaric he said. Because you were essentially stealing something from them, you were imposing something on them. He sensed the inherent unfairness of this transaction.

All writers, all storytellers are imposing their own narrative on something. I mean all art is in some ways a lie. It looks like a picture of something, but it isn’t that thing, it is a representation of that thing. Your documentary is on some level going to be a lie. Its your construction of things. I’ll say that right now if you like, its true.

I mean your documentary is itself going to be a lie. It’s a construction of things. its how you wish to represent the truth and how you decided to tell a particular story. By that I don’t mean that certain things don’t happen, of course they do, its not that there is no such thing as truth. But we come to like and trust a certain story. Not necessarily because it is the most absolutely truthful, but because its the thing that we tell ourselves that makes sense of the world, at least at this moment."

When I heard this I immediately loved the message because it applies to all of us in our daily lives. We all tell stories based on how we wish to represent the truth to try to make sense of the world based on how we currently understand it. Without realizing it, in the innocence of trying to paint this picture that make sense to us, we are unaware that we lie.

We lie in the sense that we give our personal representation of our experience and see it as THE truth, even if it includes how we perceive others. We innocently but wrongly believe that our perceptions are true for everyone else as well and frequently get upset when this is questioned or challenged.

We all do the best that we can, which changes sometimes even from moment to moment, depending on the different factors that are involved. We all need to learn that what and how we think and believe does not apply to anyone else but ourselves, not even to children. Even they are having their own individual unique experience of life, different than yours.

It is only by asking each other what that experience is, by not making assumptions about other people that we can understand the truth for others, but more importantly for ourselves. When we stop focusing on others, we are put in a position where we have to focus on ourselves..there is nowhere else to hide.

In this process, in this one and only way, can we work at removing fear out of our lives, removing the judgment that we have on ourselves, that limits us from the real truth, the freedom of experiencing life to its fullness. Deconstruct yourself and allow yourself to have a different experience.


November 3, 2009 10:07am

Liberation: A New Language of Communication

So many relationships are in crisis. Yet most people wait until it is too late or almost too late to try to solve their problems. They keep thinking that somehow, by some miracle, that things will just change. They keep performing the same behaviors, saying the same things, experiencing the same hurts over and over.

A relationship is a living entity; it will always be moving in one direction or another. It is impossible to have a stagnant relationship since it must grow, so it will grow stronger or it grows weaker. What makes it grow weaker is fear, misunderstanding, and blame. What makes it grow stronger is self awareness and removal of fear and judgment

What we don't understand we fear; what we fear we judge. This in turn creates more misunderstanding. The bottom line is that if you are having issues in any type of relationship, it is because you are not really understanding the other person. You are assuming that you do, but if there is any problem: you don't.

It is very simple, cut and dry. These misunderstandings and assumptions that I regularly refer to contribute to there even being a problem. There are no problems if you correctly understand a situation. If you think that it is the other person that is the problem, that just means that you have made a mistaken assumption.

If you perceive a problem you have already entered into a mild form of fight or flight. From that point, your body and mind have geared up into protective mode. You cannot see things clearly from this space unless you put extreme effort into breaking through the hormones flooding your body. The adrenaline and other stress hormones create a strong filter on your capacity to understand. These hormones create tunnel vision, tunnel hearing, tunnel understanding

I can imagine some people already disagreeing with my words, standing ready with piles of "evidence" to the contrary, "proving" the problems they have in their various relationships. But that "evidence' is only from the tunnel. You are so sure about being right about your experience that you don't even know that you live in this tunnel. How would you know that there is more than what you think you know and what you have been taught to perceive if you have never experienced it?

What a catch-22! The mind is so strong and so powerful, that it is such a shame that it is allowed to rule your world. It is actually an amazing tool when you control it and it stops controlling you. A simple test for which is which is this:

Answer the following questions:

  1. Do I get easily angry (either letting it out or shoving it down)?

  2. Are other people to blame for how I feel?

  3. Am I unhappy?

  4. If only other people changed then would I feel better?

  5. Do other people irritate me?

  6. Do I ever think that other people are wrong and I am right?

A yes to any one of these questions is a red flag that your mind is in control of you. Because when you are in control of your mind, you do not experience any of the above. Now these are random questions that I have made up, but I think that you get the point. Any emotional reaction is your mind controlling you.

Going back to the discussion on relationships, you have far more choices than you could ever imagine. Can you imagine learning to speak a foreign language at this point in your life? Does that feel like a daunting task to you? But what if it ultimately gave you unlimited happiness? What if it ultimately gave you warm and loving relationships? What if it ultimately made life easy for you? Would you bother to learn it then?

Then make that choice. Learn a new language of communication. Get out of the rut of not doing it because you can't imagine yourself speaking it or because you really don't know if it really exists. Life can be vastly different by being willing to learn something entirely different than what you know now. Let your quest for knowledge wake up. You real self is waiting for you.


Health Insurance Guy
Thursday, November 12, 2009
03:43:10 AM

Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. Sometimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information. Nice post. Thanks

Ewa
Saturday, November 13, 2009
03:15 PM

Hi HIG..thank you.


love is suicide
Monday, November 16, 2009
09:42:35 AM

i am the child of two drug addicted parents and emotionally i am torn and i need help from a therapist. i need to talk about how i feel, i need answers about many many things. can you help plz?

it is wrong tht i have to be a mother figure to me two lil sisters. while they went looking for the next high. its wrong tht they sold our food stamps for money to aford the next high, and stealing to sell another pill. also stealing to make dope and cook meth, and not to mention carrying me out to go get them a joint. how does a sixteen yeae old who has only known tht for as long as she can remember recover and get her life straight. because of them i am 10 percent more likley to be addicted to drugs. and yes i have cut myself and had many suicidle thoughts but i am stronger than tht, i have to be strong for my sisters.

Ewa
Monday, November 16, 2009
03:35 PM

Hi lis, if you are having suicidal thoughts, please go to this website: http://suicidal.com. They have a lot of great information that will help you sort out your feelings. You can also choose from a number of sources here: https://www.onlinecoaching.org/Hotlines.htm. Suicide is not a subject that can be dealt with online as it is considered to be a crisis situation. Talk to somebody, anybody - a friend, family member, 911, a religious or spiritual leader in your community that you can call locally and see face to face. There is a solution for you, you just haven't found it yet


Mackeran
Sunday, November 22, 2009
06:59:41 PM

I really like your blog and i respect your work. I'll be a frequent visitor.

Ewa
Monday, November 23, 2009
06:44 PM

Hi Mackeran, thank you for your comments. I love that there is something that I can share with others that gives them value. Happy Reading!


student
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
03:37:42 PM

we loved going through your blog, you totally knocked it out of the ballpark! I have forwarded a link to my friends, and shall definitely be returning for more reading.

Ewa
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
6:46 PM

Hi Student, thanks! I love the idea of my words being shared with others. The more people I can reach the better. One of my dreams is that this some form of this is what is taught to children and young adults as part of their school curriculum. What a world it would be!



October 2009 Coaching Blog 


October 31, 2009 4:45pm

Interpretation: Happy Halloween From a Different Perspective!

In Halloween legend and understanding, costumes were worn to ward off evil spirits in an attempt to protect oneself from perceived harm. In a way, Halloween is played out every day in the masks that we put on in different environments, whether we are at home, at work, in public, etc.

Unbeknownst to most people, when a person goes into emotional reaction, that reaction acts to push away what they fear might hurt them. It is not much different than the origin of physically putting on a costume.

If I put on my angry costume, it will make you defensive so that you go away, so that you don't see my own fear, misunderstanding, and judgment. If I put on my "you hurt me" costume, then it will likely make you feel guilty and resentful for being blamed, again effectively pushing you away from me.

If I put on my sad costume, I can get you to empathize with my pain, acting like a band-aid instead of effectively looking for the source of the pain and looking for a solution together. If I put on my offended costume, I try to make you take on responsibility for how I feel, instead of looking within myself to see what I am misinterpreting as being unsafe.

If I put on my hatred costume I must really be warding off evil! But is only the hurts of my own past that I think I still feel the need to chase off. If I put on the costume of apathy then I have successfully chased myself away.

Let this Halloween be the one where we all do what we can to learn that we really are emotionally safe, that we really don't need to wear these masks anymore. It is fear that is behind all these negative emotions and it causes us to hide from the world in case we might get hurt. But it is the fear itself that ends up hurting us by guiding us to believe in ghosts that aren't really there.

Fear leads you to misinterpret and misunderstand what is happening in your own mind and in the mind of others. Fear does not protect you..it is the source of your pain. Fear is the only "evil spirit" that you ever really need to come face to face with. The beautiful part is that in doing so, you learn that fear is not real

You stop needing masks and you stop being afraid. You stop thinking that there is something out there that you need to protect yourself against emotionally. You learn to first and foremost feel safe within yourself and then you can project that safety outwards. This is your personal power. Use it to eventually take your masks off and make your personal spooky life a thing of the past!


October 28, 2009 10:51am

Imagination: How Do You See Your Life Experiences?

In thinking about what I wanted to write about today, I thought about my own journey to where I am now. About all the fears, hurt, and pain that I had to overcome in my own life. At times it has been a long and hard battle. Many times it had felt like "why bother". Then I think to where I am now.

If only there was a way to allow people to have a glimpse of this journey. To have a preview into the movie of intensely rewarding personal growth, which can be their own life. And I am nowhere near the end of my own growth. But the payoff to reach even just this point is quite frankly, amazing

I have many times likened life to be like a video game, where as soon as we master one level of the game, that particular "reality", or how we see things just melts away and a new one almost magically appears. In this next level, there are many new things that we did not know about, that we explore to find both hidden challenges as well as bonuses, some of which we could not have even imagined.

These levels occur within you, all while life goes on around you. Sometimes, when we don't master the level on which we are playing, we have to go back to the beginning of that level and start all over. Sometimes we get stuck at that level and can' seem to move on, experiencing the same hurt repeatedly.

But if you think about it, that level, when you experience it over and over, is so darn familiar! It is because in this part of the video game, you have stopped exploring and you are repeating the same movements again and again. Of course you get more or less the same results each time. It is only when you try something radically different, something totally unexpected that you finally "figure it out" and are able to move on.

And just like with a video game, this experience we call life is supposed to have a large element of fun. It is about exploration, frustration, discovery, dead-ends, excitement, hitting walls, climbing walls, determination, giving up, getting new ideas, falling down, getting up, and on it goes

As you get better at this game called life, the hurts go away. Yes, it is possible for all hurts to completely disappear. What a goal to have..consider it getting the best score possible! Like any video game player knows, the fun of the game is the game itself along with your personal achievements in it. If you can shift your focus off of all your problems and look at life as this bigger picture, it will help you put your life into a better perspective, where there is much more joy and far less pain.

You have this control and if you think about it, to control a video game, you use a joystick..not a painstick!


October 25, 2009 11:51am

Reclassification: Who is Considered to be a Sensitive Person?

I think that all people would fit the term "sensitive". Yes, even those people that instantly come to your mind as "no way, not so-and-so". In fact the person (s) that you just thought of is actually quite sensitive, you just don't understand how or in which way, because they experience being sensitive differently than you do.

A person who is insecure or who has a lot of self doubt and reacts easily fits the typical definition of sensitive. "Oh, you are just too sensitive. Stop taking things so personally" is the usual response. That particular kind of sensitive person takes in the same information as everyone else, but gives it a lot of extra meaning.

When I say takes in the same information as everyone else, I mean that we are all sensitive to so much more that what we are aware of in other people. We subconsciously and consciously pick up on cues and clues from miniscule muscular micromovements in facial expressions and body language. We can hear the nuances of a person's tone of voice. Our brains can match up tens of thousands of combinations of all three types of input.

Then add to that the words that people choose to use when they speak and the possible interpretations exponentially rockets off of the scale. No wonder the information that we unknowingly take in can cause a lot of confusion for most people! If you cannot parse out some basic meanings, you will quickly end up being defensive at one point or another.

That person that you thought of originally, the one that couldn't possibly be sensitive, that personality subconsciously covers up their insecurities in a way that pushes other people away by how they react. And they usually do an excellent job of distracting you from their hidden sensitivity, don't they!

So lets look at the other extreme. A person who feels relatively secure about who they are takes in this exact same information, but can see it for what is is. All people express their inner selves, whether they are aware of it or not. What most people are not aware of is how easy it is for a secure person to see and understand this. It can be seen because there is no personal emotional reaction to it. It carries no additional meaning than what it is.

In fact, the more insecure a person, the more signals they throw off. It is as if the more a person tried to hide within themselves, to cover up their fears and insecurities, they more they end up flooding their environment with all these hidden cues and clues. This is the real reason why it is tiring to be around some people. Our brains can go into overload trying to make sense of it.. If you do not understand it.

When two people with insecurities are together, they see and pick up on all this information, but incorrectly interpret the signals. They understand only enough to know that something is not quite right for the other person. Their insecurities cause them to instantly assume that the signals they pick up from somebody else is somehow about them. They end up making it all about them.

So when one person gets defensive, all while trying to hide their fears, they unknowingly send off a barrage of extra signals. The other person senses this, but does not understand what they are sensing. We tend to fear that which we do not understand. This wave of signals is interpreted as potentially unsafe. The person feels the need to protect themselves from what feels like an onslaught.

This second person now gets defensive as well and they start to subconsciously send off a slew of hidden, but really not so hidden, signals of their own. The cascade of misunderstandings and misinterpretation not only begins it escalates. If this cycle is not recognized or stopped, it happens over and over and over again. The hidden fears and insecurities get stronger and reinforced in the pathways of the mind.

Everyone can learn how to understand this constant information that we are all receiving about each other. We really are not capable of hiding our fears. In fact, the harder we try, the more they show! We are all incredibly sensitive to one another. The difference is how are you interpreting what your sensitivity is showing you about other people. This is yet another tool that you can develop in your quest for personal growth.


October 23, 2009 8:08am

Germination: Using Attraction to Plant the Seeds of Growth

If you think about it on a deeper level, why is it that we like some people and do not like others? Why are we attracted to certain people? Why is that we just feel so safe around some people? Why do people feel the urge to take that next step and have affairs?

The answer lies in feeling innocent again. We want to be around people who do not judge us, who appear to accept us exactly the way we are. When we live our day to day lives, most people, especially family and partners, seem to remind us over and over of how imperfect we are. But not with those that we are attracted to.

When we are attracted to a particular person, it really has nothing to do with that person or who they are; it is the reflection of ourselves as being innocent again that attracts us. It is because we have not embraced that feeling within ourselves that we think we see the source of it in another person

It is not in them, it is just a reminder of what we are not seeing in ourselves. If you felt about yourself the way another person "makes you feel", you would not be attracted to them. You would thoroughly enjoy the reflection that you get back, but it would not make a difference in how you feel about yourself. You would simply recognize that you are seeing what you already know about yourself.

