Saturday, February 28, 2009

Luck, Schmuck

I am very fortunate to have really amazing friends and family. Some would say I'm just lucky. Since I do believe in the Laws of the Universe, I believe that luck really doesn't exist. And what, for most people, would appear to be luck in others is usually the result of focused intention, constant attention and ardent action. Meaning, it usually is the result of a lot more work than you can see.

I have been on quite a journey over the last 10 years, or really more I'm sure. It's hard to say where it all began. Maybe it was in Grade School when I knew I was going to do something important in this world. Maybe it was in High School when I was depressed and just wanted out of that feeling. Maybe it was in College when I got constant headaches and sought every form of treatment. Or maybe it really was that job with the people that "drove" me to panic attacks. It matters not because they all brought me to this path I am on.

That path was initially just a way out of bodily pain and general life discomfort. The aforementioned panic attacks, chronic knee pain, headaches, stress, not liking my jobs. The discomfort of my life was enough to cause me to seek something more. I was open and ready. Now my path is happiness and joy. I have found things - ideas, concepts, ways of thinking - that truly to bring me peace and joy. Now I strive to be there, in that place, as much as possible. Recently one of my business partners said they didn't like that word - strive - because it denoted working hard. I said, "well, aren't we?" Peace, joy and love is a full time job. If you don't give all your waking hours to it, the alternate is fear and hate. And I for one don't want that.

As I said, I am fortunate to have amazing friends and family. And some would say that they have given me much on this journey. They have. It's good to have friends and it's good to have connections. But one thing I realized today is that most of my important learning moments have been just me. I've had a lot of "A-ha!" moments on this path. Lately they've been more solitary. The insights I gained from reading a book. The soul searching after thoughts of my dad. The introspection during meditation.

Having the best friends in the world doesn't mean they have the power to change you. They may have been there along the way and they may support you in your growth, but they can't change the thoughts in your head. You have to be ready to just dive in, knowing that everything will be OK and trusting in the process.

"There are no slick solutions to the dilemmas...for self-individualization is asking us to metaphorically step out alone and, in truth, others may not understand..." ~Dr. Christine Page

In the end it's all you, baby. As they say in the movie Kung Fu Panda, "There is no secret ingredient..."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Panic vs. Confidence

I am tired of listening to talk about the economy. I realize that is what's going on, besides the Oscars which are now over, but still, I'm tired of it. I've avoided talking about it myself because I choose to believe that you get what you put your attention on. Trust me, I want my attention anywhere else. It's not that I'm putting my head in the sand. I'm just choosing to focus on the good things that are still happening. And yes, there are still plenty of good things happening, in case you hadn't noticed.

Tonight I heard a discussion on the radio about whether President Obama should give us false hope and talk positively about the future or should be more "realistic" and tell it like it is. "He has to choose his words wisely", "He needs to act as the Cheerleader-in-Chief", "I just wish he'd focus more on confidence and portray that to the American people.". True. And shouldn't we all? Have you listened to the news lately? Sometimes it seems as if the President is the only one staying even somewhat positive about it. I even heard that someone alluded to the fact that we may be in a downward spiral we won't come back from. Please, are we that special? Pretty all-or-nothing thinking if you ask me.

The fact is that we probably will drop about as far as we went up. By now I'm sure you've heard of the Law of Attraction. There are several other Laws of the universe you may not have heard of. One of them is the Law of Rhythm:
"Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates." - The Kybalion.
Which essentially means that the market will go up, the market will go down. The extent to which the market goes down is the extent to which the market goes up. We had some really great times and now we're not. Doesn't mean it doesn't suck for a bunch of people right now, but it's happening nonetheless.

What disheartens me, although not surprising, is everyone's reaction to it. Fear, panic, anger - regular signs of resistance. Resistance to change at the very least, resistance to growth (and I mean personal and spiritual growth) at the very most. This downfall, this turmoil, is a sure calling to make some major changes in ourselves and our world. I've listened to lots of people talk and there are several observations I've made.

1. You can't solve a problem in the same mindset that created that problem. Albert Einstein said that. I think everyone can agree that he had the genius in him. Now think about that statement really hard. We cannot solve this economic crisis by the same mindset that created it. The spend foolish, cutting taxes solves everything, partisan, name calling, greedy and corrupt mindset. Or as I like to call it, the old-crabby-white-man syndrome (my apologies to any older caucasian gentlemen that do not fit this description). This is NOT a stereotype of older white men. It's more a fitting description of most of the people who've a. driven us to this mess and b. refuse to take any personal responsibility for it and c. are the least willing to wake up to spiritual and personal development. We cannot keep doing the same old things. They just don't work anymore. There, I've said it. Now I feel better.

2. And yes, talking about it does just make it worse. I've been out in stores. If someone hadn't told me that people were buying less, I wouldn't know it. The people minding the books might know, but for many people it wouldn't have looked any different! It wouldn't have unless, say, the nightly news and every newspaper and website in the world weren't blasting headlines that foretold the end of the world. Nothing begets fear like fear, nothing begets panic like panic. No matter how much we like to think differently, we are much like lemmings and we do like to follow the crowd. We have nothing to fear but fear itself (and the people who perpetuate it).

