Wednesday, November 18, 2020

We Are Superstars


I read a novel entitled The Trick of Light. The heroine hired a private detective to find God. There were many adventures that eventually led to their grand discovery. The quests were laced with synchronicity. The mystery of God was unlocked coincidence by coincidence. When coincidence serves a purpose, we call it synchronicity. As I read, I became the characters in the book; I lived in their sense of awe.

The book reminded me of The Celestine Prophecy, and while I remembered the story line, the content of the book was long forgotten, so I reread it. The book narrative centers on a quest for and discovery of nine insights. The first insight focuses on meaningful coincidences. It says as the collective consciousness of humanity awakens, people become more aware of synchronicities. It is easier to see what is happening personally than to see changes in the collective consciousness, but it is comforting to know that the ability to have and notice guidance from the universe is increasing for everyone. Even though the insight came from a novel, I believe this to be true. We are waking up. People believe the end is near; but I believe the beginning is not only near, it is ever always here.

The universe flows in a perfectly orchestrated harmony. Some refer to this as Divine Order. The flow provides a moment by moment individual plan for our lives. The plan is always available, alive, and active. The plan is often referred to as dharma in eastern philosophy. It is the path of right action. When the mind is clear and alert, the plan surfaces. Our actions are frequently sourced by the plan, but the urges are subtle and feel so natural, we are not aware that our behavior and actions are dharmically aligned. (In case you are not acquainted with Dharma, in Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are aligned with the order that makes life and the universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and “right way of living.”)

Even though we are romantically linked to the idea of individual free choice, it appears that our minds and choices are not as individual as we think. We have access to an expanded mind that has more knowledge and information than our local mind has experienced or accumulated. Why do we turn down a street we normally do not travel and later find out there was a traffic jam that would have held us up for an hour? Most of the time we have no idea the consequences of our actions, but theorists say that if even one thing changes in the past or present, the future is modified in numerous ways.

When people think of the plan for their lives, they look toward setting goals to achieve that plan. They look to the future for what will bring meaning and purpose into their lives. They work hard to make their dreams come true. There’s no problem in doing that – it can be somewhat effective, but most people don’t figure out what will make them happy, and, after years of following a dream and accomplishing their goals, they feel even less fulfilled.

Lady Gaga spoke at Yale’s Emotion Revolution Summit in 2015. She shared her struggles. At one point she thought about giving up music. She felt lost and was doing too many things she did not want to do. She found that the more she said no to the things she did not want to do, the more she liked herself. She chose to be in line with her path of right action rather that doing what would further her career. Do you remember her speech when she won an Oscar? She said that people told her that her music would not work. By that time, she lived from her dharma, not her drama. She followed the trail of her heart and became a superstar. Though we may not obtain awards for our actions or career achievements, we all are called to be superstars in our own lives. We do not want to play our lives to please others, nor do we want to tower above them; we want to stand equal in the light of brilliance that we all share.

What if we truly inhabit the present moment, tune into our emotions and bodies, in addition to our heads, and live from that space? Certainly, there would be more synchronicities and a greater awareness of meaningful connections.

We are superstars when we live from the mystery of our lives rather than the mastery of them. It is time give up trying to do important things and trying to be important; what we need is to be present, alert, and aware. When we do, we find that not only do we discover more adventure and satisfaction than our intellect could have planned for or manufactured; we find that life becomes EZier and EZier.

 

Friday, July 31, 2020

I Don’t Have Enough Time.” Is This True?

I am walking around feeling like I have a lot to do. Time slips through my fingers, but I suspect I feel out of control, not out of time. The out of control feeling or state of mind is my subconscious mind’s way of protecting me. The subconscious mind smears a layer of fear across my life in hopes it is getting me what I want, which is more control. Out of control means that I cannot predict my future. Life is no longer sewed up like a lovely kimono. Regardless, more control does not ensure safety. Controlling life requires a lot energy, thwarting others’ natural aliveness, and a hearty dose of perfectionism. Having to control tears a hole in our lives and, with time, the tear rips our lives apart.

Three things stand out that can ease this breathless feeling of not enough time and feeling out of control.

  • Acceptance - We read much about acceptance. We use it frequently in our lives, but the feeling of being out of control is a symptom that we are not accepting what is. Regardless of how savvy we are about the theory of acceptance and how many times we have used it in the past, if it is not the guiding light of the present moment, we can be assured that, at the moment, acceptance is tucked away neatly in our self-improvement toolbox.