If you find yourself attracted to another person, ask yourself, what is it that I am feeling right now? Am I feeling special, wanted, not judged, accepted, desired, smart, worthy, and so on? Take the time and effort to identify what is making you feel good in that moment.

Then take that wonderful feeling and literally place your focus on it within yourself. Breath in and out slowly and deliberately focusing on that feeling. What you are feeling is really who you are. You are feeling the source of your essence. In reality you do not need anyone else to make you feel like that

If that feeling is usually only triggered by somebody else, then that is a red flag for you that that is a piece of the puzzle that is missing within yourself. This is a feeling that you want to encourage within yourself at all times, not from that external source. Take your focus off of that person, shift your awareness and bring it to that wonderful feeling inside of yourself.

Take that small little flame and nurture it, encourage it, believe in it, embody it. This is just one of the paths that you can take to find inner happiness. It is one tool of many that will uncover the truth of who you are. Live it, breath it, and love it!


October 20, 2009 8:08pm

Cinematization: Defending Your Life

This was a hilarious and delightful movie (1991) that was all about overcoming fears. If you managed to overcome fear in one lifetime then you were then allowed to go to the next far better level. If you did not, then you had to come back to earth and try all over again to live a life that overcame your fears.

Even though this is classified as a fantasy, watching it made me raise my eyebrow in that it actually expressed many beliefs that I have about how incredibly important it is for us to face and overcome our fears. Only by going through this process do we allow ourselves to live our lives freely, with full joy and appreciation.

When a person experiences fear, that fear also blocks ones own innocence. Fear is survival mode, which prevents a full experience. It is the caveman part of the brain which has yet to evolve in humanity as a whole. Currently fear is instead largely perpetuated and made to be more real than the existence of life itself. But that is no way to live.

The two leading characters in this movie were well thought out and acted by Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks. You can clearly see how a person with fear acts very differently than a person who does not live in fear. Their experiences (of a person who has fear vs. one who does not) are at times opposite of one another. Their choices are even that much more different.

Our perceptions are the key to removing fear from our lives. Living in fear is a choice, whether a person is aware of that as a choice or not yet. For those who do choose to step into this unknown realm, life drastically changes for them. We don't need a movie to show this to us, but it sure is a great reminder about what should be a priority in your life.


October 17, 2009 10:12 am

Education: We Believe Whatever We Choose to Believe

From "The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind" by Carl Zimmer (in Time Magazine) I just read:

"A team led by cognitive scientist Josef Topál of the Research Institute for Psychology in Hungary recently ran an experiment to study how 10-month-old babies pay attention to people. The scientists put a toy under one of two cups and then let the children choose which cup to pick up. The children, of course, picked the right cup--no surprise since they saw the toy being hidden. Topál and his colleagues repeated the trial several times, always hiding the toy under the same cup, until finally they hid it under the other one. Despite the evidence of their eyes, the kids picked the original cup--the one that had hidden the toy before but did not now.

To investigate why the kids made this counterintuitive mistake, the scientists rigged the cups to wires and then lowered them over the toy. Without the distraction of a human being, the babies were far more likely to pick the right cup. Small children, it seems, are hardwired to pay such close attention to people that they disregard their other observations."

People often wonder why they behave the way they do, why they have certain fears and belief systems. To me this short piece sums up the answer. Even as babies, we are focused on watching our parents behaviors to the exclusion of logic. We learn almost exclusively from them or whomever raises us. It is not just physical imitations that we make, we also mentally imitate them and that forms the foundation of our subconscious minds.

When you train yourself to raise your self awareness, you become highly cognizant of this factor at work within you. You don't judge your beliefs, you just look at them to see what you would like to change and then take the steps to change it. It is very much like learning a new language, where it takes a long time to master it. But the first few times you try to change, not much seems to happen!

The older you are, the more deeply imbedded your beliefs. That just means that it is a little harder to start to get the wheels in your mind turning in the other direction. There is more inertia to overcome, but regardless of age, once you start the process, it just gets easier and easier.

When you become conscious enough to choose even a few new beliefs and behaviors, you open the floodgates to truly knowing yourself. Life becomes a process of self development in ways that you never even knew were possible. Changing the meaning that you learned as a child is your key.


October 15, 2009 6:57pm

Liberation: It is not Perfection I Seek or Need

Well, I finally sent out my newly formatted Ezine tonight, the one that I have toiled over for weeks! In my determination to finally get it out before dinner, I rushed through the last final steps, sending out a beautiful, artistic, creative, helpful, wonderful (I could go on and on you know) Ezine..with a blaring typo in the second paragraph!

A couple of things to comment on here. Nobody put pressure on me to send it out when I did. I had that little tweak in the back of my mind saying look over it one last time (what is one more time after a 100 times!), but I ignored it. Just as I did the thought to wait until the morning to send it out when I was feeling refreshed.

I had seen the mistake before..and to those unlucky people who don't know what I am referring to I wrote "I hope you to this brand new format". The word "to" was supposed to be "like". I was cutting down my love of words from a far lengthier sentence that was "..introducing you to this

So as I was saying, I had picked up that the error was there yesterday, but got distracted with one of the many other issues that I had to deal with, rather than fix it immediately. I have sent this email to masses of people. When it was first pointed out to me by a friend, it was like a shock wave that hit my body.

Oh the horror of it all! What will people think? I am supposed to be a professional. Will they take it seriously or throw it down in disgust and unsubscribe. How could I make a mistake like that? Why didn't I listen to myself? Oh it has ruined everything because the Ezine isn't "perfect" anymore. Oh I wish I could take it back or send a corrected version. My brain actually thought all of this and more in a millisecond.

In the next second I simply reminded myself that I had a choice here. I was at that fork in the road where I could continue down that path of feeling culpable and worked up about the mistake, or I could simply observe what I did closely so that I could learn and grow from the experience. Besides, this had great blogging potential.

Guess what I decided to do! All that training, hard work, and persistence at changing my subconscious patterned responses has paid off. My first thought was, if that is the worst mistake that I make (in my life), boy am I doing really well! Actually, in the larger scheme of things this is very, very minor. The reality is that ninety nine point nine nine percent of the Ezine is perfect and wonderful. Am I seriously going to focus on the speck of dust on my table? What an opportunity to see humor in all of this.

I do believe that people are far more forgiving than we all imagine they are when we go into emotional reaction. The only person who can try, judge, and find me guilty is me. So I pound the gavel of justice and declare myself free! Free of all those nonsense thoughts and feelings and free in allowing myself to learn and grow and even love myself through every experience!

Next! And by the way, I am still open to suggestions about the Ezine so that it can be more "perfect" for all of you each and every time.


October 13, 2009 12:25pm

Determination: Will I Ever Figure This Out and Get it Done?!

Over the last few weeks I have been working on creating a new Ezine template. It has been a long and many times frustrating process as I learned first how to use the new tools and then had to create the design and content. Some of the frustration comes from the incredibly long time it has taken to put it together. What I thought would take a few days has almost turned into a month!

Most of the frustration comes when I make mistakes because I don't understand what I am doing wrong when things don't work the way I think they should. But of course the real reason is simply because I haven't learned all the nuances of the newsletter creation service that I have invested in.

This made me think about personal growth and how when people are given new tools, it is initially exciting to have these new interfaces and to be faced with the prospect of learning something new..until you get into the nitty-gritty of actually trying to use these tools which seem so simple in theory!

Yes, it takes far more time than you think to get good at using them. You have to practice using these new tools and it is definitely a process of trial and error. Sometimes lots of error before you realize that you are using the tool incorrectly! Then sometimes the information you read so that you can do something more complicated makes your eyes roll to the back of your head and you realize that your brain feel like a shaken can of soda.

That is when you need to just take a break from it all. The harder you push yourself the more mistakes you will make. You need to stop what you are trying to do, go do something entirely different, preferably something physical, to relax your body and distract the mind and fully give it a break. You have to not judge yourself for not figuring it all out right away.

Regularly remind yourself that every part of your life is a work in progress, that it doesn't have to be perfect, and that there are no expectations for you other than the ones you place on yourself. You can only keep doing the best that you can, which of course changes sometimes even from moment to moment, depending on whether you are hungry, tired, have other challenges or pressures, etc.

It will all fall into place exactly as it needs to and you will be a better person for what you have learned in the process. It is important to note that frequently the end results is a little different than what we picture, so allow for some flexibility so that you can take advantage of opportunities that don't seem directly related at first.


October 10, 2009 8:08am

Cinematization: The Betrayal

This movie is an interesting documentary about one Laotian family filmed over a 23 year period. It is a story of their survival in the aftermath of war. There is much to learn and understand about people in this movie, but what stood out was this lovely Laotian teaching that was profoundly spoken towards the end of the movie by the elderly mother

To have a hand is to make good things.
To have a foot is to walk on the right path.
To have eyes is for seeing good things.
To have a mouth is to speak kindness and peace.
To have a mind is for thinking good thoughts and using wisdom.


October 7, 2009 9:44am

Gyration: When the Music Moves You..

Besides this video being great entertainment that will make you laugh, it can also become motivation to get you to move however the music moves you! Dance your heart away, move your body however it wants to move, without the fear of somebody watching you. This same freedom of spirit in your body is still there. Have fun, remember to play and most of all remember to move with a smile on your face and in your heart!

Baby Cory dancing to Beyonce's song Single Ladies


October 4, 2009 4:34pm

Personalization: Why do you Really Dislike Somebody?

I think that there is a phase that many people go through in their personal and spiritual growth. It is one where as a person strives towards the ideal of finding peace and love within and widening their capacity to love themselves, they become more sensitive to their environment and inadvertently become temporarily more judgmental of others.

This is an innocent reaction to what they don't yet understand. We are being taught by many sources to just avoid people that we don't like. That if we don't like somebody's "energy", that we move away from them and not spend time with them. At some point in your growth you will have to revisit this belief.

In order to fully love yourself, you must be able to extend that love outwards to everyone, with no exception. What this does not mean is that you have to actively love everyone, I don't think that is even possible. What this means is that you release all the judgments that you have that make you feel separate.

What I mean by that is, if your reaction to a person that you dislike contains any element of you being better in any way, shape or form, or that they are not as good as you, then you are standing in judgment of that person. That is not love.

We are all equal in the eyes of God and that equality must extend towards each other. Accepting a person for who they are and what they are in the current moment precludes societal judgments of good and bad. A person either experiences love or they experience pain. It is quite obvious who is in pain.

Yet our reactions are to push away, to judge what we see as rejectable. Whenever we reject another human in any way, we are rejecting a part of ourselves. This is all great in theory, but putting this into practice is a life long journey, one that we must all eventually undertake if we are to reach peace of mind within ourselves.

When you are around somebody that you do not like, what are you seeing about that person? Are you really seeing what is going on inside of them that is causing them to act that way? Or are you in emotional reaction in a form that you have not yet learned to recognize? If you can't recognize it you are unable to be accountable for it.

Ironically when you can see the true essence of a person and understand how some form of fear motivates their behavior, their behaviors around you change. Because they can feel that they are not being judged, they feel safe enough to let their guard down and not have to put up that front that you can't stand to keep you at arms length.

When a person has any form of fear, they take actions that contribute to their fears becoming real. That applies to everyone's insecurities and how they are afraid of being judged. A person is judged by others for the things that they are most afraid of when they subconsciously act out of their fears.

The exact personality traits that you don't like about somebody are what they use to "protect" themselves, to create a sense of safety. It is a false safety because people end up isolating themselves with these subconscious behaviors. They are not only subconsciously trying to push you away, they are succeeding. Have you ever even considered that you are being successfully controlled by somebody you don't like?

By so successfully distracting you with the behavior that you don't like, it keeps a person "safe" from you ever getting close enough to them so that you can't see the pain, fear, and insecurity that lives in them. The subconscious mind creates a brilliant defense for itself in this way.

Choose instead to understand that you do not really understand that person and are only seeing your own judgment of them. That beyond the facade is yet another wounded person. That what you are seeing is only there because you give their behavior a definition that your subconscious is choosing. It is not the truth about them, but it does act as a mirror for you to see yourself.

Use this mirror to learn from and release yet more judgments and assumptions about others. Use this as an opportunity to teach your mind to look even deeper when you look at another person. Use this to then cause yourself to go even deeper to release all judgments. Love one another as you love yourself

What are you seeing about yourself in others?


October 1, 2009 11:49 am

Foundation: What Will Motivate a Person to Change and Grow?

A discussion recently came up about motivation to change. For some people there seems to be little to no energy available to change their circumstances or how they feel. This all came about when I used a analogy to body building. Anyone can build up their muscles to the maximum, but it requires hours of work on almost a daily basis. Inner strength is similar to that, the more time you put into making inner changes on a daily basis, the faster you will build that inner "muscle".

But the question still remains of: how does a person develop the motivation to become that body builder, internally or externally? How does a person build a big enough emotional "Why" to change? First we have to describe what happens for a person when they lose that will.

We need to think about how fear and hurt affects people. If a person repeatedly experiences being put down, feeling down, believing all the bad things they hear about themselves and from within themselves it is debilitating. A person's sense of safety in the world becomes almost nonexistent

A person who is so beaten down almost exclusively lives in a world of hurt. Each time they try to step out of that world they find a reason to believe that they have failed in their attempts and the failure just adds to the hurt that they feel. They beat themselves up for not being good enough, trying hard enough, not changing fast enough, etc.

This type of person already feels so much pain, that to consciously, deliberately, and unwittingly add more pain feels so uncomfortable, that they stop trying to change. The pain of trying hurts as much if not more than the normal pain that they have. At least they are familiar with the pain that they know. It does not make sense to them to keep inflicting this additional and unfamiliar pain onto themselves. This is the catch-22.

Yet a person in this much pain only seeks help when their world feels like it has already collapsed or when they are about to implode. The problems in their life are so huge that to address them directly is overwhelming. Even if successful little steps are taken, they are so small in comparison to the big picture that they are frequently fairly meaningless to the person needing to change and the pain rushes back in.

So what is it that will allow a person to break that catch-22 and be able to make the changes that they need? How do they break that inertia and get the ball rolling in the direction of positive change?

The first step is to recognize the need for change, not just externally, but both internally through feelings and externally through choices. The next step is to develop the belief that change is possible and that you are actually able to change. The third step is recognizing and understanding what the reward for change will be: increased peace of mind, happiness, and fulfilling relationships with others.

Most people understand these steps, but to overcome the doubts there needs to be a feeling of safety in order to make just a small leap of faith to start to actualize this. This leap of faith requires a modicum of safety and a coach can provide that bridge, creating that initial safety for you until you can develop that safety within yourself

This feeling of safety needs to be reinforced and nurtured on a daily basis. With that the foundation of growth is created. If you think of a spiral, there is that first pixel in the center that starts the spiral. You can't even see it because it is so small in relation to the rest of the spiral

Yet it is at that miniscule point that change starts and over time it will continue to grow, along with your peace of mind and your happiness. Going back to the body builder analogy, for anyone who has ever exercised after a long time of not doing so, it hurts a lot! Many people stop building muscle after a few attempts because they don't like how it feels. Why?

