Straight-shooting About Forgiveness

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I know what it’s like to not want to forgive something or someone for fear of forgetting what they did or what was done.

I know what it’s like to want to hold someone “accountable,” but really I just didn’t want to let them off the hook because what they did hurt so much.

I know what it’s like to want someone to pay for what they did to me, to make some kind of recompense for what they took from me, or what they gave to me that I did not want.

I know what it’s like to hate someone for what they did, or didn’t do; to hate a situation for how it misrepresented me to others; or, to hate my circumstances that were dealt to me and wish they had remained someone else’s circumstances and not come even close to me.

I know what it’s like to be hurt, and in pain, so much pain that I can’t be with it all. So I remove myself from the pain and the hurt. I hold it at a distance, so it can’t hurt me more. I hold it at a distance, so I won’t feel the sting of betrayal, the pang of knowing that someone in my life wasn’t as for me as I thought they were.

I know what it’s like to have regret about having done something that put me at risk. A risk that didn’t look like a risk at all. A risk that actually looked like the most logical next step in the path that was mine at the time. But now just looks like a horrible mistake that I am reeling from.

I know the pain, the hurt, the regret, the resentment, the feeling like I was taken advantage of, the feeling that I was unjustly compromised, the feeling that I was taken for a sucker or a ride, the feeling that there was a rudeness of others and of life that has surpassed any rudeness I had known before. And that it caught me so unaware. Blindsided me, until I was also stung by my own surprise and began to misunderstand it as naivete.

I know all of these things and more, and I am only willing to admit to most of it. Some of it is far too humiliating to let everyone’s eyes peruse, so there will always be pieces of myself – even if they are just small slivers of me – that I will not let out into the “broad daylight” where all can see. I am much too tender for that.

But I say all of that to say this…

I also know the peace of a lifted burden, a burden that felt too heavy and too overwhelming at times; that burden being the unwillingness to forgive another or a situation for what happened to me.

I know what it’s like to breathe freely once I have found it within myself to release the tension and toxicity of my own orneriness; after only being ornery in my desire to never forget what was visited upon me so that I would see it coming the next time. And so I could firmly (and I mistook that for confidence) say, “It will never happen again.”

I know what it’s like to intently receive again and again relief from my own bad feelings as I remember (and act upon) that not forgiving is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die.

So I choose to forgive. Again and again.

And even if I never see that person again in my lifetime, or never revisit circumstances like the ones I’ve known in the past, I am free to love and yield compassion for all. Because I have it all within me. I have access to it all always, and now, once I’ve forgiven, I have the ability to put it forth, to utilize it and know that it’s good. Not because someone else says so. But because I see it and it is that way for me. Only my judgment matters, as it is only my judgment that kept away my forgiveness to begin with.

The Most Gratifying Kind of Happiness

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The most gratifying kind of happiness is the kind you make yourself.

No, not because you’re doing something super awesome and it makes you feel happy. But keep doing that.

No, not because you got that new toy that does all those super-duper, excellent things that just make you so happy that you bought it. But keep doing that.

No, not because you got that super rad outfit or pair of shoes that you’ve been jonesing for, and finally… finally, you got them. You are pleased with yourself. So keep doing that.

No, not because you look into a baby’s eyes and their laughter makes you so happy, you’re just beside yourself. But keep doing that.

No, not because you spent time with your favorite person in the world and as you were together, you remembered why you love spending time with this person so much. But keep doing that.

No, not because you got to hang out with that group of friends, or colleagues, or running buddies that you love so much ’cause they act a fool or do awesome things that you love. Or at least, like a lot. But keep doing that.

No, not because of anything outside of yourself.

Happiness happens in any instant where you remember something that makes you smile, remember something you thought about yourself that makes you really appreciate you, or in an instant, the feeling of joy just finds you and you beam. Just because.

Happiness can happen just because. There doesn’t have to be a source outside of you to make you happy. As a matter of fact, there is no source outside of you that makes you happy.

Your happiness is never ever not a function of the way you think of anything. That thing you love to do – sports, dance, special events, getting married… It makes you happy because of what you think of it.

Those folks you love to hang out with – family, close friends, workmates, people you greatly admire and respect… They make you happy because of what you think about them.

