Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Law of Attraction #9 - I am Convinced

I am convinced we are all stumbling about in the darkness.  The only difference is some of us are in a funhouse, bumping into each other and joyfully laughing, while others of us fear falling and being trampled.

I am convinced each of us is one seemingly miraculous event away from knowing our true nature.

I am convinced both the apparently good and the seemingly evil among us have good intentions and what truly separates us are the degrees of our fear and desperation.

I am convinced I can do nothing wrong because in life with every choice I will either find joy or a lesson.

I am convinced I don't need to be anything other than who I naturally am.

I am convinced the things I enjoy doing are never a waste of time and, truthfully, are my natural calling.

I am convinced I do not need to seek out love, I am love.

I am convinced we each have our own slices of heaven here on earth.  Mine are the sound of crickets outside at night, a cat purring next to my ear, or the leaves being shifted lightly by a gentle breeze.

I am convinced, no matter how it looks, we are always getting it right and can never get it wrong.

I am convinced every time we express the words "I don't like" we have stumbled on a bit of resistance.*

I am convinced the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.


I am just about 1/4 of the way through my 99 videos in 99 days challenge.  Increasingly, I am finding that whatever it is that drives me to communicate with others is becoming happier with the video format than the blog format.  At least in this moment.  If you would like to engage in a dialogue with me or have any suggestions as to subject matter, feel free to contact me at  angieceable@gmail.com .

Today's video:

* (with the possible exceptions of liver & sauerkraut)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Law of Attraction #8 - A Bigger Picture?

I have wanted to write since I was roughly 11 years old.  I should be saying I have been writing since I was roughly 11 years old, but the truth is I haven't.  Not consistently.  Sometimes I was more drawn to photography.  Sometimes it is as if I lay dormant.  Honestly, a lot of the time that is what my writing feels like.  Dormant.  I almost feel shame to say it, but ideas do not come easily to me.

Which is hilarious!  Because ideas DO come easily to me.  One of my favorite things to do with friends is talk about all sorts of philosophical ideas.  In other words, we pick a topic and see just how hot the air in this room can get!  That can't be your favorite parlor game without having some ideas!  I have never been good at adapting my thinking to subjects and plots.

Photography has almost no thinking at all.  What I mean is, for me, it is not a form of intellectual expression.  Oh sure, I had some photo projects in school that were more about concept than photo and were quite mind driven, but my photography, the stuff that excites me, is about emotional expression.  So it is easy to get into the "flow" or "vortex" or no-mind oneness (depending on whose dictionary you're going by) in photography.  It hasn't been with writing anywhere near as often.

I do believe we each have one gift.  A talent at something.  Maybe like writing or maybe in temperament or strength?  The things that get under your skin and course through your blood like writing and photography do for me are clues.  I think that's why you see books over the years with titles that tell you "Do What You Love and The Money Will Follow."

How many times do I have to hear that before I surrender to it?  I'm a great cheerleader to it, but in practice it's like trying to fall asleep and being startled awake.  Over and over again.  It always feels like I hedge my bet and doing that is saying I might lose or I might be wrong.

Wait a minute.  Here's the thing.  That's sounding like I expect some sort of reward for what I'm doing.  Of course I would want that, but that isn't my focus or what I am saying.  I mean simply that to write something implies one has a reader.  I've never expected to have a reader.

Recently I fell in love.  Loved and lost.  Ah well, happens to nearly all of us at some point.  I think a heretofore unnoticed gift he gave me is the knowledge I had a reader.  He was the first person in the world who I had the honor of speaking with who had read some of my writing before we had actually ever spoken to each other.  I know he read some of my writing.  I know he could hear my voice.  I know he enjoyed some of it.  If we were on speaking terms, I'd thank him for some of the wonderful gifts I received.  Ah life.

Maybe that's why lately I have gotten into the "flow" in some of my writing.  Here on this blog.  I've even been there twice on those 99 videos in 99 days.

I've always thought in the end it would be fiction.  I'd finally get an idea, squeak out a novel and then probably croak.  Now I wonder.  It really seems like my trajectory is aimed more at engaging in an intellectual parlor game with whoever wants to read it on the internet.  Not sure how the money would follow from that, but it certainly would be lovely because I am having a good time and this might just be love.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Law of Attraction #7 - Communicating

I've continued on with the 99 videos in 99 days challenge.  Here are the links for the additional videos since my last blog entry.

Video #5
Video #6
Video #7
Video #8
Video #9
Video #10
Video #11

From what I've learned about the Law of Attraction recently listening to Abraham-Hicks, I am supposed to follow the path of least resistance and always strive to feel the best I possibly can in the moment.  On the one hand I have no idea what I'm doing, but on the other, it is flowing effortlessly and I'm having a good time.

My parents used to tell a story.  When I was two, there was a large storm where we lived and the tree in front of our house was knocked down.  Apparently I really found that to be a shock.  For days I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen.  "Tree broke."  Since I don't remember it first hand, I'm not sure if I was trying to warn the world that trees could break or simply reveling in the joy of "did you see that?"   Clearly I had an urge to communicate.

I still do.

I'm really enjoying the spontaneity and brevity of the videos.  I get an idea, grab my iPhone, turn the camera on video mode, and start talking.  It feels easier than writing the little I've already written here.  Miraculously too, for the first time in my life I look at my image in the video and feel rather neutral.

The glasses probably help.  Smooth out the rough edges I would pick at.  They were prescribed to me in August.  It is hard to force myself to wear them.  Unless I am shooting one of those videos.

It's interesting.  I suppose I am acknowledging there is a possibility I might end my blog and just create videos.  Too soon to tell, but not impossible.  Amazing when I consider this is emerging from what was pretty much a whim.  My friend Gary is having problems keeping with up with his video challenge, perhaps if I do it with him?

Except that's what I think they mean about inspired action and the Law of Attraction.  Sudden ideas to do things you might not have otherwise thought to do.  Inspired actions that feel pleasurable when you do them.  The combination persuades me I am right where I am supposed to be.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Law of Attraction #6 - Knowing Yourself

I've been shooting some videos this week.  Four of them so far.  Here are the links:

Video #1
Video #2
Video #3
Video #4

The videos are due to two different inspirations.  First, Gary Jackman, a friend who went through the same coaching training program as I did, has been doing a 99 videos in 99 days challenge and I decided to give it a try to support him.  At the same time, I recently watched Netflix's Grace and Frankie, starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.  In a few of the episodes, Frankie (Tomlin) clips her iPhone down and videos herself talking about whatever is going on at the moment.  By the end of the first season, Grace (Fonda) has taken a turn herself and had what I would call, a very nice epiphany about who she is and what she wants out of life.