Because the muscles have been largely inactive for so long, it is easy to overdo it. Too much effort brings a disproportionate amount of pain! In the beginning only the smallest of efforts and the littlest of extra movement is all that is needed. This is also true for your own personal growth.

That way it will feel good to make the changes, you will want more of that good feeling, and most importantly you will see that you are capable of creating it yourself. That in turn develops into your motivation to change.


Lady
Saturday, October 03, 2009
12:46:48 PM

Good article . Will definitely copy it to my blog. Thanks.

Ewa
Sunday, October 04, 2009
10:00:00 AM

Hi Lady, thank you! I have corrected some typos on the page so you may want to copy the amended version.


dvd
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
05:19:02 AM

Thank you for this valuable post. It changed my approximation


October 1 2009
Becky
Thursday, October 08, 2009
04:54:11 PM

How do you start to trust again? How do you figure out who to trust?

Ewa
Friday, October 09, 2009
09:59:19 AM

Thank you DVD (?) and Hi Becky, It is not so much a matter of trust as it is a matter of raising your awareness, of understanding how fear motivates people's behaviors as well as your own. You can learn how to observe people clearly .. is a persons choices congruent with their actions and choices? Watch how some try to appeal to your ego if you are insecure. If you feel good based on what somebody else tells you, you will be vulnerable to wanting more from that source and will "trust" the wrong person. When you meet your own emotional needs, you already feel good. Then when you experience somebody stroking your ego (to fill an emotional need of theirs) it is an instant red flag. To understand this on a deeper level, read this article: https://www.onlinecoaching.org/May2007.htm.


Barbara31
Saturday, October 10, 2009
12:01:27 PM

This is not easy work, but the rewards are significant: a stronger civil society where all members feel included, respected, and responsible for building community.

Ewa
Monday, October 12, 2009
03:36:58 PM

Hi Barbara, thank you for your comment. If everyone were able to work through their fears we would live in a remarkable world!


10-20-09
Stacie
Sunday, October 25, 2009
07:03:30 PM

I just wanted to tell you thank you for taking the time to write about all of the topics you do. Your writing has helped my mother more then anything else, getting some things to "click" in her awareness of herself. Thank you from a grateful daughter. By helping her, you have helped an entire family continue to grow and learn and love each other.

Ewa
Monday, October 26, 2009
03:36:58 PM

Hi Stacie, thank you for your kind words and acknowledgment of my work. I appreciate it! I love sharing what I think will help others in their own growth. We all have so much to offer each other by taking this journey together.


Clemento
Thursday, October 29, 2009
05:06:38 AM

Valuable thoughts and advices. I read your topic with great interest.

Ewa
Monday, November 2, 2009
01:02:39 PM

Thank you Clemento!


John
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
02:22:50 AM

Are you a professional journalist? You write very well.

Ewa
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
08:37:23 AM

Hi John, thank you for your comments. I have always loved words. I can sense how people will feel when they read something I write, which determines how I write and shape my sentences.



September 2009 Coaching Blog 


September 29, 2009 1:06pm

Transformation: Creating Boundaries & Establishing New Behaviors

Whenever you try to set a boundary or establish a new behavior with someone, more often then not, it doesn't go over well with the other person. In fact, their reaction is usually so unpleasant to us, that we would rather not have to deal with the reaction and our fears win that round. In our minds, it is easier to stay in the same rut than face somebody's anger or disapproval.

The way to be able to pursue boundaries and new behaviors is to understand the other persons response better. The people around us are used to us acting in a certain way. As soon as we change a behavior on our end, it trigger subconscious fears for the people around us. The new behavior is an unknown factor and we tend to fear that which we do not know.

So when you introduce a new behavior, some type of fear is triggered for the other person. When this happens they will go into some version of fight or flight. Understand that this is a result of them not feeling safe. Their reaction has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their automatic reaction to what their subconscious mind is perceiving from that place of fear.

The only way to move through this is to first understand that the reaction is not about you. If you go into reaction, you will not be able to reinforce the new behavior you are trying to make. You will try too hard and force acceptance of the new behavior (which does not work) or you will give up in fear. Instead, focus on trying to better understand the other person to take your mind off of your own fears.

Ask them why they are reacting, what is it that they are afraid of, did they feel somehow threatened by what you said or did, did it make them feel uncomfortable and if so, how? By guiding the other person into the direction of safety, helping them understand that there is no threat, it will stop their fight or flight response and allow you to keep pursuing this new pattern of behavior.

When you think about the types of questions to ask the other person, they will be the same types of questions that you would ask yourself about your own reaction. What are you afraid of when you go into emotional reaction? How are you feeling unsafe? What assumptions are you making? What meaning are you giving the situation that is feeding your reaction?

When you take this route in communication for both yourself and the other person, you create a sense of safety within both of you. The first time you take the helm and purposely navigate through the choppy waters of change it still feels uncomfortable, but it empowers you to keep trying to change. It is a process of trial and error. If you persist in this way, you will successfully be able to create new behaviors and establish newer and healthier boundaries for everyone involved. It is just a matter of safety.


September 26, 2009 3:05 pm

Education: Fish, Stress, Exercise and Harmony?

I read the following in an article titled "Fit Fish" by Ann Dermody:

Just like humans, it seems fish need to balance their stress levels. A key finding is that the stress hormone, cortisol, activates a "growth shutdown" response in fish. Thus if the fish experiences prolonged stress, that inhibits production of the primary growth promoting hormone. Take away the stress and bingo! Bigger fish all around .. An added benefit is that the more exercise they get, the more peace and harmony reigns in the fish tank.

Professor Kevin Kelley of the Environmental Endocrinology Laboratory at California State University, long Beach says:

"We have often seen that fish under conditions of no exercise turn their attention to each other, and show antagonistic interactions .. Stressed fish will not perform as well physiologically .. the best growth and condition of the fish will lead to enhanced overall productivity. Fish are our fellow vertebrates and they have the same hormones and physiology as humans. They can suffer from the consequences of stress much the same way we do".

Well, well who would have thought that fish could suffer from stress and benefit from exercise! But lets get to the point. Many people experience high stress on a repeated basis. When higher and prolonged levels of cortisol remain in the bloodstream from chronic stress the following happens:

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances (like hyperglycemia)
  • Decreased bone density
  • Decrease in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
  • Increased abdominal fat associated with health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, higher levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL), leading to yet other health problems!

Both the body and mind need to be trained to minimize the stress response and to mitigate the effects that stress has on a person. Relaxation techniques can be taught and taken advantage of to relax the body when stress is experienced

Of course exercise should always be a high priority, whether a person is stressed or not. Other options are guided imagery, journaling, yoga, music, breathing exercises, meditation, and even sex! It is even possible to learn different responses other than the stress response to daily challenges.

Whether or not you are aware of it, much of the stress that you feel can become a choice through raised self awareness. Stress is a response to fight or flight and you can be taught to have a different response by learning how to interpret events differently than you do now. When you learn how to make yourself feel safer, you stop going into fight or flight as easily and stop getting as easily stressed.


September 24, 2009 10:45 am

Confirmation: Growing Old is Not What it Used to Be

This one is for the men! I have already covered the topic of aging in an earlier Blog and how important exercise is to stay young and healthy far beyond what we currently believe about being old. Yet when I saw this in the headlines and was finally able to find a video to place on my site, I just had to reinforce this message.

This headline was everywhere 2 days ago: "74 year old Tsutomu Tosuka crowned champion in the Japan Masters Bodybuilding Championships". Excuse me but, 74 years old and he looks like that?!If this doesn't inspire you to change your habits right now, I don't know what else will!

Getting "old", as in the body just wears out and there is nothing you can do about it, is the biggest piece of nonsense. It really is so simple. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. Add to that: learn how to minimize or even get rid of stress and you will be healthier than you could ever imagine.

Stress is not what happens to you, it is how you handle what happens to you. If you control the factors that are within your control, you will have an entirely different life experience. Stop making excuses and start taking action!

Excuse me, but I feel the need to go work out.


September 22, 2009 5:11 pm

Liberation: Freeing Yourself From Your Own Mind

I wonder how many people really know how externally focused we are most of the time. The sheer amount of thinking that we do takes our awareness out of ourselves and somewhere out there into the stratosphere. Only occasionally and sometimes only for mere seconds at a time do we actually check into ourselves to see how we are doing, feeling, experiencing.

When we interact with others, we tend to lose sight of ourselves as we become almost completely focused on the other person. We generally put on different personas depending on the situation and what we want to show of ourselves, what we think we need, or depending on what we are afraid of

When we become externally focused, we tip out of balance within ourselves, as if that act of reaching outwards mentally acts as a cantilever and puts too much weight on that side. We end up having to compensate for that imbalance afterwards, which takes extra energy out of us and makes us tired.

You can teach yourself to maintain your awareness and watch yourself and how you respond or react in all situations. Just gently remind yourself to pay attention to what you are doing. Stay aware of how you feel in that moment. Doing so actually will help you to feel better.

Taking on the role of the observer of yourself frees you from the emotions that you are feeling or thoughts that you are thinking. It is not unlike having a split personality. You just watch and observe, not thinking anything about what you see. Don't be surprised if you just suddenly feel better out of the blue!

By observing, you stop whatever it is that your mind may be thinking about, worrying about, or what it may be afraid of. Just watching yourself is a freeing feeling that you can practice at any time to bring a little more peace into your life. Try it you will like it!


September 19, 2009 4:59pm

Cinematization: Kung Fu Panda

This was a delightful movie that underlined how to maintain one's focus on one's dreams regardless of your circumstances and the pressure of the dreams that other people have for you. The message is sometimes overly simplified and seems unrealistic in certain parts, but overall a thoroughly enjoyable animated movie.

Some of the best parts of the movie came in the form of "wise sayings", some of which were actually new to my ear. It is always refreshing to hear ideas said in new ways that illustrate a point better than you have ever heard before.

The first is: "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it."I laughed 'knowingly' when I heard it, without really being sure exactly what this meant. I just loved it when I heard it! It felt so universal to all of us.

Then when I thought about it I realized that it could very easily be applied to how when we try to avoid our fears, we end up inadvertently creating them by the actions that we take in fear. Our destiny is to remove as many fears as we can within this lifetime. That allows us to move ever closer to whatever the true destiny is for each of us.

The other quote that I loved was: "The mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear." This is actually a brilliant quote that relates back to what I said in the previous paragraph

Every time we are in some form of emotional reaction, whether we are aware of it or not, it relates back to some form of fear, some feeling of lack of safety. Our defenses go up, we get into a defensive position, we go into some form of fight or flight, whether in just some small degree or in a full blown reaction.

This flurry of activity causes turbulence that stops us from seeing what is really happening. We end up seeing only that which supports our fears and emotional reactions. We end up being right, but only about what our fears tell us. Being right is not equivalent to seeing clearly and being able to see the truth.

As long as your mind is agitated for any reason, you are only seeing the agitation as you take action to protect yourself. How do you know if you are seeing clearly? You are seeing clearly if you are observing what is happening around you through a sense of peacefulness, even joy. Not needing anything from anyone, not needing to give anything to anyone, just being. That is the place of clarity.


September 16, 2009 12:05pm

Reinterpretation: What Does Being 85 Years Old Look Like to You?

I am always on the lookout for role models in my personal life as well as for others. Most of the elderly people that I met in my childhood and young adulthood were just that..elderly. One of my biggest fears, and I am sure of many people, is the thought of growing old and becoming ill and frail

The first time I ever came across the concept that being old did not have to equate with being weak was in a magazine almost 20 years ago, when I read an article and saw picture of a very buff and muscularly ripped 65 year old male. It was amazing and completely challenged my "getting old" beliefs.

Being well over the age of "29", I see the changes in my own physical form, making me rethink many of my own choices and how they will dictate how I age. Earlier this summer I had noticed that I barely had the strength to pull myself out of the water into a paddle boat. That was a wakeup call about my choices and lack of continually building muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it.

The lack of physical strength does not occur because we get older..it occurs because we stop doing activities that keep us strong. We stop prioritizing our own bodies and let them decline. It is yet another area in which we need to step up our accountability.

A video was sent to me by email. I found it to be tremendously inspiring. Dorothy Dale Kloss's story as an 85 year old showgirl says it all! Google her name to find an article and better yet a video. This is one of my best role models for aging ever (other than Helen Mirren looking fabulous in a bikini in her mid 60's!

If you have ActiveX controls blocking you from seeing this video, temporarily allow them to see it.


September 13, 2009 8:35 am

Complication: Where, Oh Where, Can My Website Be?

For whatever reasons, it appears that many of my challenges are currently around my website. The last 7 days have been a period of high stress alternating with taking appropriate action, combined with trust and much patience. You see, my website "disappeared" off the face of not the earth, but off of Google, which in terms of the internet, is the earth!

When my business "disappeared", my initial reaction was a feeling not unlike being kicked in the gut, like the air was knocked out me and I felt unable to breath. My first assumption (and you should know by now what I think about any assumption other than "I don't really know what that means") was only partially correct.

My website was no longer being indexed (listed) by Google, but I took it to mean the worst had happened, in which case it can take months before a site gets reindexed, if ever. Contemplating over 9 years of work going down the drain was not a good feeling.

It was time to do some research to try to find similar problems and to see what solutions had been found. My first actions were based on my worst fears. As I did more research and my fight or flight response faded, I realized that my initial assumption about what the real problem was wrong. When I looked more closely at the situation, I identified a completely different and unrelated problem.

I was able to then take appropriate actions and get the exact help that I needed in order to solve the problem. The trust and patience became important when faced with the input of my husband, who is excellent at troubleshooting, but whose concerns and fears I had to counter as well as my own.

It took an agonizing 5 days to see the results of my actions, but everything is ironing itself out and my website is slowly getting back to where it used to be, with me being that much wiser for the experience. And what did I learn and reinforce?

That all assumptions and actions taken out of our initial emotional reactions do not give us results that will address the real problem. One assumption almost always leads you to another assumption, taking you further away from the best solution. The true problem can't even be identified until you stop being in fight or flight. When you can see clearly, you can then more readily find solutions.

Once you have truly done what you can to change your situation and your way of thinking, you must remain firm in what you know. This is not "being right". If you feel the need to fight to defend what you know, you are in emotional reaction and back to square one. Knowing is a soft strength that you stand firmly and calmly behind. There is nothing to defend.

Patience and even faith is required once things have been set into motion and when you have done all that you can effectively do. Let go of needing to take additional action and just stay aware of what is happening around you and know what your next action would be if it is needed. Otherwise, take care of the other things in your life that need your attention.

Stress is exhausting. Eat right, take extra time to exercise your body, if only for 15 minutes each day. Get enough sleep. Under no circumstances do you allow your mind to contemplate the worst other than to run down the list of possible outcomes and possible solutions.