Your happiness is ALWAYS sourced from you.

That’s why those same things – after time, or after a particular incident – can also make you mad. Because it’s not the things, the people, the activities, the work, the job, the career, the passion, the relationships that make you happy.

It’s you.

Always has been. Never will be any other way.

So to say happiness is elusive.

Well, that’s just plain silly. But keep doing that, if you want.

Your choice. Your life. Your happiness.

What My Yogi Tea Said to Me Today

UPDATED: Oops, it was Yogi tea that had this message. Something said check before I published. Ah well, life in the moderately fast lane. 

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You know Yogi Teas?

They’re great teas with quotes on the back of the teabag flags. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s the little folded paper at the end of the string attached to the teabag. 

Mine said this today,

We are born wise. We are born complete.

— Yogi Tea

Bravo! Absolutely we are.

Gotta love your tea some days. (Big smile)

10 Benefits of Recovery Great for Every Person on the Planet

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‍Originally published on Bay Art.org in 2016.

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We’re counting down like David Letterman used to do for fun, and because I miss the hell out of David Letterman, his countdowns and Paul and… because I believe that the #1 benefit of recovery in a 12-Step program can be the best benefit for anyone and everyone. Wherever you are in this life, you can use these benefits to grow and develop yourself.

Number 10 on the list is… (can’t you hear the band now?)
10. Finding your resentments against others, yourself, or life itself and letting them go.

Founders of the first 12-step program, upon which all of them are modeled, say it best,

…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feeling we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.

No matter what the Spirit means to you, you can easily reference the “sunlight” as the light of life; the light that shines as the sun and differentiates the darkness of night from the light of day.

And just like all of us know what it is like to feel the cold of the darkness when we’re not in the warmth of the sunlight, that darkness references the resentments and grudges you hold against yourself, others, and life itself. As our years pass, we gather resentments like we gather things or people; clothing, furniture, people we befriend and love, jobs we work at.

However, our resentments, as they gather, begin to weigh us down like bricks. Though for the most part, oddly enough, we don’t pay attention to those bricks. But like a wall made of bricks, those resentments “shut us off from the sunlight of the spirit.” Sometimes we turn a blind eye because we don’t want to focus on what we consider “bad.” In the same vein, sometimes we shift our focus away because we don’t want to make more of “it” than what we think it is. However, if we don’t deal with that we have resentment, we won’t deal with our own healthy or unhealthy mental state. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress disorders are all mental health challenges and can become crises.

In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We asked ourselves why we were angry. Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sex relations, which had been interfered with?

— The Big Book, reference for Alcoholics Anonymous

Number 9 is…
9. Letting go (period).

In number 10, you heard about “letting them go.” Now you’re about to delve into “letting go, period.” What do I mean?… Letting go of things that don’t work in your life with no excuses. Letting go of people that don’t serve your life or what you’re about. No excuses. Letting go of what holds you back. No excuses. These are just the beginning of what is meant by “Letting go (period).”

It’s important to be able to actually see, acknowledge and then release or expunge all that is not working in your life. It takes courage, compassion for yourself and willingness to be honest with yourself.

8. Forgiving others and yourself.

Sometimes we forgive as a pretense. We pretend to forgive, sometimes because we are not privy to how much we are leaving ourselves without the multitudes of benefits forgiveness provides. Sometimes we pretend to forgive, not because we intend to pretend, but because we’re not sure what it will take to forgive in every instance in our lives.

Each instance of forgiveness is unique. It is impossible to gauge what it will take to forgive a person, an instance, a condition or a situation in your life from the outset. Meaning… you can’t look at a situation and say, I forgive it, and think that’s all it will take to truly forgive.

Forgiveness is an intangible asset you must feel your way into. It requires finesse. It requires compassion for yourself and the subject of your forgiveness.

Forgiving sometimes is a simple task, but more often than not it requires some real healing of wounds, real acceptance of one’s pain, and real evolution of one’s emotions with an eye toward growth.

All of this is part and parcel of an on-going process to complete and finish raw, open-ended, incomplete circumstances that have triggered negative emotions and experiences for us.

7. Taking life one day at a time, one step at a time.

Come to think of it, there’s truly nothing else that is physically possible. We must live each moment as it comes to us, and yet, we think, think, think, think our way into our future, our past and everything in between that has nothing to do with this moment or this day.