As I explain in video #3, I have been active in self development since roughly 2000.  For my own benefit.  Long story short, I didn't like my life.  I decided to change it.  As a result I am now in this very interesting place.  First, of course I am interested in sharing the things I have learned with other people.  Second, it has delivered me to a place where I am learning who I am.

You know that lifetime you've spent making note of everything from brussels sprouts to mean people that you don't like?  I'm not looking for my "no's" anymore.  From the moment we first get hurt in life, we seem to want to create a list of things we'd rather avoid.

Did you know that, emotionally, excitement and fear stand right next to each other and it can be indiscernible which one you are actually experiencing?  At the bottom of the pit of the life I wanted to change, I lost driving into San Francisco and many amusement park rides because I was avoiding that uncertain, unsettling feeling by just saying "no."  I've already said no.  A lot.  I'm interested in all of my "yes's."  I'm actually creating a list of things I consider to be quintessential Angela.

Of course, I do have one no in the bunch.  It turns out, after a lifetime of not having lobster because I wanted to spare whoever was paying for my dinner that price, I'm not a big fan.  When I finally had it because I was paying myself, I would have preferred the lamb I normally would have ordered.

At the same time, it gave me a small epiphany.  I live for the small epiphanies. It is from the small epiphanies that I have become the changed version of Angela I enjoy today.

Essentially there is an imaginary list of myriad things we can enjoy if we are rich and powerful.  We assume if we had those things, we would be happy.  You know why money doesn't buy happiness?  Because so many of us don't really know who we are or what we really want.  Instead we have a grievance list of all the things that taste bad and the things or people we've encountered who suck.

One of the things I've learned along the way is if you simply focus on what makes you happy, you feel happier.  If you focus on the good, feeling good is like shooting fish in a barrel.  It is a done deal.

In addition to our list, we tend to have a bias not to change. At some point along the way, we hurt ourselves and we blamed change.  "Why does everything have to change?"  We moan.  "Why can't everything stay the same?"  We seem to feel that way even when everything isn't so great just because we are afraid of things becoming even worse.  We live our lives boxed in by our fears.

Which is not to say I never feel afraid anymore.  Of course I do.  I am an adult, now orphaned, unmarried only child who never had any children of her own.  I am the quintessential "the cheese stands alone."  If I let my fears run loose, my mind could come up with a lot of sad horror stories out of that.  But, if I did that, I would be sad and afraid not happy like I am now.  After all, I've been an only child my entire life.  It is only as an adult when I began to consider what I should be doing or who should be in my life that I felt any fear about being alone.  Every one of those should(s) practically leapt off that list of things I don't want.  Every one of those should(s) was considered to protect me.  Between my parents over protecting me and me over protecting me, it's a wonder I've ever had a chance to live at all.

I want to live.  I want to throw my arms around life and bury my face in her fur.  You can't do that if the thought of it makes you timid and afraid you might not like it.  From what I've learned, better to shrug off life's icky parts and devote your attention to savoring life's wonderful pleasures instead.  Leave those dishes dirty in the sink and spend an extra ten minutes watching that sunset.  Sure the dishes will still be there.  Sure they might begin to stink.  And sure that time spent watching a beautiful sunset will simply be wasted if all you do while you finally wash those dishes is complain and say you SHOULD have washed them earlier.  So don't do that.  Instead, remind yourself with each and every dish just how beautiful that moment was.  Don't regret your joyful moments simply because of a nuisance of inconvenience.

And stop looking to be offended by everything all the time.  Looking to be happy = happy.  Looking to be offended = offended.

You've heard the saying, of course, "It is always in the last place you look?"  Have you ever thought, "Of course it is because you STOP looking!"  Life is exactly the same way.  What you look for, you will see.  Every time.  Isn't it time you start building yourself a better world?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Law of Attraction #5 - Letting Go

Today is my day off and I am spending it in the company of Peabody and Sherman for the first time in awhile.  To me, it is like they are constantly fussing with each other.  Play fighting.  Or fight playing.  As I sit here at the computer, I can hear them rolling about until eventually someone growls or hisses.  And I intervene.  Just a moment ago I segregated them.  Had a heart to heart with Peabody and heard myself saying:

"Is this how the two of you behave while I'm at work?"

Hey wait a minute.

I opened the door to the bedroom.  Sure enough Sherman was waiting on the other side looking quizzical as to why he had been shut out in the first place.  Even if I could tell him, in a way he could understand, "I was separating you to protect you."  If he didn't give me the "what is wrong with girls' look, he would give me the "poor silly humans" look.  (At least in my imagination.)  Because the truth is, he and Peabody are friends.  They probably play like that EVERY day.  It is probably the reason I find them both passed out asleep on my bed when I come home.  

It is interesting having a three-legged cat.  It is changing my perceptions. 

Fairly early on, my house fell into a flea problem.  It is an enormous story.  Full of Law of Attraction moments and significance, but to get to where we need to be, I will need to fast forward.  I have acquired medicine and put it on his neck.  My awkwardness and newness at holding him in my arms has positioned it a little too far back on his shoulder blades and he is fussing with it.  He is in constant motion.  Kicking, scratching and biting at fleas.  Worse than before the medicine went on.  Amazingly, I can see fleas dropping off him.  I have never seen that before with the other cats.  He arches his head around and successfully licks the poisonous spot!  Immediately the wetness at the surface of his mouth becomes foamy.


I wet a towel and blot at his mouth.  Then I clean off the poison spot with the wet towel and wait and watch.  He seems better.  Still itchy, but in less distress.  I think of the fleas dropping off him.  I remember I have seen that before.  Years ago when I had my cat Bocce who was the only cat I bathed regularly.  He was also the only cat who, when I bathed him, had brown water run off him.  Brown water and occasionally fleas.  I can't find my flea comb to selectively drown them, but if I give Sherman a bath, that will drown them.  

I fill the bathtub with about an inch or two of lukewarm water and gently set Sherman down into it.  He is calm and allows me, not only to stand him in there, but to gently massage water into his dry fur.    He is shockingly calm in the water.  He is much less so during the drying.  Eventually I find myself cornering him in my bathroom with a towel.  It is an action I would take with any of my cats without thinking, but brusquely rubbing his fur to dry it, I realize I have assumed he knows I am trying to help him and not hurt him.  I have seen things so completely from my own point of view, I have been in danger of forgetting that I am working with a kitty who has had some stuff happen to him.  Trust needs to be built.  I dry him off as thoroughly and diplomatically as I can.  When it is safe to "flea him" again, I give him a slightly lighter dose than his body weight and leave for the day.  I stop micromanaging him and he is thriving.  I can witness the trust building.  

