August 2014

Relentless: The Blog

When Knowing Better Doesn't Make Us Feel Better

 

I was recently having a discussion with someone that shared that they had read many of the books published by our spiritual sages. You know the genre, authored by the likes of Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and Tony Robbins. Their teachings, and those of many others, have been studied by untold numbers on our planet. Yet there are those that have devoured their writings, including the individual I was having the conversation with, that are still struggling. Why?

 

It's not that their contributions offer no truth or value. It's certainly not a reflection of the populus' ability to understand the offerings or the words that have been printed upon the pages. People "get it" but continue to have a hard time "making it stick".

 

And so, they pick up yet another book, authored by another guru of our times; all in hopes that this will be the one to help them turn the corner as they continue to turn the pages. Again, the author's words ring true for the reader and they see the sense in what is being presented. Once more, the teachings get them so far in their desired process of growth and self discovery, only to hit the proverbial brick wall one more time.

 

At this phase, many begin to feel hopeless, confused and experience a profound state of frustration with themselves. "What am I doing wrong?" they wonder. The answer, nothing. It's essential to practice the gifts bestowed upon us by our spiritual leaders and guides. So, by all means, put into action the practices they recommend.

 

The real question to ponder is, "What's missing?" The understanding of these teachings that have been bestowed upon us is based on the use of our intellectual abilities. The missing piece for many individuals is the emotional awareness. I've witnessed over and over while supporting others on their own journeys of self discovery, that it's not about knowing something, but is instead about making the emotional connection to feeling it.

 

Our emotions are the kingpin to a majority of our thoughts, actions and interactions. So, when we are straining to apply a concept that we know would benefit us, it behooves us to explore what emotions are throwing up a roadblock. Once we are able to identify the emotion we can reflect on the source of the belief surrounding that feeling. That is where our work begins, and change and growth prosper.

 

After having some clarity on how the emotional state came to be part of our existence, we have the choice to create a healing around its origins. As the healing gains momentum, the old is gradually released, making room for the newly discovered tools we've all read about.  As you discard your old operator's manual you can create a new one with the knowledge gained through the wise souls of our world.

 

Just the mention of emotions tends to send people running for the hills; people become instantly overwhelmed at the prospect of exploring their feelings. It is my belief, that emotions are simply another tool available to us to utilize on our path of self-awareness. The key isn't to avoid a feeling, but instead we can welcome it, asking what it is meant to teach us.

 

What I suggest, is that our feeling deserve just as much consideration and attention as the words of those that have come to guide us. In learning about yourself, you may well be better equipped to apply all that you've learned from another.

 

Be well and happy.

August 25, 2014

The Plan: Stop Planning

 

Any time we embark on a new adventure we hear the words, "What's your plan? You gotta have a plan." Or do you? Shocking, isn't it, to think that maybe you don't have to have a schematic outline for every step you're about to take in your newest endeavors? Blasphemy to some, I know.

 

What I'm suggesting is that you have an idea. Yep, that's it. I know you have one, we all do. Shift your focus to that idea and imagine its most grand outcome, your dreams come true. Explore how that will feel, how your spirit will soar. Imagine what you will wear and the words that will flow effortlessly as you speak. Hold the vision of yourself as a brilliant being as you live out a portion of your life's path and purpose. Do you feel alive? Are you excited to begin? Then let's.

 

Find one thing you can do today, or within the next week, that might be one small step towards the dream you just envisioned. A step is all you need to have in mind, not the entire path. When we focus all our energies on devising the perfect plan we often remain impotent, frustration and anxiety taking the wheel because we don't have all the answers as to how we can bring our imaginings to fruition.

 

The truth is, there's no way we can foresee the entire path that lay before us as we pursue a goal or dream, but that's what most individuals attempt to create. Why? Because we feel safer in the known as compared to the perceived, scary unknown. We are fooling ourselves. As I stated just a few sentences back, there's no way we can know everything that is about to transpire so most things are unknown to us; it's just a mental game we play with ourselves in order to feel less vulnerable and safer.

