Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanks for The Growth 2014, Welcome to the Party 2015: We're Going to Have A lot of Fun

The other day I was reviewing the notes I have made on my iPad's Notes app and one I had jotted down from the "Abraham-Hicks" Facebook page caught my attention.

We want you to have the feeling of sort of freely flowing in this, rather than the attitude of "I'm going to get it right this time."  Because the attitude "I'm going to get it right this time" causes you to remember what wasn't right and activate it within your vibration and then makes sure that you do all those things again, that you don't want to do.

This seems incredibly important to me because it goes against what I once would have termed "human nature."  I've always believed that the best thing about mistakes is that they give us an opportunity to learn from them.  I've lived an incarnation where, if you had asked me, I would have said it was irresponsible to forget your mistakes.  We've all heard that famous quote at one time, haven't we?

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.  
Edmund Burke

There is an interesting counter quote by Kurt Vonnegut.

We're doomed to repeat the past no matter what.  That's what it is to be alive.

Viewed in light of the Abraham-Hicks quote, perhaps we do all that repeating because we refuse to let the past go.  In fact, in light of that quote, I wonder just how often we condemn ourselves to what we don't want by the very methods we utilize to improve our lives.  For instance, New Year's Resolutions.  

res-o-lu-tion:  noun   1.  the act of finding an answer or a solution to a conflict, problem, etc; the act of resolving something;  2. an answer or solution to something

New Year's Resolutions would seem to be the very heart of what the Abraham-Hicks quote is talking about.  We are essentially ending our year by saying, "Ok I didn't like this and this and this about last year so I resolve to change them next year."  From a Law of Attraction standpoint, it would be considered focusing on what you don't want and expecting to get something different.  With that in mind, I would like to propose an alternate year end ritual celebrating our growth and achievements, jaw dropping moments of awe and beauty, and quiet moments of love and inspiration.  

Here, let me lead by example.  In other words, I'll go first.

In 2014, I:

1.  ... more fully appreciated just how sweet my ginger cat, Peabody, is.  I already knew that I was blessed with a creature who I sometimes wake up holding like he is a rag doll, only to hear him purring in appreciation.  I am having some construction done at my house and, as a result, I only have a half bath currently in use.  It is situated on the other end of my house from my bedroom.  I didn't realize until having to walk through two of my larger rooms (one of which is currently under construction) to get to the toilet twice nightly, that Peabody, who tends to sleep next to me, actually accompanies me on every trip.  Not only that, but he tends to lead me as if he is the President's motorcade.  He walks ahead of me, looking back and checking on my progress every three feet or so.  He waits patiently until I am done and then sometimes walks to where his food dish is or the spot where I tend to give him treats, but equally as often, he simply escorts me back to bed.  My love and appreciation for this gentle sweet creature is absolutely limitless.  

2. ... more fully appreciated the value of letting go.  I had a saying painted over my kitchen door before it got demolished.  "Don't push the river, it flows by itself."   A former micro-manager of micro-managers, I put it there as a reminder of who I didn't want to be and what I didn't want to do.  From making more money on a house I was selling than I would have on my own personal time frame to sorting out relationships where I was trying too hard, 2014 has repeatedly rewarded me as I have learned the patience, optimism and wisdom to let life unfold rather than force it through my planned circuits.  At the same time, I have gained trust that even the events which look sad or regretful at the start, turn out to be blessings infused with opportunities for kindness and grace.  

3. ... invested in myself and I was rewarded with wonderful new experiences, opportunities for growth, mentors who shared invaluable knowledge and friends who were kindred spirits.  

4. ... discovered that we never really lose anyone.  On paper, 2013 and 2014 witnessed me losing my final parent as well as friends I never expected to lose.  I realized I lived in a world where, if I chose to view it that way, it could start feeling very cold and lonely.  Instead, I found a wellspring of love and affection.  I realized that, my experiences of other people actually live within me.  My enjoyment and appreciation exists within my own heart and head and, really, are not something that can whither and die or be forcibly taken away from me.  Loss does mean a certain closing of a book, for instance, the last time I saw my father, he was watching television from his convalescent hospital bed.  The expression on his face was remarkably like that of a little boy.  That will remain my last image of my father and we will not build any new memories together, but whenever I want to touch the love or kind feelings I have for my father, I have only to picture that 79-year-old boy, happily watching television as I left the room.  I've learned too that it is a choice.  Dwelling on any number of less kind or gentle moments, will never rewrite them.   While sweet memories, held gently with love, can never be taken away from me.  I can never lose the love in my heart.  

5. .... appreciated friends who helped me clean up after an earthquake; who opened their tubs and showers to me while I had none; who welcomed me into their home for the holidays; or who sought out my company or advice.  Old friendships, new friendships; I know I am enveloped with love and good wishes and I am truly blessed.  

Thank you 2014, you have been a kind and gentle year with unexpected surprises.  I'll never forget you. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happiness and Choices

This week a friend sent me this:

11 TED Talks That Will Help You Lead a Happier Life

The first one I watched, Dan Gilbert Asks Why Are We Happy, was brilliant in that it had the answer to the question I hadn't even asked yet.  In it, Gilbert points out humans have something that is called a "Pre Frontal Cortex," which allows us to have experiences in our heads before we try them out in real life.  Remember that, it's important.  He also tells of a variety of experiments where humans receive an outcome other than what they had wanted and afterwards report of being happier with the outcome they received than they would have been with their previous choice.

Of course, my question was about those people who didn't feel that way.  Were there any people who were still unhappy that they hadn't received the outcome they wanted?  Because I was positive I was probably in that group.  Those were my people.

It turns out the people who perceived that they had a choice were the people who were unhappy.  The people who received the outcome and it was done, over and there is no going back, simulated happiness.  The people who were told they had a choice, worried themselves to the point where they couldn't even be happy with the outcome they had wanted in the first place.  They weren't even happy when they reversed their choice.  Essentially nothing could make them happy.

I have lived a very blessed life, but those few moments where I was disappointed or where things didn't turn out as I would have liked?  My "Pre Frontal Cortex" has driven me mad with endless scenarios of things I could have done differently to produce a different outcome.

A long while back, I watched a show called "Celebrity Rehab" and saw something that actually delivered a very similar message.  I knew I had witnessed something important, but I didn't personalize it quite as well.  In the show, Sean Young was trying an exercise where you try and get a horse to lift his foot.  No matter how she pushed or pulled at the horse's leg, he stood firm.  While she was trying, a therapist was talking to her about her life and she was focused on the notion that her career went sideways and her life went all wrong when she lost a certain movie role.  The therapist asked who got the role instead of her and when she answered, he asked, "What have you seen her in lately?"  Of course, the answer was "Not much."  The actress who won the part got to be in that movie, but otherwise, her career and life was not measurably more desirable than Young's.  It was a living demonstration of another point Dan Gilbert makes.  Humans tend to give too much weight to the difference between two outcomes.  The difference between a happy person and an unhappy person was simply an individual's capacity for saying, "Well, that didn't work out, but I've got this other possibility on the horizon."

Another thing I listened to this week was CD 1 of The Sedona Method.  In it Hale Dwoskin, while he makes similar points to the Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, regarding the impermanence of emotions, he also references our desire to analyze or understand why we feel as we do.  When he asked his recorded audience, "Do you know why we do that?"  I found myself answering aloud, "To prove we are right and justified in feeling that way."  Dwoskin's answer?

"Because we are planning on feeling that way again."

Essentially, I think we gave the same answer except for one important aspect.  Repetition.  Dwoskin takes into consideration that which I did not.  The fact that we will do this over and over again throughout our lives.  Half of us will repeat it, perceived offense after perceived offense; while half of us will literally stop in our tracks at one outcome, label it as a mistake that we made, and never recover.  We will replay it over and over again.  Worrying the details to death.

If only ..... if only ......   if only.

A lifetime ago I heard a safety lecture at my workplace at the time.  An OSHA representative gave a presentation about back injuries.  In his slide show, he showed an employee and an IBM Selectric Typewriter.  (If you haven't seen one of those things, take my word for it, they are very large and very heavy.)  The typewriter falls off the table and the worker grabs it to protect it from falling and permanently screws up his back in the effort.  OSHA's point?  It may take a bit of money to repair the typewriter if it breaks, but the damage the worker can do to himself is far greater.  In other words, DROP THE TYPEWRITER.

A close friend of mine who also heard the lecture and I have revisited the words "DROP THE TYPEWRITER" many times when we have witnessed someone holding onto something he or she should have let go of long ago.

You know that saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?"  If life gives you lemons, the secret to happiness is to either make lemonade or give the lemons to someone else who wanted lemons.  Do either or something else entirely.  Just don't sit there, holding your lemons, thinking "if I had done this better or differently, maybe I would have gotten strawberries or apples or oranges." 

Let the typewriter (lemon, ex-partner, missed job opportunity) drop.

It turns out your happiness depends on just how capable you become at simply letting things go.

That ex who hurt you?  The job you didn't get?

Try it.  Just let your feelings go.

Let them drop.

It's time to move on to something new.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Little Self Knowledge

It's Tuesday and time for me to try to make sense of the lessons I've learned this week and the whirlwind of accompanying thoughts.  This week I have been reading four books.

Dying to Be Me:  My Journey from Cancer to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani

What if It All Goes Right?  by Mindy Audlin

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Cat Fear No Evil by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Go ahead and think it.  "Four books!  What are you, crazy?  Aren't they meant to be consumed one at a time?"  I used to think that too.  It came to the point where, instead of reading several books at once, I read no books at all.  A foolish solution because reading has to be one of the top ten things I enjoy doing.

