My journey to uncover the power within has been like a spiral staircase – looking back to view my history from a new perspective. I’m excited to break away from the staircase completely and fly to new heights yet undiscovered.
“How can I be against myself and expect to bring about positive change? I begin with what I am and as a whole I take one step forward.” Hugh Prather
This week our reading has been my favorite so far. It was like Christmas Morning to build upon our understanding of One Love and build on top of it the Law of Attraction! How could you not be in a good mood after reading those two together. And yet, the stick.
What a powerful analogy that the carrot and the stick are not just the modern day analogy of the Risk vs Reward Ratio – we were BORN WITH IT! We have cultivated it through Generation after Generation, back through the dawn of time. Of Course! That’s why it is so easy to commiserate – how people are motivated by avoidance and that negative thoughts slip through the mind without even thinking of it. I know I fed a few hundred thousand peptides this week!
And then, the calm. The grace. The giant sigh of relief mixed with pure gratitude. I can be a peaceful and gracious observer and start my day and my week again. Did Mark say we have until the 4th to string 7 consecutive days together with no negative thoughts?” This might actually be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I know that Baby I was born this way -so trying to be mindful and change what has been programmed into my mind for generations before my time is a near impossible feat, but I just keep thinking about that giant stick in the cave that was kept to make sure that the dinosaurs and the wolves didn’t get us. That kind of fear and negativity was healthy! Kept us alive. Subby doesn’t know that we don’t need it any more!
Letting go of it is a tough task. I’ve started over several dozen times. And I begin again. What a week!
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this concept of the “future me” and the idea that physiologically, our brains think of our “future self” with no more recognition than the way we think of a complete stranger. Since every relationship starts with one person stretching out a hand to say “Hello” I thought it was about time that I make time to get to know her much better.
When I was little, I used to think about the future as a year – even as an age. “When we hit the new millennium, I’m going to be 41.” I would think of how my mother was at 41 and wonder, “Will I be like her? Will I look like her?” 41 seemed so old. When I hit 44 I thought, “There’s a milestone – dodged a bullet there” – my Dad survived a serious and nearly fatal heart attack at 43. My grandmother became a widow at 54, but lived longer without her husband than her entire marriage – passing gently in her sleep at 97. I have used my family and loved ones to compare and contrast where I am in my life by how others have been but it has really required some depth of thought to meet this future self – and who I am on my way to becoming.
I caught up with my future self just as she was leaving a morning workout. Glistening with sweat, she is toned and tan, skin still beautiful and fresh with only a few wrinkles – laugh lines really. The yoga has been wonderful to keep her agility, balance and core strength, and it has kept her thoughts clear and meditative. Her soft gray hair is cut in a short and sassy bob. We decided to sit outside to enjoy the sun ‘cause it warms our souls, and this is something meaningful to us both. She is ageless.
“Clean living” she says. “I started really paying attention to everything that I put into my body. I stopped believing in traditional medicine a long time ago and started focusing all of my energy to making sure I would never have to participate in the health care system – which is really more of a sick-care system. I also lost any interest in alcohol. I started concentrating on the things that would keep my body in an alkaline state and limiting the more acidic triggers. I make it a point to drink lots and lots of water and it has kept me healthy.”
“I started taking my workouts much more seriously – and realized that I had everything I needed right at my fingertips. My dance in Jazzercise gave me the core strength and flexibility, and my commitment to clean eating was a matter of shifting a few things off my palate. I also used the same mindset that made me become a successful non-smoker way back in my 20’s – every day I breathed in the belief that I was creating my health. . . that every drink of water was cleansing my insides. I became more focused and so much happier as a result. You know, if you don’t take care of your body then where will you live?”
“The other thing that has been really important to me is surrounding myself with a wide circle of positive friends. Younger friends especially – They like to do the things that I like to do – if I want to set off on a hike in the morning, there is no shortage of great friends I have here who love to come with me – or meet me for coffee afterwards – (it’s the one acidic vice that I allow myself). Getting out to be surrounded by people and making sure that I contribute my time to helping others – these are the things that have sustained me and have kept me young in spirit and in my heart.”
