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.  

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