Every possibility always exists, but the probabilities of an event happening is what is relevant. If your mind still insists on focusing on a negative outcome, question why, don't let it bully you. If it wants to obsess, then fine, why not steer it in the direction of a positive outcome? If all possibilities exist, it might as well be a good one that you think about!

Most importantly, remind yourself every minute if you have to, that you really do not know what this challenge means. That you are giving your challenge the meaning that it has. That is where you still hold power when your mind is in fear or worry. Worrying only robs you of the precious energy you need to work towards a solution. You can take control over yourself, you are never powerless. An amazing lesson.


September 10, 2009 11:35 am

Cinematization: Harvard Beats Yale 29 -29

Who knew that Tommy Lee Jones played football at Harvard, never mind had Al Gore as a roommate! That the Doonesbury character B.D. is based on Yale's quarterback at that time, Michael Dowling. But I am off track. This was a surprisingly interesting movie, documentary actually, especially once they created the basis of the story and started showing more clips of the game (which truly was a cliff hanger, even knowing the results in advance). When the movie ends, the unusual title completely makes sense.

What I loved best about this movie, is how the impossible can happen, despite the odds, despite so many seeming obstacles. Nobody thought they could do it. Harvard did the impossible in a fascinating series of events that all contributed to the end result of making the impossible possible.

I don't remember the exact quote, but one of the Yale players made a comment that it felt like (my words) the universe was conspiring to help the other team win. Yale made a series of errors that they rarely ever made individually, never mind one after another. It was as if they were not able to do anything right in the end! The opposite was true for Harvard, where a that series of impossible events seemed to just fall into place as needed. Miracles some would say.

This movie should be watched as a reminder to never give up on what we want in our lives, regardless of what we think we see, that life is showing us not only that it is not happening, but that it can't happen. This line of thinking will be quickly discarded in light of watching this film.

There are so many other added bonuses in this movie. First lets be clear that I am not a football fan, so I did not think that I would particularly enjoy this film, but had read enough in a review to remain openly curious about it. If I hadn't been open to it, I probably would not have even watched it, never mind made it through the first half hour. It actually has a lot of humor, subtle and obvious.

The movie has many philosophical moments, much reflection and introspection, mostly with blame or guilt. That is what we are supposed to do with our pasts, use them to learn from, see how every part of our pasts makes us who we are now, and to grow from. There are no losers in this film, only people who lived and learned.

Watching this film will also point out our prejudices in terms of the stereotypes that we have about the people we see around us, how they have it better or worse, or have some sort of special privilege when we don't. I am talking about how we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. There just is not point.

Only your own life should matter to you, what you think of yourself and how to think better of yourself, to get out of any cycle of blame or guilt. Blame and guilt stop you from growing and becoming that person that you can be, the one that can make the impossible happen. Use this movie as an example of how to learn how to reflect on your past and stop perceiving things as right or wrong or good or bad. Reflect, learn, grow, and move on.


September 7, 2009 3:51 pm

Reconfiguration: Changing a Pattern of Behavior

Changing your patterns of behavior and way of thinking can take time. Many people, when they try to introduce changes into their own lives or look for it in others, lack the patience and persistence required. Of course what happens when we lose patience is we judge ourselves and judge other people as not being good enough in some way. This reinforces the exact pattern that you are wanting to change.

I thought about this last night as I prepared the coffee machine with fresh ground coffee for the morning. I can only drink a small amount of coffee, so I like mine fresh and won't drink it when its a day old. So I throw any leftover coffee out at the end of the day. Over the last few weeks my husband has asked me (more than a few times now) to save the leftover coffee because he will drink it the next day

We don't have leftover coffee all the time, so more often than not when we do have it, I automatically, without thinking, pour the leftover into the sink. Each time I catch myself as the last of the coffee is streaming out of the pot and only then do I remember the request to save it!

In the past I would have felt bad or guilty over my lack of remembering. I would have had judgments on myself about wasting something, for not remembering, for not learning fast enough. Because of that self judgment, if my husband would have brought it up I would have gotten defensive about it, because of how I was judging myself for it

But now that I understand what it takes to change a habit, the only thoughts that go through my mind are simple and gentle reminders about the new behavior that I would like to establish. When my husband brings it up again I see it as a reminder and give no additional meaning to it. I see humor in it and remind myself to strengthen my focus on what I want to happen.

I know that it will take time. I know that in the beginning, that I will forget more than I will remember. I know that I "will not succeed" in the beginning. How many time have you tried to do something different than you usually do once, twice, three times or more even and then stop trying? It can take far more effort than that to change. Some things change quickly and others do not. Each thing is different.

The way to make changes is to keep trying again and again until the change happens and becomes part of you new automatic behavior. Sometimes you have to think about creative or different ways in which to remind yourself. I have now thrown the coffee out about a dozen times and have remembered to save it twice. With persistence, saving it will become a new habit

But perhaps in an effort to help myself change this habit I can put a note on the coffee machine to remind me. Or I can put the coffee in a container as part of my dinner preparations. Or I can put a reminder in my Outlook or email myself! I can tell you right now that just writing about this will go a long way in putting my focus on the new behavior I want to create.

Our minds are so used to traveling in the directions that they are used to going (our patterns of thinking and behavior) that it can take a lot of effort to refocus the mind to the new direction we want it to go in. We actually are changing the neural pathways of our brains when we change our behaviors and our emotional responses.

Remember this the next time you want to change a pattern in yourself or if you see somebody else trying to make a change. Encourage them or yourself with patience, creativity and even humor about how to keep gently reminding yourself to put the focus back on what you want to achieve - not on what isn't working yet!


September 4, 2009 12:19 pm

Investigation: The Evolution of Curiosity and Discovery.

Who are you Mr. Bill? I now have a person who is posting comments on a daily basis, saying more or less the same few words over and over. I have deleted the extra postings this morning. What do I do? As is typical in life, another obstacle comes up that I am not sure how to deal with!

Mr. Bill Bartmann. It is safe to assume that he is not the Mr. Bill Playdoh character from Saturday Night Live. Perhaps he is the billionaire Bill Bartmann from Tulsa Oklahoma in a bored period of his life? Perhaps he is the actor of that name preparing for a role? Is he the Canadian Idol hopeful wannabe? Is the name even real?

As it turns out, this is an automatic spammer that has over ten thousand entries across the internet in various forms! I am discovering this as I write and look up the name on the internet. All entries for this spammer are short, generally a few words. So I have developed a new strategy to adjust for this type of spamming. We will see how this works.

Being curious and even finding humor in this situation (instead of being annoyed or frustrated) is what allowed me to identify the real problem and from there, look for yet another solution. The best solutions appear when a person is curious, not judging or making assumptions and then applying meaning to those assumptions.

It was not a person making a manual entry as I originally assumed. When I assume something, I inevitably look in the wrong direction for the answer. Not assuming allows me to see clearly and to find alternatives far more easily. If I judge I get stuck, almost as if I have blinders on that prevent me from seeing anything but my own version of a situation.

Another aspect of how this situation has evolved is when something challenges me and I find myself calm and curious instead of having an emotional reaction, it feels like I have passed a test. Be it big or small, it doesn't matter. It becomes another milestone in my growth. It reflects back to me acknowledgement of the work that I am always doing on myself

Acknowledging yourself is necessary in order to increase your positive sense of self. You create the habit of giving yourself your own positive feedback. If I rely on feedback from others to make me feel good about myself, how do you think I will feel if I get negative feedback? In order to not be influenced by other people's opinions, I strengthen my own opinion of myself.


September 2, 2009 10:55 am

Notation: Comments can be Added Now!

Okay, so the learning curve continues (of course!). I was finally informed that the comment option was not working properly and people have been unable to add comments to my blog or Ezines! In my attempts to stop the automatic spammers, I made the settings for adding comments too restrictive. I believe that I have fixed this so that comments can now be easily added

Bill Bartmann
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
04:13:04 AM

This site rocks!

tasuta kino
Sunday, September 27, 2009
12:58:02 PM

I think this was a very interesting post thanks for writing it


August 2011 Coaching Blog 


August 31, 2009, 8:57 am

Examination: You Don't Like That Person? Why?

Have you ever thought about why you don't like somebody? We don't like what that person says or does, their mannerisms, their choices, how they treat us, etc. The labels and judgments easily fly out of our mouths and around in our heads. We are taught from early childhood to think and believe in this way.

If somebody does something to you that you do not like, that person may as well be physically branded. Our dislike, even our anger at another person is always justifiable to us. Yet what we don't see is that we are only repeating our pasts and defining people from our previous experiences.

If we feel hurt by somebody, physically or emotionally, we do not even know that a different way of thinking exists. If somebody has hurt you their fate is signed, sealed, delivered and then frequently thrown in a dark vault and the key thrown away.

Yet this type of thinking and believing does not punish the other person, it hurts you. It hurts you to carry any form of negative thinking about another person. No matter how justified you feel, it perpetuates the hurt you experienced by you re-experiencing that hurt over and over every time you think about that person.

Why change how you feel? Because it will bring you more peace of mind. Because you will be happier. Because you will be healthier, physically as well as emotionally. Because you will experience life differently when you stop applying past meaning to it.

Lets start with the easier situations. You meet somebody and instantly don't like them. They "talk too much", "they are obnoxious", "they are too hard to have a conversation with", "they complain too much", they look like somebody you don't like, etc. The list is endless why we can not like someone.

Yet have you ever really thought about the deeper reasons for not liking somebody? It is because they remind you of somebody from your past. You have judged this person based on a negative past experience that left you feeling hurt, powerless, and out of control in some way.

Most people will just avoid these reminders from the past, blaming their feelings on the person that they really don't even know. 99% of us will just avoid that person as much as we can. But that person is innocent. They simply have habits and behaviors that coincide with your past that even now you still do not know how to deal with or resolve.

If you did not have this past baggage, this past association, you would not have any feelings one way or another about this person. You would just observe and notice what is happening for them. You would be aware of the insecurities or issues that this person has and not even think twice about what you see.

You would certainly act very differently with the person in question. Maybe you would ask them more questions to draw out their real persona, not the fear-based one that they show you or try to hide behind. You would find out more about who they really are.

When you judge somebody as not being likable, you are in essence rejecting them. This fits perfectly into that persons fears and insecurities. When we have fears and take action out of those fears, we contribute to making those fears real. We then collect the evidence to support why we are rejectable, reinforcing our behaviors. That is what is happening for the person that you don't like. Can you see how this plays out in people you don't like and when you meet people that you think don't like you?

Now lets look at family, work, and people in closer proximity to us that we don't like, are angry at, or even hate. Those people have hurt you in some way. You don't like that. It is unfair. It is the other persons fault. They hurt you emotionally and/or physically. There is frequently rage at that injustice.

Yet, even as you read this, in this very moment it is all in the past. You have not yet learned how to create boundaries, to believe in yourself enough to take different action with these people that hurt you. You don't know how. You may not even be aware that you have different choices available to you. You have been taught to react and feel the way you do now. Are you willing to learn something different?

When you learn how to believe in yourself, you create boundaries with people that have hurt you. You make very different choices from the ones that you are making now. There is no point in judging or labeling these people that you have been taught to think that you don't like; that you are the "victim" of.

What is the real truth is to understand that anyone who takes hurtful actions is hugely insecure and full of fear. It is deeply buried in their subconscious minds. You cannot change them, but you can change how you understand them.

When you simply open yourself up to this possibility, you will stop the hurt by making different choices in how you think and perceive these people. From there you take different actions. When you are emotional, you are stuck in a rut of thinking and act like you have always acted.

When you stop judging, you see the truth about the other person's issues and when you see that clearly and without emotion, you also see that you have so many other choices in how to deal with them. But first you have to deal with your own fears. All your judgments are just hidden fears within yourself. Are you even ready to see that?

When you face your fears, the cycle of hurt stops. Isn't this what you really want? Shouldn't not wanting to feel hurt be your priority? Then take that finger that you are using to point at another person and point it back at you to look for what you can change within yourself. When you do that, you will make different choices that will stop the pain. There is no other way.


sara
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
03:37 PM

I really enjoy the blogs. It's great for those days I'm stuck in my stuff and need a reminder to see a new perspective. I like the shorter ones for those days I only have a couple of minutes to spare.


Ewa
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
10:47 AM

Hi Sara,

Thank you both for your feedback. I am happy to share my personal experiences, knowledge, and more so that people can see how to actually make different choices in their own lives. We are all working together towards the same goal!


August 27, 2009, 10:49 am

Activation: Motivating and Moving Your Body

In the pursuit of a healthier mind, we forget that the condition of our physical bodies contributes to how well we are able to process information intellectually and emotionally. You have heard it before, that it is important to stay active for a number of health reasons. Yet so many people just do not make it a priority.

I notice the absence of movement in different ways when I go for more than a few days without some form of physical activity. I will be more sensitive, easily tired, and my energy levels go down. This affects how I think and process information, my creativity goes down, feel less confident, and life even becomes more mundane and less vibrant.

I understand that I need to be regularly physically active much like I regularly need food. It doesn't really matter what I do as long as I expend energy in different ways. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to exercise. Finding something that you like doing without having to exert huge effort in getting yourself to do it is the key.

For me it is primarily gardening, fishing, scuba diving, bicycling, walking, swimming, and the odd venture onto the treadmill. All of them done occasionally with other physical activities being done less frequently. Each activity uses my body differently and with the variety, each activity feels fresh.

You have to try different things before you find what you like doing. A friend kept planting the seed to attend a NIA class with her. This is a wonderful combination of many forms of movement in the form of dance. I eventually went and have added it to my list of things that I do 2-3 times a month to stay active.

After the first hour long class (that I did at a very subdued level), I came home and had to nap for an hour! My body was just not used to being moved in every direction, no matter how gently! It is amazing to rediscover and reacquaint your body with movement. I had not been aware of all those different muscles before!

When I attend one of these classes, it reminds me of how much I used to move my body as a child. We forget to just move around, to wiggle, twist, turn, to play until we are tired. It is an amazing workout just to play when you are an adult! We need to be moving our bodies in all directions in all different ways. We need to keep "playing" and use our bodies as much as possible.

Kids run for no reason other than because they can. When is the last time you just ran from one spot to the other for no reason other than you felt like it? A full sprint that does not have to last long, just long enough to feel your legs windmilling in the effort, as fast as you can. It is so much fun and feels so good!

Being active needs to be fun, something you enjoy doing or it is easy to lose motivation. Try new and different things. Challenge your body, slowly at first if you have been inactive, but then step it up! You will find that if it is something that you really enjoy, that you will naturally challenge yourself.

A classic example is from my own life. When I typically go scuba diving, one dive is plenty; I am tired afterwards. Doing two dives was out of the question. I honestly did not think I had the physical energy to climb in and out of the boat with all that heavy equipment more than once and swim for more than 45 minutes. Doing it for an hour felt like a challenge! Then there was the cleaning and 'putting away of all the equipment! I don't even particularly like swimming!

