What if Where You Focus Determines the Quality of Your Life?

Perception | Spiritual Business Coach Denver, Santa Fe

What do you see? The light, fluffy, hopeful clouds in the middle? The sunshine way off in the distance? The ominous, dark clouds at the top?

I love this photo as a metaphor for life. Or more accurately, how we think about and perceive life.

Do I want to focus on and worry about the possible storm? In this moment, will I choose the hope and joy of the light, bright fluffy clouds? Will I look for the radiant sun, even if off in the distance?

Or, if I can’t see the sun at all, will I remember that it is always shining? If I can see only a dark and stormy threat, can I give myself love and compassion in that moment? And, know that, “this too shall pass?”

What about you? How are you perceiving life right now?

Why Do You Need to Know How to Release Certainty?

Every time we are certain of something, we narrow our world.
“I can’t go hiking with you today because it’s too hot.”

I’m certain it’s too hot and I’m certain that too hot is “bad” for me, therefore I will stay home. If I might like to go hiking, but think it’s too hot, what happens if I remain open and curious?

Maybe I’ll go and take extra water. Maybe I’ll be willing to go for a short time. Maybe I’ll go, hike a bit and then sit in the shade. Maybe I’ll notice I don’t need certain conditions to be happy, to enjoy the day.

Why Do You Need to Know How to Release Certainty?
Me creating my own shade on a day that was probably too hot for me!

What if I avoid a specific person because I’ve decided she’s too shallow? What if she then tells me something deep and meaningful? What if I then notice I feel connected to her? What if I notice my certainty had kept me away from her for years?

What if you won’t grow your business because you’re not good at sales? What if you notice that you are the one who decided you’re not good at sales? What if you open to the infinite possibilities around how to sell? What if you release your certainty about sales and a used car salesmen being one and the same?

We might want to learn how to release certainty to give ourselves the gift of richer, fuller, more meaningful and expansive lives.

Okay, so how do we release certainty? I do often get too hot, I don’t like superficial and you’re not good at sales.

Wow, look how definitive are each of these statements. They sound like absolute truths when, in actuality, they are preferences or tendencies.

What would happen if I allowed myself to enjoy my life whether I’m “too hot” or just the right temperature? How might my life shift if I was curious about the person in front of me, instead of having already decided who she is? How might your business grow if you expanded your view of sales?

What if we accepted and embraced life on life’s terms instead of demanding our list of certainties?

As we begin to hear our selves say, “I can’t,” “I don’t like . . .,” “That’s not me,” we give ourselves the opportunity to release certainty in favor of openness and curiosity. As we notice our self-created suffering around not having our preferences, we can make a new choice in the moment to be happy anyway.

Perhaps a new perspective on “having it all?!?”

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for transforming stress and overwhelm into clarity and purpose”)

What If You Have the Key to Your Freedom?

“So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains
That we never even know we have the key . . .”
~ Lyrics from Already Gone, Eagles

Earlier today one of my clients sent me these lyrics because they reminded her of some of our coaching conversations. The Eagles were my sister’s favorite band when we shared a room in the mid seventies. I’ve probably heard that song a thousand times and never heard those lyrics on their own.

It’s strange that I had never picked out those specific lyrics because they are meaningful to me. The foundation of my life purpose involves helping us free ourselves from our innocently self-created prisons. Thank you Eagles for planting seeds in my teenage psyche!

So what is this key?

Over and over again, as I grow and evolve and as my clients grow and evolve, I see that the less involved we are with the content of our thoughts, the more free we are.

When we recognize there is actually a witness to all these thoughts – and that we are that witness – we begin to realize we may not be as crazy as we have feared. Indeed, we tend to have some crazy thinking, but we are not that. We are the witness of that.

And, when we recognize that we can choose to not engage with trying to take care of all the problems that seem to be in our thoughts, we have freed up a whole bunch of time and energy for living.

What If You Have the Key to Your Freedom?
Ah, to living!

Imagine if we never again tried to answer the question, “I wonder what he is thinking about me?” Or, if we simply noticed that we were once again upset for being upset but allowed ourselves be okay with it. Nothing to fix. Or, we started to rehearse what we were going to say and realized we didn’t need to rehearse.

So, what about you? What if you are not your thoughts? What if you don’t have to fix the problems of your thoughts? What if you don’t have to attempt to control every aspect of your existence? What if you notice that your true identity is part of All That Is? And that life is organizing itself beautifully without addressing all that repetitive thinking inside you?

What a glorious key to our freedom . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for transforming stress and overwhelm into clarity and purpose”)

How Have You Forgotten Yourself as the Creator of Life?

I’ve had many opportunities in the past few weeks to forget that I am the creator of Life. I’ve been working overtime trying to figure out how to resolve, work through, fix, heal or eradicate certain situations.

When I finally turned all of it over to meditation, this is what I heard, “The time of ‘figuring it out’ is over. Do you see that you are not in charge AND you are the creator of Life? ‘In charge’ is about fear of the past and trying to manipulate the future to correct the past.”

“Instead, you know that Life is created in the present. As you are present to Life, you are the creator of Life, you are in relationship with Life, you are receiving Life.”