 

That first step, and every one thereafter, can be as tiny as you want or need them to be. The key is action, even in its most imperceptible form. Momentum will begin to build as we bravely take one step and then another, it can be no other way. The universe will respond as it willing does our bidding for us, wanting nothing more than that which we seek for ourselves.

 

You may not even believe you "can do it". The goal initially isn't to challenge those belief systems that keep you immobile, but to act despite them. Allow creativity to blossom as at first you perhaps try "this" and then "that". Either will lead you to a new place of being, and it is there that you can now make a new and more informed decision as to the next move. The next move will take you to the next move...you get it. See, no plan. Just a willingness to move forward.

 

Take a moment or two to examine the steps you've taken thus far, pondering how each one played out. What did you learn or realize that was not in you awareness prior to that step? If you're learning and growing from your actions, then you will be guided by clearer intentions on how next to proceed. That is called progress. Progress need not be a grand fireworks display, perhaps you're simply waving about sparklers most days.

 

I leave you with the wise words from a children's Christmas television show, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. The song may be familiar to many, Put One Foot in Front of the Other. I invite you to watch the video on YouTube for some child-like inspiration. Go ahead, be crazy; that just might be Step #1. Below I've listed a portion of the lyrics that say so simply what it is I've been sharing with you.

 

"Put one foot in front of the other

And soon you'll be walking 'cross the floor

Put one foot in front of the other

And soon you'll be walking out the door."

 

-Jules Bass

 

Get to steppin'.....

 

Be well and happy.

August 18, 2014

Spiritual Lessons of an iPhone, Part 2

 

In a few days I'll be approaching four weeks since I last set eyes on my iPhone. In that time, I made a few more phone calls and discovered my property is most likely sitting in the warehouse of the airline or in the hands of a thief. The chances of the phone returning to me are slim to none, and only getting slimmer with each passing day. Needless to say, I wasn't initially amused with what appears to be the end of this saga.

 

In my frustration, I reviewed every action I had taken to manifest the return of my pretty pink companion. I took every step and spoke to any person that was humanly possible. Spiritually, I practiced my first three valuable lessons: powerlessness, trust and patience. I even pulled in the big guns, The Law of Attraction. I envisioned the joyous homecoming of my phone and even went so far as to send gratitude to the persons responsible for our happy ending. That's where I took things a bit too far.

 

There was nothing wrong with creating a vision, or even sending gratitude. My error was that I did it many times over. With hindsight, I can see that my repetitive efforts at manifestation were fueled by my anxiety and attempts to control the outcome...still. "What was the lesson in that?" I pondered. The universe promptly obliged me with an answer, or two.

 

Lesson #4: Don't get attached to the outcome.

 

Yeah, another tough one. I had done all that I was capable of doing in this instance but my insistence on revisiting the return of my phone through visualizations, etc. was only proof that I was still attached to how this tale would come to end. The universe is a supremely wise entity, it didn't require me to send continual IM's to understand what it was I was hoping to create. Send the message once and it is received and understood. Through my actions it was clear that I was not willing to let go of the control of this fiasco. I was instead attempting to force how this would all play out. I was invested in seeing things my way and with that focus the only things I manifested were stressors for myself. I soon understood where I was being lead.

 

Lesson #5: Acceptance

 

Ugh, that's a hard pill to swallow some days. I immediately understood that my next step in this grand adventure was to accept the facts as they lay before me, my iPhone wasn't coming back; our relationship was over. I don't need to tell you that I wasn't pleased with that conclusion, but that's not what acceptance is about.

 

Acceptance simply means we acknowledge the truth of a situation as it stands before us. It does not mean we like it, most times we won't. When we exercise acceptance we are permitting ourselves to proceed with greater consciousness and clarity in relation to a situation that is presenting itself, not hiding under the veil of denial or attempting to force our desired fairy tale ending. Acceptance allows us to move forward, no longer stuck in our personal pool of quicksand.

