Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why Do We React the Ways We Do?

Fear is anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, pain, depression, irritation, all the negative emotions and feelings you experience.

Everything else ... everything else is love.

Those were the words my teacher said this past weekend that hit me hardest. Think about it. All the negative things we feel, when you go right to the core of every one of them, some kind of fear is at the root. Fear of loss, fear of being alone, fear of rejection, fear of not being loved or lovable, fear of people who are confident, fear of people who are somehow "better than you," fear of inadequacy, insecurities, pain, etc.

Why do we snap at people, why when someone compliments someone else we might feel inadequate in comparison to, do we feel the instant need to cut into them, to criticize? All of those things aren't really "us." They are egotistical derivatives of fear. 

So that quintessential question of "What is love?" Well, according to my teacher, it's everything else. It's peace, it's warmth, it's ease, it's gentleness, kindness, compassion, sympathy, generosity, selflessness, altruism ... all of those things encompass love. And when we love ourselves, we don't have room for inadequacy, insecurity, the need to push others down so we can "stay up." Because if you notice, after you do push someone down, whatever "good" feeling you feel, it's never there long and it's often replaced with more self hate or depression.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I think our society in general has twisted and contorted the idea of love to fit each person's mold. And while I do believe everyone experiences it in a different way and experiences different "kinds" of love, I really do see it differently now and look back on some of the distorted views I once had myself.

Yes, I believe you can love someone and still have selfish or angry or jealous moments. But the more you're aware of those emotions as they arise, the more you learn to quickly decipher between what is genuine love and when you're reacting to fear, projecting fear and feeding that pain-fueled egoistic part of you rather than nourishing your heart and spirit ... and truly loving another.

And as soon as you bring awareness to those thoughts/emotions ... they tend to go poof,  like smoke. Imagine them creatures that don't want to be seen ... and once you see them, they lose all their power and disappear. 

Next time you snap at someone or you feel irritation or anger or you want to cut into someone, or a situation, insult someone, criticize, judge, etc. Just be aware of what's going on in you, even while it's happening ... you'll notice how quickly you lose steam. The ego won't like it, that's for sure. But you'll feel a shift more and more in you.

It isn't about judging yourself or scolding yourself, it's about weeding out our "fake," fear induced selves and embracing our "true," loving selves. You can't change these things by changing how you act to others. It has to start with how you treat yourself. That's at the root of everything else.

And once you find love there. You'll discover it everywhere.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are You Swimming Upstream or Downstream?

Find thoughts that feel good, because it is inevitable that you are going to always be moving toward something. So why not be moving toward something that is pleasing? You can't cease to vibrate, and Law of Attraction will not stop responding to the vibration that you are offering. So, expansion is inevitable. You provide it, whether you know you do or not. The only question is, what is the standard of joy that you are demanding for yourself? ~ Esther Hicks

So ... tomorrow I start my Yoga teacher training. I'm both nervous and excited. But I also feel a deep sense of peace and "rightness" inside. Which I guess is my internal compass telling my I'm on the right track.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on the Law of Attraction and just paying attention to emotions and what they tell us. The long short of it is, if you feel anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, stress, etc. — basically all the emotions we consider "negative" by the way they affect our bodies and minds — you're going "upstream" in your life or in that situation. You're fighting the tide rather than flowing downward.

The way you know when you're "on the right track" is when you feel relief and ease and peace. It's that simple. Your own barometer on life can really be THAT simple.

Stop and think about the last time you felt release ... the last time you felt ease and peace inside. Maybe it was just a few minutes ago as you sat with your cup of coffee and watched the birds at your bird feeder. Perhaps it was when you were driving and singing your favorite song, walking your dog and smelling the air ... when you were doing Yoga or meditating.

We are so often like robots on automatic ALL the time in our lives, we don't really pay much attention to what our moment-to-moment emotions are telling us. But our emotions, intuition and physical "feelings" are very much tied together. It's like when you walk into a very intensely charged room and you feel suddenly overwhelmed. Or when you encounter someone that just gives you that uneasy feeling inside. You are literally picking up on energy ... on vibrations.

