Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘intuition’

Something to Think About….

Have you ever noticed that you can read something a million times and all of a sudden during the next reading a thought or phrase jumps out at you and seems to be giving you a personal message – just something you needed to hear at that exact moment? The poem, Desiderata written by Max Ehrmann in 1927 does that for me. Maybe it’s time to inhale and exhale slowly and reread it and see if it speaks to you. 
” Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing forces of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not bind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world, be careful. Strive to be happy.”
Have a great few days!

Being Authentic is the Key!

Leah Remini the successful actor from the T.V. series, King of Queens writes in her memoir ‘TroubleMaker’ the importance of being authentic. She stresses this after her 30 plus years in the Scientology religion. She experienced constant monitoring and redirection which ultimately resulted with the label of “Suppressive Person” because she raised questions about some of the church’s actions. In addition to the tremendous personal cost of belonging the material cost for membership in this religion (thousands for the ‘average joe’ or millions for celebrities) for the constant classes, auditing and redirection is shocking. The ultimate goal of ‘clearing the planet’ – reads like a scary science fiction novel.

Dictates, ultimatums and control are methods of brainwashing that happen over time when we lose our voice and allow someone – anyone – or organization – to act as judge and jury for our own personal lives. When we stop thinking and simply follow the loudest voice or most empassioned speech it reduces us to mere cogs in a wheel – devoid of the uniqueness that each of us were born to experience. Ultimately, we are rendered helpless waiting to be told rather than seeking our own truth.

No one walks in our shoes or on our exact path. It’s up to each of us to discover our own truth. It takes work to figure ourselves out – a lifetime really – I get it – but it may actually be easier that we think. When we listen to our inner voice – our intuition – and recognize what truly gives us peace, joy and happiness we have discovered our own golden nugget of authenticity.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Throughout the book the word hypocrisy screams at the reader. Formal education (past middle school), investigating topics on the Internet, or reading opposing viewpoints are all taboo according to church ‘policy.’ When we look around at other religions in our world with extreme views there seems to be a constant theme … ‘follow and don’t question.’ Really? It seems to me if something or someone is that all knowing they would want their beliefs to see the light of day. Not so. It reminded me of the crass saying about women in the 50’s, ‘keep ’em barefoot and pregnant’ in order to control them. We all know how well that worked out. Anytime we are lead to believe that there is only one way of doing, thinking and being it is time to run not walk to the closest exit.

We can learn from anyone – both what to do and not do – when we are courageous enough to think, feel and be our authentic self. As Remini concludes in her book, “what is true for you is true because you yourself have observed it to be true.”

The beauty of life is that we can take bits and pieces of our experiences and weave them together into a beautiful blanket of truth that feels right for us. There will be some threads of experiences that we may choose to discard – that’s okay. When we have the courage to ignore the personal judgments of others and break free of any artificial boundaries set up to contain us rather than celebrate us we begin to live an authentic life and it is beautiful.

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!

The Power of the Unconscious!

Our first impressions are powerful. Research by Willis and Todorov of Princeton found that we make a decision about a person’s competence, likability, and trustworthiness within the first tenth of a second that we meet them and those impressions hold true for us months later. Take a moment and think about how long one tenth of a second really is …. a snap judgment. Yet we are constantly advised not to make decisions too quickly … but rather to think about it, sleep on it, so that we don’t make a rash decision we will regret later. While all this advice sounds good the reality is that we rarely follow it. We form our instant opinions and then convince ourselves that we are right regardless of evidence to the contrary. The impressions which cause us to make snap decisions come from deep inside our subconscious where intuition, biases, genetic messaging, character traits and social norms have been slowly, over years incubating to become such a part of us that we don’t even realize they are constantly front and center in everything we see, feel and believe. The unconscious basically decides what we are either drawn to or repelled by on a momentary basis.

While we would like to think that we are in total control – on a conscious level – of everything we think, feel and do nothing could be farther from the truth. Our subconscious mind is constantly giving us a barrage of messages and feelings. This amazing part of our brain is the ‘true brain behind the brain.’

As David Brooks said in his New York Times bestseller, ‘The Social Animal,’ the subconscious is the source of character, love and achievement. It collects the wisdom of the ages. In fact, as we learn more, experience more of the world and develop deeper character traits this amazing part of our anatomy is so powerful it constantly orders and reorders the new information to help us become wiser and more adept at living. Brooks went on to say that his book “would not try to discern God’s role in all this but if there is a divine creativity, surely it is active in this inner soul sphere, where brain matter produces emotion, where love rewires the neurons.”

Amazing to think about right – especially when we have been taught that the subconscious simply contains the the baser elements of survival – particularly the fight or flight instincts.

Realizing that our unconscious mind affects so much of our behavior it behooves us to learn from research how to decipher the patterns, tendencies and predictable behaviors so that we harness the strength of decision making. Some of these facts I will be writing about will shock, some will surprise but all will cause you to shake your head in wonder. Think of the next few blogs coming to you as ‘The Farmer’s Almanac of Human Behavior.’

Have a great few days!

It Takes Courage!

There have been many examples world wide of people who have demonstrated such courage in their lives and have changed the world for the better. Maya Angelou, one of these people, passed away this week. She not only changed herself but the world with her acts of courage. She said that courage is the most important virtue a person can possess because it relies on our ability to be consistent in our views of ourselves and others. It draws the line of what can be tolerated and what cannot. Deciding what constitutes our own ‘line in the sand’ involves many things especially courage.

