Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for July, 2015

Refuse the Shrink Wrap!

How many of us find that the older we get the more our lives seem to become smaller, as our comfort zone reduces in size until we become a walking add for a new product that could be titled, ‘Shrink Wrap Your Life For Greater Comfort, Security and Protection.’ In this scenario we find ourselves continually judging, complaining and ultimately rejecting any thoughts or ideas that are different from our own life experiences. This mindset is usually followed with the thought that ‘this new idea is uncomfortable to me and I reject it …end of story,’ as we begin to consciously pull the shrink wrap ever closer around us for temporary ‘comfort.’ The irony, of course, is that this type of ‘comfort’ causes us to become wary, insecure and just downright more difficult to be around. Can anyone spell curmudgeon?

Truth be told, as the years pass, unless we actively work against this tendency of living in the past it will infiltrate our very core and we will become less rather than more. To combat this hijacking of new life experiences or thoughts requires two things. First it takes an awareness that temporary discomfort may not be a bad thing and then a commitment to think more deeply about something before allowing ourselves to decide on its merit. Different isn’t automatically bad…simply different. Life is constantly changing and evolving. Are we up to the challenge of it all?

Visualize, if you will, an older version of yourself sitting comfortably in a rocking chair. Maybe your hair color has changed, and your physical energy is not what it used to be as you sit with a friend complaining that ‘things are just not the way they used to be.’ As you are speaking can you feel the energy ebbing away from you? Do you actually want to spend the remaining years rejecting the new and yearning for the past?

Every moment of our life is a choice – what we think, do and say is totally up to us. Yes, life is changing at a breakneck speed and we can choose to hold on and have the ride of our life or reminisce about an easier, slower time.

Our unconscious keeps a running record of all feelings and experiences in our lives. It is the depository of all of who we are … what we have done and learned to date. When something new or different comes along we find ourselves at a crossroad. Should I go left and accept or right and reject? This question confronts us on a continual basis – on the news, in our jobs simply every moment we are alive.

In reality, living life to the fullest requires that we slow down when confronted with a new or different thought and think about it long enough to seek the pros and cons of it. When we practice withholding judgment of the unfamiliar or feelings of discomfort we we may just find that there is something to be valued and learned from the experience.

The easiest thing in the world is to reject a new way of thinking. That takes zero intelligence! The goal of being a life long learner is to roll these new ideas or events around in our minds until we see the possible benefit rather than merely the challenge or discomfort. It increases our energy when we see our glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

Regardless of the lives we have lived, every day we are presented with something that has the potential to alter our comfort zone. Will we choose to pull the shrink wrap ever closer around us or be willing to say, ‘Why Not!’ and become more of everything…more interesting, more exciting and filled with wonder of what this marvelous place called earth has in store for us just around the corner. As always, the choice is up to us.

Have a great few days!

Synchronicity Works!

I have often been asked how I come up with the blog topics I write on since they are so varied. The answer is quite simple really – I wait for the spirit to move me (no pun intended). A word, event or person just seems to trigger a thought and the rest is history. Following this logic, the topic today is on synchronicity. On three separate occasions within the last few days I have experienced it. The message was clear to me after the third experience … time to talk about this amazing process called synchronicity.

The psychiatrist, Carl Jung, is credited with identifying this concept in the 1920’s. In 1952 he published a paper entitled ‘Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle.’ In it he explained that ‘just as events may be connected by causality, they may be also be connected by meaning.’ This paper followed an epiphany in 1951 when Jung stated that Einstein’s thought about the relativity of time and space encouraged him to explore their psychic conditionality. Jung believed that ‘a person was both EMBEDDED IN an orderly framework and was the FOCUS OF that orderly framework through a spiritual awakening.’ Today, we hear about the power of positive energy, the intervention of grace, using positive affirmations, goal setting and tuning into our intuitive sense. These concepts all have one thing in common – learning to tap into a higher source of energy for the greater good of self and others. Let me give you a concrete example to further explain the power of synchronicity.

I made an overseas flight reservation on a foreign airline and had been encouraged by a loved one to apply for a frequent flyer number. Guilty of procrastination, I did not do so. Imagine by surprise when the airline sent me an email weeks later stating that the flight had been changed and I needed to call them. I tried three times to get through and was put on hold for 30 minutes each time before being automatically disconnected. My frustration mounted. That just doesn’t happen right? Then it came to me … apply for the frequent flyer program so that I would receive points for the trip. When we ‘hear’ this gentle nudging from the Universe it’s always best to follow through on it. I was finally able to connect with the airline regarding the change and at the same time give them my newly acquired frequent flyer number to receive points for the trip!