  • Compassion - Buddhism is the path of compassion. It is a way of living in harmony with ourselves and all other life forms. Its teachings are more relevant than ever. We need radical compassion. We might think we have positive, unconditional acceptance of ourselves and that we are compassionate, but the ego backdoors its complaints through others’ voices. People are not literally saying negative things to us; we are just hearing the ego’s complaint through a loved one’s voice in our minds. I am easy on myself, but my husband, child, friend, whomever, thinks I am stupid, bad, dumb, a burden, or messy. BrenĂ© Brown says that blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort. True compassion requires a moment to moment guide from our higher selves. We must be on the lookout for negative self-talk. We can plant the seeds of self-compassion in ourselves and thwart the ego by counteracting its tactics. Here are some refreshing thoughts to bring forth in our lives and in our thoughts. “I am highly regarded by those who love me. They wish the best for me and see the best in me. I will not use them to destroy myself. I take ownership of my negative self-talk, forgive myself, and offer compassion to my faults and flaws. I will change my destructive thoughts and behavior in the present and forgive my past behaviors.”

  • Vision - Sometimes I use vision as a mind trick. The ego is constantly tricking me, so why not use the best in me to trick it back. When I feel out of control, I like to stop and picture a good outcome for the next ten minutes. “The next ten minutes of my life are extraordinary. I am amid a cosmic shake up that delivers stellar outcomes on my behalf. I trust this highly supportive time in my life. I always come out smelling like a rose, and these next ten minutes are catalyst for the best and highest in me.”

As you can tell, self-talk and imagination are the tools of mind renewal. They move us from degeneration to regeneration. When our lives change or when we cannot predict the future, it is natural to feel out of control. That feeling is fear. When one does not know if she will have a job tomorrow, there will be fear. The ego thinks if it can push us to do more, even if it omits the specifics, like what to do, then we will be okay. The egoic mind’s plans never work; that is why we must mind our minds. The ego loves drama, and it drums up drama by pushing an undefined agenda that keeps us breathless and out of control. It drones on and on about us not having enough time. Let’s take control of our feeling out of control and out of time by moving past the egoic mind into a place of acceptance, compassion, and vision, because if we do, our lives become EZier and EZier.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Creativity? Just Do It!

It seems that the time to write articles for my newsletter comes around every other day. I often make myself sit down. I have a commitment. I produce a newsletter that comes out every Tuesday at 9:30 AM Central Time, period! Some articles are better than others. Some are didactic while others are inspiring, yet, regardless of the quality, I do my best, in the moment, with each article. I prefer to write without interruption, but some of my greatest articles were written in the middle of mayhem. I write when life is dusty, and when the dust has settled.


Click image to see it larger.
This guitar was crafted by a farmer who was told,
in a near death experience,
to make instruments and give them to children.


Are there artists who never paint, musicians who never pick up their instruments, or bakers who never bake? Yes. I spent years imagining myself writing and being a good writer. There came a time when wishing, hoping, and visualizing had to give way to action. It was time to start writing. I sent out 2,500 hard copies of a newsletter for ten years. Some of my earlier writings were not only laughable, they were self-centered and poorly written. I usually didn’t have anyone to check for mistakes and the newsletters were riddled with dangling participles, misspellings, and nonsense. There was no spell check and the newsletter was put together by the literal cut and paste method, then taken to a printer.

Next, I went 14 years without putting out a newsletter. I did manage to write a couple of books, but I wrote less and less. Then I started another newsletter. Online newsletters were easier to manage. The first edition came out on Dec. 20, 2011. There were still plenty of mistakes, but Charles Heineke stepped in to assist, in 2012, and the quality of the newsletter vastly improved.

I’ve been putting out this rag for almost 12 years. Why do I do it? Why do I take ten hours out of my week and spend about $500.00 a year to make the newsletter happen? Because I am a writer, and if I don’t make that commitment, the song will die within me. I know me: I need something bigger than a round tuit.* My skills have improved over the years, but, lest they grow dim, I must continue to write.
The enjoyable part is rereading some of what I consider my great articles. I inspire myself. I know that if I were not committed to putting out a weekly newsletter, that they would never have been written. Often it is as simple as sitting down and listening to an inner voice, but sometimes I have to scrape my insides to find anything to say. At other times, I wake up and words come so fast I can barely write them down. It’s a rush – ideas flying through me and onto paper, and I am grateful. It’s the star moment of writing.
If we want our art flow through, we have to write it, play it, or sing it, whether anyone is listening or not. We must act when we are trudging through mud or even at a standstill. No one ever discovered me and encouraged me to write, but, fortunately, I may be my best fan – a must for artists! If we are good at something, we should do it. But, we need to live out our passions, even if we are not great performers or artists. As one can see, by the pictures I put in the newsletter, I enjoy art, but it’s not great art. I have an art section to force myself to draw on a regular basis. It may be messy and take time away from our daily lives, but the only way to participate in the depths of our creativity is to be creative.

Many people are motivated by money; they monetize their talents. But sometimes our books, our paintings, or our poetry doesn’t bring in the money we need to pay bills. Do it anyway. I don’t think how much money we make is recorded at the universal level, but how much we develop ourselves and give our gifts without expectations makes a mark in the ethers.

