Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

Follow the Joy

Written by Kate • June 1, 2012 •
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O Be Joyful

Image Thanks To CameliaTWU

It seems like such a simple thing to do: “Follow the Joy”. Do what you makes you feel an abundant sense of peace, joy, well-being. But what if the joy you feel is caused by something you were taught was wrong, or impractical, or just “not done”.  What if your Joy is telling you to quit your job and back pack around Europe? What if your Joy is telling you to stop staying out late and start doing yoga at dawn each day? It’s easy to think that you’re the one who is willing to follow your Joy right up until your sense of Joy tells you to do something that feels inconvenient and scary. “Quit my job? How will I live?” “Stop staying out late? What about my friends and my community? No one I know does yoga or gets up at dawn”?

The down side to not following your Joy:

  1. Less joy. By allowing your beliefs about what is right and what is “allowable”, or by worrying about what “they” might think get in your way of following your Joy, you ignore what makes you happy and you do something else instead.
  2. Lessened ability to know what brings you joy. When you start to consistent ignore your internal guidance system about what brings you joy and you instead do the acceptable and practical thing, you become less able to hear the system and it becomes harder and harder to know what it is that feeds your soul.
  3. Numbness and despair. After years of ignoring your Joy, you end up in numb and in despair. Mid life crisis, anyone? And then you have to peel back the years and the layers of practical and fear to find that small, nearly silenced voice that is your Joy.

But why not bypass the typical approach to live and avoid your mid- life crisis and years of numbness and despair. Follow your Joy, no matter how impractical it may be.

The up side to following your Joy

  1. Increased confidence to follow your Joy. The more you’re willing to risk following your joy, the more you’ll able to do to follow it. You’ll see that although it may have appeared impractical to your mind’s eye, following your Joy actually makes a lot of sense to your life. And in a virtuous cycle, it just gets better and easier.
  2. Synchronicity. More joy. More confidence. More things clicking. You will become “lucky”. Things will go your way. You’ll start getting the right resource at the right time.
  3. Rich and happy life. As you build your confidence and momentum, life get happier and your life is full of rich content that feeds your soul.

So skip the mess. Have the courage to follow your Joy now.  Show others the way.


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Give up complaining

Written by Kate • May 23, 2012 •
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Stop Complaining

Image Thanks to ATurkus

I know most people complain, it feels so good to do it sometimes. And there are a rare few who take it to such a level that it becomes an art form such that it is akin to entertainment to hear the way they complain.  It can be fun to witness this level of complaining.

And sometimes it’s painful to see how much complaining takes up a person’s life. It’s like they’ve resigned themselves to permanent victim status. I’ve heard from others so often variations on the following statements: “This other person did this so I had to respond in this way [meaning normally I wouldn’t be stoop this low but the other person’s behavior forced me to]. ” Or “‘Can you believe the other person acted in this way [meaning I know how others should act at all times and it’s the way I see the world]. Or “This situation happened to me and it’s not fair [meaning I have so little power over my life I react to these situations rather than accept what is].

Don’t get me wrong. It’s easy to see in others where and how they complain too much. It’s far more difficult to catch yourself in your chronic litany of “they done me wrong”. I have been guilty of complaining as much the next person. But several years ago, I gave up complaining for long periods of time [with varying success]. I’m happy to report that my desire to complain lessens the more I practice the art of giving up complaining. Complaining focuses your attention on people and matters external to yourself and keeps you focused on what is happening to you, rather than what you can do in your life and in the world.  It’s an incredibly corrosive attitude that can keep you stuck in victimhood and powerlessness.

The following are some reasons why you should give up complaining and some common situations you may find yourself in once you’ve committed to giving it up.

First though, as in all things, don’t expect complete transformation one day to the next. We are biologically wired to continue our habits and it’ll be some time before you’re able to change any habit. So consider a 30 day trial and notice how often you complain during those 30 days. And then, at the end of the 30 days, start adding in one hour per day that you’re complaint free [in addition to all the time you sleep – which can’t count! 😉 ].

Complaining Gives Your Power Away

When you complain about something someone else does or something that has happened to you, you’ve given your power away over how much you can influence people and events in your life and  how you want to act. If you can imagine the difference between being someone who takes the temperature of a room and someone who sets the temperature of room, you can start to see who you’ve given your power away.  If you’re the thermometer, then you’re the person reacting to whether or not the room is hot or cold. When you’re the thermostat, you set the temperature of the room.  So if someone is doing something else you don’t like, you don’t let them shift your sense of self or sense of peace.

