thoughts

Stuck? A Super Simple Shift that Can Change Everything

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“Why do I keep attracting unavailable men?”
“Why can’t I maintain healthy boundaries with my mother?”
“Why do I still hurt so much, when we broke up so long ago?”
“Why am I so afraid to ask for what I want?”
“Why do I always feel taken advantage of in my friendships?”
These are some of the questions some of my clients have asked themselves, and me, in our sessions lately.
When it comes to self-inquiry, they’re certainly provocative questions and questions like these do have their place, for understanding patterns, or identifying blind spots.
However, they can also hurt us. Questions like these (especially when we think them repetitively) beat us down with the underlying belief that there is something wrong with us. There is quite often blame in a question that starts with “why.” 
There is a presumption of defect, convinced that things should be different.
Oftentimes, wishing it was we who were different. Here’s what we’re probably really thinking…
“Why do I keep attracting unavailable men?” Because there’s something wrong with me.
“Why can’t I maintain healthy boundaries with my mother?” Because there’s something wrong with me.
“Why do I still hurt so much, when we broke up so long ago?” Because there’s something wrong with me.
“Why” questions want to point fingers and place blame, and frankly, aren’t very productive, and can only take us so far. I’ve got an alternative.
The next time you find yourself pondering your life with “why” questions, stop and convert your inquiry into a “how” question.
Where “why” places blame, “how” opens doors.
Where “why” contains resistance (things/I/he/she/they shouldn’t be this way.), “how” creates possibility.
Where “why” focuses on the problem, “how” focuses on discovery and solutions.
Here are some examples…
Instead of asking “Why do I keep attracting unavailable men?” try asking “How can I become the type of woman that attracts emotionally available men? How can I release my attachment to this old pattern?”
Instead of “Why can’t I maintain healthy boundaries with my mother?” ask “How can I create a healthy boundary with my mother this week when I see her for dinner?”
Instead of asking “Why do I still hurt so much, when we broke up so long ago?” ask “How can I be more gentle and accepting of what I’m feeling, and allow myself all the space I need to grieve?
Can you feel the difference between “how” and “why” questions? Words have energy, and energetically, the difference is palpable, even without definitive answers to the questions, in even just the asking.
The secret is catching yourself in the act and consciously converting your inquiry.
Practice with a supportive friend the next time you are griping about why things are the way they are. Take turns brainstorming “how” questions until you run out, even without answering them.
Feel the spaciousness and possibilities in this new line of questioning. Feels like throwing open the windows of a dusty, cramped room, and letting the fresh air and sunlight rush in.
I love this practice in my own life, and I’ve seen it work wonders in the lives of my clients.
Our minds are busy little bees, so why not direct the flow of the buzzing, in the direction of potential, healing, compassion, acceptance and freedom?
Try it, and let me know how it goes! In fact, why not post a “why” question you’ve been stuck on and see if you can’t convert it, right here, right now. What have you got to lose, except maybe blame, finger pointing and stuckness.
Happy pondering!

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My Luck is No Accident: Wanna Get Lucky, Too?

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I’ve considered myself a lucky girl for many, many years, and I’m not ashamed to declare it. Great things happen to me. Call it coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity, happenstance, magic, charm, or just plain luck, I am a magnet for awesome situations, chance meetings that turn into big breaks, and unexpected blessings that seem to happen on a daily basis.

I was reminded of this the other day, marveling over a recent blessing with my awesome fiancé, Matt… “Can you believe this opportunity just fell on my lap?”

“I hear you say that a lot.” He answered. He’s right. But am I lucky? Or are my choices, thoughts and desires simply aligning because of the practices and philosophies I embrace?

Here’s the real truth. It’s no accident I am one lucky lady. My luck is not random. And in spite of what my wandering ego sometimes wants to think, nor am I some special favorite child of the divine, at least not any more than anyone else is favored! (We’re all the favorites of the Divine, we are all “trust fund babies of the Universe!”)

We’ve all known a person who considers herself cursed. She is a magnet for bad luck. Accidents follow her. Mysterious ailments ail her. She can’t seem to catch a break. She knows it too, and makes sure everyone who comes in contact with her knows it with her. She was born under a bad sign.

What is the difference between her and me? I believe it really boils down to what we think we are, and how we do life.

