October 30

Addiction, Discipline and Circling Again

persistent

“What’s more important: Talent or Persistence? Talent is more important, but useless, in the majority of cases, without persistence.” – Duane Alan Hahn Rewriting and Revising –
(See more at: http://www.great-quotes-powerful-minds.com/famous-quotes-on-perseverance.html#sthash.3jqoGYI7.dpuf)

This commitment to daily writing always seems to challenge me on the days when I arise at a less-than-optimal hour.  I feel like I’m already behind the eight ball, like I’ve thrown my whole day off by disrupting my “normal” routine.  Not that consistency has ever been my strong suit.  For a person so interested in habits, I am a horrid case study.  Not sure if I find that amusing, encouraging or horrifying.

The only way out of it is to just get on with it.  I go back to Anne Lamott in her quote from Bird by Bird, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.”

flying birds

Elisabeth Flying ducks for SNIPS

So often blogging is just a mediocre second draft.  And I’m okay with that because the stuff found on these pages are not meant to be the next great American novel (not that I write fiction).  It’s just me sorting through my life to discover the person God intended me to be.  Some days I am inspired by myself and other days it’s just crap.  More Lamott:

“Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here — and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”

The last few days, I have returned to playing with resistance.

This writing every day takes discipline.

It takes commitment.  It takes a willingness to be messy.  It illuminates all of my addictions, the worse one of which lately is all the free e-books on Amazon.  It brings me face to face with my fears, and then I wonder what it is I’m avoiding.  It brings me face to face with my guilt.  I ask myself the source of it.

“If you have a subject that makes you uncomfortable when you think about it, it means there is strong desire related to it. Which means it really, really, really matters. So finding a way to think about it and feel good is your work. But it is equally effective to think about anything else and feel good, and let it in. You don’t have to think about money in order to let in money. You just can’t think about lack of money, to let in money.”
—Abraham
Excerpted from the workshop: North Los Angeles, CA on August 13, 2001

So the guilt is that I haven’t let myself off the hook for what it is I think I should be doing.  As much as I disregard the good opinions of others, I still have an awareness of what I think they are and how this somehow leads to an idea that I am defective by extension.  Thank God for my friend, Brandi, who has been mirroring this for me by going through the same thing in a different form.  It makes me so proud, watching as she blossoms into giving herself permission to shine.  If I can see that defectiveness is bullshit for her, why haven’t I allowed myself to call bullshit on it for me?

Should, should, should.  I am learning to let go of it.  It is just an idea laid upon my life by those who think they know for me how I should be conducting myself.

“You did this to yourself,” the Course says.

I made it up.  So I can unmake it.  I can choose again.  Doesn’t it feel so much better to let go of ideas of right or wrong, good or bad?

I have work to do and all of this circling around the same old stuff just makes me dizzy and keeps me from my work.  I don’t have forever to do this.  Another friend of mine died yesterday.  The second in less than a month.  I am tired of excuses.  Excuses are just the walls I erect to keep me small.

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself,

How alive am willing to be?”

― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

swing

Swing, by Paparuchas

How alive indeed.

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October 29

ACIM: I Changed My Mind about the World, So Why Does it Still Seem So Screwed Up?

“Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you.
Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.”

let go

by Randy Heinitz: Sage Advice

Are you ready? Are you ready to give up the hopelessness, the helplessness? The part where you give up feeling that you’re somehow not good enough? It’s interesting how we keep ourselves stuck.  For myself, I notice that there is this part of me that stubbornly refuses to let go of the excuses. I mean, I’ve made up all these reasons why. Who am I if I let go of all that?  I need those stories!  That’s who I am!

So, last night was our Tuesday night Course in Miracles group. The above quote was part of what we were looking at. It came back to the same thing we’ve been looking at the last few weeks – that whole thing about taking responsibility, about owning what is in that present moment and it’s a hard thing to do, to own what is happening in that moment because if that present moment is (translate seems) less than perfect, then it somehow my responsibility and I want to palm it off on someone else; I want to make it somebody else’s responsibility. I don’t want to own it; but the problem (we’re always looking for problems!) with not owning it is that it takes away all my power.  It takes away my ability to change it and that’s the part that sucks.  It is also the part that is awesome because it mean means I have the ability to change it, which is really what I want – at least on some level.

Rev. Martha always says that New Thought isn’t for sissies because it requires taking personal responsibility for our lives; not everyone is ready to do that.  It feels vulnerable to quit assigning blame, even if the person you’ve been assigning it to is you.  If we quit wrapping people in guilt, where does that leave us?

Week after week, I notice how we struggle with this idea of guiltlessness.  If we are all innocence, if there is no one to blame, then doesn’t that mean chaos gets to rule the world?

Someone has to be held accountable!!!

But the question and the answer are the same. We aren’t punished for our sins, we are punished by them (although from the Course’s perspective, sin isn’t real – they are but errors in perception in need of correction).  Here’s the part that once we can wrap our minds around shifts everything.  If in order to enter a holy instant, if the answer to finding a miracle is to change ME, then I don’t have to look anywhere else and then I lose all my excuses.  I have only myself to blame, but if I’m innocent, I lose even that.  I can just allow it to be.  I can just settle into enjoy whatever is happening.