Here’s a question to ask every day: What can I do today to bring the brilliance within to light? Listen, then act. We don’t want to visit our talents; we want to develop them. We are the saviors of our creativity. No one is going to make us do what we want to do but fail to do. It’s not a moral issue. It’s an issue of the heart. Life doesn’t break our hearts. We break them when we fail ourselves. We can’t go with the flow when we are standing beside a dam. We all have talents, and when we use them, when we develop them, then life, for sure, gets EZier and EZier.

*Round Tuit refers to the saying  “I’m going to get around to it some day.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Building Happy Relationships


We are tribal people, pack animals, gatherers, and joiners. Solitary confinement, removing one from others, is a punishment or a tactic used to break people. Certain religions shun members who act outside approved behaviors as punishment for their supposed infractions. People are exiled from their country of origin. We don’t do well, as a species, when we are on our own for extended periods.

A therapist once spoke about helping people who had recently undergone an arduous boat journey to escape genocide. She expected to hear about the trauma of not knowing if they would survive, or the long, hot days at sea, but what she heard, on several occasions, surprised her. People wanted to talk about their relationships, not their endurance hardships. “He hardly even noticed me. He was looking at her.” “When we got to shore, she bolted, without a second glance at me.”

Relationships are important. While we don’t need to depend on any one person to meet our needs, especially when they don’t want to, we can expect that our need to feel a part of a pack, group, or family can be accomplished, and we can always have better one-on-one relationships. Once we pass the initial honeymoon phase of any relationship, when the fizzle wears off, we must take genuine heart action and become a giver of right actions.

We can’t wait for others to love us; we must become love in action, and in that giving we receive all the love we give. The St. Francis Prayer (I know. It’s widely accepted that St. Francis did not write the prayer, but it’s still a dynamite prayer!) says it clearly, “O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

Here are ways to build healthier and happier relationships with those who are close to you. Some of these are appropriate for friends and family and some of them are not. All of them are helpful in special love relationships.
  • Smile at your mate/partner/spouse 5 times a day while looking them directly in the eye. This sends a signal to your loved ones that you are okay and that they don’t have to worry about you. Our loved ones often take responsibility for how we feel, and if they never see us happy, they feel guilty, mad, or afraid. Smiling is an amazing spiritual practice, so why not share that smile? This also conveys a unit of recognition; we all like to be noticed and to receive that confirmation of existence.
  • When your loved one leaves for work or to run an errand, say goodbye. Acknowledge their departure. Give them a hug or a kiss goodbye. Greet them when they return with a hug, a kiss, or a greeting. “Hi. How did it go?” Consequently, tell them when you are leaving, announce when you get home, and touch in with them.
  • Greet your mate when you wake up (if they are already awake). Give them a good morning hug, kiss, or a wave. If they wake up after you, greet them when you see them. “Good morning!” Be cheerful.
  • Tell them you love them, one or more times a day.
  • Give your significant other at least five hugs a day.
  • Tell your significant other something you appreciate about them, every day.
  • When your partner talks to you, pay attention. Don’t look at your cell phone and tell them you can hear what they are saying. Be present. Acknowledge what they’ve said so they know they have been heard. Nod your head occasionally, saying “I hear you” and say “yes” when appropriate. Ask questions to be sure you understand, or repeat back what they have said to show you heard them.
  • Hug 5 to 10 minutes a day while lying down. Don’t force your mate to do this. Do it only if it appeals to your mate. Forcing compliance erodes trust and pleasure in our relationships.
Without taking special care of our relationships, they waver. It’s like trying to wash a hand-knitted wool sweater in the washer. Doing so will ruin the sweater. We must take our sweater to the dry cleaners or wash it by hand in cold water and dry it on a flat surface. Relationships require more attention and care than do our sweaters. Do we take as much care with our relationships as we would when we wash our car or bake a cake? Relationships can be fragile, but when we take to time to nourish them, they gain strength and eventually become monuments of love and compassion. Better relationships make EZier lives, and, given the complication of contemporary living, EZier is more necessary than ever. Take it EZ, make it EZ, and have an EZ or at least EZier day.

Anne

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sexual Healing


I once had a spiritual teacher who was a sexual predator. He was my minister, and, in many ways, my mentor. I should have seen his acting out, but I was naive and young. He raped a friend of mine, but I didn’t know that until 40 years later. If I had known, I would have left. I guess I did leave. My friend left the church and went to another church, and I followed her.

This man, a man of the cloth, opened many doors for me, although he had a shadow side that allowed him to take advantage of his position. I quoted him Sunday AM from the pulpit. I didn’t mention names, and as sad and horrifying as his actions were toward women, he helped me immensely. I don’t discount that. I would have been “out of there” sooner if I had been able to see the abuse, but my family history allowed me to deny it. I too was caught in an unhealthy sexual perspective, though I didn’t know it. I was a child of the sixties, and there was a sexual liberation movement that was well-needed, but with it came a time of experimenting. There was no AIDS, no herpes, but there were few heart-centered guidelines.

