30 September, 2009

Are You Being "Should" Upon?

Sometimes life can seem like it’s coming at us very quickly.  When it does, our natural state of peace, play, and ease becomes disrupted and we allow in other things to occupy those spaces such as worry/concern, stress, frustration, and even dis-ease.

Notice that last one?  Dis-ease is really the preeminent reason for any sickness that comes into your body.  Any sign of dis-ease is a sign that you are not in alignment with what is happening in your life.  If this dis-ease is not dealt with as quickly as possible, it can lead to chronic stress, illness, and other things.

When I notice dis-ease in myself, the very first place that I look is inward.  I ask myself something to the effect of “what should be different?”  Typically, that will bring my attention to whatever it is that is causing the distress.  Sometimes I feel that I should be doing something other than the thing I am doing in the moment.  That might be a belief that I put on myself or it might be a feeling that I get from someone else.

For me, this dis-ease is commonplace whenever I take any kind of break.  When I ask my question (“what do I feel distressed about?”), I usually get back an answer like, “I feel that I should be working,” or, “I should be working out,” or, “I believe that so-and-so thinks I should be … (fill in the blank)!”  When you look at these responses, you can readily see that they all contain “should” or some form of “should” in them.

The word “should” is just as dangerous for us as comparison is.  Just like when you compare yourself to others for either the purpose of feeling better about yourself or making yourself feel “less than”, should statements always leave us with a feeling of “less than.”  We “should on ourselves,” we “should on others,” and we also allow others to “should all over us!”  Really, the only thing that we should do is banish the word “should” from our vocabularies!

If we remove “should” from our self-defeating inward talk and if we discontinue using the word “should” with others, we can create a better space for ourselves and others to live more freely with what we believe would be the best use of our time, energy, and efforts at any given moment.

The next time that a “should” comes up for you (or, in other words, the next time you feel “should upon”) ask yourself where that “should” is coming from and why it is there.  I would venture a guess that it’s there because of some concern or list of concerns that you have.  Possibly you’re concerned about how others will perceive you if you don’t do what you think they feel you should do.  Regardless of where the “should” is coming from, look at your concerns and simply ask yourself, one-by-one, if you can give up each of those concerns?  Once you confirm that you can, ask yourself if you will give up each of those concerns?  Again, once you’ve answered in the affirmative, and you’ve given up that self-defeating “should-talk,” you’ll find that your body is restored to its natural state of peace, play, and ease.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

29 September, 2009

The Outline of a New Plan

I'm currently re-evaluating what is working for me and what isn't.  And, while this blog is important to me and I believe that it is benefitting both me and my readers, it also takes more time than I initially thought it would.

That being said, I am revising my initial commitment to this blog which was to post five blogs/week (one each day on M-F).  I am now committing to post three new blogs per week.  I will aim to do this as a Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting but there may be some weeks when I post my three blogs on different days, depending on what I have on my schedule.

I thank you for your continued readership and support of my work.  I also appreciate your feedback and responses to posts I’ve written.

I continually wish for you every good thing.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

28 September, 2009

Rules for Being Human

If you have come across the “Rules for Being Human” sometime during the last twenty-five years, you may have chosen to photocopy them and keep them in front of you on your desk or cubicle wall.  These “rules” have been passed around and gained popularity over the years – while the author was yet unknown.

Now, in a book entitled, “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules,” author Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. has not only claimed herself as the author of these Rules for Being Human, but she has expanded the explanations of each rule to provide deeper insight into the universal truths from where each of these rules came.

Below is a slightly expanded version of her rules taken from several various sources and compiled together for you.  If you enjoy the following, consider purchasing the book.

The Rules for Being Human 

You will receive a body.  You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for as long as you live.  How you take care of it or fail to take care of it can make a difference in the quality of your life.

You will learn lessons.  You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called “Life on Planet Earth.”  Each day, you will be presented with opportunities to learn what you need to know.  The lessons presented are often completely different from those you think you need.  Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.

There are no mistakes, only lessons.  Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation.  The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."

A lesson is repeated until it is learned.  A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it.  External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state.  When you clear inner obstructions your outside world changes.  Pain is how the universe gets your attention.

You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change.  Wisdom is practice.  When you have learned the lesson (as evidenced by a change in your attitude and ultimately your behavior) then you can go on to the next lesson.

Learning lessons does not end.  There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons.  If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

“There” is no better a place than “here”.  When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply discover another “there” that will again look better than your “here.”

Others are merely mirrors of you.  You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.  When tempted to criticize others, ask yourself why you feel so strongly.

What you make of your life is up to you.  Life provides the canvas; you do the painting.  Take charge of your life -- or someone else will.  You have all the tools and resources you need.  What you create with those tools and resources is up to you.

You always get what you want.  Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract -- therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have.  There are no victims, only students.

The answers lie inside of you.  The solutions to all of life’s problems lie within your grasp.  Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written.  You know more than you have heard or read or been told.  All you need to do is ask, look, listen, and trust.

You will forget all this.

You can remember any time you wish.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

24 September, 2009

Why Reality Is Subjective

Most people, when they begin to hear the messages of, and believe in, the Law of Attraction, The Law of Faith, &/or Healing, they come to a point where they have heard enough to test their own wings, so to speak.  So they begin to believe for that which they desire and now understand that they can have.

However, stepping over into this new realm isn’t always easy.  And many people come up against the very same obstacle no matter what it is for which they are exercising their belief.  That obstacle is: what can be observed as the realistic present circumstances of one’s life through the five senses versus what one is believing.  And, when this comes up for some, they find themselves arguing for what they “see” as real versus what they are believing to be real.