Quite simply, we create our own luck, whether we consider it good luck or bad.

An interesting study was done, with five dollar bills. A five dollar bill was laid in the paths of people that fell into one of two groups, those who simply consider themselves lucky, and those who do not.  Each person had the same opportunity to find the same five dollar bill, right in front of them. Guess who more often found the five dollar bill?

You guessed right. The so-called Lucky Ones.

Hey, I know. Life is messy. Shit happens. If I wanted to document and record and focus on the crappy little things and sometimes bigger, crappier things that happen to me, I certainly could. My life, just like anyone else’s is a dance between great days and bad days. Some dreams come true. Some fizzle. Some days I radiate, some moments I am a little grey rain cloud, pouring cold rain on anyone in my path. Of course. But my focus- where I choose to put it- that is what determines the reality I experience.

There are certain things I do think are random. The fact that I happened to be born in a first world country to this life, with these privileges I’ve done absolutely nothing to create, like clean water to drink, a bounty of food and opportunity available to me, the loving family I was born to, that were able to provide for my needs.

However, I think that my current life, the experiences I’ve attracted, the reality I live in day to day is quite non-accidental. Non-coincidental. I create my luck.

We experience what we think. Our feelings and our thoughts create our reality. This is spiritual law. This is quantum physics. This is truth.

I’m reading this fun book called “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” by Denise Duffield-Thomas. She talks about the four common traits of us so-called Lucky People. Do you do these things? If you do them more, I promise, you’ll get lucky!

And if you consider yourself to be unlucky, chances are, these four practices are missing from your life. See what shifts when you begin to pour your life force into these four practices…

  1. Lucky people maximize their chance opportunities.
  2. Lucky people listen to their lucky hunches.
  3. Lucky people expect good fortune.
  4. Lucky people turn their bad luck into good.

When I read this list, I realized this is the exact recipe for my luck. I do these things. And they work. So luck is not random chance at all, like some would like to believe.

You are a powerful magnet for luck. You are a designer of your own random experiences. Yes, that’s a paradox. Isn’t it a beautiful one?

What choice will you make to get lucky today?

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Miserable

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We’ve been chatting about the blocks that get between us and our sexiest, most joyfully radiant, sensual and empowered lives. I’ve pulled together seven of what I think are the greatest, most toxic threats, and we’ve talked about the first two, old programming and self-talk.

Today’s is a two-fer really, because these two love to tango…

Judgment and comparison.

How many times a day do you find yourself judging yourself and/or others, and comparing yourself to others, or even comparing yourself to former versions of yourself?

If you’re like most women, this is a pretty regular thought process, and it slams right up against your radiance, shuts it down, smothers it, snuffs it.

It is impossible to be your most radiant, joyous, sexy self while simultaneously judging or comparing.

Just like negative self-talk and old programming, I don’t know if a life completely and entirely free of judging or comparing is even possible, for these are very human traits, and we are very human creatures. In fact, I’m quite skeptical of anyone who ever says to me “Oh, I’m not judging you…” because I know at that very moment, most likely, they are judging me, or they wouldn’t feel the need to say that, and you know what? We all do it.

There are times when our judgment and discernment skills are very valuable, but I’m not talking about those times. I’m talking about the sexy-stifling, joy-stealing ways it blocks our power, radiance and happiness.

Here are some common examples of how we judge and compare and block our happiness and power in our day-to-day lives…

  • Gorgeous model-type knockout walks into the elevator. Our confidence level instantly plummets, we sink into ourselves, feeling fat and dorky.

  • In yoga class, “everyone” seems so flexible and skilled, while we plop around feeling like a clumsy elk.

  • Thinking “I can’t believe I’m still missing him. It’s been three months and he’s clearly moved on. I’m so pathetic.”

  • Saying “That dress looks so much better on you than it EVER did on me. I should have given it to you a long time ago.”

  • Being passed over for a promotion, and deciding to permanently hate the “bitch” that got it.

  • Or the big DOUBLE-kicker, thinking “There I go, judging and comparing! Sheesh, what a jerk. I wish I was a better person, like so-and-so, she never judges.” Yep, judging and comparing yourself about judging and comparing! What brilliant mind-games we are capable of!

The secret to getting a grip on judging and comparing is the same secret as transforming negative self-talk and old programming, that we’ve already covered.

