Only Words

After seeing the January 6th insurrection at the nation’s capitol, many of the platitudes given to words in our society, such as “walk your talk” and “actions speak louder than words,” were borne out in living color. The rhetoric we’ve heard from both political parties, special interest groups, the media and even our own friends and relatives over the past year became more palpable during those tense hours. Words have energy. They have the power to build people up or bring them down. Tony Robbins, a well-known motivational speaker stated:

“Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.” And so it is.

Masau Emoto, a Japanese researcher, wrote a book called, “The Hidden Messages in Water.” Using high-speed photography, he demonstrated that our thoughts, words and feelings influence molecules of water. When concentrated thoughts are directed to them, they respond by changing their forms. Positive, loving thoughts result in symmetrical patterns. Negative thoughts directed to the molecules result in asymmetrical and chaotic patterns. Some scientists believe that the human body is comprised of 60-70% water. Science shows us there is a strong mind-body connection–our bodies respond to the ways we think, feel and act. When we choose words or thoughts that are negative, they affect the water in our bodies in the same way that Masau Emoto discovered in his laboratory. We need to choose words carefully. The words we choose shape how we view ourselves…and the most valuable words in the world are the ones we direct towards ourselves.

It is what it is

How often have you used this phrase? When have you used it? Have you said it when you’ve felt helpless, that nothing more could be done or as a way of accepting someone’s apology? This phrase cannot be attributed to anyone; however, the phrase first appeared in a column written by J.E. Lawrence in the Nebraska State Journal in 1949: “New land is harsh, and vigorous and sturdy. It scorns evidence of weakness. There is nothing or sham or hypocrisy in it. It is what it is, without an apology.”

I’ve found myself shying away from using it because it seems to simplify what could be complex–almost as if using it as an excuse, rather than digging deeper into causality. However, if you can see events and circumstances as simply what they are, without adding any interpretation, the phrase speaks truth.

Things happen all around us, all the time. If we care about what happens, we put our own tone to it; for instance, when someone dies, it is a fact. The circumstances around that death and the impact that death has on us, others and the community is dependent upon our interpretation, our beliefs and values. When we see injustice, violence or catastrophes that we recognize, we may interpret these events in ways that make us angry, anxious, depressed or remorseful. Yet, there are other cases when these things happen and we do not react to them. Why is that?

In the Course in Miracles, the book speaks to us about the “stories” we create about events around us. Those “stories” are the result of our experiences, beliefs, values and worldview. It is important to realize, however, that we have a choice on how to react to the events around us. We can see those events as facts, without emotion or judgment attached to them. Events themselves do not have inherent meanings. We can see an event “as it is” –that it happened. When we think something shouldn’t be as it is, we suffer. Scientists suggest that each of us has about 60,000 thoughts a day and that 95% of them are repetitive from previous days. They also suggest that 80% of those thoughts are negative. Those statistics are staggering and of course, we cannot stop all of those thoughts; however, we can make an intention to catch ourselves when we start interpreting an event. We can ask ourselves why we have interpreted an event in the way we have. Are there other ways of looking at it? Can we accept the event for what it is? We always have choices on how we think about and respond to life’s experiences. We can choose peaceful thoughts instead of suffering. The choice, always, is ours to make.

Having a Bad Day?

We all have them. You may start out the day with the blahs or maybe you start out and hit the ground running. But sometime during the day, you find that you are lagging and hopping from one thing to another to help you feel better. You may reach for: the TV remote; your phone to check texts or e-mails; a bag of Cheetos or for those chocolate Easter eggs you saved for Easter baskets for your children or grandchildren (NOT!). But, after you do that, you find you are still out-of-sorts and yes, maybe even a little depressed.

The good news is that you are AWARE of your emotions. You know that something is not quite right. You also are conflicted on what it will take to help you feel better. But, you want to change the way your are feeling–you want to TAKE ACTION. CONGRATULATIONS! But what is the right action to take?

There is something you can do that you have access to right now…and it’s easy. Stay with me. It is BREATHING. It’s not simply what you are doing while you are reading this, it is more intentional than that. What you need to do is slow down those out-of-control thoughts running circles around in your head. There is no better way to do it than by controlling your breath. When your mind is focused upon Intentional Breathing, it cannot think of anything else. When you are doing Intentional Breathing, you are also grounding your energy (and we are full of energy)!

Here are some Intentional Breathing options for you:

Miracle Moment (From Your Year of Miracles Training Program)

  • Take a breath in and exhale making the expansive sound…aah. Continue making the sound of aah for about 10 seconds.
  • Imagine a channel, a tube of energy, coming right down through your body like a waterfall.
  • Take another breath in and exhale making the sound of ooh. Continue making the sound of ooh for about 10 seconds. This channels the energy down through your body.
  • Take a breath in and exhale the sound of mmm for about 10 seconds. As you make the sound of mmm, feel the vibration in your mouth and in the back of your throat. This anchors the energy.

Maybe you can feel your spine or the base of your skull vibrating. That’s you starting to ground more in your body.

