Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Are You Sitting on the Sidelines?

It seems like everyone these days is shouting about change, but the lines are drawn, and the battles are being waged on social media, in the news, on the ground.  It’s a shouting match that no one seems to be winning. 

We all want change. We desperately need change! But what does that change look like? What should it look like? 

What I would like to see is a change that brings about peace, common sense, and responsibility to one another and the world we live in.  But how do we get there with everyone trying to out shout everyone else, in a world full of agendas and fake news, at a time when everyone wants something, but few understand the cost of anything, be it freedom or financial? 

I believe the first steps we must take is working on transformation within ourselves and in our own lives. 

In the next few weeks I am going to focus on a serious of steps we should think about in making the transformation from where we are to where we want to be. 

The first step is to Focus on YOU!

You’ve heard the saying “be the change you want to see in the world”. Honestly, this is the very foundation on which to build a happier and more fulfilling life. The first step for transformation and creating a more fulfilling and happy existence is by changing our own thoughts, patterns, negative behaviors. 

Seriously, what do we have control over other than ourselves? Our thoughts, our emotions, our actions. 

First our thoughts. When we focus on the little things in life that make us happy, we find more things to be happy about. When we are grateful for small blessings, we realize that we have so many more things to be grateful for. When we have faith that everything happens for a reason and start to believe that things will work out the way they should, our paths and our purpose become clearer and we begin to let go of the fear that is holding us back. Stepping into faith is a powerful tool.. use it!

Another thing we must focus on is our emotions. Happiness is easy when things are going great. But what about when things aren’t going as planned? How do we deal with difficult situations and people in our day to day lives? What is your go to response when negativity hits you squarely in the face? 

One key idea that we must learn and accept is that we cannot control other people or situations. We only have control over how we respond. Notice I didn’t say react, I said respond. Reacting implies that we do not place any thought into how we interact in a negative situation. Responding with a clear understanding of our limitations in changing the situation or mindset of the other person indicates that you have done the work on yourself and have a firm understanding that what you do next will determine the outcome.  Sometimes a peaceful discussion, understanding and compromise will work. Sometimes agreeing to disagree or even simply walking away is the best response. It doesn’t matter how you choose in that moment to respond, what matters is keeping your emotions in check and moving forward in a positive direction. 

Understanding how we judge others and limiting that behavior will go a long way in improving your relationships. Do not approach anyone or anything from a place of judgement, because that really says more about you than it does the other person. Our judgements are born within ourselves. Understanding that we all come from different backgrounds, no matter how similar we appear to be, will go a long way in acceptance and understanding, and peaceful co-existence. 

Finally, it is in the actions we take that we will find our happiness. The above 2 principles are part of that action. We focus our thoughts, we keep our emotions in check, but we must also take action on a regular basis to make a difference in the world.  If you see someone struggling, give them a hand. If you come across someone who is feeling sad or depressed, be a shoulder, and an ear if they need it. Don’t try to fix it, just be in the moment with them and follow their lead.

Speak up about the positive changes you want to see in the world, rather than fighting against what you don’t want. Support the causes you feel passionate about in a positive way so that the light you shine on them will draw more positive attention and support to it. Walk your walk! 

Always remember to live authentically. Be honest in your interactions with other people, in your conversations, in your work, in your life.  Be mindful of sharing thoughts and ideas. Are they kind, helpful, honest, true? The more authentic you become, the more you walk away from negativity, the more the people in your life will change. Those who tend to be negative and bring you down will start slipping away and slowly be replaced with those who support, uplift, and encourage you. And that’s ok! Let the changes occur. As certain people start to drift away say a silent thank you for what you have learned from them and wish them the best. 

In learning and practicing these simple steps, you will begin to see the positive transformation you are seeking.  It’s a journey and there will be other lessons, but the work must first start with you. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Turning The Page in Your Book of Life

Sometimes you just have to turn the page to realize there is more to your book of life than the page you are stuck on. Stop being afraid to move on.

This is a common theme throughout a lot of my readings. The person I’m speaking with seems stuck. They want to move forward. They don’t know why they are stuck. The truth is, they are not looking forward, they are looking back, or are even simply standing still in the present. 

Sometimes the person says “well I burned the bridge…. I’m done, but…”  “Is there a chance that we will get back together?”  “Is there a chance that he/she will have a change of heart?”  And all of a sudden my reading will turn into a coaching session. 