One might say, “I’m believing for my healing but everything that I can see and feel, and everything that the doctors report as my condition tells me that the reality of the situation is that I have a serious disease and I need to subject my body to invasive medical treatment.”  However, the reality of any situation is never dictated by what one sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels.  The reality of a situation is only given by what one perceives to be the truth.

The reality of me as a writer can only be given by the future into which I’m living.  If I only believe that what my five senses tell me is my current life as a writer will always be my life as a writer, I would discontinue writing for others immediately.  However, I choose to believe that I have a gift and I believe that gift will open doors for me to make a living through writing and doing other things about which I am passionate.  My life as a writer exists today because of my perception of seeing myself as a published author.  That life is the life I live into every day as given by the future I have created for myself.

We must always remember that believing in anything does not require us to deny the existence of our present circumstances.  In fact, faith allows us to say with surety, “although my current circumstances point to my insurmountable debt, I believe, and I therefore speak by faith, that all of my bills are paid and I am financially free.”  You see, faith can look into the eye of present circumstances and tell them to give way to the truth – the truth being what we perceive to be the reality of the situation.

The reality that we believe in is that everything on this earth is made up of the same thing – energy.  And just as the heavens and the earth were created by the language of God, we were created in His very image and we therefore have the same creative power to speak to the circumstances of our lives and command them to fall in line with the reality of the universe – that we create our lives, and we attract the circumstances that surround us.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

21 September, 2009

Acceptance and the Art of Disappearance (Part 3 of 3)

Here we are on Monday and this is part three – the final section of this series of blogs related to agreement, disagreement, resistance, and acceptance.  As a recap, this all started last Wednesday when we were examining why inequality still exists in America today.  We found that the disagreement of a thing just as strongly binds that thing in reality as agreement does. Then, on Friday we began the inquiry of what we would need to do in order to no longer be participants in furthering negative thoughts and ideas in our world.  We examined the role of resistance and how it prevents us from transforming the things in our lives that aren’t working for us.  And, we ended with discovering that (while we couldn’t transform those things by stepping over them or going around them) we could transform situations by going directly through them.  And the avenue through which we have to go directly through a situation without changing it (because change = resistance, and resistance = persistence of a thing) is acceptance.

So, today we’re looking at acceptance of the things we’ve been resisting for the purpose of transforming those areas of our lives that are not working.  This is not for anyone who is satisfied with the way in which his life is going.  And, it’s not for the person who is faint of heart!  This is only for the individual who is ready to take control of his life, to transform non-working situations into working ones, and who is willing to take a hard, confronting look at his own self for the purpose of leaving behind those things that are not serving his highest purpose.

Following, I’ve listed the steps one needs to take in order to use the powerful tool of acceptance in order to allow for the disappearance of the limiting barriers from one’s life:

Firstly, pick the area of your life that you want to transform.

Next, you’ll need to take a hard look at what it is that’s not working.  Divorce yourself from the story of why it’s not working and separate out the facts of the situation.  To go through this process, you need to become disinterested in continuing to sell yourself the story you’ve been selling to everyone else.  You may have to become brutally honest to get to the basic truth.  Hint: Look for the area(s) where your complaint(s) lies and then look at your reasons.

Thirdly, pinpoint exactly what it is that you’ve been resisting.  Look for: what you’ve been angry about, what you’ve become complacent about, where you’ve been inflexible, what you’ve been trying to change, what you’re afraid of, what you’ve been trying to control or dominate, or where you’ve been in denial or become resigned.  Next, ask yourself why you’ve been resisting this thing.  List out each reason you have for your resistance.

Now, look at each reason, one by one, and ask yourself with each one: “Can I give up that concern?

If you answer that you can, then ask yourself: “Will you give up that concern?

Go through your list, until you’ve determined that you are both able, and willing, to give up each and every concern.

Lastly, after you’ve given up each concern, confirm your acceptance of the thing by saying, “I acknowledge that (say what you’ve been resisting).  I accept that (say what you’ve been resisting) and I accept it exactly as it is and exactly as it isn’t.  I no longer need to change it, control it, complain about it, fear it, or be in denial about it.  I allow it to exist with no further judgment from me.”

That’s it! Now look back at what you’ve accomplished.  You’ve determined to no longer resist what you had been resisting.  Instead of trying to change it, you’ve accepted it exactly as it is without trying to alter it.  And, now, you’re on the other side of it.  As you look back at the issue, you’ll see that it’s either disappeared completely or it’s still there in present form but it no longer holds any power over you.  In fact, you’ll find that you simply feel free of that thing – regardless of whether it still exists or not.

Since we sometimes learn best by example, I am sharing the following with you as an illustration of how one can put acceptance into immediate use in his or her own life (using the steps outlined above) and thereby allow for the disappearance of issues that are plaguing him or her:

Jill was a very busy advertising executive.  She was a very bright and attractive woman and was highly sought after because of her ability to constantly produce advertising campaigns that worked well for her clients’ product sales.  But there was something that was continuously holding Jill back in her personal, and sometimes in her professional, life.  It was her weight.  Jill wasn’t overly obese.  She weighed around 45 lbs. more than a person of her height should.  She said that she worked long and unpredictable hours which interfered with her ability to exercise on a regular basis.  She had been on several diets – some of which had provided temporary and limited weight loss – but most of which had not produced the results that she desired.  Those that had produced real results were so restrictive or limiting that Jill found it hard for her to stay on them.