Life is only giving us what we can handle one moment at a time. If we’re overwhelmed, then that’s a function of our minds and the thoughts running rampant in them.

Mindfulness and meditation are great tools for slowing down the mind. However, there are other ways of practicing being present in life. Presence of mind not only allows us to be in the moment in life – the only moment that’s ever happening – but it also allows us to have the clarity and space to allow for the impulses and intuitive guidance of life to guide us to what we want. Life is guiding us in every moment, but when we’re overwhelmed, we’ve got no shot at hearing the still, small voice.

6. Getting help from the people around you.

We are not islands.
We are all in this together.
If you’re one of those people who think you did it on your own or you admire those you think “did it all on their own,” you live in un-reality.

There is nothing you do on your own in life, but feed yourself and go to the toilet. And even those things you have help with on your way into this world and have help with on your way out of this world. So what do we do wholly on our own? Nothing.

Everyone helps us. You get a job because someone says, This person deserves a chance to be in my company. You have customers because someone says, This person has something of value I want. Your food goes through many hands before it touches yours. Your style has been culminated from everything you’ve seen or experienced in life. In totality, you are the culmination of everything and most people you’ve witnessed or experienced.

So allow yourself to contribute and be contributed to. It’s up to you what you take and what you choose. Opening yourself to all that’s available in this world is a simple matter of gathering your courage to be interdependent and let go of the fear of not being independent. Courage is the willingness to be a part of this world and know that you need others just as much as they need you.

You are not alone.

5. Listening to others.

We’ll begin where we just left off… You are not alone.

Communication is an active 2-way street. Talking may require actively moving your mouth, but listening requires actively hearing what another is saying. Getting your judgments out of the way, not being ready to start talking the minute you hear them stop talking, quieting your mind so that your mind is not focused on you but on them, are all things that help you be a great listener.

Communication is key to great relationships. And relationships with others are everything in life.

4. Not judging them or yourself.

Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.

— The Big Book, reference for Alcoholics Anonymous

We can be our worst enemy; even when we think we’re not. And wherever we judge ourselves harshly, we tend to do the same with others as well.

Finding a place where you can begin to accept both what you like and what you don’t like about you, others and all of life.

You can find a way to accept what you vilify in life, not because you have to make it good but because it will give you peace of mind and room to be who you truly want to be in the world.

3. Finding a power greater than yourself.

Twelve step programs are based on spiritual transformation and the basis of this principle is meant to inspire greater change than is possible if we were to only use our limited capacity – our minds and ourselves. Transformation is about tapping into something greater than ourselves. And the first step is acknowledging that whatever you’ve done up until this point has not gotten it done. To admit that life has become unmanageable where we are, and that we are powerless to effect a positive, lasting change on our own.

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?

— The Big Book, reference for Alcoholics Anonymous

A Power greater than ourselves does not mean God to everyone. Twelve step always empowers to find a higher power as you understand that higher power.

If you’re interested in this concept, it is a must to define what higher power means for you. However, the biggest piece is to understand that there can be, in your own understanding, a force greater than all of us that wants to guide you to only what is best for you. When you can submit to the thought that the Universe, or whatever you would name it, has got your back with no doubts, then you’ve got access to personal power you’ve not known previously. It is ultimately the most personal journey you will take. And it’s a personal journey worthy of your pursuit.

In the end, however, defining your own higher power is whatever empowers you best.

2. Having faith in our journey and trusting that life has more for us.

Faith is a funny thing. Religious implications connects it only with God, but faith is much larger than that. It’s a much more expansive idea than one singular connection – although that connection is not small, by any means.

Faith, as defined by Merriam-Webster, means

strong belief or trust in someone or something.

Faith can be in yourself, can be in something greater than yourself, can be in life itself, can be in that your life is working out for you, always. Faith is a moving force that can inspire the best in all of us. It can be a trust in that there is something better that can happen for you. It is a trust in that there is a rhythm to life, that life offers you seasons, that there is a greater timing to everything than you can explain. It is larger than you and brings a new, fresh perspective to what’s possible beyond what you could ever fathom or imagine.ttc

Faith is a big, bright burning star. It is the moon and the stars, and it makes everything possible. What could it make possible for you?

