Friday, December 30, 2011

Are You Engaged in Effort or Struggle?

When you feel disempowered, you engage in struggle. What’s the way back to personal strength and power when this happens?

Based on how you feel in your life right now, you know if it’s effort or struggle you’re engaging at this time. Here’s a bit more information to help you gain greater understanding about this.

Effort is what moves you forward mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, and in all other ways. Effort means you take action as needed, either inner or outer or both, without trying to force results, all the while paying attention with your senses and intuition to the smaller and bigger pictures so you can make needed adjustments or alignments. Struggle indicates a lack of Self-understanding and an attachment to lack that creates yearning. It’s rife with negative emotion, and tries to force results.

Effort is natural, struggle is not. Effort performs best when a sufficient level of supportive organization is involved. Struggle breeds and results in chaos and overwhelm.

Effort involves a level of simplicity. You start where you are and expand in right timing, with appropriate-for-you actions you may adjust, add, or move beyond along the way. Struggle wants instant gratification; and if it gets it, wants even more. Effort feels honorable, struggle does not.

Effort helps us manage our energy in a way that supports and empowers us; struggle has us running amok at the inner level, always, and often at the outer level, as well. Effort liberates, struggle imprisons. Effort leads to fulfillment and may provide fulfillment while we make the effort. Struggle is a burdening ego need for self-indulgence on some level. Our frightened ego wants its cravings fed. Our spirit is fed from within and from our relationship with Source; and when we’re in this inner place, we feel guided and in flow about our efforts. We understand that trust is the way, the path.

People often believe their primary struggles are with issues about money, relationships, and careers. At the heart of any issue is the struggle for acceptance; yet, the only acceptance that really matters is you accepting yourself as an empowered spiritual being. Non-acceptance of Self reveals we’re operating from ego, even though we usually think it’s the other way around.

Nearly two decades ago (1996), Stuart Wilde wrote: “With the explosion of mass media and the information highway, glamour, hype, and showing off have replaced true worth.” If this statement was accurate then, and it was, just think about what this really means and in what ways this may have affected you consciously and subconsciously, particularly as this has only expanded since then. Think about how often you compare your true worth with what others do and with what they say is in their bank account and should be in yours. These days the money-equals-true worth philosophy is driving many individuals down a very bumpy Struggle Road that is a slippery slope for many.

Effort is what helps you fulfill your purpose and passion, and strengthens you in some way, whether that’s obvious to others or not; and, their opinion can’t concern you, as it’s your power involved. Money that results from such effort is an energetic exchange of appreciation derived at a deeper level. Money that results from struggle, if or when that actually happens, tends to adhere to another statement by Wilde: “Money doesn’t give you real strength; it just keeps you comfortable while you experience your dysfunction.”

Here’s one reason the pursuit for money, based on a desire to feel strong “once you have it,” may create struggle: Your spiritual self likely has a different target in mind for you; perhaps, an inner result is required before an outer one is delivered, like realizing your true strength is inside you. Money, power, or celebrity won’t cause the inner strength or personal power you hope it will. That has to come from within; and your spirit may be trying to communicate this to you by not fulfilling your disempowered ego’s desires… until you get this and begin to live it. No amount of Law of Attraction type practices can influence your infinite spirit to operate in a way that’s not in your favor or for your highest good. It wants you to know that your spiritual strength and personal power are what you are to rely on, and NOT on outer manifestations or others to affirm your true worth. And, it has infinite patience to wait for you to get on board.

We’ve gotten confused by hype. Granted some people who’ve made a name for themselves did so by letting go of struggle and moving into effort regarding their purpose, and continue to do so without hype. But hype causes those starting out or in the building phases of life or business, and definitely those engaged in any kind of struggle, to enter a competitive mindset. That is, they compare themselves, not to others (who they usually don’t personally know, not that that matters either), but to the hype. This might result in feeling superior, but it most often results in feeling inferior, which is false and a waste of personal power and an individual’s unique creativity and gifts.

If you’re on a path of passion and purpose, or just want to feel stronger where you are right now in your life, follow through with your inner and outer efforts and don’t compare yourself to anyone. Aim at results, but learn and grow by how you process your inner and outer experiences along the way to results. Understand the process is also filled with results, ones that feed and nurture you long after any goal is met.

Effort supports you to expand who you are, not what your frightened ego needs to feel secure. The ego’s purpose is to keep you alive. However, if you feel it wobble or quake, that’s a signal you’re believing something other than the Truth. This is the time to remind yourself that your true Self is eternal, immortal, universal, and infinite; and all that you are has beauty and strength. That feels solid rather than frenetic and fragmented. You won’t struggle when you feel solid. You’ll open to flow and feel guided about your efforts, including sometimes doing nothing until you know what to do, either of which you’ll do with calmer energy and trust in your personal evolutionary process.