4×4 Breath Practice (From the book, Discover the Gift)

  • Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down
  • Keep your back straight
  • Take four deep breaths
  • Count to 4 as you inhale through your nose
  • Count to 4 as you hold your breath
  • Count to 4 as you exhale through your mouth

Straw Breathing

Pretend you are breathing through a straw:

  • Inhale through the straw for 6 breaths
  • Pause
  • Exhale out through the straw for 6 breaths

Continue doing this until you feel peaceful or grounded.

Also, please refer to the Meditations page on this website for more exercises you can do.

Miracles are All Around Us

When growing up, I remember anticipating the monthly edition of Reader’s Digest so that I could read the True Story that was featured. The plot was usually painful, but the ending was stunning because it resulted in a miracle. Growing up, did you believe in miracles? Did any happen to you? Or were they just things that happened to other people?

We talked about gratitude–that it’s important to have an attitude of gratitude because it opens up our eyes to what is really amazing in our lives. That focused or intentional vision spots the miracles for us. What is a miracle? Merriam-Webster defines it as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.” I beg to differ. It does not need to be extraordinary. It can be something small, like finding your favorite pen that has been missing for a long time or something big, like a long-lost childhood friend contacting you out-of-the-blue. When a miracle happens for you, it is important to write it down before you forget it. Keep the list handy. When you look at your growing list, you will be astonished to find out how many miracles there have been in your life–and that they are happening to you and all around you perpetually. We live our lives moment-to-moment. Be in the moment. Breathe in possibility and breathe out doubt. Now, see your life with new eyes–it’s the view from your soul.

A Brand New Year

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is just around the corner. I know that we all are hopeful that 2021 will be very different from 2020. Of course, just like any year, we may put together our New Years Resolutions and have good intentions to follow through with them. It is generally believed that we leave our resolutions behind by February. Why is that? Is it because we weren’t really committed to them, anyways?

I just received a ritual that is far different than ones I’ve seen in the past. It was created by Marci Shimoff, Dr. Sue Morter and Lisa Garr who host the Your Year of Miracles yearlong workshop. I believe that you will find it stimulating and thought-provoking as well, so I wanted to share it with you:

CEREMONY

  1. On New Year’s Day (or anytime in the first few days of the year), take out a piece of paper and write a list of everything that you want to let go of from 2020. These can include habits, behaviors, limiting beliefs, fears, physical conditions, feelings of resentment, conflicts, or thoughts that don’t serve you.
  2. Then thank all those items on that list for having been with you and for all the lessons learned and ways you grew from them.
  3. Next make a clear statement of letting go such as: “I now let go of all these things and anything else that no longer serves me and my miraculous life as I step into a glorious 2021.”
  4. Then gather around a fire in a fireplace and throw the paper in to be burned. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can CAREFULLY burn it in a large stainless steel bowl.
  5. Then speak out loud everything you’re grateful for from the past year — the joys, celebrations, accomplishments, lessons learned, and “growth” experiences. Offer those into the fire to be amplified.
  6. And now it’s time to call in what you’d like to bring forward in 2021—so speak out loud everything that you welcome into your vision of the New Year—the intentions, beliefs, behaviors, relationships and everything else that you will embrace. Offer those into the fire to ignite the new.

I hope that you will find a sense of peace and are grounded in knowing that the past is just the road you left behind. Happy New Year!

Knowing

Tonight is Election Night. We’ve been watching in eager anticipation and, as some results come in, we may feel disappointment is just around the corner. When we wake up in the morning, disappointment may be replaced by desperation. But, we are the same person we were yesterday…and the day before…and the day before that. Nothing that happens around us can change the sense of who we are, unless we let it. All that we hold dear…is still here. Our hopes and dreams–they haven’t left us. We know that whatever we are faced with, we can stay true to ourselves and not only survive, we can thrive. Our job is to look past what is happening in the moment and seek out that wisdom of who we really are. That wisdom is in all of us and is the foundation of our very nature. It won’t give up on us and in fact, will quietly turn to face new challenges and transform our perspective of what is. It will prepare us for the new journey ahead so that we can face it with eyes…and hearts…wide open.

Suffering

By now, most of us have lived with the ominous presence of Corona-19 in our lives for for at least four months. Living with all the uncertainty has become commonplace, but have you made peace with it yet or do you find yourself denying or wanting to ignore the impacts the pandemic is having on the economy, health and the routines we’ve all created in our lives? Our negative thoughts and emotions cause us to suffer. The Dalai Lama stated in his book, An Open Heart, “As long as we are under their control, our very existence is a form of suffering.” He goes on to state that this form of suffering is not easily recognized, because it is so pervasive. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle, states “Unease, anxiety, tenson, stress. worry–all forms of fear–are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence.” Eckhart continues, “Most people find it difficult to believe that a state of consciousness totally free of all negativity is possible.” But how do we get to that state?

