Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to the Past

It is December 31st, 2011. The last day of the year. We tend to focus on the coming year today yet before we can truly move into the New Year it's important to say goodbye to what has been. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever having thought about saying goodbye to the year I am leaving  even though so much of the work I do is about making peace with the past.

What do I need to say goodbye to so that I can start a brand new page in my life story tomorrow? Hmm...the first thing that comes to mind is doubt and worry about the future. This is nothing new for me and I do find myself working with old fearful thought patterns of doubt on a fairly regular basis. I've come a long way with it yet I am aware of how strong these patterns tend to be at times so that is first on my list of what I choose to say goodbye to in 2011.

Another belief pattern it's time to release is that of lack. Again, a very familiar theme in my life that is easy for me to fall into. It's a continuous process of shifting out the habit of seeing what's missing to that of awareness of oneness with Life. I notice that when I am too outwardly focused for extended periods of time it's easy to get caught up in worldly things and lose my sense of connectedness to the All.

I'd say those are the two main habits it is truly time for me to say goodbye to. I had no idea this was what my blog post was going to be about today so as I sit here writing this I am also pondering how this is best accomplished. The first thing that comes to mind is continuing to compassionately say no to the limiting thoughts as they show up and keep filling the space with love. It's getting easier all the time to do this and I can still get caught up in focusing too much attention on these patterns at times. I've said it so often yet cannot express enough how important it is to be aware, to say no to those ideas that aren't serving, to breathe love into those dark places and to shift the focus to the open space of wonder and connection.

I find that when I maintain my commitment to doing the process consistently I don't tend to get caught up in the old patterns so much. So I guess the new year is about consistency along with my theme of realization  for 2012.
Banff Avenue at Christmas

This feels good! I hope I've inspired you to consider what it's time for you to say goodbye to as well as we say goodbye to 2011.
Letting go is such an important part of opening up to writing that new life story of ours.

Couldn't resist adding the picture of Banff Avenue after spending 9 days there. It really is this beautiful.

Namaste and a Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Magical Christmas

It's been yet another magical Christmas for us at the Banff Springs Hotel where we serve as Santa's Elves in his workshop before Christmas then I get to preside at the Christmas Eve service here at the hotel. What an amazing place to be. This year Mother Nature blessed us with snow falling all day on Christmas day. The weather is hovering right around 0 or -1 most days and it's absolutely beyond belief beautiful.

Even at that, as we walked around downtown today I could feel a kind of sadness with all the commercialism and the way Christmas has become about something I don't really understand in terms of how we got here from the sacredness of what the season originally meant. Where has the sacredness of life gone to anyway? Hmm, not far really. It's right here when I stop and look at it from a place of love and connection. Even with all the commercialism of the season there's still something to be said about celebrating life no matter how we do it.

Here's a shot of the hotel from when we were on our walk on Christmas Day. You can't really capture it with an iphone photo but what the heck.
Namaste

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meet It With Love

We are coming the the end of the current 40 Day focus period where several of us have been working with our relationship with money. It's a great place to become aware of limiting beliefs in our relationships with ourselves and all of life really, if we are open to seeing the truth of what is going on.

No matter what the area of focus is or where you are struggling in life, you can spend a lot of time and energy just trying to figure it out or cope with it or succumb to it but if what you want is real change, to truly be free to live a new life story, the way through is to meet it with love.

I've noticed all kinds of beliefs related to my relationship with money over the past 38 days, some of them very familiar, some a little surprising. Others who are in the process with me have also discovered some very interesting things along the way. No matter what though, along with really questioning the validity of the thoughts involved, for me the real opportunity has been to live in a state of love and compassion inside and out.

xThis has served me well in every area of life and this week in particular it has helped me prepare and deliver a celebration of life service for a two year old who died of cancer. Throughout the process, no matter how sad I felt and how much pain I was witnessing I could feel the love flowing through me as well. It was an incredible gift. I can't say how grateful I am for every aspect of the journey.

I don't care what 'it' is for you, there is within the experience a call for love and compassion that can only be met by you. Why does it have to be you? Because you're the one who is having the experience.


It's amazingly freeing to realize that you don't have to wait for anyone or anything else in order to bring love and peace to your inner world. It is in you to give to yourself and to others. I can think of nothing I would want more under my Christmas tree.

Namaste

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peace Love and Joy, It's An Inside Job

I am filled with wonder and lightness and compassion this blessed Sunday morn. I'm not sure why, it's just a natural expression of Life as far as I can tell. It tends to happen a lot more when I keep my whole being focused on love within. The natural extension of that is to love all that is in the manifest world as well.

I often think we have so many things backward in our culture in terms of how love works and how to achieve peace and how to find our own value. We are taught to look to the world for validation, to love others but not ourselves, to give to others of our material good yet there is so little in the way of truly connecting with Source and allowing the natural abundance of the Universe to flow through us to bless all.

One of the reasons I likely feel the way I do right now has to do with what I'm preparing for this morning. I've been invited to speak to a rather large group of children (5 to 16 years of age) at the Sai Baba Centre today about what Jesus taught and what Christmas is really about. What a fabulous opportunity to reflect on my understanding of that. It really does fill me with joy and appreciation to ponder the loving messages I perceive Jesus to have been all about. It's also refreshing to consider the messages in a way that might make sense to a child. It really invites the most simple and profound consideration of the heart of the message rather than the intellectual understanding. It will be interesting to see what comes out this afternoon. (I rarely end up saying what I think I'm going to say when I'm speaking in public) I'm not in charge of that anyway so I just ponder, and prepare and allow.
Hmm, sounds like a great way to deal with all of life.

Namaste
It's An Inside Job!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Bullying Syndrome

You don't have to go far to run into yet another situation where bullying is happening. One of my friends on Facebook shared a video of a young man dealing with bullying. Talking to a friend a month or two ago I found out they had taken their child out of school because of bullying. We chatted about that a bit and I was reminded that bullying is not just a problem in schools, it is cultural.

I remember hearing about a company in the US several years ago who went into the workplace with workshops to help people deal with bullying at work. You only have to watch some of the 'news' networks to get a load of bull(ying) right there for all to see. I also see a subtle kind of bullying going on in many work settings where management ends up putting all kinds of pressure on employees to work more and more and more for less and less and less. The implication seems to be that if you don't you either won't work here for long or you won't advance. Stress levels on all sides rise and everyone is trapped under the wheel of survival.

When I watched the video from a young man being bullied today my heart just ached as it always does when I hear about or witness bullying of any kind. My sense is that everyone is unhappy in these situations, not just the person being bullied. There is so much fear and pain from unmet needs at play that people just stop seeing each other as people. They become objects of projected pain. This often happens in unhappy relationships as well. When we don't know what to do with our own pain we either throw it around and let it hit whatever is in our field or we turn it inward and become the targets of said pain in others (or both).

Nothing makes any sense in this place. There is no one to blame; you could point your finger at pretty much any point or person in the cycles of bullying and find a victim. From my perspective whether you are aware of the bully or the bullied in any given moment, the situation does not need more criticism or condemnation, it needs compassion. This is particularly true if you find that it is you on either end of   that spectrum.

If you feel any discomfort around this topic, do an internal check wherever you are be it witness, bully or bullied; what is it you really want? Is it really more punishment or criticism or revenge or is there something else waiting to be released in the background of awareness that is more in alignment with what you really are beyond the veil of pain? Is it possible that what is needed is essentially what you are?

I wonder what might be possible if we allowed more of that Essential Being to enfold the pain... Hmm...