The lesson in this story is clear. When something just isn’t working there is a reason. Be patient and listen. What is your intuition telling you? Follow it for there is always a reason. As my son has said many times in my book, ‘Just Behind The Door’ everything happens for a purpose, and we need to trust in the sequence of events that unfold in our lives.

Have a great few days!

Say what You Mean…

The lyrics from the Moody Blues, ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say…Think about the words you are using…Speak for yourself…Say what’s on your mind…’ Are incredibly powerful. I wonder how many of us do so without problems, worries or dramas. Being ourselves and saying what we means only happens when we feel strong in our own identity.

Studies have shown that being authentic is critical in relationships. Sometimes easier said then done right? Actually, for those of us who often choose to sit back and wait to see what others want to say or do, practicing authenticity is an important lesson to work on. The truth is that continually ‘giving in’ not only wears thin but can cause deep seated resentments that frequently surface given enough time.

We owe it to ourselves and the people we are around to speak up – ever so gently – and be heard. Think of it this way, unspoken expectations can dampen or potentially end any relationship. If we are concerned about being viewed as pushy or demanding maybe it’s time to consider how we are presenting our viewpoints. Often, rehearsing in our mind a way to speak our truth without anger, challenge or negative energy being in the mix goes a long way to enhanced communication. When we are upfront and open about our likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. it not only helps us but really helps those closest to us. We take the guess work out of relationships this way. After all, a healthy relationship cannot be built on a strategy of 20 questions!

Balance, the give and take in life, is the key. We want to be viewed as considerate, of course, but have we allowed it to become an art form in our behavior? Consider this … how many times have you ‘given in’ and ate a certain type of food, watched a particular genre of movie or even traveled to a specific location that you were never truly interested in? Reflecting back now, did you bring your best self to the situation?

Often, we think that letting others decide and take the lead will make them happy. ‘It’s no big deal,’ we tell ourself as we try to justify why we chose not to speak up and state our desire. But the truth is it can become a big deal if we start to make it a habit. We can’t make others happy by continually giving in. It’s not only an unrealistic goal but actually double backs and resurfaces – often with a bang not a whimper – at the most inopportune times.

How many of us have actually ‘negotiated’ with a spouse, partner or even friend in reference to what we need or want. Have we been self-confident enough to state our preferences or desires? When we respect ourselves enough to state our own wants or needs up front, others respect us much more in the long run. Solid relationships are built on respect.

Equality starts with a belief that everyone’s needs and desires (including our own) are equally important. The next step is then practicing this belief. Let’s decide right here and now that we are worth it and engage in decision making rather than merely observe it happening. Everyone will be better off in the long run!

Have a great few days!

Using Our Conscious and Unconscious Thought Process

Some people think it takes decades to become wise – maybe – maybe not. Like everything in life it depends on the individual. I have met some very wise young people! I believe the person who allows themselves to listen to their ‘inner voice’ or intuition can be very wise indeed. These are the folks that seem to have a tendency to ‘just know or sense’ when something feels right to them. They follow their gut reaction which guides them to be confident … but not too much so, adventurous while keeping an eye on tomorrow and knowledgeable while always interested in seeking additional information. They seem to use all of their senses as they move through life.

Wise is the person who uses the rationality of logic and combines it with that inner feeling of knowing which step to take next. Using this approach our conscious and unconscious mind then works together to give us the best of both worlds. At times we just need to listen, feel and then muster the confidence to move forward even when every ‘t’ has not been crossed.

Holding back, second guessing and continually perseverating on a possible result can cause us to become paralyzed by indecision. It is good to be mindful, careful and exact – until it becomes an art form that leaves us exhausted and unable to move.

It has been said that 20% of our brain’s gray matter is used for conscious thought and the remaining 80% to unconscious thoughts. Why wouldn’t we just naturally want to use the entirety and become wiser in the process?

The amazing thing about our unconscious thought process is that it is constantly reorganizing more and more additional information and experiences throughout our lives and storing them in the vast chasm of our minds for future use.

Our unconscious mind comes into play when we have a decision to make and we decide ‘to sleep on it’ and wake up in the morning with an answer! Guess what was working while we were sleeping!

