When You Change The Way You Look At Things…

When You Change The Way You Look At Things…

You’d probably like Jeff. He’s really cool. Multi-talented and creative, he is in the middle of a project he created for himself in which he takes a daily photograph of a light house not too far from his home.

As of today, he has posted his photos for 81 consecutive days on social media. He has a great eye for photo composition, which is critical if you’re committed to photographing the exact same subject for 365 days and hope to not become redundant.

I don’t know why he’s doing this, but I’m glad he is. It’s become something I look forward to daily.

His commitment to this project forces him to look at this one light house from many different vantage points. He is quite open to seeing this one subject in many different ways. Up high, down low, at sunrise, at sunset, through clouds or fog. There is not one “right” photograph of this light house. He is open to moving around and seeing the subject from many different vantage points. At year’s end, when his project is completed, Jeff will know this light house rather intimately.

When we can see something from several different angles, we gain a tremendous understanding of exactly what it is we are looking at.

This works well with light houses.

And with people, too.

Sometimes we only see in people what we’ve habitually always seen. Sometimes what we see is based in part on assumptions we’ve created or inherited. But when we are willing to explore and see people from unfamiliar perspectives we gain a much more complete understand of who is really in front of us. When we are able to understand more about people whose views of and experiences in the world may be different from our own we are in a much better position to create a more inclusive environment in which all can coexist and thrive.

Maybe there’s more to be seen in the people we habitually see?

There always is.

If you decide to look.

It’s a great day to be you!

The Art Of Working Against Yourself

The Art Of Working Against Yourself

Maggie and Watson never like to stay in the yard. Our two strong and high energy dogs love to run free chasing whatever they are chasing. Sometimes they are just running for the sake of running. In our fenceless neighborhood, the dogs have no idea where our yard ends and the neighbor’s yard begins. They see no limits or boundaries. They just run.

Recently, we looked into installing an invisible fence, for their protection and our neighbor’s peace of mind. The technology is quite impressive. We define the parameters of where the dogs are free to run, and to condition them where their boundaries are a small device on their collars emits an uncomfortable charge as they get closer to the limits of their space. In time, the conditioning helps Maggie & Watson know their limitations almost instinctively. They’ll know how far they can go.

Kind of like us humans.

And we don’t even need a collar.

The greatest thing standing between where we are and where we want to be in life are the limitations we set for ourselves. The limitations we’ve conditioned ourselves to accept as true. Through the course of our lives we’ve set our own boundaries for how much we are willing to allow to be possible for us. Much like that invisible fence prevents the dogs from running free, our thoughts, both consciously and unconsciously, tend to keep us in our own yard, a fixed space that keeps us exactly where we are.

Understanding your limitations often requires you to look at your life from a different perspective. I never knew I had limitations, simply because I never thought I had anything to do with why my life wasn’t where I had wanted it to be. Blame is far easier than acceptance. How could I be undermining my own growth and evolution? Why would I do that to myself? Yet when I was able to step back and observe and listen to the stories I was telling myself, I could actually see how I had unintentionally constructed my own invisible fence of limitation.

Those stories of lack and shortage and unworthiness become hard wired into our emotional DNA every time we speak them to ourselves. And like the invisible fence, our thoughts train us as to where we will allow ourselves to go in life. We may see exactly where we want to be yet we’ll never let ourselves get there. All because of the limiting stories we repeatedly and often unconsciously tell ourself.

I’ve felt the inner conflict between what I told myself I wanted and what I was willing to allow myself to receive. The same mind which could envision the future of my dreams was the same mind working to convince me I would never attain it. I knew what I wanted for me but I would always find ways to make sure it never materialized. Until I started listening I had no idea this limiting and conflicting dialog was actually taking place.

Recognizing this conflict was my starting point in changing the stories I was telling myself. Our subconscious doesn’t care what we think about who we are. It just reinforces what we tell it and always finds ways for us to remain exactly where we’ve told ourselves we belong, even if we don’t want to be there. Abundance or lack. Worthy or unworthy. Your story is your story and you’ll never out run it or out work it.

The good news is we can always change the stories we tell ourselves.

So, what about you? What are some of the stories you tell you about you? Do you see yourself worthy to receive the unlimited abundance which is all around you? Or does life feel stuck and you’ve accepted that what is will always be?

Listen to those voices in your head. Step outside of you and just listen to what you say to yourself, especially when life gets challenging. Self awareness is the critical first step in understanding where you actually are in your life, and once you understand where you are it’s much easier to get to where you really want to go.

If you want a different life you need to tell yourself the stories that will make such a life possible.

And it’s possible.

It’s a great day to be you!

Time Really Doesn’t Care What You Do With It

Time Really Doesn’t Care What You Do With It

I hadn’t thought of it quite this way.

Just six weeks left.

It’s mid November and the year is coming to an end. Six weeks and it will be the start of a new year. It will also be the start of a new decade.

That’s the part which stunned me a bit.

Where did the last ten years go?

Most of the time I never think about time. The busy-ness of life often keeps my mind on what’s right in front of me. And the next thing you know a full decade has come to an end.

It’s interesting to look back at the decades of your life and reflect and remember what life felt like back then, what you did, or what you didn’t do. The victories and the defeats, the joys and the pains. A common denominator of the decades of my life is that the decades sort of just happened, simply unfolding in the way that they did. Kinda feels for the most part I was in many ways just going along for the ride.

Having collected many decades myself, being reminded that this one is coming to a close has surprisingly stirred things up within me. As I look back at the past 10 years there is a sense that I could have done better. Done better in the sense of showing up with far more intention and presence. It was a decade of transitions on many levels, but my initial assessment is that life during these last 10 years was more reactionary than intentional. Behold the glory of hindsight and experience and looking back in time and seeing how things could have been.