“I also started to let go of all of the ‘things’ I really didn’t need anymore. The things passed on to me or that held some sort of attachment from the past. I trusted that everything really important about my past was already inside of me, and it was ok to pass some of those ‘things’ along, or just purge them from my life all together. It was a very freeing time.”
“But who did you become to have what you have and do what you do? I mean after all, it wasn’t that long ago when you were living in New England and just scratching the surface of your business.”
“I had to dig down and start thinking like a leader, Gail. I realized that I was kind of just ‘painting by numbers’ and going through the motions. If I was going to create this great business and make the impact that I said I wanted to make on the people that I cared about, I had to start by being the leader of myself. I started with the mindset of ‘if it’s to be, it’s up to me.’ And I just got out of my own way. I made up my mind that people wanted to hear from me and that I wasn’t going to stop until I had identified the ones who really wanted to work with me. And you know what I found? It wasn’t everyone who was willing to do that. But I found the ones that were, and it was all worth it. Now I count them among my best friends – even though I barely knew them when we started.”
“Looking back, it has been a wild ride. But I knew that to create the lifestyle that I wanted – which is not lavish and extravagant by some measures but I have the freedom and flexibility to do what I want, there is always plenty of money and I am in exceptional health – to have all that I wanted this was how I would get it done. It is the life of complete abundance and prosperity that I always knew was there for me. I knew countless numbers of ordinary people who I saw make it work, and I knew that they were no more special than me.”
I had a lovely interaction with a friend of mine this week. I met Jazz in 2010 right after my cousin’s passing. They had been best friends since meeting in a bar in their early 20’s. Jazz was everything you would want in a friend, all the way to the end of my cousin’s lovely life which ended way too soon. Paula had made the decision at 50, after many years of chemo, radiation and unsuccessful experimental treatments, that it she was going to allow nature to take it’s course and enjoy the time that she had left on this earth – how ever long that may be. And Jazz was right there with her. Everything from taking her out to the shore for a few normal days enjoying the sun and the ocean, to holding her hand and allowing her passage from this life to be a little easier, a little less scary, a little less lonely. We all should have a friend like Jazz. We met when we came together to celebrate Paula’s life and we were immediately bonded. Plus, we share the same birthday.
Jazz is an unbelievably creative person. When she is not growing food in her greenhouse, to make some amazing meal, she is throwing pots, beading incredible jewelry or like this week, fusing glass. She had a post on Facebook with pictures of her recent work, and I made a comment to her about it. I complimented her amazing creativity and wondered how she ever managed to work at a stuffy Law Firm for over 20 years with so many ideas bursting from every cell in her body. Humbly, she thanked me and asked if I would feel comfortable sharing her page so that others might see her work. Without hesitation, I copied and posted the link to her page with a personal note about her.
As I was posting, I did have that moment that occurred to me, perhaps I should ask something in return. I’m always happy to step up to support other businesses, causes and passions, but I’m a little quieter when asking for others to support my business. I stopped dead in my thoughts however, remembering the 4th part of our Giving and Receiving card – (I think of it as my prayer) – that “I give without expectation of reciprocity from the channels I enrich because I know I am in the dynamic flow of giving and receiving.”
Jazz was very grateful for my post and encouraged me to pick out a piece for myself and she will be happy to send it to me. I acknowledged that it was my pleasure to shed light on her work, and I was grateful for what she has already sent me. She came back to me again to encourage that I choose a piece and if it was still available she would be happy to send it.
Which brings me to my point in the dynamic flow – of being a grateful receiver. I was so focused on making sure that there was no expectation of reciprocity, that I tried to interrupt the natural flow. We cannot give without receiving and we cannot receive without giving. They are beautifully balanced, that Yin and Yang. And who am I to shut down the flow? (Ha, like I could!) When we deny someone else to be a generous giver, we interrupt the frequency in the Universal Laws. So the end of my story? You’ll see it when it arrives in the mail when I gratefully receive it and proudly wear it! I know that we are both making Paula smile.
The Universal flow of giving and receiving surrounds us and I am grateful this week for the lessons that remind us to stop and notice. I love the giving and receiving card – a gift that can be as small as a smile or a compliment – how can I make someone else’s life or day better today just because our lives met?
