I wrote this a while back and thought I’d share it again…
Wow, change is sometimes not easy sometimes.
I had to have some challenging communication with a few friends over the past few days after realizing some ways I was staying in some unhealthy patterns that I felt do not serve me now. It really felt freeing to get my part of the communication out and to move forward. Just after one such “communication”, I read Peter Ragner’s comments below and I really agree with what he says that there is a “peace that’s comes from being okay with the changes and challenges we face”. For me, it’s allowing my growth (change) to occur as it does and not beat myself up along the way even if my lesson took a decade or so.
“Without change, no life can exist.”
Everything that you can cast the light of your eye upon is in flux. This includes your emotions, your thoughts, and your physical body. While we want to be comfortable and safe, we must face unpredictability. It’s really what gives life its zest. Living life is about living outside your comfort zone. That’s where all the action is!
“Peace comes from being okay with the changes and challenges we face in life.”
Every day we’ll be faced with something new and different, requiring that we often make tough decisions about situations. It’s very difficult to make those decisions when we feel we’ve got to be in control of the outcome or we suffer with some perfectionist hang-up. To accept that things change is to understand the nature of life. Change and impermanence are simply the nature of the things we all experience.
What makes you think that the future is going to be any different than today? Oh, certainly, conditions may be different, but if your mental makeup is the same, your emotional response will be the same. Once you accept and are okay with change and impermanence, realize security is an illusion, and grasp that perfect conditions will never exist in your life, you enter into a state of joyous awareness.
“Serenity is found in accepting what is before you in this moment.”
Remember, things will always change for better or worse, and it’s your demanding or acceptance that makes a world of difference. Change the things you can change and forget the things you can’t. No one expects you to be perfect; if they do, have compassion on their suffering souls. Only the deluded command that the tides no longer rise upon the shore and the winds no longer blow.
So, what should you do with discomfort? Accept it, knowing that this too shall pass!
Reflections from Turtle Lake,
A few more ideas from Ester & Jerry Hicks books.
Like lot’s of their work, Its a daily practice. When we focus on what we don’t want or like in any relationship or try to “fix” our partners or point out our partners areas for improvement, we actually are creating more distance towards what we do want in a relationship. We have to focus on the positives in our relationships, while still desiring or asking for, in a positive way, what we want additionally in our relationships. A challenging balance! The positive/negative bank account works the same in relationships!
Read something recently that really got me thinking about how most of us deal with problems. The Law of Attraction says what you focus on and the vibration or energy you create with that focus creates what we experience. So it seems most people are constantly talking about their problems. This doesn’t work, I wish my partner would be more like this, I don’t have enough money, I hate my job, ect, ect. I have gotten this in the past, but have learned from their message how it really can affect all aspects of of our life’s or all forms of abundance – health, money, and relationships.
What also became clearer is my personal part of a relationship. Lets take a friendship; a friend comes to me and says all his problems. Hicks’ says every moment we talk about his problems or me giving attention to his problems (thinking about them afterwards as well as during chat) is a moment further away from helping him and he helping himself. Their thinking is “there is no reason to deliberately stir up problems in order to stir up solutions”. Until you change the focus to thinking (and the new vibration/energy it creates) about the solution or what you desire, no change will occur. They also suggest my energies, as the listener, can be affected by this situation if I focus on the problems of my friend. Have you ever felt drained after listening to a friend or family member dump a problem(s) on you? How is your energy after that? How positive are you after that? Pay attention if that “negativity” last for a while in you or builds in your day? They say “Looking for the positive aspects and expecting good outcomes for your friends is the only way you can be of value to them, for there is no action that you can offer that is strong enough to buck your current of negative attention.”
Said another way I like “Nothing good ever comes from focusing in opposition to what you desire. It is detrimental to you and to whomever you draw into your negative conversation”………So, this is a much stronger reminder of my responsibility than I have thought about in the past. I have certainly felt drained from negative talk with a friend in the past and in the last few years have been playing with a “anti dumping strategy” in communication. I’ll give a person 5 minutes to dump, but no more unless we set up a specific time so I can be “prepared” to listen to the story. I’m doing this more often these days and sometimes its hard because I can feel not very compassionate or selfish. This reminder info has me thinking that this is part of the “why” I do not want to get caught up in these conversations too often as not focusing on the solution will not bring about the desired outcome. SO simple, get out of our old patterns and ways of communicating and focus on solutions!
Here are a few quotes from the book “Vortex” by Ester and Jerry Hicks. I have always liked their writings as their message is really pretty simple. So simple that they usually say the same thing over and over again in different ways and stories. A really good way to integrate their work.