See, all of that is scary stuff because the ego wants to be king. It wants to usurp God’s power and be the ruler of the world.  And it’s doing that successfully as long as we believe in its tiny mad ideas.  “You did this to yourself,” says the Course.  You did this.  You.  You made all of the misery and trapped yourself in it and then complained about it.  And now the only requirement to get rid of it is to let it go.  To realize you don’t want it.  To recognize that it isn’t the truth.  That you don’t even need to beat yourself up for it because, well, you are innocent.  Doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes, it means those mistakes can’t separate you from realizing the truth of who and what you really are – this beloved child of God who can’t screw things up enough to make God stop loving you.  The conditional love of God reigns supreme.  Always.  Constantly.  Continuously.  You can make yourself miserable.  You can keep yourself from the goodness, from the love, the peace, the joy that is your natural inheritance, but

nothing you can do will cause God to give up on you, because you cannot seduce God into believing the lies you tell yourself.

He knows better.

peace

by Evan Leeson: Skyline Speedboat

 

This is why the Course makes me feel so loved.  This is why it splits open my heart to embrace everything and everyone.  It gently reminds me of who I am and that my brothers and sisters are also that.  Just as God will never forsake me, I don’t get to forsake them.  Salvation occurs when I remember who we all are.  All of us.

Okay, but here’s the thing – I’m forever forgetting and believing the lies my mind tells me.  My mind lies to me.  A lot.  And I’m so gullible, I believe its lies.  So, I personally find it helpful to return to work of Byron Katie.  I ask the four questions:

  • Is it true?

 

  • Can I absolutely know it’s true?

 

  • How do I react when I believe this thought?

 

  • Who would I be without the thought?

 

When I can remember to question my own thoughts, I can remember to go back to the place where I am thinking God thoughts, thoughts of love, thoughts of peace.  That’s the litmus test.  Are these thoughts making me feel peaceful or upset?  If they catapult me into peace, then I am anchored in love, in God’s thought system. If they drop me into misery then I’m clearly been seduced by my ego, by the thought system of fear.  So I choose again.

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

What is my goal? Let it be peace.  May it always be peace.

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October 28

A Lesson in Dictation – Where Were You When the Sun Came Up?

sunrise

Un neuvo dia by Christian Frausto Bernal

“Our thoughts are like harmless ants marching across a picnic blanket. They come, they go, they quickly flow right through… until we decide to gather them up, stare at them, and transform them into our reality. It is our attention to our thoughts that pulled them into our reality. We decide which thoughts to feed, which thoughts to empower. Once we put our energy into any thought, it begins accumulating mass, forming into “material” events and things.” – Pam Grout, E-Cubed: Nine More Energy Experiments That Prove Manifesting Magic and Miracles Is Your Full-Time Gig

Possibility is knocking.  I feel sort of like a kid on Christmas morning.  Yesterday, the copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 12.0, English that I had ordered came in the mail.  Yes, last year’s version, because that’s what I could afford, but man, oh man, does this have potential. Now this is not to say that there isn’t going to be a learning curve because there most certainly is, but suddenly the idea that I can actually control everything on my computer (sort of like I can do with my phone, at least theoretically) is wildly exciting. I’m willing to embrace yet another piece of technology with its horrifically inconvenient learning curve to get to an easier place.  I’m willing to be tortured for a bit.  It’s going to take me a while to figure out how to control the world (well, my world anyway), and that thing I was talking about yesterday about habit that will definitely come into play because this isn’t how I normally write; but I can talk so much faster than I can use the keyboard.

The main challenge is going to be to learn how to speak my thoughts clearly. I write more eloquently than I speak, and writing actually helps me to think so it’s going to be interesting to learn how to do that through speaking. Plus, I’m not sure I’m completely willing to give up my old way of writing – there’s that habit thing again – but the whole idea behind doing this is to learn how to be more efficient. These days I’m all about efficiency. I am all over paring away the extraneous to just sit with that which is essential.

Because here’s the crux of what this is all about

– it’s getting to the juice of life.

All of this is pulling me towards the life I’ve been yearning to live. I’m at the age where I’m no longer concerned with what other people think. I just want to allow myself to marinate in the goodness of living, to connect with the beauty of being, to allow God to kiss me in each and every moment: to love my life.  And all of this is going to take some paying attention. All of this is going to take noticing what’s working; what isn’t. There’s going to be some correction along the way. It will undoubtedly try my patience. Oh well.  I think of it sort of like exercise: no pain, no gain.

Because this marriage between the life I want to live and the life I have is going to be a process.  It takes time to achieve harmony. It’s going to take a willingness to stretch myself in ways I’ve never been stretched. It’s going to take a new way of being in the world – a way I’m not used to. And all of that is scary.

But I’m finding on my way to discovering myself that if I just settle into that place of peace, that place where I’m connected to the divine, being pulled into the heart of who and what I want to be is so much easier than I thought it ever could be. As I sit here dictating, I feel myself being wrapped in poetry, in the language of God, in the heart of peace.  And there’s something slightly hysterical about needing to correct this software that doesn’t seem to recognize the language of Spirit, but that’s okay because what I know for sure is that

I’m done fighting God.