My coaching coach, Gil McIff, frequently says, "The cause of suffering is ignorance of our true nature."  In my experience, it is a somewhat uniquely Buddhist concept and is referring to our attachment to what Eckhart Tolle would call "The World of Form."  While we wear this suit of flesh, we forget that we are more than this suit of flesh.

I think that is actually limiting things a bit.

This week, I would say that the cause of all suffering with a capital "S," the life and death questions, is because of our ignorance of our true spiritual nature.  The cause of the "every day" sufferings, the mere annoyances that give us road rage and petty grievances at least some of the time, might just be our ignorance of our true nature while living in that suit of flesh.  In other words, not knowing who we truly are.  Like forcing ourselves to read one book at a time, when our mind wants to juggle four.  It turns out there is a moment in each of the books that illustrates just what I'm saying.  Well, except for "Cat Fear No Evil."  Cats, whether they are real living breathing ones, or fictional talking ones, always seem to know who they are.

In "Dying to Be Me" cancer survivor Anita Moorjani tells us of her multicultural upbringing and how she tried to force herself to comply with the expectations of her own culture despite having a personality which thrived on much fewer limitations.

In "What If It All Goes Right?" Mindy Audlin describes a moment I recognized as very similar to ones I myself have had, where she makes assumptions about a person based on her own beliefs of shortcomings or limitations.  In other words, she judges someone as being guilty of judging her.  What does she think the person is judging her about?  She doesn't say it outright, but all of the things would seem to be the big bad ugly things she sometimes tells herself or hears in her head.

In A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin gives us poor Theon Greyjoy.  Born a Greyjoy, but raised by his father's enemy Eddard Stark, Theon has no idea who he is or what he thinks.  Desperate for love and acceptance, to the Starks he will always be a Greyjoy and to the Greyjoys, he seems uncomfortably indoctrinated as a Stark.

In my coaching studies, I've learned that negative emotions are good indicators that you are resisting "what is."  Eckhart Tolle sees it as a special sort of madness, resisting "what is" and wanting it to be something else.  These moments of mad negative resistance are also good signposts to limiting beliefs.  In my case, one of them is "others will see and understand things the same way I do."  

Have you ever found yourself doubting a romantic partner because "if he/she really loved me" he or she would behave in a certain way?  I had the opportunity to talk with a partner I had formerly questioned like that.  Before my coaching studies, I found him very aggravating and compared talking to him with talking to a dog.  (As Mindy Audlin, who suggests if we are making assumptions about others, we should always make good ones, would say, it wasn't a very empowering way to view him.)

Specifically, there were times when we were together where I would have preferred he spent the night at my house or showered there instead of going home.  When I mentioned it to him at the time, we both would behave as if we felt our own opinion and approach was the more sensible one. Since learning about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming,) I've come to understand that he and I have very different reference maps as to how the world works.  That's at the core of why we see things differently.

At the same time, if it was just a question of different maps, why did the misunderstanding strike me as a lack of love on his part?  As it happens sometimes, asking myself that question was like finding a corner piece in a jigsaw puzzle.  Things suddenly made a lot more sense.  You see, one of my favorite things to do in most of my relationships, has been to spend some quality time, frequently by myself, in a partner's living space.  Not to do any snooping.  I have never once searched a partner's drawers.  For me, there is something deliciously intimate and special about sleeping where my partner sleeps or showering where he takes a shower.  Every time I offered my living space to my partner, I was offering intimacy.  Every time he rationally chose to go home instead, "because that's where my stuff is," I felt rejected and unloved.

My aha! takeaway?  Those moments of resistance and disappointment?  What if, instead of using them to judge partners as to whether or not they are a comfortable fit, we used them to better understand ourselves?  After all, if we all have different maps of how the world works, how can your partner begin to understand yours if you don't understand it yourself?

At the same time, we are told that before we can truly love someone else, we have to love ourself.  I don't necessarily agree with that.  You see, my "self love" has always been there.  It's a stubborn persistent sort of thing.  I know it's there because I never really give up on myself.  At the same time, I have had an instance where I was willing to sacrifice myself nearly completely for someone else because I loved him.  It was a futile exercise, pointless, misguided and doomed to fail.  Totally resisting "what is," in other words "mad," but that doesn't mean it wasn't "love" and it has given me a blueprint for what I need to do.  With that same intensity and detailed emotion, I need to sacrifice my Theon Lovejoy-esque need for love and acceptance nearly completely.   For me.  Because I love me.

I think we fall in love by meeting someone, noticing things about him/her and telling ourselves stories as to who that person is.  We fall in love with our own stories.  This week I got to know Angela a little better.  She likes to read four books at once and sleep in a bed or with a pillow scented by someone she deeply cares about.  Isn't she great?  I just love her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Change is a Dance with Two Left Feet

I was talking with a friend the other day and mid sharing my thoughts about what she was saying, I had an aha! moment that maybe I was completely screwed up in what I was saying.  Have you ever had that moment?  A sudden understanding, mid-sentence, that what you are saying might be codswallop?  I had been looking at what she was talking about from a Law of Attraction point of view.  She had some unpleasant things recently visit her life and I was questioning whether she had learned the lessons they brought and thereby put that particular brand of unpleasant thing to bed.  (The lessons you don't learn will return until you do learn them.)  The conversation brought to mind three important things:

1.  The only thing that matters is this moment now.  We were talking about things she had done and I was speculating, using the Law of Attraction, about them.  In the moment we were talking, she had already done those things.  My speculation, just ego or "data."  Unimportant mind chatter that keeps we humans "busy."  Besides, speculation about something that has already happened and whether or not it was the "right thing" as Eckhart Tolle would point out, is insanity.  You can't rewrite moments that have already happened and the practice of obsessively revisiting them falls under doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, which Albert Einstein would point out is insanity. (In case you don't follow that one.  You may be doing different things throughout time, but if you are constantly rethinking them and speculating about their accuracy, the thinking and speculating fall under "always doing the same thing.")  Life is essentially one big tennis game with the ball perpetually and constantly landing in your court.

2.  No matter how much I change or try to change, I end up with that moment, egg on my face, realizing I have merged the old way of being Angela into the new way of being Angela.  After a lifetime of using criteria to control my own behavior so I would be a "good" or "valuable" person, I realized the other day that I come to the point where I was doing it again.  This time with the Law of Attraction.  I had shifted to a place where I judged actions by whether or not they would attract good things or bad things into your life.  Or, in this case, my friend's life.  There is no right or wrong action.  I know you're going to fight me and disagree on this point, but I really think there is no right or wrong action.  There is only whatever action you take.  See, life may be a tennis game where the service is always coming towards you, but it is YOUR life.  Those choices are YOUR choices and create your path.  You know what they say about that.  "No one else can walk your path.  Only you."  It doesn't mean I was bad or wrong to share those opinions with my friend, she is someone I care about and I was trying to be helpful.

3.  My own path is the complicated dance of someone with two left feet who is always moving one step backward for every two or three forward.  I think humans are always drawn to that which is familiar.  No matter how much meditation or clearing on limiting beliefs, eventually my guard comes down and my subconscious drifts back to old habits.  It's like setting yourself up in a new apartment in a new town and the first time you let your mind drift during your commute, you find yourself getting off the bus at your old place.  The trick is, when you find yourself doing it on that larger scale, blow it off in a sheepish, "silly me" sort of way.  Just like you would the bus mishap.  Call it a silly freak occurrence, not something that labels you a "failure."

As my mind swum in all of this "data," I realized something else.  A lot of the platitudes we use in personal growth communities, are just that, because they aren't really very useful.  For instance, the one about not caring what other's opinions of you are.  When you read it or somebody tells it to you, it is all about being true to yourself and not caving in to peer pressure.   Many times I have told people who accused me of it, that I do not care what other people think of me.  Which on the one hand is true, but on the other hand is a complete fantasy.  OF COURSE, I care what people think of me.  I have people I care about.  People I love.  For those people I sometimes edit myself or behave in ways I know will bring a smile to their face.  I care that the people in my life experience me in a positive way.  I enjoy people being happy to see me.  I don't think that's a bad thing, but of course, it is subject to the same "nobody's home" subconscious habitual behavior.  It's one thing to turn your car radio station to jazz because your friend who loves jazz is riding with you; it's entirely another to never switch the radio back to your own preferred station because no one but you likes it.  In the former, you are being a gracious and thoughtful host.  In the latter, you are erasing your own existence.

Still, all of it, the thoughts and labels, are all just data.  Just ego "busy work" to keep you entertained while you're alive.  Just like you, your ego thinks all of it is important.  It thinks it has to "sort all of this out and make sense of it."  We gather our data and cling to it as if it will allow us to hold onto our past or somehow predict our future.  None of it matters.

What does matter is what you do right now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Taking Responsibility and Ho'oponopono

Over Thanksgiving I was listening to Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len's Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace and More.  The recording was done at one of their Zero Limits workshops and included audience questions.  If you're not already familiar with it, The Secret Hawaiian System is known as Ho'oponopono and Dr. Len once used it to cure a mental ward of criminally insane patients without ever personally seeing any of the patients.  Here is a link to Joe Vitale's blog entry about Dr. Hew Len and Ho'oponopono but, essentially Dr. Hew Len would look at each patient's chart and then clear on whatever came up within himself about what he read.  He looked within himself to see how he created that person's illness.  By clearing, he performed the Ho'oponopono meditation which is to repeat the words:  I'm sorry, Please Forgive Me, I Love You and Thank you.  After three years, Len's work was such a success that the unit was closed.  