Our inner viewpoint has no peripheral vision.  Once in awhile it can include the misty vantage point of truths we know because we "used to be" that way, but otherwise we are locked into our viewpoint and our viewpoint only.  That is precisely part of why letting go in life is so essential.  Our viewpoint is a narrow column and there are all sorts of wonderful things that lay just to the right or left of it.  When we resist and try to force everything into our narrow round column of vision, it is like those wonderful possibilities get chopped off shoving a rectangle into that circle.  We narrow our field of possible outcomes.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Law of Attraction #4 - Being Seen and Appreciated for Who I Am

This year I have received two of the best compliments I have ever received in my life.  Actually the first of the two and the one I want to talk about today, began in 2014 and came to its final fruition this July.

This is the reason for doing all of the work.  The things you want most in life are visiting you daily, but until you flip your switch and see the world through that porthole, you will never see, know or appreciate that.  Let me explain.

Last year a friend of mine asked me to photograph her wedding.  I am not a wedding photographer.  Honestly, if you asked me today what I am, I would be hard pressed to say.  It once was modesty or a lack of self esteem, but today it feels like you are just dealing with a person who has never quite thought "in the box."  Or really, as an old friend used to call me, I supposed you are just dealing with a "spoiled brat."  I studied and am trained in photography.  When it came to choose a money making field within photography, I could never make peace with enslaving something I love to someone else's vision.  In other words, I wanted to shoot what I wanted to shoot not what you wanted me to shoot.  I know that was limited in scope, vision and belief, but at the time I could not see a way around it.  Gently, I reminded my friend what my photography was like.  I said aloud, "I am not a Wedding Photographer."

I don't remember how she convinced me.

I do know it became apparent that, while I was avoiding putting myself at risk .... (Which is essentially what I was doing, swimming like a very large fish in my pond built for one.)  ..... apparently at least one person was watching because it became clear she knew a bit about my artistic sensibilities and really did want me to be her wedding photographer.  So I agreed.

Of course it is one thing to say you will do a thing and quite another to actually do it.  When I agreed, the wedding was nearly a year away.  I did take a Saturday or Sunday and shoot something called the "Save the Date" photo.  That photo is at this link:

The year passed.  I lived my life and gave very little thought to the wedding.  I went on not one, but two unique "bucket list" style vacations.  Mardi Gras in New Orleans and an Alaskan Cruise.  The latter fell just two weeks before.  It was arguably the best trip I had ever been on.  The "at sea" days contained Abraham-Hicks workshops; the port days contained fantastic excursions.  In between there were amazing views and staff always looking out for you, squirting Purell into your palm and asking if you would like anything to drink.

Right before I left on the cruise, the bride sent me an email with a list detailing the formal shots she would like me to take.  My eyes swept over it and my brain said, "I'll think about this when I get home."  In that moment, I began building a platform of "I don't know what I'm doing" inside me and when I finally took a good look at it, a week before the wedding, my self confidence fell like it had been hurled out of a 747.  For a couple who had said they weren't really into the formal shots, there were a lot of them.  Or at least it looked like there was to my ever widening, frightened eyes.  I spent nearly the entire week leading up to the wedding seeing it as this terrible, uncomfortable thing I had somehow tricked myself into believing I could do.

At the same time, I have always been a fighter, so I began strategizing and planning how to make it happen.  The fear strangling my mind in its frozen grasp began thawing and my creativity began blossoming.  I enlisted two friends to help and be my "photographer's assistants."  Since they are both photographers themselves, I gave them official duties.  One was in charge of setting up and maintaining two GoPro cameras I wanted running during the wedding and the reception.  While it wouldn't give them what I considered the typical wedding video and I hadn't volunteered to shoot any video in the first place, I thought it would give the couple unique and contemporary footage of the event.  I had also seen a wedding video online where people attached a GoPro camera to a whiskey bottle and then passed it around the reception, asking guests to give the couple a unique toast.  I thought perhaps I could get something fun and interesting if I simply passed the word among the guests that I had two GoPro's running and they were invited to stand in front of one at any time during the reception and voice their best wishes for the bride and groom.

The last item on the bride's list had been the couple's desire to have a photo of each of their guests, so I put my other assistant in charge of creating "faux selfies.".  Once again I hoped it would be fun and contemporary and I could combine them with the more traditional portraits that I would shoot.

I was beginning to feel more optimistic and excited about shooting the wedding, but it was when I began picturing how I would present the photos to the couple that the real shift or "pivot" as Abraham-Hicks would call it, happened.  Back when I had been a bride a million years ago and "Save the Date" photos were called an "Engagement Photo," wedding photographers used to sell packages that included a book that organized the photos together.  Some years ago I had taken Christmas vacation photos, printed them in a Shutterfly book, and given copies to the friends who had also been on the trip.  I realized that could be a good solution here as well.  That decision opened up my creativity.  The next thing I knew my mind was playing with the potential rather than fearing the worst.  I had shifted from negativity to positivity and optimism, from scarcity to abundance.  Even better, I remembered who I was and why I was at the party.  I realized that, while the bride's list had simply been meant to be helpful .... (in fact, the bride had done some work as a wedding photographer and provided me with the list she had always wished her clients had given her) .....  I had twisted it into an edict of duties I had to fulfill to be "A Wedding Photographer." I had forgotten the essential detail.

They hadn't hired "A Wedding Photographer."  Knowing who I was, knowing my work; they had hired me.  Simultaneously I realized something else.  I was so busy trying to figure out how to be what they wanted that I was in very real danger of not giving them what they had requested.


Like I said, it was one of the best compliments I have ever received in my life.  I have always been a people pleaser.  Essentially the people in my life would tell me either in words or in action what they wanted from me and I would try to fill those shoes.  It had become second nature.  Yet here, at a wedding, which I consider one of the most rigid parties you can ever throw, the powers that be (aka the bride and groom) weren't asking me to jump through standardized hoops.  They were asking me to do what I do naturally.  They were asking me to be me.

I'm not sure life gets any better than that.

I would like to publicly thank Josh and Susan Needleman for giving me the great compliment of asking me to be their wedding photographer.  May your life together be long and blissful.

The book delivers in about a week, but here is a preview of my two favorite pages.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Law of Attraction #3 - A Three Legged Cat Named Sherman

My goal is to be as happy as I can every moment of the rest of my life.  Even if it weren't my distillation of how I see the teachings of Abraham-Hicks, it would be a worthy goal.  There is a big difference between wanting to be happy and not wanting to be unhappy.  I once saw a Simpson's Halloween episode where one of Maggie's dolls had a Good and Evil switch.  The doll hadn't really wanted to kill Homer.  Her switch was simply toggled to evil.  That's what happiness turned out to be for me.  A metaphorical switch in point of view that needed to be flipped.