It has been harder to be on the receiving end of things, and to drink in the gifts. I have had to slow myself down to take notice. The beautiful and amazing trees on my drive to work. Each one so unique. More spectacular on a foggy day than in the bright sunshine. The smiles and compliments that come my way from strangers. And most abundantly, the serendipity of hearing from positive friends out of the blue. Did I send out the vibe or did I pick up on theirs? Either way, we reconnected. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you . . . I smile.
When we don’t slow down feel those gifts, we can easily become spiritually bankrupt, feeling like a bit of a sucked lemon. For me, I love making a concerted effort to build a new habit to consciously take notice and be a grateful receiver of the love and energy around me. It’s a bit of a balancing act to notice, be grateful, and move forward without getting stuck in any one place. To give without the expectation of reciprocity, and yet to notice when those gifts come back through a completely different channel. That is the true Universal Law. With time, that is the flow of give and receive, give and receive until it becomes effortless to do both.
Funny how the thing that jumped out for me this week was will. A little bitty word that sneaks into our vocabulary and our mindset and gives us permission to put things off. “I will follow my passion.” “I will workout everyday.” “I will fill my body with nourishing food.” It all seems like it is going in the right direction. I can make a dozen positive statements and never get to actualize even one of them, and in a tricky sense of the mind, I am still being true to myself, cause it could still happen . . . . someday.
“Time teaches all things to him who lives forever but I have not the luxury of eternity.” Og says “Let’s get to it!” It was such a liberating feeling to comb through those seven pages of Scroll One! Like a sleuth, I sought out those “wills” – like weeds in my garden I ruthlessly crossed them out of my book – both books! And then I read, again with joy and ease, the Scroll Marked One. I was amazed at what a difference it made to my mindset! It felt powerful. It felt present. It just flew off my tongue!
Then I picked up my BluePrint Builder. For the first time noticed all the wills in there! Not anymore. Maybe it’s next week’s exercise, but it has been exorcised. The one tiny shift changed the perspective . . . And the effect on my brain has been massive.
I always loved the parable about the bamboo farmer. The farmer plants his crop and diligently tends to the land. He tills and waters the soil. Nothing happens during the first year. Not even so much as a leaf peeks through. Year two, same thing. He keeps tending the soil, turning it over, watering. Still no signs of life. Year three . . . Year four . . . . Finally in the 5th year, the bamboo grows a foot in one day! And by the end of the 5th summer, there is a whole bamboo forest!
I always thought that the parable was about Hard Work, Persistence and most importantly Faith. Until this week. Now all I can think about is dirt. I never really thought about it. After all, it’s just dirt. It’s dumb as dirt. By itself, it can’t do anything. It doesn’t have the grand design for a magnificent flowerbed or a tangle of weeds. By itself, it can’t feed a family or a country. It can’t even feed an insect. It’s just dirt. We can work to enrich the dirt, water it, till it, condition it with Plant Power, but until something is buried, scattered or sown in that dirt, nothing is going to happen by itself.
The subconscious is like that. When we are young the soil is so fresh, you can almost smell it like a Spring day after a light rain. The soil is loose, and full of minerals and just ready for something wonderful to be planted. Beautiful gardens and luscious crops grow out of the imagination and their capacity is boundless. As we get older, we sometimes can take that dirt for granted, allowing it to become dried out, hard packed and depleted. You meet some people and you just know that nothing has grown in that subconscious for years. But with loving care, little by little, we can nurture that soil and bring it back to where it has the capacity to support new ideas and new dreams.
Creating a new life and a new mindset takes two interdependent elements. The freshly tilled soil of the subconscious, and the carefully cultivated choice of selected seeds. We can imagine and visualize the outcome – whether it be a contemplative shade garden, a happy garden of colorful flowers, or a community garden that brings people together in growth and harvest. With clear vision, we can lovingly tend the soil and nurture those precious seeds. And just like our friend the Bamboo Farmer, with persistence and faith, the outcome will be exactly as we dreamed it would be.