Ho'oponopono is one of the techniques I was taught during my coaching lessons and it is in the curriculum I share with my clients.  Although I don't have anything as remarkable to report as an entire mental ward being closed down due to my efforts, it has been one of the clearing tools I use in my own life.  Over the weekend, I felt like I understood Ho'oponopono a little bit better and although it feels a bit like juggling slippery goldfish, I want to attempt to explain some of my understanding here.

I had some resistance to Ho'oponopono in the beginning.  Particularly to the words I'm sorry.  At some point it had been explained to me:

When you say "I love you" ... you are touching compassion.
When you say "Thank you" ... you are touching gratitude.
When you say "I'm sorry" ... you are touching humility.
When you say "Please forgive me" ... you are touching sincerity.

I have no problem saying "I'm sorry."  I have spent a lifetime of saying it.  So when I would try to say it in connection with Ho'oponopono, it would get tangled up with a lifetime of baggage.  The last time I told somebody that (my coaching coach) he once again explained that the "I'm sorry" was all about humility.  I spent days asking myself if all of mine had been about humility.

humility:  (noun) a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.

By definition, yes, my apologies were humble.  The resistance stemmed more from who I was saying the words to rather than from where they were coming.  First, I would say those words when a friend or acquaintance would tell me about something that was disturbing them.  I would say "I'm sorry" to express my sympathy.  Increasingly that was being met with, "Why?  It's not your fault."  Which was probably due to the second instance when I would say those words, when one of the people in my life who had convinced me I was responsible for his or her feelings would get upset.  I said "I'm sorry" so often when trying to stem someone else's anger that it began to feel like I was apologizing for my very existence.  Frequently when we use clearing methods, even though we are mostly meditating alone or talking to ourselves, it is when we perceive something is wrong or has happened.  It was hard to separate the new Ho'oponopono "I'm sorry" from the earlier ones.  I even questioned if I had inadvertently benefitted even though I had never understood the greater implications.

This weekend, what caught my attention was the talk about taking responsibility for our lives.  The more I listened, the larger the concept grew and the more different it became from being responsible for how someone else feels.

My assumption is that most people who at some point during their adolescence used the words, "You made me ..." or "Look what you made me do" has heard the lecture that no one can "make" you do anything.  You are personally responsible for your emotions and behavior.  People may be unfair, unkind and unpleasant, but you are responsible for your own response.  There is a meme that floats around the internet:  How other people act is their karma.  How you respond is yours.  

It seems to me that most people think of karma as being a big bad deed boomerang.  "What goes around, comes around."  "You reap what you sow."  During my internet surfing about the subject, I've learned there are two interpretations of karma.  The first is the commonly held one I already mentioned, but the second is essentially that you will continue to be faced with the same life lessons until you have learned them.  In other words, people will be who they are and you will experience the same people over and over, until you have learned how to respond to them.  I would like to suggest Ho'oponopono is the kindest, gentlest, easiest, and most responsible way to respond to them.

In Zero Limits, Dr. Hew Len refers to the stuff you are clearing as "data."  There is us and there is all this data.  Others like Eckhart Tolle, using a model that is a bit more Buddhist in nature, have referred to what Len is calling data as "ego based states of consciousness."  

Think of it this way.  You are sitting at a restaurant and a man at an adjacent table belches.  Loudly.  You mumble under your breath, "What a pig."  The facts or what is:  a man belched at a restaurant.  The data or ego based state of consciousness:  "What a pig."  Data or ego based states of consciousness are your personal judgements about things that happen around you or others' behavior.  Your parents may have raised you not to belch out loud and told you it was an impolite thing to do, but there are other cultures where it is not frowned upon and can be even seen as a way of complimenting the cook.

So the first thing that is important with Ho'oponopono is being able to distinguish between fact or "what is" and your own thoughts, labels, or judgments.

The more energy you have about something, the more it will return as a karmic lesson, so chances are you won't encounter a stream of restaurant belches.  But how about that reoccurring boyfriend?  Or a mean spirited gossipy friend?  You are attracting them into your life for a reason and purpose.  Think of it like the movie Groundhog Day.  Your day isn't repeating, but the circumstances are.

Before I had a life coach, decided to become a life coach or had ever heard about Ho'oponopono, I had a relationship where I really tried to embrace the notion of unconditional love.  I wanted to be the best partner I could be.  With no guidance, my brain created a set of theorems.

1.  Unconditional = no conditions
2.  Loving someone with no conditions means loving them no matter what emotions they have inadvertently triggered.
3.  I am responsible for my own emotions and behavior.

I tried.  I didn't know about Ho'oponopono, but I tried really hard.  When something happened and I was disappointed, angry or sad, I would walk myself through mini pep talks to get myself off the ledge.  Of course, everything that was happening were things one or both of us had a lot of energy about, so karmic lessons were in abundance.  I can say with a great deal of love and optimism that I hope neither of us has that relationship again.  In other words, that we learned the lessons we needed to learn and will level up.  At the same time, even though I had few skills or tools to help me in my attempt, the more I study Ho'oponopono, the more I think I had it right.

The problems of our lives are not what actually troubles us.  It is our reaction to them.  We tend to look for offense like we want to be offended.  One of the speakers on Zero Limits spoke of how using Ho'oponopono had enriched her family life.  When her children would do something that irritated her, rather than chastising them or demanding that they change, she said the clearing words about the feeling within herself.  She said the clearing words about her own judgment that her children were being irritating.  As Dr. Hew Len pointed out, she did not suggest her children or any other family member do the Ho'oponopono themselves.   In her case, she said that she knew if she did the clearing, all of them would be clear and fine.  At the same time, just like you can't control others, Ho'oponopono is taking responsibility for your part in the equation of life, not urging others to do so.

Of course thinking like that, makes me think about my clients.  How much of the service I'm providing should be teaching them the tools I have been taught and use vs. actually using those tools on my part in the equation of our relationship.  After all, using the Dr. Hew Len model, it is not unreasonable to consider speaking the words to clear on anything about which you become unpleasantly aware.

War.  GMO's.  Politics.  Global warming.  Ferguson.

Mother Teresa once famously said that she didn't attend "Anti-War Rallies," but if anybody ever had a "Pro Peace Rally" she would.  You attract things based on your energy.  Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.  When what you don't want enters your sphere of attention:  Ho'oponopono.

I'm sorry for whatever energy I brought to this situation.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Search of "Happy"

This week I've been reading The Ultimate Introduction to NLP:  How to Build a Successful Life by Richard Bandler.  Although I already had the first pieces to the puzzle, it gave me a bit of an Aha! moment.

In a typical NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) fashion, I ask you to think of something fun.  Think of a time when you were wildly happy.  If the moment doesn't make you feel like giggling right now as you're thinking about it, you probably need another moment.  Think of one of the best feelings you've had.  Maybe something so good, you would be embarrassed to share it.

Got it?

Now notice where you feel the emotion in your body.  Where does it start?  What part of you?  Where does it move to?  Play with the movement of the emotion.  See if it has a color associated with it and see if you can move it through your body.  Visualize a lever named "Fun" in your mind and picture moving the feeling throughout your body by moving the lever.

Congratulations.  You have just created a lever in the control panel of your mind where you can access "fun" or "happiness" whenever you want.

I've mentioned the Law of Attraction before in this blog.  Step 4 of the Law of Attraction is to "Nevellize" (a term coined by Joe Vitale honoring Neville Goddard, an earlier pioneer in the field of the Law of Attraction.)  To "Nevellize" is to feel as if you are already living the life of your dreams.  If you were living your dream life, you'd probably feel pretty happy, huh?  You just built a lever to help you Nevellize.  At the same time, we tend to attract people and events that broadcast at our same frequency.  There's a very good argument that, if you flipped your switch to "fun" every morning before you went to work or whatever else you did during your day, you would attract only more fun and happiness to you.  Even if you didn't believe in the Law of Attraction, couldn't you argue that, by choosing to be happy, your days would be happy?

Now that was not my Aha! moment.  I had already learned that if a person can control his mind and choose to be happy, he/she will be happier.  It had been a slow realization that came from Eckhart Tolle's quote that I no longer con recall well enough to quote.  Basically it was addressing the need to go find yourself and was something like "it takes no time to be you."  It also came from witnessing other people who had the belief that you could simply choose to be happy and their subsequent successes and failures.

Now maybe some of you, when I told you to think of a time when you were wildly happy, were faced with an empty head completely silent of any suggestions.  Maybe you were left with a big, "hmmmm let me think about this a moment."  If so, you're not alone.  I was in that exact same place the first time I was ever approached to do this exercise.  First, my mind was a big empty black hole.  Then, I had a few memories of good times but they were irrevocably intertwined with bad things that happened later.  In fact, a good portion of my life has been lived in search of "happy."  At times it has been a little embarrassing.  My search has come up in conversations with other people.  Friends, who invariably would say, "What about when we did this?  You had fun.  You certainly laughed a lot."  It was embarrassing because I lacked the skills to explain that, while their memories seemed vivid and fully detailed, mine were weak and pale, lacking any real substance.  That was my Aha! moment.  I can explain now because I understand what was happening to me and I know what to do about it.

As Richard Bandler asks in the book:  Have you ever had an argument and then replayed it in your memory afterwards?  Have you ever replayed an argument for what added up to be much more time than the actual argument lasted?  How about this.  Have you ever played an argument in your mind, which hasn't happened, but you anticipate it might?  You might imagine that my answers were yes, yes and yes!  And you'd be right.  In the book, Bandler refers to a client who has replayed arguments she had with her mother for years after her mother has died.

How much of the present moment do you think you experience when you're mentally in the audience for an argument that happened years ago?  As a child, I learned to constantly troubleshoot my environment.  I was always watching my mother's mood, desperate to keep it from switching, but wanting to be aware the instant it did.