This nativity scene reminds me of the the sanctuary in our own hearts where we can allow Presence to not only be born into the world but to be fully received and celebrated.

Namaste

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

About Those Goals

I've tended to shy away from formal goals most of my life. I've dabbled in them many times over the years but never really got into them in a serious way for the most part. I would guess this was mainly due to certain beliefs that lurked at the edge of awareness such as 'this will never work', 'I don't want to experience failure, again', 'it's no use',  'I can't have what I really want' and I'm sure a few other choice tidbits had their say in the mix.
I am also aware that even though I didn't want to have specific goals that I would actually admit to, there have always been 'goals' at play even if I didn't really embrace the fact that I had them. I remember being told I must really be goal oriented many years ago based on what I had achieved. I remember being surprised by the comment and thinking, I don't set goals.

Ok, ok, I surrender! I've always had goals and I still do. I'm just more willing to play with them on the conscious level now.
Here's some of what I have learned and I'm really still learning about this goal setting business:
  • It isn't about the goal, it's about the process.
  • Goals are about focus and direction.
  • Being attached to trying to achieve a particular goal can be a painful distraction.
  • The real purpose of a goal is expansion not achievement.
  • When I play with them as part of the journey instead of beating myself up with them goals can be lots of fun.
  • It is important to consider the bigger picture when working toward any particular goal. 
  • Goals are a great way of uncovering limiting beliefs and unresolved memories.
  • No matter what comes up, it's an opportunity for love and compassion to be experienced and expressed (I'd say that's the bigger picture for me).
The Stuff of Dreams
That being said I wonder what else is possible in this goal setting game?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Expansiveness and Clarity

Further to my post the other day. I said I didn't know where all the stuff I've been experiencing was taking me. Some ideas have taken hold and been percolating.

One of the ways expansion happens is by exploring ideas and seeing where they take you.

I've been exploring ideas around my work and where that is going and I have indeed been getting a much clearer picture along with the tools to support the way my work is going. When I look back over the past 6 months I see that the seed was planted in around April for the work I would be doing and over the past 6 months it's been gestating and evolving and it actually feels like there is a a new energy and focus to the way it is delivered. It will be interesting to see where it is after 9 months...

I've been very busy revamping and updating my website to reflect the place that original idea has evolved to. I've been wondering about where my work was going and the answer showed up as a step toward what I would call more traditional life and executive coaching (even though coaching is still a relatively new idea). What I have however that makes my work unique is the added feature of my Liberation Process which in many ways gives the coaching process a whole new depth.

I went to a coaching training last weekend which I quite enjoyed even though as I had intuited, the component of dealing with feelings and associated limiting beliefs was sorely lacking in my view. I was quite amazed to see the facilitator draw two columns labeled 'controllable' and 'uncontrollable' and proceed to fill the uncontrollable column with emotions and feelings. That confirmed for me that I have something of great value to offer people in the coaching process, a way to deal with emotions, feelings and beliefs that is far more effective than what I've seen so far in all the coaching models I've encountered. I am including this training in that comment even though I really liked and appreciated everything I got from the training and am incorporating it in my work. The Liberation Process just feels like the missing link for more effectiveness and I'm so grateful for having that tool.

So, as I said, I've been doing some revamping of my coaching model which is continuing even though I've put up the new website and I am having lots of fun in the process. Check it out at www.yvonneracine.com.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Expanding and Enhancing

Life is always showing up with stuff to expand our awareness and enhance our journey. Sometimes it feels great right from the get go and other times it does not. Is the one that feels great better than the one that feels crappy?  I doubt it. The concepts of negative or positive; good or bad are subjective and we impose them on life's events; the events themselves don't come prepackaged with those judgments. I may be having the time of my life while the person next to me is in total misery or vice versa.

To be honest, I tend to glean more from situations where I feel uncomfortable than I do from the ones I am totally comfortable with. In the end, expansive experiences are all amazing and life is always providing them. The question is, do we take advantage of the opportunities as presented and step into the heart of whatever shows up for us or do we build up the already formidable defenses and ignore the gems.

I had a wonderful opportunity to glean the gems of my discomfort at a workshop I attended this weekend. It was so perfect to feel my heart sink and then be able to be fully present to what was going on with love and compassion. This was a familiar feeling but the way I was able to go to the heart of it this time gave me the opportunity to see more fully than ever before some of the beliefs that have kept me from being as fully engaged in the world as I would like.

I have no idea where this is really taking me but I'm definitely in for the long haul so I'm just going to go with the flow and gratefully let it be.

Namaste

Friday, November 18, 2011

Allowing or Trying?

As the 40 day focus on my relationship with money continues there seems to be a lot going on in my body that I suspect is part of the process around the work I'm doing. It can get pretty uncomfortable at times and I sense it is because some of the beliefs that relate to money are very deeply ingrained in the body and the mind so they don't let go unnoticed to say the least. I'd say that means things are indeed moving and the more unconditional presence I can bring to whatever goes on in the body and mind the better.

One thing I did notice this morning was that there had been something of a shift in the last few days where the process became one of 'trying' to get some kind of result even though I was not fully aware of it until I was doing my focus work. It really doesn't take much for the work to get appropriated by the personality and become another job. The good news is, upon becoming aware, the shift can be made back to resting in the space of the unknown and allowing the unfolding that is happening not because of 'me' but rather through me. Take a deep breath into that one.

Namaste

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I've started a new 40 day focus; this time its on money. What a fabulous topic to work with! After the first day I found myself absolutely overflowing with joy and love. Spending a few minutes of intense, loving attention on those places where unresolved memories have been abiding a few times a days makes a world of difference in all aspects of my life.

I was having a conversation with one of the participants of this 40 day focus a couple of days after we started. There was a request for some clarification and as I was talking about how essential it was to go through the feelings to dismantle the beliefs and that for every 5 minutes of painful memories I got to enjoy 5000 minutes of greater joy, well-being and expansiveness. The response was something like, 'That sounds like a pretty good return on your investment.' That's it! What a great way to express the benefit of using this process. For every moment of loving attention I bring to unresolved painful memories while taking apart the beliefs and assumptions that are associated with them I get a huge return on investment.

Investing you loving time and attention in those places within where there has been a deficit is  so much greater than any financial investment you could ever make that it's beyond compare. It's one of those you have to try to get it. No amount of speculation and thinking about it will give you the returns; you just have to dive in and do it.

Namaste
Yvonne


www.yvonneracine.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A New Day

I completed my last 40 day focus on Saturday even though I continue to do the Liberation Process on a minimum twice daily basis. It was an amazing process of going deeper into whatever it is Life wants to do through this vehicle. My client base has expanded, I made lots of great connections and my work has taken on a new focus in the past few weeks. The main benefit for me however has been more clarity about what I am about in doing this coaching work and that feels wonderful.


So in terms of the new focus, I've been guided to offer my work with the specific focus of money. Money is one of the best routes I can think of to really get to the core beliefs that limit our expression and experience on this human journey. I have developed a new 3 hour seminar which I will be presenting for the first time in St. Albert on December 4th. Info on Beyond the Economics: Taking Back Your Power can be found here. I'm really looking forward to sharing this with whoever feels called to join me.

The other way I have been led to dig deep into the money pot of beliefs and assumptions is to start yet another 40 day focus (I have to admit I really love doing these, they really keep me focused) this time specifically on my own relationship with money. I've done lots of work on this one and have benefited immensely and I know there's room for lots more to be dismantled so here I go again....I will be talking about this process and inviting anyone who is interested in joining me to come to the gathering tonight in St. Albert. We can step into an expanded relationship with money together (and of course with Life itself in the process).

