Friday, May 28, 2010

You Reached Your Goal So Why Do You Feel Less Than You Anticipated?

You pick a goal and hit it. You’re supposed to feel good or great, even amazing—but, you don’t. Hmm . . .

You followed the formula: picked a goal, made a plan, worked your plan. You succeeded, but you don’t feel the way you thought you would. What happened?

You aimed at the wrong target.

Here are three ways that can happen.

1. You set a goal based on a “should,” whether you “should” on yourself or someone else did. You did everything required, rang the bell and got the coconut—but you really desire an apple. Maybe your family or others or one other prodded you to go after a coconut or lots of coconuts. You climbed that tall tree (or more than one), perhaps at some risk, to get something you didn’t really want.

Not so far away is an orchard with the kind of apples you desire instead. Research would inform you how you can access them and about when they’ll be ready to harvest.

Going for apples you desire will be a completely different experience than going after coconuts you don’t.

2. You chose to lose weight, lost it, gained it (or more) back—because what hasn’t felt good about your life didn’t change—even though you reached your goal. This happens anytime a desire to feel a certain way about yourself is projected onto a symptom rather than identifying and addressing the cause: one or more beliefs about the self that weigh far heavier on your life than any pounds you’re unhappy about. (Note: Not everyone with extra pounds is unhappy—about their size or their life.)

3. You haven’t asked the right question or questions for you to identify your True Target. Imagine you’re standing on the edge of a field, bow in hand, arrows in a quiver. Your True Target is on the field, but so are a number of other targets. Your True Target will give you the experience you truly desire. (BIG HINT: at the inner level).

Some of the other targets may offer just a part of the whole of what you want; others imitate what you want; and others offer nothing you want. Yet, if you don’t know it’s your innate right to ask right questions for you, you may aim at and hit a target you really don’t want. But hey, it’s a target and you did hit it; and maybe you settle for it. (How’s that worked for you so far?)

Maybe you decided not to aim at not-right-for-you targets, but decided to aim at the others because you don’t know what your True Target looks like—and “maybe” you’ll guess right. Plan to stay very busy. You may even call hitting all those targets “productive.” And, your arm may get quite tired or wear out.

Or you may pause and consider, as Indiana Jones did in the third movie in that series, when he has to pick the correct chalice: What do I know—rather than what others think they know? What do you know about you and what fulfills you—or would, better than anyone else knows? Who will you listen to?

How can you identify your True Target? Be absolutely honest with yourself about what you want the experience of each aspect of your life to FEEL like at the inner level of you. Then, aim and fire until you hit the bull’s-eye.

And, if anyone tries to time how long this takes for you or comments about it, ignore them. Better they shift their focus to their own targets.

You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do You Rub Your Thoughts the Wrong Way?

There is a phrase, “That person rubs me the wrong way,” that basically means the person (though it also could be a situation) doesn’t make you feel good. You, at times, do this with your thoughts (most of us do); so what works to shift this?

Esther Hicks of Abraham fame has a video on YouTube, “Now Is Where All Your Power Is, Part 2,” where she likens feeding negative thoughts—any thoughts that take you out of feeling good—with rubbing your hand on sandpaper. You wouldn’t rub your hand on sandpaper for an extended period of time because it would hurt, remove skin, require healing, maybe lead to infection, and so on.

But, you will rub your thoughts in this way . . . because it’s a habit that seems logical. And, likely, nearly everyone you know does this from time to time. You may have worked yourself, or watched someone do this, into a frothy state of anger or upset—about something that isn’t even happening at that moment, or is long or long-enough over.

A good example of this is replaying in your mind and verbally repeating events you’ve labeled “negative” that happened in the past. How many times will you need to replay and repeat “negative” past events before you’ll feel better about them or change them to “positives” in the present moment? You may even do this when you anticipate negative events that “might” happen.

What does this habit allow you to do?

It doesn’t empower you. It doesn’t allow you to feel appreciation. It doesn’t allow you to feel aligned with what’s good in your life. It doesn’t open you to inspired ideas and creative solutions. It doesn’t allow more good in this specific category to come to you; and if more good does pierce that energy, you may not appreciate it fully.

It does present you with an opportunity (maybe even Opportunity No. 5,798) to ask different questions about it such as: What can I learn about myself from this? If I don’t like what I learn, how can I shift that? In what way does this make me feel disempowered? How can and will I empower myself about this? What does this opportunity allow me to do, and will I do it?

The tendency to use your thoughts like sandpaper comes from knowing that whatever causes you to feel out of alignment, negative, angered, hurt, fearful . . . wasn’t or hasn’t been resolved or addressed—within you—in a way that allows you to feel the way you want to feel. Maybe it is something you can address in the present, and maybe what you need to address is what you’re doing to yourself (and perhaps others) in the present.

You may feel it’s logical to place responsibility for how you feel, or shifting that, onto someone directly involved. How’s that worked for you so far? Maybe it worked in some way (like from manipulation), but do you feel self-empowered? If you give any person responsibility for how you choose to feel, then that person has the power, not you. And, even if you practice this denial of your power, you know it’s not true—because of the resistance you experience.