Have you ever put a very dry sponge into water?  A sponge so dry that it took it a moment to actually be able to absorb anything?  That was me and "happy."  Basically, I pursued being happy.  I did "happy things."  But I did them like I was the Universe's Secret Service and I was always on the job.

I attracted a lot of other people like me into my life too.  I once went on a trip to Walt Disney World with a man who later told me his every day "base" emotion was anger.  Now that was a fun trip.  He spent his trip being angry about the lines, how much things cost, and the fact the rides emptied into gift shops and I spent my trip micro-managing how to keep him from getting angry.

It's funny.  I got that way because I had been hurt and scared a few times and I wanted to protect myself from it happening again.   What I really did to myself, though, was lock myself in a mental prison of worrying about all the worst things that could happen and I very nearly threw away the key.

But I didn't.  If you can relate to what I've said and have problems naming a time you were "happy" too.  You can retrieve the key as well.

1.  Practice being in the present moment.  Life happens in the present moment.  It is the only moment we actually have.  The past is passed and the future is just an idea.  Be here now.  One excellent tool for doing that is Gil Mciff's Three Step Clearing Method.  I mentioned it in a previous blog entry ("The Law of Attraction and What You Resist, Persists" October 7, 2014.)  But here it is again.

Three Step Clearing Method by Gil Mciff

Feeding what you want is natural and easy, you are already doing this in many ways.

The emphasis of this practice is focused on starving what you don't want by simply observing your emotions and thereby dis-identifying from being them.

Your habitual state of consciousness is the number one determinant of your personal circumstances.  The quality of your consciousness in this moment is the primary determinant of your future.  And what determines the quality of your consciousness is your degree of presence.  

Check in 10x a day with the question: "How am I feeling emotionally in my body right now?"

You can use a reminder app or alarm on your phone, sticky notes placed in random places, paint one fingernail different from the rest, wear your watch on the opposite wrist or upside down, or put a bandaid on your finger.  Every time this catches your attention, ask yourself, "Emotionally, how do I feel in my body right now?"

(A further suggestion my fellow coaching student told me was to do it every time you needed to use the toilet or took a drink of water.)

If there is ANY kind of negativity or if it is simply a lower emotion than you would like to be feeling, the fact is you did not choose it.  It's based on conditioned interpretation and is simply an old program running and it is time to do the following 3 steps:

(If you are feeling what you would like to be feeling then start with step 2.)

1.  Say These Specific Words - There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.  

2.  Observe it deeply.  What physical and emotional sensations do I feel?  Where do I feel them?  Or simply I feel it (here,) it feels like (this.)  Realize who is doing this inquiring?

3.  Thank you for checking in.  I love you, I love you, I love you.  Thank you for no longer feeding the program.  Thank you for dis-identifying from the program, thank you for catching yourself and for no longer losing energy here.  Thank you for whatever you want to say thank you for.  I love you, I love you, I love you!

There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.
I feel it here (location,) it feels like this (characteristics.)
Thank you for checking in, I love you I love you I love you.

These steps are not for the purpose of getting rid of the negative feeling (i.e. resisting and therefore feeding what we don't want.  That benefit may sometimes come with it, but this practice is more about implementing a new habit/program.  So every time you observe the emotion, it's an opportunity to do this practice without judgement.  It doesn't matter what emotion is there, what matters is that you simply observe it without giving it any meaning.  When this becomes habit you will have successfully reprogrammed the unconscious perpetuation of the old reaction with the automatic newly programmed conscious response.

It takes less than 30 seconds to do this practice.  30 seconds at 10x a day = 5 minutes
How many days will it take before this healthy response has become a new program for you?

2.  Actively choose to be happy.  Do the "Fun" lever exercise and build a control panel in your head that helps you select how you want to feel rather than being on a treadmill of worry or negativity.  Start each day with a happy frame of mind.  When you are in the midst of a happy experience, really feel it.  Take in all of the sensory details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What if, instead of resisting it, you could love it?

While talking with my accountability coaching partner a couple of weeks ago, he asked me, rather persistently, "What do you resist?"

Because whatever you resist, persists.

Finally, quietly, I admitted.

"I resist confrontation."

A few days later, talking with my own coach about one of my clients, I remembered the conversation and told him about it.  Once again I admitted my emotional Achilles Heel.

He said, "What if, instead of resisting it, you could love it?"

I've been thinking about it ever since.  As I've said many times in this blog, I am no stranger to self-help, change, and all sorts of emotionally immature positions.  Over the years I have embodied all sorts of damaged people.  For example, I haven't always resisted confrontation.  Once upon a time, I walked the world, a big oozing open sore just waiting to complain.  I have experienced road rage at something as simple as a driver in another car maneuvering out of turn in traffic.  I used to have an opinion about everything and I was eager to share them and debate with you.  At some point, someone, whose opinion I cared about, told me, "You really like to argue."  Even as I voiced, "No I don't," I wasn't immune to the realization that my very protestation was, in fact, the potential beginning of yet another argument.

A part of me understands that, under the Law of Attraction, we attract whatever we hold a great deal of energy about.  Not only do we attract it, but we attract it according to the frequency by which we are tuned.  If we have a great deal of negative energy about money, for instance, and have a bunch of negative limiting beliefs like "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," we're likely to find ourselves walking the treadmill of our beliefs.  I have a great deal of negative energy about confrontation.  I've walked the walk of an "assertive personality" to the point where I was really rather aggressive.  I've talked the talk of a "passive personality" to the point where I was criticized as a "doormat" and suffered greater friendship losses than back when I would actively pick a fight with them.

What if, instead of resisting confrontation, I could love it?

When I first admitted my resistance to my accountability partner, we were talking about one of my clients.  As per what I saw as our "agreement," I was coaching her and giving her assignments in line with the curriculum.  Each week, despite my request for emails documenting the work she had done, I would receive nothing.  My inquiries at our next meeting as to whether she had performed a task were usually met with, "I forgot."  When I talked about the experience with either my accountability partner or my coach, they suggested phrases they might have said which felt rude or abrasive to my ears.

When I was a kid, my parents used to fight.  I don't think a week could go by without what felt like a very large brouhaha to my ears.  In Woody Allen's "Radio Days" the main character talks about his own parents fighting, "Then there was my father and mother.  Two people would could find an argument in any subject."  The scene cuts to the actors playing the parents arguing over which is the greater ocean.  The Atlantic or the Pacific.  "I mean, how many people fight over oceans?"

I can remember being dragged into their arguments as a kid.  Being asked to choose which one of them was right and while I struggled in miserable indecision, they never quieted down to see if I gave an answer.  As an adult riding in the back seat of their car listening to them bicker, I said, "Stop fighting.  I'm sick of listening to you fight."  In unison they turned and looked at me.  "This isn't fighting.  You think this is fighting?  I can show you fighting.  Would you like to see fighting?"  

If I were to pick a visualization metaphor for how I feel during confrontation.  I would pick one of those gelatinous creatures you sometimes find high and dry at the beach.  I guess they are some sort of jellyfish caught in the wrong place at the wrong time when the tide shifted.  Exposed and vulnerable, they can't protect themselves if you should decide to poke them and puncture them with a stick.  Honestly, I know I'm not that vulnerable, but the harsh words in a confrontation feel very much like being taunted with a stick.  No matter what I do, whether I try to shield myself or not, the person brandishing the stick will shove it and wave it until they feel they are done.  Really I feel less like a jellyfish than Frankenstein's monster cornered by the villagers, helplessly grunting, but thinking, "Your beef is with Frankenstein, the doctor.  I'm just the creature.  I didn't ask for any of this.  I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Except some times I am the doctor, not the creature.  I once found myself in a heated debate with the love of my life about which was better, Apple computers or PCs.  It ended as all of our confrontations did, with him having pulled away and me, willing to rewrite all of my programming if I could only see him smile.  Once we began that little confrontational dance, we would find ourselves caught in its rhythm every three months or so.  Right up until the end.  Sometimes I wouldn't even have a firm grasp on just what it was that I had said or I had done to cause his discomfort.  For me, the only part significant or important; the only part that hurt, was his pulling away.

What if, instead of resisting confrontation, I could love it?

I think my difficulty with the question stems from the fact it isn't a goal I can achieve.  Rather it is a byproduct of other things.  Confrontation hurts because I take its attacks personally and see it as a source and cause of rejection.  Confrontation disturbs because I view my peace of mind as being something others can disrupt and damage.  Confrontation threatens because I see speaking up for myself as an act of defiance.

What if, instead of resisting confrontation, I could love it?

It would mean I have truly accepted myself for who I am and I would attract others who have done the same.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Love, Sympathy, Empathy and Drowning Victims

This morning, my sinuses feel like I'm coming down with a cold.  I didn't get a lot of sleep last night because I kept hearing my cats make noise all over my house.  The only problem with that?  My cats both stayed at the vet last night.

Which of course means I'm missing my kitties because I haven't seen them in two days.  I'm sitting here at work when I'd rather be curled up in my bed drinking hot tea or chicken noodle soup.

Do you feel sorry for me?  Sympathetic?

But at least I'm inside where it is warm and dry rather than working outside in the snow or rain.

But at least my kitties are both actually still living and simply had to stay at the vet overnight due to some construction at my house.

Those sinuses?  Probably not a cold, but just the day after breathing in a bit too much dust from my house  ....   where I am having my kitchen and bathroom rebuilt.

Still have sympathy for me?

This morning I watched an excellent video about empathy and sympathy on Facebook.  I highly recommend it.  The Power of Empathy!  It really caught my attention because only last night I was emailing my therapist and telling him I felt I needed to be a bit less empathetic.