“Controlling” your thoughts is futile.

What we resist persists.

Trying to NOT think something is mind-acrobatics that most of us are incapable of doing.

We’ve all heard some form of this example… right now, try NOT to think of a pink elephant. Don’t do it! No pink elephant thoughts! Hmmm. how’d that work?

If you want to experience a life with less judging and comparing, you must become diligent about the way you respond to these thoughts and words.

What I know is that it is managing our response to judging and comparing will make a huge difference in how we experience the world and how the world experiences us.

Start first by simply noticing where and when you are judging and complaining. I often suggest to my clients that they first just practice noticing, for the first couple days or weeks or whatever. Without judging. Without condemning. Without correcting. Just observing…

There I am, judging. Ooh, just did it, comparing again.

Then, once that’s become easier, you become the boss. You are no longer mindlessly victim to every thought and word that floats across your mind or out of your mouth. Now you can choose your response.

For example…

  • Gorgeous model-type knockout walks into the elevator. Our confidence level instantly plummets, we sink into ourselves, feeling fat and dorky.
    MINDFUL RESPONSE: She looks beautiful. I admire her confidence. Maybe she is showing up to inspire me to practice increasing my confidence today.

  • Thinking “I can’t believe I’m still missing him. It’s been three months and he’s clearly moved on. I’m so pathetic.”
    MINDFUL RESPONSE: Be nice! You’re still grieving, and you’re not just grieving the loss of him in your life, you’re grieving the end of a dream, and that can hurt even more. Be gentle. Take all the time you need. I’m feeling tender today. How can I be sweet to myself?

Get it?

Every judging, comparing thought is an invitation to practice self-kindness and compassion.

Every trigger is an opportunity to heal, to grow and evolve.

And when we become experts at self-kindness and compassion, OOOOOH I’ll tell you what…. talk about becoming sexy and vibrant and radiant and powerful!

Not that I’ve totally aced these practices myself, but I’ve gotten much better. I get glimpses, and what a wonderful feeling, to be a woman who loves herself so well that she is compassionate and kind, aware and attentive, more than she used to be.

Give it a try, see what happens. I’d love to hear your stories!

Next week, the fourth block…. eww….

Shame.

One of our least favorite feelings, but definitely one of the most destructive and toxic. See you then!

“Me, Meditate? Pfft!”

“Me, Meditate? Pfft!”DOnt-Hate-Meditate-Image-294x300

That’s exactly what I used to think about meditation. But at the end of last year, when my mind had clearly gotten out of control, I knew I had to change course. I’d wake up with negative thoughts in my head, before I’d even opened my eyes. I’d go throughout my days feeling overwhelmed, scattered, unfocused. Insecurities were wreaking havoc on my self-esteem. I struggled to stay afloat without completely falling apart. It got bad.

So, among other changes I committed to, to lift myself out of the deep funk that I had been in, I decided to give meditation a shot.

Up until very recently, I’ve always considered myself meditation-incapable. My mind was just too busy. Busier than the average mind, I was certain. What I’ve learned is that everyone thinks that. My mind is no busier than anyone’s. It’s this being human thing. We all have busy, chattery minds. So what. Who doesn’t? Meditate anyway.

I considered myself only able to do meditative activities, like drawing, coloring, walking. This sitting in stillness and silence thing? Ummm… I don’t think so.

I had to let go of many of the assumptions and personal myths I had made up about what I could or couldn’t do. And then I found some tools. Headspace is an app you can download that has a free 10 minutes for 10 days challenge, along with cute little cartoons that explain meditation concepts in simple and fun ways. I found that guided meditations work very well for me. There are lots of great meditation podcasts too, with extensive archives and guided meditations for every single purpose you can imagine. A simple app search in your Play Store will offer you many free and inexpensive tools.