Our instinct or intuition can serve us well when we recognize the power in it. When combined with analytic reasoning we, in essence, bring more power to our thinking and decision making and we become ‘wise beyond our years. Something to think about the next time we just ‘get that feeling.’

Have a great day!

Picture it Happening!

Creative visualization – the ability to picture in your mind’s eye things as you truly want them to be. Maybe it’s a new job, house, relationship, or any of a million other things. The point is that the subject doesn’t matter. What really matters is your ability to close your eyes and SEE and FEEL what you most desire with pure, positive EMOTION. This is way more challenging a task that simply saying to yourself, ‘I want to win the lottery.’ Let’s face it most people would like to win the lottery but in their mind that is more like a dream than a reality. In fact, if you could get inside their head after they talk about winning the lottery you would also hear the follow up phrases that start with the word ‘but’ … ‘It will never happen to me, there are a million others trying to win’…but, but, but. That type of thinking is nothing but pure self sabotage. Truth be told, as human beings we are usually much better at thinking about dire outcomes or results from a fear based mentality than we are at believing we can achieve whatever we set our minds to achieving. Is it time to change all of that and drop the ‘buts’ from your thinking and your life?

What I am talking about is visualizing your hearts desire down to the most minute part and then feeling the positive emotion that wells up in you. Let me give you an example. Decades ago – in the 80’s – I taught a class on goal setting using Lou Tice’s material. With 20 or so in the class I asked each person to visualize something they really wanted. One person said they wanted a new patio set. I asked her to see the size, shape, color and price she was willing to pay for it. Specifics – that’s the first key to achieving your goal. Secondly, and even more important, is to continually go to that place of actually feeling how happy, excited and positive you are having achieved it. I asked the person in class to tell me, with emotion, how it would feel when she had acquired the set. Could she feel herself sitting in the chairs, using the table etc., etc. – you get the idea. Over the course of the week class, I asked the participants to really get into it and talk about how they felt ‘having achieved their most heartfelt desire.’ Each time with greater and greater emotion. You may have guessed the result … On the last day of class the person who had set her goal on the patio set came bounding into class to announce she had found exactly what she was looking for and at the exact price she wanted to pay for it!

Yes, the example above sounds simplistic but the method or approach works for many reasons. The basic idea is energy. We are made up of billions and billions of energy waves that work like magnets to give back to us simply more of what we are presently thinking. Lou Tice called this the reticular activating system and explained that in our minds it works like a beacon that pulsates out to the Universe and attaches itself to like minded energy which is then returned to us.

Experiencing is believing – and I speak from experience. What do you really want – at this moment in your life? I mean really, really want. No holds barred – just go for it and suspend your disbelief for a moment and own it. Now, back to reality, do you believe it’s possible to achieve? Do you believe you deserve it? Whatever your answer I would ask you why you believe this to be so? Can you sustain the belief that it is yours and experience the empowered feeling long enough to manifest it? It’s really not as hard as it may sound. It just takes a suspension of our all too willing thoughts of why not in order to achieve your greatest desire. Give it a try – you’ll be so glad you did!

Have a great few days!

What Makes You Happy?

Pharrell Williams’ song, ‘Happy’ puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. Such a simple melody with uncomplicated lyrics yet it speaks to me. I am immediately transported to a place that tells my feet to dance and warms my heart. What puts a smile on your face? What makes you happy? It’s important to go to ‘our happy place’ as one my friends calls it, whenever we get a chance. It recalibrates our thinking and can give us a shot of much needed energy.

Positive energy is more than a concept. It’s a feeling of vibrancy, strength and even love which says, ‘I can do this, I am confident, I am worthy, I am grateful.’ You can actually feel and recognize this type of energy in others. Check it out as you are walking into work, or at the store. How many people do you come in contact with during a given day that radiate this type of energy? Are you radiating the same back to them? Remember energy is a like a magnet what you give off comes right back to you!

As we all know, not everyone radiates positive energy and that’s unfortunate. When we run into someone that seems to radiate a ‘ poor me’ mentality it’s important to give ourselves permission not to engage in their latest drama and simply recognize it for what it is …. an attention getting device that for some has been honed into an art form over the years. We can’t seem to make them better no matter how hard we try and that’s okay. They have a right to their mindset but it doesn’t mean you have to buy in or accept it. Think of putting up an invisible shield around yourself when you are dealing with someone who is negative. Don’t let them effect you.