“..the only way you can get rid of the things you don’t want is to give attention to the things you do want”
So simple and powerful to shift the focus. It’s so easy to fall in the trap of to keep thinking about the “negative” or things you don’t want. It seems we have a culture in the west of lack and a good dose of entitlement, I need this, I need that. But, its fine to want or need, but to do so from lack will not bring you those things.
I believe we actually have this “abundance bank account” that will be positive or negative depending on our positive or negative thoughts, feelings and actions. You can not attract things you want if for every positive thought or desire is offset with a negative thought or belief. Just like 1-1=0! Also, focusing on what you don’t have is the same thing as a negative thought as your putting out the energy of lack. This can be really hard as to align with the law of attraction as in practice as the Hicks say:
“you have to think the thought (of what you want) until it becomes reality, you must think it before you see it”.
What I have noticed is that people don’t understand this and/or have a challenge in creating the discipline to retain their thinking in this way. Also, I have noticed there is a patience one needs to have when working with this law, especially at first. Some people can actually have a negative “bank account” built up that may take some time to convert to positive (with more positive thoughts and actions). This can led to frustration and disbelief, which of course, fuels the negative side of the “bank account” again. However, with some patience you will get over the “negative” savings account and you will find the things you desire coming to you faster and faster. It’s cool to see you have way more power than you think!
This is from one of my favorite author’s, Stuart Wilde. I thought it was a good reminder.
“Trying to win people over and hoping the world will accept you for your wonderfulness is futile and weak. It destroys your real power; the stress of it can make you ill. Even if you get what you want, it rarely lasts. Today’s success becomes tomorrow’s rejection. Leaning psychologically is a fault; it undermines what you are. Gradually you become a manifestation of other people’s reality – subject, of course, to all their fickle whims, moods, and power trips. By accommodating the ego in this way, you drift from the real spiritual you that dwells within – which is contained and solid – to a fake you that is brittle, self indulgent, and powerless.
You can tell people how marvelous you are, and a hundred others can sing your praises and pump your worth, but that is all PR and hype. In the end, you’re the only worth the etheric feeling you exude; everything else is illusion and dysfunction.
If you want to be accepted, accept yourself. If you want to be acknowledge, acknowledge yourself. Simple.”
Meditation has moved to a more “normal” thing theses days. Lot’s of people do it, it benefits are well know, there are multiple ways to learn and practice with a myriad of books, classes and apps. When I learned nearly 30 years ago this wasn’t the case, I certainly was teased for do it sometimes or had quizzical looks when I shared that I was a meditator. Of course, I did the same thing to the friend (thanks, Greg!) that recommended it to me until a few months later I finally decided to try it. Although I had a good very “feeling” first meditation that kept me wanting to continue to practice it everyday at the beginning, many people struggle these days starting and keeping a practice going.
I won’t mentioned all the physical and health benefits because you probably have heard them all. If not, a quick search reveals a pretty impressive list of them. For me, less stress and more energy are my favorites. I practice in the morning and when I finish I almost always have more energy and feel clearer mentally than when I started. Another powerful skill that comes with the practice is learning how to let your thoughts “go”. Most mediation practices involve following a mantra, your breath, someone else’s voice (guided) or just being aware of your senses and thoughts (mindfulness). The practice of all of them is essentially the same as whichever you choose as while meditating you will have thoughts and other senses come up that you will have to practice letting go of and returning to the meditation practice. This happens over and over and acutally never stops. I still today get caught up thinking about something and sometimes catch myself after minutes of thought. I have learned that this is the practice, just when I catch myself go back to the meditation practice. I guess that’s why is a practice, right?
Being able to watch your thoughts and not hold onto them so tight is a helpful skill. We can all get so caught up in our thoughts, especially negative ones that can really take over how we are feeling. I think it’s impossible for anyone to control their thoughts or keep certain ones from coming. Like the mind game, don’t think of a white horse. Pretty hard not too, right? But, wouldn’t it be great to have a bit more control on how long the negative or distracting ones stay around? How about changing a negative thought to a positive one? That would definitely led to less stress.
To me, its amazing how much time we focus on training our bodies to be strong, more flexible, eat better, look better and spend so little, if any, time “training” our minds. In away, you could make a case that our physical focus is really backwards. I feel most stresses and many illnesses come from the negative thoughts we repeat over and over to ourselves. Think a a negative story you have been repeating in your mind. How many times have you thought it and for how long? Minutes, days, years, decades? That has an impact. That negativity goes into the body, just like a knot you have in a muscle that you can feel. So, it almost makes more sense to make mind “training” more of a priority.
