Dare to Surrender

August 25, 2012

At the very beginning of this marvelous summer (or winter, for you Southern Hemisphere readers), I wrote of surrender. As any writer will tell you, we mostly write about the things we need to learn most.

And so it is with this blog.

A lot of the advice, truths and ideas I have set forth have been lessons I have learned and/or am in the process of learning. I’m walking the same path as you. While being an expert is somehow praised in our society, I am only an expert of my own life, as you are with yours. What I can say is surrender is by far the hardest, and perhaps most important, lesson we can learn.

So often we want things that are just beyond our grasp. We place great effort into it, such as writing that book proposal or convincing a client that your counsel is warranted, but what happens is what happens. And we can only do so much to influence the outcome of events.

When we enter the Surrender Room, we access a power far greater than ourselves. We are able to be highly involved with what we are doing without the attachment to the outcome. We liberate ourselves from the dependency on other people’s responses. Our truth remains, no matter the circumstances. We simply do what we need to do, then move on.

Instead of wasting our energy on things that are beyond your control, focus on the things you can.

How you choose to spend your time is one of the things you can do a lot about. You may feel trapped in a job you hate or in a relationship that needs to change, but all told, you can decide how to deal with it.

It’s not that some people have better lives than others. It is how you cope with the challenges at hand that determine the quality of your days.

I dare to surrender to the All Knowing Force. As scary as it may be, I see it as the most empowering choice we can make as human beings.

Will you join me?

 

Advertisements

Dwell in Possibility

August 24, 2012

Surmounting seemingly impossible tasks is an essential part of life. When I took my very first written exam at German university, I was scared out of my wits. All kinds of ‘what if’s’ floated through my head. ‘What if I can’t formulate my thoughts in the time that I have?’ ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if I forget all my German and draw a complete blank!?’ ‘What if!?’ ‘What if!?’

So my mother, being the fabulous person she is, sent me a T-shirt with Emily Dickenson’s quote “I dwell in possibility.” She asked me to entertain the possibility that I would succeed.

Stumbling into the exam room wearing the T-shirt as my guide, I wrote the exam non-stop for two hours. And you know what? I did succeed despite my doubt.

It was a pivotal moment in which I realized, at the tender age of twenty-three, how much our thoughts dictate pretty much every choice we make, if we let them. Or we can take a more heart-centered approach in which we seek out the joy in every situation (and I mean every one!) despite the thoughts swirling in our heads, screaming the opposite to what our hearts are saying.

What are you thinking is impossible today? What if you were to entertain that it could be possible after all? Would you see things with different eyes? Would you succeed?

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”

Yes, you are. Start with your vision of what you’d like to see in the world, then create it. You might be amazed at who shows up to help you once you are clear about what you really want.

The Weight of Words

August 20, 2012

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Wanna make a bet? I’ve never agreed with that saying. For anyone who has been bullied before, words can do more damage than a machine gun.

Words have more power in the material world than we think. Japanese researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto  revolutionized how we think about the energy of words when he published his work on how water crystals react to certain terms, photography or music.

The reaction the water had to the word peace looks like this:

The word truth had this response:

The negative term you fool gave the water crystal the following form:

I’m beginning to see a pattern here, are you?

Words in the form of fiction can also have an amazing influence on our lives. Through books, screenplays and short stories, we get to travel to far off worlds without leaving our easychair. In fact, Annie Murphy Paul reported for the New York Times about a York University study in Canada headed up by psychologist Ramyond Mar, that found “individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective.”

Darmouth College’s Geoff Kaufman teamed up with Lisa Libby at Ohio State University to prove that literature can truly have a profound impact on our self-understanding, attitudes and even behaviors. In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 103, No. 1, 1-19, 2012), they report on the phenomenon they’ve termed “experience-taking“. Essentially, you take on the fictional character’s experience as your own.

The neat thing is our brains can’t distinguish between reading about an experience and actually encountering it in real life, which is maybe why the more teary-eyed folks among us cry so easily when reading a good book or seeing a good movie (I am one of them. I admit. You know that scene in Spielberg’s 2011 flick, War Horse, where the British and the German soldiers gather together in no-man’s land to free the horse from the barbed wire fence in a momentary act of peace and purpose? Yea, I was bawling, people. Bawling I was!). If a book is good, I cry at the end too. It’s that empathy thing, like saying goodbye to a dear friend you won’t see for a long, long time.

Because in your mind, you are. Those characters are real, dammit! Who needs reality TV when you can enter a fantasy world by opening a book at any time?

If you have ever written fiction, you will know that those characters come knocking at your door at all hours of the night, wanting to be heard, formed and plopped into the storyline of your own creation. They can be pretty adament, too. I have a few slumbering in my head myself. Maybe I’ll let them out to play on the page a little more.

And when I do, you’ll get to be a part of the fantasy too.

For now, I offer you this three-minute video to illustrate the power of words. May you choose yours carefully and with all the kindness you possess.

Life On Purpose

August 18, 2012

The transcience of life is never more apparent to me than when I learn of someone’s passing. Whether at their own hand (news which I have heard far too often lately) or at the hand of Fate, death is a reminder that our personal bank account of time is limited.

How much of our time is spent doing things that aren’t serving us, or worse, are actually harming us? How little time do we spend focused on the people, places and passions that really turn us on?

I’m not saying your life has to be one peak experience after another. We’d tire out quickly if we didn’t have some down time between all that luscious intensity. What I am saying is life on purpose is a lot more satisfying than aimless wandering into the “I have no idea what I want and I don’t care to find out” approach to your days.

