Today is the Day!
This is the day I’ve been waiting for all of my life. Actually, it’s the day I’ve been preparing for all of my life. I thought it would be different – bands playing and a lot of whoop-ti-do. But, no; it’s just me and Gracie on the mountain, overlooking Crow Valley, clouds rolling by with the sun peeking through on occasion.
It sounds like a normal, run of the mill day, but something dramatic has shifted: I’m happy!
I used to think happy was a vacuous, mindless, blissful state. I’ve realized how much effort it takes to be happy – I mean what it actually requires is a huge amount of mindfulness.
I realize too that happy and peaceful are constants in my life. Over this lifetime, I’ve actually been creating unhappiness in so many ways – it’s ridiculous. Through imagining the future, where I hope my life will be happy and fulfilled, or remembering either when things were good or not so good; the inevitable belief underlying all my daydreaming is that something is lacking in my life.
Thinking about what I had in the past but I don’t have now, or waiting with intolerance for what has yet to arrive – well, of course I’d be frustrated, disappointed, suffering and barely surviving – not to mention full of worry and anxiety! This moment couldn’t possibly be fulfilling – could it?
I check off the items on my to-do list and wonder what value is being served by any of it. I’m finishing the re-design of my websites and wonder what’s the point! Is it really going to make a difference in the number of people who call for coaching, who buy my books or invite me to be a keynote speaker? I have no doubt that it will contribute little to my financial well-being. So why bother?
On the other hand, financial well-being aside, my life is great! And, the creative process of the website, logo, tagline and content has been a process of refining the essence of my work – the essence of me. I’ve come to define my sweet-spot in my work and resonate more clearly with the quality of the experience available when I’m in that sweet-spot. I’m now allowing myself to pick and choose my clients and students much more carefully. I have no idea whether there will be a future; and, A Course in Miracles, Oneness and other spiritual writings all say the same thing: Do what you love, let go of the attachment to the outcome, don’t worry, be happy! So, more often than not, now I’m not worrying and I’m happy!
Most of you, over the past year or so, who have been reading my blogs, know that there’s been a lot of deep work that goes into experiencing the simplicity of life in this moment. Excavating and removing lifetimes of patterns of beliefs and assumption, and all of the emotions and behaviors associated with those beliefs – well it’s damn hard work. I don’t blame people who are busy distracting themselves from personal and spiritual evolution. I say “GO FOR IT! Cause, when Spirit is ready, she will find you; and that will be the end of that! Once Spirit’s got you in her grips – well, you can’t run but you can’t hide!
I’m as creative as ever, I’m as productive as ever, and though I’d like my financial well-being to catch up with all the other ways I’m in well-being, well, it’s just a big fat be-with, and it’s a great area within which to let go, let God and continue leaping in faith. An interesting fact: Money influences our happiness by only 10%. We don’t know how little it contributes to our happiness until we have that money and find it’s not really making all that much of a difference.
This may sound depressing to many of you – because it appears as though, no matter how hard I try I just can’t get ahead. In our current paradigm, I would totally agree. However, as the paradigm shifts, the reality I once lived in is no longer the one I reside in now. I had no choice but to surrender my grip on what was, in order to embrace what is – now – in this moment. I had to let go of a belief that something was lacking in me, in my life, in the world at large. This has made room for the cultivating of awareness of a reality where nothing is lacking – in me, it or the world. In such a practice, I find peace and happiness regardless of my circumstances. And, like the Hokey-Pokey – that’s what it’s all about!
Being Successful at Living Someone Elses Illusion
One of the fundamental truths I’ve been living with in my life is that I’m simply not enough and will never be enough. I can never do enough because I can never be enough – you get the picture.
Every day, I fail to bring about the magical miracle outcome that I hope will happen through completing ordinary tasks. The hope is unfulfilled. I’ve come to resist doing anything, or completing anything, because the evidence is that I will face the emptiness of unfulfilled expectations,… and I hate that feeling.