Sometimes you just have to turn the page to realize there is more to your book of life than the page you are stuck on. Stop being afraid to move on. Great advice.. but how do you do that? What do you do when you want to move forward but you are stuck in the “Is there a chance” place? 

Often times I first point out the situation. You may have burned that bridge, but you didn’t turn away from the fire. You are like a moth and you’re allowing yourself to be drawn back in, watching and waiting for the flames to burn out. That will never serve you. You MUST turn around and walk away from the heat or you will continue to get burned.

My next question would be why. Why did you burn the bridge? What brought you to that decision? I believe its necessary to go within and really think about it, really get to the bottom of the decision. Go back to how you felt and what you were thinking when you made the decision to burn the bridge, and then take some time to be in that space. Feel it. Really feel the feelings that made you make that decision, even if it feels all yucky and awful. How did it make you feel? Name it, give it an image. And once you can clearly see it and define it, visualize yourself physically removing it from your life. Tear it up and chuck it into the flames as you walk away.

Then I might ask, “does that make sense”, and 9 times out of 10 I’ll get “yes, but…” 

The next thing I will address is fear. Fear of the unknown, or of being alone. “There is nothing or no one else out there. I have no options available to me.”  FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real or Fear Everything And Run. When you are in a state of fear nothing seems possible. But when you realize that it’s false evidence, then you can muster up a little courage to stick your head out the door. Once you take those first few steps, you begin to feel better and you can continue to move forward. "Face Everything And Rise". It’s work. We all are a work in progress, but you are worth it!

There are two quotes by Wayne Dyer that I LOVE! The first one is “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And the second one is “You will see it when you believe it.” When you make a decision to face your fear, and believe you can walk forward into your future, you will begin to see how wonderful that future can be. 

Create a new goal of actively being positive. Read positive quotes, follow positive people. Watch positive and or funny shows. Replace the negative people and situations in your life with positive ones whenever possible. And learn to speak to yourself in a positive and supportive way. No one speaks to us more harshly than ourselves. Don’t allow negative talk from yourself or anyone else.

Every morning when you open your eyes say “Thank You, this is going to be an awesome day!” At the end of every day find something that you are grateful for and say “Thank You” when you close your eyes to sleep.  Even if you don’t think there is anything to be grateful for, there is. It may simply be something like {I made it through the day.} There is always, always something to be thankful for. 

And as I often tell my clients, if you don’t believe it, pretend. Fake it til you make it!
Once you start clearing the space where negativity and heartache live, you will find that happiness and new relationships are easier to move in. Its your time to make the space and take a chance on YOU!

p.s.. If you are interested in more information about Wayne Dyer, click on the above quotes for links to a couple of his books. He was my first (and current) favorite inspirational author / teacher / speaker. He is truly missed.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

There but for the grace of God go I.

There but for the grace of God go I. It’s a phrase I’ve heard often, and maybe not given it as much weight as it deserves. If you look it up, the definitions include:

 1. used to acknowledge one's good fortune in avoiding another's mistake or misfortune.
2. variants: ‘it is only through God's grace or factors beyond my control that I have not suffered the fate of someone more unfortunate than myself’; typically expressing variously sympathy, understanding, or gratitude.

I’ve had a lot weighing on my mind and my heart lately. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to really reflect on things that need some deep thought. Luckily however, I find myself having a couple of unexpected days off. Coincidence? I think not! 

When I have mornings where I do not have to rush, I usually spend a few extra minutes at the barn getting chores done, feeding, talking to the horses and the cat, etc.. it’s the perfect time to think. But my thoughts were not on this phrase this morning, not at first. That came later as I was finishing up. My thoughts were on the way the world has changed so much since I was a kid. How family dynamics have changed. Parents aren’t parents anymore, they want to be their kid’s friends. Discipline has become a dirty word. Everyone has the right to express themselves as they want, no matter how it affects those around them or society as a whole, unless they are expressing their religious beliefs.. God forbid! Political battles are fought and never won. And then there is the internet.. 

In my day, if someone had an issue with you, as kids, we took it out behind the school and settled it. But if you got caught, you got your butt kicked both at school, and when you got home.  If an adult had a problem with someone, they confronted that person, in person, and the problem was settled, or maybe not, but it didn’t linger in cyberspace for all of eternity, becoming like that old kids game where you tell someone something, then they tell the person next to them, and so on, and so on, until you get back to the beginning of the circle. Does the statement ever end the way it began? Rarely, if ever. Back then, it pretty much ended there. Today, it recycles over, and over, and over, being shared thousands or even millions of times. Sometimes the story is added to, or sometimes the story wasn’t factual to start with. But hey, if they say it on FB then it must be true, right?