And the number 1 benefit of recovery great for every person on this planet?

Number 1 …
1. Surrender.

Surrender is not giving up. It is giving in. It is letting go of your need to control the outcomes of life. It is an opportunity to dance with life and while expecting the best, find the splendor in being surprised – and delighted! – by what’s coming around the corner. Surrender and faith work hand in hand with one another and allow the dance to be a rich one, one full of verve, and laughter and childlike exuberance.

Surrender can allow life to be miraculous everyday, if you allow yourself to surrender. And it doesn’t cost anything but your desire to control that which cannot be controlled anyway. Your circumstances will be there, the people in your life will be there, and situations will come your way because that’s how life goes, but who you are and how you respond are the things you can control in life; the only things you can control in life.

Surrender brings levity and naivete where they can be of the utmost use, and leverage the uniqueness of life. Being childlike and having faith that life is always working out for you can create a sweetness in life that is delicious.

Well, here’s the 10 greatest benefits of recovery, that I can see, can make a difference in anyone’s life. And… Here’s to life!

by Monique McIntyre, Guide. Life Coach. Blogger. Launching TheRevolutionOfBliss.com soon!

Life Coaching Series – NEW – Exploring Your Emotions

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I’m beginning a new series of posts where I will explore and address issues or problems you may have in your life. Please use these freely as suggestions. They are not truth, but possible ways of looking at your life. New lenses. Like glasses. To view you – and your life – in a constructive and healthy manner. Enjoy.


An emotion is like an experience, in fact, it is an experience. And just like any experience of your life, once you’ve experienced it, you cannot un-experience an experience.

You can forget it. It can recede to the background of your memory, but it is yours. Forever.

Forever coloring and influencing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior to whatever intensity it has moved you upon experiencing it.

So it can be with emotions.

And when you are experiencing an emotion you wish to get rid of, you may think the answer to “getting rid” of it is to go in the opposite direction, move away, get it away, resist, ignore, or avoid it.

However, what you resist persists.

New behavior suggestion:

My coaching: Instead of working the “get rid of” technique, try going toward the emotion rather than away from it. Go straight into it.

If you go away from it, it will only keep the emotion from being fully expressed – which means that the emotion is here to stay, whether it seems like it or not, whether you like it or not.

Instead, when you go toward the emotion, you allow it to play itself out and peter out. Emotions are like the tide, they ebb and flow. Wait for it and you can ride it out.

This can be painful, and if it is too painful in the moment, do not do it then. Wait for a time when you can handle this exercise better. Trying to “make something happen” when you aren’t ready can be just as damaging as allowing the pain to remain because you won’t deal with it.

In the end, however, this can be an exercise that can become second-nature and therefore easier and easier to practice each time you do.

Try it and see.

Now when you do, it’s not a practice of cry more, harder, and louder, or be angry or otherwise. In other words, this is not a matter of “feeding” the drama, or melodrama. This is an act of authenticity. It’s a feel your way into the core of the emotion, thereby allowing it to express itself and tell you what it’s about.

When you’re willing to listen to your feelings and hear what they have to say, they will tell you novels about you.

 

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Note: This coaching and guidance is not intended and does not constitute medical advice. If you think you need professional help, make sure you contact a medical professional for treatment.

Do You Consider Exploring Your Thoughts and Feelings Dangerous?

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We spend much of our time assessing or deciding what our thoughts and feelings are rather than letting our feelings tell us what they are, or the secrets they wish to reveal to us. 

And many times in our assessment, we miss the mark. We go for what’s familiar, what we know, what we’ve been told, or what we’ve read or heard about. But often all of those things are not what’s there, within us. And in generalizing our emotions, a way of minimizing risk, we often miss the gifts our thoughts and feelings (aka emotions) hold for us.

Sometimes we generalize because we just don’t want to hear what our emotions have to say. 

Sometimes, we’re afraid to be wrong about what we “hear,” or how we assess our emotions. 

Sometimes we miss an authentic check-in with ourselves because we’re not willing, or possibly not ready, to confront what’s really going on.

And sometimes it’s simply because we don’t know how to do any of this, or we don’t realize that whatever we are doing currently is not authentic, but in pretense.