The first time I ever really considered the difference between empathy and sympathy was when I was reading a self-help book I found at a thrift store.  It was called Know Your People and had been published by some church.  (Sorry, I don't remember which one.)  The premise was if you can understand other people's behaviors, you can populate your world with people who help you rather than hurt you.  The only takeaway I had from the book was a little story about a man whose wife sympathized with him.  The man had always wanted to be a writer.  In terms of actually writing and getting the work done, he was a writer, but he had never been published.  By the time he married, he had an entire shoebox of rejection letters.  His wife watched him write.  She knew about his shoebox and when he received his first "Sorry we're not interested at this time" after their wedding, she put her arms around him and said,

"I'm sorry, honey.  Here you put all that work into your book and no one appreciated it.  Maybe you should just take a break from writing for awhile."

The man never wrote again.  The story really caught my attention because I have always wanted to be a writer and, like the man and woman, I have mistaken sympathy for love.  As a matter of fact, I have only been married once, to a man who was not a bad guy, but who simply didn't live by the same rules as I did.  I lived through story after story where, rather than do what I would have considered the polite and loving thing, he did the thing I found the most inconsiderate and rude.  Like any ego-blocked emotionally immature 24-year-old, I simply told him how he should have behaved and kept moving forward.  Then, after spending the night at his condominium, I woke up feeling much as I do today.  He tucked me in with a blanket on his couch and turned on his television.  Before he left for work, he checked my temperature by touching my neck or my brow and gave me a kiss goodbye.  I was delighted, thinking I had finally seen an unmistakeable sign that he loved me.

There is so much wrong with my way of thinking then that I almost don't know where to begin to unravel it for you.  First, I should have been looking a lot more at whether or not I loved him than whether he loved me.  (Early in the relationship, my empathy for him and his childhood generally ruled the day on that front.  He had a handful of embarrassing stories and hurt feelings and since I had a fistful of my own, I felt for him.)  Second, I should have given a lot more weight to the incompatibility of our style of loving.  It is hard to live a joyful, happy life when you are always correcting someone as to how they should treat you and it is just as difficult when someone is always correcting you.  Truly loving someone means accepting him or her as is, without expecting them to get it after awhile.  It means not looking for where your partner will let you down or offend you.  It doesn't mean simply allowing a person to treat you badly.  The first person you need to love is yourself.  Do that and you will naturally attract a partner who loves him/herself and neither of you will be trying to fill an empty love bucket that can't ever quite be filled.

Sympathy kills dreams and keeps a person a victim.  When we are victims, we've always been cheated in some way.  We never have enough and, like one of Pavlov's dogs, we become trained to ring the poor me bell to get those drops of sympathetic attention.

What if the man's wife had had similar dreams to his?  What if she had years of rejection letters herself for photography or painting.  Of course, it depends on why the man wanted to be a writer.  If he simply wanted to see his name on a book, perhaps it isn't such a bad thing that he stopped.  But if writing was something that made him feel alive, something for which he had a true passion, wouldn't a response that encouraged him to continue working on his dream been more loving?

"I'm sorry honey.  I know you must be disappointed.  I've been there myself.  Remember, Harry Potter wasn't accepted at the first publishing house J.K. Rowling submitted it to."

Wait a minute.  Here I am advocating empathy over sympathy, but at the beginning of this blog entry, I said I had told my therapist I felt I needed to be less empathetic.  How does that work?

I believe that every person has a story.  Each and every one of us has these fragile little moments where we were hurt or afraid.  Let me give you an example.  I used to go camping up on the Mattole River with a bunch of acquaintances.  I only knew one or two of the people there, so I spent most of my time hiding behind a video camera documenting the event.  There were two large rocks that made for natural diving boards and one year I filmed a young girl who climbed up to the highest rock only to find herself a bit hesitant to jump in.  I filmed her relentlessly, thinking what a wonderful film I would have of her overcoming her fear.  Except she never did.  After a half hour or so, I turned off the camera, realizing I had actually documented her failure and moment of succumbing to fear.  I felt horrible.  Instead of having a triumphant video to give her parents, I had a moment, perhaps beautiful in its fragility, but documenting a person's fear and weakness.   Now I stopped going to those camping parties, so for all I know the girl jumped off the rock the very next year.  At the time though, it felt like someone had placed a heavy thumb on my chest because, while witnessing her turn and slowly descend back down the rocks without jumping, I could remember all the times I had done something similar.  I could recall and revisit just how I felt letting my actions be guided by fear.

I need to empathize less because it is a tool I usually bring out to understand someone who I believe is hurting.  I never see someone who is ecstatically happy and try to touch the place inside me that felt the same.  I dig into my worst moments to understand other people's behavior.  Hurt people have a tendency to hurt people.  I am the sort of person who believes that my best chance at protecting myself, as well as being any sort of benefit to that hurt person, is by empathizing and understanding.  At the same time, there are people who have been hurt far more than simply being afraid to jump off a rock.  Being able to empathize while also shielding yourself from taking on that pain is like developing a muscle.  It takes time and there will be days where you can hurt yourself with the weight.  Like an inexperienced lifeguard, I could be swept away myself.  But even that isn't actually the reason.  In my coaching lessons, I've been taught to distinguish between potential clients who are "interested" in the material and those who are "truly committed" to making a change in their life.  As I told my therapist, some people are like open dirty sores and they have no intention of cleaning them.  Understanding and empathizing involves taking on a bit of that pain, if only for a moment.  What I've learned is it is better to limit myself to those who have willing stepped into the lifeboat.  It is the more loving path for both of us.  For them, because I am accepting them as they are and not expecting them to change and for me because I have more gifts to give than simply swallowing and understanding another human being's pain.

Finally in the words of my therapist, "there is something wrong when you are working harder than your client."  In contrast to drowning victims,  no one really saves anyone else from their emotional battles.  We all save ourselves.  When you keep fighting the good fight for someone who isn't fighting for himself, you are actually being dishonest, like telling someone who is standing upright at the shallow end of the pool,

"Look at you!  You're swimming!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lenticular Postcard World : Contemplation, Thinking and Perception

This week, as part of my studies, I watched Bruce Lipton - The New Biology - Where Mind and Matter Meet 1 of 2 and Bruce Lipton - The New Biology - Where Mind and Matter Meet 2 of 2.  For those of us who live in a world where the Law of Attraction is not only a possibility, but a law which governs how our worlds work, Lipton talks about some pretty amazing stuff.  He explains how some of it works on a biological level.  It takes two videos because he has to cover a great deal of scientific ground and bring non-scientists "up to speed" so we can simply grasp the basic principles at work.  For those of you particularly interested in how the Law of Attraction works in connection with your health and aging, it is a "must see" pair of videos.


My coaching coach suggested I look at the ideas of contemplation, thinking and perception for my blog this week.  My father used to call me "a photographer's photographer."  In his world view that meant I was so "into" photography that I had reached the point where some of my photography could only be appreciated by other photographers.  In our relationship, I think it really meant he acknowledged my work was technically very good and he couldn't make an argument against it, but he didn't like it.  I would say I have taken his phrasing and simply apply it to people who are so deeply in love and involved with whatever they are working with, they can lose track of time within it and sometimes can't see beyond it.  Viewed that way, in addition to being "a photographer's photographer," I am undoubtedly "an over-analyzer's over-analyzer," "a thinker's thinker" and I've been "a worrier's worrier."  My coach's suggestion was right in my wheelhouse.  It is an area that is one of my favorite playgrounds, as well as being the area which gets me into the most trouble in terms of personal growth, the Law of Attraction, and any journey to enlightenment.

Let's start with RenĂ© Descartes.  "I think, therefore I am."  The problem with pithy little quotes which have been around since the 1600's is that we hear them and our logical brain says to us, "I get it."  Without reading Descartes' work, we run with the idea and draw all sorts of adjacent conclusions including many which elevate humanities importance over other species as well as somehow equating our own importance as to our ability to think and the quality of our thoughts.  Meaning a greater thinker is a more enlightened or important human.

I'm not trying to be the greatest human or thinker when I say, what Descartes meant was "I think, therefore I exist."  In other words, he was thinking in a way philosophers and stoners do all the time.  In case you are neither, think of it like the movie The Matrix or consider this quote from 1982's Swamp Thing, "Everything's a dream when you're alone."  You perceive the world through your senses.  You only experience the world through you.  In the absence of you, FOR YOU, there is no world.  In other words, don't ask when the world is going to end.  It ends every day for somebody.  Once Descartes' mind went down the rabbit hole of "how can I prove what exists and what does not," he concluded that a human's capability of thinking about whether or not he or she exists proves existence in itself.

If you google it, most of the internet agrees the average human thinks anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day which breaks down to 35 to 48 thoughts per minute.  If you were to try and lasso all of those thoughts and write them down, you could never do it because about 95% of them are thought by your subconscious mind.  Your subconscious mind's thoughts are generally about things you do and think habitually.  They are a product of your beliefs and mindset. They contain the warehouse of thoughts you acquired by observation from your parents, teachers and other people who influenced you.  In the five steps of the Law of Attraction, your subconscious thoughts also contain the limiting beliefs which hamstring your efforts at building the life of your dreams.  For those who use affirmations, your subconscious is where your habitual negative thoughts and worrying run rampant.

Your thoughts are colored by your perception of reality.  Perception is defined as "the state of becoming aware of something through the senses," but for humans, it doesn't stop there.  We aren't just aware.  We label whatever it is we are aware of as either being good or bad based on our past experiences or our belief system.

We step outside.  Goosebumps form on any exposed bits of skin and our breath is visible.  Snow is visible on the ground.  It is cold.  Perception + awareness.  Some of us smile with delight and go have a snowball fight.  Others shiver and have furrowing brows as they retreat back indoors for a warm drink.