Even knowing that, it can be difficult to maintain 24/7.  I have had my heart broken a couple of times in my life.  Mostly over the loss of pets.  My goal with a pet is to build a relationship and when one of them passes, I have lost a friend.  One who stood by during the troubling moments of the previous 20 years, give or take a few.  It was with a wary eye at the advancing age of my pets that I whispered into the wind, "When I'm ready for a new pet, the right new friend will arrive."  The idea is not to replace the aging pet, but to introduce new love into my life to dull the sting of loss a little.

Unbeknownst by me, across town a woman named Renee was admiring her downstairs neighbor's kitten.  She noticed when he broke his leg in two places.  She noticed when his owners removed his collar and removed themselves from a place of responsibility for him.  She put herself out on a limb to rescue him and get him some help.

Meanwhile, in my world everyone was getting kittens.  Not "a" kitten, people were suddenly getting them in pairs.  I began to like the idea myself.  They could entertain each other and possibly impact my older kitties less.  Besides, from what I was seeing, two kittens are hilarious!!

I mentioned my plan to a friend, Judy, whose sister is a close friend of Renee's.  By this time, "Mr. Sherbet" had had his leg amputated and would be available for adoption as soon as he had healed enough to do so.  His life seemed to work in one month spans at that point.  A month to rescue him.  A month for him to heal.  It didn't take another month for him to find a home.  The first day he was available for adoption, I signed the papers and brought my newly named "Sherman" home.

Abraham-Hicks talks about "the next logical thing" and that was exactly how Sherman's adoption unfolded.  I whispered what I wanted to the universe and trusted the right thing would happen.  When it did happen, I just took the path it directed.  In the car ride home, I had my first moment of uncertainty.  Sherman tried to chew his way out of the cardboard crate the Human Society provides.  I can remember sitting in the backseat of Judy's car and saying urgently, "Judy, we need to get there soon.  I can see his entire head!"

It's so funny.  My focus had been how to protect the poor three-legged cat from my full grown, big bruiser Peabody.  Suddenly I realized more completely what Sherman had been through.  In two months time, that cat had broken a leg in two places, had it amputated and was going to a new home. This was no shrinking violet cat.  I realized I might have it a bit wrong about who would need protection.

Another month has passed and no one needs any protection from anyone else.  Peabody has accepted Sherman.  Most of the time they even seem to be friends.  Sometimes they even seem like Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman or like Peabody is satisfied "schooling" the youngster.  When I adopted Sherman, the papers said he was a year and six months old, but he looked and acted too much like a kitten for that to be accurate.  I asked Renee, who knew him the best, and she said the vet told her he was about ten months.

Ten months and two of them were spent having a leg amputated and recovering from the same.

I never doubted the right cat would stroll into my life somehow.  Just as I never doubted that, if I followed the signs and continued taking the next logical step, the best thing would happen.  And it did.

My new friend Sherman limps a little at times, but other times you would barely notice his missing leg.  He doesn't let it stop him from climbing the highest shelves in my house.  He has lost none of his kitten-ish curiosity about his new world.  If life is learning to be happy unconditionally, Sherman is a daily example of taking what life gave you and still finding it sweet.  He definitely enjoys it to the fullest.

I would like to publicly thank Renee and her husband, my friend Judy, the Napa Humane Society and Dr. Randy Lung and California Pet Hospital.  Thank you for saving Mr. Sherbet.  Thank you for bringing me my Sherman and giving me this chance to save him a little too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Law of Attraction #2 - The Good Life

Once in awhile something will fall into my lap that makes the Law of Attraction not only real, but obviously real to me.  It happened recently when I discovered the Abraham-Hicks Vortex of Attraction Alaskan Cruise 2015, signed up and showed up for it.  Before going, I had marveled how much Abraham must love the cruise workshops.  "They must be like shooting fish in a barrel."  If the goal is to feel as good as you possibly can in every moment, who isn't feeling good on a cruise?"

Although Abraham-Hicks' teachings have taught me not to look at other people's struggles or shortcomings, during the beginning of the cruise, I couldn't help but notice not everyone was feeling as happy and affluent.  Letting my 'monkey mind' play with it awhile, I realized what I had done differently.

We look at the world and life around us and we call it reality.  Just as LeRoy Neiman looked at the pages of "Playboy" and allowed it to make the good life a reality for him, if we want to change our viewpoint in regards to reality, we need to seed that change ourselves.  At the end of the cruise, sitting in a Virgin America First Class seat, I realized that was exactly what I had done.

1.  Although the friend who accompanied me on the cruise has long said "Balcony rooms are a waste.  You're going to spend more time out of the room than in it."  I couldn't help but think that I'd like a view from my room.  I thought too about how crowded it might be on deck while we were passing Alaskan beauty.  I wouldn't have to worry if I was taller than the people around me on my own private deck.  Knowing there are fewer dark night time hours in Alaska during summer, I also thought I might be tempted to go out on my own balcony then.  While I might not be tempted to walk all the way up to the deck.  I opted for my own private balcony.

2.  From water to high end alcohol, Celebrity Cruises have a wide range of drink packages available.  I chose the absolute highest, most expensive and most inclusive one.  Without trying to make sure I accounted for every dollar I had spent, I also made sure that I used it.  Every day I picked up at least one very large bottle of water, as well as a mixed drink I had never tried before or the most expensive glasses of wine on the menu.  It turned out that the "most" expensive glasses of wine actually required a little bit more money than just the drink plan.  Rather than get upset and huffy about that, I simply said, "Ok.  Go ahead and charge me the extra two dollars."  Rather than charge me, my waiter said, "I'm going to let it pass this time.  I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the possibility in case you run into another extra charge drink at one of the other restaurants."  The last day I even tried a Singapore Sling, which was a drink my grandmother used to talk about drinking on her freighter trips when I was a little girl.  When pre-choosing my options, I didn't limit myself.

3.  I signed up for an excursion at every port.  Two of the excursions were Abraham-Hicks exclusives where I got to travel side by side with other workshop attendees.  Two of the excursions were personal victories.  One of them was a Sled Dog Mushing Experience that included a helicopter ride to and from a glacier as well as the chance to be the musher for a team of dogs that train for the Iditarod.

Era Helicopter and Sled Dog Return

Era Alaska Flightseeing Helicopter and Dog Sled Tour - Dog Run - July 5, 2015, taken with GoPro Hero3+

I also went on a zip line excursion in Ketchikan, Alaska, but there is a lot more to that story which I will return to another day.