While she seemed to have it together in her professional life, Jill’s personal life was another story.  Her weight-consciousness kept her from accepting invitations to go out on dates.  Since putting on the extra weight, Jill had to allow herself 30 extra minutes to get ready for work because she could never choose what she wanted to wear.   (She felt that everything she put on “made her look fat.”) Her self-esteem had been so badly damaged that Jill no longer went out of the house except to go to work or to see family.

Jill sought out help from a therapist in order to regain her lost self-esteem.  She said that she wanted to get past her “mental-blocks” that were preventing her from staying on a diet and exercise program.  Jill said she was ready to do the work necessary to lose the weight.

Since Jill had already identified the area of her life that she wanted to address, Jill’s therapist asked her to tell her all of the reasons she had for not accepting herself exactly as she was.  Jill’s list included: (1) not liking the way she looked, (2) not liking the way she felt, (3) being overweight wasn’t healthy, and (4) she felt that people treated her differently since she was overweight.

For each issue, Jill’s therapist asked her if she could give up her concerns about that issue.  For instance, for the first item on her list, she asked Jill, “Can you give up your concerns about how you look?”  When Jill decided that she could give them up, her therapist asked her if she would agree to give them up.  Jill answered affirmatively to each question.  When she had completely given up her concerns, Jill’s therapist asked her to repeat the following after her.  She said, “I acknowledge that I am overweight.  I accept that I am overweight and I accept my body exactly as it is and exactly as it isn’t.  I no longer need to change it, control it, complain about it, fear it, or be in denial about it.  I allow my body to exist with no further judgment from me.

Suddenly, Jill’s eyes had a sparkle in them.  She told her therapist that she felt free from being overweight for the very first time.

Jill’s therapist then took her through two more exercises of the same type.   The first one focused on her complaint about exercising and why she couldn’t do it.  The second one was focused on her complaint about diets not working or being too difficult to follow.  After completing the three exercises, Jill said that for the first time in 10 years, she felt free to choose whether she wanted to exercise or not and she felt free to choose what she wanted to eat.  She stressed that she was now free from the burden of needing to exercise or avoid exercising in order to keep her complaint about her weight in place.  The same was true for dieting and eating.

Two months later in a follow-up session with her therapist, Jill had lost 10 lbs!  She said that she repeated her "new mantra" (about being overweight and accepting herself exactly as she was and exactly as she wasn’t) to herself every morning as she looked in the mirror and got dressed.  Jill said that the acceptance of herself and her weight was the single factor of her success.  She said that when she gave up resisting her weight, her weight ceased to exist as a problem for her.

She told her therapist that since she accepted herself as she was every day, it gave her the freedom to choose to exercise and to choose what to eat.  Finally, she was really free to choose to eat healthily or not.  She could freely choose to exercise or not and with that freedom she found that she made her choices based on what she really wanted and not based on old patterns of complaining about a problem that just wouldn’t go away.

A Question of Zen

In a book entitled, “Zen Without Zen Masters,” author Camen Benares provides some insights, questions, and Koans of Zen on which one may meditate.  I am sharing one of these insights (“Good News, Bad News”) here as follows:
                      Good News, Bad News
There’s good news tonight and bad news.  First, the bad news: there is no good news.  Now the good news: you don’t have to listen to the bad news.
After meditation upon this insight, the reader will see that he is getting news and he is only getting news.  There is no good news being delivered.  And, there is no bad news being delivered.  There is only news.  All the rest is what we’ve tacked on.

As you look newly at each issue in your life, allow yourself to see the issue for the simple facts of which it is comprised, without all of the story added.  After all, the story is made up of the stuff that we’ve each tacked on.  We get to say what is true for us.  And, we’re the only ones who get a say in the matter.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

18 September, 2009

Resistance Causes Persistence (Part 2 of 3)

LOL!  Yes, I’m laughing as I write this because I had no idea how my last blog was going to turn out.  Neither did I know what I was going to write in today’s blog!  But the funnier thing is that I’ve added in this opening paragraph after having written today’s blog.  I now see where I’m going (I can hear your sighs of relief) and realize that this must be part two of a three-part blog.  There was simply too much information to write in any single blog and these three blogs are broken down into their own central themes so that the overall information can be more easily absorbed.  That being said, I hope you have a blessed weekend and enjoy today’s blog.

In my last blog (“Why Does Inequality Exist?”), I left off in the inquiry of “how we, as individuals, can transform ourselves to operate so that we are not furthering (keeping in place) the conversations and realities of sexism, racism, hatred, bigotry, homophobia, etc.”  As a recap, in that blog I wrote about the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang which are complementary opposites of a whole. I provided commentary from Wikipedia which read, “Yin–yang is not an actual substance or force, the way it might be conceived of in western terms.   Instead, it is a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations of the natural forces that occur in the world.”  I devoted the blog to writing that the disagreement of a thing is actually as powerful a cause of that thing “living” in our reality as agreement is.  I wrote:
Consider that the more we disagree with something, the more real it becomes.   And, consider that disagreement actually holds agreement in place.  (Remember our mantra?. . . the theory of renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who stated that “what you resist, persists.”)  In fact, you may wish to consider that the primary function of disagreement is to create agreement.
So, since disagreement is just another form of resistance, I want us to take a broader look at the nature of resistance.  Firstly, let’s look at the definition of resistance.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines resistance as:
1a: an act or instance of resisting : opposition b: a means of resisting
2: the power or capacity to resist: as a: the inherent ability of an organism to resist harmful influences (as disease, toxic agents, or infection) b: the capacity of a species or strain of microorganism to survive exposure to a toxic agent (as a drug) formerly effective against it
3: an opposing or retarding force
4a: the opposition offered by a body or substance to the passage through it of a steady electric current b: a source of resistance
5: a psychological defense mechanism wherein a patient rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes the therapeutic efforts of a psychotherapist
6: often capitalized : an underground organization of a conquered or nearly conquered country engaging in sabotage and secret operations against occupation forces and collaborators
So, taking our queue from definition #3 above, for the purpose of this blog we’ll use the following as our definition of resistance: “the act of an individual using an opposing or retarding force against some one or some thing.”