Empty of magic; empty of miracles; death of a dream; incessant hope that is unfulfilled, I watch as I despair with the perpetual emptiness that greets me at the end of every trip to town, every email session, every completion of a blog. The wish for success – work and prosperity – is attached to the belief that something is lacking. And all fingers are pointing at me – there’s something lacking in me.
Spiritually, I know that I’m Divine Presence incarnate and if that’s true then I have no doubt that I’m worthy of my desire for work that fulfills me and brings prosperity. This isn’t currently present in my life, which means something is wrong – again, all fingers point to me. My job is to uncover and unconceal a belief pattern that is juxtaposed to the truth of my Divine Presence.
Through muscle testing I’m able to converse with my self. I recover the logic and reason a three year old child used to understand her reality. Given the dysfunctional environment she was raised in, she came to believe she will never be enough and that she can never do enough because she can’t ever be enough. She is powerless to bring about a change in the circumstance in her environment. She is destined to repeat this pattern for decades.
Having the wisdom, experience and the knowledge to have this conversation with myself today, obviously reveals that as an adult I am enough and can do enough to bring about amazing outcomes; however …
If I find my emotional self continually avoiding tasks and projects as ordinary as going to town and back so as to avoid what I’ll be facing upon my return, I then have to take this expedition into emptiness to find the belief I made to be true, but which continually sabotages and thwarts the fullest expression of my essential self. So I take the journey.
The emptiness the three year old could not fill through her own presence of being is still here, experienced yet unfulfilled. For her whole life, she’s looked to others to fill that emptiness. She/I now know that has never worked in the past, nor will it ever work.
In this exploration, I touch on all that I’ve shared above. I see how I came to create the level of success I now allow and understand that this three year old child’s essential belief about herself is still embedded deep within my psyche. There is no capacity for greater fulfillment as long as this belief – that I will never be enough, is in place. I will continue to fail to bring about a different outcome because I can never do enough because I will never be enough.
I have no doubt that in past lives – my own or my ancestor’s, that I failed to survive. I died because I couldn’t do enough to save myself and perhaps others. So, again I came to decide that I must not be enough if I can’t do enough.
Anyone who understands the power of the energy held within beliefs, like the ones I’m sharing with you, gets that I need to detach from these beliefs and past life experiences in order to liberate myself from the inevitable outcome from proceeding as usual.
So, now what?
On page 8 of A Course in Miracles (1985), stands this passage:
“The Escape from darkness [illusion] involves two stages: First, the recognition that darkness [illusion] cannot hide. This step usually entails fear. Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide, even if you could. This step brings escape from fear. When you’ve become willing to hide nothing, you will not only be willing to enter into communion but will also understand peach and joy.”
I’m grateful that I’m well into stage two, and no longer wish to hide, distract myself from, ignore or avoid thoughts that precipitate fear – to any degree. Everything is up for a look-see and a toss out.
As many of you know, I dowse to uncover and clear thought patterns that no longer serve my highest good or my highest truth. I highly recommend this practice to everyone in service to your fullest expression of your essential self.
After a session such as the one I’ve just described, I need to allow time for my body to release the cellular memory that has been within my system, perhaps for lifetimes. Rest, water, walk in nature, perhaps a good cry, all support an energetic detox. It could takes an hour or two, a day, week or years … no one knows how the unfolding of this process will proceed. I will know where I am in the process by the sense of peace and joy that I experience. In this moment, though, I feel liberated from the incessant feeling of emptiness and despair, and, I feel gratitude, which I’ve come to realize is part and parcel to being peace and joy.
Gurdjieff said: “Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”
In moments like these, I practice conscious faith – though sometimes it’s really difficult. Given the choice though, to truly practice what I preach, there is no other choice to make. It all becomes a no-brainer. Not fun, not easy, but just what there is to do.
Blessings on your journey!
Yoda says “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” Wow! Think about what that would look like in the business world: Letting go of winning, power, promotions and bonuses; letting go of being right and other people being wrong; letting go of complaining, blaming and shaming; letting go of stress and worry and all of the underlying reasons for the stress and worry. What would you have left?