It is upsetting to think people feel they have no other way out of their troubles than to exit this world voluntarily. There is always a way out ~ inside of life. You needn’t jump outside it to find the solution.

Repeat after me: You are not your circumstances. You have instrinsic value no matter where you are right now. Circumstances change. You can too, if you wish.

If you are reading this and feel a sense of helplessness, know that you aren’t alone. We all struggle sometimes. We are meant to help each other in this world, to raise each other up to our truest potential, to celebrate exactly who we are and to take pleasure in participating fully in all experience.

If our lives are the culmination of our choices, what do you need to do to change yours? Ah yes. Make different choices.

Now you’re talkin’…

The Pictures in Our Heads

August 11, 2012

Pictures, pictures, look at all the pretty pictures! We have so many of them swirling around in our heads that they wouldn’t fit in even the largest museum.

Murals of how our relationships should be; canvases splattered with paint, depicting our perfect job, children, life. In our minds we create so many images of how we think life should be.

Then life happens.

The source of our greatest unhappiness stems from the clash of our pretty pictures with what we see before us. Our brains try desperately to converge the two, but to no avail. The result is confusion at best. Or maybe denial. Or in some cases, depression.

So what can we do?

Start with the gallery in your mind. Change out the pictures to reflect a new reality. Look at the outside from a different height and in a different light.

In other words, get real.

You’ve got an image in your mind that isn’t coinciding with the one on the outside. It simply isn’t jiving with what you thought should be.

In that case, you have some choices. By changing what you project from the inside out (from a new set of pictures of your own creation), the outside automatically changes. But it all stems from the inside, your ultimate source of light.

In his sixty-fifth book, Spiritual Solutions, Deepak Chopra speaks of three levels of awareness.

 

  1. Contracted awareness (the state of unhappiness, fear, anxiety). At this level you experience all problems, obstacles and struggles. You feel conflict and no way out. If you stay at this level, you become exhausted. And who wants that? Pas moi! So let’s move on.
  2. Expanded awareness (where solutions reside). Obstacles are easier to surmount; struggle dissolves. Your vision moves beyond conflict to what is possible.
  3. Pure awareness (bliss). Problems don’t exist on this level. Challenges are viewed as creative opportunities. You are in complete alignment with your highest purpose, with nature, with All That Is. You recognize your true self.

I have caught a glimpse of level three on numerous occasions in my life, but the truth is we move up and down this scale as we slide back into fear, remorse and sadness, then bounce up again to a renewed understanding of what happened and why. Deepak claims level three is our natural state, the state of pure consciousness. It is Enlightenment.

I’d like to get there, turning those pretty pictures into a warm mass of loveliness. Want to join me?

And if you haven’t had enough of Deepak and his wisdom, you can view him on Oprah’s Life Class taped from Radio City Musichall in New York City is just one more reason to view this video. The pulse of NYC vibrates through the screen.

Bearing Your Abundance

August 10, 2012

What would your life be like if you showed up with an attitude of abundance in every aspect of your being? The first thing to go would be your “I’m not good enough” mantra. It wouldn’t even occur to you to think that because abundance would live there instead.

Time abundance is at the heart of the Power of Slow. When we embrace time as an abundant resource at our disposal, we allow time to accompany us on our journey instead of our working against it. Time becomes both the dirt under our feet and the air that we breathe. It becomes our nourishment, our framework, our everything. We can walk with time, hand in hand, or we can put on our boxing gloves and give it a punch.

Which would you choose?

Abundant thinking moves beyond our temporal relationship, of course. When we view everything in our lives as more than enough, we step  away from a lack mentality that tells us it will never be enough.

Someone recently told me that women are never satisfied. I disagree. It’s not just women who feel a sense of lack. Most people, male or female, are conditioned to strive for more. But in that pursuit, we often lose our appreciation of this very moment and of what we already have. As a result, we are left dissatisfied, with a feeling that something better might just be around the corner. Some call that forward-looking optimism. Others call it pessimism. What if we were to replace all of that thinking with NOWism? If the present is bright, as the optimists say the future is, wouldn’t your future automatically be bright too?

Visualize a world in which simply showing up and being yourself was more than enough. You’d bear an abundant grin and your light would shine. And the NOW would be amazing.

It can be. It truly can. Won’t you join me in bearing the biggest abundance you can imagine? Not only the world, but your consciousness would expand too. And that’s a future, born in the now, worth living for.

Allensbach, Germany

If you have lost your sense of wonder, take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember the last time you had it. You might have to dig deeply to a place you haven’t visited in a while. It might span miles and years and acres of memory. But you had it once. It is still there,  slumbering in the eeves of your being.

Call it up within yourself. Rekindle its fire. Feel how it crawls through your body. Where do you feel it most intensely? In your arms? Your legs? Your back?

I keep my sense of wonder close to my heart, calling on it in times of sadness or remorse. It is my road map to inner peace and regained equilibrium. In troubled times, that source of creative power can be your saving grace.

When was the last time you danced in the sky to beat of your boundless heart? Don’t you want to go there?

And you can. Any time. Any place. Through the breathtaking beauty you keep inside. When you do, you will meet others who are doing the same. Your heart and soul will shift to attract the very people who have been waiting for this moment. You will touch them in unspeakable ways. And they will do the same for you.

When you regain that sense of wonder, your life becomes one big celebration of the divine that is you, that is me, that is everyone.

Blessings to you all.