We go to an amusement park and look at the newest roller coaster.  Some of us grimace, put a hand in front of our mouths and claim, "I get nauseous just looking at it."  Others grin and shiver with excitement and can't seem to get into line fast enough.

For some people cold and roller coasters are bad, while for others they are delightful.  Our individual perceptions create our reality.

Here's one I thought about a lot after my father died.  He and I occasionally had what you might call a volatile relationship.  We actually agreed on a lot of things, but we disagreed on even more.  I found him to be critical, judgmental, and occasionally, just mean.  When I was growing up and while my mother was alive, my parents kept very much to themselves.  They never attended any school functions.  My father worked, but he commuted about 45 miles to work each day.  Neither of them "hung out" socially with other people in the small town where we lived.  So my experience of my parents was generally one on one with only them.  In other words, I wasn't normally around them in the company of other people.  After my mother died, I began including my father in events that also included my friends.  In the beginning, inwardly I braced myself, prepared to apologize for his behavior, but I found that other people saw his behaviors as funny and charming.  Where I saw someone "just mean," they saw a funny old curmudgeon.  The worst thing I ever heard anyone call him was "a rascal."

Our individual perceptions create our reality.

I don't know when my perceptions about my father switched my reality toggle to "just mean."  From what I've heard, while he might have been completely onboard with having a baby, actually being around one, particularly when she was crying, was harder for him.  I've been told he sometimes resorted to simply yelling "Stop that!" at me.  At the same time, if it is a picture of me when I am young and I am crying, I am almost always with my mother.  Either way, it was only after my father died that I was removed far enough from the situation to contemplate it (or look thoughtfully at it for a length of time) and consider that perhaps my encounters with my father had been stuck on a treadmill of always experiencing him as I did because that was the only lens through which I could see him.

As I've gotten older, I've noticed how my opinions of what something means seem to age with me and change.  Sometimes they occur as "aha" moments where I think I suddenly understand a meaning that should have been clear to me in the first place.

How about the saying, "it's always in the last place you look for it?"  How many of you experienced that saying for the first time like it was a Murphy's Law for lost things?

"Yeah, why can't things be in the first place you look?"  

In the words of the comedian Billy Connelly, "Of course it is.  Why would you keep looking for it after you've found it?"

Oooops.   A diatribe about the irritations of life reduced to a joke.

How about the saying "only the good die young?"  I have to admit that one mystified me for years.  I'd hear my parents say it after a young person died and I'd think, "Well it is sad.  They had their whole life ahead of them, but why say that person is 'good?'  Does that mean that everybody past a certain age is bad and those deceased young people just didn't live long enough to turn bad?"  It was only after I experienced someone dying, who really wasn't that young, but who everyone seemed to miss on a level of "too soon.  We lost this person too soon" that I had an 'aha' moment of clarity.  At the time, it was liking finding an answer to the secret of life.  I thought that my understanding, which was "only the good die young means that only people who are perceived as good and loved by others are missed in a way where people say, 'it was too soon or he/she was too young," was THE meaning of the saying.  In other words, I had stumbled onto one of my beliefs (aka a firmly held opinion or conviction) and like anyone with a belief, I was absolutely gobsmacked when I proudly presented it to a friend and was met with "well, that's your opinion."

It all comes back to those philosophers, stoners and Descartes.  Whether you are pontificating about your beliefs, contemplating, thinking deeply or simply musing, you perceive the world through your senses.  Other people can report to you about their perceptions, but you will hear what they say through your ears and your mind will filter the details in a way that makes sense to you.

It's like an optical illusion.  Have you ever seen the one where you are either looking at a skull or a young woman admiring herself in a dressing mirror?  It's only after viewing it a small amount of time AND knowing there are two images possible that our eyes find the pathway to see the picture we didn't see in the first place.

So consider this.

Every day.  Every minute.  You are witnessing the metaphorical equivalent of skulls or young women admiring themselves in a dressing mirror.  Except there is no one to tell you there is another image possible for you to see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Freedom from Judgement (Especially from Yourself)

The last few days, I've been thinking a lot about freedom and judgement.

First, I watched The Most Powerful Video on Spirituality and Happiness - Rare Eckhart Tolle Teaching - Must See .  In it, Tolle reassures his interviewer that, as a human he will always think bad thoughts so he doesn't need to feel guilty about that.  Simply observe the thought without judging yourself.  Like any other thought, by the time you have noticed, it is already gone.  Since hearing that, some of the most colorful epitaphs have jumped into my brain.  Words I haven't heard or used since high school.  Juvenile, ridiculous words that paint pictures I can now laugh at instead of scolding myself.  I'm free to be a human without judging myself for not being a saint.

Second, I asked one of my clients what she liked to do for fun.  She mentioned a video game and I asked what the game was like.  There was a long moment of silence which was followed by her saying very quietly, "Well, there's a lot of shooting."

I knew she thought I would say "No, no!  You should stay away from violence!"  For one thing, she expects to be judged.  She judges herself constantly.  She expects someone who is her "life coach" to judge her and tell her everything she is doing wrong.  She, in turn, will make note of what I said, still do it, but try to do it less and every time she does do it, she will judge herself and use it as an excuse for why her life isn't turning out how she would like it to be.

I just don't deserve it because I still play violent video games.  

I just don't deserve it because I call people "d^ck wads" to myself in traffic.

Instead of telling her to quit playing her violent video game, I told her I watch The Walking Dead. 

Speaking of which, that show had a tremendously violent scene this week.  Humans, not walkers, were beaten to death.  Afterwards, on The Talking Dead, a small panel discussed whether that was indicative of a less kind, less gentle Rick Grimes (the show's main character,) in the future.

Honestly, it reminded me of a technique I saw Iyanla Vanzant use on the discontinued tv show, Starting Over.  The show was a sort of Celebrity Rehab (sans the celebrities) meets The Real World or Big Brother.  Women, who weren't happy with the direction their lives were going, lived in a house together and enjoyed the help of life coaches and psychologists in exchange for allowing the sessions to be filmed.  In one session, Vanzant instructed a former abuse victim to hit things with a pillow.  By things, I mean the floor and other pillows.  It was interesting.  She started hitting very softly, almost reluctantly.  By the time she was finished, however, she was sobbing and seemed to have exhausted herself, as well as whatever energy she had trapped inside of herself as suppressed anger.  At least that's how the edited version for television looked.

In The Walking Dead, the characters killed were cannibals who kept justifying their behavior like this:  "We were good in the beginning.  We helped people.  But then some people came along and treated us badly."

Hmmm.  So you ate them?

Meanwhile, Rick Grimes group, has had lots of bad treatment themselves, including having one of their members lose his leg to a group of cannibals.  Yet time and time again the group struggles with how they need to behave to be good and "in the right." They put their fictional lives in danger saving other fictional characters.  Rather than making me feel angry or negative or violent, The Walking Dead usually inspires me to like my fellow humans just a little bit more.  After all, we don't get to see real people be magnanimous, brave or caring in such extreme circumstances and while those characters aren't real, the actors portraying them, as well as the writers writing their scripts, are.

I told my client I knew she expected me to vote against the violence and shooting in her video game.  I told her how I have sometimes felt I would be judged for watching The Walking Dead, owning a television set, or still reading fictional books instead of a solitary and steady diet of coaching materials.  I told her I didn't think it really mattered what a person does along those lines or what other people think about what they are doing.  As far as I can see, only two things matter.

First, the spirit in which you do the things you do.  Are you having fun?  If you're playing a violent video game where people get shot, and you are yelling "that one's for my boss!" and "this one's for my mother!"  That doesn't seem to be a very healthy way to live.

Of course, there's Vanzant and Starting Over, so maybe once in awhile we do benefit from a mini hissy fit via a pillow fight with objects or video game guns.  Probably, though, we could expend that same energy with a good workout at the gym or a brisk walk or run.  At the same time, if we find ourselves routinely needing to do that, maybe we need to consider that rather than simply whether or not we should play a violent video game.

On the other hand, if you play that game, laughing, teasing your fellow players and calling them "newbs."  If you're happy playing, rather than secretly nurturing every grudge you've ever had against anyone, maybe it isn't such a bad thing.

You see, emotion is everything.  Just like sarcasm in print or on the internet, your subconscious doesn't know when you are kidding.  It takes its cues from your emotions.  The fourth step to the Law of Attraction is to Nevillze (a Joe Vitale term to honor an earlier Law of Attraction pioneer, Neville Goddard) or feel as if you already enjoy all of the things you dream about.  So, in theory, playing a video game which you genuinely feel happy playing, would be a helpful tool to that end.  But, playing one while nurturing and fantasizing about all of your hurt feelings and grievances, would just help deliver more things to feel hurt about.

Doing things with a positive spirit is life changing and makes a huge difference.

The second thing I think matters is whether or not you judge yourself.  As Eckhart Tolle pointed out, we're human.  Sometimes we are going to think bad thoughts, waste valuable time, eat unhealthy food and do or say something stupid.  We are human.  We are not perfect.  To the best of our understanding, we are spiritual creatures having a human experience.  We're supposed to be human.  We're not supposed to be perfect.

When you think of it that way, if we never had a Homer Simpson, "Doh!" moment in our lives, we might just be wasting that experience.