I’m going with what is, whatever that is. And yes, it’s going to take some time to figure all this out; it’s going to take some time to get used to this new way of being in the world, so bear with me.

door

A Garden with A Door to a Garden by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Today I stand at the threshold of possibility; I stand at the doorway to goodness. I stand at the entrance of this place that I’ve been aching to inhabit, this place that for some reason I never before gave myself permission to call my own. What part of me believed the lie that I wasn’t good enough to have it? What will part of me was so scared that it wasn’t safe to reach for what I really wanted? In the chamber of the sacred, God whispers to me and welcomes me home. Heaven is here, my friend, and I for one am ready to experience it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Some of my old poetry:

How to Know God: 60-second Nirvana

Deeply,
Quietly,
In still connection: Breathe,
Know the moment,
This moment,
The only moment there is.

There:
Wholeness.
There:
Perfection.
There:
The God-breath
Where no separation
Can keep us from the truth.

Love is all there is.

Love is all there is.

See in their faces.
It’s there even behind the anger,
Even masked in sorrow
It waits
Trembling like a frightened child, aching to reconnect with truth.

Love is all there is.
Breathe.
Know who you are.
Know who I am.

Breathe.
And there, enter the shift.

In that breath: meditation

In that breath: prayer

We straddle duality
And enter into forgetfulness.

We pause, breathe
And enter into loving-kindness
Enter
Into God.

Where were you when the sun
Came up this morning?
Kissing daybreak,
Welcoming the mystery.
If we dwell in it,
Can there be anything but joy?

When we slip into humanity
And the veil of illusion blinds us
To the wonder,
How delicious the heartbeat
That can bring us back to
Nirvana

Stop.
Close your eyes for a moment.
Breathe.

Love pumps though our veins.

God swims through our cells.

Feel the sweetness of it. Breathe.

It’s magic.

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October 27

More Brain Stuff — It’s Becoming a Habit!

brain

Listening to Brain Activity by Daniele Oberti

In some alternate reality, I am a neuroscientist – probably a neuropsychologist.  I have always been fascinated by how the brain works, particularly in regard to how to change habits.  There is an interesting juxtaposition between my desire to make sure my life isn’t on autopilot, that I am actually consciously making choices, and efficiency.  The latter comes down to habits and the brain’s tendency to “chunk” actions.  So, for example, anything we do repeatedly – brush our teeth, drive, check our email or Facebook account – all of that is habit.  We don’t really think about how to do these things, we know how and so all we need is a trigger and we’re off and running.

This is great for the stuff we need/want efficiency for.  It is extremely helpful not to have to consciously focus on applying the brakes when you are barreling down on a small child who has darted out into the street.  Our dentists hope that our parents’ taught us a dental hygiene routine that includes flossing and two minutes of teeth brushing at least twice a day because they understand it then takes considerable conscious effort to alter that habit,  But checking our email or social media networks can have a less than desirable effect.  Yes, it is probably important to respond to our clients in a timely fashion, but probably less crucial to share the cat video that was forwarded to us.  For most of us, all of these (or something similar) are habits and how efficiently we execute them goes back to the way we learned them.

The reason Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is still a bestseller after all these years is that if you are going to chase success, it helps to emulate the behavior of those who are achieving it.  Tony Robbins has been advising this for years.  Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Find people who are doing what you want to do and copy them.  Habits matter.

The brain however is not a reliable discerner.  It doesn’t stop to consciously question the validity of the “habit loop” it encounters.  The right button gets pushed, et voilà, it starts the program running without further questioning, which is why things like quitting smoking can be a challenge because the triggers still exist (stress, a cup of coffee, a beer, whatever) and once they are activated it take conscious effort to insert plan B into place.  The replacement habit needs to be strong to supplant the “bad” learned behavior.  Not only that, but according to Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit, after a while, we start to crave the reward created by the habit loop.  Ask any addict, which is most of us in some facet of our lives (drinking, drugging, shopping, sex, gaming, TV, movies, exercise, smoking, gambling – most of us have at least one vice).  The reward created by say, checking your Facebook account, is a little rush of relief that after a while, creates a craving for the rush, known an anticipatory reward which increasing our eagerness to get to the task.  This is the rub of bad habits – they have become a craving.  In fact, studies indicate that unless there is that craving component the synapses in the brain don’t strengthen and it is those strengthened synapses that cause cravings.  And supposedly, the triggers never get erased, although they can be modified.

Why does any of this matter?  Well, for me it matters because I have a file cabinet full of bad habits and if I am ever going to have the life I want, I am going to need to start modifying some of them.  This means identifying the components (the cue or trigger, the routine and the reward) and then consciously substituting a different routine, one tiny piece at a time.

I stress tiny because I need to keep myself out of overwhelm. It’s important to build slowly.  Willpower is easily exhausted, although it can also be strengthened like a muscle,  Still studies indicate that it can be used up so if you are feeling stressed out, sleep deprived and you are on a diet, stay out of the bakery!  You will fail!!!  Also it’s important not to focus on a huge goal, but rather break down into smaller doable pieces.  (The old how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time).  My mother always advised that when you don’t want to face a task (see the 5 second rule), like cleaning out your closet, to commit to 15 minutes is much easier than telling yourself you will have the whole thing immaculate by the end of the evening.  After 15 minutes, you can always continue if you find yourself on a roll, but if not, at least you have 15 minutes worth of cleaner closet and if you commit to continuing it every night until you have it done, then you may have it done sooner than you anticipated.