Until I changed my motivation that is. I have discovered lobster season! All of a sudden, I can not only do 4 or 5 dives in the same day with two tanks, I can swim for 2 and half hours without even thinking about it. The only thing making me come out of the water is that there is very little air left in my tank!

This change in perspective fascinates me, especially as it happened quite naturally. Searching for and trying to catch the lobsters is so much fun that I transcended all my self imposed limitations. I honestly did not think I was capable of this extra effort. But it stopped being an effort when I found a different perspective that made it fun.

What will it take for you in your life to have fun and be more active again? To have a focus so intense that you forget about what you thought you couldn't do? What is that carrot that can be dangled in front of you to make something so fun that you want to go out and play again? Pay attention to what catches your eye and keep trying different things until you find what will make you want to play again!


August 24, 2009, 2:45 pm

Cinematization: "Tyson"

I really did not know what to expect when I started to watch this movie other than that it was highly recommended, but I didn't know why. What surprised me the most was the ability of this man to self analyze, to see himself so much more clearly than the average person. To be able to reflect back on oneself, in the public eye no less, takes a great deal of courage.

I think that this movie offers a great example of how to look back upon yourself in the past with little or no judgment. To look at the people in your past and to understand why they acted and reacted the way they did and how and why you reacted to them in turn. Tyson's blunt honesty was refreshing. We all have that ability, we just need to develop it. Many are just too afraid of being judged to go there. Watch this movie to learn how to do this!

To be able to look back at your past with this type of perspective is what allows you to heal your past and to move forward from it with some valuable lessons. If you feel the need to judge your past or the people in it, it is your judgment that keeps you in that past, nothing else. What freedom it is to no longer carry that pain!

We all make mistakes and poor choices along the way. Yet these times are what show us and can teach us what we would like to change. Sometimes it is yourself that you need to change, sometimes it is how you perceive somebody else that needs to change and most of the time it is both at the same time.

In the movie, the controversial ear biting came up. I wondered how that would be dealt with and explained. Tyson passed with flying colors. He explained his actions, held himself accountable, and had moved on from that mistake. He understood why he acted the way he did, why he made that choice, and of course what he learned from that.

As with all of us, Mike Tyson still has a long journey ahead of him. There is always some area of ourselves that can be bettered and improved. But in order to do that, you need to release your past, the influence it has on you now, and to let go of all that judgment that you have and make it what you used to have. It is, in one sense, just that simple!


August 21, 2009, 11:41 am

Narration: A Taoist Tale

In a small village, a farmer met and married a lovely woman.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how good and fortunate this turn of events was. "Maybe" he replied.

The wife became pregnant and died during childbirth.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how bad and unfortunate this turn of events. "Maybe" he replied.

Before the wife died she gave birth to a healthy young boy.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how good and fortunate this turn of events was. "Maybe" he replied.

As the boy got older, he got lost in the woods one day.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how bad and unfortunate this turn of events. "Maybe" he replied

The next day the son returned with a beautiful wild stallion.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how good and fortunate this turn of events was. "Maybe" he replied.

The farmer built a corral, but the horse broke out and ran away.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how bad and unfortunate this turn of events. "Maybe" he replied.

The next week the horse returned with a group of mares.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how good and fortunate this turn of events was. "Maybe" he replied.

The farmer's son tried to ride the horse, but fell off and broke his arm.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how bad and unfortunate this turn of events. "Maybe" he replied.

A war conscripted all the young men. Because of his broken arm, the son was not taken.

The villagers all agreed and told the man how good and fortunate this turn of events was. "Maybe" he replied.

I remember reading this so many years ago I can't remember what book it was in! Yet is this not the story of all our lives? Good, bad, good, bad, good bad? Yet one thing always leads to another, it is inevitable. That is what life is all about. It is about all experiences and to think or only wish for good ones is simply not realistic nor is it possible

So why do so many people want what is not possible? It is far easier to accept that life can go in any direction and to let go of the concept of good and bad altogether. We do not need to think of things as good or bad in order to make the best choices. In fact, labeling and judging events prevents us from seeing things clearly as we get caught up in our own blinding emotional reactions.

Personally, instead of the "maybe" answer I like to think "I don't really know what that means" when I encounter challenging moments or even when things appear to be going great. That allows me to stay stable when life quickly changes direction. I thoroughly enjoy what is "good" and I actively seek to see what I can learn when things are "bad". You can choose to see all life events as opportunities to grow as a person.

What other people think is simply what they think and has no meaning other than what we give it, and does not have to be applied in your own mind. As this quote points out: "What other people think of me is none of my business". Know that you are doing the best that you can with the tools that you have. If you do not like where you are, then find new tools to change yourself because it is something that you want for you!


August 19, 2009, 11:41 am

Manifestation: Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Life is loaded with opportunities. You can see them when you are not in emotional reaction or in judgment of what you see. Case in point is that I get oodles of unsolicited emails through my website. I used to at times feel frustrated or annoyed. Most of the emails I would just delete. Lately though, I have taken a different approach and the results have been quite surprising.

What I have done differently is to read some of those emails with a completely open mind, with a blank curiosity. I have in turn stumbled upon a series of events with just one email. I responded back to this email with questions about what they were doing and how they were doing it and it led to a cascade of information.

From that person's answers, I decided to make some small changes to my website. As I cleaned up a part of it that was outdated, I noticed an opportunity based on the information that I had just gotten. From there I made some more changes. That in turn led me to being in contact with more people, whom when asked, were more than happy to give me information that I needed to make my site even better. It has been a full week of one event leading to another.

This has created a shift in my thinking about what I thought my website needed to contain or how to approach different aspects of it as a business. At times the week has been tiring and even monotonous, but I had goals that I had set for myself, so I kept working until it was done. It is still a work in progress, but at a much higher level, more efficient, and operating more smoothly.

I still have a number of suggestions to follow because as I listen to people's points of view, I like to research them on my own. I usually come up with my own version of a suggestion, if I choose to use it at all. In the research process, I come across even more ideas and then I can incorporate to reach even a higher level than I originally imagined.

Today is the day where it is starting to really come together. Taking control and choosing to take action is empowering and invigorating. Yet if I had judged that first email as needing to go straight to the trash, I never would have embarked on this journey.

In the last week I encountered a number of obstacles as I made my choices and reached a couple of dead ends. But each time, instead of frustration or finding evidence that something wouldn't work, I chose to think about how else can I make this work or what else can I do to use this to my advantage.

Sometimes the answer was to start what I was doing all over again in a different format. Sometimes it meant asking more questions about why do you say that or think that way? How did you come to that conclusion? I only made progress when I kept my emotions and judgment out of it.

By taking the position of curiosity, it has enabled me to communicate to others in a way that they are happy to share with me. I am getting more used to asking for what I want directly. If I do not get the answer or result that I want or was hoping for, I either ask again, point out the value to the other person, or try to find out why that person made their choice. Obstacles actually turn out to be stepping stones.

We frequently don't even realize when and where we are thinking in an old, linear, patterned way until we break free of it. That freedom is what propels the movement forward.

Wherever you feel stuck or feel that you are not getting the results that you want in any are of your life, look to see where you are in any type of reaction or judging what you are seeing. As soon as you let go of it you will start to see the little shiny specks of gold lying around you, waiting for you to find them!


August 17, 2009, 8:15 am

Cinematization: "Doubt"

What a wild ride to get carried back into my childhood and attending Catholic schools! That caught my interest right off the bat, though I am always cautious with religious movies, preferring to being a "free" thinker and all. But this movie was brilliantly written, directed, acted, etc.

You will fall into one of these categories when you watch this movie.

  • You will empathize with the priest, emotionally relating to what it feels like to be wrongly accused of something when you are innocent. That no matter what you do, you cannot convince somebody otherwise.

  • You will empathize with the principal, emotionally relating to what it feels like to be sure of a wrongdoing that you are seeing. You are so right in what you know and see that you will fight to the bitter end to prove yourself right.

  • You will be torn back and forth between these two positions, knowing full well what it feels like to be on both sides of this equation and not really being able to see anything clearly at all!

This is one of those movies that does not decide anything for you. It lets you see yourself in how you emotionally respond to the characters. In it's ambiguity you can clearly see how a persons perceptions affects their choices. And there are always multiple perceptions to choose from.

You can see how a young nuns innocence and is slowly stripped away as she cannot comprehend what is really happening, what to believe on her own, portraying how easy it is to not know what to do, what the "right" choice is. She starts to vent her own frustration and perpetuates the abundant fear based assumptions down the line. Yet her naiveté really doesn't change at all.

Yet is there really a "right" choice? Everyone is always doing the best that they can, given the tools they have to work with. We all make choices, some that work out well, and other choices that harm us or harm other people. It is not always clear. Yet what is important is how you live your life and feel about yourself as you do it. If you don't feel good about it then what do you do? If being "right" is what makes you feel good then what do you do?

The ending to this movie was profoundly moving. It suggested to me that the burden that a person carries from being "right", the harm that it does to that person and the people around them creates tremendous guilt. That heavy weight cannot be carried for very long before it will bend you to the ground. Your only choice is to learn from your experiences so that you can make different choices in the future. That is the only way that you can move on.


August 15, 2009, 12:15 pm

Exploration: The Impact of Big Changes in Our Lives

How many times have we heard or been told to stay in the present moment, not to fret or feel bad about the past, to move on. Well, sometimes we need to grieve the passing of not just people, but events, and even material possessions. This is especially true of big changes and even a series of smaller ones

I found myself feeling resentful and even angry at times over many changes that I recently made, big and small. As people who are familiar with my blog already know, the details are unimportant, it is the understanding and processing of the feelings that is important. I want this lesson to be universally applicable to any situation.

In this series of changes, I had to let go of many things that I was comfortable with, that I enjoyed, that had contributed to creating many years of great memories. That is now all in the past; all old memories now.

Moving on is supposed to be good for us; bringing us new challenges and new experiences so that we keep growing and don't become stagnant. It helps to keep us feeling alive with that movement. As many readers know, that seems to get harder to do as we get older! Whether we realize it or not, we become attached to things (and people) much more than we realize until we have to let them go.

So, it has been half a year since these big changes were made and I still periodically can feel myself trying to hang on to the memories, being angry and resentful that they are only memories now, that I will not be able to experience them again. I needed to look more closely at this.

What was really going on for me? I was having plenty of new experiences, mostly good if not great, none of them bad, some challenging but of course that is normal life. So what is it that makes me want to hang on to and why do I keep craving the past like that?

I kept visualizing the really good times from the last few years and instead of it making me feel good thinking about those memories, I was feeling emotional and sad instead. Time to step back from these emotions and analyze this.

What I finally noticed was that I was looking at the process of grieving. The actual changes were loaded with emotions and it had taken a lot of physical and mental energy to make them. Some parts were almost traumatic to my mind, the attachments were just that strong. My body and mind had needed to rest from the overload. I can see times in the last few months where I withdrew, almost numb, from that overload.

Then came the deep feelings of hurt that started to emerge as the numbness wore off. Yet I wanted to judge myself for having them. I should be grateful and appreciate what I have, stop living in the past, I'm wasting energy, and so on. Every time I judged I suppressed and of course what you suppress only builds!

That explained the recent increase in reliving those past memories. There were so many different ways in which those memories were triggered. Think about the five senses: things I saw, smelled, touched, heard, ate..they all could and would trigger me..many times a day.

The overall feelings were somewhat disturbing, both in an emotional and physical way. There was the contradiction and conflicting feelings of good memories being sad! Every strong emotion that we have is expressed physically in some way. It made me tired; I felt susceptible, vulnerable, and unsafe, making me more easily emotionally reactive on some days. Okay, I can see this more clearly now.

Then of course there was the blame. If only this then that. If this hadn't happened then that wouldn't have happened. With blame comes anger. If somebody had done this or that differently then I wouldn't have had to go through this! Yet it is important to note that if the truth be told, that I agreed to everything one way or another all along the way! :)

Blaming is just my mind trying to rationalize the hurtful feelings to me, to justify their existence. Well, no thank you, that does not work for me! I know that my mind is doing the best it can based on it's understanding of the past, but I want to find a different way of dealing with this because what I am really seeing is how my own mind is trying to interpret events based on the past, on its subconscious patterning.

Anytime we move into blame or get angry, we subconsciously or consciously feel guilty. Guilt is the natural consequence of hurting someone, whether we are aware of it or not. This is also the should've could've would've stage! So let's see what I can do differently here.

Okay, I need to fully allow myself to go through this grieving process while keeping my mind in check. At times I am more sensitive than usual, so I will let people around me know. I will be gentler with myself and softly guide my thoughts into the direction that I want while telling myself "this too shall pass".

I will refocus my mind so that when I do think of a memory that I tell myself point blank "that was a wonderful memory" "that was a great time in my life" "it is okay to feel sad about it, feel it for a moment, then let it go". Each and every time it reappears I will go through some form of this. Each and every memory.

Now that I understand what is happening for me I can move into a space of compassion (which is just deeper understanding) and rather than get stuck in a lack of movement and hanging on to a feeling, I can nudge myself to keep things flowing and moving forward. I remind myself to move more into the role of the observer so that I can watch the emotions rather than get caught up in and amplify them.

My best results always come when I soften, slow down, and understand myself instead of judge; step back from the emotion to observe myself, gently but firmly guide my mind in the direction I want it to go, and then have patience with myself as I adapt to these changes I am making.

I am grateful once again for yet another lesson in life, another opportunity to grow from my experiences, trusting this uniquely complicated process of growth.


August 13, 2009, 1:00 pm

Adaptation: It Really is All in the Perception!

Barbara Walters, formerly of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands, sometimes even further behind them. Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women are happy to maintain the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, 'Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?'

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, 'Land Mines.' "

(By Email)

This is obviously a joke, but it still underlines the fact that when something outside of your control bothers you, there is always another way in which you can choose to look at it. If by some chance this offends you, remember that there is always another way in which you can choose to look at it so that you choose not to feel that way! How you feel is always your choice, whether you are aware of it or not. If you are not aware then choose to learn how to become more aware and make those other choices. It happens one step at a time.


August 11, 2009, 2:48 pm

Relaxation: A Breathing Exercise to Quiet the Mind

Most of us do not realize how much we live "out there" with our awareness, instead of in our bodies and even within our own minds. How many times have you caught yourself thinking about something, only to come to, suddenly notice your surroundings, realize that you were tense, etc. We actually spend the majority of the time missing from our own lives, caught up in thoughts that take us away from ourselves.

One of the best tools that you can use to stay within yourself more is to remember to breath. Yes, just that simple task of focusing on your breath, breathing slowly and deliberately deeply into your body brings you back into yourself and helps you focus on the present moment. If you want to completely distract your mind and shift how you are feeling in this moment, do the following exercise:

Breath in for the count of one (think "one thousand and one" to make it a full one second long and to get a sense of timing) and breath out for the count of one as fast as you think the number. Then breath in for the count of two slowly, also breathing out for the count of two. Keep breathing and increasing the slow count, making equal counts for the in-breath and for the out-breath.