Now, to better understand the nature of resistance, let’s take a look at other forms of resistance that we use.  (Some may even be methods or strategies we don’t normally think of as resistance but, nevertheless, they still are.)  Some forms of resistance are: boredom, anger, jealousy, inflexibility, rudeness, complacency, stubbornness, changing, complaining, bitterness, back-biting, gossiping, “being right” (about one’s own opinion), self-righteousness, indignity, fear, manipulation, controlling, dominating, denial, and becoming resigned about the situation.  Quite an interesting list, huh?  You may have been surprised by the inclusion of some of these ways of being I listed here.  If you’re still skeptical as to whether something belongs on the list or not, take a look at the definition of resistance we are using and see if you can find an example that might fit.  If it doesn’t fit, throw it out . . . you won’t hurt my feelings.

So, if we’re looking to get past something (but we know that resisting it won’t work except to cause it to continue on, or persist, in our lives) the only way we can get past that thing is through transformation.  This can be the transformation of yourself or transformation of that thing.  (Just remember, that if you’re going to control the outcome of your life, the only person you have control over is you.  So, it will be much easier to transform yourself than to wait for some situation outside of you to transform itself – if it ever does at all.)  Remember in my very first blog on this site (June ’09), I wrote that transformation is “giving up one form for another” as in “giving up being an orange for being an apple” and I used the example of a caterpillar giving up the only form it knows to become something completely different (a butterfly)?  Transformation isn’t the same as change because change always seeks to improve on what’s already there; it seeks to alter what’s already in existence.  In this case, transformation will provide us the opening to give up one way of being and to choose another.

You can’t get around it or over it or to the side of it because those are all forms of resistance.  So, transformation has to be present in order for one to directly impact the thing he is currently resisting.  Instead of trying to change the issue or side-step the problem, the only way to not resist the situation at hand is to go directly through it.  So how does one go through an issue he’s been resisting?  Simple. . . he does so by using the art of acceptance!

(If you remember, I’ve blogged about acceptance on here a few times.  If you haven’t read those blogs, just look over in the tag cloud on your right (the thing that has the orange words against the black background) and mouse over the tag cloud to get the labels to spin.  When you find the word “acceptance,” click on it and all of the blogs in which I’ve written about acceptance will appear on the same screen for you to read.  You may wish to read a few of these just to be sure you understand where I’m coming from when I write about acceptance.)

Check in here on Monday when I will post the final part of this three-part series.  I will be blogging about what acceptance is/isn’t and I will explain all of the benefits of acceptance from the standpoint of transforming any situation you have been resisting.  Until then, I wish you every good thing.

To Be Continued . . .

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

16 September, 2009

Why Does Inequality Exist? (Part 1 of 3)

When I look at where we have progressed to in today’s society, and when I look at the incredible bravery of so many Americans who stood up for that in which they believed, I’m saddened to see that we still have so much inequality running rampant in our country.    So, why does inequality still exist today?    What causes it to continue to be part of our shared reality?

Consider that the more we disagree with something, the more real it becomes.  And, consider that disagreement actually holds agreement in place.  (Remember our mantra?. . . the theory of renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who stated that “what you resist, persists.”)  In fact, you may wish to consider that the primary function of disagreement is to create agreement.  As an example, I offer racism.  If racism did not exist in some sort of shared reality, we would have no reason to disagree with it.  It simply would not be.  If it didn’t exist, there would be no reason for the disagreement of it.  Therefore, it’s perfectly sound and logical to infer that racism exists because of agreement and that the agreement of racism continues to be held in place through disagreement.
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are generalized descriptions of the antitheses or mutual correlations in human perceptions of phenomena in the natural world, combining to create a unity of opposites.   The term "liang yi" (simplified Chinese: 两仪; traditional Chinese: 兩儀; pinyin: liǎngyí) literally means "two mutually correlated opposites," also known as Yin and Yang.

According to the philosophy, yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole.  Everything has both yin and yang aspects, which constantly interact, never existing in absolute stasis.  It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite: yin–yang are rooted together.  Since yin and yang are created together in a single movement, they are bound together as parts of a mutual whole.  

Yin–yang is not an actual substance or force, the way it might be conceived of in western terms.  Instead, it is a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations of the natural forces that occur in the world.  It applies as well to social constructions – e.g. value judgments like good and evil, rich and poor, honor and dishonor – yet it is often used in those contexts as a warning.

Yin always contains the potential for yang, and yang for yin.  Yin and yang are balanced: yin–yang is a dynamic equilibrium.  Because they arise together they are always equal: if one disappears, the other must disappear as well, leaving emptiness.