I began meditating three to fifteen minutes a day, depending on the tool I’m using. I’m nowhere near the “nirvana” I’ve heard about. I haven’t reached any “altered states of consciousness.”  But here’s what I AM getting from my new baby meditation practice…

  • As a chronic over-doer, over-extender, over-booker, sitting still with nothing to do, but just be, has been a powerful way to start my day. Before the chaos, before the ride starts, before I am wrapped up in this or that, I can just sit and be. Allowing myself this gift feels amazing. And my whole day is affected, in positive ways, by this little chunk of designated time to just sit in stillness and be.
  • I’m sleeping better. I’m waking up easier. Meditation may have something to do with this.
  • I’m calmer, more centered and more present during my day. As “centered” is one of my five Core Desired Feelings this year, I’m loving that. Feels great.
  • I experience more love, for myself, for others, I’m just operating from a more loving place.
  • Here’s the big one. My entire experience of the world is changing. When I’m meditating and my mind wanders (as it does constantly) I guide it back to the word, or the breath, or the light in my center, or whatever it is I’m focusing on. Learning to do this has strengthened my ability to do the same thing when I’m not in meditation, and just living my life.For example, I had an experience last week where I was triggered, my feelings were hurt, I was angry and my Pain Body was loving it. The Pain Body, if you don’t know, loves to be the victim. But I knew that victim-energy was not going to serve me. What would I rather think about? Whenever I’d find myself roaming back over to the feeling of victim, or re-hashing, or feeding those negative feelings, I’d redirect my attention to a dream I’m preparing to manifest. I’d rather think about this dream, it’s way more fun. I think about what it will feel like, when actualized, how awesome it will be, how wonderful it will feel.I get to choose my thoughts. And so do you. While meditating, you realize you can’t stop the mind or shut it down, but you can continue to redirect it, over and over. In or out of mediation.

My mind, when unsupervised, is a reckless, wild thing, unruly, like a feisty toddler that doesn’t get enough attention. When left un-managed, my toddler mind will wreck my day.

Meditation is revealing to me that I am in charge. That the toddler can be redirected. That the Me that is not my mind chatter can guide and redirect the busyness, the chaos, the negative thinking, and that, my friend, is what I call a game-changer.

So whatever excuses you have for not developing a mediation practice, I suggest you ditch them. Not enough time? You’re telling me you don’t have three minutes a day? Mind too busy? Join the club.

Hey, if I can develop a meditation practice, SO CAN YOU! I am now convinced that anyone can.

And what a difference it will make. I promise.

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Are you a budding meditator? Long-time cushion boss? I’d love to hear what works for you. Tools, techniques, tricks.

Let’s compare notes, and grow together!

Coming out of the dark: dumb mistakes and lovely little miracles

Sunday evening,  I was driving to my fiance’s place. Like I’d done a thousand times. I know that route like the back of my hand. Which is why I must have thought it was okay to text while driving.

Yes. I was texting. While driving. Suddenly, a high curb came up to meet me, I drove into it, onto it, off of it, my car flying out of control on a usually busy street, which thankfully at that moment was empty. My two passenger tires were shredded in pieces. I drove on my rims to a place to park. I cried.  I finished sending my not-so-important, SO-coulda-waited text message. Called Matt. Went straight to his couch, to nurse my trauma and guilt with a bottle of Reisling.

Then I sank into a dark place. The money I’d been saving for more important things was now being eaten up by repairs. The repair shop found more problems, engine stuff, brake stuff…  hundreds of dollars of my hard-earned money, washed away, in a matter of a couple of phone calls.

Even worse was the shame I was feeling for having “known better”… I could have killed someone. I kept picturing a mom and a baby in a stroller in that spot. I could have killed a baby. I don’t know why my imagination kept wanting to take me there, to a baby in a stroller.  It hadn’t happened. Sure, it could have. But it didn’t. But my imagination wanted me to feel, really feel, the shame and guilt that it thought I should be feeling.

What a waste of money… I could have killed somebody… I know better… What the hell was I thinking? How many times do I have to be taught the same freakin’ lesson: be present. Lisa. Be here.

I wallowed. I whined. I bitched. My fiancé kept calling me Grumpy Cat. And in the privacy of my own mind, I shamed myself, quite relentlessly.

Then, on the third day, I decided I was done. I was ready to leave my dark cloud of self-pity and self-flagellation, and I was ready to return to love. But how? I felt so stuck. I sat in front of my blank journal and could not muster anything nice or pleasant to write. I cried out to God on the pages of my journal.

“You have the tools.” Is what came out.  Bah. Tools, schmools.

Start with a gratitude list.”  I sat there for a moment, gratitude the last thing on my mind. I was feeling SO ungrateful. Pissy. Bleak. Self-pity and gratitude don’t like to play together. They just don’t have very much in common.