A younger, less-evolved version of me would have used this awareness against me. I can so vividly see that version of me calling me out for not making the most of those years, even though I have no idea exactly what making the most of those years actually would have looked like. Sometimes we can really hold ourselves to such unrealistic expectations, can’t we?

With my new found reality that I’m six weeks away from a brand new decade, I’m giving serious pause and envisioning what I want to become and accomplish and experience in the coming ten years. For the first time I’m setting clear intentions for myself going forward into the new decade, no longer content of just seeing where time will take me.

The next ten years are going to happen regardless of how I chose to show up for them. Time is indifferent. Time doesn’t care if in ten years I’m looking back wishing I had spent them differently.

That’s not a conversation I intend on having with myself in November 2029.

What are your intentions for the next ten years? What will be your priority? What do you plan to become and accomplish and experience?

The life you want isn’t just going to happen.

It’s a great day to be you!

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Sensing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, she invited me to move my yoga mat closer to hers…

I don’t recall the names of the positions or poses. I do remember diving into something I knew nothing about and doing it anyway. Trusting and allowing, even after the yoga instructor repositioned me right in front of the class so I would be better able to follow along with her instructions.

Yoga!

How did I find myself in this situation? I actually took a day for me to do something for me. A self care kind of day. Taking time off for me isn’t something I can often do. Maybe if I was a better organized person or if I wasn’t so good at making excuses, maybe then I would have found the time to do something like this sooner.

My day was spent at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health which on the surface doesn’t Continue reading “Losing My Yoga Virginity”

It’s Emotional Amnesty Day

It’s Emotional Amnesty Day

Imaging what life could be like if we could simply stop carrying around our own backpack full of what we think is wrong with us. How much lighter would life feel?

What if they established one day per year where we could take all the things we consistently trash ourselves for and we could simply let them go? Put them down and walk away. To forgive ourselves for what we’ve done or not done, for who we are or who we think we are supposed to be, for what we haven’t yet done with our lives?

You know. Those gnawing feelings we get about ourselves. Those little voices reminding us of who we think we really are. Our short-comings, our failures, our doubts and fears, our thoughts about not being good enough. What if we allowed ourselves the opportunity to simply forgive ourselves and start new?

Amnesty.

Emotional amnesty.

The good news is today is Emotional Amnesty Day. Today can be the day to gather up all the limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging habits you don’t want to carry around with you any longer. The stuff that keeps you feeling stuck physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The guilt. The shame. The unworthiness. Continue reading “It’s Emotional Amnesty Day”

Could It Really Be This Simple?

Could It Really Be This Simple?

What if John and Paul were right?

What if all we need is love?

I’ve often dismissed the premise as being overly simplistic. Life can be extremely challenging sometimes. But I’m starting to think they were on to something.

When I look at the world, where wouldn’t love make a difference? Imagine any crisis or strife anywhere in the world. Wouldn’t love make so many of these situations dramatically better, perhaps even eliminate them completely? Isn’t the absence of love the root cause of most of these situations to begin with?

Look at the relationships in your life. Wouldn’t unconditional love make them better and stronger? Wouldn’t unconditional love allow us to accept others as they are and others to accept us as we are? Wouldn’t others also feel a greater sense of peace from feeling a greater sense of love?

Look at your relationship with yourself. What would your life look and feel like if you lovingly allowed yourself the space to be you, without judgement or condition? Isn’t it the absence of love which prevents us from being patient, forgiving, and supportive of ourselves?

Where wouldn’t more love make a difference?

Often our well-intentioned search to find answers to life’s deepest questions can take us down a long and winding road. Our problems are big and therefore demand big solutions.

Or do they?

Maybe it’s not as complicated as we can sometimes make it out to be.

Maybe all we really need is love?

It’s a great day to be you!

Waiting For The Beautiful To Become Beautiful

Waiting For The Beautiful To Become Beautiful

“They’re gonna be so beautiful when they bloom!”

This was overheard at a local nature preserve known, in part, for their large daffodil field, home to thousands of bulbs getting ready to share their gift. Visiting the field has become an annual tradition for a great many.

You could feel the anticipation in their voices as the daffodils were just days away from fully blooming and offering their vibrant color to the world. A few thoughts came to me in that moment:

Weren’t the daffodils already beautiful? Right now? As they already are? Like, at what point does something – or someone – become beautiful?

Ours is a results-oriented culture with a track record of celebrating successful outcomes. We usually don’t get too excited about the process. What we accept as beauty is greatly influenced by expectations and contingencies and once those conditions are satisfied we then feel free to affix the “beautiful” label. The daffodils, so close to fully blooming, apparently had not met their conditions for being beautiful just yet.

From a human standpoint, can we only see others and ourselves as beautiful when they/we are done growing? Can we find beauty in our incompleteness, in our unfolding, just as much as we do when we have finally blossomed and become?

For many we don’t allow our unfinished self to be beautiful. We “rationalize” that the process can’t be beautiful, only the result. As if beautiful is some sort of destination. But as humans we are never done blossoming, never done growing, are we? Because as humans, our unlimited potential for growth and expansion in an equally unlimited and expansive universe will never allow us to ever be complete, or done, or fully expressed. If we are waiting for the finality of our expansion before we can acknowledge our own beauty we will be waiting an entire lifetime before we do so.

And that would be such a shame.

Because beautiful is something we already are.

Exactly where we are, right now.

In our infinite incompleteness.

In our never-ending unfolding.

It’s a great day to be you!