This is my idea of a good time!
Namaste
Yvonne

www.yvonneracine.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Upside of Lack

Just wanted to share this morning's thoughts on another perspective as to what might be behind those things we lacked in childhood and likely continue to experience the lack of today.

You might look at it as a progression in manifestation. Let's use the example of lack of attention (experience of love) in childhood (probably still happening in some form or other). That experience of lack may have driven you to strive for attention though achievement or mischief. It could have led you on a quest to have the need for attention met in any number of ways or it could have led you to desperation and depression and the belief that it was not possible for you to have what you really wanted.

What if that need is the way the Universe has set you up for being the channel of the very thing you lacked? The progression would be from lack to desire to repeated attempts at having it fulfilled in the world to the realization that you are the instrument of the thing you lacked to being it (in this case love). What if you are the center through which the love you lacked and desired is to be manifest?

Ripples of Love
From the void all is born. The void is not empty but rather filled with possibility. You are possibility in expression and you are the continuing evolution of that possibility.

What a great set up!


Namaste
Yvonne

Website

Friday, November 4, 2011

Compassion, The How To

When I invite people to extend compassion into their own pain I often get comments about not knowing how to do that or even what it means. Perfectly understandable given that definitions of compassion generally talk about giving it to others, not even mentioning turning it inward.

Here's how Merriam Webster defines compassion
: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
As I said, no mention of the self which is pretty much the way many in our culture tend to view things such as love and caring and compassion; it's meant for others. Yet if you are being critical, judgmental and harsh toward yourself or if you simply learned to ignore your feelings, especially painful or fearful ones, how does that work? How do do you truly give what you do not know in your whole being?

I say start by focusing inward and and then allow it to flow out of you. If you are experiencing pain take a moment to become sympathetically conscious of it and allow your desire to alleviate it do the work. The very awareness of desiring to bring love and compassion to pain or uncomfortable feelings is a great place to start, even if you don't completely understand or know what that really looks like.

Along with desire I would also suggest you use your imagination. Imagine a flow of compassion or light or love or gentle caring (use what works for you) to move right into the heart of whatever you are  feeling in your body. If that's difficult for you you might imagine a symbol of compassion such as Kwan Yin or Jesus or Buddha or Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama radiating compassion and you being the recipient. Any way you find works for you, breathe it in, rest in it, receive it as fully as you can. It is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. As you expand in your ability to bring compassion into your own being when life is askew for you, not just when you're doing everything 'right' or feeling the 'right' feelings, but when you've done the worst thing you could do or feel as bad as you can possibly feel, the less you will need to judge others and withhold your love and compassion. (Withholding love is truly one of the most painful experiences you can have by the way)
Kwan Yin Goddess of Compassion


It is a journey for most of us to truly allow compassion toward our own pain because we didn't learn this when we were growing up for the most part. It may even be the exact opposite of what you learned but the practice, when applied diligently, is one rich with reward for everyone in your life including you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Interesting Shift To Ponder

One of the feelings we often learn to avoid or ignore because it seems so very vulnerable (and God forbid we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable) is sadness. The very idea that we could do this is really quite amazing and kind of sad in and of itself even though I spent much of my life avoiding it myself.

I remember clearly the day over 20 years ago now when I finally stopped running away from sadness and just let myself feel it completely. I was sitting in the backyard at the house I lived in in Calgary at the time. I have no idea why I ended up facing the sadness at that point but I did. When I stopped resisting what was going on inside me I was awash with sadness. As I just noticed what I was feeling and allowed myself to be curious about it I realized for the first time that this was a very familiar feeling. In fact, it had been part of the background noise most of my life. I had been painfully aware of it at various times but never very friendly with it that's for sure. I had learned well to ignore it for the most part unaware that the effects of it were being felt in other ways such as anger or being shut down and kind of numb.

Some of the things I've learned about sadness over the ensuing 20 years has been a bit surprising to me. For instance, when I let myself feel it completely, without judgment or resistance, sadness invariably shifts into an expansive feeling that I can only describe as love. It's like sadness is really love pressed down and imprisoned in the psyche and the body. As long as I resist it or ignore it I am really blocking the flow of love and life that is always wanting to move through me. No wonder it gets so uncomfortable and turns to anger and that flat, lifeless feeling when its repressed!

Fractals of Love
I suspect this very awareness is one of the reasons I love doing memorials and funerals and being present to the sadness that shows up in others in the counseling or coaching process. I can feel the sorrow opening my heart more and more all the time as I join with clients in theirs. It is a beautiful gift to be able to share those precious moments of vulnerability and realness. I am so grateful!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Fear to Joy


The 40 day focus is a great way to become very aware of times when you are in the flow, feeling expansive and joyful and in love with life.  It could take a week or two or perhaps more but when you are truly moving directly into the deepest, darkest feelings and questioning the beliefs that take you there on the way to whatever you want more of in your life you're bound to run right smack into the expansive feelings that are pushing up the constricting ones.

If you have been noticing a lot of fear, guilt or shame when you do your check ins, you may already have discovered that fear is really excitement without the breath as Fritz Pearl the founder Gestalt therapy noted. The two feelings live very near each other in the body and when you breathe love and compassion into the fear what often happens is that the feeling shifts subtly and starts moving upward. This is excitement which is akin to joy. You might say fear is joy being held down and squeezed into  submission. When you breathe into where the fear lives in the body and question the validity of fear based beliefs something's gotta give. It may just be a wellspring of joy that gets released which has been held captive for who knows how long.

Because there is so often a belief that there's something wrong when uncomfortable feelings show up there is rarely the awareness that an opportunity may just have come knocking on your door.

What if in order for trapped joy to be released pressure is built up increasing the level of discomfort? What if when you learn to see it from a totally different perspective you realize there's potential for something amazing to be brought forth here? What if you could just breathe into the place where the discomfort is strongest and allow it to move? What if you found that the uncomfortable, fearful feelings were really signals that there was more joy, more peace, more love ready to be birthed? Hmm... I wonder what might be possible then.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Staying The Course

I've been talking about the 40 day focus idea where you take something you want or want more of in your life and focus on it every day, at least twice a day, bringing presence to the feelings that show up. If they are fearful or heavy or if guilt or shame show up, you take time to be fully and compassionately present to those feelings and then inquire into the beliefs fueling the feelings before moving on to the open space of wonder.

It isn't always easy to get in touch with the beliefs behind your most deeply felt fears, etc and even when you do realize what the thoughts are behind the feelings, you may find there is a lot of attachment to some, especially when they are associated with unresolved memories. It means questioning what you believe about the more traumatic experiences of childhood that you've been operating from most of your life. Who you think you are is based in part on these assumptions and beliefs and the ego is not really happy about being questioned most of the time. That doesn't mean you should give in and fall into step with the old beliefs just because you don't find relief in a few seconds. The key is to shift the focus back to the feelings once the belief has been questioned and bring as much compassionate attention there as you can then move on.

This isn't about dwelling on the past, it's about resolving the need that has gone unfulfilled for a lifetime by loving the beingness while realizing the conclusions that were drawn are not the truth. Tricky stuff sometimes because it's easy to get caught up in the old pain rather than being unconditionally present and moving all the way through to wonder about what life would be like without this belief.  Even if the feelings are still there, carry on with your day. In a short while you may find yourself surprised to notice the feeling is gone and a lightness has come in to replace it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Going Deeper

As the 40 day focus period moves through to its midpoint a distinct shift in energies has occurred. There is a rise in the experiences of peace and expansiveness and opportunities opening up.