As Maude, another fictional character, in this case from the 70's cult classic Harold and Maude and one of my personal mentors before I had ever heard of Eckhart Tolle, said, "Haroldeveryone has the right to make an ass of themselves.  You just can't let the world judge you too much."  And "Reach out.  Take a chance.  Get hurt, even!  Play as well as you can.  Go team! GO!  Give me an L!  Give me an I!  Give me a V!  Give me an E!  L. I. V. E.   LIVE!  Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sad News and Exciting News

The sad news is that today I found out I was not one of the winners in the Hay House Writer's Workshop competition.  I have to say, it wasn't completely a surprise.  One of the things my Achieve Today coach taught me is that when we take the path suggested by our inspirations we will encounter moments that are like traffic lights:  green, yellow or red.  I have received a definite red light on that book project.  I didn't win and the work was becoming like a chore.  I've noticed people don't read my blog as much when I actually write about money.  For me, writing at its best is almost effortless.  It is like taking dictation.  It is being "in the flow."  The book project I began never felt like that.  I've noticed how, over time, my blog became less about that and more about other things.

Meanwhile green lights are flashing everywhere else in my life.

As I've said at times in this blog, I'm training to be a life coach and that has green lights all over it.  I'm having some work done at my house that I have been wanting to do for decades.  All green lights.  Meanwhile, I'm still the same person, occasionally ego bound and suffering growing pains, clearing on limiting beliefs and learning.  Always learning.

The exciting news is that I will continue writing this blog very Tuesday, but under a new title, "My Journey to 'Zero' and The Law of Attraction."  I will be talking about the same things, the Law of Attraction; becoming a coach; the Present Moment; among others. I am gratefully setting aside that book project and beginning a new one more suited to the direction I am heading.

I'm not really sure what I'll say yet, but you know what?  That's exactly when inspiration lands on my shoulder and whispers, "Why not write about this?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Are You Having Any Fun? (Aka Lessons on the Way to Calling Myself a Coach)

I have never been a mother.  I have never been a teacher.  I have done a lot of self help work on myself.  I have witnessed the Law of Attraction happen in my own life.  (By which I mean, I have intended for things to happen.  I have needed things to happen and I have had them happen as if everything were simply falling into place through very little effort of my own.)  I have learned first hand the benefits of being patient and maintaining a positive attitude.   Things work out for themselves and when I am positive and patient, they seem to unfold in the manner which gives me the best personal outcome.

I decided to become a coach because:  1. By nature I seem to like to share my good fortune with others.  If I have learned something that has really worked for me, I naturally want to tell others, and 2.  I am a writer, I enjoy writing, and my writing seemed to be shifting to a "coaching" direction.

None of that prepared me for the lessons and challenges of actually coaching.

First, did you know, that no matter how much or how little money a client may have paid, they may not do any of the assignments you give them?

I know!  My ego had no idea what to make of that.  In my mind, I had found something that works for me.  So metaphorically, it's like I've found a shortcut to get from Epcot to the World Showcase but while I'm waiving people to that special door, they're telling me, "No thanks I want to walk past 'O Canada'" or "If I walk past Mexico, I can buy a churro."

It feels like I am almost constantly thinking, "What?"  "What did you say?"  "How should I respond to that?  What do I say?"

Not to mention nearly constantly dis-identifying with the situation and clearing on any feelings that may come up.

At the end of my own coaching program (where I was first being coached,) I went to a retreat and met other people who had been in the same program.  We talked, as people do, and the subject of "good" coaches and "bad" coaches came up.  I am firm believer in the Law of Attraction.  I have had horrible moments where hideous words came out of someone I loved and, although there seemed to be no stimulus to cause those exact words, the words were speaking directly to my own negative or limiting beliefs.  I've heard the psychological explanation for why they may have been said, but I need no explanation as to why they hit my target so well.  I attracted them.  I needed to hear them to begin the work to pop the swollen ugly pimple of pain the belief was causing in my life.  I have experienced both the good and the bad of the Law of Attraction.  I have witnessed it.  So when it comes to the question of a "good" coach or a "bad" coach, I know there is no such thing.  There is only the coach you attracted into your life.  It's up to you to harvest everything there is to be had from the relationship.

The same is true with my clients.  I am dedicated and enthusiastic about doing the best job I can do, both for them, and for me.  I knew all along that becoming a coach would also support my own efforts and I would learn new things.  I have already encountered materials I have never seen before as well as clearing methods to which I had never before been exposed.  Honestly, it's a great thing.

I have always worn several hats, though, and one of my other jobs is that of a media technician.  One of the things I do is transfer VHS tapes to DVD.  It's so simple.  You put the VHS tape in the VCR.  Take the outgoing cords and feed them into a DVD deck with a burner.  Start everything up and 9 times out of 10, it just happens.  The tape plays.  The DVD deck receives and a couple of hours later, I burn and finalize a DVD.  Clockwork.

People don't work like that.  I mean, I knew that.  Yet here I am saying it.  So I must have needed a lesson about it as well.  When you drop into someone's life once a week, have a conversation, give them some information and some suggestions; there are a lot of different outcomes that can manifest one week later.  You probably could build a mathematic equation around it, but it contains at least two unpredictable variables.  Me and the client.  As human beings, we are mobile biospheres affected by even more variables:  physical wellbeing, emotional mood, blood sugar, hunger, whatever has happened during our individual days ....  A lot more than simply, this VHS tape won't play in this machine, I'll have to try another.

The other day I was talking to my "accountability partner" (aka a friend who is also going through the coaching certification program.)  He mentions one of the "outcomes" with his client that I would never have foreseen or predicted.  As I ask him questions and ask him what he's going to do, at one point he says "I'll have fun with it."

Fun with it?  At this point, I feel like a juggler who never sees all three balls in action at once.  One has always just hit the floor.  At the same time, I am constantly forced to remind myself I am not in control of the balls.  I am not supposed to be in control of the balls nor should I want to be.  These balls are actually human beings and can decide whether they want to fly and where they want that flight to take them.  I'm just the travel agent handing out information and any special tips I can give when they head somewhere I've already been.

Fun with it.

I've been so busy trying to be a good life coach, I forgot the most essential thing.

To just be.

Joe Vitale says to dare something worthy and I've done that.  I suppose I hadn't considered how often I'd be holding my feelings of inadequacy back as if with a lion tamer's whip and chair while guiding audience members to a door.

"I decided I don't want to walk through that door."

"Wait a minute.  What?"

"Let me set this down for a second."

"What did you say?"

Fun with it.

I'm not having fun with it yet, but I think maybe I can get there from here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Outflow vs Inflow

The Law of Attraction is always working.  You can't avoid it.  You are always creating your world.  Whether it is positive and plays out like the best dream ever or a nightmare on a treadmill of unhappiness, you served it up to yourself.  As we study the Law of Attraction, we learn that, if we are needy and desperate for better things, we deliver neediness and desperation.  We become cautious about what language we use.  We try to wean ourselves off the words "want" or "need" and feel confused why nothing seems to change.

While presenting one of the week's lessons to me, the coach teaching me to be a coach told me about a seminar he went to that was very expensive.  It cost double digit thousands of dollars to attend.  At the event, the speaker basically talked about the same rules to the Law of Attraction.  The material was just like any other self help guru's material.  Not knowing where he was going with what he was saying, I made some noise that was supposed to express an appropriate mix of "oh that's a shame" and "damn what a rip-off" and then he delivered the punchline.  The seminar was absolutely worth every penny.  Not because of the material presented, but because of the speaker himself.  The most important thing a life coach has to offer is what he or she personally brings to the table.

So here's my plate at the buffet.  The Law of Attraction isn't like learning Spanish or German.  It isn't simply about which words you use.  Your life changes when you pay more attention to what you are putting out into the world than what the world is delivering to you.  Or at least that has been my experience.  Whether I was trying to be a more loving individual or a more generous one, the more I have been genuinely concerned about my impact on other people, the larger and more surprising the corresponding ripple back to me was.

The key word is genuine, but you can't just say it.  You have to be genuine.  Otherwise, we "people pleasers" we would have an edge on the rest of you and we would rule the world.  It doesn't happen that way because "people pleasing" isn't genuine.  We don't spend all that time trying to make others happy because we want them to be happy.  We do it because WE want to be happy.  Or rather, we are just tired of being unhappy.  I think in most cases, we just don't want others to hurt us anymore.  More than a few of us have become nothing more than scared hostages who have reached the conclusion that, if we simply do whatever our captors say and give them anything they want, they will finally leave us alone and stop hurting us.  We even learn to anticipate their wants and needs, but we always have a watchful eye towards how we ourselves are being treated.

My life dramatically shifted about 14 years ago.  I was getting a divorce.  One that I asked for and wanted.  In that situation I was focused entirely on what I was getting out of the marriage and I wasn't satisfied.  So I wanted out, but I wanted more change in my life than simply switching my seat and partner like a game of musical chairs.  Luckily, I turned my focus inward and examined my own behavior.  In the marriage, especially towards the end, I was not always the good guy.  Like anybody else, I can make excuses about being unhappy and not having my needs met, but it would simply be trying to justify my behavior.  Near the end, I could be angry, nasty and mean spirited.

She gets a bad rap when I talk about her in this blog.  She wasn't all bad or wrong.  She actually did say some very supportive things to me and teach me some good life lessons, but of course, when I examined my bad behavior, I decided I was becoming my mother.  I hadn't enjoyed experiencing her and I felt no one deserved to be given a plateful of my mother.  That was when my life shifted.

We know it already.  I never went to church as a child, but I did go to a year of Sunday School.  Most of us learn the Golden Rule.  You know the one.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"  Except it has to be genuine.  You can't just give someone a cookie in the expectation that they will give you one back.  The Golden Rule happens to extend out of Christian tradition, but nearly every organized religion contains a similar ethic.  I certainly didn't know it while I was deciding not to be my mother; but the more I've studied the Law of Attraction, the more I've found there is something to religion.  When I began this journey 14 years ago, I was somewhere between an Atheist and an Agnostic.  Now I feel like I have my own religion.  It's private and personal because I've never met a church that preaches exactly my logic of the universe.  It is based upon being accountable for what I put out into the world and there is no question that I am a better person for it.  A wonderful byproduct of it is that, because I am always trying to put the best out into the world, the best comes back to me.  The more that it does, the happier I am and that simply increases the quality and quantity of what I put out.