And then there is social media shaming.. i.e.. people of Walmart or other like groups. Someone takes a snapshot of someone they don’t even know, but appears be an easy target, posts it on social media with a snarky remark, and wah lah. Instant cyber bullying for millions of people’s fun and enjoyment. If its not someone you know, you think it’s funny and you share it without even a thought that that is a person, with a family, friends, and good old fashioned feelings. Throwing stones, creating ripples, destroying lives. 

What about gossip? This often goes back to that kids game. Someone gets a tidbit of a story, embellishes it to make it a little more dramatic, pass it on. People might repeat that version of the story to someone in an actual conversation, then that person posts the embellished story on social media, adding a little more to make it even more exciting. Maybe its just to make themselves feel more important, who knows. How many times is that process repeated until the narrative no longer has any resemblance to what actually happened? And it happens so fast these days.  There was another phrase people used to use for gossipers.. “Tel-e-phone, tel-a-graph, tell __________ (fill in the blank). 

Next comes the judgement. Someone sits on their high horse, passing judgement on others, not considering the blur from that high perch, and not considering what is going on in their own barn.  I think judging others somehow makes themselves feel better about their own situations. If they can make the story bad enough, it shines less light on their own problems. Who cares who is getting hurt, as long as they feel better. I believe those people have darkness in their hearts that further drives the chaos in their lives. Hate breeds more hate.. it’s a vicious cycle. 

And finally, when people get tired of it or annoyed about the rhetoric, there is another phrase that gets thrown out there “Karma is a bitch”. The comfort in that is the feeling that eventually the person you are mad at will pay, and pay big. Actually I don’t believe Karma is a bitch. I believe she is more like Lady Justice. If you are constantly judging someone for an action or a mistake, or purposely creating harm for others, then eventually that will somehow play out in your life, either for you or someone you love. It’s not down and dirty, its subtle, its familiar, is similar to what you were judging someone else for. The good thing is, If you realize Karma’s lesson then you most likely will not have to repeat it. You will learn and grow from it. But often, that is not what happens, so the vicious cycle continues. 

As I am rambling all of these thoughts through my head, and thinking about things that are going on around me, both close to home and the shooting in Florida yesterday, as well as reflecting on how dangerous our own little town has become, that is when it hit me.. actually it was my spirit guides that hit me with the message.. finally, you have my attention guys! There but for the grace of God go I. Be thankful and gracious in what I have, even in troubled times, because others are not so fortunate. 

I don’t believe that every bad thing that happens to you is a result of Karma. I believe bad things happen to good people for many different reasons; be it a lesson for you, or someone close to you. A turn of events that is meant to change the course of other people’s lives, a rude awakening that is long past due. There are a number of reasons, but I believe there is always a reason. However, that is not the track I am on here, not at this moment. 

I am looking at the world around me and wondering “WTH?” Why are so many people so angry? Why do some live solely to inflict pain on others. What pleasure do they get out of hurting someone else? 

The failure is when we refuse to recognize that sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes they have a lapse in judgement, be it an action, an outfit, hairstyle or whatever. But who are you to judge? Unless your barn is super sparkly, don’t point out the manure in your neighbor’s stalls. We all make mistakes, we all have lapses in judgement, we are human, and mistakes are how we learn. 

I don’t question mistakes normally,  I question peoples responses to them. Do you react harshly, lashing out even when the situation has nothing to do with you, or do you reach out with kindness and understanding? Do you intentionally try to make the lives of others miserable, or do you seek to make the world a better place? It’s a choice. You make a choice to be happy, every day. Or you make a choice to go out and create havoc and heartache. Do you lift others up, or push them down and walk over them? Are you happy or are you miserable? The answer to that last question is most likely determined by the answers to the first few. 

If your defense to a negative action is that you “believe in something”, and you are trying to prevent it from continuing, your thinking is upside down. You cannot create a positive outcome to a negative situation with a negative action. It just doesn’t work that way.  You go out and you do something by learning as much as you can and then helping others. You change minds, laws, opinions and situations by sharing informed views, and by giving of yourself to bring about a better future.
One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, and it fits here perfectly. She said “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Are you Anti-?? or are you Pro-?? Think about it and remember.. There but by the grace of God go you..