Moving through any and all fears, shame and sadness is a wonderful way to blow the cover of personality and experience the fullness and joy of life as it shows up.

With the commitment to be present to whatever shows up there is the opportunity not only to be fully present to fear based energies and bring resolution there but to ever expanding energies of peace and bubbling joy as they show up. Saying yes to new adventures and possibilities is the natural evolution to saying no to fear based lies that no longer serve.

The levels of gratitude also rise exponentially and compassion for all fills the spaces that had been occupied by limited beliefs and assumptions.

Keep stepping into what arises and let the bondage of belief fall away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Focus

It feels like it's been a long time since my last post. There has been a lot going on and we just had our Thanksgiving long weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed. I didn't even turn on my computer yesterday!

The day after the last workshop on September 24th a thought hit my head; it's time to do another 40 day focus for myself. I know better than to think I came up with the idea, it's just what I became aware of  and paid attention to. The hit was about the work and going deeper so that's part of what I've been up to. Quite frankly the activity has been more a reflection what is opening up than of the time it takes to do the work itself which is actually minimal in terms of time but maximal in terms of focus.

What I'm talking about in regard to doing a 40 day focus is where I use an idea or desire or wondering to notice what comes up for me in terms of feelings, beliefs, limitations of any sort and use the liberation process to dismantle them. I use the process regularly anyway but when I'm doing a focus I deliberately bring up the stuff that is blocking or limiting in that particular area on a daily basis. I sit down at least twice a day and bring the idea or area I'm focusing on to mind and see what shows up. It can get pretty intense at times as layers of memories and beliefs are revealed but following through with the whole process and keeping the focus on what life would be like if I didn't have those limiting beliefs makes for a wonder-filled experience. Some feelings may hang around a bit longer than others but overall there is a sense of peace and well-being that pervades as I go about my days.

One thing about doing a focus period is that the original question often morphs into a deeper, more meaningful one. There can also be plenty of temptation to abandon the question when it gets really uncomfortable which it will if the question has any real meaning. The whole reason for the 40 day commitment is to move through those times, knowing that the commitment will carry me through those temptations whereas when I'm just dabbling it's easy to wander off before the depths have been plumbed.

It's a powerful process and I'm right in the middle of it and very grateful for all it is revealing and the openings it is creating.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's Goin' On Round Here?

This seems to be the year of the protest. All over the world, including Wall Street, people are gathering to express their distress about what's happening in politics and in big business (hard to separate the two anymore).

Then we have the everyday experiences with large corporations we deal with where customer service is so often a byword with absolutely no meaning in the 'real' world. At every turn there seem to be cutbacks in staffing both in the private and public sectors and I have to ask, ‘What’s going on?’ We keep getting increases in fees for services and corporations report huge profits yet they seem to need to cut back staff on a regular basis and often claim they don’t have the money to pay decent wages to the ones who are left.

The talk is of recession and countries going broke yet somebody’s making some very big money in the middle of all this. So I keep asking, ‘What’s changed?’

Here are a few of the changes I’ve observed in my lifetime that seem to be related to this decline:

On the individual level
1)      We’ve become a debt based economy. The advent of credit cards and high interest debt changed the way we live in ways I can only begin to fathom.
2)      We want, want, want and we are willing to owe, owe, owe to get, get, get.
3)      The amount of ‘stuff’ individuals are accumulating is mind boggling (notice the number of storage places that have popped up in the past 25 years or so).
4)      We’d rather mask problems than face them for the most part.
5)      We’ve become totally distracted by the desire to be entertained. Even churches have become entertainment centres in order to attract and keep followers. Notice the amount of money entertainers and sports figures command. That’s only possible because of the amount of money we are willing to spend to keep ourselves distracted so we won’t have to feel too much despair, unhappiness or lack of fulfillment.

On the business level
1)      The economy is dominated by large, publicly traded corporations where the owners are stock holders who have no investment or interest other than financial. As a result the sense of pride in ownership and service mindedness that goes with that have all but disappeared. Employees seem to be the most disposable assets.
2)      Lots of small businesses start up but few succeed because we are so conditioned through advertising and such to go for the well known brands.
3)      The large pharmaceutical companies fund most of the medical training and so doctors are taught to treat with drugs. The amounts spent on prescription and non prescription drugs today are staggering.
4)      Big banks and big business appear to be the ones really running our countries at least here in the West.
5)      Oil companies, fearing they may lose control and money seem to be blocking a lot of the progress that could be made in finding other sustainable energy sources.

On a global level there are just so darn many of us on the planet now. No matter what else we do, somehow we need to deal with the overpopulation situation.  

These are just a few of the changes that readily come to mind, there are many more no doubt.
So what do we do given where we are?

Here are a few thoughts that come to mind.

First, we need to face what is going. Putting our heads in the sand and trying to ignore it all doesn’t seem to work very well. Believe me, I’ve tried. Thinking positive is great as long as it isn’t about avoiding but rather being unconditionally present and able to see beyond limitation .

Then we need to take a big breath and own it all. It’s so easy to point fingers and blame ‘them’. We may not see exactly how we’re responsible but if there is a willingness to see that we are all in this together then perhaps we can join in more meaningful ways to make necessary changes.

Of course it would be very helpful to notice what beliefs and assumptions we’ve been making that contribute to the situation. If we can compassionately inquire into these stories we have about the way life is and bring peace to the emotions engendered by those beliefs perhaps we can find compassionate and peaceful ways of evolving into something more tenable for everyone. Otherwise, if we keep avoiding and projecting ideas that aren’t actually working to make anything better onto the world we only maintain the status quo or dig ourselves even deeper into the mire.

Then from a place of peace and openness we are better able to see other possibilities and make choices based on what is truly important to us as part of the whole rather than from a limited, fear based position.

Some of the possibilities that come to mind include:
a) We might start buying more quality and less quantity, supporting more businesses that are locally owned.
b) What if instead of running out and creating more debt by buying things we don’t need to make ourselves feel better, we spent more time doing things that are meaningful and fun.
c) We may possibly look at our investments and see if there are other options that may be more in alignment with our values.
d) Perhaps we might partner with others to provide services that contribute to wellbeing rather than just economic gain.

The possibilities are only as limited as we are.

In this year of the protest, it’s important to realize that even if protests should bring about wanted change, there needs to be a change in consciousness to sustain it. Compassionate, connected commitment to living authentically and responsibly is a powerful way to bring about sustainable, inclusive and effective change in the world.

Nature always seeks balance; living a balanced, inner directed life is a great way to follow her time tested example.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Loving It

Doing what we love and loving what we do is such a logical thing yet such a rare thing in our culture. I am very blessed to be doing what I love and loving it. There is also a marked improvement in loving what I do when I'm doing things that I have not been as fond of.

When the focus is on inner joy rather than outer pleasure there is so much to love as expression becomes more important than achievement. Everything encountered becomes an opportunity to bring forth the love and joy that is inherent in appreciating all that Life provides.

A statement I heard several years ago in one of Dr. David R. Hawkins videos went something like this, 'The Earth is a planet of optimum karmic opportunity.' It is one of those ideas that is continually blossoming and bringing forth amazing fruit in my life. I brought it up several times in my workshop yesterday for whatever reason and it is still very much in the forefront today. It is a perspective that changes the dynamics of any encounter in life and has been a wonderful reminder for me that no matter what comes up, there's an opportunity in it for love and joy to be expressed. I can't begin to tell you how much more perfection is witnessed from this awareness. I am so grateful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Joy of Transcendence

What does it really take to transcend lower energies and limited thinking?