We all have it. We all love it. We bathe in it. We surround ourselves with it. We love the smell, the feel, the sound and in some cases even the taste of it.
What is it? What is our true B.S.? It’s our Belief System. Everyone is committed to their own B.S. It is our internal perspective that we have carefully cultivated through years of experience and helps us to make sense. And we collect evidence around us that supports why our belief system is right, and someone else’s is wrong. We can’t even hear for one moment what is being said by someone else, because our B.S. is so clear. How can someone not see what we see? It is none more evident than in this political season, or in the famous Blue Dress/White Dress picture that circulated about a year ago.
Truth be told, our B.S. is really our Ego. What if everything you knew and everything you believed to be true about yourself and about the world all of a sudden changed with one small tweak?
It takes a Hero’s journey to step away from our Ego – and notice how our B.S. tries to fight for it . . . to step into the unknown, to take off the clothing, to strip down to your true essence and just start from the center. You have to trust that you are never alone. As I start to step outside from what has been my own B.S. during much of my adult life, it’s a little chilly. It’s so much more cozy to stay in the place where all is known – the routine that keeps us busy but never moving forward. You might feel that you are making progress ’cause look at how busy you are – but you can be really busy doing non-productive things – including digging a rut.
B.S. is comfortable, but it’s not a place of discovery. I am now reminded by an old phrase that was shared with me many years ago. It is that we are Human Beings, not Human Doings. And to get to that heart essence – that true space of Being – it takes courage and a quiet place.
Have you ever looked around and wondered “How did I even get here?” It’s like that feeling when you are driving down the road and so intent on what you are listening to or thinking that you are all of a sudden 3 exits past where you wanted to turn off. You thought you were paying attention. Eyes were open, hands on the wheel, foot on the gas. You were driving at 60 (or in my case 70 . . . or 75) on a crowded highway that encircles Boston, surrounded by thousands of other drivers – who could also be lost in thought. When you “come to” and shake yourself out of that thought coma, your adrenaline starts to rush a little bit, in frustration for the workaround in traffic, but also humbled to wonder if your attention would have been “on it” if a major accident needed aversion.
The old blueprint I’ve been living is alot like that autopilot – I have wanted to break away from the ordinary, to rise to my exceptional true spirited purpose to impact the lives of others and live that life that I’ve dreamed for myself. But before I know it, I am sucked in again to the familiar old routine of success at a corporate job, and trading my time for money at work. I know that this is not the road to fulfillment. I know that my destiny when working for someone else is in their hands, decisions that are made in boardrooms far away from me. No matter how dedicated I am to them, they will never be as devoted to me. How many co-workers have I told the same thing? I’ve seen the movie and I know how it ends, but somehow I keep coming back for more. It’s like I could do it in my sleep.
Oh, I’ve tried letting go. . . . walking away completely after one job nearly killed me. I made a decision that I would never “Bleed company colors” again in my life – especially after they nearly sucked me dry. And it wasn’t the first time – it was just the worst time. My old blueprint told me that this was the way to success, to pour my heart and soul into my company and my team and my work . . . .and the “feeling” that I derived from that success made me keep coming back for more. But like any addictive habit, when it turned bad, it got really ugly, and my world turned upside down.
Following that time, I sat on my front porch for what seemed like 3 months, and I made a decision that the next step in my life would be building something that could never be taken away from me, where I had control of my customers, where I could set the level of service to them at the highest level, and that ultimately I would do well by doing good. And I worked hard at it. But somehow, that old blueprint was there, lurking in the background, and I was completely unaware that it existed. I was on the right path, but the map was completely outdated and useless. I loved the freedom that I experienced working for myself as an independent agent. But there is only so far you can go using your own wings using a worn out compass and navigation system.
I own the concept that everything I have done up to this point in my 57 years on the planet has brought me to where I am today. Like the driving coma, I am humbled that a major disaster has been averted, but rather than frustration with backtracking, I am charting a new path, and engineering a new vehicle. I look at this as an opportunity to discover a whole new route that I didn’t even know existed to take me someplace that I’ve only dreamed of, and not allow myself to get lulled back in to the familiar and comfortable road to nowhere. The path is clear to design a whole new blueprint.
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