Courage can be as simple as knowing when to speak up and when to sit down, when to lean in and when to lean back. When we think about the millions of times and events in our lives that require us to choose action or inaction it can be a bit overwhelming. What is stabling, however, is realizing that the golden thread of courage from our life experiences is woven into every fiber of our being and exists to help us know when and where to draw our own lines.

We may not all have the heady experiences of changing the world but we can change ourselves in significant ways by having the courage to grow and expand our own comfort zone and be a model to others.

Any change in our lives involves both fear and courage. Then why change, why rock the boat you might ask? When there is less meaning, security or excitement in what you are doing and you feel that tomorrow will just be a repeat of today a gentle nudge of dissatisfaction is beginning to encompass you. That’s your intuition telling you to change – to have the courage to believe in yourself and your own survival skills enough to do something about it. Muster up the courage to follow your own heart and turn the page, start the next chapter in your life. Everyone has insecurities about change. That’s called being human. It is how long we allow ourselves to stay stuck in the familiar, known as The Waiting Place, that can sap our enthusiasm for life. We have heard of people who say they wish they could do … (fill in the blank) but are waiting for the perfect time, the perfect opportunity, the perfect reason. Guess what? There is no such thing. Waiting is often just an excuse that allows the fears of the unknown, the future, to be manifested in us today. That fear keeps us locked into our familiar, maybe even predictable or restricting place in life.

How sad it would be to reflect back on our lives at 85 or so and think to ourselves, ‘If only I would have …’ Decide today to use your courage to expand your comfort zone and experience more of life. The issue may be big or small – it really doesn’t matter because each time you decide to be courageous enough to change something in your life you are putting another chit in your bucket of strength, fortitude and belief in yourself. Maybe it’s as simple as changing your route to work so you can see a new landscape, or volunteering for a non-profit or even deciding to retire after a lifetime of work. Whatever it is if you have been thinking about it, your intuition is telling you the time is right to do something.

Alan Cohen said it best, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new, but there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

What can you do this week that involves change and takes courage? Do it, practice the feelings of risk (don’t worry it doesn’t last) and become stronger and more sure of yourself daily as your life expands and grows. When you become that 85 year old reflecting back on your life you can think to yourself, as a wise, knowing smile spreads across your face, ‘I didn’t just take up space, I lived life! I grabbed life by the horns and rode it for all it was worth!’ Yes, you may have a few bumps and bruises to prove it but nobody, I mean nobody, can take away the thrill of the experience and the feeling of confidence you gained on the journey.

Have a great few days!

Synchronicity and a Fellow Traveler

Synchronicity is amazing and at work again! Yesterday I met a highly successful, accomplished and beautiful person who had a difficult – actually life threatening experience – to share and apparently I needed to hear it.

As she described the physical assault she had barely lived through it sounded not only frightening but outright horrendous. I was amazed that she was able to put one foot in front of the other. At first glance although she looked so very confident and put together I just kept getting the feeling that inside she was a delicate, wounded bird and I was puzzled at my own reaction. As she began to talk I understood my initial reaction better. You would never have guessed that she nearly lost her life in the attack. To add more stress and trauma in her life, the timing of the on going court system continues to keep the attack in her conscious thought – long past the harrowing experience. Listening to her story you could visibly see and feel both the physical and emotional pain she was still in. Yet, she was involved with a group and determined to help others who have lived through similar traumatic experiences.

I was able to offer a few personal references – guides on the side so to speak – that I believed could help her further with the next steps in the healing process. We know that experiencing loss in any form takes what may seem like an inordinate time to fully heal but regardless of our determination or station in life deep loss is like a deep physical wound in our body. There are no short cuts in the healing process – it may take years to fully heal.

You may think our meeting was not particularly unusual or synchronistic but just read the following events that needed to be aligned to get the full picture.

She had changed her appointment due to a conflict in schedule
Still struggling a bit with jet lag I had not made an appointment until a few hours before when in desperation I realized I needed to get in. I kept thinking it would be impossible and not to even try to get an appointment but then in my next breath I would feel an urge to pick up the phone. When I did call I was absolutely astounded to get an appointment immediately (this process usually takes at best a week to get in)
Our times were 15 minutes apart and lasted for 2 hours so we had time to talk
She was physically moved from her original seat and seated next to me
The owner of the shop introduced us – not the usual procedure
Her life story involved tremendous loss of people, safety and well being
I have written a book and blog twice weekly on those topics

We had the gift of time to talk deeply about patterns of human behavior, prayers of protection, life lessons and moving on after tragic events occur in our lives. Our connection was immediately apparent and to verify it the Universe gave her a sign, goose bumps on her arms continually as we talked. In fact it was so noticeable that she commented on it. The energy exchanged left us both feeling happier, more energized and ready to tackle tomorrow. When it was time to leave, after exchanging hugs, I could feel my jet lag seemed better and I noticed that she left the shop with an actual smile on her face. It feels good to be used for a purpose higher than yourself.

Driving home I kept thinking about the amazing way the Universe just seemed to remove all of the normal roadblocks to make this connection happen. I could visualize in my mind the movement of times and events – rather like moving puzzle pieces around – just to make this meeting of the hearts happen and I smiled – I was humbled, indeed! I had met a fellow traveler along the way and was able to lend a listening ear and loving heart momentarily to her life. What greater gift can there be?

Have a great few days!