4.  At the airport while picking up my boarding passes, I was offered an upgrade to first class for $70/each.  You know I took advantage of that.  Besides being one of the first on and off the plane, free champagne and real food rather than pretzels or nuts, hot damp towels, and a seat that had a massage setting, I was rewarded by my companion turning to me mid flight.  "This is fun," he said.

What will you do to make the good life a reality for you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Law of Attraction #1 - The Colorful T-Shirt

(Today was going to be the first entry in a new blog "Cheerleader of Life," but the site had a massive failure "server not found" and I decided the best thing to do was to publish the blog entry on my already established blog.  So without further ado ... my regular Tuesday blog ....)

Day 2 of the Abraham-Hicks Alaskan Cruise 2015 ...
we are in Ketchikan, Alaska in a gift shop when I see this shirt,

(Shirt sold by http://www.themountain.com.  Artist Dean Russo)

and I love it and grab one to buy ...

but before I get to the cash register ... I see this other shirt.
(Shirt sold by http://www.themountain.com.  Artist Dean Russo)

I reach to grab one of those too, but they don't have my size.

I consider buying the one that is too big .... but I've had a shirt like that before .. you love the image so much ..... you buy something too large ...... and it always feels a bit off ..... and you end up getting rid of it barely ever worn. 

The shop is a real touristy place ... perhaps even one in a chain of shops ..... so I think maybe I will get another chance.

In Juneau, Alaska ..... our excursion 

(mushing a team of sled dogs, but that is another story) 

ends late in the day and I opt out of looking at the gift shops in town.

I am wearing my new husky dog shirt in Skagway, Alaska, our last Alaskan town where I will have feet on the ground, when a man walking towards me from the opposite direction with his own group of friends slaps hands with me as we cross paths. He is wearing not the identical shirt to mine .. but very very close .. obviously the same artist.

None of the shops in Skagway have it or anything similar.

I set the notion aside .. thinking I will google it when I get home.

We have a day and a half at sea followed by our final evening in Victoria BC.

We go on the Abraham Hicks exclusive excursion to Buchart Gardens (which simply means we ride there together as a group.)

We won't get back to the ship until at least 10pm. Dinner, pics, and shopping will all have to fit into our slim window of time. 

(I should admit too. I almost didn't go on the excursion. The Abraham workshop was over having just ended that day. I was considering spending the last of my time on the ship quietly processing everything, but during the break between the last two sessions I met a lady who was local to me in the line for the toilet. She had mentioned other people from my town who were at the workshop. I hadn't met them yet and I thought maybe they would go to the gardens.)

It is a 45 minute drive to the gardens. We hit the ground running. Cameras out. 100 pics or so later, I get really hungry and convince my friend Art it's time to go to the coffee shop. I eat a hot dog. He has some sort of pastries. We eat them sitting at a table between the coffee shop and the gift shop.

As we're eating, I see stained glass items in the window of the gift shop. I begin to feel this excitement or urgency to go there .. so much so that Art has only finished one of his two danishes, but I ask if it is ok if I go in ahead?

He has no problem with it and I do.

I spend a lot of time at the stained glass .. they have this stuff that looks very ... primitively artistic and features cats .... I like them .. but don't love them.

I begin to wander around the shop .. I'm not sure what triggered the .. "I wonder if ..." but sure enough .. yes they had it .... in any size I may have wanted.

Now .. really that was good enough for me ... but .. today when I was talking to Art as he left .. I realized something much larger.

See .. before I left for the trip .. I wanted to bring a t shirt or two .. but I wanted them to be a bit more on the feminine side ... not big like a man's but a little more form fitting .. while not being too tight or revealing.

I have this t shirt I bought on a trip to Arizona .. it is beige and has a coyote on it ... the coyote is very colorful, but in a southwest way.

I had wanted to take that shirt, but it was in my laundry and in the mess of my house 

(my house has been under construction for almost a year now .... but that too .. is another story)

... I couldn't find it.

(Coyote shirt - still rumpled from the laundry where I found it - says only "Gildan Ultra Cotton" on the label)

It is only ...

after witnessing the beauty of Alaska
after soaking in hours of Abraham-Hicks material
after enjoying exciting adventures like zip lining and dog sledding

it is only in a casual conversation with Art ...

that I remember .....

One of the last thoughts I had as I finished packing before the trip ....

"I really want to get a few more t shirts with a colorful animal on the front."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shifting to Harmony

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."
Mahatma Gandi

My coach Gil McIff would say the cause of suffering is man's lack of awareness of his true nature.  It isn't an obvious point at first, but that is essentially the same thing Gandi was saying here.  In other words, due to our lack of understanding, what we think, say and do can never quite be in harmony.  Abraham-Hicks would say we feel discomfort because we are not in alignment with our source.  We are not in alignment with our true nature.

From childhood to current day, I have been a lot of different Angela(s.)  Angry Angela(s.)  Sad Angela(s.)  Happy Angela(s.)  Each generation of Angela is more loving, more confident and happier.  I am so grateful I am the sort of person who embraces the opportunities to grow and change as well as a person who navigates through the harder changes always emerging better for having ridden out the storm.

More so than at any other time in my life, I know who I am and I know what I need to do.  For years I have compared myself to others.  Even after the years where I let myself emotionally fall short, I compared thinking others would benefit from the things I was learning.  I have transitioned from evangelist to coach to a fully realized individual continually on the path of being.  More and more what I think, what I say and what I do are in harmony.

From a score of philosophical teachings and teachers, I have discovered a few principles to guide me along my path:

1.  As much as possible, follow a path of least resistance.  One of the things that always shook my life up in a bad way was my need to take action, particularly in the forum of needing to speak up, explain or defend myself.  A lot of poorly advised phone and email conversations happened even though it might have been a technical struggle to complete them.  It was like I was given dozens of tiny little chances to change my mind and yet I still pushed through them full steam nearly always to my later regret.

I don't do that anymore.

Back when I was a darkroom photographer, I noticed that some days photographic printing was a struggle.  The harder I tried to fight through; the deeper the pile of wasted photographic paper that ended up in the trash.  I learned that sometimes the answer was to pack it up, go home, and try again tomorrow.  The path of least resistance is found by grounding yourself in the present moment, being open to the opportunities, but not forcing anything.  I have realized that even no action is essentially an action and that I really can't do anything wrong.  What I once would have considered a mistake that impacted my life in a detrimental way, I now consider an opportunity for learning and growth.  I am not the underdog struggling to keep up.  In a very real sense I am the creator of my world and my personal existence and I have adapted the creative lessons of my "real world" writing and photography.  Creations struggled over remain less satisfying because if nothing else, it is hard to determine when to stop.  The best creations are effortless, flowing out of you as easily as your own personal scent.