Christopher is a Senior Director for a corporation in Atlanta. He’s been with the company just over two years and is extremely loyal and committed to the company’s mission, to the degree that he had a physical and emotional breakdown after giving his all to the project that will inevitably make or break the company. Now, a couple of months later, he currently faces a similar dilemma – this time consciously, and this time he realizes it’s not just his body that’s on the line; it’s his soul that could be taken.
“What options do you have, Christopher?” I asked him after his complaining how things are exactly as they were those many months ago. Matter of factly, Christopher responds with “There are no options!” “Really?” I ask. “There are no options?” “Yes, there are no options,” He said: “except to revert to the old me that yelled and hollered to get people to do what they are supposed to do. That means setting myself up for another emotional and physical breakdown, and that’s not an option!”
“There are other options,” I countered. “Let’s look at them.” What I was attempting was to get Christopher to see that one of his options is to leave the company and go somewhere that may be more in line with maybe a more workable situation for him. He didn’t see leaving as an option, nor did he see letting go of everything he feared to lose as an option, either. Christopher’s perspective offered no option. He’s in a stalemate.
Yoda also said: “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.” What does that mean in Christopher’s situation? By having the deepest commitment and the most serious mind, it’s easier to fully align with that which you are truly committed to. In Christopher’s case, is it the success of the company orhis own personal success and the maintaining of his reputation (He fears that if he leaves the company his reputation will be tarnished.) that’s at stake? One other thing he is committed to is keeping himself healthy – it’s not an option to sell himself to the devil again. Yet, through my eyes, it looks very much like this is happening. When someone as brilliant as Christopher has no options, he’s a dead duck. He’s given his soul away if he gives himself no options.
We’ve been trained to see the world a certain way, and it’s essential to our survival in many families, communities and business environment, so we think, to maintain that perspective, no matter what. Our minds can’t make sense of our reality if it no longer looks the way it’s supposed to. Much like Christopher, we are then faced with no options and no way to move forward, except to do what we’ve done in the past and we know that’s not going to work.
If we don’t want to lose what we are afraid of losing, our egoic self will bend and twist reality in such a way that we experience stuckness. We can feel lost in the midst of bright lights and lots of people. It’s not uncommon for people to experience mental and emotional exhaustion and breakdowns, inevitably losing more than they were bargaining for. Aren’t we a curious species?
The dilemma Christopher faces is because he has a great deal at stake. On the one hand he has his position, his credibility and all that he’s invested in this company. On the other hand his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is deteriorating. Attempting to hang on to what he’s got will most likely mean he’ll lose everything.
Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose
Where Christopher sees no option, I see he has no options too, but from a different perspective. Unless he opens himself up to the possibilities he currently doesn’t want to see, he will lose everything. My job as his coach is to gently guide him towards what now appears to be too frightening to accept. Inevitably, he will have to choose to shift his paradigm and experience a reality that he doesn’t yet believe exists.
Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose
For some this process is a walk in the park; yet for others it can be experienced as a shattering. There’s nothing wrong with a shattering. A shattering is the same as a paradigm shift, it’s just way more painful in every way, you, I’m sure, have imagined. And, generally, it takes a great deal more time to recover from.
What’s right in front of Christopher is right in front of each and every one of us: the opportunity to discover what’s worth losing and what’s not. It all goes away, sooner or later. In this moment, though, it’s just a matter of choosing to choose to choose to be accountable and responsible for the consequence of the choices we make. I hate that part as much as most people do. I want it all good and all easy. When it’s not, I don’t want to look at options I don’t want to take. I’ve learned though that my life isn’t worth living if fear is the only conductor on this train. I’m listening to Yoda and other spiritual teachers in order to create a life worth living. Christopher will make a similar choice, I have no doubt.
Not losing is a no-win game.