Anyway, the point of all this is to set oneself up for success, build it in.  I am doing the Win List and the reason I like it is because it sets me up for success.  When my son was little, I remember being advised to catch him doing things right and praise him on it to reinforce good behavior.  Since I have had way too many so-called failures in the last few years, I am thinking that it can’t hurt to set myself up for some wins.  It felt pretty darned good this morning to know that I had so many items I could check off last night before I made my new list for today.  I awoke feeling happy and productive.  For now, I am being careful to only include things that I absolutely know I will do, but it occurred to me that if I break down the chunks I can have even more wins.  Brush teeth is really, take out my toothbrush, load it with toothpaste, wet it with water, stick it in my mouth, etc. etc.  Call it cheating, if you like, but I’m feeling better about it already.  Now, stay tuned to see if it makes it to habit mode.

(P.S. – it helps to make accountability. Darned me and my public life!!!!)

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October 26

The Win List and Problems

 

boring

So I did it.  I made my Win List.* I turned myself into a winner overnight.  And the amazing part is the part of me that still wants to drag out the past and get a standing ovation for my problems.  Like problems make me important.  As if the only way to get noticed is to have them, because, well, let’s face it, a peaceful life is boring.

My ego seems determined to have fodder for the grist mill.  The interesting thing is that I’ve noticed that when someone asks me how things are going, I’m noncommittal about affirming how great they are, like I don’t want to lie about my circumstances which are far from dire but certainly not worth bragging about.

Am I seriously being asked to cough up a list of problems or to assess if my outward circumstances are great enough to warrant enthusiasm?

Who the hell says I couldn’t be great while living in less than opulent conditions?  And what kind of an ingrate am I when I fail to appreciate that most of my bills are current (there’s a straggler or two out there) and that I have a roof over my head, a mortgage that’s paid and food on my table?

I’m constantly amazed at how quick I can be to shove myself back into the deserving-of-pity category.  And I notice how my ego is fine with taking that observation and turning it into more fodder.  I’m noticing a pattern here and it seems like, well, a problem.  Oops.

Here is the thing that I seem to like to forget.  I don’t really need to belabor anything.  I could just let it go.

But, but, but, what about WHY?

My ego wants someone to be guilty.

Who cares?  Seriously, who cares?  The only possible reason for looking at it is to notice how it’s limiting me and once I notice that, then what, pray, tell, is the point in continuing to look at it?

When I am driving somewhere and I hit a pothole, I don’t stop five miles down the road to go back and look at it.

I move on, otherwise, I’d never get to my destination.  That doesn’t mean I don’t avoid potholes in the future, but do I really need to stop and examine each one I hit???

Recently, I had a real estate deal blow up.  The listing agent sent me several emails, enumerating my buyer’s guilt in the situation and inferring that there should be some compensation. And in the end, my buyer accepted a certain fiscal responsibility for something that was in no way his fault because he wanted to put an end to it all.  His willingness to pay up was not an admission of guilt, just an expensive way of ending the torture.  Each time I would receive an email, I wanted to shift guilt back to where I thought it rightfully belonged.  I wanted to defend, but I didn’t because I knew better.  I knew the only way to end it wasn’t be get mired in  a finger-pointing conversation.  No one was going to agree on the guilt assignment.  No one was going to be happy.  The best we could hope for was that we wouldn’t be too unhappy; that we could let it go and move on and be done with it.

Forgiveness is the process we use to talk ourselves into letting it go.  It is a way of making the ego shut upShut up!!!!

My friend Brandi loves to remind me that the Course always declares we are guiltless.  I am grateful for the reminder. It lasers me back to the important point.  Let it go.

The ego always wants to be right.  It wants to make a list (not a Win List, a Guilt list) and deflect shame and guilt away from itself.  It also wants to continue the conversation ad infinitum. 

“After all, someone has to be accountable and it’s not going to be me,” it says.

But seriously, who cares?  There is a line (lesson 34) from the Course that says, “I could see peace instead of this.”  It’s one of my favorites because it quickly reminds me how I am choosing to be right (the ego) over being peaceful (God).

So instead of making anyone guilty, instead of sizing up circumstances and judging whether or not they are worthy of being deemed “great,” what if I just settled into my wins?  I have a win List and it has fifty items on it and I’ve already done a lot of the stuff on it and I haven’t even left the house yet.  I’ve set myself up for success.  I’m going with that, because it feels so much better than judging if I’m worthy of claiming “great!” as my self-assessment and making up problems.  And after all, “the solution to the problem is inherent in its meaning.”

 2There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve. There is no shift in any aspect of the problem but will make solution impossible. For if you shift part of the problem elsewhere the meaning of the problem must be lost, and the solution to the problem is inherent in its meaning. Is it not possible that all your problems have been solved, but you have removed yourself from the solution? Yet faith must be where something has been done, and where you see it done.   

Or as Richard Bach says in Illusions – the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”

and finally, he also adds this: “You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”

Sigh.

sigh

Hold On by Helga Weber

 

*Win List – a list of items created the night before of the things you are certain you will do the next day.  It’s not a to do list; it’s a list of things that you cannot help but be successful at – so walking, going to the bathroom, eating, driving, feeding your pet, talking, and all the other stuff you will do anyway.  For more information see yesterday’s blog.