Lets face it. We're earth-bound creatures and very much tied to nature more than most of us realize. So, if we pay more attention at what we're feeling, what our mind is focusing on and what our intuition is telling us, we break the robotic nature and patterns we're constantly, mindlessly walking through every day.

And once we do that, we are literally a stream of information at every moment, just waiting to be noticed and digested. It's truly amazing how much we can learn by just "looking in the mirror" so to speak.

With that, I implore you all to wake up tomorrow morning and start this experiment by being aware of what your mind is doing — even when you're doing something as simple as brushing your teeth — and what emotions you're feeling, how your thoughts and actions are tied into those emotions (pay attention to the cause and effect phenomenon). Next, recognize when you are floating "upstream" (basically, anytime you're feeling anxiety, unrest, anger, frustration, etc.) and adjust your thinking and actions to bringing yourself "downstream," (any thoughts that immediately bring relief). Then you move on to the next thing.

Sounds overly simplistic, but it really can be that miniscule as far as "action" on your part.

It's different for everyone. We all know the things that bring us peace if we really think about it. So access those things when you feel tightness in your chest or stomach, when you feel tension in your neck and back, when you feel your mind is going a mile a minute.

Because the more you actively turn yourself around and flow downstream ... the more you'll attract downstream people and situations in your life.

Don't believe me?

Just try it. 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year, A New Chapter ... Right?

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~ Oprah Winfrey

At least, that's what New Years always seems to symbolize, right?

Why is that? Is it because the end of the year culturally, psychologically and historically bores reflection and this idea of promise? Is it because our minds always have to be looking backward or forward ... unless we're present?

Think about it, there's the "New Years resolution," there's the ball dropping, the countdown, the champagne and noise making, the traditional kiss. All of these things meant to signify the death of one year and beginning of another.

Honestly, in the last few years, I'd lost faith in that. I mean, it "felt" like a new chapter — at first, but then the same old patterns would sneak back ... or the same kinds of dysfunctions wearing new masks.

In fact, this quote sounds about right in that regard: Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.  ~  Unknown

The feeling of a "new chapter" was mainly a mental willing. And that was just the problem. I'd always wanted it to be so, but the wanting was just another way of resisting my life as it was right then and there. It was just another way of fighting against the tide rather than flowing with it.

I imagine many of us do this, not just around New Years, but all the time. Becoming aware of this has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life thus far. It truly DOES make this year different from the past.

You know the notion "the mind is a powerful thing." Well, the truth is, the mind is only as powerful as we allow it to be. It's the "Wizard of Oz" curtain. We are the man behind the curtain. We, as in, our spirits, our Inner Beings, Higher Selves, energy, souls ... whatever word works for you. And so, it's more than just about controlling our minds, the kinds of thoughts we have, the energy those thoughts produce and draw back in. It's about literally moving our minds aside and stepping around the curtain. That's when we truly feel a "new chapter" begin.

It's not about a checklist of resolutions. It's about embracing where we are right this second. Because right this second, we are exactly where we need to be. 

So, if we build up this next year the way our minds always yearn to — the year of salvation, of resolution, of hope, freedom, awesome, amazing things ... that just feeds the illusion. It's healthy to have goals, but one thing I heard recently is ... transformation is not a future event. It is a present activity. So the power of change is in the now. Because the fact of the matter is, change is inevitable. Whether we want it or not. But how we handle change and what KIND of change happens, much of that is within our power.

And knowing we have that kind of potential, is empowering ... not in an ego way, but a magical, freeing way.

This year, my "goal" will be graduating from Yoga teacher training. My "goal" will be to finally put all the pieces together I've assembled in the last few months and publish my book. None of those things will happen in some future place. They are happening right now, like puzzle pieces I'm putting into place. The key, though, is not to constantly fixate on the end picture ... it's to enjoy the feeling of each pieces as it falls into its slot.

So, as you all start your new year, don't stress about a checklist or fixate on a "better tomorrow" ... find that "new chapter" in every single moment of every single day.

And enjoy the feeling as each piece ... gently slips into place.