Unconditional presence.

Being able to fully hear 'complaints' and connect with the beliefs inherent within them is often the way through them. Trying not to complain or whine when feeling low may be admirable in one sense, however, it does little in terms of transcendence. If there is an urge to avoid or resist there is undoubtedly a gift to be received.

The person being referred to here isn't someone else and this isn't about telling every person encountered how awful life is but rather about being able to hear with the inner ear what is being said within and responding to it with unconditional presence.

When limiting and painful assumptions and beliefs are seen through the eyes of unconditional presence, they are seen for the falsehood they represent. This is transcendence and it is indeed a joy-filled experience. 


The Inner Light of Transcendence

Monday, September 19, 2011

Movement

As always, the moment of letting go of resistance and acceptance of the way things are brings the gifts of ease and flow. Last week there was clarity about stepping directly into what was 'in my way' with the family and since then things have been flowing better than would have been expected.

A big part of the letting go, which is such an important part of opening to more creativity and flow is that of releasing assumptions about what is going to happen. When there is a preconceived idea about what is possible there is the likelihood of not even being willing to take the first step. When it is recognized that what is going to happen is truly unknown an opening is created for previously inconceivable possibilities to emerge in awareness.

So basically what generally needs to be released is: 1) the resistance to what is and 2) the idea that we know what's coming. This is a much more vulnerable and authentic place in which to receive the wonders that are just waiting to be discovered.

Consider this; we are aware of something like 1/millionth of the data that is available to us at any given moment. It would follow that letting go of that tiny bit of information we call 'the way it is' and shifting the focus to the open space of possibility would exponentially increase the likelihood of seeing something entirely different.

Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As Life Presents Itself

In the process of life you really never know what's going to show up, on the inside or what appears to be in the outer world.

One of my favourite lines from the movie The Four Feathers was when an African tribesman who had taken it upon himself to protect and care for a former British  soldier was asked by the soldier why he was risking his life for him responded, 'Because God put you in my way.'

That thought has come up for me regularly over the past few years. It is a great reminder that whatever shows up is really Life unfolding, putting whatever we need 'in our way'. Sometimes it looks a lot like something unwanted yet if it is here avoiding it doesn't seem to work.

This is showing up in a family of origin situation for me right now and I have to admit, I had been trying to avoid it, telling myself stories that allowed me to pretend I didn't have to step up but it wasn't the truth. It is in my way, it is somewhat unpleasant and I have judged it to be quite an impossible situation in the past. Having realized that helplessness and powerlessness were only concepts a short while ago, when those thoughts came up for me in this situation I soon recognized the falsehood and shifted into 'I really have no idea what this means or what I can do.' I started wondering what was possible and sure enough I got my answer.

 Now stepping into what has been avoided. Even though these are only the beginning stages of untangling the mess, I feel a lot better about it and much more in tune with what Life is presenting me.

I asked myself another question in the shower this morning, 'What do I have to give right now?' (Not necessarily related to this particular situation). The answer came quickly and clearly, 'Unconditional Presence'.  Mmm, delicious.

What opportunity is Life presenting you today?


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vision

I've been pondering how the mind works from the perspective of a neuroscientist the past few days. Incognito by David Eagleman is a very easy and informative read for anyone who has interests in that direction.

I enjoy reading scientific perspectives when they're written in layman's terms and David does a great job of that. Of course it helped that his findings were in alignment with my intuitive thoughts on a number of subjects. I do love being affirmed, and I would guess there are undoubtedly other research findings that would tell a different story. Such is the beauty of our world, so many different ways of looking at the same thing.

One of the first things that stood out for me was when David talked about how our vision (eyesight) works with the brain in one of the early chapters of the book. He talked about the fact that we all have blind spots in our vision that we are not aware of because as long as we are using both eyes, one eye basically covers the blind spot of the other eye and the mind fills in any missing data. He also talked about how little we actually see of what's going on; it's actually a tiny fraction of what's available.

We have blind spots not only in our eyesight but in our thinking as well and we do the same thing there, fill in the gap with memories, beliefs and assumptions. We don't do this consciously, it's all happening so fast we don't even know what's going on. What we can do however is when we notice patterns of filling in the gap with information that isn't serving us so well anymore we have the amazing ability to question it, to undo the associations and open to something entirely new to us that does serve us better at this point in life.

Here's the kicker to making any real change; we're most likely going to have to interrupt the old patterns over and over because the neural pathways have been well worn into the grooves of current thinking. As much as we may want to see things differently, the automatic nature of the old patterns surfacing usually trumps that desire. Allowing different ideas to replace the old usually requires a great deal of repetition. It's like learning any new sport, it takes practice, practice, practice before the muscles are trained to respond without you having to think about what you're doing.

This may sound like a lot of work but if learning to see and respond to life in a more life affirming way is what you are committed to, it isn't really as taxing as it may seem at first. After all, when you think about it, how much time and energy is spent now on what isn't working for you or on suppressing what you don't want? Might as well invest some of that precious energy in dismantling the old pathways and allowing the new to emerge. Believe it or not it really only takes a few dedicated minutes a day once you know how to do it.


PS Here's a link to the September Newsletter if you haven't already received it. Internal Equinox

Friday, September 2, 2011

Perceptions

Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed. - Blase Pascal
That's the opening quote in a book I am just starting, Incognito by David Eagleman. The book was recommended to me by a friend and I can already see it is my kind of book. The quote says so much.

Our inability to see the nothingness as well as the infinity seems to play a significant role in our tendency to hang on to ideas that have nothing to do with anything other than they keep us 'safe' from what is.

We define ourselves and our world with thoughts about who and what we think we are, trying desperately to convince ourselves of the veracity of these thoughts, yet knowing deep within that they are simply fleeting, ephemeral ideas floating in the sea of infinity.

Thoughts come and go, as do these bodies we temporarily inhabit, so clearly they cannot be what we are. In truth, I am unable to comprehend what I am. I can only play with the thoughts that seem to be inherent in this life expression and rest in the infinite nothingness from which they emerge.

All the busy-ness of this mind and the world has no meaning other than that which is perceived within the limitation of mind itself.

So why hang on so tightly to that which has no substance? Why not simply dance with ideas, take them for a turn around the dance floor and release them. There's always another coming our way.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When There's Nowhere Else To Go

Sometimes you just get caught up in the wheel of life and find yourself spinning in a rut that doesn't seem to be going anywhere other than deeper into the muck.

When you think about it, you'll notice this often happens after periods of grace and flow when you were feeling really good and could do no wrong. Then something happens. It could be a minor irritation or a major upset that shifted the energies but chances are you didn't like it and you didn't really want to acknowledge it, you just wanted that feel good flow to go on and on and on. But it didn't and the more you tried to ignore the 'negative' energy the worse it got.

So how do you get out of this sticky cycle? The truth is something usually happens eventually to shift the energies back into a more flowing state whether you are aware of it or not. There is something you can do however to move with the energies and allow whatever has brought you down to continue flowing through instead of jamming you up. You can stop resisting the lower energies.

When we surrender to the feelings that are already there and give them loving attention instead of trying to ignore them or give them criticism and judgment, it's truly amazing how quickly they can shift. I'm not talking about surrendering to the beliefs we have about what we feel, that's what we need to question, gently mind you, but question none the less.

Our bodies are amazing messengers, telling us when something is hurting and needing some TLC. The problems arise when we want to shoot the messenger instead of saying no thanks when the messages are false (i.e. I can't, I'm worthless, it's impossible, etc.). When we appreciate the messenger and receive the gift it can move on and allow whatever possibility comes next.

The wheel of life keeps turning. The question is, is it stuck in the mud or humming along the highway.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stillness and Movement

When all is well in your world and life is unfolding with much ease and grace what do you do?

There is such a tendency toward fixing things, dealing with problems, trying to get somewhere that it can be somewhat uncomfortable when nothing is presenting itself to be done. Sometimes when I find myself there I notice that my inner 'motor' seems to be revving a bit on the high side which is what I would have reacted to with more busy activity in the past. Now I take a breath and notice it and it quiets down, leaving me with nothing to do but appreciate what is and allow the energies to flow. Quite delicious really.

Then when the moment passes and  something else emerges, action is taken and the flow continues. Even moments of frustration are welcome as life continues to expand. These are signals of movement and change which is life doing what life does. Stillness and movement. The perfect dance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Side Effects

I've noticed several side effects since I got really serious about doing the dismantling work. Things I used to really dislike doing are no longer issues for me. I used to hate going to Costco and actually didn't go for many years. Over the past year we renewed our membership and I go whenever the mood strikes me and actually enjoy the experience. That is amazing for me because I am not a shopper, never have been but since my resistance level toward life in general has dropped it's become a none issue.

Another thing I used to really struggle with was networking. I remember going to networking events in the 90's and feeling really uncomfortable, disliking the whole experience. Now, it's a truly fun and enlightening activity. Go figure.

The reason I see this kind of phenomena as side effects is that I haven't worked directly with my resistance to these kinds of activities; whatever the beliefs were behind the resistance were obviously the same as in other areas in my life where I did do some liberating work.

The first time I had a dramatic realization of benefits to doing deep inner work was very early on the journey. The second intense workshop I participated in back in the late 80's was when I had my first breakthrough to some very deeply buried pain. It was an awesome experience in and of itself but soon after that I realized I no longer had the life-long phobia of birds that had been so limiting for me. I intuitively knew it was done and I have not had it since. Who knew?

The point is, everything is related. You pull on one string and it affects the whole tapestry. All we need to do is start where we are and deal with what's in front of us. The key is to keep doing the work, even if you don't see the kind of results you thought you would get right away or in the specific area you thought you were working on. Life is looking after the details.

Tapestry of Life

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Living The Mystery

Pondering, dismantling, wondering; where has it taken me? I'd have to say to the fullness of life.

We've moved into the latter part of August as I write this and we are deep into the fullness of summer. The crops are ripening, many of the flowers are already done, the geese and ducks on our local pond are growing up and getting ready for their long flights south. I am in a similar mode; feeling the fullness of life, the richness of what is. I am doing what is in front of me to do. I am enjoying the days and nights whether busy and quiet. I am appreciating the way Life is unfolding. What else is there to do?

Will I stay in this mode forever now? I doubt it; life is constantly shifting and changing shape. I have periods of ease and grace and other times where my engine seems to get into overdrive and I start projecting out into the future. I do find it is much easier for me to come back to the moment now when I get into this kind of overdrive. Even if I don't catch myself hanging out there in the foggy illusion of the past or future for hours or days, it is what it is and there is nothing to regret or recriminate myself about.

Every moment is a fresh opportunity for appreciation and expression in some form of life's mystery and wonders. If there should be some kind of discomfort that emerges it is a time for celebration because I have found it is yet another opportunity for an expanded experience of life which is the real driver behind the discomfort. All I have to do is go toward it rather than try to run away.

There is always a new birth in the works.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Self-Identity


Where does self-identity come from? How is it formed? I really don't know definitively because where it appears to come from and where it actually comes from are likely two very different things. The apparent source would be our childhood experiences where we 'decided' who we were based on what was going on around us and what we were told about ourselves.

In my work I often invite people to realize that their beliefs about themselves make sense given what was going on in their formative years and how they needed to give it all some kind of meaning and so they came up with the conclusions they arrived at. That's how it appears to work and I see it as helpful in the process of dismantling beliefs so that the space of possibility may be experienced.

I do have to admit, however, that my sense is that we experienced exactly what we were supposed to experience and that continues to be the case throughout our lifetime. Did my Dad leaving when I was three cause me to become so independent or was that the perfect unfolding that would lead me to the concepts I came here to experience? Did the events of the mid 80's that precipitated the end the company I had founded in the late 70's and consequently of my self-identity as 'Vonco' start a whole new journey in my life or was it Life in it's infinite dance moving the energies to create the situation? Could it really have been otherwise?


Just as studies are now showing that the brain lights up with a choice before we become consciously aware of it, by anything from a fraction of a second to a few seconds, I have long wondered if what I call 'me' made any of the decisions of my life or has what I now view as a fictitious 'me' simply been the vehicle of experience for all those 'choices'? I don't have definitive answers for these questions either but am most certainly leaning toward the latter.

So what does this imply in terms of anything we do, including dismantling the illusion? Well, it seems we will either do it or we won't, depending on what we are here to experience. The very idea that we are all here to do some particular thing like become enlightened or to experience love seems fallacious at best and downright ridiculous at the very least. We don't all have those experiences, never have. We don't all wake up, we don't all have cancer, we don't all do anything other than die. This body will eventually run its course, long or short, of that I can be fairly certain, just as this planet will run its course and every other manifestation in this universe. Other than that there seems to be a myriad of experiences being played out and I suspect it's all perfect.
Reflection of Perfection

So in those terms, I would have to say there is nothing to second guess about what has been, nothing to worry about as to where it's all going, there is only the wonder of it all unfolding. We do what we are here to do or not do. We identify ourselves as we do until we don't anymore or until it's time to realize something new. There is a perfection unfolding and we either enjoy it or we don't. These words will either resonate with you or they won't. Are they true? I don't know but I do enjoy seeing perfection reflected throughout creation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What About Helpless and Hopeless Experiences

I've had a few interesting conversations of late where helplessness and hopelessness came up. As people shared what was happening in their lives and the lives of loved ones I became aware of feelings of sadness and frustration in myself as well as in them. I also had a very strong sense of that when I saw one of the video clips from the London riots where a young man had been injured and it looked like some people were helping him only to see them robbing him in the end. I don't know what it was about that scene exactly but I have to admit that it touched me deeply and I just cried and let the sadness wash over me.
We all have the sense of being helpless from time to time. There are times when we may react with anger, other times by withdrawing or doing whatever we need to do to distract ourselves. Sometimes depression results from prolonged experiences of helplessness and hopelessness. Some people pray and ask for help. I've long known these are experiences that need to be fully acknowledged and felt but I had been caught up in the concept that they were feelings so the best I could do was make peace with them. I still need to make peace with the feelings that show up but yesterday I started to look at helplessness and hopelessness slightly differently. What if they aren't feelings at all but rather beliefs?

There are situations that arise from time to time such as friends or family going through very difficult times or things happening in our own lives where there doesn't seem to be anything we can do to make it better. That's usually where these experiences arise.  Granted there may not be anything we can see to do about what's going on but isn't that really because we're seeing from a very limited point of view? Wouldn't it be truer to say I don't know what to do rather than fall into the trap of believing myself to be helpless or the situation to be hopeless?

Dance of Light
There a distinct and freeing shift in energy when I bring full, gentle, compassionate attention to the sadness and/or frustration in difficult situations and realize the helpless, hopeless bit is what I think, not what I feel. Now I can open to the possibilities that are always there, lurking just beyond the circle of awareness created by limited beliefs. There may still not be anything I can do on the physical level but that is only the grossest level of experience. There are many more dimensions in which consciousness operates that are indeed much more powerful and effective than any physical manipulation. What if the openness to these possibilities itself had an impact on whatever situation we were facing? We simply don't know and may never know what's going on behind the scenes. What if we didn't need to know in order to make ourselves feel better? What if the energy of compassion was what was needed and when we brought it to our inner experience that extended into the outer situation? If there is only Life and it's all connected, how could it not have an effect?

Just wondering....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Negative Pressure

We learned something a couple of years ago (from a neighbour I think) about how to cool the house down in the evening after a hot summer day. Even though we keep the house pretty closed up on hot days, by evening it can get pretty warm, even here in the cold north. I can't sleep when it's too warm so this has always been a bit of an issue for me. Many people sleep in their cool basements which is another great way to beat the night time heat. We don't do that, and I certainly couldn't do that when I lived in apartments.

Anyway, here's what you do. When the evening starts to cool and the temperature is cooler outside than in, you open one window wide (we do the kitchen window) and place a fan in the window or as close as you can get and have it blowing outside. Then you open the window in the room (s) you want cooled, usually the bedroom, and keep all the other windows closed. Within a very short time you will find the bedroom cooling to the point of being pretty darn cold sometimes.  It is absolutely amazing and quite delicious! I often wonder why I didn't know about this little trick years ago but alas I did not.



The point is if you don't find a way to blow the hot air out of the house there is often very little or no cooling even with all the windows open unless there's a cool breeze that can get in somehow. What we create with this little scenario of blowing the hot air out is called negative pressure. The hot air is blown out, sucking in the cooler air from outside. This is similar to the way wind actually works, it doesn't blow, it sucks (sounds fun doesn't it?). As the warm air rises it pulls the cooler air along with it.

That's my meteorological helpful hint of day. Now onto the metaphorical aspect which is what I find really fabulous about this phenomenon. The house full of hot air is like the psyche full of beliefs and concepts. We often spend a lot of time blowing ideas around trying to jam in new ones but unless we have a way of getting the old ideas out it's pretty darn hard to allow any cool new ideas to emerge.

Full, rounded breaths along with compassionate attention toward the feelings already lodged in the mind/body is how we begin to create space. When used along with inquiry into the beliefs that have held it all in place we create a wonderful vortex of negative energy, so to speak, that allows something new to arise. The wonder aspect of the Liberation Process is the wonderful cool breeze that refreshes us and brings with it fresh, new ideas. All we have to do then is take action in the direction this delicious new energy takes us. Way fun!

You know what else I think is really cool about this. I learned about the fan blowing air out thing around the same time I really got into dismantling the illusion in a big way. Life is so perfect!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Movements and Shifts in Energy

It's a source of constant amazement to me just how quickly energies can shift. I find that when I stop and look directly at what's coming up for me the energy frequencies rather quickly move to a higher range. If I'm feeling low energy like last week when I wrote about loneliness, the energies shift into more peaceful and flowing kinds of frequencies. Then they will oftentimes move to even higher frequencies of deep appreciation and joy for Life and everything in it.

I also notice when I'm feeling what you might call mid-range frequencies and I turn the light of awareness on them they often seem to rise as well and I get a whole being experience of lightness and appreciation.

Then there are the times when I've been feeling lots of appreciation and lightness and things come up that bring with them the lower frequencies of fear or sadness once again. And the cycles continue.

Here's the point I really want to make about movements and shifts in energy, I've observed that when I try to avoid the lower frequency feelings as they show up seemingly uninvited, they tend to hang around like bad house guests.

Sometimes I know the lower frequency energies are there and will acknowledge them to a degree but I don't immediately turn my full attention toward the feelings and the beliefs that are their inevitable companions. Then I can pretty much be guaranteed they'll find a way to get my attention no matter how long it takes and I'm not all that likely to be real happy about it in the moment. The good news is that when this happens and I finally do become fully aware and turn toward the energies that are there instead of avoiding them the process moves swiftly and smoothly into the uplifting energies once again.

It all sounds so easy in theory or as a concept doesn't it? I know only too well that it isn't all that easy to move toward what we fear when we've been avoiding feelings all our lives. It seems counter intuitive when viewed from a survival standpoint. As with so many perspectives we've adopted in the name of survival, however, there comes a point on the journey when they no longer serve us. They end up being in opposition to where we are going now if that happens to be toward a more authentic, congruent experience of life.

There is so much richness to be enjoyed when we no longer avoid. In the end it's all a beautiful dance of movement and energy.

animated movement energy
The Eternal Dance

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Phases and Feelings

The long weekend is over now and I am truly grateful for all the great moments we had out in the sun and indoors at the movies and at a live performance of Wicked which is the untold story of the witches of Oz. I particularly appreciated how they brought a whole different level of understanding as to how the two witches got to be where they were in the story of The Wizard of Oz. Quite brilliant really.

Now it's back to the business of the week and I find myself facing directly and squarely a sense of loneliness and loss that has been playing in the periphery of my awareness for the past 2 or 3 weeks. It's hard to explain so I won't really go too deeply into it other than to say that it isn't about being around people or not. I realize it's about some very old stuff that has been deeply buried. It isn't that I wasn't cognitively aware of it either, I have been for a long time, but I haven't really had access to the feelings around it which seems to be key in bringing real peace to it. That along with being able to tell myself the truth about the fact that I did not and will never have the one I lost so many years ago. In a strange and wonderful way, facing that is another level of release from the belief that was developed in childhood around the loss which translated into not being able to have what I really want. That's how those childhood decisions work; we end up projecting them onto our present and future circumstances because we didn't know what to do with the confusion and loss.
It's funny because I've done a ton of work around this and have benefited from it all yet here it is again with yet another twist to it. Laying it to rest in this way is like burying a loved one which is sad and yet poignant at the same time.

I often remind clients and friends and myself that just because we've visited and done some work with a long held belief it doesn't mean it isn't going to show up again. I can pretty much guarantee most of the the deeply held ones will in some way shape or form which is often not recognized for what it really is. I don't see that as anything being wrong but rather an opportunity to pour more compassionate attention into the well of being. Being delightfully alive means being able to be fully present and accepting of whatever shows up in me, including the deepest and darkest memories if that's what shows up. It really is all beautiful and wonder-filled when we don't make it all wrong.

Just as the four seasons bring their own unique beauty, so it is with the variety of experiences to be had in the delicious, delightful expression of life .

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hope

Hope is an interesting concept. I don't talk about it much, not do I attempt to give people 'hope'. Hope is defined in a number of ways and, of course, we all have our perception of what it means. When I hear people talk about hope it often speaks to me of someone who actually is not feeling OK right now for some reason and is putting it off for some future event or situation to come along and make things better. Now I know this isn't the only way it is used but it is a common perception which I find to be at odds with living fully in the present moment. I do not have any problem with an attitude of expectancy which hope also means except when that expectancy is attached to a particular outcome without which one would be unhappy. This kind of hope brings on all kinds of disappointment and is behind much of the discouragement and hopelessness we encounter in life.

So this brings me to the topic of hopelessness. I've had several conversations this week where hope and hopelessness came up. It's always a good idea to pay attention when that happens. Another way I find hope to be more harmful than helpful is when it is in reaction to hopelessness.