As you get to the slow count of the number 5 and higher for breathing, notice how your muscles start to relax more on the out-breath. As you go even higher in the count, notice your hart beating and try to match the count to the rhythm of your heartbeat. Notice how your body feels. Notice how you can actually feel the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body.

As you do this exercise, if you are physically uncomfortable or lightheaded at any point, note the number that this occurs at and stop. You have reached your maximum. Relax and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Notice different parts of your body and how differently you feel as you look around you. Notice how your thoughts stopped when you did this exercise.

If you can comfortably go higher in your breath count, then do so. Notice how when you breath in very slowly that you can bring in more breath than you ever imagined. Feel your belly as well as your chest expand when you breath in and feel them fall back into place as you breath out. Stop increasing the count when your lungs feel full and you are holding your breath rather than taking more air in.

As you go back to breathing normally you will feel rested and even energized. Your mind will feel clearer and any emotional reactions diminished. It is an overall good feeling. It is important to remember not to push yourself when you do an exercise like this. This is meant to gently nudge you into more self awareness. If you push yourself you reverse the benefits.

So remember to do this exercise any time you want to stop negative thoughts, obsessive thinking, to give yourself a break, to relax the muscles in your body, to ease tensions, or to simply become more present in yourself. Since worrying accomplishing absolutely nothing, use this to clear your mind and then don't be surprised if some interesting solutions come to you in this relaxed, clear space!


August 9, 2009, 12:25 pm

Cinematization: "12"

The movie "12" is a foreign film, nominated for an Oscar. It is intense in the way that it clearly shows how humans have a tendency to automatically act/react without thinking about the consequences. Through a riveting 2 hours and 40 minutes it takes you through the psyches of why people made the choices that they did, based on the their personal influences and interpretation of events.

It is only after questions are asked and the status quo questioned that people start to see the truth about the situation, where the assumptions, even though based on "expert" "facts", are not what they appear to be at all. Slowly the tale unwinds, unveiling personal, political, and social structures that complicate our lives and how we make our choices.

The characters are all so unique and brilliant in their representation of the differences in each of them, differences that are easy to judge, to be repelled by or drawn to, depending on how you see them. There are so many sub-themes that are explained if you read the reviews for the movie on www.rottentomatoes.com.

This is just one of those movies that stirs the soul. It leads you and directs your emotions in such a masterful way that you don't even realize that it is happening. That probably has something to do with having to read the subtitles so quickly that you don't have time to think or judge, you just barely hang on for the ride!


August 8, 2009, 11:26 am

Cinematization: "The Wrestler"

I have watched many movies that I felt had great messages over the years and that was one of the motivators to start a blog, because not everyone sees or hears those messages. I am a movie buff and love to look for those hidden or not so hidden reaffirmations of what I understand about people. Not in how good or bad people are, but in how our psyches work and how it affects our choices and behaviors.

Case in point is the movie "Lars and the Real Girl" which was a phenomenal movie about healing when a community pulls together instead of judging what they don't understand. Yet one young lady that had seen it with her friend could not get past the part of the blow up doll and stopped watching it. When we judge something, we literally and figuratively stop watching, listening, miss the point, and miss many opportunities. Life is truly all about how we choose to see it.

The movie "The Wrestler" was a big surprise. It is not often I see a movie so highly rated, at 98%, on rottentomatoes. Even now, 2 days after watching it, it still brings up many emotions about the character, an aging professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" brilliantly played by Mickey Rourke. Where do I begin describing my experience of it?

There is such sadness about seeing the direction that lives can go, the broken illusions and dreams. How when a person defines their own value externally and that external value is stripped away, how there is little of nothing left in them. I found parts of this movie to be just about heartbreaking, yet in a fascinating way.

You see how The Ram is so caught in the cycle of what he knows, of what he is familiar with, that warning bells should go off in your head as you watch it. How are we still making choices that lead us to the same consequences throughout our lives? It is so easy to look at another person and see what they could change about themselves to make their lives easier, to bring in that love that they desperately crave. But what about taking that hard look inside your own life?

One of the interesting points in the movie is when the Ram works at the deli. When his mind is clear and open, he turns his job into an art form. The delight of the scene flows off of the screen. Conversely, when he is in fear of judgment and is adversely affected by the consequences of his choices, where his mind and soul are heavy, his job becomes a nightmare. Everything builds up and boils over. It was a brilliant example of how our perceptions and state of mind affect our experiences.

Some of the scenes are painful to watch, both from a physical as well as emotional viewpoint. A person's body can only take so much abuse. Whatever we subject our bodies to does come back full circle in all of us. This movie is also poignant in how even when a person wants to change, they don't because they just don't know how.

It reflects back to each of us that hurting place inside that we just don't know how to heal on our own, how we just continue the cycle that is subconscious within us. The saddest past is how just a few attempts at change end up becoming evidence to support that hurtful cycle. We end up reinforcing how unlovable and rejectable we are in our own minds instead of persisting and trying again and again until we do finally get it right.

Yet The Ram has an inner strength to him, where he sees how the choices he makes create his reality and they bring him to the edge of change. He goes into his own vulnerability, the space where changes can be made. But a series of misperceptions and self judgment stop that opportunity. It is that feeling of getting so close that totally captured me as a viewer. You get so drawn into his character because of this and for many more reasons.

As with many great movies the ending is ambiguous. A combination of does he "win" or does he "lose"? I guess that is all up to how you choose to see it. At one level he does win in what he knows best, but on another level he loses by giving up in pursuing those changes that he had hoped and strived for and felt he had lost.


August 6, 2009, 1:59 pm

Recreation: How to Stop Gossip

Mildred, the town gossip and self-appointed monitor of the town's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several town members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new town member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one after noon.

She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that every one seeing it there
WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny.

He said nothing .

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house .. walked home .. and left it there all night !!!

Source: Unknown through email.

I will never get tired of saying this. When you don't go into emotional reaction you can access your creativity and find solutions outside the box. A person could argue that what Frank did was hurtful to Mildred, yet that would only be the meaning that you apply to the situation. The action on its own has no meaning other than the one you give it!

I like to envision Frank as the kind of guy who understood that a person who gossips has a lot of fear that they make up for by trying to important and have value in other people's eyes. They lack a healthy sense of self value and do not know how to be any different than they are. Judging them only causes them to feel even more inferior and resentful, increasing the need to be self important.

If Mildred chooses to go into emotional reaction and be hurt by Frank's actions, then she drives herself further into the catch-22 cycle of resentment, anger, guilt, punishment, and sacrifice. Yet there is always an opportunity to grow and learn from every situation. She can choose to see how she made an assumption and gave the situation a fear-based meaning that did not exist. From that one simple lesson she could make far different choices in the future.

One little (or big) step at a time!


August 5, 2009, 4:59 pm

Recommendation: PBS Program "Excuses Be Gone" Dr. Wayne Dyer

Last night I caught Dr. Wayne Dyer's "Excuses Be Gone" program on PBS. I highly recommend that everyone look at their local PBS station schedule and watch this program. I have been following (let's just call him Wayne for ease of typing) Wayne's evolution over the years and he is always coming up with new angles and approaches to changing ourselves. His latest incarnations has left me with a number of things to ponder.

First and foremost is that "anything is possible". Yes, yes we have heard that before, but until you have heard it in context of Wayne's presentation, you just didn't know how much meaning it really had! It becomes yet another tool in our arsenal to change our belief systems as rapidly as we can.

He really is a man after my own heart in that he is not afraid to show himself exactly as he is. We all have patterns, we all have something to work on in ourselves. He has learned to find much humor in how he talks about himself and I admire that quality, especially when you can have such wonderful humor about yourself without putting yourself down. There is much to learn from him!

To help us put things into even better perspective, he also told the viewers about and had us meet Dan Caro. Just thinking about his story and seeing his face on his website brings up much emotion. Watch the video about him. Anyone who can be joyous about taking 7 years to learn how to tie his shoes gets high marks in my book as someone that I can learn a lot from.

Another highlight of what Wayne said was phrased in such great logic that I don't know if I can do it justice, but I will give it my best shot and at the very least I will reinterpret it in different words for you! You will just have to watch the program to witness his excellent dueling with his own words.

Everyone has thoughts of what they worry about, can't do, etc. Yet does this mean that this is what will happen or that this is the truth? Well, as long as any other possibility exists, then how you can argue that the original thought is the truth? In fact, as long as any other possibility exists you don't know that that is the truth. So, if that thought is then not the truth, why not choose another thought, one that is about what you want and that makes you feel good! You are always going to think thoughts, so that other one that makes you feel good may as well become your truth. Choose that other thought instead!

Ultimately all personal growth is about changing what is happening in your mind. You have control over your thoughts whether you are aware of it or not. The sooner you become aware of this and work on those previously automatic and subconscious thoughts, the sooner you will be able to experience a life with far more joy and far less pain.

BTW, in reference to my last posting: the shift in my perception has worked. Now when I look at a "mess", I feel wonderful! LOL! It no longer stresses me out because it is an opportunity to get what I want. For the last two and a half days I have been far more efficient than I have ever been and accomplishing much more in a smaller amount of time with the increase in focus and energy

The best part is that I have been able to maintain a feeling or happiness and even joy when I look at what I see, what still needs to be done. I can sense the tendency for that old pattern of wanting to feel overwhelmed at times and I just remind myself of the wonderful opportunity that is there for me and it works!

The old pattern is completely replaced by feeling good about where I am right now in the moment and not putting any meaning to what needs to be done. I'm not even going to call them "messes" any more, just my creativity expressing itself and waiting for direction! What "perfect" timing to see Wayne's presentation, reinforcing what I know needs to happen inside of myself and in all of us.


August 3, 2009, 9:10 am

Observation: Changing Cleaning From Obstacle to Opportunity!

Yesterday was a challenging day. I had to finish unpacking a number of boxes and get the house uncluttered and clean. So much to do that I feel pressure around getting "it" all done. It had been a few days already of not having time to do this. It is Sunday, but there is no taking a day off, no resting or relaxing, almost a punishing attitude. Even this morning there is still a list of things to finish cleaning.

This does not allow for much happiness to enter! By the end of the day I recognize that I must give myself time and permission to rest and play. There will always be a to do list; it is an illusion to think that I can ever do enough to "get caught up". Thinking this way only makes me tired, makes what I need to do a drudgery, and I become resentful for having to do it. This is a great example of how NOT to approach life. Yet we all fall victim to this attitude once in a while

The thing about personal growth and making changes in oneself is that there is not a straight line of growth. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Or, there are more challenging days and there are days that just are easier. The more work I do on myself, the more easier days that I have.

On the days where my mind "hijacks" me, I know enough to not judge myself for having that challenging day and to just get through it. I do have the wherewithal curb negative or limiting thoughts and say no to them as they happen. I go to bed early knowing that there is a high probability that I will wake up feeling different and I do. I now look back on yesterday to try to understand what was happening in my mind that created so much meaning.

What I do is to first look for the assumptions and the limiting beliefs that my mind was hanging on to. In everyone's life there is frequently not just one challenge, but a number of challenges that are concurrent. We can't compare our lives to other people or to look at others and say that somebody else has it better or worse than we do. To do so is truly meaningless.

We really do not know what is happening in the lives and in the minds of anyone else. If we do compare, we are making very big assumptions. The assumptions are made based on the external view that we have of others. No one's mind is completely free of fear and everyone has their own set of challenges. From that perspective we are all the same. We can only effectively look within ourselves to work trough those fears and see that they are not real.

Yesterday was just one of those days when the illusion became stronger than my knowledge. It just happens sometimes, yet when it does it becomes a goldmine of information for me to examine and learn from. I choose to see it as another aspect of myself that is coming up for healing and an opportunity to release myself from even more limitations.

I look to see how I have been subconsciously equating my peace of mind with how my house looks. Even though having a clean and uncluttered house feels good, I need to change the meaning of how I what I currently "have" to do to get there. It is a catch-22 of my own mind that I would like to now change. I am going to bring that subconscious piece of my mind into my consciousness to change it.

Ironically, if I can let go of all the meaning that my mind has around this, then cleaning and picking up will not be a chore. It becomes a pleasure to see it from the focus of the process and the outcome. When there is chaos, can I challenge my mind to see that it does not have any meaning? That things will resolve themselves as they need to?

Taking on that contemplative attitude is really nice, but I also understand that the process of creation involves action. If I want something, I choose to focus on what I want without any good or bad meanings, to just know that I want it. But I will also need to take steps towards what I want. Steps that are different than what I have been choosing.

Many people mistakenly believe that the process of creation is to want something, then sit back and let it happen. Seriously? As soon as you sit back and wait you create your own inertia. Nothing happens and nothing changes. It doesn't really matter how you move towards what you want, but you must be actively taking steps forward .without applying any meaning to your current experience.

What generally stands in the way of what we want to create in our lives is the fears, judgments, and limiting beliefs. So this is what I will be working on: identifying and releasing the meaning that I give to cleaning. I love having a clean, uncluttered house. It feels good to me. But I will not be able to consistently have that as long as I believe that it is endless, that it is hard work, that I don't like doing it, that it is a chore, even that having clutter means something bad.

My observation: I have in the past chosen to reinforce what I have been taught from a very early age. That cleaning had to be done all at once and that I had to sacrifice something in order to have that (Saturday morning cartoons back when that was the ONLY day that they were on!). Yet if I think creatively outside of the box I can make it be a different experience for me now.

So I will strip the meanings as I see them come up, changing my behaviors by putting more attention towards picking things up as I go along, focus more on how I want things to feel, to look, to smell, using as many of my senses to remind me about what is good about the process and to keep focused on what I want to create. I will let you know how this goes!

P.S. Almost instantly (9:15 am) I see a shift.. I walk past something that I hadn't yet gotten to. Instead of seeing it as an obstacle to what I wanted as I had the last few days, I noticed that it feels like an opportunity to get what I want. Wow, how great is that!


July 2011 Coaching Blog 


July 31, 2009, 1:47pm

Transformation: What You Choose to Believe In Action

I watched a show on TV last night about people with supposed "super human" abilities. It had a segment about a person called the ice man, Wim Hof. He has developed the ability to change his bodies response to extremely cold temperatures, withstanding the type of cold that would normally kill or seriously injure the rest of us.

The body is wired to believe that it must protect itself from extremely cold temperatures, that they are a threat to the body. "A normal response might include intense pain, cardiovascular stress and mounting hysteria". In the TV show, as ice was poured around Wim, it was said that his heart rate should have instantly jumped up as the body sought to protect itself.

Yet Wim is not only capable of controlling his heart rate to the point where the heart monitors could not detect ANY change in his heart rate as he first sat in a bathtub with ice up to his chin, as if nothing was happening to him, his core temperature barely changed the whole time. He does what doctors consider to be impossible to do.

What I found particularly fascinating is that he was able to change his body's automatic response system to severe cold. This automatic response system to keeping the body safe from potential danger is very similar to if not the same as the fight or flight response that keeps us safe from potential physical danger.