 

My mind threw up its typical attempts at thwarting my ability to embrace these lessons. I know you are familiar with them too, they start with "Maybe if I..." or "What if...". But I remained strong, refusing to follow the trail that lead me to nowhere new, only to the same old stomping grounds of anxious anticipation and attempts to micromanage.

 

Accepting, I set my iPhone free to make its way in the world, with or without me. Believe it or not, I felt a sense of relief. Unbeknownst to me, I had been clinging tightly to this drama. When I allowed myself to release it, I set myself free as well. My chest felt lighter and there was a bit, I said a bit, of glee that I no longer had to carry this around with me or be responsible for fixing something that was truly out of my ability to remedy at this point. It was finally out of my hands, because I released my death grip, and it was no longer something I lugged about within my being.

 

We must take actions in our life in order to manifest our desires but by practicing not being attached to the outcome we are opening ourselves and our lives to greater possibilities, some more astounding than our imaginings. As those new possibilities present themselves we are lead into the opportunity to accept the path and challenges that are before us, no longer distorting each circumstance through our tunnel vision.

 

I invite you to join me into this realm of letting go and accepting. What outcomes are you refusing to relinquish, expending your energy only on the conclusion you deem fitting? Can you accept what has been laid before you so that you may now proceed in a forward fashion, opening yourself to new opportunities and growth? In releasing our (perceived) control we are setting ourselves free, no longer hostage to the trappings of our mind but instead open to receive the boundless opportunities the universe presents to us.

 

Be well and happy.

August 11, 2014

Practice Makes Imperfect

 

After my blogs have been posted each week I go onto my website to give them a once over. In a few instances I've noticed errors in the text. I instantly get a clenching in my gut because it's not perfect, and it's there for all to see. My impulse is to dash back into the writings and rectify the flaws glaring in my work.

 

It's not that I made no effort prior to their posting to present them as shiny, new baubles. I read and re-read and proofread some more. I called in the assistance of the computer's technology to capture any of the scandalous flubs that slithered past my critical eye. The next day, I repeated the same systems check. I wanted my offerings to dazzle with perfection.

 

Come to find out, they were lacking some razzle to go with that dazzle. I wasn't perfect, nor were the steps I had put in place to contain the errant rebels that littered my writings, commonly know as mistakes. Oh, the frustration. "What to do?" I asked myself. The answer that came to me was shocking; let them stand.

 

"Why?" I wondered. Quite simple really, it demonstrates to others that I'm not the ever elusive "perfect" and perhaps that will give them permission to accept the same within themselves. That's not to say that we shouldn't make efforts to present our best, but when our end product sometimes falls short of our vision we can accept that imperfections are part of everyone's process each and every day. I've never met another that hasn't made a mistake, I'm confident in saying neither have you. How arrogant of us to believe that somehow we are an exception to that rule. How cruel we are to ourselves, judging and criticizing as we make attempts to deny what seems to be a universal truth, we all make mistakes.

 

Is there ever a time to attempt to correct our errors? Certainly, most especially if we've caused harm to another. In those instances we must make amends as best we can, the mistake has already been made, and set clear intentions to not repeat the same offense.

 

But if the inherent message or intention is intact, as in the case of my writings, why go back to correct a detail that has no consequence? To prove you're perfect? Well, we already know you're not; the secrets out. Even though there were some minor goofs in my previous blogs, it in no way affected what I was trying to get across to my readers. And so, I'm choosing to let them remain as is. Now you know I'm not perfect either, we're even.

 

What mistakes have you made that you are willing to let see the light of day, no longer cloaked in secrecy or shame? Perhaps you can allow them to exist as just that, a mistake, not a value statement that you're a mistake or somehow less than. Mistakes are something we do, not who we are. Our blunders are not meant for flogging or berating oneself. In this world in which we operate mistakes are some of our greatest teachers, guiding us into new lands of opportunities, growth and discoveries. And that, my friends, is true perfection.

 

Be well and happy.

August 4, 2014

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