2.  I have learned, rather than troubleshooting my life and continually looking for potential problems, I am the creator of my existence.  What I look for I will see.

I'm a big fan of the Walt Disney Company and I have been to their parks many times.  In a very real way, Disneyland is a microcosm of the larger world.  Here is a place that exists to entertain, to kindle the fading embers of your childlike joy.  Yet all around you there are people troubleshooting the problems.  Complaining about the crowds or expense.  I have never heard it better addressed than the cast member I witnessed who was trying to direct a large traffic of people through an already congested area, who said:

"Remember why you came here."

I have come to believe I didn't come here to look for holes in the dykes in which to stick my finger.  I didn't come here to tell any emperor(s) they had been hoodwinked into wearing nudity.  I came here to live a human lifetime.  I came here to be alive.  

All that troubleshooting and complaining we think protects us from danger, simply draws that which we don't want to us.  At the same time it delivers a numbing sameness which may feel protective in times of struggle, but which dulls vibrancy and blocks us from joy.  We freeze out our own potential for happiness in our attempts to protect ourselves from pain.  

If what I see is what I look for, I have decided to saturate my environment with textures I find enriching and beautiful.  If what I see is what I look for, I have decided to look for the silver lining in every cloud.

3.  "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" I have come to understand as a byproduct of the Law of Attraction.  If we believe we are rich in abundance and things come to us easily, we are and they do.  If we believe we are poor and in competition for scarcity and that life is hard, we are and it is.  

I need to show some gratitude to my mother on this point.  No matter her personal struggles, she always told me "things always work out for you."  Even before I understood the mechanics of why it is so, I found comfort in the awareness.  I found comfort in hearing it and in telling it to myself.  We believe the stories we tell ourselves.  We believe them and our belief causes them to be true.  My understanding of this has forever transitioned my self talk from one of "Life sucks and then you die" sarcasms to one of self soothing pep talks.  I can be and have so much more than I ever knew because I have already witnessed it time and time again.  

4.  I have learned that trying to siphon self esteem and confidence from other people's praise and opinions is like trying to use it to fill a gas tank with a hole in it.  No amount can ever fill it and unless or until I find its source within myself, it will remain empty.  

Near the time of my divorce, I saw Albert Brooks' movie "Defending Your Life."  I recognized the main character's fear-driven life struggles as not being dissimilar to my own.  Not liking the picture that painted for my future, I decided to be brave.  The first thing I did was go with some friends to a place called Moaning Cave in Vallecito, California.  Today they have more things you can do there than then, but at the time, you could choose to either descend a staircase or rappel down into the cave.  I went there with the very specific purpose of rappelling. 

After overcoming the fear based sensations of needing to use the toilet and worrying I may throw up, I found myself dangling by a rope in a huge cavern in full view of the optional staircase.  I was completely over my fear and I was sort of wishing the rope ride down moved a little faster when I heard someone on the staircase notice me and say, "I could never do that."  In that moment, I could remember feeling the same.  Simultaneously, I knew how little effort it took to do it and inwardly I revelled at the awareness I had extended that effort and was doing it.  I had transitioned from the Angela who couldn't do it to the Angela who could.  

Self confidence comes from achievements.  It comes from being able to look at something and tell yourself, "I did that."  

My beginning path as a coach was the same as the rest of my life.  I looked for the pitfalls and tried to troubleshoot clients' lives.  I have come to understand, by simply observing and assessing a client's life status and determining that he/she needs to make some changes does us both a disservice.  It is the equivalent of viewing them in a negative way.  In my portion of our co-creation of existence I am seeing them as coming from a position of lack and having made mistakes.  I cannot drag them to my higher position in that way.  Worse, by simply viewing and focusing on the negative, I am far more likely to fall back myself.  Tread once again through waters in which I have already been.  

That's where I find myself today.  

It is time to no longer tell you the stories of where I have been and what I have overcome.  I am and always will be the woman who wants to share her successes with you.  I am and always will be the woman who wants to drag everybody into the lifeboat with her.  The difference is I am no longer willing to see my words as some sort of lifeboat of advice, I am no longer willing to see you as being in any sort of distress or struggle, and I am no longer willing to dive down into the murkiness of my past or my past unhappiness to try and achieve the unachievable.  If I am going to lead, let it be by example.  

It is time to embrace who I am deep inside, a sort of cheerleader of life.  With that in mind, I am crafting a new blog*.  I want it to be exhilarating with stories of rappelling, zip lining, sled dog racing, and perhaps even scuba diving.  I want it to be stories of joy and appreciation.  I want it to be stories that catch the attention of those people walking down the stairs rather than rappelling.  

Maybe, just maybe .... if I share the stories where I take pleasure in being alive .... I can get just one of them to whisper ...


*New blog is already in construction and should begin the first or second week of July 2015.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reality vs The Perception of Reality

I had the beginnings of a blog on The Good Life.  A modest proposal that there is no "The" Good Life, but rather there are as many paths to a good life as there are people on the planet.  Then I adopted a new kitty, Sherman.  Now my formerly "good life" has a little too much hissing, growling and spitting in it and I am a little bit distracted.  So, while I watch episodes of "My Cat From Hell," please enjoy this reprinted blog post "Reality vs The Perception of Reality" which I first posted February 20, 2011.  Thanks for your patience.  


Believe it or not, reality vs the perception of reality was the argument du jour on my news wall at Facebook. Actually that in itself makes a good illustration of the argument. In reality, Facebook is a social networking site. A more simplified way to describe that reality would be: Facebook is a place where individuals can post thoughts, photographs, game information - nearly anything of a digital nature that they would like; and make them available for other individuals to access. Perception of that reality then becomes more involved with what people do with the site. Given the capabilities of Facebook, (for our discussion) it makes no difference to the "reality" if an individual uses it to play Farmville 12 hours a day or to post hourly reporting on anything from the current events of "my vacation" to the current state of the world. You see, what the people use the medium for IS their perception of why it is available to them and what is its appropriate usage. Although those perceptions involve a certain amount of judgment, it is the next layer that gets judgmental. That is where, having witnessed a segment of posts or time on Facebook, the individual "judges" Facebook as, let's say, "a place where silly, boring people waste precious hours of their life playing equally silly games." Now, keep in mind, this is NOT reality. This is perception. Facebook still sits there - unbiased as to what its life purpose is. It is the perception based glasses or blinders of the human individual that makes a judgment about that reality and then reinvents it. The problem arises when the human is unaware he is filtering reality through his own perceptions.  