Well, that was a clear distinction for me! As I understand it, I need to refrain from trying to manipulate what is, but rather to be present to, in relationship with and receive what is.

How Have You Forgotten Yourself as the Creator of Life?
Ah, to be present to, be in relationship with and receive this creation. That’s Life!

How does that make me the creator of Life? I have a strong felt sense of it and I find it hard to articulate it.

Here’s what I’m seeing in this moment. When I try to manipulate, I’m completely missing what I’ve already created. When I’m in relationship with what I’ve created, I’m at peace because I’m not fighting it. When I receive what I’ve created, I experience the beauty, mystery and meaning of the creation.

Even when it’s super uncomfortable and not what I think I wanted.

It’s easy to know I’m the creator of Life when I love what I create. And, I’m finding that the more I am willing to receive what is regardless of my feelings about what is, the more I experience knowing I am the creator of Life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for transforming crisis into clarity and purpose”)

How Might We Not Take Fear Seriously?

I’ve worked with several clients this week around moving through fear. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of being in romantic partnership with the wrong person. Fear the money will run out. Fear of hiring the wrong person. Fear of not getting everything done because the business is growing so quickly.

And, here’s the fascinating thing about the content of the fear. The specifics of what we are afraid of don’t matter. It’s best if we don’t engage with the content.

I can hear you now, “But I must hire the right person.” Yes, absolutely. And when were our best decisions ever made from fear?

So, if you’re experiencing fear right now (or sometime down the road), don’t engage with the content. Simply notice you are having some fear thoughts. A few dark clouds of the mind.

How Might We Not Take Fear Seriously

Isn’t it clear that these dark cloud will be moving on soon?  As with
the dark clouds that wander through our mind from time to time . . .

Allow them to dissipate and move on. When your mood is once again light and hopeful, then revisit whatever decisions need to be made. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find that, at that point, no decisions do need to be made or that the decision is obvious.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for transforming crisis into clarity and purpose”)

Freedom from Our Innocently Self-Imposed Prisons

“What if everything in life was up for grabs and there were no givens?”
Michael Neill
From his brand new, hot-off-the-press book,
“The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home”

I am so excited because one of my mentors, Michael Neill, released his latest book yesterday. One of the reasons I have been a fan, follower and student of Michael’s for so long is because we are cut from the same cloth, belong to the same soul collective.

For years I have been working with myself and my clients to release us from our innocently self-imposed prisons. In Chapter 6 of The Space Within, Michael talks about dissolving the bars of our self-created cages.

The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home by Michael Neill

In Michael’s words:
” . . . all any of us are ever suffering from is our innocent misuse of the play dough of Thought. When we use it to create insecurity, worry, and fear, we live inside a cage with bars of our own making. But, like a child who gleefully creates and destroys animals and people and monsters and flowers every time they take their play dough out of its container, we’re free to change our mind and think differently about absolutely anything at absolutely any moment.

I don’t always remember this, and there are certainly times when my reality becomes very “real” to me and I feel the walls closing in on my self-created cage. But then a new thought comes along, and I’m once again reminded that I can roll up the bars of my cage into a lump of divinely neutral play dough, change my mind, and begin the game of creation all over again.”

My words:
When we get it, really get it, that our imprisonment comes from our own thinking rather than ANY external circumstances, we are free.

I was fortunate to read Victor Frankel’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, my junior year in high school. His first-hand account of life in four different Nazi death camps depicts how even in the most horrific circumstances during actual imprisonment, a person doesn’t need to be imprisoned.

His story was one of my first directional signals, pointing me toward becoming a business and life coach. I have come to recognize that I am here on this planet to inspire and urge me and you to be fully ourselves by freeing ourselves from our own innocently self-imposed prisons. And, I am so grateful to share a soul collective with Michael Neill and Victor Frankel.

Mild Preferences Free Us

All suffering comes from our need to have things a certain way.

I can hear your protests. I can hear them because I’ve had them, too. I still sometimes have them. “I’m suffering because of this illness or physical pain.” “I’m suffering because someone I love isn’t available to me.” “I’m suffering because I don’t have enough money.” And our lists go on.

When I feel sick or experience pain, even chronic pain, it is my thinking that causes the suffering. “I shouldn’t be in pain. I’m tired of this. When will I feel better? I can’t take another minute of this . . .” When I accept what is, when I allow things to be as they are, rather than how I think I need them to be, then the suffering stops.

I may still be uncomfortable with the pain and that too will shift. When I have a mild preference for being pain-free, then I create more space for the pain to ease or for me modify how I do my day even while experiencing the pain.

When we feel out of control, we tend to have strong preferences. We become very attached to those preferences and when they don’t happen, we feel even more out of control. Quickly, we spin into a downward spiral.

If instead, we can use the feeling of being out of control as the signal to dial back our preference to mild, we then begin an upward spiral. “It would be great if I felt better. And, I don’t feel well at the moment. And, this is what I can do even while feeling this way.”