It would be dishonest to present it as a "success only" journey.  I have slipped.  At times I've returned to "people pleasing" while not realizing I had lost authenticity.  My eyes have shifted to the love I wasn't receiving rather than what I was giving.  Eckhart Tolle would say I was asleep and that's really what it is.  Every time it has happened, it is because I am living in the past.  I am keeping score, I am feeling a sense of lack, and it has always led to bad things and heartache.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't as simple as this:  I am telling myself I am unhappy.  So I am.  I retreat into myself and everything that happens around me has potential to hurt and offend me.  I've decided I don't like how the world works and I don't want to play anymore.  But when I tell myself I'm happy, I am happy.  I feel like I positively glow with happiness.  It is like light shines out of my fingertips and I am continually inspired to do kind things for others.  I am happy and I want to share that happiness.

It isn't an accident those things you think you lack.  They are missing because you are the one who has shut off the spigot.

Money is about appreciation.  It exists for us to show our appreciation for the goods and services offered to us.  If you want money, be more appreciative.  Stop considering whether or not you feel the world appreciates you.  Learn to be more grateful for the goods and services you receive, the fact you have money to pay for them and most of all, for yourself.  Learn to appreciate the mere fact that you are taking this journey through life.  Recognize you are awake enough and care enough to try and give yourself the best life you can have.  At the same time, rather than weighing what you can do that will bring yourself the most money, consider what you can do that will be a joy for you to perform.  Find the thing you would be happy doing whether anyone paid you at all.  It's going to be the thing from which you receive the most appreciation because it's the thing you most appreciate doing.

Don't just change your lexicon.  Change a piece of who you are and how you behave.  If you want love, be love.  If you want appreciation, appreciate.  If you want happiness, be happiness.  To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what the world can give you; ask what you can give the world."

That's my dish for the potluck; the lesson I've learned that I can share.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Law of Attraction and What You Resist, Persists

It is early Tuesday morning.  I should be asleep.  I haven't written my "regular Tuesday blog" yet and the idea I want to talk about keeps writing me awake.  In other words, I toss and turn, telling myself, "you'll be tired tomorrow, if you get up now."  At the same time, I'm afraid I'll forget my chain of thought, so my mind keeps fashioning the sentences and words.  It keeps writing the blog I would like to wait until tomorrow to say.

As Carl Jung said, "What you resist, persists."

Which is exactly the thought that keeps praying on my mind this morning.  In this blog, I've talked a lot about the Law of Attraction, which was recently made a popular concept by a book and movie called "The Secret."  At the time, a lot of people watched the movie seeing only desire and avarice and they resisted its message.  Other people watched with desire, if not avarice, and saw only a way to achieve their goals.  Both missed grasping a very large point.  In science, a law is defined as "a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present."  When we talk about the Law of Attraction, we are not talking about that other kind of law, "the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members," we are speaking of a scientific law.  A statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the universe.  Why is this an important distinction?  We may focus on attempting to attract the happiness and wealth we would like to see in our lifetimes, but the truth is, we are always attracting our life's outcomes to us whether we are attempting a desirable one or not.

Part of the beauty of the five step method of working with the Law of Attraction is that it encourages taking responsibility for the type of life you have attracted yourself into and gives you tools with which to try and improve your outcomes.

We humans tend to resist pain.  Not only pain, but very individualized pain based on our versions of hell.

It happens roughly like this:

We are born
Things happen to us
Eventually we begin to judge those things as pleasant or unpleasant
We begin to resist the unpleasant things

What we resist, persists.

In other words, our personal Law of Attraction outcome gets stuck on negative.  That's because resistance requires a whole lot of energy and attention.  We attract what we give energy and attention.  So by resisting what we don't want, we actually receive more of it rather than less.

Why do we experience pain?  Frequently it is a lesson or warning that we are in danger.  Touch fire and you will get burned.  That painful sensation prevents us from being seriously damaged by fire when we are in a position to avoid it.  The popular definition of karma is basically the same as "what goes around comes around" or "we reap what we sow," but another, if less well known interpretation is that the lessons we need to learn throughout our lives, will repeat until we have learned them.

Someone asked me recently, "That means I attracted the men who cheated on me intentionally.  Why did I want that?"  

I couldn't answer.  The things we resist on an emotional level aren't the same as brussels sprouts or liver.  We don't tend to itemize them in our conscious mind.  The best I could do is tell her to focus on how it had made her feel.  In other words, the "why" component to the first step of the five steps to the Law of Attraction.  The first step is to be "crystal clear about what you don't want and why."  It not only shines a light on what we DO want, it also illuminates those unpleasant things and feelings we are likely to resist.  Combine those feelings you resist with the limiting beliefs you are trying to clear in step three, "identify and clear limiting beliefs," and you will uncover a very likely scenario of your own personal treadmill of bad relationships, limited funds or whatever you would like to overcome.

Honestly, I've been studying stuff like this for years, but huge bits snapped into place for me the other day when I was talking with another one of the coach-elect students.  As usual, I can explain everything a little bit more clearly, if I simply explain my situation to you.

Many of my limiting beliefs have tended to surround the notion of not being capable, not knowing what I'm doing, being incompetent, that sort of thing.  They stem from being asked to be responsible for things that were a little too grownup for me to be asked to handle when I was a child, combined with being mocked about my performance or told I hadn't done a good job.  At the same time, I realized that my most recent former ex had been a catalyst for some growth on that issue.  Some of the things he said during the break up were direct hits on that level, but it was only talking to this other person that I connected the notion of "how did that make me feel?"  After all, so what if I'm incapable?  What will happen if I don't know what I'm doing?

The emotion was fear of rejection.  If I don't know what I'm doing, I will be rejected.  Which, of course, as that relationship ended, I was.  And I resisted it big time.  So much so, I pretty much pushed him away.  I had let myself be open and vulnerable to someone, which was not something I had done very much in my life, and it ended with my own personal version of hell.  In other words, the thing I had resisted my entire life:  rejection.  I have been a people pleaser.  I have settled for less than I wanted in relationships.  I have sculpted myself into other people just to avoid being rejected.

For many of you reading this, it isn't new territory.  You already knew it.  Really, so did I, but sometimes it takes putting the pieces together and voicing them aloud to really understand.  But some of you haven't figured this out yet.  Humans are motivated by pain.  We will do anything to avoid it.  Once emotional pain has been triggered, we become automatons who run a program we have learned over time about how to handle it.  Perhaps we pick up a bottle or inject something in our veins.  Maybe we bully other people.  Maybe we sacrifice bits of our own uniqueness to simply make the discomfort go away.  Maybe we stuff ourselves with food until we have no more empty spaces to shove it into.

Ask yourself, "what don't I want, and why don't I want it?"  You will discover the negative carrots your destructive behavior feeds upon.  In the meantime, you can use another Achieve Today coach, Gil Mciff's Three Step Clearing Method to avoid becoming a slave to your emotions.  The principle is that our emotions take us out of the present moment and we run programs based on what we are feeling.  If we are running a program, we have become a victim and cannot make choices.

Three Step Clearing Method by Gil Mciff

Feeding what you want is natural and easy, you are already doing this in many ways.

The emphasis of this practice is focused on starving what you don't want by simply observing your emotions and thereby dis-identifying from being them.

Your habitual state of consciousness is the number one determinant of your personal circumstances.  The quality of your consciousness in this moment is the primary determinant of your future.  And what determines the quality of your consciousness is your degree of presence.  

Check in 10x a day with the question: "How am I feeling emotionally in my body right now?"

You can use a reminder app or alarm on your phone, sticky notes placed in random places, paint one fingernail different from the rest, wear your watch on the opposite wrist or upside down, or put a bandaid on your finger.  Every time this catches your attention, ask yourself, "Emotionally, how do I feel in my body right now?"

(A further suggestion my fellow coaching student told me was to do it every time you needed to use the toilet or took a drink of water.)

If there is ANY kind of negativity or if it is simply a lower emotion than you would like to be feeling, the fact is you did not choose it.  It's based on conditioned interpretation and is simply an old program running and it is time to do the following 3 steps:

(If you are feeling what you would like to be feeling then start with step 2.)

1.  Say These Specific Words - There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.  

2.  Observe it deeply.  What physical and emotional sensations do I feel?  Where do I feel them?  Or simply I feel it (here,) it feels like (this.)  Realize who is doing this inquiring?

3.  Thank you for checking in.  I love you, I love you, I love you.  Thank you for no longer feeding the program.  Thank you for dis-identifying from the program, thank you for catching yourself and for no longer losing energy here.  Thank you for whatever you want to say thank you for.  I love you, I love you, I love you!

There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.
I feel it here (location,) it feels like this (characteristics.)
Thank you for checking in, I love you I love you I love you.

These steps are not for the purpose of getting rid of the negative feeling (i.e. resisting and therefore feeding what we don't want.  That benefit may sometimes come with it, but this practice is more about implementing a new habit/program.  So every time you observe the emotion, it's an opportunity to do this practice without judgement.  It doesn't matter what emotion is there, what matters is that you simply observe it without giving it any meaning.  When this becomes habit you will have successfully reprogrammed the unconscious perpetuation of the old reaction with the automatic newly programmed conscious response.

It takes less than 30 seconds to do this practice.  30 seconds at 10x a day = 5 minutes
How many days will it take before this healthy response has become a new program for you?