J is for Judgment
Probably the single most damaging undertaking is the practice of judging ourselves. We judge ourselves, we project how others might judge us as well we judge others in relation to our own self-judgments. You can imagine how much energy this takes moving throughout the day.
In my previous writing I shared how you have set intentions about how your day will unfold before you’ve opened your eyes. That’s because you have set judgments about yourself, life, jobs, money … you’ve set judgments about everything and anything. These judgments take the form of assessments, assumptions, expectations, beliefs and interpretations, and before your feet hit the floor you are operating based on what you’ve already decided will be happening for the rest of the day and how that influences the rest of your life.
In your work environment, suspending judgments begins by flexing muscles that cultivate conscious choice-making regarding who you be and how you be in whatever role you play.
A client of mine, Chuck, works in the marketing department of a Fortune 100 company. At 47 years of age, he’s at a point in his career where he is rethinking what it is he is wanting to do for the next 20 years. Should he stay in corporate work and move up into a director position; leave Los Angeles and move back East to be closer to his aging parents – he carries a worry that if he doesn’t move back now he might regret it in the future; or should he go into a field that he is passionate about. He wanted a session with me in hopes that I could help him figure it out.
Chuck does a good deal of comparing – how he measures up to others around him. He begins to think he should be more like Candice who is strategic, smart, innovative and develops relationships effortlessly. He begins to slump in his chair as he describes Candice’s attributes. In many ways, Chuck is very accomplished and has had an exceptional life; however he continually carries an extraordinary list around in his head of what he should be and how he should be. He has little idea what he really wants for himself in relation to his career because every want is followed by a “Yes, but, I should be …”
Within our session, Chuck began to observe the degree to which he automatically assesses his actions by projecting an assumed reaction from his colleagues. He doesn’t really know what their judgments are, but they influence him none-the-less. He’s judging himself based on some preconceived interpretation about how he thinks he measures up or should measure up. Again, this is exhausting. And, Chuck is not alone. Millions of us are continually assessing and judging ourselves and others and we have little idea that we are doing it.
Bringing shifts and changes into business begins with you. It starts with you cultivating awareness about how you be who you be and by noticing your judgments about yourself and those with whom you share your day, be it your boss, direct reports, customers and clients. It begins with acknowledging this automatic response and then getting curious about where those judgments and interpretations come from. That curiosity will begin to allow you to expand your awareness and wonder how you came to choose what has become so automatic.
What’s the Alternative to Judging?
We will always judge, compare, assess and interpret. These are essential and valuable tools in distinguishing and discerning what works for us and what doesn’t work for us. However, because they are used primarily unconsciously they create more harm than healing. We don’t have to stop judging, but it may be helpful to suspend it long enough to notice the value that judging brings.
If you are wanting to bring change into the workplace, or if you just want to cultivate awareness in yourself, what is it that you want to practice in relation to judging, expecting, interpreting and assuming?
Notice when you judge something as right, wrong, good or bad; notice where something or someone is too slow, too fast, not enough or too much and needs to change. This also goes for noting these thoughts about you. The object of this practice is just to notice. You’ll notice too that you’ll begin to judge yourself and what you notice, saying “yes, but, I am right, or they are wrong.” What’s the point?
What does judging and assessing as a practice do for you? How does this empower you? Does it allow you to create change in relation to yourself and your environment? Does it allow you to feel righteous and better than, and if so, how does this impact on the reality you are wanting to create for yourself?
Coming back to Chuck for a moment: Chuck recognized that he was afraid of being judged and through his continuous judgment of his work environment he always played it safe, staying within what he assessed as appropriate. And up until our session he hadn’t realized that this practice of judging and assessing is what keeps him from getting promoted to a more senior position, where he would have to lead in ways that would be innovated and may be perceived as risky. He is now at a choice-point where he can choose with awareness, what he wants and what he is willing to practice to support that outcome.
The automatic thinking that we do always consists of judgments. Just bringing awareness to our judgments allows us to be curious about just how true they really are. This allows us to choose differently if it serves us to do so. Enjoy the exploration!