Wim's ability is indicative of just how much power we have available in our minds to control and overcome fear (apprehension about a possible or probable situation or event). The more we believe in our fears and focus on them, reinforcing the subconscious notion that we are somehow unsafe, the more that fear can overcome us. Yet we can change our automatic emotional reactions by simply choosing to do so and then practicing the new behavior slowly over time to recondition and rewire the brain.

This fight or flight response is intended to keep our bodies safe. Yet our minds have over time mistakenly interpreted emotional situations to be threatening to the body. The wires have been crossed and this new unnecessary programming is being reinforced by societies acceptance of it.

The fight or flight response does NOT have to be part of your daily experience. It is far easier to overcome than what Wim is doing. It does however take increased self awareness. It takes being willing to work on yourself and letting go of the belief that feeling hurt is outside your control.

Just like Wim chooses not to feel hurt by the cold, you can choose not to be hurt emotionally. He regulates his core temperature, you can regulate the meaning that you give to what you hear and see. He uses the power of his mind to focus on being safe; you can use the power of your mind to focus on being safe emotionally.

The world is our oyster! (Now who the heck thought that one up!!)


July 30, 2009, 12:55pm

Determination: A Puzzle to Be Solved With Trial and Error

I am so thrilled that I was finally able to find a way to stop the automatic spammers from submitting comments. I had tried so many different things, including just deleting them as they came in, but it got to the point where I was getting 30-50 a day. Far too many to have to delete manually.

So I went on the internet again to try to find yet another simple solution. Since I do all my own work on this website, I only have so much knowledge. But even with all the information available on the internet, I could only find complicated solutions. But in my research, I did find out that the main purpose of spamming is to get additional exposure for websites so that they appear to be more important and rank higher in search engines by appearing so many times in so many places (read ..as spam on other peoples blogs and such).

Some of the solutions involved adding programming to a website that would recognize the http:// that precedes each website address. A programmer I am not! I use FrontPage, which has most of the coding built-in. To be able to catch the string of characters and make my site delete spammers comments but not real peoples comments is beyond me and not important enough to spend weeks learning!

So instead I took these new pieces of information and went back to the basics of how the comment submissions are handled. I knew how that process happened fairly well, but nothing came immediately to mind. So I started to just explore all the different options that the comment form had built into it.

Lo and behold I saw a possibility that could work! If I only allowed characters and digits to be submitted in the comment form, then the spam submissions would get an error message and would be thwarted! Of course if somebody does want to mention a website for a reason relevant to the discussion, I can manually add that for them.

Since I "stumbled" onto this very basic solution, voila, no spam! So I can now allow readers to submit comments directly to the blog. The reason why I write about this is because I could have given up anywhere along the way. I spent hours researching and looking up how to stop spam on quite a few different occasions and reached many dead ends or solutions that just didn't feel right.

In this process I gathered up little bits and pieces of information that eventually led me not only to find my own solution, but a far simpler one than everyone else was talking about. I didn't do it all it one in one day. It took a few weeks of trying different things, varying my approach, thinking of the problem from different angles before a solution was found. When I got frustrated I would stop, not because I was giving up, but because I knew I need to give my mind a break and a rest and give it time to contemplate the information it had gathered.

A typical life experience. There are no problems, there are only solutions waiting to be found!


July 27, 2009, 11:32 am

Explanation: Change = Awareness - Old Beliefs + New Choices

What do I talk about when I don't think I have anything to talk about for my blog? Let's see where my mind will take me! My personal theme for the blog is to always provide useful information that people can apply to themselves to help them grow, much like in my Ezines.

I remember the earlier stages of my own personal growth where I would read or hear something new, but did not know how to apply what I was reading or hearing to my own personal experience. I would eagerly take in new information, but other than getting a new idea in my head, I rarely experienced a significant shift in my daily life. I felt like there was a big chasm between the knowledge and how to actually make it a part of me.

There is a vast amount of information out there that we can readily take in. There are so many ways in which similar points are expressed that there really is something for everyone. That is the great part. But unless you can apply it to your day to day experiences, just how useful is that information to you? You are not a library; you are a human being who has free will and the ability to make different choices. It is those different choices that will make a difference for you.

The main purpose in what I do is to teach you how to stop experiencing angst (a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity), to shortcut the growth process so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. After you get to a certain point in your growth, you start to rely more on yourself and your innate wisdom to continue to change, but we all need help when we start our personal journeys.

The reason why we need this help initially is because our minds are so cluttered with beliefs that hurt us more than they help us. Yet the nature of these beliefs is such that we are largely unaware of their influence on us. To the average person reading this, I even wonder what this actually means to them?

From the people that I have helped, the most consistent results come from being willing to let go of old beliefs and replacing them with different ones. That is it in a nutshell. That is all that you have to do change your beliefs, which means that you eventually change the meaning of many thoughts and ideas that you previously took for granted.

Knowing how your current beliefs influence your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and choices is pretty much the definition of self awareness. The journey of increasing self awareness is never judgmental. It is only the process of observing yourself. Through that clear observation you see what it is that you want to change.

Just knowing what you want to change is not enough. Once you CLEARLY see what you want to change you can develop strategies to change it. What do I mean by clearly? I mean that you look for and find the belief underneath what it is that you want to change. Why do you have that belief to begin with, where did it come from, what fear am I not aware of that is fueling that belief?

When you make the shift from a belief being subconscious to it being in your awareness, then you are seeing it clearly. Yet the nature of being unaware is tricky. If you are not aware of something, how the heck do you even know that you need to change something, never mind know how to change it, or what you want to change it to? Can you see how easy it is to get stuck? That is why the world has life coaches and counselors! :)

Some clues that you can look for to help you see where you are lacking awareness are: are you blaming somebody or something else for your experience? Are you unhappy, frustrated, feeling a lack of contentment? Then there is something going on in your subconscious mind that needs to be brought into your awareness and changed.

When you take action and make that change within yourself is when you will actually be able to create different results. Without the component of action, change is not possible. All the wishing in the world, all the best intentions, all the prayer in the world will not make a difference if YOU do not make that choice to choose a different thought, belief, or behavior.

Your experience in and of the world really is in your own hands. If you get even the smallest little taste of this kind of growth it becomes like a drug. You will get hooked and you just will not be able to get enough. Join me on this path .. it is an incredible journey!


July 23, 2009, 3:16 pm

Self Examination: I Can Learn From My Own Behaviors

I had an interesting incident happen yesterday that had a great lesson. Details are not necessary other than a basic description. It is a incident that occurred when another driver made a decision that affected me that I did not agree with. In fact, my mind argued, I know the rules of the road inside and out and what they did endangered me and would be ticketed if observed by a cop.

I had my righteous argument. I was angry and frustrated at their action. I really wanted an opportunity to pass them and stop in front of them to confront them. Of course that was an unreasonable reaction and would have perpetuated exactly that attitude which I was so affronted by. Interesting automatic reaction.

Lo and behold this vehicle pulls off into a gas station. How many time have I been told NEVER take the risk of confronting somebody as they may have a gun. Gun be damned, I pulled in behind them. I was tired of being afraid. Besides, didn't I know how to handle this, being armed with so much "knowledge"?

Off I stomped to politely ask the driver why he did what he did. Again the details are unimportant. He told me why he chose his behavior, based on what he had perceived as me doing wrong, justifying his choice, and I told what he had done wrong in choosing his behavior, based on what I perceived him as doing wrong.

No nasty words were exchanged, just a lot of frustration on both parts and nothing was resolved. I walked away more frustrated and angry than before because he wouldn't agree with me! Many deep breaths and much thinking later, I took apart the situation going backwards in the events as they unfolded.

I obviously had been in fight or flight (FOF). Increased heart rate, tunnel vision .. tunnel understanding! I needed to keep working backwards. What had I assumed that had caused me to apply the meaning that I had been somehow attacked or affronted? How did that assumption cause me to not feel safe and go into FOF?

This was a tough one. I had to think for a while and look at many different angles before my mind would allow me to see the truth of what happened. It wanted so desperately to be right(eous).

right - adj. - acting or judging in accordance with truth or fact

righteous - adj. - arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality

This is what I concluded. In the beginning, while in the car, I had had multiple choices. Sometimes circumstances are entirely out of our control, but how we deal with events will always show us where we are subconsciously letting ourselves be out of control.

However, I knew that from the beginning I could have made a different choice that would have avoided this situation. I had chosen not to. In fact, if I am completely honest with myself, I know that my initial inaction pushed the buttons of the other driver, putting into action the sequence of events that I reacted to.

Once I was in the situation, I chose to give meaning to what the driver decided to do. The meaning I gave: "He should have chosen to take a different action, one of the ones that I would have chosen. He was wrong to take any other action". Hmmmm.

I then chose to take his actions personally. I chose to get angry because he made a choice different than one that I would have made in his shoes. It does not matter that this was mostly happening in my subconscious mind. I have the ability to look at my subconscious reaction, make them conscious, and choose different actions in the future.

In mulling over what the other driver told me he did and his justifications for doing so, I knew that I had to shift my perception of the situation if I was to come to peace with it. I understood enough to know that he had a set of beliefs, right or wrong, that he fully believed in. His belief system was based on a form of fear and limited belief.

The actual details are unimportant, I cannot emphasize that enough.

It is enough to know that he made his choice on his current belief system. I cannot change another person. Yet that was in essence what I was trying to do by choosing to stop to talk to him. You cannot get a resolution when you are in fight or flight or by trying to change somebody's belief. But this was not about him. This was about me and my choices.

In those moments I absconded my self responsibility and subconsciously chose to think that what I was feeling was somebody else's fault. That another persons actions caused me to feel anger. That is nonsense.

non·sense - noun - (1):language, conduct, or an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense(2): an instance of absurd action

My own belief system caused me to feel anger. Had I had this understanding when the situation happened, I just would have observed his behavior, knowing that man is acting out of a fear based belief and it has nothing to do with me. In reality I was never in danger.

Yet there is still that nagging question of how did I feel unsafe? That took me even more reflection because my mind did not want to fully let go just yet. All minds want to appear to be strong and powerful. To tell the truth about what is happening is considered to be a weakness in most people's minds. Yet the opposite is true. By being able to face the truth within myself, it actually gives me the strength of will to make lasting changes. It really is fascinating.

So how I felt unsafe was a result of a creation in my own mind. It got all worked up over the "fact" that somebody "could have" gotten hurt. This man had taken a potentially dangerous action against me it argued. My mind created this whole reaction because it wanted to be in control and could not be.

By working through this incident the way I have, I reach yet another level of understanding and compassion. The most interesting thing that I have observed about my life is that when I create shifts in my own belief system and take responsibility for how I feel, events like this happen to me less and less

I have felt for a long time that life is like a series of tests. When you can finally figure out what is really happening and remove your judgment, you pass these tests and you stop getting them. This is of course the process of bringing your subconscious or unconscious responses into your consciousness so that you choose your responses and do not react out of judgment and fear.

PS. It was still unsafe driving that I reported to the police with a license plate number. I cannot control another persons behaviors, but there are more effective choices that I can make than to go into emotional reaction


July 20, 2009, 11:56 am

Partner Relation: Do You Really Understand Them?

Whenever 2 people first meet, spend time together, and form a relationship, everything about this person is just so new! Our curiosity is at its peak, wanting to know everything we can about this person who is so different from us, so intriguing in their thoughts, feelings, and actions. We eat it up, we soak it up, we revel in this newness.

Until we start to think about what it all means..to us.

Over time, the only thing that really changes is how we perceive our partner. They are who they are, who they were when we first met them, but then we start to judge what we see. Somebody can only be different than us for only so long before we start to apply our meanings of how things should be and how they should be.

I would never do that if I were them, we think to ourselves as we start to compare how this other person is acting to choices that we think we would make if we were in their shoes. But the act of comparison is not enough. Our minds start to label it as bad or good and as right or wrong.

Over time we become so sure we are right about how we are experiencing our partners that we make no bones about letting them know just how we feel. It can be with the choice of words, with intonations, with facial and body gestures, and with our choices.

We, in essence, tell them that we have judged them found them guilty, and found them to be lacking. That there is something wrong with them because they are not more like us. We start to get annoyed, irritated and angry. Our partners feel judged and become defensive.

Conversely, we judge them and find them guilty of being better then us to find ourselves lacking. That there is something wrong with us because we are not more like them. We feel like we are being judged by our partners and become defensive.

You both have been doing this to the other. This type of judging and finding fault and the act of comparing escalates, forming the basis for attacks. This is never one sided. Sometimes one half will be more vocal and the other half more withdrawn. It doesn't matter because the attack and blame thoughts are the same, whether they are outwardly spoken or held in secret.

The way each individual sees it is that it is typically the other persons fault. In reality the external issue, or the problem with the other person, is irrelevant. It is a cover for your own judgments which you feel you are justified in having. What happens when each person feels that they are under attack, their behavior changes. People get defensive, angry, and attack back. Back and forth until there is little to no understanding left of each other.

The meaning that you have given your partner's words and actions is based on the assumption that your partner should be more like you think he or she should be. Can your mind admit that even a little of this may have happened in your relationship? Or is your mind is so sure that you are right that you have lost the will to do anything about it. What are you choosing?

If something is not done to break this cycle, then the relationship will reach a point of crisis, where it becomes increasingly more difficult to salvage your relationship. Yet so many people wait until they are in crisis before they reach out for help. It is far easier to make changes when you are not in crisis.

The irony is that when you learn to stop judging your partner, they change on their own. When you stop judging you also stop attacking. When you stop attacking a safe environment is created for your relationship to grow and thrive in a healthy way. A new healthy cycle is created.

You have free will to make different choices in how you see your partner and to change the meaning you give to their words, thoughts, and actions. If you don't use it, you will not be free.


Vivian
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
04:46:31 PM

My greatest passion in life has been one word "sharing". Been able to hear people share their innermost true feeling leaves me with a feeling of pure joy which gives me sanity throughout.


Ewa
Thursday, July 23, 2009
10:06:31 AM

Hi Vivian. When I read what you write about sharing, it makes me think of my own experiences. As a toddler I always wanted to share everything I had, toys included! Of course, over time I learned that that was not a trait that was encouraged. As I took on the limiting beliefs around me, sharing became giving in order to get something in return. It has taken many years of personal growth to return back to the feeling of sharing from the fullness of myself without any fears or from wanting anything in return. Sharing of ourselves, of our true nature is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. It is the state of being who you naturally are without judgment or fear.