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October 25

The Power of Decision, Imagination and Breaking Out of Autopilot

list

Sometimes we don’t know what decisions are life-altering.  For example, I didn’t know that when my friend Brandi gifted me with her old Kindle Fire that it was a life-changer.  Not to be melodramic, but owning one has increased my reading ten-fold and connected me with information I would never have read without it.  Sometimes we don’t know where our lives are headed, but the thing I do know is that I am constantly supported by the universe (God/Bubba, whatever you care to call It).

Lately, this support is showing up in the form of a huge revelation: my mind can be training to support me.  I just need to break out of autopilot and use the power of decision to do it.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of my life is autopilot

I don’t prefer it that way, but it is the way it has been.  But I’m becoming a little radical.  I’ve been asking myself to be conscious of what I am doing.  How am I spending my money? How am I spending my evenings?  What am I choosing to put in my body?  But deeper than that, lately I find myself irritated when I noticed that I have allowed other people’s agendas to override my own, so I am consciously limiting my availability to others when I am focused on writing, or anything else that I have consciously chosen for myself.  Yesterday it was a nap that I needed.  I am certain I am not winning any popularity contests as a result – people don’t seem to cotton to it when you switch up the rules on them – but part of this whole conscious living thing is deciding what works for me.  It’s not that I am trying to be inconsiderate or rude or selfish (well, maybe a little selfish, but I like to think it is in a good way) but the older I get, the more I realize that if I don’t consciously decide, then others will gladly do it for me, and let’s face it, I’m clearly closer to the end of my life than the beginning. I don’t have forever.

I’m starting to have less patience for that sort of thing, partly because I recognize how inefficient so much of it is.  I am happy to consciously choose to hang out in the parking lot blabbing for three hours with my friend Brandi or to go enjoy a meal with some of my other friends because I want to spend time with them.  What I don’t seem to have patience for anymore is taking two hours to do a task that really only requires 15 minutes due to lack of focus.  The business side of my personality wants to consciously choose to streamline certain tasks, which is why I am so pro systems at the moment.  Systems can streamline things.

Now, the irony here is that the value of systems is that they put things on autopilot

but autopilot is not a bad thing, it is just something that, in my estimation, should exist to create time and energy for living, as in consciously living, as in choosing experience over default (autopilot).

So my latest radical concept book, The Practically Magical Use of Lists (Life Transformation System A-Z Book 2), is all about consciously choosing.  The author, JoreJj Z. Elprehzleinn says that our minds keep a tally of wins and that by consciously choosing to do something, anything, something as small as brushing your teeth or getting dressed, that we create the mental equivalent (my words, not his) of a winner.  Elprehzleinn suggests that we create win lists, which are not the same as to do lists.  Win lists are things you are consciously choosing to do, which means that if you want to brush your teeth, taking a moment to consciously choose to brush your teeth before doing it creates the feeling of being a winner.  That rush you get when you create a to do list and then check things off, you can get that ten-fold or better just by making a win list and checking off each and every thing you have consciously chosen to do.

Why is this important?  Because our minds keep track.  In Course of Miracles terms, which admittedly is how I view everything, it is a matter of eliminating guilt.  The more I consciously choose to do something and then do it, the more my brain goes, “Oh, she’s reliable.  She does what she says she’s going to do.”  It builds faith in oneself.  It creates safety, which from the ego’s perspective is everything.

5 Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.

“The mind can elect what it chooses to serve.”   This is the whole purpose of the Course – to train the mind to turn to God rather than the ego.  I like that.  I’ve been working on that.

So where does imagination come into play?  Well, I don’t know about you but over the years I’ve become less and less adept at using my imagination.  It’s not that I don’t understand the power of visualization and all that, but I’ve been known to be somewhat lazy and the part of my brain that is fear-based (ego) is much more adept at conjuring fearful scenarios than it is at summoning awesome outcomes.  It is something I definitely need to work on.  Abraham claims you have only to hold an idea in consciousness for 17 seconds in order to bring it into your reality.  What if I made a list of all the things I want to bring into my reality and then consciously chose to focus on each of them for 17 seconds each?  Do you think I might change my whole life?

I still have to do these things of course.  My ego tries to seduce me into backburnering it.  I have to return to Mel Robbins and the 5-second rule.

Robbins says this, “For starters, adopt the Five-Second Rule—immediately. Anytime you have an idea that seems like a sure thing, act to advance it within five seconds. Why? Because your brain’s main job is to avoid trouble and risk, so in less than five seconds it will persuade you to abandon your idea”.( – See more at: http://www.success.com/article/mel-robbins-follow-the-five-second-rule#sthash.X4l7Atsb.dpuf)

And that, my friends is how to escape autopilot.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have a Win List to go work on.

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October 24

So Much Free Stuff, So Little Time to Read it All

 

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The Internet is such an amazing place.  I’ve become so adept at finding resources that help me towards my goals that I am in awe of just how much is out there for free or next to nothing.  Between Kindle e-books and YouTube videos, I can learn how to do just about anything.  BUT, it requires weeding, because there is a lot of crap out there and thus I bump into crux of the issue.  Overwhelm.  It takes patience and persistence to weed through it all and discern what is worth investing energy into and what isn’t.  All of this can be exacerbated by my tendencies to gather resources when I am gearing up for a project. The problem is this:

 too many choices aren’t helpful.