I is for Inspiration, Intention and, Integrity
By the time you’ve opened your little peepers in the morning you’ve most likely set your intentions for the day. This happens automatically for most of us. There are the normal patterns that we engage in to prepare for the day ahead, then follow through until tucked back in bed ready for a good night’s rest. What would shift if we became intentional about creating our day? What would we intend to happen? How would we intend to be that would allow our day to unfold?
People make extraordinary leaps of faith, creating because they were inspired to do so. Inspiration leads to intentions, which leads to acting with integrity. All three are essential yet it is integrity that gets the job done.
You are a rare individual who considers the possibility of creating a paradigm shift in the work place; one that would allow kindness, compassion and true collaboration to inundate the ranks of the stressed, overwhelmed and unfulfilled. What arouses such an undertaking in you? In my mind it has to involve inspiration.
That quality of being inspired – we know all know what it feels like, and we spend thousands of dollars for motivational speakers to come in and inspire us to – to do what? We read books and watch movies with the intention to facilitate the experience of feeling inspired. Too often, though that inspiration doesn’t last more than a couple of hours and we are back to our normal routine. We know the experience and we know how to cultivate it, Integrity is also a quality of being. We all know what it feels like too.
Our somatic or physical response to the world is the tell-all of our reality. If you want to know what’s true for you, go to the source—your body—it never lies. What does inspiration feel like to you? What is it that has that experience move you to take action? We don’t think much about this, though it is a huge factor in our lives.
Inspiration starts with a sensation of giddiness and excitement in my chest. I feel exhilarated and want to do something to support and nourish this feeling of being swept up. It’s different than anxiousness, which generally has a good dose of fear added. I also feel an impulse to move, to do something that fulfills these sensations. It’s like I’m being asked for something I know I can fulfill.
How does an idea become manifested? Action has to be taken and initially this can feel energizing and fun. Slowly though we lose touch with our original inspiration. With time and distractions we forget what we wanted or why we wanted it. Generally speaking, as we move towards what we want, something in us gets threatened and that stops us in our tracks. We need something more – we need to exercise muscles of integrity. Integrity tells us that we have intentions to manifest our vision and it’s critical to our well-being that we follow through to the very end. This all happens within our bodies. These bodily sensations continually influence us, yet rarely do we pay them the attention they deserve.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
The experience of intention can be very uncomfortable for people. For some, anxiety, nervousness and vulnerability ride shotgun. For others, excitement, anticipation and expectancy are present. What creates these different responses to the experience of intention? The vulnerability of wanting is embedded in our bodies, as are the memories of disappointment. The level of significance we give to what we want influences our willingness to set intentions to make it happen. More people than you can imagine have given up being their intention, not because it’s part of their spiritual practice, but because they decided long ago that it wasn’t safe to want, and most likely they weren’t going to get it, so they stopped being intentional. They wake up in the morning, yet remain asleep to their hearts desire.
The practice of setting intentions to create action and follow through in support of our intentions, while at the same time not being attached to the wanting or the outcome, is essential and challenging. Living in the moment and practicing these steps strengthens character and gives us courage to live into the unknown. It cultivates wisdom and confidence to be with whatever shows up. This too seems very challenging at first. But like everything else, practice brings about the expansion of capability and ease of being with what use to feel uncomfortable, vulnerable and impossible. Either it is enough to take us over the edge of our hopes and fears, into the life we imagine, or it’s not. The only way to do this is by investigating this territory. We have to take the leap.
Inspiration, Intention and Integrity as Tools
On all levels of being, from the current circumstances to the domain of Universal Oneness, we have specific intentions. Without these we would not survive for we would lack even the desire to hope or want life itself. To see inspiration, intention and integrity as tools we can effectively change our relationship to that which generates the unfolding of life itself. As the paradigm shifts, each of us will willingly participate in the expansion of consciousness, thrilled to witness the fulfillment of potential far more magnificent than imaginable. It is definitely worth the price of admission.