Here is a way to shift any thought about anything you use repeatedly like sandpaper on your psyche, whether from the past or now:

1. Notice that you’re doing it. Notice what you’re allowing yourself to feel and be by doing it. Notice it without judgment, because self-criticism is another form of sandpaper—a very coarse form.
2. Ask, “What part of this reflects something in me?” You may not like this fact, but anything you harbor resentment about is something you do in a similar way, even though it may appear as different—so “different,” you may not even recognize you’re repeating a pattern you detest in another. This level of self-assessment may not (initially) feel good, but it is extraordinarily powerful on many levels.
3. Ask, “What can I do about this that I will do?” One thing you can do is find something to appreciate about this. You can appreciate that you notice it, that you ask the right questions from a sincere desire to shift and self-empower. You can appreciate how this process leads to deeper understanding and compassion of and for yourself and others. You can appreciate the feeling of relief you get when you empower yourself to stop rubbing your thoughts the wrong way and rub them the right way.

You may also experience challenges about allowing what you say you want into your life. Any thought about what you desire that rubs the wrong way, will slow or prevent what you want coming to you. It’s like saying No or Not Yet.

When this habit surfaces, you can diffuse it with this question: Does allowing this thought pattern support me to move forward, self-empower, and feel the way I want to feel now? If it needs addressing, address it. Otherwise, find and use a thought pattern that lifts your mind and emotions from the sandpaper. The most immediate relief is to stop doing it when you notice you’re doing it.

You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer

Friday, May 14, 2010

What Is the Main Thing You Focus On?

Bob Proctor said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” We are best served if it’s what we focus on. So, what’s the “main thing?”

Actions? Beliefs? Results? Desires? Goals? Nope.

The Main Thing is stated in this other wise statement by Bob: “Your results are an expression of your own level of awareness.” Your focus is better placed on expanding your awareness. Everything else is built upon this. How often this fact gets lost in the shuffle.

Are you aware of things you can do but aren’t?
Are you doing things you really don’t have to do, but haven’t reached the point of awareness that you don’t have to do them (or accept, allow)?
Are you aware improper focus on results creates an energetic ripple effect that impedes your experience and progress?

If too much focus is on desired results (future), you’re not 100 percent in your “now” moment. You’re also not fully aware of (appreciating) all that you have right now. The most significant things you have with you always are your current level of awareness and your ability to expand your awareness.

If too much focus is on desired results, you go into compete-mode: competing with your past and others, competing with getting more (money, material items, satisfaction)—rather than being in creative-mode, which results in all of these. In compete-mode, you struggle. You fret. You take lots of actions (or feel immobilized), driven primarily by panic, fear, or doubt.

In creative-mode, you use your energy wisely and follow what you feel inspired and motivated to do—that aims you at your target. When you follow what you’re inspired and motivated to do, you are joyful and enthused more often than not. You pay attention differently, which expands your awareness, in each moment.

If having more money (or any desired result) is a concern, where is your focus, your energy, your awareness? These are, likely, NOT aligned with creativity, enthusiasm, joyfulness, inspired ideas, inspired motivation, much less Trust. Yet, you may stand in the inner space of all this chaotic energy, using spiritual techniques frantically (or not)—and expect desired results to penetrate that energy and end your emotional pain. That’s kind of like expecting to perform at your best while someone standing next to you is raging at you (you are both the “performer” and the one raging). You can expand your awareness about this with this thought: “You can’t get there from here.”

You may have been lured into a fallacy about results through flashy emails that aim at your fears and tell you that if you do “this,” you (like the sender) can get thousands of dollars or massive success or whatever form of relief you seek overnight, in one week, in one month (How long was the inner and outer journey to get where you are now?—though, that doesn’t mean shifts will take as long). You fall into the trap of focusing on results (to end your pain fast) instead of expanding awareness (which shifts pain into wisdom)—a far better guide to actions that lead to improved experiences and results. If your energy is entwined with beliefs that hold you back (unaware of your true power), even if you use flashy things and get results, you’re awareness may not shift.

And, you’ll repeat the same inner experiences (and similar outer ones) until you expand your awareness in a way that shifts this. You’ll continue to focus on what you don’t have or don’t do and not appreciate what you do have and can do, or do. What you CAN do from the inner level goes underused, or even ignored, more than put to best use. You continue to believe the Power is outside of you, which means you don’t expand awareness (and expression) of your True Power. Denial of your true power is the foundation of your discontent. And this behavior does nothing to strengthen your Self trust or to trust your experiences happen for a reason, or that you can expand your awareness as a result of them.

You may have been convinced “fast” is the way; yet, the contrast that creates with the belief in—trust in—Right Timing is not recognized. Do you even perceive the energetic conflict that sets up inside of you? Expand your awareness As You Go. Your results will keep pace. This means some results WILL happen fast; but you frustrate yourself when you expect every result to do so. This causes you to not pay attention to the Important Stuff—the opportunities to expand your awareness—going on all the time. Your awareness is the foundation that underlies everything in your life.