In fact, it can be crippling.  And like all good Americans, I am seduced by “free.”  The result is that I have some 2000+ free e-books.  I mean seriously – I have really just given myself more work to do because now I have to weed through those.  Thank heavens Kindles have a search feature!

Still, I am noticing what while I am consciously unburdening myself of much of my stuff, selling things I don’t need, throwing out the junk, part of me is addicted to exploring what free stuff is available today from the Amazon Bestseller Nonfiction BookstoreAnd even though I recently read that it is inefficient to read more than three books on one subject because there will be very little new information after the third, I still frequently find myself discovering new books that make me so glad I found them.  Some of them are related to technology and those things change quickly, so I am hesitant to relinquish my new pastime.

What I’ve determined is that I need to develop a system and discard all the stuff that isn’t in line with that system.  Not that I am trying to put all my eggs in one basket, most books on generating wealth suggest multiple income streams and I am working towards that, but it helps to eliminate things that are clearly not in line with my goals.  I don’t need to download a book on how to do origami because I’m not interested enough in it at this time to invest any time and energy into it.

And the thing is this:

those resources will be there if I change my mind.

It’s a trust thing.  It’s a sufficiency thing. It’s a priority thing.  And, it’s an individualized thing.  What is important to me, may not be the same thing that is important to you.  We all need to develop our own systems.

Having said that, one of the things I learned studying art in college is that great artists steal.  What I mean by that is that they borrow each other’s ideas; they use each other for inspiration.  They don’t try to reinvent the wheel every time they start a project.  So lately, I look at what other folks are doing and see what it is in their systems that I like.  Then I do the same thing I do when I cook, I take the ingredients that speak to me and I omit the ones that have no appeal, recognizing, of course, that sometimes the ones I want to omit may be crucial components for achieving success so I may need to throw them in after all.

One of the free resources I’ve discovered is FreeMind, which is mind mapping software.  Because. according to one of the free e-books, Brain Focus: Learn Practical Brain Focus Techniques To Develop Unstoppable Mind Focus and Mental Discipline (Brain Training and Mental Focus Book 4) I’ve recently downloaded, part of the reason I go into overwhelm is I’m trying to remember all the billions of things I need to do and I am overburdening my prefrontal cortex.  By the way, classic example that illustrates my point about free resources, this book was published yesterday.  Yesterday it was free.  Today it is $2.99.  (And no, I don’t know the author).

It helps to write it down.  I’m also reading The Practically Magical Use of Lists (Life Transformation System A-Z Book 2).  Again, it was free when I downloaded it; it’s now $9.99.  Same goes for the other five books by this author, all of which I own; none of which cost me a penny.

Perhaps the point of all this is that while it may not be healthy to approach life as if this opportunity isn’t going to last, (a fear-based mentality rooted in the fear of not enough), it’s also not wise to act as if the opportunities will always be there.  Sometimes, “you snooze, you lose,” is very valid advice.  The important piece here, in my estimation, that it helps to have your priories straight.  Downloading my twentieth book on meditation is probably not productive especially when I have not read the first nineteen!   Again, it goes back to trust or faith.  If I have faith in the universe to support me and supply me with everything I need, then I don’t need to freak out and worry about missing out on opportunities.  I can relax and know that I will be divinely guided to do what I need to do, which may be why last night when I settled into my bed to read before going to sleep, I found myself downloading the Brain Focus book when I had had no intention of checking out what free books were available. The other one I downloaded,Brain Training: The Ultimate Brain Training Tips for Mental Focus and Concentration Training (Brain Training, Memory Improvement, Brain Plasticity), which I haven’t started reading yet, is still free, so if you hurry you can take advantage of it.

All I know for certain is that the one resource that really matters to me is A Course in Miracles.  And that is definitely free online.  But I’m not getting rid of my paperback edition anytime soon.

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October 23

Loving the One I Have

guest house

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

The Guest House is one of my favorite poems, a reminder to embracing life, all of it.  It is all there to support me. This morning, there was no sorrow, no dread, even though there were still tasks I’d prefer to shove aside and not face.  My introverted soul has felt a little imposed upon lately and I want to embrace the selfish me that screams for nurturance.  When I remembered this poem, it returned me to the place of gratitude where I feel good about all of it, even while disliking it.

Poetry breeds poetry.  I find it soothing.  It calls to the soul and says, “Come.  Sit with me a while.”  I read and settle into the arena of the divine, where language flows over me and kisses me with passion.  I find myself.  I find peace. Gratitude is peace’s companion.

Awhile back, my friend Brandi shared this poem, Couple’s Therapy, with me:

I love it and yet I had to stop listening to it because something about hovering around this disease didn’t feel healthy for me, like circling around it was inviting in my own demons and I can’t go there.  I can’t go there.  Sure, treat all of it like a welcome house guest, but to stay in gratitude I can’t go to the space where the sorrows are now permanent family members.  I have to stay with love, with the part of me that knows everything is working out, despite appearances and that means that these guests can be shown the door once their welcome has been outworn.