Certainly meditation won’t solve all one’s problems and talking about mind training is not what typically comes up in discussion of meditation. I just wanted to offer another way of looking at mediation and have it be another reason to give it a try now. These days its pretty easy to try different ones. A lot of people use apps on the phone like headspace, which seems real easy. Other sources such as Deepak Chopa’s series, 10% happier and Waking up apps mix in discussions and lot’s of good information about meditation. If you are new to meditation try a few and see how they feel for you. Download some or head to a book store. If you want to start right now. Take a few minutes and just breathe. Close your eyes and take a big, deep, long inhale and kind of follow/visualize your breath coming through your nose and then staring to feel your belly filling up and going up into your chest and then the reverse with a long relaxed exhale. If you have time, do it for 5 minutes. If not, take three breaths like this. When you get sidetracked with thoughts, just breathe again. That is meditation, simple and no technology needed!
Remember to not be discouraged if you don’t “feel” something right away. The important part is to keep practicing. I would also offer not to worry about how long you practice, just do something as close to daily as you can. Most people find mornings best, though I practiced after work for many years and found it was a great reset for my evening. Meditation is often subtle and feeling different or its benefits may take some time, just as a physical training goal might take. Both take a bit of effort, but well worth it.
Okay, Eckhart Tolle style can take some getting used to, but I find when I listen to him, I seem to always learn something. I have his “A New Earth” book on CD and I listen to it once a year or so. Every time I hear something “new”. Sometimes, I swear to myself, he never said that before……
Below is a 3 minute video on him talking about abundance and I just love when he suggests that “there is no abundance without the feeling of abundance”. A pretty simple concept, but to me, profound. In each moment, I can chose to feel abundance in some way or another and it just is there. When I think of some reason not to feel abundant, which is ongoing, my practice is to just go back to the feeling of some abundance I have now and peace and happiness just are there like they never left, which of course, they didn’t, I kinda just changed the channel with my thinking.
Kind of easy to see the differences in people’s happiness around us today….
“You may think people are unhappy because of their circumstances and the fact that the world is full of trouble. But in fact, the world is full of trouble because the people are not happy. Happy people are kind to and respectful of others, while unhappy people are abusive to both themselves and others, and, either way, this affects the world around them. How we feel effects what we think and believe, our actions, and every action has a reaction.”
I have a book called “Five good minutes with the one you love” (Brantley & Millstine). I like its format of “100 short practices to deepen & renew your love everyday” put in a very simple and easy way. They give a short description of a topic regarding relationships and then give some suggested steps towards improving and/or renewing it. I have read and played with a few of them and find they can be used in most of our relationships. So far, from the ones I have read, the common theme I see is to be mindful or present with who you are with. Basic, right?
However, this is easier said than done. For example, how many of you while on the phone are practicing multi tasking? While talking, are your checking emails, organizing, cleaning the house, driving or making something in the kitchen? How about the classic of talking to someone and at the same time looking who’s on Facebook or Skype to talk/chat with? How about talking face to face (novel, I know) and your still not completely there; thinking about your to do list, bored, frustrated with the topic or formulating a response before completely “hearing” theirs?
Are we really listening while we are multi tasking or carrying on 3 conversations at once? Are we sometimes craving to be heard at a deeper level, but do not fully listen ourselves? Could we learn more about someone by listening closer?
Their practice on this subject, number 35, is titled “affectionate listening”.
They offer – How often is your attention elsewhere when your partner is speaking?
A deeper connection and more joy are close at hand when you replace inattention with affectionate listening.
They give these steps to practice:
1. When your partner is speaking to you, notice where your attention is. Notice also any feelings of impatience or mental “stories” that may be going through your head. Acknowledge them and let them go.
2. Take a moment to breath mindfully for a few breaths.
3. Set your intention. For example: “May I be more present for him”
4. As he speaks to you, focus mindfully on the sounds. Notice tone, pace, and volume, as well as meaning.
5. Look more closely at him. If you are on a phone, close your eyes and picture him.
6. As you listen, let gentle feelings of warmth and affection flow within you.
7. Let attention and affection guide your own words in response.
I like this practice as it brings us back to connection, being present with someone. I think if we were more present, that phone call might not need to last as long so you would not feel like filling the “space” doing something else at the same time. Of course, if you not able to be present in the moment or only have a certain amount of time to be present, communicating that to someone is just as important. For me, this builds relationships in a clear, conscious way.