Last summer, I had an extremely strong preference that this spider hang out somewhere far, far away from my bathroom window. Since he was on the outside of the screen on the second floor, it would have been quite challenging to offer him my typical spider “relocation package.” So, instead, I experimented with befriending him with the safety of the screen between us. I eventually was able to downgrade to a medium preference . . . 🙂

Mild preferences move us toward accepting, even sometimes loving, what is. Because the preference is mild, I’m fine even if I don’t get what I prefer in a moment. My own personal experience of working with dialing back my preferences to mild: what I would prefer often naturally comes to pass. I suspect this happens because I don’t have such heavy, attachment energy involved in the mix.

And sometimes, whether or not I get what I prefer, I experience this sweet vulnerability and aliveness because I have surrendered to what is. In this vulnerability, I feel my connection to the human race and a simple compassion for me and those involved in the situation.

The more I align with what is, whatever that is, the more I am connected – to myself, to life, to those around me, instead of causing my own suffering by railing against what is.

Ah, the sweetness of mild preferences . . .

What Keeps Us from Loving Ourselves?

What stands between us and self-appreciation, self-compassion, self-love? We behave as though our thinking is real.

What if we didn’t believe everything we hear in our head about ourselves? What if we didn’t believe our judgments of others (projections about ourselves)?

When we hear in our heads:

  • You shouldn’t have . . .
  • You should have . . .
  • There you go again . . .
  • You’re so _________ (you fill in the blank).
  • When are you going to change _________ (again, you fill in the blank)?

What if we didn’t engage with those repetitive, dead-end, self-loathing thoughts and instead used them as a mindfulness activity?

We could:

  • Take a few deep breaths and compassionately remind ourselves we are always doing the best we can.
  • Pause and notice the habitual nature of the thoughts and simply give them some space.
  • Byron Katie style, question the thoughts. “Is it true I should . . .?” “What is a turnaround for that thought?” “Who would I be without that thought?”
  • Take a few seconds to appreciate that we noticed the thoughts and didn’t engage.
  • Take ourselves lightly, smile and go on about our day.

What keeps us from loving ourselves? The human thoughts that tell us all the reasons we shouldn’t.

Orange Daisy Gerbera

Ah, to recognize our own beauty and divinity as easily as we recognize
the unique beauty and universal divinity of this daisy
. . .

Why might we love ourselves anyway? To honor the spiritual truth about us: that we ARE love.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

How to Notice When You Are Creating Heaven

Heaven: “This is wonderful. I could stay here forever.”
Hell: “This is not quite perfect.”
– Byron Katie
From her book, I Need Your Love – Is that True?

What separates us from animals involves our intellectual capacity, our ability to think and reason. Yet, for the most part, most of us, most of the time don’t notice that our thinking causes our misery.

The minute we think any external circumstance, experience or person causes our happiness, we have begun to create our own private hell. And, we do this innocently, often without conscious awareness, thousands of times a day.

“I wonder if he likes me.” “If I can just hang in there until I get more clients.” “I’ll feel better when the kids calm down.” “I can’t wait until it stops raining.” “When I make more money…” “As soon as I lose the weight…” “Once I get the car fixed…” “It will be better when I get divorced, married, retired…” “If only…”

You get the idea. Once we become aware of our particular brand of this regurgitated thought, we can begin to consciously question it and/or take it less seriously and allow it to pass without engaging with it.

How to Notice When You Are Creating Heaven

When we remember that our essential nature is Love and well-being, we begin to become aware of the wonder in every moment, in every experience. When we remember that we are like the sun and the eternally blue sky and our thoughts are like the clouds, we can enjoy our Light and be gracious about allowing the clouds to pass.

And, we may just notice ourselves saying more and more frequently, “This is wonderful. I could stay here forever.” Regardless of what our circumstances look like.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you“)

How to Easily Change a Habit without Willpower. Really.

I have just finished reading a phenomenal book that will revolutionize our ability to live fulfilling lives. While I realize that’s a bold statement, it actually seems like an understatement to me.

“The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit”

Amy Johnson’s new book, “The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit” just came out last month. Amy describes both the spiritual and scientific foundation of habits in a clear, easy to understand and compelling way.

The book addresses both behavioral habits like gambling, lashing out at a loved one and overeating as well as thought-based habits like fear of heights, thinking others are judging us and thinking something bad is going to happen.

She points out that when we’re frustrated about yet again returning to a habit, we are not self-sabotaging, but rather attempting to take care of ourselves. It’s our best effort at self-love in that moment.

She then guides us through seeing that all of this is an innocent misunderstanding. The more we become aware that all habits come from thought, we develop the ability to pause before acting on the thought or continuing with more thinking about the thoughts.

As we pause more and more, we break down the hard-wired pathway between urge and the knee-jerk response. Oh, freedom.

If there is any habit you’d like to break, do yourself a huge favor and read this book.

If you’d like coaching support in implementing this deceptively simple approach to changing your life, I have 3 appointments available in the next week. Visit my online calendar to schedule an appointment for a Coaching Conversation:

We’ll take 30 – 40 minutes to explore if we both feel we’d be a good fit for me to serve as your coach.

I am so excited for everyone who wants to make changes to have this understanding!