It’s like negative energy.  When I’m around negative people, people who are vibrating at a slower frequency than me, I can only deal with it for an extended period of time if I am helping to raise their vibration.  If I am inspiring them, helping them in some way, it works.  But if their dark demons are sucking me into their dark hole, I can’t stay there.  I have to escape to a place where I can remember the truth of who and what I am.  I have to repeat lines from the Course (which is so poetic!) to myself and remind myself that I am only here to teach love.

I open the Course and find myself staring at the answer.  It is so amazing how that works.

You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly, because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours.  His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.

If I am perceiving negative energy, then I am reacting as if the errors were real and making them real to me.  I am following the wrong guide.  Sometimes I shout out to myself, “You will never lose your way, for God leads you.”  It returns me to remembering.  I cannot follow the dictates of others.  No one else knows what is right for me.  Only me.  The me that remembers to listen to divine guidance.

So this living, this being human, requires balance.  It requires noticing the errors, the fear, the parts that are calling to be healed, but not allowing the illusions to suck me into making them real.  It requires loving all of it, recognizing that all of it is here to support me.  All of it.  And the way out of the seeming hell is to love it all.  Be grateful for it all.  The ones who irritate me because they somehow think that I should be on their timetable and available 24/7, they teach me to set boundaries and lovingly remind them that I am not their property and I get to do my life the way I want.  The ones who have opinions about how I should be spending my time or resources, they get to have their opinions and I get to solidify my own ideas about what is right for me despite those opinions.  I get to learn how to do this without the need to try to make anyone else wrong in the process.  Yes, I get to love it all.  I get to find a way to invite them all in and allow them to clear out my house for me.  And then, when they are done, I get to invite them to leave.  And there is no rule that says that can’t be the last time they visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: ACIM, Life, Peace | LEAVE A COMMENT
October 22

Standing in the River of Flow and Getting Knocked to the Ground

river

 

Flow.  I am stepping into flow and it requires focus.  It requires beginning with the end in mind and a billion other clichés.  Dang.  I just realized why it is challenging for me to begin with the end in mind – because I like things to evolve organically which means that I don’t tell it what to be.  But that can be problematic insomuch as it’s hard to achieve a result when you don’t have any idea what that looks like.  There has to be a balance.  From the Course’s perspective, this means, peace needs to be my goal, but I am not necessarily going to know what that looks like, I’m only going to know what it feels like.

This was part of the decision from last night’s ACIM group meeting.  The line that set things off was, “Vision or judgment is your choice, but never both of these.” Judgment must be suspended to be able to see.  Acceptance of what is means that there is a freedom that emerges.  There is no need to fight whatever is happening, it can be surrendered to in the knowingness that whatever is happening is what needs to happen.  We are no longer trying to make God wrong.

And what that is well and good when I have faith that what is happening is supporting me.  It is another story when I can’t seem to find how it could possibility be benevolent.  This is where those labels of good and bad creep in and I notice I somehow climbed back into bed with judgment.  I mean, I thought I was doing okay with the suspending judgment thing and then I noticed how I didn’t really feel that confident in God’s version of how things should be going down.

I think this is where I sometimes get tripped up, because I am co-creator here and God always says, “yes,”  I forget that my acting as if things aren’t that great makes sure that they aren’t.

Say what????

Me acting like what is happening shouldn’t be happening is the thing that creates hell.  Let’s see if I can unravel this.  I’m going to lay it out in simple terms for myself so I can notice how I mess it up.

I am going somewhere, I’m late (what else is new?).

I feel rushed.  Shit.  “I’m going to be late,” I think.  I start to get stressed out.

At this point, God says, “yes.”  And suddenly there is a traffic jam ahead and this mere idea of feeling as if I’m not being supported, supports that idea.  It creates the very thing I don’t want.  What!!!!  Wait a minute!!!!!  Back up!  Start over.

Okay, I run out the door.  I am late (we aren’t changing the circumstances here, just going with what is).  In this moment, I remember that I am supported and that late is my evaluation of a future event that wasn’t happened yet.  Great.  All well and good, Nanc, but you still need to be someplace that is twenty miles away and you have twenty minutes to get there.  “There is no way you are going to make it on time, girl!”  Okay.  Breathe into acceptance.  No judgment about it.  It is what it is.

I find my happy place that remembers how supported I am by God.  I don’t beat myself up for being late yet again.  I don’t make myself wrong or guilty.  I don’t make anyone else wrong or guilty (“damn it, why does my husband always need to talk to me when I need to get out the door!?!”)  I just go with it.  I remember that I am totally loved and supported at all times.  I take the opportunity at the first traffic light to text my client and let them know I am late.

This has actually happened to me on more than one occasion.  Invariably when I manage to step into the second scenario, I send a text and the response back is, “me, too.”  Generally, traffic opens up, and I get there sooner than I had anticipated and I end up spending five minutes awaiting the arrival of my client.

But it is just as possible that they get there first and are pissed.  Or that I’m late to the doctor’s appointment or whatever.  The point is this, “I do not know what anything is for.”  How am I going to be open to miracles if I have my mind made up that God is wrong and it should be unfolding the way I think it should be unfolding.  And no one ever does anything right and blah, blah, blah.  I am resisting reality.  I have not opened to the possibility of miracles or surprise or anything other than a repeat of what always happens.  When I go in with the attitude that I know how this always goes down, then I am ensuring that the past gets repeated.  I am dragging the past into the present.  “Hello judgment.  Did you come here to mess me up again?”