Source: Wikipedia 
So to further explain, in the concept of Yin and Yang we can see that there cannot be “hot” if there is no “cold.”  There can be no “sin” if there is not “righteousness.”  And there can be no “good” without “bad.”  If you consider this, I think you will find it to be true.  There would be no reason for the concept of evil to exist if all we had was good.  Good would cease to be good.  It would just be the way that everything is and thus we would not require a name for it.  There would be no need for a name as we would have no need to distinguish it from anything else.

If you immediately consider God however, you might say that God exists regardless of anything else.  To this end, you must realize the difference between the person,”God,” and the concept, “God.”  (I write person because even though we know God to be a spirit being, we still relate to him as if he were a person.)  So, the person, “God,” exists without having an opposite or any other.  The Yin-Yang philosophy does not apply to the “beingness” of humans or deities – only to concepts – describing the ebb and flow of how the world works.

The concept, “God,” exists only because there is an opposite – “Satan.”  When we view God as concept, we are thinking of His attributes such as: Good, Benevolent, Loving, Healer, Omniscient, Omnipresent, etc.  When we view Satan as concept, we likewise are considering his attributes such as: Bad, Evil, Destroyer, Tempter, etc.  Each concept named above, must have an opposite in order to exist.  If I asked you to prove God, you would most likely try to relay to me an experience you have had of Him through the expression of one of His attributes.  But in trying to prove God’s existence based on an experience of one of His amazing attributes, you will always fall short of proving Him because your argument will merely focus on proving the existence of an attribute of God (and therefore also proving the opposite attribute of that which you are trying to prove).

There seems to be no way to empirically prove God.  Therefore, should someone ask me to prove God, I would have to (arguably wisely) say that I cannot and I would point him to the scriptures that read:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” - John 1:1 (NKJV)

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV).
Any beliefs that you or I have about God will most likely diminish him.  We don’t have to have beliefs about God.  If you believe in God, your beliefs about Him are completely unnecessary.

The same is true for you and me.  You don’t need to have beliefs about me.  You believe in me because you have experience of me.  Therefore, any beliefs you make up about me, will most likely diminish my ability to be powerful for you in your life.  The only way to get past this, is to give up any and all beliefs you have about me and just let me be – exactly as I am and exactly as I am not.

So where does that leave us?  Well, it still leaves us with the question of how we, as individuals, can transform ourselves to operate so that we are not furthering (keeping in place) the conversations and realities of sexism, racism, hatred, bigotry, homophobia, etc.  I will go into this inquiry in my next blog.  Until then, I wish you every good thing.

To Be Continued . . . 

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

14 September, 2009

Comes the Dawn

In conversation with a new friend yesterday, I was reminded of this poem that I was very affected by when I first read it.  I came home and immediately looked for the book in which I knew I had first read the poem.  I found it in a book I had purchased several years ago entitled, “Please Don’t Say You Need Me,” although the author of that book (Jan Silvious) did not author this poem.  She included it in her work as additional support for her writing.

I offer the same here, as a poem that contains much truth and is as applicable today as it was for me back then.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

               Comes the Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
     Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
     And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
     And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
     With your head held high and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
     You learn to build your roads
On today because tomorrow’s ground
     Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
A way of falling dowin in midflight.
     After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much,
     So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
     For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure,
     That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
     And you learn and learn . . . and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.
                                  - Veronica A. Shoffstall

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

10 September, 2009

Managing Your Word

I’ve blogged here before about how we are predispositioned to be “judgment machines” (not in those exact words).   We tend to judge others for their words, their actions, how they dress, what they look like, how they speak, how they carry themselves, and on and on and on.   And, while we judge others, we typically are judging ourselves, comparing who and what we are to how we perceive others to be.   What we may not be so aware of though, is how we judge others according to what they do as compared to what they say they will do.

After a while, we develop a sort of listening for others based upon our perceptions about them and based upon who we “know” them to be.   Part of this knowing is our past-based knowledge of what a person does as compared to what he says that he will do.   For instance, I know that when a certain friend tells me he will be here at 7pm, I can virtually depend upon him to arrive by 7:15pm!   If he’s going to be 30 minutes late or more, he will usually call to let me know.   I have other friends on whom I can rely that they will be punctual to the time they have given me, or they will communicate to me that they will be late as soon as they know that to be the case.

In the listening that I have created of my always-15-minutes-late friend, there is a whole world in which he occurs for me.   For meals that require precision timing, I plan them for after the time in which I know that he will arrive – not when he said he would arrive.   For events that begin at a specific time, I arrange to meet him somewhere at least 30 minutes earlier so that we’ll be on time and not miss the beginning of the show.

Knowing how we develop a listening for those around us then, we can begin to see that they also develop a listening for us.   They begin to know us either as our word, or as we are compared to our word.   For me then, managing my word becomes a matter of integrity.   It’s important to me to manage my word and be accountable to it as if everything I say is an actual promise.   If those around me relate to me as my word, then in partnership with them, I can create whatever it is that I need in my life.   And, if those around me listen to me as my word, then when I am truly in need of help, I can count on getting the exact aide that I need.

When I do not manage my word, my life doesn’t work nearly as well.   My relationship to time suddenly changes.   All of a sudden, my days go by very quickly and it seems as if there is not enough time to do what needs to be done.   The way that I know myself to be loses velocity because I know that I don’t manage my word with integrity.