Checking in with ourselves authentically, whatever our state, and in our own right time, is most vital to our health and well-being – this goes beyond the health of our physical bodies and really speaks to our overall well-being.

Letting your feelings speak to you to tell you what’s happening with you is healthy fare. Letting your brain give you hints and straight answers, about your state of mind and of your being is all a part of maintaining balance, vigor and vitality.

Our fear of what we might hear or discover is only present when we’re trying to control what we want to know, hear, or discover – trying to control the outcome.

Being afraid that what we discover will dismay or upset us is one possible way of looking at this.

Delighting in the surprise and wonder of discovery is another possible way of looking at what we might have, in the past, feared. 

There are infinite possible ways to view what you are willing to discover, and you are a powerful being who can choose any way you want to view anything at any time in your life.

It’s called free will. And it is your greatest freedom. 

Be the freedom that you already are. It is your birthright. It is your divinity. 

Why Meditation, You Say?

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Originally published on BayArt.org as “Why Meditation?” in 2016.

There’s a momentary silence in the space between your thoughts that you can become aware of with practice. In this silent space, you’ll find the peace that you crave in your daily life. You’ll never know that peace if you have no spaces between your thoughts… For it is when you merge into the silence and become one with it that you reconnect to your source and know the peacefulness that some call God…

It’s really the space between the notes that makes the music you enjoy so much. Without the spaces, all you would have is one continuous noisy note. Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from this emptiness.

— Dr. Wayne Dyer

How beautiful is this quote, especially the part about music?

I never thought of that. That’s the piece (and peace) that actually struck me and inspired me to use this quote for this post. It’s wonderful. I love that, because it immediately struck me as true. It is the silence between the notes that makes it so wonderful. What wonderful distinction each note has as it is played, as there must be silence between them for each note to be distinguished as itself. Played all together, each individual note having its own quality, distinct and not as one long note, the music then has more volume, more richness, more depth.

And even more of a reason to choose meditation. Meditation is like music to me, and I’m like a dance when I submit to the stillness.

Okay, a personal story from me…

I walked over 500 miles across Spain. It’s a pilgrimage called The Camino de Santiago. It is one of the most honest journeys of my life. And what was most honest was that I found a new beauty to my temple, to my experience of all that is, to my experience of the Divine, to my experience of me, and even more surprising, my experience of churches. There are so many along the Way. Small, local churches that were built in medieval times, even tinier places only large enough to hold about 60 people in its pews that were built long ago and held such history within them. There were also great, big cathedrals in Burgos and Leon and of course, Santiago de Compostela – the end of the pilgrimage and the town in which the Apostle James’ remains are entombed. My experience and transformation are why I carry such a spark and sense of wonder for churches; and why there’s one pictured at the front page of my blog here on WordPress: DiviNationForAll.

My relationship with churches wasn’t the only one transformed. My relationship to myself in meditation was transformed. Before I took this 40-day journey, I thought meditation was only for people who had patience. I thought I had none. Before my journey through the north of Spain, I was not a person who could meditate. And I hated that I couldn’t meditate. Mostly because my mom had done it all throughout my life, as long as I could remember, and I wanted to desperately because of all the benefits I knew it would provide. But did I know what it would provide? Well, it was what I had read, what I had experienced of my mom, what I had witnessed in others. There was always such a calm about people as they came out of meditation.

I knew it would be great once I could meditate, but the benefits seemed so elusive to me. I would sit down, and I’d try really hard to have it happen… But it just seemed to frustrate me instead. Well, my whole intention with my pilgrimage was to convene more deeply in my relationship to God, and my experience of God. So as I traveled through Spain, I found myself being called more and more and more to meditate.

I began to meditate everywhere. Because there was so much quiet everywhere, I found it easier and easier to find my focus on my breath. Sometimes there was too much quiet for me, so in those times I remained with my thoughts to keep me company. And then… I was in a cathedral in Leon. It was my favorite of all the cathedrals I had visited so far. I just resonated with something about that cathedral. I had such amazing feelings of wonder, joy, goodness, and love. I fell in love with that church, that temple, that wondrous and beautiful building built with such artistry and affection for its intended honoree.