I forced myself to write. I ended up listing twenty things I was grateful for. And I’m serious, right then, I felt the clouds begin to part in my heart. An openness began to reveal itself. Damn, this shit works.

Then, I tuned in, I asked my Higher Self to write me a love note, another powerful tool, one I’d picked up from SARK.

Hey Sweetheart,

You’ve been pretty hard on yourself. Do you not know that as a human being, you are allowed – not just allowed—invited—to make mistakes? You are exactly right on track. Money comes and money goes and everything will be alright. It’s just money. Thank goodness you have money saved! Doesn’t it feel good to take care of it yourself? I love you more than anything in this world. You are precious.

I got on Facebook and ran into a couple of super inspiring posts, including Jim Carrrey’s minute-long pure love manifestion… it made me cry! It returned me to my essence. And the lovely image I posted here for you at the top of this blog showed up. Then, a friend (aka, angel) posted this magical playlist, “A Springtime Love Letter” on my FB page. Little miracles, one by one, returned me to love.

And as the dark gave way to the light, as I returned to pure perfect love, as I looked beyond the form, of cars, mistakes, money and whatnot… I was able to find in the folds of my soul a greater capacity for self-compassion and gratitude.

As joy returned to me, and I returned to joy, the world suddenly became a beautiful place again.

As a human being, I am invited to make mistakes. It’s part of my soul’s journey, for its evolution. My ego, however, HATES mistakes.

My soul learns from them.

As I return to my pure essence, which is love, I am also invited to appreciate the very human experience I am having. It’s all me. It’s all learning. And I have finally been cured of my urge to text and drive. Long time coming.  I’ve seen the light. And I’m alright. Yeah, everything is quite alright.

And how are those thoughts working out for ya?

There was a time in my life that I was unaware of the power I have over choosing my own thoughts. Assuming thoughts were in charge, I was constantly bombarded with endless loops of thoughts that didn’t always serve me, in fact, many of them diminished my power and cut off my connection to ease, flow and abundance.

Simply put, these thoughts don’t feel good.

Then I realized that I actually get to choose them. That I don’t have to be slave to every fear, insecurity and worry that pops into my head.

My mind, when left unsupervised, loves to worry. About anything. Everything, You name it.

What I am getting better at doing now is catching myself pretty quickly, when an onslaught of fearful thoughts invites itself into my head. I call on the wiser, higher version of me, who responds “I don’t want to think fearful thoughts right now. I trust you, Divine Source, and everything is unfolding as it should. I am taken care of and in this moment I need nothing. What would I rather think about?” And then I entertain thoughts of what it will be like if everything goes right.  How nice it will be when I have more than enough money, success, good dental care.

I daydream about my happy relationship, our future dream home, my daughter’s exciting future unfolding. I imagine myself  driving a nice gently used car,  I think about the next level of my career, and all of the other wonderful things that lie ahead for me.

Or, sometimes I simply reroute into a gratitude conversation in my head, thanking the benevolent Universe that supports me, for all of my blessings, large and small.

My lower, smaller version of me (I call her Scaredy Girl) wants to return to fearful thoughts. She loves to worry. She loves to obsess… Tries to regain her control over my mind. She even dares to interrupt and hijack my happy thoughts with worrisome ones! She likes to start sentences with “Yeah but what if…”

Then the higher, wiser version of me (I call her Magnificent Me) can corral her in, shift gears and focus on gratitude, instead. Dreams, desires, and all the countless blessings I can enjoy in this moment. They go back and forth a little bit. It’s pretty exciting, up in my head sometimes. It’s a practice. Which means I have to practice it.

What I trust is that as I continue to shift my thinking, consciously deciding what I choose to focus on, it will get easier, and more natural to simply focus on those things, without even having to “shift!”

If you’re finding yourself a “slave” to your fearful thoughts, call on that higher version of you: the version that trusts, that knows, that believes. Let her take control of your thoughts. Ask yourself what you would rather think about, in this moment. Shift your gears. Think of your inner GPS system… RE-ROUTING.

We are the masters of our minds. And the thoughts we choose determine the reality we experience. It’s that simple.

What thoughts do you want to have? What reality do you want to experience?