Managing your word, or being your word, is truly a matter or integrity.   And it is something that will make the most marked difference in how well your life works or doesn’t work.   Living a life of integrity means that one always honors his word.   Notice I wrote “honors” and not “keeps.”   That’s because a person with integrity will do everything in his power to keep his word.   But, when he knows he will be unable to do so, in order to preserve the honor of his word, he communicates his inability to keep his word to the person to whom he gave his word.   So, a person of integrity will always honor his word even when he cannot keep it.

Managing our words, then, becomes a way of life for those who want their lives to work.   We manage what we say because we bind ourselves to those words.   We manage what we don’t say so that we aren’t bound to empty promises that will cause our words to lose their weight with others.   When what we say is the same as what we do, others listen to us differently and regard us in different light.   They begin to know us as people of our word and they align with what we say because they know that what we say defines who we are.   And that becomes the framework for living created lives and living lives that we love.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

08 September, 2009

In This Life, All We Have is Our Word and Our Choice

I don’t mean that as if to say that those are the only two tools that we have to use in life.   But, what if they were?   Consider the possibility that your word and your ability to choose really are the only two tools that you have and every other tool you have at your disposal is simply a function of your word or your choice.

Consider that people only know you as who you say you are.   That should stop some of us in our tracks right there!   I can almost hear a simultaneous gasp from all of our self-deprecators as they think, “but if I don’t make fun of myself, someone else will and that hurts me worse.”   Certainly, poking fun at one’s self can be humorous and set others at ease.   But, if you lived your life as if people only knew you as who you say you are, I’m asserting that your self-deprecation would occur differently – both for you and for others.   The words themselves would be different. And others would respond differently.

In truth, we create the conditions into which we live, by our words and our choices.   We make choices every day and we fail to call them for what they are.   We like to tell others that we had no choice. Or, we say that this is my only choice.   But, that’s absolutely not true.   You can choose that which is before you, or you can simply not choose it.   In some eyes that would occur as not choosing at all, which is of course, in itself a choice.

However, the power at stake here is not simply found through some slight of hand with semantics.   The real power of choice that is available to you, is in you choosing powerfully what it is you desire.   And if there is only one choice, the real power is in choosing what there is to choose, or choosing to not choose.   In any of those paths, you will have chosen. You will have made the decision.   And because you chose powerfully, you are in control of the outcome of that choice.

This is a much more powerful place to stand – being in control of the outcome of the choice – rather than being at the effect of the given choice after not choosing.   If you do not choose, you will always find yourself at the effect of the un-chosen choice.   That’s not wrong.    And it will certainly get you sympathy and pity if that is what you are after.   It’s not that one way is right and the other wrong.   It is simply that choosing places you in a position to do something about the consequences of the choice.   If you never choose, you can never win because you will always be steamrolled by the consequences of not choosing!

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

04 September, 2009

Living Your Life with Intent and Purpose

Our lives are clearly given (or, shaped if you will) by our beliefs.   And it is through our beliefs that power is given to our words and actions.   If we live our beliefs, then our words and deeds will be shaped by those beliefs and they will bear greater weight in the eyes and ears of those around us.   It’s the same phenomenon that’s present when someone shares with you about that which he is passionate.   When we hear and see the passion in another, we our moved with the inspiration conveyed in that person’s communication.

This same conveyance of energy is present for others when we act according to our convictions.   Those around us may not always agree with what we say or do.   But if we are acting out of our passion or conviction, they will be moved and freely see that we are doing what we believe to be right.

In that same vein, there is a power that is made available to us when we operate with intentionality.   When we intend to accomplish something, there is a rigor and a discipline that is present in us, and there is a power that is present for us to make that thing happen.   And while intention can be given in the moment, it is most powerful when it is given by the purpose we have in life.

What we have purposed for our lives, or what we see as our life’s purpose, gives us additional power to produce that for which we are living.   And along with that power, comes the additional power added by our intention to live out our life’s purpose.   Those who are living without purpose may find that they are getting along just fine in life.   But they will lack that something extra, that added spark of excitement one has to get up in the morning or to produce that day what one has planned to produce.

I’ve seen a hundred times over a phenomenon that I believe most of us have seen.   In my life, I’ve had many co-workers or friends retire from work and many have retired to do nothing.   In my eyes, there is nothing more harmful for someone than to be about nothing.   Not only are the people who are about something the ones who make a difference in the world, but they are also the people who have something for which to live.   Once someone retires, if he has nothing to live for, the pattern I’ve witnessed is that he dies earlier than his given life expectancy.   When we’re about nothing, we have nothing to live for; nothing to wake us up in the morning; nothing about which to be excited.

Finding our passion gives us something to live for.   We all of a sudden are up to something in life.   We are up to creating something that’s bigger than who we have known ourselves to be.   And, we suddenly will find renewed purpose, power, energy, and life-sustaining force that will be evident in our every word and action.

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about or what your purpose in live is, it’s not too late to find it.   Be watchful of your emotions.  Look to see what lights you up.   You might be timid in expressing it to anyone right away because you haven’t had time to be with it yourself.   Once you key in on that which you love, begin to imagine that as your life’s purpose.   You don’t have to know how it will come about.   That’s up to God and the Universe.   We don’t choose the channels and we don’t choose the how.   Just allow yourself to begin desiring a life in which you are living your passion.   And be prepared to take action once inspiration for action arises within you.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

03 September, 2009

Does It Not Look Like It Was Supposed To?