I found a corner in one of the rooms where pews were placed for folks to come in and sit and pray, or simply be silent. I sat down. I thought about it for a moment, and then I closed my eyes. I let my thoughts about being embarrassed be there in my mind. I let my thoughts about my failure to meditate be there. I let them all, all my thoughts, simply be there. And in a moment, I found silence. I breathed into it. And in that moment, I felt the greatest joy I had ever experienced in my life. It was so beautiful, I immediately began to have thoughts about it.

The moment was over.

Ha! Funny, huh? But that’s how meditation is. That moment for the first time provided me an opportunity to experience that emptiness Dr. Dyer spoke about in the quote above. I was in the space in between. It was amazing. Now, I knew what and where I could reach. I was hooked.

I meditate much more now. It didn’t happen all at once. I have built my practice over years, and… I love my practice. Not because it’s perfect by some standard I’ve seen or heard of. I love it because it’s mine. It fits me. It is my expression of my love for the Divine. I don’t always reach silence. And when I do, it’s always sweet. I meditate whether I reach silence or not. Even if I just slow down my thoughts, I’m always more calm than when I began. I honor my experience, and I honor yours.

Whatever you create will be perfect for you. Find what’s right for you. It will evolve. Don’t worry. It will happen if you simply sit and practice. Or walk and practice. Or wash dishes and practice. There are so many ways to meditate and find your peace.

Upward! And onward.

by Monique McIntyre, Guide. Facilitator. Public Speaker. (And blogger) @

DiviNationForAll.WordPress.com

5 Ways to Use Thought as a Conscious Tool for Creating Your Life

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Originally published on Bay Art.org on November 19, 2016.

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Let’s get right down to it, shall we? Thought is the basic building block of human creation. Thoughts are propelled by desire – desire at its most basic: wanting whatever it is you want in life.

Your thoughts are always aligned with your beliefs, whether your beliefs are positive or negative. Your beliefs can be your values, morals and ethics; but they can also be your superstitions, and inherited beliefs from your parents, family, society, culture, previous generations, your ethnic group or your ancestors. Most times, we are not aware of our beliefs, either individually or on the full spectrum. It’s not always easy to know what your beliefs are, but the easiest way to identify them is to look at your life. Whatever is in your life is there by virtue of your belief.

This doesn’t mean you believe what I just wrote either. Funny enough, we often disavow that we are the sole source of what comes into, or what is already “up and running” in our lives. That’s a belief too. The belief that we couldn’t possibly be the creator of everything in our lives. And we’re not. I didn’t say we created it all. I said we’re the source of it all. “Ok, then. I am not the source of all the meshugas either!” And when we can become conscious of this possibility without collapsing this notion into a context of Blame & Fault, then we’ve got some real power to create with.  If there’s something you desire and you’ve don’t have it in your creative, little hands, then know this: All there is to be is conscious of your thinking to create powerfully and intentionally.

If you don’t like your belief, change it. Got something in your life that you detest? First comes acceptance. Acceptance of it as the reality that’s currently running in your life. Accepting the troubled areas of your life is accepting your beliefs that created those troubles. This is sometimes the most difficult part, as we like to look outside of ourselves to substantiate our claim as to why life “sucks.” You don’t have to like what I’ve said, just try it on like you would an article of clothing at the store to see if it fits. Once you’ve chosen to explore, discover, and accept your belief, and for real, not in pretense, then you will gain access to ways in which to alter it. G.I. Joe on Saturday mornings used to say, “Knowing is half the battle.” You may think my reference childish – or hilarious – and my point is that it totally applies here.

It’s like the turnstile in a subway. You can’t act as if the turnstile isn’t there, like how we sometimes try to avoid or deny what’s right before us in our lives. You avoid its reality and try running through it, you’ll end up a hurt, bloody or broken mess. But see the turnstile for what it is, real and existing in front of you, there to be dealt with, even if you decide to jump it – which is a possible way of approaching it – you’ll still be dealing with the reality of the turnstile; and not your own stubborn point of view.

Knowing your values increases your ability to consciously create. Take a look and discern what your values are. What do you hold important? What do you value in a person? In a relationship? In your career? In your adventures? Looking at and discovering what you value helps you to focus your thoughts, your mind. Focused thought is conscious thought and is easier to be propelled by desire because your thought and desire are now fully aligned.