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This letting go of judgment thing is not always easy.  Oops that was a judgment.  This letting go of judgment thing creates experiences, it creates opportunities for forgiveness.  It creates opportunities to choose again.  And again.  And again.  I do not know what anything is for.  Why do I sometimes think that God is wrong and this shouldn’t be happened and I know you say I am always being supported, but I feel like my life is going to hell in a hand basket and I sure don’t feel supported!

I choose again.  Being attacked by my client or my coworker is in support of my life.  Okay God.  We are going to go with that, but let me take a moment to say, it feels awful to be attacked.  Where’s the love?  Where’s the respect?  “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.”  Why is it always up to me?

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Because there is only one of us here.  We’re all connected.  We are all one.  And if you are not in your right mind and I notice it, then it becomes my responsibility to be the sane one, the one who remembers who we are.  The Course says this:

5 When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.

Still, there is a part of me that would love to blame the other guy.  I know, ego.  We are trying to heal that here.

And by the way, what does any of this have to do with flow, because I’m pretty sure that is where we started?

It has everything to do with it.  Flow is birthed from focus, knowing what I want the result to be (peace).  And synchronicity happens when I am choosing vision rather than judgment.  In reality, synchronicity is always happening, but when I’ve been giving bad (change that – undesirable) direction – as in “damn it, I’m going to be late!” then I’m not going to notice how things are falling into place because the direction I gave was “I don’t trust things to work out.”  So life is demonstrating to me that I am correct; that it’s not safe to hope for things because they never work out for me.  I am creating the thing I fear.  I hate when that happens.

There is a reason the advice of “act as if” exists.  As Wayne Dyer says, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”  The trick is to keep returning to what my goal is.  Peace.  I said my goal was peace.  And love.  Oh, and a life that I love.  Do you think maybe I should start by loving the one I have?

peace

by danorbit

 

 

 

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October 21

Misusing Time and Changing My Mind about It

a course in miracles

This morning, I awoke in a neutral space, but I could feel that nudge of familiarity egging me towards dissatisfaction.  I wasn’t in gratitude.  I wasn’t in joy.  I certainly wasn’t in peace.  Not a good sign.  I reached for the Course and allowed the pages to open randomly to what I needed to know in that moment.  The first words I read were these.  “I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time.”  This is very apparent to me as I find time frittering away and anxiety mounting over what I feel I should be doing but….  Lately, I find myself wondering daily what I can do to squelch the resistance that I keep bumping up against.  As always, the Course leads me to my answers.  I open to Lesson 90, which is a review.  For some reason I read the second part before the first.

(80) Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this, if I will let Him. And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already.

The answer is with the problem, they are not separate.  The problem is the answer.  “The answer to the problem is already given me, if I will accept it.” I notice my resistance to accepting the answer and then return to the beginning of the lesson.

(79) Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

Let me realize today that the problem is always some form of grievance that I would cherish. Let me also understand that the solution is always a miracle with which I let the grievance be replaced. Today I would remember the simplicity of salvation by reinforcing the lesson that there is one problem and one solution. The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place.

a course in miracles

“Some sort of grievance I would cherish.”  Ouch.  I don’t think of myself as holding grievances.  What grievance am I holding?  I pause for a moment and scan my mind for the answer.  It is a lack of willingness.  The grievance is that I don’t want to do the things I must.  What that really means, of course, is that I am resisting the miracle.

Wait.  What!!!!

I am resisting the miracle.  Why?  Because some part of me that wants to play small and stay hidden and doesn’t want to have to go there.  I don’t want to grow into a larger version of myself.  I want to hole up and feel sorry for myself and struggle and strive and bitch about it hoping against hope that someone else will do it for me and I won’t have to face myself.

What you seek is seeking you.

~Rumi

I remember my friend Alejandro’s reminder “medicine is the poison, the poison’s the medicine.”  The answer is in the problem.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!

I feel like the heroine in a movie when she comes faces to face with the big denouement.  Except, not to jinx myself or anything, but I know my ego is clever enough to suck me back into this forgetfulness.  (Which is why so many of us study the Course for years). The thing I must remember is this:  my lack of willingness is keeping me from the miracle that God would bless me with if I would but allow.  I have been keeping myself from a miracle.

Was hanging on to the grievance so important?  Did I so need someone to take pity on me that I would deprive myself from the joy that God would bathe me in?  Why have I chosen crumbs from the table over the banquet that is mine to have?

I have forgotten who I am.  Today is Tuesday, my night of salvation, the night my Course in Miracles study group meets and I get to remember that truth,  I get to feel how loved I am.  How cherished the space where God would hold me and whisper to me of my guiltlessness.

It is a little strange how we come together and I have these moments where I feel like I get to be a little bit of light for others to learn how to embrace this stuff and yet simultaneously, I recognize how very human I am and how very much I have to learn.  Moments like these, I am glad for others in the group who come to share and open my heart to further understanding.  And indeed, the moments when I come at last to rest awhile with these miracles, I feel my heart open and love rushes in and I know the answer was always here, waiting for me to say hello.  There is no separation.  The problem is the answer.  Miracles have been waiting for me.

May I remember today to let them come.  May I remember who I am.  May I remember who we are.

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