It’s difficult as a blogger to fully express a thought or idea in just a few paragraphs or a page.   There are so many variables that can be at play in any given thing.   So, there may be times that you disagree with what I’ve written because it may seem like a blanket statement.   I’ve tried my best to lay groundwork on this blog to develop my basic philosophies of life.   But, if one has not read all of the previous blogs, or if too much time has elapsed in between the like-ideas I’ve written about, it may seem that my world-view is somewhat slanted.

While the idea of blogging is that one is able to reach many people with short bursts of information, it has a downfall from the idea of a book in which someone can develop concepts, one on top of the other, to take a reader to some destination.   I write this simply to request that you keep this in mind as you read my writings.   I don’t believe that one blog will ever fully express how I feel about one subject or idea.   Nor can I imagine that one blog would provide all of the information one would need to transform a certain area of his life.   That being said, I do welcome any feedback, arguments, or ideas you have that may differ from what I’ve delivered here.   Unless I know how you are taking in the information, I’m blind to the changes in delivery that I may need to make.   So I want to extend a hearty thank you to all of you who have provided feedback thus far.

Thank You for your correspondence and your readership!!!

In our humanity, we have a predispositioned way of being which is to compare everything!   We compare where we were to where we are now.   We compare ourselves to others.   It’s part of our nature to judge and assess our lives, the lives of others, and everything in-between.   It doesn’t have to be that way and you may even know someone who has transcended above being that way.   It is something that can be transformed and, to do so requires a lot of intentionality!

But, seeing as how this is where most of us “live,” I thought it might be of help to draw your attention to this pattern that we have.   If you examine your life in its current state, you might even be able to quickly identify an area of your life that does not look like you had thought it would.   Maybe you imagined you would have more money.   Or, maybe you thought your health would be in a different state.   Possibly you’re living somewhere you never imagined you would live.   Or maybe your family structure looks differently than you would have believed.

What is it about that area of your life that looks differently from what you had thought it would?   Right now, how would you assess the difference?   Do you think that it’s good / bad?   Is it a workable situation or is it unworkable?   Do you find yourself wishing it were different or are you satisfied with where you are?

When we find ourselves in a place of comparison, there will always be one thing that we hold as better and the other as worse.   In our eyes, there is a clear winner and a distinct loser.   And, when we allow ourselves to get into that place of comparison, we will always find ourselves on the losing end!   Not so much because we always believe that everyone else is better off than we are, but because the mere act of comparison leaves us disempowered to be fully self-expressed and to allow the same of others.

There is a point-of-view (or state of being) that can provide us greater power in these areas.   And this more powerful place to stand is in the realm of satisfaction.   Just as a cold bottle of water can provide great satisfaction to your body if you’ve been working hard in the sun, learning to be satisfied with what we have and where we are in life can be equally rewarding on an emotional level.   Our well-being is completely affected by our satisfaction of life and of our present circumstances.

Being satisfied does not mean that you can’t, or shouldn’t, desire more out of life.   Our lives are meant to constantly be expanding.   However, there’s a certain peace that takes over when you can learn to be satisfied with where you are and what you have.   From that satisfaction, gratitude will be a natural expression for you – gratitude for what you possess, for who you are, and for the people in your life.   And, when gratitude abounds, joy springs up within our souls.

Take a few minutes to reflect on your life.   For what are you grateful?   If something doesn’t look like you thought it should, can you allow it to be as it is for right now?   If you can be satisfied with the conditions of your life right now, I promise you will find a place of peace and joy.   But satisfaction is a moment-by-moment condition.   It’s continuously an option to choose to be satisfied or to choose not to be.   The choice, and its consequences, is yours.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

02 September, 2009

Letting Go – Allowing Your Desires to Manifest

Have you ever had the experience of wanting something really badly? You thought about it and thought about it. You focused a lot of your thought life on it. And you maybe even prayed for it. Then, once you didn’t get it, there may have come a time when you just let go of it? I don’t mean that you let go as if you no longer wanted it. I simply mean that the grip it seemed to have on you suddenly loosened. And, while you still wanted it, you no longer had to have it. Then, once you let go, that thing you wanted all of a sudden manifested for you?

I’ve had this experience in my life at several different times over the years. In fact, it happened again in the last couple of days. And while I don’t believe that my few experiences are enough to base any solid belief on, I did notice something else that coincided with this happening – I had a total shift in my being.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that for the entire month of July I blogged solely on the aspects of The Law of Attraction and Faith. And you also know that I firmly believe that we create our own experience of this life. So, it will come to no surprise to you that I regularly re-examine what’s present in my life and what’s missing. That’s just part of the process that I use to plan and create the life that I want.

And in the work of creating, I always stand in possibility. I have to first create the possibility of something happening before I can believe for it to happen. So, along these lines, I have been using a daily affirmation for sometime. It is an affirmation related to the health and healing of my body. And just to provide a little more background on this affirmation, it’s based in my firm belief that our bodies were created to heal themselves. Most everyone has had experience with this. Even a small cut on your finger will heal itself within days.

As background, what most of you probably don’t know is that I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Simply put, our heart valves have three flaps where my aortic valve only had two. And after awhile, the two flaps on that valve began to wear out and were allowing blood to flow back into my heart. At the same time this was discovered (Nov ’07), the doctors also discovered an aneurysm of 9 cm. on my ascending aorta which put me at critical risk. If the aneurysm were to rupture, there would be no chance of saving me as I would bleed out internally very quickly. Along with these two conditions, my body just seemed to go out of whack in several areas. And so even though I had a very successful open-heart surgery in December ’07 to replace the valve and repair the aneurysm, I was still left with several physical issues to deal with besides allowing my body to mend and recover from the surgery.