By being the person who remains unaffected by bad or boorish behavior on others’ parts, you can rest in your own centeredness. For example, imagine the Dalai Lama and how he reacts. He has been accused of terrible things by the Chinese government and he continues to pray for that country. His sense of self, his sense of right is not being altered because of external situations or circumstances.

Complaining Focuses Your Attention On One Moment In Time

By complaining over situations or another person’s behavior, you are focusing all your attention on one moment in time- without allowing for the broader sense of time and space. So someone was unbelievably rude to you or a circumstance is entirely unfair- and then you complain about it and you focus on how bad the situation was. Well, that situation happened and now it’s over. Yet you’re continuing to give all your attention to a situation that, if you allowed it to drop, would be over and forgotten. No need to keep dredging up one moment and time and keep it with you as you continue to feed it your attention and focus.

Instead, you can acknowledge it happened and that it kinda sucked or that you didn’t like what happened to you or label it unpleasant. And then drop the situation, your anger, your sense of what “should have happened”, and move on. It’s over and now you can focus again on the situations and people that you choose to spend your attention on.

Complaining About Someone Else Means You’re Deciding How Everyone Else Should Act

It certainly is easy to hold everyone else to the highest bar and expect them to act in the way you think is best. This is how other’s should be be. This is clearly how the situation should be. They shouldn’t act this way.  But what you’re really saying is that you expect people to act in the way you think they should act, in all situations, in a way that is beneficial to you.  Which is hoohaw, as you well know. But it’s hard to drop the satisfaction you get when you “know” you’re right and the other person is wrong. Here’s the truth: if your advice is so great, you follow it first. You be the person who acts correctly in all situations, who doesn’t let tiredness, or fear, or insecurities swamp them from time to time. You be the person who puts acts in the “right” way every time.

Instead, be the change you want to see in the world. Be the one who allows others to act in the way they need to act, even it you disagree with the manner in which they do it.  Focus instead on how you’re interacting with others, the joy and the sorrow you bring to the world, and how you make the world a better [or worse] place. You can only change yourself.

Common Situations You Find Yourself In Once You’ve Given Up Complaining

Someone else complains all the time

Once you’ve decided to give up complaining, you’ll unfortunately notice in even more in others around you. This is to be expected, normal, and frustrating! But just because you’re become aware of how complaining doesn’t help and in fact hurts you doesn’t mean others realize this. For them, complaining still feels right or good. So meet others where they are on their path. And if their complaining gets extensive, don’t be afraid to change the subject or to remove yourself from the situation.  After a while, sometimes longer than we’d like, others will notice that complaining around you doesn’t work anymore and you’ll find others doing it less and less.

You just want to complain about this one little thing- it’s so justified.

Sometimes you’ve been so wronged or you’re so tired that you feel like this one time that complaining is totally justified and appropriate.  The fact is that you may have been utterly wronged but complaining about it doesn’t change that fact. Complaining about it gives your power away. Instead you can think, discuss, mull over the situation and respond to it. Discussing a situation and how you’ll respond to it is not complaining.

You’ll know you’ve slipped back into complaining when you move from discussing a situation about how you’re going to react to focusing on the actions of the other person or the situation and getting into a sense of I’m right and the other person/situation is wrong.

Try It!

Giving up complaining is a worthwhile effort that takes patience and mindfulness. The rewards are a stronger sense of self and an increased ability to respond to any situation you find yourself in.  Try for it for 30 days and see!



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Set the Bar Low -and Win!

Written by Kate • April 24, 2012 •
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Image thanks to Marsmet544

I know that common wisdom, or what is thought as common wisdom, recommends that we set the bar for what we want to achieve extremely high and then proceed to go for it.  In one way, this is exactly right. In another, this is exactly wrong. Lemme ‘esplain.

Set the Bar High- Shoot for the Moon

It’s true that setting the bar high, shooting for the moon, going for it are all good. In fact, this type of goal is inspiring and stirring to the soul. It’s highly motivating. It engages the spirit and gives you the will to act on this goal, despite our innate aversion to change.

What’s Your Path?

The problem with setting the bar high is that there are often hundreds and hundreds of steps between here and that goal.  And without having an understanding of the path, without a clear sense of the way forward, without envisioning what happens when you have a setback and how you power through it, without mini goals along the way, your ability to achieve your awesome goal becomes compromised. Your short term self wants to abandon your long term future for a little comfort now. And then one day, when you’re at your lowest ebb or that voice that says “I don’t feel like” is particularly strong, you give up on your goal.

No Can Do

Do this often enough and you start to lose faith in your ability to follow through on your dreams, your goals, and your word.