In her book, Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff addresses the attachment we seem to have to negativity–how we are “constantly reinforcing the belief of our being attached to our thoughts and feelings.” She introduces the Sedona Method, which is based upon two premises: that thoughts and feelings aren’t facts and they’re not you AND you can let them go. Here’s an exercise she discusses in her book:

Step 1. Focus upon the issue or situation you’d like to feel better about and notice how you feeling when thinking about it.

Step 2. Ask yourself if you can let the feeling go. Either “yes” or “no” are acceptable.

Step 3. Ask yourself if you are willing to let the feeling go. If you say, “no,” then ask yourself if you would rather hold onto the feeling or feel the freedom of letting it go.

Step 4. Ask yourself, “When?” You can choose to let it go anytime you choose. When is the right time to let it go? When will you no longer define yourself by it?

Step 5. Repeat the four steps as often as you need to ultimately feel free of that feeling. You may find that you have layers that have to be pealed away in order to finally have that burden disappear from your shoulders.

Namaste.

Resilience

Just when our anxiety about Covid-19 may have started feeling manageable, another unforeseen and earth-shattering event happened–the senseless murder of a black man at the hands of four Minneapolis officers. If that wasn’t disconcerting enough, his murder became the catalyst for demonstrations and riots in cities throughout the world. These riots resulted in destroying the livelihoods and cultural landmarks of the people already harmed through systemic racism. It was troubling and scary for days when random acts of violence erupted in cities within a few to thousands of miles away from the scene of the crime. It seems like once again, we are facing an upheaval in our way of life.

Ihaleakala Hew Len, a therapist in Hawaii, worked for four years at a mental hospital with patients that were extremely dangerous and many were criminally insane. Staff turnover was high due to the violent environment. Without seeing a single patient, he reviewed patient files and “cleaned” himself, using Ho’oponopono. After a few months, patients that had been shackled could walk freely; heavily medicated patients were getting off their medications and patients were released. Staff returned and after four years, the ward was closed. Dr. Len said the secret was “simply healing the part of me that created them.”

Ho’oponopono helps heal negative feelings and reactions that are in you as well as others. This practice may help you cope with these challenges.

Here’s how to practice it:

Think about someone or situation that you need to forgive. Close your eyes and put your attention on your heart. Repeat these four phrases until you feel a shift in how you feel about that person or the situation.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

I love you.

Random Thoughts

It is suggested that our mind thinks 60,000-80,000 thoughts day and that about 80% of those thoughts are negative. There are continual tapes going through our minds—some of those loops can be damaging to us. Those “I’m not good enough; I’ll never have enough; nobody understands me, etc.” Those thoughts are habitual and are the results of our experience and beliefs and they have a significant impact on self-esteem.

According to Wayne Dyer in Excuses Begone:  “old habits of thinking stick around, often for an entire lifetime, largely because you create internal reasons to reinforce and maintain them.” Don’t believe everything you think. Your thoughts have created neuropathways–freeways–but those neuropathways can be changed through intention. Be aware of what you are thinking and ask yourself, “Is it true? Where did that belief come from? Do I believe it now?”

Seren Kierkegaard, the famous theologist, stated, “Once you label me, you negate me.” If you want to change a thought or your own label, you can do that by observing what comes to mind and deciding how you want to change it. For instance, I have a problem with people’s names. I commonly use the excuse that, “I am not good with people’s names,” and as a result, I usually don’t actively engage in creating triggers, associations etc. that will help remind me. Triggers such as the person’s name rhyming with something else, associating the person’s name with someone famous …

Even though it seems like our minds are on automatic pilot, we can change that. Decide that you want to act on thoughts more intentionally and be discerning about the ones you believe. Pay special attention to those thoughts that are repetitive. Evaluate them by asking, “is it true? Where did that belief come from? and Do I believe it now?” Write those repetitive thoughts down. Make it your intention to create a new belief about yourself and surround yourself with resources and people that reinforce that belief. Once you get into the habit of doing this, your thoughts…and your life…will be on a new path.

Connecting with Your Inner Wisdom

We came into this world with a deep sense of who we are and why we are here. Over the years, layer upon layer of social mores–the “shoulds” of our lives–have covered up that ancient wisdom. That knowing is not gone, however. We can still connect with it…if we have the right tools. In earlier blogs, I’ve mentioned meditation, mindfulness, grounding and expressing gratitude as a few of them. Another one is using a pendulum for guidance. A pendulum is simply a crystal that is attached to a string or a chain. You can find a pendulum in a rock, book or gift shop or any place that draws you to find it. When looking at an assortment of pendulums, you will be captivated by one of them. That’s the one you should buy. You can also make your own at home. According to Richard Webster, author of Pendulum Magic for Beginners, “the pendulum should weigh about 3 ounces and be round in shape, with a point at the bottom… with just a few minutes of practice, anyone can use it.” You can ask the pendulum questions and it will read your energy and provide an answer for you by the way it moves. It simply helps interpret your unconscious thoughts and brings them forward to you, so that you can become aware of the answer–that inner knowing. As with any tool, practice makes perfect. As you learn to use more tools, you will find that your world expands exponentially and more tools will show up for you. That’s the Law of Attraction at work, once again.