That being said, towards the end of last year, I declared that 2009 was going to be my year of health and healing. I planned on getting into the best physical shape of my life and ridding my body of all ailments. I threw myself into chiropractics, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage, and found a good functional-medicine primary care doctor. I underwent an elimination diet to determine if I had any underlying food allergies. And, I began reading everything I could get my hands on and understand about modern (non-surgical / non-prescription) healing techniques and methods.

So anyway, last year during my recovery, I started declaring an affirmation several times I day. I would say to myself, “My body is healing itself. It continuously replaces diseased and damaged cells with new, vibrant, and healthy ones.” It actually took me a couple of weeks of alterations to come up with that particular wording and I felt that it thoroughly encompassed what I believed and for what I was standing.

But in the past few days, something shifted in my being. On the one side, I was standing in what I saw possible for my future. And then, after this shift in my being, I was all of a sudden standing in what I now see as having been already accomplished and as being in my past. I don’t mean to say that anything physically has changed. But the shift in my being was simply this letting go that coincided with a knowing that all of the things I had recently believed for were already taken care of and would soon manifest. The culmination of this realization came on Monday night as I lay in bed. I started to declare my affirmation and it came out of my mouth differently! I found myself declaring, “My body has healed itself. It has replaced diseased and damaged cells with new, vibrant, and healthy ones.”

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t just my healing that I had been concerned with and for which I had believed. I have also been pursuing a new career in writing among other things. When this shift happened on Monday, all of a sudden my readership in this blog shot up (by more than 1,000%) overnight! Other things have also manifest relating to the other things for which I believed.

I’m starting to see that when we desire something so much, not letting go of that desire simply holds the wheels of motion at bay. When we can place the desired thing into the past, knowing that it has already been taken care of, we let go of the energy we have been using to hold on to that thing and that allows God and the Universe to take over. Moving ourselves spiritually and mentally from the state of desire to a state of having (even if we don’t yet see it physically), allows the manifestation of the desired thing(s).

Take a look at your life. Are there things you desire, on to which you are still holding? Can you let go now and leave it/them in God’s hands? There’s a huge difference in believing for something and knowing that something you wanted has already transpired. Place your desires in the past as a done-deal. Allow yourself to really feel the feelings of having those things for which you believed and you will have them.

Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

01 September, 2009

Falling In Love With Yourself

Welcome to the first day of September 2009!    This year seems to be flying by quickly.   And now that school is back in session, the summer seems a blur.   With all of the events we’ve encountered this year, I thought today’s blog should be about something we could all use more of – and that is the love of ourselves.

Have you ever considered that you fall in love with others, partially, as a manifestation of falling in love with yourself?    This isn’t yet a belief that I’ve fully established but more of a working notion.    I can imagine that some of you may have readily dismissed this notion thinking that there are so many things about your spouse or partner that you now don’t like.   Let me explain.

I believe that what we ultimately enjoy about others is what they bring out in us.   In other words, I love being around people who bring out the things in me that I love.   I love to laugh and have fun.   And I love to be around people who bring that out in me.   We usually say that “so-and-so” is a fun person to be around.   But, have you ever stopped to think that it is you who is fun when “so-and-so” is around?   Yes, it might be true that he is a fun person.   But, I believe you’ll also find it true that you are equally fun when you are around him.

I’ve found it to be true for me that what I dislike in others are the same things that I dislike about myself.   I tried for years to hide that from my own view so that I wouldn’t have to face it.   But, just as that is true for me, so is the opposite.   I find that what I like in others are the things that I like in me.   The things that I admire others for are also qualities that I possess.   You may not readily see this for yourself.   We’re funny creatures that way – in that we don’t often like to see the good in ourselves.   We’re typically very critical of ourselves and yet go to great lengths to defend our thoughts and actions to others!   It seems paradoxical to me.   But, if you don’t see that the qualities you admire in others are actually qualities you possess, I would challenge you to consider that simply as a possibility.   Just consider the possibility that this is the way it is rather than just dismissing it.   And then look for yourself to see if it is true or not.

I might even go one step further and say that you can only admire in others what you also have in yourself.   And, I’ll assert that if you didn’t have those admirable qualities, you wouldn’t notice them in others.   We can really only see in others what we see in ourselves – both the things that we admire and the things that we detest.   It’s not that others don’t possess other attributes.   But, we generally reflect others to others, just as they reflect us to us.

It might be true that another is freer in a certain area than you.   Or, that another is more demonstrative of a certain attribute than you.   But, that doesn’t mean that those attributes are not in you.   They just may not be as exercised as they are by someone else.

You see, any attribute you have must be exercised just like a muscle.   In order to develop in any area – joy, love, happiness, peace – you must exercise that muscle in order to more fully develop your level of adeptness.   Practicing being joyful will allow you to have fuller and fuller expressions of joy.   Surrounding yourself with people who bring that quality out in you will also exercise that muscle.

What attributes of your character do you love?   Which ones do you want to display more?   You can have more laughter in your life but it will take practice.   And, it will take surrounding yourself with people who share that same quality with you and bring it out in you.

Consider the possibility of falling in love with yourself again.   As a child, you loved yourself fully without consideration.   Consider now, the possibility of setting aside any considerations or concerns you have about any lack of character you think you may have.   Can you give up those concerns?   Is that a possibility for you?   If so, give them up.   Allow yourself to love yourself freely once more.   Learn to embrace yourself fully for who you are and what you have to offer the world.

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