Set the Bar Low

The way to get out of the “no can do” mindset is to set the bar low. This helps you get some wins under your belt  and gives you faith again in yourself and your ability to follow through. So set an easy to achieve goal and along with it, create brain dead simple steps on the path to achieving this easy goal. Know your path. Envision a setback and how you’ll respond to it. And then acknowledge and celebrate when you’ve achieved that goal.  This creates a new habit of winning and of following through on your word.

Keep at these easier, do-able goals and build on your new habit and confidence. But go slowly and don’t shoot for the moon until you’re really comfortable with your ability to understand what it is that you want, how to create the path to get there, and the unshakable belief that you will get there.

Become someone who can do what you set out to do, in your own mind, the only place that matters.

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Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned about Making Changes

Written by Kate • December 27, 2011 •
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Northern Lights

Northern Lights

For the first time, I’m reviewing the past year of my life with an eye towards what worked more than what didn’t work.  In the past, if I was inclined to consider how my year went, I usually went through the motions of a hasty review of the past year about what I still hadn’t been able to accomplish without ever looking at all the great things I was able to accomplish.  Harsh recriminations followed by militant new rules for the following year used to result in New Year’s Resolutions.

Although I have long ago given up on New Year Resolutions, harshly reviewing my failings and ignoring my successes was my M.O. for far too long.

This year, as I’ll post about on Friday, I am reviewing my year more to celebrate my strengths and to jettison unhelpful or unprofitable actions and attitudes. I’m using Chris Guillebeau’s Annual Review post as a general guide. It’s a kinder and more productive way to generate real, positive change and to feel great in the process.

And in case you’re still into the harsh, shaming, recriminations-type annual review mode that seems to be pervasive in our culture, I wanted to give you my top 5 lessons on what I’ve learned about making changes. so you can put down your weapons against yourself to take a real look at all you’ve done.

Take away message: start really small and celebrate your successes.

The top 5 lessons I’ve learned about implementing a change to my behavior are as follows:

1.  Too much too soon equals failure. Or said in another way, start with small, achievable goals that seem ridiculously easy to achieve. By starting small, with easy to achieve goals, you can start to accomplish bite size pieces of success. These little steps forward begin to rebuild your trust in yourself and to show it can be done without killing yourself and or making you totally miserable in the process.  To help explain this, I’m going to use weight loss since it involves easy to measure yardsticks for momentum and success.

Let’s say the goal is lose 70 pounds. You’ve been trying to lose 40, then 50, then 60 pounds, and now 70 pounds for as long as you can remember. You’re always on a diet.  And it feels like it’s just getting harder.   [If you’re in the mental place of DIET OR ELSE, PLEASE find another book or approach or mentor to help you put down the diet and pick up the fun and pleasure as a means to slim down.]  There are a lot of really great self help books and programs out there to help you with your mindset and this post isn’t trying to teach you how to diet.

But as an example -in the past 10 years, you’ve set yourself a goal to try to lose between 8 and 12 or more pounds per month so that the weight could be gone now now now! You’ve chosen at least 8 pounds, because that’s what the experts say is the healthy range, even though this means a huge drop in calories and a huge daily change for you. As a result of the loss of pleasure and the increasing sense of deprivation in your life, you’ve been unable to maintain such a huge change in your daily eating habits; you’ve thrown in the towel; and binged on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Now, over the course of the year, you’ve gained 5 pounds this year rather than lost the 70 pounds.

Looked at in a different way: If you had chosen small, easily achievable goals, like 12 pounds per year [yes- 1 pound per month], this means just 3500 few calories per month, or 875 per week, or 125 calories per day. 125 calories per day is 10 minutes or so of a walk or a few pushups or one less soda- which means no sense of deprivation at all. 12 pounds this year and 12 pounds next year means that you can easily and relatively painlessly have lost all of your weight in less than 6 years.  Maybe you’re rolling your eyes at 6 years of delay but again, this is plan requires very little change on your part. And rather than struggle unsuccessfully for 10 years, you would be 12 pounds thinner per year and would have achieved your goal 4 year ago.

When I look back at all of the changes I tried to implement in my life on huge scale so I could see results NOW rather than taken the long view that there is no rush, that slow and steady really works, I have to laugh.

2. Small actions taken each day equal huge results.  This clearly follows my first point since it’s only through the small daily actions can we achieve a huge success. It seems to me that overnight success appears to happen all the time but the fine print shows that the person who has been deemed an overnight success has toiled in the fields of their profession for the past 3, 5, even 7 years.  You’ll get there.

As an example of this, if your goal is to get three blogs out per year, considering writing each morning for just 30 minutes, whether you feel like it or not. By writing each day, making it a new routine, you’ll get thousands of words out each week and can more easily achieve your 3 blogs per week goal than sitting in front of your computer for more than an hour every other day with a looming deadline to get ‘er done. And will probably be much more prolific in the process.