On my Facebook news wall, the reality vs perception question invariably traveled to the question of "if a tree falls in the woods, but no one is there to hear it; does it still make a sound?" But when you think about it from a purely, "reality vs perception," point of view; while it may be a fun little game to play with, it doesn't provide us a lot of enlightenment. Unless, of course, we allow ourselves to travel far enough to make judgments about whose fault it is that the tree fell. Otherwise, it is not a question about what the difference is between reality and perceived reality; it is a question about whether or not there actually IS a reality beyond what we perceive. Which is another ballpark altogether. 

Let's look at another one just to see where it gets us. 

There is an elderly man in a nursing home. One day, a water glass leaves the grasp of his hand, falls to the floor and shatters into many pieces. That's the fact. That's the reality. We have a man. We have a nursing home. We have a broken glass on the floor. But, to the individual's witnessing or impacted by the event, the perception based reality can vary greatly. Perhaps the son of the man perceives the event as a sign of his decreasing strength and decline in health. Perhaps the daughter of the man perceives the event as a sign of the nursing home staff's lack of proper care for her father. Perhaps the nursing home attendant perceives the event as a patient's attempt to receive more attention than the rest of the patients. 

Now here's the next problem with perceived reality. We can judge all of those individual's perceptions based on what they witnessed or didn't witness on that day or in the entire life of the elderly man and his personality; but what our "rational" mind fails to grasp is that ALL of the perceived realities are correct. Every one of them is correct whether they appear to be in conflict with each other or not. Now, "correct" is probably not the best word actually, so let's substitute "real." Every one of those perceived realities is real. Every one of those perceived realities is real and represents the reality of the individual perceiving its existence. 

Understand? We are now in "one man's junk is another man's treasure" territory. You see, humans are nearly incapable of simply reporting the facts of reality. Our opinions, our need to understand and feel safe in our own existence, our fears - they all give us the guidelines of what reality looks like and what it means. 

Now the argument on Facebook involved American government. A whole bunch of "isms" were being paraded around as realities. It is impossible for an "ism" to be reality OUTSIDE of perception. Let's break American government down to the "facts." 

There are three branches of federal government: fact. One branch is the Judicial Branch: fact. One branch is the Legislative Branch: fact. One branch is the Executive Branch: fact. Together, these branches make, execute, and interpret the laws that govern America: fact.

But when Americans get together to talk about their government, this is almost never what they are really discussing. Instead, they are arguing about whether or not the laws enacted by the government are right or good; why the individual's working in the branches enacted the particular laws that they did; and what the government should be doing that they are not. All of that involves perceptional reality. 

Now here is the important part. It is the scary part, but it is also the part where empathy can begin. 

Remember all of those perceived realities are real. They are absolutely the real realities of the persons perceiving them. Let's take one that is as far out on a fringe as you can get in order to make the point. Let's say an individual witnesses all of the news of what laws and decisions the federal branches are making and he perceives that the President of the United States is actually an alien from outer space determined to initiate the destruction of the human race. Just because you or I believe that perception to be ridiculous, it is still that person's reality in which he resides every day. Or at least until the next election. We can't assume that any amount of our reassuring him that we have seen the president's belly button - he is a human - will alter his perception. In fact, he might even perceive our attempts to persuade him as evidence we may also be aliens. 

So now that I've brought you to this point - this distinction between reality and perceptional reality - what is MY point? Why bother, especially if we can never cajole, argue, or persuade the individual into changing his perceptional reality. He can only do that on his own. My point is what I take from the knowledge that an individual's perceived reality IS his reality. 

That man, the one who believes the president is an alien bent on the destruction of the human race? He lives in a very frightening world. Where we may see joy and laughter and all of the best possibilities for the human race; in a very real sense, he is living in a Philip K. Dick novel and is feeling only fear and doom. Imagine how that must feel for him. He must face every day with a generalized sense of dread. He is essentially facing a hell on earth. It is so important that we attempt to interact with him only in a compassionate way. It's my belief, at least, that it is only possible for an individual's perception of reality to change when he or she is in a calmer, more relaxed state away from his or her fears. So rather than yelling at people and calling them idiots for what they believe or attempting to argue them into agreeing with you; take a step into the painting that is their perceived reality. Try to understand why they would believe that. Try to understand what it must feel like. 

But here is the most important part. 

Let me make it plain, I am not saying we need to be on the outlook for weapons of mass destruction under the bed or in the garage of everyone who doesn't agree with us politically. 

What I am saying is that just because we believe another individual's perceived reality is "crazy talk;" we should never assume that whatever actions they claim they may make are anything other than factual statements of their capabilities in their current perceived state of reality. It is action based on shared perceived reality that brings about change and revolution, but can also bring about destruction and slayings of the Charles Manson variety. Individual perceived reality can bring about great thinkers, artists, visionaries, inventors, but it can also deliver that mundane job worker who takes the whole office hostage. 

Underestimating someone else's capabilities within their perceived reality can bring about an end to your own.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Let's Play a Game

Pull out your favorite writing utensil, your phone or tablet, a pen and a piece of paper.  Either imagine or remember the last time you tried to uplift a friend who was down.  Maybe he/she was getting a divorce or had a death in the family.  Maybe the person just got fired or wrecked their car.  What did you say?  Maybe you said, "No worries.  Everything always works out for you."  Or a simple "I love you."  Write down all of the sentences you can think of or remember.

This next part is going to involve a bit of honesty.  You don't have to be honest with me, but you do need to be honest with you.

Take your list to the bathroom or whatever room has the largest mirror in it.  Look yourself directly in the eye and tell yourself all of the sentences.

Could you do it?  Did you laugh, feel silly and walk away?  Or did you rush through the sentences, emotionlessly reading them, without ever really meeting your own gaze in the mirror?

I really can't remember when it was I realized I could not meet my own gaze in the mirror.  Oh sure, I could look at my face.  Brush my teeth or hair.  Put moisturizer or mascara on.  Even then, I would survey what I was seeing critically.  It was like I was constantly looking at someone of whom I ever so slightly did not approve.  The only time I would catch a glimpse of my own smile was when I happened to be laughing when I entered the room.

The discomfort I found trying to look myself in the eye was not like trying to avoid seeing a wrecked car on the side of the road or the latest gruesome death on The Game of Thrones.  It was closer to that of a child who knows he/she has misbehaved and is reluctant to see the disappointment in mom's eyes.  I found it a bit disturbing and fascinating.  Think about it.  How many years do you spend in the company of your parents?  Your children?  Your spouse?  The only person who will be with you from the beginning to the end is you.  And you can't look yourself in the eye?