3. While we're at it, let's explore that lemming idea a little further. I think many of the psychological tools of influence apply here - social proof, commitment, consistency... They have their place, but man, we're in a bind here, can't someone just think on their own for goodness sake?

I've started on my little diatribe and now I need to step back and let it go. I don't want to fall prey to one of my own complaints (the same mindset and all). I just hope that we can all have some, well, hope. If the Black Plague couldn't kill a society, then I doubt this will. This is just a push - a really big one, mind you, but a push still - to make some major changes. Personally, spiritually, financially, mentally. If you lost your job, explore what you really want to be when you grow up and go do it. If you are scared and feeling lack, spend some time appreciating what you do have. If you are fearful of the future, focus instead on the present, since we really don't know what the future will bring it doesn't help to worry about it.

I just received this in an e-mail. I think it pretty much sums it up:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.
Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The great blue unknown

Fear of the unknown. Isn't that really at the root of most fears? I mean, that's the entire future of everything! Unknown, that is. It's called worry and it has to do with concern for anything that hasn't happened yet. Or really the imagined future. What if... this and what if... that. What if, indeed.

Does this fear hold you back? Are you not doing something because of a fear? Do you worry too much? Then you need a Moving Through Fear guide book. I haven't written it yet, but I imagine it would look something like this.

Chapter 1. Fear is everywhere. You could be afraid of everything. Anything can kill you at anytime without warning. Get over it.

Chapter 2. If you succumb to your fears you will not do anything. You will live a boring life. In fact it's pretty much impossible to not do anything. Most people probably couldn't if they tried. Lie on the floor all day. Is that what you really want?

Chapter 3. Decide which fears you can live with and which you can't. Do you really need to be around snakes? Can you avoid living where earthquakes happen? Who said you need to jump out of an airplane? Eating food and exercising - yes. Going out in public - probably. Speaking in public - maybe. Using public restrooms - optional. Pick your battles.

Chapter 4. Worrying doesn't change anything. It's a waste of time. Especially if it's over and done with (yes, I know people who worry about things that have already happened!) You may think you can't help yourself. You can. Trust me, waste of time. You have better things to do.

Chapter 5. Fear just keeps you small and limited. You were meant for bigger and better things. You want bigger and better, right? Or would you be willing to admit you want small and insignificant?

Chapter 6. Fear makes you do things you normally wouldn't do. Think about animals. When in fear, say cornered, they will bite, scratch, attack, maim, kill their own babies, push others off a ledge, gnaw their own leg off. Oh wait, I guess humans do that too. I think you can find a better way than gnawing your leg off, don't you?

Chapter 7. There is no such thing as NO FEAR, despite the brand name to the contrary. Without fear you would be paralyzed. So, just to be clear -you can live without worry, you can't live without fear.

Chapter 8. Now that you know you can't get rid of it altogether, figure out a way to move beyond it, through it, past it. It's called Courage. The people who have lived through the most fear have the most courage.

Chapter 9. In order to move through fear, find something more important than the fear. Your friends, your family, your children. How about yourself? YOUR livelihood. YOUR well-being. YOUR sanity. YOUR happiness. Isn't THAT worth it?

Chapter 10. Now, get out there and GO!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


In the Awaken to Joy program, our topic for the month is Fear (and Unmet Needs). I've been thinking about Fear a lot this year, partly because I've set my theme for the year to be Personal Power.

Creating Personal Power has a little to do with getting beyond Fear. One of the things I'm doing is actively seeking out things that push me out of my comfort zone. I didn't realize how challenging that would prove to be.

First, I have to find these things. Great discussions have ensued. Challenges have been suggested. Lists have been made. I've determined that this means I have to find things that, A. Do make me a little fearful, B. Are things that I am, in fact, remotely interested in, and C. Things that are feasible, for the most part.

For example, sky diving is something I am somewhat afraid of. Maybe I would do it, yet I've also determined it is something I am not the least bit interested in. It would probably cost more than I'm willing to pay. If I die 60 years from now without ever having gone sky diving, I will still die contented. I'm not sure sky diving would support my growth, nor am I sure it would bring me strength and power.

One of the things on my list is to skate in an Inline Skating Marathon in September. Inline skating is something I used to do a lot. Since having kids I haven't done it very much. I exercise very frequently, but to do a marathon I'd have to increase my strength and stamina plus get reacquainted with my skates. It won't cost me that much and it is something I'm a little nervous about doing. Check, check, check.

Most of us avoid things we are fearful of. Like the plague. Or sky diving. This is a good thing. For the most part. Yet, sometimes it is good to examine our fears and determine if they really are necessary. Fear is a learned behavior. Fear is a learned emotion. Often times something happened to condition us to fear. Or everyone else does it so we do too. Like snakes. Why does everyone hate snakes?

Do you really know what you are afraid of? Do you know why? Can you break free from the bonds of your own Fear? For me, Personal Power is about building the strength, internal and external, to handle anything that comes my way. To realize my fears and determine their validity. To dismiss them as unwarranted or decide I'm going to keep moving anyway. I want to be fearless. There is no joy in hiding anymore.