By taking small actions each day, the routine and new habits will slowly become cemented as a foundation of your life, leading to bigger successes as the effects of your actions pile into huge steps forward.

3. Celebrate your success everyday. Rather than beating yourself up for what you didn’t achieve each day, consider starting to notice and celebrate all that you did achieve today. You’re just like everyone else in that no one likes to work without some praise and loving attention. And by kicking yourself day in and day out for not getting everything done, you’re trying to get yourself motivated by hating yourself successful.

Instead, each day at either the end of your work day or just before you go to bed, write down 3 to 5 things you accomplished that day.  It can be anything from signed a new client to flossing your teeth to trying a new recipe. As you continue to notice all that you’ve accomplished, you’ll probably find yourself surprised at all that you were able to get done that you had never taken the time to notice. Write it down. Congratulate yourself on successes and feel the energy that loving yourself successful feels like.

4. Limiting beliefs are your only blocks to success. Underneath it all, the only thing between success and you is you. Limiting beliefs, such as I’m too fat, too untalented, too poor, not good enough, not smart enough, etc are running through your head. If you can, try to catch a few of these beliefs as they surface and notice the thoughts that are associated with them.

For example, if there is a promotion at work that you’d like to try for, if you have the belief “I’m not good enough” playing in the background, you might have the following chain of thoughts: “I’d love that new position. It’s exactly what I’m looking for at this time in my life”. [Softly]. “But am I really good enough”.  “It may be wired to Maggie [or John or Sue or whoever]”. “My resume isn’t updated and I’m not sure how much time I have to update it”. “I probably wouldn’t get it anyway” “Oh well, I’ve got so many other things to do and my job isn’t that bad”.  And BOOM, within the course of 30 seconds, you’ve walked away from a great opportunity because of a barely noticeable limiting belief and the subsequent thought chain.

To counteract your limiting beliefs, and to out them to your conscious mind, commit to a course of action and see what comes up immediately and over the next few days.  I will take a trip to Paris. I will increase my income by 30% this year. I will start a daily meditation practice. Plan your course of action and start implementing -of course in small achievable steps. And when your limiting belief raises it’s head, try to notice it and counter the thoughts that arise in response to the belief.

Limiting Belief: I’ll never lose this weight.  Resulting thoughts: I should give up. I’ve never been successful before. New Belief: I can lose this weight. I just haven’t yet found the way that works for me. Resulting thought: I’ll research a new plan and start to make changes in ways that will almost guarantee success- slow, steady action.

Limiting Belief: I’m not good enough to start my own business. Resulting thought: I’ll just stay in this job that makes me miserable. At least Ihave a job. New Belief: I have enough passion and desire to start my own business. Resulting thoughts: I may not know how but I can learn. I can being with slow, steady action.

Get the idea?

5. Being compassionate to yourself is the only way forward.  All of the previous steps lessons end in Point #5. Be compassionate to yourself. Stop the hating. Stop the crazy expectations. Stop the rules about what you have to do, by when, and how well.  Love yourself. And when you’ve dropped the drama, the judgement, the hate, and start with the love and the compassion, you’ll be amazed at what arises in you. Creative thoughts, loving thoughts, new ways of being. It all begins and ends here.

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Manifesting with the Chakras

Written by Kate • December 13, 2011 •
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The 7 Chakras and the Wheel of Life

As I continue on my own path towards spiritual enlightenment, I have been studying several different methodologies on how to heal ourselves and to move into a different level of living, one free from suffering. One of these methodologies is the chakras system. I didn’t know much about the chakras until the past year or so and there is so much to learn! A system that can explain our intrinsic nature and one that has been around for a millennium or more is definitely complex. So I don’t pretend to fully understand the chakras and all the nuances, effects, and benefits of opening and balancing each chakra. But I’m beginning to understand it.

If you’d like an overview of each chakra, you can check out my previous blogs on the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, and third eye chakra, and the crown chakra.

One of the most compelling aspects of the system is how to open and/or balance each chakra, as I mentioned in each of my blogs on each of the chakras. In addition to beginning to live a life that supports opening each chakra, you can also heal yourself by using a visualization technique.  Follow these steps while sitting comfortably in a chair, with your feet on the ground.

  1. Begin to visualize white light coming in through the crown chakra from either your eighth chakra or from Source or from the Divine -whichever works for you.
  2. On your in breath, bring the white light to each chakra, starting at the crown chakra, one after the next, all the way down to your root chakra.
  3. On your out breath, you can push the white light down through the root chakra, through your legs, into the earth, releasing any blockages into the earth.
  4. Know that all your blockages are being healed or cleared out through the grounding with the earth.
  5. As necessary, do this for as many breaths as you need to feel the clearing.