Imagine a long-distance drive for work or pleasure. Which is better: You speed along, eyes straight ahead, body tense, and repeat, “I’ve got to get there fast!” or, you’re attentive to driving but relaxed, enjoy the scenery, take breaks to address needs and refuel your energy, and stay flexible about arrival time—because things like weather and road work happen? Does a body-builder expect the end result to happen immediately or over time?

Here are some awareness-expanding questions:

• Do the thoughts, words, actions, FEELINGS I have (or “feed”) support that the power over my life and experiences is outside of me or within me?
• Should I do what everyone else does or says I “should” do, or should I open myself to inspired ideas and motivation about what’s appropriate for me (based on my head-and-heart alignment), and act from there?
• Does my motivation to take an action come from inner knowing or from fear?
• Am I paying attention to my feelings and what they attempt to tell me? From what level of awareness do I listen and act?

“Your results are an expression of your own level of awareness.”

You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Do You Ever Do This Immediate Stress Buster?

This one action shifts stress, energy, and yes, often even outcomes, in an instant. And, when you feel life is heaping one frustration on you after another, it seems the last thing you’d ever do.

This particular action happened the first time for me decades back, without having read or heard anyone say it was a “technique” to use. Now, it’s recognized as such; but it’s also an easy one to forget or dismiss. The first time I did it, it simply FELT like the only thing to do at that moment.

I found a brilliant representation of it in the Harry Potter book, The Prisoner of Azkaban. That’s a fitting title parallel as stress and frustration are emotional, energetic prisons we sometimes find ourselves in. If you aren’t a Potter fan, Azkaban is a prison where the guards—appropriately named dementors—suck the joy, and sometimes the soul, out of those imprisoned—until they want to die or do, which is what stress does to us.

A friend posted this statement on Facebook: “One day, I’m going to laugh about this.” She didn’t say what “it” was, but I responded I hoped that, if and when she felt able to, she’d laugh even sooner; that when life sometimes reaches what I call the “absurdity of it all,” I sometimes find it makes me laugh—and, it’s a spontaneous, not forced occurrence. (When stressed, you can “put it down,” for a while, if you watch or listen to something that makes you laugh or helps you to relax.)

The dictionary defines absurd as “so clearly untrue or unreasonable as to be laughable or ridiculous.” Ridiculous . . . Leads me back to Harry Potter.

In this particular book, Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, instructs the class on how to handle a boggart:

“Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces,” . . . . “It’s a shape-shifter” . . . . “It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most.

“The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. . . . We will practice the charm without wands first. After me, please . . . riddikulus!”

It takes the shape of whatever frightens us most. Our fears do shape-shift. Think of a particular fear you “entertain” often. How many ways has and does it show up in your life? It’s the same boggart in different costumes.

Most of our fears, which cause stress, are boggarts that linger in the dark spaces of our subconscious and conscious minds. Sometimes we “feed” them so well with emotionally-charged thoughts they pop out of the proverbial cupboard and show up as events in our lives. Sometimes more than one boggart taunts us at once as imagined or actual events, and we feel overwhelmed.

Isn’t it “interesting” how often what we think or worry about shows up? It’s as though we include them as questions on a “test”—the ones we fear we won’t know or be able to figure out the answers to.

Email pages and social sites have a box that lets you post what you’re doing. My email has this question: What are you doing right now? I also read it as, “What are you doing Right, now?” It’s too easy to dwell on what we feel is not working or what we feel we’re not doing right, and forget to acknowledge and appreciate what we ARE doing right, what IS working right—and let this guide us and create better experiences.

We know stressing is harmful to us in numerous ways: health, decision-making, joyfulness, and more. Positive thinking, Law of Attraction, and other techniques are familiar to so many of us these days; yet, we still slip into the practiced, familiar pattern of engaging and feeding our fears.

Don’t judge yourself when you do this. The most important thing is to recognize when you do it and then use a method you’ve used before that helped you then—or find a way to laugh.

Laughter relaxes energy and literally does shift outcomes. Please be realistic about the outcome part: it does this more often than not, not every time. Feeling crazed isn’t going to make things better. Releasing stress invites possibilities waiting to arrive because stress (judgment) acts like glue that keeps something stuck in our lives. If you find your “shoes” (fearful thinking) stuck in a puddle of “glue,” you can choose to leave your shoes where they are, at least until you can do something about them.

Later in the book, Lupin discovers what he believed Harry’s greatest fear was wasn’t it at all: it was fear. That’s true for us, as well. Some of what we fear happens, but most of it doesn’t. We abhor the idea of feeling fearful; and yet, we feed it. It’s a learned behavior. (What fear are you feeding right now?)

It isn’t that you must eliminate fear or feeling fearful from your life. It’s not realistic, or even a good idea; and thinking it is will cause you endless frustration. But, you can pay attention. Use one or more methods that help you notice and shift when you’re feeding a fear. “A real problem can be solved. An imaginary one cannot.”

If and when it feels right for you, find a way to laugh, especially at the untrue or unreasonably absurd moments. It really is often the best medicine for what ails you. If you share this stress-busting action, as well, let me know.

You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer