No Quantum Leaps Required

November 5, 2012

Stumbling blindly through life is something I have found myself doing whenever I leave the path of my vision. When my inner sight is clouded, I get lost in a place much like a damp, dark well. The only thing that accompanies me is the drip, drip, drip of my weirdest thoughts.

Vision questRecapturing your vision takes courage, especially if you are apt to think of everyone else’s welfare but your own. To stand in the strength of your own truth is a daunting task when it is at odds with what society deems acceptable. Rather than carry the inner conflict out into the world, we bury it deep inside, fearful of the reaction our environment might have about our wildest dreams.

Mae West said good girls don’t change the world. Stepping out of our self-made prisons is the first thing required. Self-understanding informs everything we do. So if we think we can’t do something because it’s not proper or we’re worried about what other people will think, we’ve totally missed the point that this is our life and we get to decide how to live it.

Building a vision is a lot like building a house. You first need a plan. How many rooms do you want to build? How big should they be? What is the reason for the space you are creating?

Then you need to find the resources: what can you afford to take on, what not? What kind of materials will you need to support the house you want to build?

Then comes the execution. Will you build the house yourself or hire help to do so? How long do you anticipate the implementation will take? Are you flexible enough to accept delays or last-minute changes? Can you live with the outcome, even if it isn’t perfect?

Coming to the light is what your vision is all about. When you have a focus, things fall into place more easily than if you have no clue what you are doing. You don’t need to know every last detail. Trust that what you feel is right. It will guide you to where you need to go next.

Baby steps will get you there. No quantum leaps required.

Two days ago I was cruising up I-8 on my way to Phoenix from San Diego to pick up my mom at the airport. If you have ever driven out West, you will know how straight and narrow those highways can be. You can go 100 miles without really seeing civilization. With good tunes on the radio and a bit of mindlessness, it is easy to go a tad over the speed limit.

It is embarrassing to admit to you that, right after a pitstop in Yuma, AZ for some breakfast at IHOP, I was pulled over by one very nice Officer Sanchez for going too fast.

Picture it.

“Hi, Ma’am. The reason I pulled you over is because you were going too fast.”

“I was? I thought the speed limit was 70!”

A warm smile.

“I clocked you at 81.”

Oops.

He asked me where I was going, where I am from and what I do for a living. I cheerfully explained that I had had a spiritual prompting and was on my way to Sedona. Admittedly, I thought the spiritual angle might soften his heart. And I told him how ironic this all was, given I am the author of The Power of Slow.

He made me wait a full ten minutes while he checked out my profile in his car. When he returned, he kindly handed me a warning instead of a ticket, told me I really needed to slow down, and ,”Oh, Christine? Read your book!”

I giggled to myself all the way to Phoenix.

Thank you, Officer Sanchez. You are right. Slow really is faster.

Travels to Myself

November 1, 2012

Whenever I board a plane, train or automobile to a new place, I am guided by my internal GPS. Every interaction I have or person I meet opens my eyes in new ways. I am informed by the novelty of the situation, but also by the ever-unfolding plan of the Universe that places me right in the middle of whatever I need to experience. It is particularly astounding to me how many cool people fly on airplanes.


Waiting at the Dulles International airport with Husband, I noticed a cute young couple in the corner, sharing food and body warmth as we waited to board our five-hour flight to San Diego. Husband and I had to change seats at the gate to ensure we sat together so our once randomly assigned seats were once again rearranged for that purpose. In other words, I wasn’t supposed to sit where I did, but I am so glad it worked out that way. I met the most fascinating doctor-in-training who laughed with me across the continent. When we got up to stretch our legs, I noticed the cute couple was right behind me in the next row. That’s when the girl engaged me in some small talk. It turns out she and her husband were returning from their honeymoon cruise just in time to miss Hurricane Sandy. Then, to my delight, she asked me if I might go to lunch with her.

“I just love your light,” she beamed. I beamed back and we made a date. A few days later we spent a lovely few hours together, chatting over lunch then walking on the beach. We revealed that neither one of us was supposed to be in the rows we were sitting (she was supposed to be on a different flight altogether). I shared with her the mystical-magical that we all possess. She already knew that. What impressed me most was when she said we already have everything we need. At 24 years old, she knows who she is. I was encouraged that the next generation’s consciousness will be higher than ours.

Travel brings us closer to who we are, guiding us to people of all ages and backgrounds. It shows us that no matter where we are on the planet, we expand a piece of who we are when we are engaged with each other, just like the Universe itself.

Dance in the light, my friends, wherever you are. Know that everything will work out just as it should. And that you are not alone.  Ever.

The Flame of Intuition

October 28, 2012

Intuition mostly comes like a flash of lightning. It is a strong inner knowing about something you couldn’t possibly know about through facts or even experience. It can be a guiding light in the storm of confusion. It can be your saving grace.

Listening to your inner voice requires that you slow down long enough to hear it. In our hustle and bustle of every day life, it can be challenging to take pause and reflect, much less stop for a moment when that intuitive voice decides to speak. It’s not something you can plan, really. It’s not as if that voice works on a schedule like you do.

So when it chooses to speak to you, you had better listen. It’s your divine intelligence showing you the way. You may not feel lost at the moment, but if you ignore your inner voice, you are not on the path you are meant to be on.

Some people tell me they don’t have an inner voice. Maybe they have never actually heard it before, or knew what they were experiencing when they did. But it is my deepest conviction that we all have the Divine Within. Give it a chance to express itself and it will take you on a journey of incredible beauty.

It takes fortitude to trust that voice. Sometimes you might get visions that accompany your intuition. I sure do. That’s usually when my ego mind jumps out of its chair and shouts:

“You’re crazy, right???!”

Take Sedona, for instance. For weeks I heard a voice that said, “Go to Sedona and you will heal.”

Sedona, Arizona? Really? I already have weeks of travel ahead of me both in Europe and America. How could I possibly squeeze in another trip this year?

Then it occurred to me to see how far Sedona is from San Diego where I had a few unplanned days to explore the area. It is well within a day’s drive.

Plans started to form in my head. Then, as I told my mom about the idea, she said, “I have a movie called ‘Sedona’ right here on my desk. Let’s go together!”

And so the flame of intuition that started to burn over a month ago has grown into a roaring fire. I do not question the “why” of things. I trust in this voice as it has never led me astray. The more I do, the more vivid my ideas have become.

What intuitive thoughts have you had lately that you have disregarded? What if you were to follow just one of them? Where would it lead you? It might take you out of your comfort zone, but it is only there that you will grow. How far are you willing to follow that voice?

With a treasure chest full of trust and love, I’m ready to take that journey. Are you?

 

The Film of Our Own Making

October 8, 2012

Browse down the aisle of any video store and you will see snippets of someone’s reality. The camera, which never lies, tells a story through its lens. A hand-held camera tells one version; one on a tripod tells another. A wide-angled lens pulls in the scenery; a close shot surveys the landscape of the actor’s face.

We all carry our own cameras through life, peering into the window of others’ realities with our distinctive lens. Sometimes our film version is all we can see. In our every day lives that is the place from which we operate mostly. But what if you were allow yourself to view the world from another person’s point of view; borrow their camera for a moment, so to speak. What would you see?

My guess is you would find we are great at telling ourselves stories, even if they aren’t true.

Each of us stars in the film of our own making. We get to choose which role we play. We can also decide whether we want to play in the films other people provide for us: family, friends, loved ones, even enemies.

The choice is ours. Every day we start anew so if you don’t like the current plot you are in, you can change it. It might require a different kind of camera, a broader lens, or new actors altogether. The director is the one person who does not leave the set. That director is you.

What kind of film do you want to make today?

Running on Empty

September 24, 2012

Serenity Stewart sang in her minivan. Occasionally, she’d step in front of a choir and do the same. But for years she hid her secret gift of song, in which she had been classically trained, just to get by.

With four children to raise on her own, she kept her creative self locked away while she did what she needed to do. Working as an office administrator for a busy health care practice, Serenity ran a tight ship, always looking after others.

But that creative self needed to live. It took Serenity’s nearly dying to breathe life back into it.

In July 2005 she suffered a brain aneurysm that left her bleeding out of her nose and even her eyes. As she lay on the cold ER table, her last view was of the gorgeous doctor with tan, tight arms scrubbing up for surgery.

“God, this can’t be my last vision,” she spoke to the sky. “Look at how beautiful this doctor is. I’ve got some unfinished business to do!” It was this sense of humor that got her through the next months of recovery. For the first time in her life, she started to strip away the layers of “mainstream” as she calls it to really live. In an act of self-discovery, she began to realize that an empty vase has the most potential.

“Every possibility starts with courage,” she told me over the phone. She took a year off and sailed around the world. She discovered her passion for deep sea fishing and even caught a marlin off the coast of San Diego. She literally emptied herself out to start anew.

Serenity now sings jazz reminiscent of the 1940s. Hers is sultry music that speaks of a long-lost era of community and togetherness. At the end of September she will start her P.S. I Love You tour, which will land her in Paris next March (yes, I’ll be going!).

Music helps her and her audience tune into the healing energy that only music can bring. It is a meditation, and a dedication, to life.

Listen to one of her songs today. You will be glad you did!

Believe

September 23, 2012

Do you know the feeling when you believe in something so strongly, even though there is no supporting evidence, that you cannot help but know it is true in your heart of hearts? Do you know the sense you get when something isn’t right, based only on your belief or inner knowing, without having specific data to back up your claim?

Belief is a powerful resource. It is what keeps us strong in times of uncertainty. It is what kept Nelson Mandela from going stir crazy in prison for decades. It is what propelled Gandhi forward. Belief is what Martin Luther King’s dreams were made of.

In our hyper-fast world, we have lost the thread to that belief – in ourselves, our world, our communities. We have been led to believe we have a need for speed. Only doing more in less time is valuable. Everything else is a waste of time. That is so not true.

Driving on the backroads, instead of the autobahn, for instance, can restore our sense of peace, connection and belonging. Taking the scenic route in life, whether literally or figuratively, has value in and of itself.

When my son was really young, he struggled with self-confidence. I taught him an exercise that we still do to this day whenever he falls back into self-doubt. He thrusts his fists to the sky and announces: “I believe in myself!” We try different voices to see which one sounds the most convincing, then we choose to believe that one the most.

Believe in yourself and all that you have to offer. There is no one quite like you. The world needs you. Just as you are.

Dance in the Receiving

September 22, 2012

A few months ago a friend of mine taught me a valuable, life-changing exercise I’d like to share with you. It has to do with removing the mental barriers we place on ourselves that ultimately hinder us from getting what it is that we want.

You may not actually be able to define exactly what it is that you want, but you know something is missing. Or perhaps you think you know what you want (but really don’t). Maybe you know what you don’t want, which is closer than not having a clue. Regardless of your current state, this exercise will release blocked energies that are holding you back.

When you engage in the receiving, you enter a place of nonjudgement. You accept everything that comes your way, opening your eyes to a new way of looking at the world without cynicism. Only love drives you. It is this unconditional love that will set you free.

It is simple, really. Close your eyes and say the following words: “I am going into the receiving of All That Is. I welcome what comes next with love, not fear.” Then tell yourself you are no longer going to push your way through the world. Remember: insistence creates resistance. When you enter the receiving, you needn’t do anything at all.

I often have to consciously remind myself to enter the receiving place. And when I do, it is amazing what happens. People suddenly let you at the front of the line at the grocery store because you only have one item to buy, or cars let you merge more easily. People show up in your life just when you need them (but maybe didn’t know it at the time). As your wall of resistance dissolves, you open up a pathway to your best life.

All it takes is trust that what unfolds is exactly what needs to occur. Imagine the whole world dancing in the receiving. What a wonderful world that would be! The more people who enter the space of receiving, the more energy gets unleashed to heal ourselves and others.

When you believe, you unlock the key to your own divinity, which automatically has a positive effect on others. Like laughter, this space of open receiving is contagious, really. And that, my friends, gets us all one step closer to Nirvana. I’m willing to do my part to get us there. Are you?

In Step with Synchronicity

September 14, 2012

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the phrase synchronicity, which means the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.

So it was with my visit to the iPhone Doctor recently.

My iPhone was ill. After all that international travel, it could no longer pick up its indigenous phone signal, leaving it rather useless for someone who, well, needs a phone. I asked a local service provider if she knew something about iPhones. A few swipes on the screen told me she did not. With a solemn look, she gazed deeply into my eyes and said:

“This is a case for the iPhone Doctor.”

I could almost hear the creepy horror movie music play in the background as she spoke the words.

She carefully described how to get to his place. Take a left, then a right, then another right. I set off with great hope in my heart that the Doctor could help. But when I got to the address, that the local shop lady said several times and with the confidence of an insider, I couldn’t find a sign indicating anything about a doctor, much less an iPhone. That is, until a lady who appeared on the stoop next door gave me the same gaze the shop lady did and said:

“What are you searching for? Maybe I can help!”

I was about to tell her what I really wanted to know was the meaning of life, but stopped short as I realized perhaps asking for directions would be better.

“Ah yes, the iPhone Doctor. He’s there. Just push open the door and go upstairs. Last office on your left.”

Again, the creepy music played in my head and I swear her body language added: “He’s waiting for you.”

I climbed the stairs to be greeted by a smiling face that didn’t belong to the iPhone Doctor, but who had the same knowing look. “You’re going to see him, aren’t you?” the face seemed to say. I smiled weakly, then continued down the long corridor to the last office.

And then there he was: Jürgen, the iPhone Doctor, smiling like a Buddha as I walked into his space.

“I was on vacation, you see…” and he interrupted with a shudder. “Your phone got wet, didn’t it? Let me guess. Swimming pool? Jacuzzi?” He sized me up with a keen eye.

“None of the above! It’s simply cranky because I kept switching networks. You know. Swisscom, iWind, Orange France!”

He tooled around with it for a while, professionally swiping screen after screen, grunting quietly, then brushing away the detritus in the speaker with a toothbrush and buffing the screen with a woolly towel.

“Here you go! Good as new. But if all else fails, hit reset, okay?”

Which is what I ended up doing when I got home because my iPhone continued to act crazy. Jürgen’s backup advice worked. And that’s all I cared about.

The synchronicity of the moment made me realize there are guiding forces in our lives that show us the way when we can’t help ourselves. When we are present to them, life can be so much fun. When asked why he has no sign on his door, Jürgen revealed to me that his word-of-mouth strategy is ultimately more effective than advertising. It has more impact. He leverages the power of synchronicity because, as he says, “I want the people to come looking for me.”

What synchronicities can you find today? Look for them. They are there, waiting for you to see them so they can play too.

Have you ever experienced the domino effect in your calendar? One person shows up too late and, because your schedule is so jam-packed, your entire day collapses like a house of cards? You end up racing from one thing to the next. By the evening, you are completely worn out without the feeling of satisfaction such level of effort deserves.

For those of you who have listened to any of the countless executive Webinars I’ve given over the past few years, you will know I often refer to the Japanese term ‘Ma’ as a great illustration for what is required to avert calendar disasters like the one I just mentioned.

‘Ma’ is a theatrical word that translates as the space between things either in music or in theater. It literally means the silence between the beats of the music or that theatrical pause, which keeps you on the edge of your seat. That which comes after the pause has more import because of the pause itself.

The Japanese (who also invented the concept of Wabi Sabi) are just so wise.

When we go from one appointment to the next in a seamless thread of activity, we have no time to digest what we’ve experienced before heaping on the next one.

This is what I imagine, in rather Picassoesque fashion, our scrambled brains look like after a ‘ma’-less day.

Note all the stuff surrounding our minds: the white noise, the distraction, the interruption, the input! I always know I have too much on my mind when I can’t decipher what my kids are saying. Okay, it’s hard enough to translate teen-speak into understandable language. But after a day without pause, I’m toast.

Now imagine your calendar as an open field of opportunity. You get all this time to play with. How will you divide it up? Insert ‘Ma’ between your major appointments. It will give you space to handle unexpected events and the breathing room to sustain your energy throughout the day. So instead of scheduling back-to-back meetings, give yourself at least fifteen minutes between things. And if people show up too late, reschedule if possible so your day isn’t impacted.

We could all use fifteen minutes of breezy nothingness to kick back and simply be. That’s when we are most creative, after all. Our juicy requires that soft crevice between the ‘must-do’s’ of our everyday lives.

Give yourself the gift of ‘Ma’ and tell me how it goes.

You know what? I can see a smile forming on your face already.

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