July 16, 2009, 1:56 pm

Quotation: There is Much to Learn From Others

I thought I would share with you some of my all time favorite quotes.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. A Course In Miracles

To observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence. Jiddu Krishnamurti

Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everyone is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. Eckhart Tolle

Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe. Buddha

A flash of enlightenment offers a preview of coming attractions, but when it fades, you will see more clearly what separates you from that state -- your compulsive habits, outmoded beliefs, false associations, and other mental structures. Just when our lives are starting to get better, we may feel like things are getting worse - because for the first time we see clearly what needs to be done. Dan Millman

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought. Peace Pilgrim

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. Wayne Dyer

Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature. Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain. Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness. Paramahansa Yogananda

A person does not have to be behind bars to be a prisoner. People can be prisoners of their own concepts and ideas. They can be slaves to their own selves. Maharaji

Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. What you see reflects your thinking. And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see. A Course In Miracles

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease. Eckhart Tolle

Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others. David R. Hawkins

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Thomas Merton

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. A Course In Miracles


Christine Jacobsen
Thursday, July 16, 2009
06:38:38 PM

I love some of these quotes, especially the ones by Buddha, Parmahansa and Eckhart Tolle. I am so happy to have found your website, I think you have so much to offer. I am a licensed mental health counselor, and I am exploring the uses of technology on mental health, art, counselor education and secondary education. I wish you well in all your endeavors. 'Christine


Ewa
Saturday, July 18, 2009
12:03:23 PM

Thank you Christine! Enjoy all the exploration and I hope you find some great creative ways to express what is inside of you.


July 14, 2009, 2:55 pm

Modification: Oops, I Made a Mistake!

Well, this is certainly a learning curve. In my attempts to find ways to handle the automatic spammers, I have managed to delete the first comment I received as well as my response to it!

This is a long shot request given how new this blog is, but does anyone, original poster included, possibly have a copy of the comment and response about ethical dilemmas? If so, please be so kind as to send it to me and if not, that's life!


July 13, 2009, 2:05 pm

Just a quick entry. I saw this last night when I was wandering around on my favorite astrology site: http://www.cainer.com/ and thought it was great:

"Cheer up, it may never happen! Unless of course, it has just happened In which case, cheer up anyway because now that it has happened, it probably won't happen again. Unless of course, it is just about to happen. In which case, perhaps you should carry on being fretful in case this helps to stop it from happening. But if it hasn't happened by now, it probably isn't going to happen. Don't try to tiptoe through the quagmire of anxiety. It will only suck you in no matter how carefully you tread. Walk away from it."

Great advice for all of us when we feel anxiety or are under stress.


July 11, 2009, 10:35 am

Neutralization: A How to on Stress (Fight or Flight) Deconstruction

What I have been noticing is that when I "put in my order" for how want to feel in the morning, that I have to keep reminding myself about it throughout the day. Yes, I want to be happy today, is the first thing I usually think. Easy enough, right? Well yes, until life gets in the way!

I start thinking about what is on my to do list and get caught up in trying to organize my day, starting with the morning. If there is anything challenging or that I don't know the answers for, my mind instantly wants to start to "be concerned" (my new words for worrying!) about how to handle those situations. Well, guess what..I forget to be happy as my mind hijacks my attention.

So, I remind myself to just feel the happiness. It can become like a tug of war, where my mind want its autonomy and wants all the attention about what IT thinks should be the highest thing on the agenda and it wants it NOW. It is as if it is presiding over a meeting where nobody else is allowed to speak. I don't think so! I keep throwing "I want to be happy" back at it over and over!

This process is actually very funny. I do have a situation this morning where I have made a mistake that I need to correct. I can feel the stress in my body, my muscles tightening up, my breathing becoming shallow. All my mind wants to do is to fret over it. Well let's see if we can throw that old dog a bone to chew on and shake to death all it wants, because I want to be happy.

So, step one, identify the fear, which is: because I made the mistake it will affect two other people's decisions adversely. The fear my mind is running with is that I will be rejected for my mistake. Yet if I think it through logically, all the possible outcomes are still there and it does not make sense that my mind is telling me that only the worst ones will happen

That is nonsense. If I allow my mind to continue on that track, it would immobilize me or if I allowed it to continue to evolve, I would make some poor choices in my communication with these two people. So I think about the possible ways that can deal with this situation and can think of a few different things that I can say or do to work with my error and turn it into something positive.

Part of the challenge is that I need to wait. I cannot just jump into forcing a solution when it is not the time for it. Yet I can't sense or know when the right time to take action is when my mind and body are tense, or are getting ready to take action..out of a reactive state. Not okay.

So now I focus on deep, slow breathing. It helps to stop the automatic mindless thinking (fretting) when I do this. I focus on the happiness that I want to feel as an additional distraction for the mind, helping my body relax bit by bit. It helps to slowly allow my mind to put things into perspective. This definitely is helping.

Seeing the humor and innocence helps tremendously as well. So does picturing my own mind as an actual dog shaking whatever it has in its mouth and refuses to let go of! I also imagine the tenseness as excitement. Excitement about having a new puzzle to solve, for a solution to be found; being grateful even for having another opportunity to learn and grow from.

It all seems to be working pretty well. I add to my "order" to have peace of mind. That really helps me to relax. Having a good, healthy breakfast also contributes to feeling better. My next step will be to work on my challenge and take whatever little action I can right now, then I will go do something physical (cleaning this morning!) to work off the stress hormones that will take a little time to resolve themselves. Well done!

How's your morning?


July 9, 2009, 1:37 pm

Creation: Contentment, Curiosity, and Creativity

What I have been recently observing about myself is that when you do the work to release various forms of fear and judgment that you are left with a big, blank canvas to work with. Until you reach that point it is easy to underestimate how much of your being that fear consumes. And consume is the right word because it literally eats you up from the inside out.

When you remove something from within you, you need to replace it with something else. This is one of the basic premises of creating what you want in your life. In my journey I keep aiming for more peace of mind, a deeper sense of contentment, and more understanding. Yet even this is not enough.

Every morning when I wake up, I put in my "order" for the day. I want high energy levels and I want to get my work done efficiently (a must have for the self employed!). I also want to enjoy the breaks that I have in between. There must be a balance of pleasure with the commitments and responsibility. Yet the sense of responsibility is always there in the back of my mind. I think I need to change my order!

I want to feel happy even more than I do. I want to be conscious of my happiness. Being so introspective I tend to be more conscious of what I want to change, always striving to become a better person. I forget that just being happy also makes me a better person.

That contentment that I mentioned..what good is it if I forget to feel it?! Honestly, it is so easy to get caught up in all the details of our lives that we forget to embody these positive qualities that are accessible within us! So, more focus on remembering. Remembering to feel light hearted again.

I went exploring the other day with a friend. Something I haven't done in many years if not decades, just wandering around for sake of wandering around with no other goals (except to get some exercise). Taking a kayak and exploring the shoreline, occasionally wading and looking for treasures. It was delightful. The mind stayed present and open.

There is such value in remembering the qualities within us from our childhoods .. the good parts of course! Open curiosity, no predetermined meanings, creativity at its peak and no judgment on the thoughts that flow out of your mind when in that open space

I want more of where that came from! I think my new goal will be to incorporate that part of me into the "serious" side of things, of my responsibilities, of my "to do" list, of the details of my daily existence. Sure there are hurdles and challenges, at some points many of them, but to put more than the absolutely necessary focus (to find solutions and resolutions) on them no longer makes any sense to me


July 6, 2009, 3:57 pm

Clarification: The Many Different Faces of Fear

I hope that everyone had a great independence day and enjoyed their weekend. In terms of personal growth, make it your goal to become emotionally independent, where you are full of love, spirit, creativity, and spontaneity instead of fear, doubt, and worry.

After my last post, it occurred to me that there are people out there who do not fully understand the different forms that fear comes in. So I thought I would clarify and show how it can appear in your life. As you read this, you will understand more of why it is so important to raise your self awareness so that you can work through some of your fears yourself.

There are the obvious forms that fear comes in, such as: phobia, dread, anxiety, panic, angst, insecurity, stress, depression, etc. Then of course there is fear of change, confinement, constancy, death, pain, illness, loneliness, not having a (good) source of income, etc.

Then there is anger, annoyance, bitterness, hatred, resentment, prejudice, judgment, being "right" (as opposed to conviction of beliefs..a topic for a future posting!), any belief that causes you to feel a negative emotion towards another person is fear based. Underneath any of those labels is a fear of getting hurt, being misunderstood, having been wronged, or of somebody being that much different than you (our partners being no exception..).

People can also have fears of beneficial aspects of life: love, commitment, self actualization, public speaking, the future, success, etc. Fear can also be subtler and come in the form of doubt, needing to be liked or admired, in how you look, what other people think of you, needing to please another (at home, work, socially, etc.), getting older, irritability, etc.

Even the most "successful" and "powerful" people experience fears. How we define our value is a prime breeding ground for fear. If you define your value externally and feel your value lies in being a good partner, parent, in your accomplishments, physical abilities, your looks, etc., what happens when your circumstances change and you no longer have those qualities with which to judge your value? How many of you have experienced fear or doubt about your value?

How about speaking the truth about how you feel in all situations? This includes your relationships, with family, at work, with friends, in social environments, etc. Do you have a fear of conflict? How do you handle an aggressive personality? Are you what you would call a peacemaker for others? What subtle or not so subtle fear is underneath that?

I can imagine the thoughts and comments already..but being a peacemaker is a "good" thing. Well, not the way most people do it and usually for the wrong reasons if done out of any form of fear. How self aware are you and how honest are you with yourself about this?

There is a simple test to tell if what you are feeling is a result of some form of fear, obvious or subtle. Is what you are thinking or feeling making you feel good or does it make you feel bad? If it is the latter, then you have some form of fear at the root of what you are thinking and feeling.

Keep exploring and looking to identify what that fear might be. It is only then that you will have the power to make a different choice. Notice what you do when you are not feeling good. How do you compensate for it? How do you tend to "deal with" what you feel? Do you numb out, overeat, over stimulate yourself, block out, over analyze, zone out, go into avoidance, etc?

As you make these observations about yourself do you use those observations to then beat yourself up? That is even more fear. We fear that we are not good enough in some way and then feel the need to punish ourselves, creating that cycle of guilt, punishment, and sacrifice

This prevalence of the different forms of fear is why it is almost an obsession of mine to help other ferret out the different forms and bring a sense of peace into peoples lives. It is, without a doubt, a passion of mine!

I am finding that blogging is such an interesting process so far..I never know where my thoughts will lead me!


July 3, 2009, 11:38 am

Observation: The Impact of Fear in Our Lives

At different points in my life I have turned to different authors and other sources of information to help guide my personal and spiritual growth. Recently it has been A Course in Miracles. I try to make it a habit to always have a focus on which part of myself that I want to work on, habits that I would like to change within myself, patterns of thinking that I want to shift, automatic subconscious responses that I would like to make conscious and remove.

My most recent focus has been the presence of fear in my life. I can see how fear can be a subconscious component of many experiences. Living in the various forms that fear comes in is exhausting and for some people debilitating. When a person's fight or flight (FOF) response is regularly triggered, as it is for many people these days, the hormones that are released have a cumulative effect that wear a person down with time.

I realized that I needed to become more proactive about identifying and removing fears within myself. Good luck with that was my first response! Have you ever tried to talk yourself out of being afraid while you are afraid and in FOF? It is a limited approach that does not address why fear and its corresponding emotional reactions keep popping up to begin with.

So I set out to observe and study myself to see when, where, how, and why fear kept appearing. This process has taken months and it is only recently that I developed more insights into fears and ways in which to actually stop their multifaceted, frequent, and seemingly generous appearances! The different faces that fear takes form in is mind boggling. No wonder it took so long!

What I saw is that every time I experienced a form of fear, it was because I had interpreted an event as being potentially threatening and felt unsafe, usually triggering defensiveness and frequently the FOF response. The response is easy to notice when your heart rate jumps up but is there more than you would ever imagine!

Identifying when your muscles tense up and when you are breathing shallowly is more of a delayed awareness. You usually notice you have been tense when you finally remember to take a deep breath and feel your muscles relax and your breathing slow down as you take those deeper breaths.

With this new awareness, I was able to look for some other choices that I could make because I was more familiar with what fear felt like and looked like for me. Now it was time to take different action. The first thing I tried was to simply to point out to myself..oh look, I am feeling unsafe here. Just to try to stuff that little thought into the myopic space that fear creates took a lot of effort. Were you aware that even the littlest bit of fear and FOF creates tunnel vision, tunnel hearing, tunnel understanding .. ?!

The next step was to tell myself in the moment that I felt unsafe that I was making an assumption. That was not too bad, but then getting myself to try to identify it felt like I was swimming through molasses! I could actually feel a physiological or mental pressure that I had to push through to actually observe and understand myself. It felt like my brain was pulled so tightly that it created a physical barrier to my efforts. That is how strong the mind is when it is convinced that it is right about what we are experiencing..when we are in fear consciously or subconsciously

Eventually I was able to occasionally get through this resistance and identify the meaning that I was creating to confirm and provide evidence to validate my fear. What I saw was that when I was in emotional reaction (which is a form of FOF), it was all I could do to maintain these little pieces of consciousness

Sometimes I could remember to look for a different definition right in that moment, telling myself and understanding that my original meaning was inaccurate. But sometimes I couldn't and the fear and emotional reaction would remain or even grow larger, threatening to sweep me away with a tsunami of emotion. I had to look for more tools to try to use. I found them.

One of the effective tools that I now use regularly to dismantle my FOF response is to ask the person I am reacting to a question. Just about any question will do, as long as it is along the lines of "what did you mean by that" or "did you mean (insert assumption here)". The very first time I tried this, I could barely mouth the words to form ANY question, never mind a specific one! LOL! Another effective alternative was just to speak up and reveal that I was feeling unsafe in that moment. That gave me time to safely process on my own.

These new steps have been life altering for me, when I was finally able to take control and make different choices while in FOF, retraining and reconditioning my own mind to feel safe where it had never felt safe before. In a few short months after the initial ground laying work, I have been able to significantly decrease the amount of fear that I experience. Of course there are still deeper triggers, but having them far and few in between is acceptable and more in line with what the FOF response was intended to be in us.

At this point, I may feel a ripple go through my body where it would previously want to go into FOF. Now I can almost instantly catch where I am creating meaning/making assumptions about what something means. Okay, okay, most of the time anyway! In all of this work I need to acknowledge and extend thanks to my husband, who becomes the unknowing guinea pig in most of my experimentation.

I am sharing my process with you so that you can understand what you go through better and hopefully shortcut the process of your own growth. Why should you have to reinvent the wheel! Use this information to help yourself diminish your fears, change your FOF response and find more peace of mind.

Perfect love casts out fear,
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.

But:

Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.

A Course in Miracles

Brilliantly said!

Ewa


July 1, 2009, 10:38 am

Creation: A New Approach to Helping Others

Hello and a warm welcome to my official blog! For now, please feel free to add your comments about the website and to the thoughts and concepts being presented. My goal is to provide more useful information and to share the insights that I have with you

Being new to this medium, I am not quite sure how this will evolve or how often I will write just yet. Be sure to check back periodically. Let me know if an RSS feed to alert you of any changes is something that you think would be useful. As I move into this new venture I also appreciate any suggestions to make this a better experience for you

I am looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts with everyone!

Ewa


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