We tend to see hopelessness as a feeling but if you look a little closer you will find it is not a feeling but rather a belief which is associated with some pretty heavy and sad feelings. We decide things are hopeless, then we associate that thought with the feelings and get caught in the trap of trying to get away from them, which is one of the reasons we look for something hopeful to replace hopelessness. Problem is, it doesn't work in any long term sort of way. We continually need ideas or situations to prop us up so we can avoid the heavy feelings and the hopeless thoughts.

So what if there was another way to deal with hopelessness? When I look at my own life as an example, I know that I decided some things were hopeless and I know they are associated with my father. The decision was made after lots of hopeful moments that he would come back to us but I eventually could no longer bear the pain so I decided it was hopeless and rejected him sometime in my very early years. Now that translates not only to dear old Dad but other aspects of life that he is a symbol for. I would rarely have used the word hopeless but on reflection that is exactly what I believed. I've had many moments in life where the pain associated with hopelessness was triggered and I remember often thinking I just didn't want to be alive anymore. I never seriously considered suicide but I did think I would rather be dead. I finally confronted that idea many years ago sitting on a large rock in a river in Nepal, but that's another story. I've never believed that story since then. What was significant about that particular event was that it was a time when I turned around and confronted the desire that I had believed was real and found it was empty and hollow and nothing more than a trick of the mind. It was never true, it was a way I had devised to avoid hopelessness as convoluted as that may seem. At the other end of the spectrum I would go out there a try to make things happen, at times successfully, so that I would not have to face the hopelessness. That's what we do with these deeply ingrained beliefs patterns, we bounce from one end of the scale to the other in our efforts to avoid or get rid of the feelings and thoughts associated with them.

So here's the thing, instead of trying to get away from hopelessness, another way to approach it would be to feel the depth of the feelings and recognize that it is a decision you made, it isn't The Truth. I'll use my example around Dad and the ensuing manifestations of the belief around hopelessness. What I have found is that being fully present with compassionate, gentle attention to the feelings in my body when that belief is triggered the less power it has. Then as I truly see the very thought of hopelessness for what it is, an immature decision made when there was no awareness of another option, I free myself from the unhappiness and limitation it has engendered in the past.  Now I am open to the wonder of other possibilities unfolding while being fully engaged with the present moment rather than the fearful projections. I don't need to generate anything here to compensate for the illusion; I simply enjoy and delight in what is. I know that whatever happens is perfect even if it isn't what I had envisioned.

One caveat here about this process, it isn't usually an instant shift, especially with long and dearly held beliefs. When you consider how long you've spent hating and avoiding uncomfortable feelings and beliefs it stands to reason it may take a fair bit of compassionate attention to shift the energy. If you resonate with any of what I have written here and do choose to give this a shot it will undoubtedly be uncomfortable at first. Remember this is likely the opposite of what you've been doing all your life. I can assure you however after much practice with this process, I can think of no more joyful use of my time and energy when I find myself feeling unhappy or disappointed for any reason.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Oslo Syndrome

One can't help but be aware of the bombing and shootings in Norway that a young man by the name of Anders Breivik  has taken credit for. I have to admit when I first heard of the terrorist attacks in Norway I was completely baffled. Who would want to attack Norway? Seemed way out there to me until of course I found out it was one of their own who was trying to make a point.

I am aware that there are people who fear a Muslim takeover through shear numbers in Europe and even in North America. I am also aware that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions on the planet at the moment. Given the western perception of Islam and the general connection we tend to make with terrorism when we think of it, in a way it isn't really difficult to see where this young man might have gotten some of his ideas.

But then again, why would a young man in Oslo think that acts of terrorism would somehow help in his fight against the spread of Islam and whatever result he thought that would have? I can't even pretend to know what he was really thinking but this does seem to illustrate the tendency we have of filling in the gap of awareness with stuff we're making up. One possibility is that Breivik could see changes happening in his country and around the world and it scared him. In his mind it had something to do with the spread of Islam and that it endangered him in some way and so he made yet another leap thinking that if he killed a whole bunch of people he would get the attention of the world and would have a stage from which to espouse his beliefs. He certainly wasn't wrong about getting the attention he seemed to be seeking but how he arrived at the idea that it was going to make the world wake up to his point of view was interesting.

This whole scenario is however a great example of the effects our propensity toward making leaps in consciousness can have. What happened in Oslo really doesn't make any sense and neither do most of the leaps we make when we fill in the gap of what we don't know with our fearful beliefs and concepts. I've done plenty of illogical things when I have filled in the gap with my fearful thoughts and I've certainly witnessed it in others as well. It's painful and sad really but it is the human condition, at least until we come to realize what we are doing and start making peace within ourselves so we can be present to the unknown without having to fill it with our projections from the past.

The bottom line is that what we think we know is often the product of our unresolved past and fearful imaginations. Much time and energy is spent trying to effect change in our personal lives and in the world by trying to manipulate the images on the screen rather than bringing peace to the unresolved pain within. No matter how hard we try, we cannot see or experience life any differently until we deal with what is coloring our world more effectively.

Oslo Syndrome (Actual picture from Oslo)
As I said earlier, I have no idea what this young man really had in mind but the story sure makes for a great example of what I want could be called the 'Oslo Syndrome'; the tendency of the human creature to fill in the gap of awareness with fearful projections.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Superheroes (Again)

I love superhero movies. We go to all of them. The latest release is Captain America played by that sweet Chris Evans (Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm, loved him there too). I think Stan Lee and the other creators from Marvel Comics were absolute geniuses. In my view they had a deep understanding of the human psyche and were able to illustrate it so beautifully in their superhero stories.

Anyway, Captain America is set in WWII and Steve Rodgers (our protagonist) is a scrawny guy (I'd really like to know how they do those special effects to make Chris Evans seem so puny) that is bullied and beat up all his life. He tries to enlist over and over and is rejected every time. He comes to the attention of a scientist who is working on creating super soldiers and Steve is chosen because of his courage and values and a kind of purity. When asked if he wants to go overseas and kill Nazis his response is no, he just doesn't like bullies. So they make him into a big strapping, strong guy who heals from all wounds and continues to be extremely courageous. Of course they have the super villain as well and it all makes for a great story; after all, how would we get to experience heroism if we didn't have villains in our storyline.

So one of the reasons I love the Marvel movies as well as other superhero type stories such as Harry Potter (loved the last one!) is that I love to make up stories about the metaphysical meanings behind the story. I love doing that with all stories including my own but the superhero ones really inspire me because they are stories of overcoming our small ideas about ourselves and living from an expanded place.

Captain America comes to be because there was someone who was small and bullied and knew the value of strength and courage and looking out for others. The transformation that took place was only possible because of the hardships he had faced. The super villain in the story had been one of the inventors of the serum that was used but he had been 'evil' and selfish and so the experiment on him created someone who was even more of that.

We so often view the 'bad' things that have happened to us as being some kind of punishment or a good reason not to do things now. The tendency is to project the 'failures' and 'negative' experiences onto the future and tell ourselves this is what will happen if we follow our hearts. I hear it over and over and I have said it myself at different times in my life, that people are too afraid to do what they long to do because something bad will happen. Projection, Projection, Projection! Yes, things have happened and it's important to acknowledge past painful experiences but it doesn't mean we can't do things that are deeply true for us now. There may be some work to do, and it may be somewhat painful (ask any superhero) but there is Life, big Life on the other side. What we often fail to realize is that the wounds are more often than not what sets our course in life, one way or the other, and that they are actually here to serve us not stop us. Life really is so elegant and amazing in its design!

So that's the short version of why I love superhero movies!  What about you?