As individuals, the way we generate positive energy for ourselves differs in innumerable ways. Regardless of our chosen form of ‘happy’ the importance of it remains. We have a limited number of days on this planet. We can learn the lessons we have chosen to learn through a mindset of positive or negative energy. When difficulties happen if we look for the lesson in them rather than allow ourselves to blame or become angry we win. Remember the saying – every cloud has a silver lining. The choice of how we face life’s challenges is always up to us.

When I am around a person who seems to generate positive energy it lifts me up and I am grateful for their presence. Being happy isn’t always easy but it’s important to constantly work at – little by little – until it becomes just a natural part of our being. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Recognize and celebrate all the good in yourself and others. It’s worth the effort!

As Pharrell ‘s song says, “No offense to you…can’t nothing bring me down, Happiness is the truth.” Yes it is …

Have a great few days!

Being in the Now

Today is the 4th of July, a day of celebration in recognition of our independence as a nation. There will be fireworks tonight that are so beautiful the ‘ahhs’ of the crowds will be heard and universally shared. When the Grand Finale of the individual firework displays happen, the crowds erupt in applause – it’s a thank you to the event coordinators, managers and even to our nation which supports this day with such recognition.The tempting smells of hamburgers and hotdogs grilling make us aware of the importance of family and friends as we indulge in the delicious recipes that have been passed down from generations. How fortunate we are to live in a country that believes in the rights of the individual and celebrates this day with us.

Events like today allow us to ‘be in the moment.’ I know it’s an overused phrase but the reality is that most of us are so busy worrying about our tomorrows that often today just passes us by and we are left wondering where the time has gone. When days, months and years pass by at what seems like the speed of light it’s important to consider if we have learned anything, developed a deeper understanding or appreciation from our life experiences or … Are we actively growing and becoming or simply waiting, wondering and using up our time in the regrets of yesterday or worries about our tomorrows?

Let’s make a pact, tonight when watching the fireworks – in person or on T.V. with each explosion of color, let’s take in the experience completely. No thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow just absorbing the 30 or 45 minutes of pure delight. Think of it as a gift – the gift of being in the moment – that we choose to give ourselves.

Books have been written by many people about the importance of living in the now. In fact, some would say we can only know the power and love of the Universal Energy when we are in the now – living in the flow of the moment – when time seems to stand still. There is no constant chatter in our brains when we are in the now, no should, could or if only, no voices interrupting our personal reverie – just the sweet escape of the moment and we smile from inside out. We feel something bigger, more grand that may remain undefined by words but felt in our hearts.

Have a great holiday!

Be Above It!

How do you react when someone makes a subtle or not so subtle comment to you or someone else about something you believe in or have done? Often our first reaction is to strike back – either outright or in our head – and say or think something equally negative in return. Is it really worth it?

What if we practiced a different approach? What if we chose to be above it all. To decide that regardless of who, what or when something negative is said to remain in control of our feelings and refuse to let the negativity affect us. Difficult? Yes, but not impossible, if we practice this behavior over time. If we disagree with what is said, asking for clarification is helpful if – and only if – we can do so without anger, resentment or adding negative emotion to the environment.

When we really stop to think about it there are at least a million and one ways every day to be offended or upset due to the economy, world or national news, a hurtful comment, an envious coworker, or simply the energy given off by someone who is basically unhappy with themselves. These are just a few examples in which we may think, ‘There it goes again,’ as we feel ourselves being affected by the negativity.

When you run across someone who acts as if they know the way, the truth and the light, take a deep breath and realize that they are simply operating from their ego. They choose self-importance over understanding. To prove this point, just listen to their conversations and count the number of times they use the word ‘I’ versus ‘we’ – it’s a dead giveaway. You can almost here them thinking, ‘If you did things my way all would be right with the world.’ Not so much!

When we think it necessary to change or direct others it says more about us than them. Let’s remember that we are all on our own pathway and have unique lessons to learn. Judging others, regardless of how much they get under our skin, will only delay our own soul’s evolution. We can’t expect those who are different than us to think, feel or behave as we do. We all walk in shoes, specifically designed by us, for our journey.

Not allowing ourselves to be offended gives us strength and adds to our self-confidence. Choose to be simply an observer without judgment. You will gain much inner peace in the process. After all, no one is put into this world to live up to our expectations just as we are not put into this world to live up to theirs. Inner peace develops when we live at what we are For rather than AGAINST.

Have a great few days!