Knowing what you value also helps you to discern with greater clarity what you want in your life, and out of your life. Becoming aware can bring you opportunity to be creative in new conscious applications of your forethought and action. Being aware of your values also helps you to appreciate the life you have and how you’ve already masterfully created so much of it.

Uncover your core beliefs influencing your behavior and actions. A belief is just a thought that you give attention to. Core beliefs are formed during childhood when your connection to your emotions was purest with the least resistance. Uncovering your core thoughts/beliefs is a matter of reverse engineering. When you work back from your behavior and the results your behavior produces, you can begin to see what is at the core of your thought process – your brain’s logic, which does not always accurately reflect your logic. Your brain’s only purpose is your survival. That often means its purpose and yours, if yours is to be happy, are at odds with one another.

Your brain’s logic is not based on the same thought parameters. A pure example of this is the simple task of your Amygdala, which initiates your fight or flight response. A particularly intense argument can pose the same level of danger to your amygdala as the threat of death. Disagreement with a spouse, family member, or friend, contention in a work-related matter, money issues, or loss of a loved one or a close relationship can all trigger this protective mechanism. The logic that this part of your brain follows, if uncovered, may not always make sense to your logical mind; but if you add 1 to 1, 2 will always follow.

You can uncover these core thoughts by looking at your relationships with others and, more importantly, the way you relate to yourself. Using a friendly, supportive sounding board, like a coach, support group, therapist or good friend, you can find what lay hidden – mostly from you – under the surface. When you become conscious of these core thoughts/beliefs, you then gain access to shifting them. Sometimes all that’s necessary for a shift is to simply accept that they exist. Acceptance dissipates all the emotional intensity that is attached and influencing so much of your everyday or consistent behavior.

Be responsible for your thoughts. Consciousness is always the first step. And often the second is being responsible for that your thoughts emanate from you. No one else but you. Think you’re being disregarded, disrespected, oppressed by something or someone? It all begins with a thought. Consider… Who’s having the thought, “I’m being disregarded, disrespected, oppressed?”

If you answered, “Me,” you’re pointing in the right direction.

Thoughts become things. Realizing your thoughts, the ones you put your attention on, are creating your reality, is the beginning of being aware and awake.

Simply being responsible for that it’s the voice in your head telling you all the bad things about your boss, that your friend is betraying you, that your mom is stunting your growth, that your circumstances are the worse that have ever been, that your situation has never happened to anyone else, that your life is a hot mess, you become conscious of the thoughts you’re having that are running your life. Remember our beginning premise… Thought is the basic building block of human creation. It’s the voice in your head that has your accent that’s representing all your thought processing. The voice in your head doesn’t make you crazy, it makes you human. Noticing and being responsible for this one thing will give you a substantial increase in your personal power than you currently experience.

First come thoughts, then come emotions. All thoughts lead to emotions. If a thought of yours leads to negative emotions, then it is also stealing your power, your aliveness, your joy. Emotions are valuable tools, if allowed to be seen, heard, noticed, felt. If you’re not having the result you’d like in your life, check in with your emotions. Feel and discover. Get real with your emotions. We like to fool ourselves sometimes. Being straight with yourself will make this most potent.

Once you’ve discovered the negative emotion, seek out the thought behind it that is disempowering you. Once you know about the thought that is dissipating your power, you can take the thought and turn it on its head. Find its opposite, or the version that feels better. Once you have the good-feeling thought, milk it for the good feeling it provides. Your continued attention and focus on the new thought will give it more and more credence in your brain, causing rewiring, and more and more power within you connected to it. An empowered thought is a powerful thought. Redundant, but potent. (See? Nothing but power here.)

These are all ways you can become conscious of the thinking that is already influencing your experience and your behavior and change it. These are ways to use your conscious thought to create what you want. Thoughts don’t have to sabotage us. All thought, conscious or subconscious, can be used to our benefit. Taking your time, being willing to explore and discover, and getting help from others can provide you the opportunity to be a part of your own transformative and creative processes again and again.

 

Read more from Monique on Bay Art here.

Taoism for the Day

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The Tao doesn’t take sides, it gives birth to both good and evil.

The Master doesn’t take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners.

The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable. 

The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the center.

— Tao te Ching