There is a power in observing yourself in a detached way as if you were simply a witness.  There is a scientific term called "The Observer Effect" which refers to the changes that the act of observation will make upon the observed.  I'd like to humbly suggest that being able to observe yourself in a kind and loving manner will cause dozens of tiny, infinitesimal changes in your outlook and life which, like tiny stones tossed at the top of a hill, may be much larger and have much greater momentum somewhere near the bottom.

Do you have a best friend?  A person who just "gets you?"  Who could possibly "get you" more than you?  That's where I started.  I pictured myself as my own sidekick.  My own best friend who had only the best intentions and love in her heart.  What did I say?  I ad-libbed and I recommend you do the same.  That's because life is too fluid for a script.  Even talking to yourself, you can't anticipate just what you may need to say.  Beyond that, I basically told the truth.  I acknowledged feeling silly talking to myself in the mirror.  I apologized to myself for all of the disappointments in my life.  I cried a little.  In the end I told myself all of the comforting things I had ever wanted to hear from someone else.

It will be ok.  Everything will be ok.  Everything always works out for you.   I'm right here.  You are right here in this moment.  There is nothing in this moment that can hurt you.  I am sorry I neglected you.  I won't do that again.  I love you.  I will always love you.

Over time, my conversations with myself became less like a parent soothing a disappointed child and more like an admirer or fan.  

Wow!  What a great day!  You did things today you never realized you could do!  You are unstoppable!  There is just no stopping you now!  You are on FIRE!  

Pretty silly huh?  Just another pointless self-help, waste-of-time game.  

Except a funny thing happened.  Along the way it became easy to look myself in the eye.  I not only began seeing my own smile in the mirror, rather than being the set expression one sets knowing his/her picture is being taken, it is the natural, easy shapes a mouth makes when it can barely resist bursting out into laughter.  

Like I said, it will take a little bit of honesty.  Only you know what your experience is when you look in the mirror.  If it is anything less than, "Look at you.  You ROCK!"  You might want to have a heart to heart with the one person who will truly always ever be there for you.  It might just be the start of a  surprising, but beautiful, friendship.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Modest Proposal About Changing Your Memories

Memory is a squirrelly thing.  The other day I was at a memorial service for a friend I knew way back from high school and I was reminded that my memory for those days is not very good.  Which is always kind of funny because, in those days and for years afterwards, I was frequently told I had a memory like an elephant.  Both are true.  In those days, life felt very precarious and I felt the need to keep track of nearly everything.  I couldn't be found to be wrong in any circumstance.  Nowadays life doesn't feel as scary anymore.  You could challenge me to a battle of who remembers our childhood's more clearly and I would just shrug and say, "you win." I no longer have to wear my memory as a suit of armor.  While I am sometimes amazed by the depth and breadth of the details that have now slipped by me from my childhood, I know that my hyper vigilance at the time is also the culprit now. While I was tabulating details, I wasn't very present or "in the moment."  How can you be when your mind is running a constant check list to see if everything is ok?

Until recently, though, I could remember bad details of my childhood with crystal clarity.  The sad result of filing the successful moments away as something completed and the unwanted moments as problems somehow still waiting to be resolved.  Holding myself as never being any better than that little girl who got into a lot of trouble when she was eleven.  I know I'm not alone too.  The dates and ages are different, but a lot of other people do the same thing.  It doesn't have to be that way.

The other day I was reading about memory and I learned a startling fact.  When you remember an event you are not actually remembering the event itself, you are recalling the last time you remembered the event.  While that might be a nightmare to those who always have to be right, to the rest of us it provides a surprising opportunity.  Since the details about an event are invariably going to shift like a phrase whispered from one kid to another during "The Telephone Game," why not help them along?  Particularly if you have painted yourself a loser or the villain of your childhood.  Why not rewrite your story and treat yourself with a little bit more kindness?

Let's try an example.

Let's say you didn't have a lot of friends growing up and you spent a lot of time by yourself.  Rather than focusing on the loneliness and the isolation, how about focusing on the things you did and what you enjoyed?  Form a sentence in your mind looking at the positive aspects rather than the negative.  For instance:

I really developed my love for art back in high school when I was able to spend hours of uninterrupted time looking at reference books.  

Just like a good affirmation, the sentence has to be something you will find believable.  That means can't just put on a cape in every memory and become a super hero.  You will find more success if you shift your point of view more than the details themselves.  

When I was growing up, my parents were very over protective and controlling.  When I would get into trouble, my mother would have a massive freak out and behave as if I were "The Bad Seed."  I tormented myself with the self image that I had processed out of those memories until both of their deaths.  My mother, who was bed ridden the last two years of her life, gave me the inspiration for rewriting some of those earlier stories.  One day when I was visiting, she was talking about the time she, my aunt and my grandmother attended college classes.  It was when I was a toddler and was a sort of "girls night out" for them.  In the story, my mother told me one of my cousins once helped her with writing a paper.  "Pointing out what needed to be capitalized and that sort of thing."  She gave an example or two and, while I said nothing at the time, I was struck by the contrast between us.  All of the rules of grammar for which she needed guidance, came to me so naturally I couldn't possibly forget them.  While driving home, I thought about the notion of knowing more than your parents and remembered the many times my parents had talked about how smart I was.  "What if," I thought, "I didn't get into trouble so much because I was a 'bad person,' but because I was a 'smart person.?'"  I already knew that my mother's life revolved around fear.  What if my mother was afraid early on that I would be smarter than her?  What if she worried that I would create or get into troubles that were beyond her coping skills?  It certainly wasn't the story I had been telling myself, but at the same time, I could see it as a valid point of view.  I stopped rehashing the notion, "I am inherently bad" and began telling myself:

I was a bright and curious child who liked learning new things and exploring.  My parents sometimes felt out of their depth keeping me out of harm's way.  

Notice I didn't change the facts.  My parents still went to unusual or undesirable methods to control me.  I changed my understanding of why that was the case.  Whatever happened, let's say you broke your arm, got an F in Algebra or wrecked your dad's car.  That event still happened.  It is the story you tell yourself about why it happened or why it was such a bad thing or had such a negative impact on your life where you have the most opportunity for change.  I would argue the most need for change as well.  

Think of it this way.  Whether you believe in an anthropomorphized god, a life force of energy, or no god at all, this is your life.  You are here to live.  During that lifetime, you will attempt and accomplish a lot of things.  I just think you will have an easier time if you start out telling yourself you are good and worthy and capable.  This is just a method to backdate that way of believing in you.