I had a friend who disclosed that he was a peeping tom. He was one of my best friends and he had always treated me with respect and admiration. He asked me to read Patrick Carnes’ book, Out of the Shadows. It’s about
sexual addiction. I cried when I read the book. It opened new doors of compassion in me. I never looked at my friend differently. I couldn’t excuse his behavior, but after hearing his confessions and reading the book, I saw a different point of view.


There are many women who are coming forth these days with stories of sexual abuse. People ask why they didn’t come forward sooner. Maybe it was fear, but, for me, it was because I was raised in a culture where men took advantage of women, and I didn’t even see it as wrong. I thought it was just, “This is what men do.” It was like a Stockholm Syndrome for our culture.

My husband has been great when it comes to sexual openness. He admits that he, too, has his sexual baggage. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and, in their book, just being alive is practically unacceptable.
I once took my mom to a weekend retreat. She asked me some specific questions about sex. I was shocked at her naivete. She had three children, was married to a womanizer (I’m being kind with that assessment), and hardly knew anything about sex. I won’t go into details, but the generation I came from was one step away from Puritanism. Those values keep parents from allowing sex education in the schools and make sex a forbidden fruit, thus creating intrigue and mayhem around sexuality.

Take religious repression, violence, domination, and sexual liberation, mix them together, and you have a mess - a milkshake of sexual wounding. There are a few brave souls who address this. Of course, I had to put my toe into the turmoil, thinking I could contribute something of value. I gave a workshop on sexual pleasure and a seminar on sexual boundaries in the workplace, but I just scratched the surface. There’s not an easy solution, but there is a calling coming forth that demands that we, as a culture, take a closer personal look. Sexuality is a topic that, when explored, offers poignant possibilities for introspection. Sexuality is a part of the mind, body, spirit connection. It should be an intimate act, done in full awareness, that allows us to learn the deeper aspects of our being, because when we do, life becomes EZier and EZier.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Relationships

Relationships are the playing field from which we learn love and goodness. Without these indispensable basic elements, relationships are cold and dark. They imprison us in pain or limitations. Loveless relationships are full of competition, a relentless drive to get something, or the need to be right and prove the other wrong. Unhealed wounds are the source of punishment when the other friend, child, or partner does not meet one’s unmet baby needs! Revenge on one’s parents is taken out in the relationship.

Gina Lake puts in succinctly when she says, “What interferes with expressing love is the tendency to be absorbed in your mind and thoughts about yourself and what you want and need rather than about how you might express love.”

It’s not a pretty scene, the loveless relationship. However, relationships founded in lack, pain, power, and struggle have the potential to come alive through love. It is in the awakening to our true nature that love flourishes. Love surfaces when we surrender the egoic mind. Once we stop demanding the form love must take, we are free to become what we really are – love incarnate. This loves shines away the darkness in our relationship and even the darkest corner becomes a welcome potential to strengthen love. Focusing on love awakens deep compassion, and it is this compassion that allows us to see our partner, friend, or family member clearly. We cease to identify them with their actions and define them through their Essence.

Truly, the quality our relationships is dependent on our relationship to Source. When we know who we are and make a conscious effort to be the space for love to live, everything changes.

Are you ready for the change? How can you live love?

  • Don’t try to be right. Just drop the conversation that keeps love at bay. This is a game called right - wrong and it is designed to thwart intimacy.
  • Really listen to what your friend or partner is saying.
  • Heal your thoughts about your parents. Unhealed parental wounds not only show up in your relationships, they show up as your relationships. Acknowledge what your parents did to you. It’s not about blame. If a parent runs over a child with an automobile, it’s unintentional, but the child is hurt none the less. Truly acknowledge what happened, then forgive your parents, and drop it.
  • Pray for your friend or partner. Wish for him or her the best. Don’t try to coerce the Universe into getting more love or attention from your partner. Radiate your love toward your partner.
  • See yourself as whole and lovable when you are with your friend. Be aware of your self-talk. Don't use that inner voice to put them down. Don't think about what you want from your friend. Experience your lovability; drink in the ever-present, omnipresent love available. Keep your mind clean.
Relationships can be thought of as a spiritual pilgrimage. You enter with high expectations, stumble and fall, then discover things about yourself that would be hidden if you were alone, then heal those wounds, and finally share love from the deepest places. If you can’t go to India and see a guru and you desire the rigorous teaching of a master, just turn to your relationships and see them as your guru. If you open your heart and let them, they will lead you to love, and with love as your guide, everything is EZier and EZier.

Anne #relationships