As a side note: I spent several months unable to do any visualization, which concerned me [as you can imagine]. I couldn’t figure out “what was wrong with me”.  I kept meditating and working on healing myself through prayer, forgiveness and other methods. I can now visualize with the best of them! So if you’re struggling with being able to use the visualization in this post, don’t sweat it.  Try to work around it or through it but be gentle with yourself.

Now you’re clear and able to better manifest your ideas and dreams. To understand how the process of getting the spark of an idea becomes real in this world, I want to take you through how you begin manifesting through the chakras, I will take you from each chakra to the next.

Most important ideas come to you when you’re busy doing other things, a time in which the busy mind/ego is quiet and distracted, like in the shower or while driving on your commute.  This idea comes to you and it must travel between each of the chakras, which may individually decide whether or not it’s a good idea.  Remember that the chakras are each an energy source in your body and each is designed to help you with an aspect of yourself and each is equally important to daily life and your decision making process. And although I’m writing this post like your chakras are separate from you, I’m artificially slowing down an instantaneous internal process that happens often at the subconscious level, to help explain it in more detail.  Your limiting beliefs may be quashing an idea before you’re ever aware you made a decision.

You may get the spark of an idea that comes to you. You can know that this is the spark of an idea is coming from your connection to Source or the Divine because it doesn’t push and it doesn’t keep coming back again and again, insistent, from different angles. [That’s your ego and it is very, very pushy.] So this spark comes to you through the crown chakra and you get enough of the download to think that it’s the start of a very good idea. This idea then descends to the third eye chakra.

The third eye chakra helps us see the idea, to perceive it as an actual concept rather than the spark of an idea. The process of moving from the crown to the third eye chakra actually begins to bring the idea into being, by perceiving the concept in a way the mind can understand.  At this point, the third eye helps to decide if this idea is something that can be made real and that is somewhat understood. If so, it moves to the throat chakra for further evaluation. If not, the idea, like so many of our ideas, floats off as unimportant or as a funny little idea and is gone.

Once it’s passed the sixth chakra, it descends into the throat chakra. As you may know, this chakra is the place of discernment, of decision, of choice. This is where you decide if you want to continue with this idea by making it even more “real”. You may even say aloud, “I just had the best idea” and it’s something that you can begin to explain, even if only to yourself. Through your discernment, your voice, you’re beginning to bring the idea into the world, from the spark to an actual idea to one that you’re using your powers of discernment to continue make real.  Once you’ve agreed on the idea through the throat chakra, it descends into the heart chakra.

The heart chakra is the nexus point in the system, the meeting place between the top three, more spiritual chakras and the bottom three, more body oriented chakras.  This is where you decide, either consciously or subconsciously, about whether this decision is a good idea or not in terms of whether it feels good, whether or not it heals or hurts your heart.  If it feels good, like it’s the right decision for you, it now descends into the third chakra, the solar plexus chakra.

The solar plexus chakra processes the idea in terms of whether or not you both have the will to do it and whether or not it will diminish your standing in the world. Will this idea make you stronger?  Or perhaps even though it may seemingly make you look foolish to others, it is ultimately good for your sense of self?  If it’s a good decision, it continues to the sacral chakra.

The sacral chakra reviews the idea through the lens of creativity and your emotions. Do you have the creative will to bring this idea to life? Are you willing to put your creativity and your emotions behind this idea? If it isn’t vetoed by the sacral chakra, the idea then descends to on to the last chakra, the root chakra.

The root chakra processes each idea in terms of whether or not the idea will affect your basic security and your affiliations with your tribe. If you move forward with this decision, will you still be safe or not? Of course, sometimes the answer to this will be no, it’s not safer, but it’s still the “right” thing to do, when it’s time to move past the ideas that your tribe has inculcated in you.  But sometime the idea is so scary, something just too demanding and the answer, for now, has to be no.

If all of the chakra centers are “go”, then you’ve effectively taken the spark of an idea, made the concept real, decided it was a good decision that positively affected your heart, that you had the power, creativity, and security to do it.  It then gets done. The vague concept of a plot becomes a novel. The spark of a business concept becomes your new business. The new way to tackle your problem becomes your new modus operandi. Or even you realize that you need to hydrate more and you get yourself a large glass of water.

Continue to work on healing and opening each of your chakras, while also working on becoming aware of your limiting beliefs. As you begin to do so, you’ll see new ideas, bigger ideas, manifesting at a faster rate.

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