If you’ve been or are engaged in struggle, the first thing you can do to shift this is get quiet and tune in to your inner strength. Stand in it. Let go of any beliefs you’ve absorbed from positive or negative hype, from anyone at any time in your life, and Stand In Your Strength, perhaps in silence, while you reconnect or deepen your connection with your true Self. Do this, and you build your personal power. Practice assessing whether what you feel, think, say, and do supports struggle or effort. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle if you supply appropriate effort to standing in your strength and strengthening your personal power before you apply any outward effort toward your life, purpose, and endeavors.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, December 23, 2011

Everything Has a Reason and a Season

Trees don’t try to keep their leaves when autumn arrives, nor do they resist new growth in the spring. But, that’s how we sometimes approach our lives.

Life asks, insists really, that we engage a continuous shedding and new growth aspect. Maybe you’re trying to hang onto something it’s time to let go of or trying to change something not ready to shift just yet.

Everything that comes to us really does have a reason; and difficult as it sometimes is to perceive or believe, that reason fits into what I’m comfortable calling a Plan of Divine Continually Self-Adjusting Order. Even some of the most painful, frustrating, and scary moments have eventually made sense at some later time… show some purpose in my life and in the greater tapestry I’m a part of. Like when a personal or professional relationship ends, only to see days, months, or years later that what happened was actually order demonstrated within what felt like chaos initially or even for a while longer.

Every change that’s happened in my life is eventually revealed as an intricate, integral piece of something larger… something only a Higher Hand could orchestrate with such precision and wisdom. Pain and struggle felt after events have happened, felt that way because I temporarily disconnected from absolute trust in Source, a trust that has been demonstrated as worthy and worth it more times than it seems it should take for an individual to finally accept and allow that everything has a reason.

Everything also has a season. How often have you relied on something for a while only to see it diminish or begin to show signs of this—and you tried to cling to it as though it were permanent or should be? When something is shed or removed from our life, it means that something else is coming our way; something desires to open, expand, renew, or be created.

Look at your life right now and notice what—as the Native American phrase goes—has stopped “growing corn” for you, or you’re aware that it’s heading that way. I’ll bet you can think of at least one aspect of your life this applies to, just as I can. Sometimes we think we are obligated to hold on, when we are really obligated to let go in order to look after our best interests and well-being, or towards where and how we are to grow next. People, things, and events come into our life for a reason and a season, though the season may be brief or long and the reason unclear until it’s time for us to understand it differently.

When you see that a season for something in your life is approaching its end, that’s the time to envision the next phase or realize you’re at a crossroads, and that it’s time to give what’s next real consideration. Often, because we tend to hang on to things when their season is waning, or even over, we ignore the fact that we’re being nudged or kicked in the backside, to not only embrace the fact of forthcoming change but get involved with it so we have as much influence as possible about how we experience what comes next.

Whenever the stream or streams you rely on show signs of drying up, for a reason or a season, you can consider one of these approaches:

Is it time to find a new stream? Perhaps you’re being nudged towards growth and newness, and a new right-for-you stream is elsewhere. You need to go there, where you find fresh, flowing waters. The reason your stream dries up is because you might not make the move you need to unless this happens. You may feel like you’re being punished or penalized. You aren’t; you’re being motivated to grow.
Maybe there’s a better way, an innovation, you haven’t thought of or tried yet. One tweak or even a small shift in one direction or another may make all the difference.
Maybe it’s about looking for what blocks the stream, like limiting beliefs or negative thinking, so you can begin a process that lets the waters flow again.

Sometimes we attempt to make a change happen before its time. This can feel frustrating, like we’re spinning our wheels, when we’ve simply showed up for our appointment a bit too early. It’s like getting to the restaurant far earlier than you can be seated or before other members of your party arrive. The wait feels different than if you arrived on time or together.

There’s another aspect to this. Have you ever had the feeling that something you’re about to do isn’t as “right” as it might be, or you feel hesitation? That’s your intuition communicating with you. If you’re headstrong or so focused on easing a fear, pain, or frustration with an action, you may ignore that inner nudge. I’m not saying I get this right every time, but I more often than not get that nudge and pause… like when I’m about to send an email I’m eager to get out and that twinge comes to me. I have to be willing to trust that my inner wisdom and guidance wants me to pay attention to something; and when I listen I see why the signal was sent.

You’ve heard it before: A vacuum is created so there’s room to fill it with something else, or something better, but always something that contributes to our life experience in a meaningful way. How quickly we open to seeing it this way has all to do with how long we struggle with the transition. This doesn’t mean we are obligated to “like” all change that happens; but just as forgiveness is really about setting us free, understanding this reason-and-season fact can help us find serenity that results from trust in Source when inner storms happen.

Maybe it’s time for you to give thought to which streams in your life supply you, which don’t, and which need adjustment so they flow smoothly and abundantly again. Put this kind of consideration into practice and see where or how it leads you.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Your Commitment to You – Now and in the New Year

I encourage you to tweak your thoughts—the way you’ve been thinking—so that you move through the holidays and approach 2012 with as much vision and commitment to follow your path of personal accomplishment and fulfillment as you can have at this time, as well as be willing to move to the next level or phase, instead of focusing as much as you might have been on what you believe needs to be changed, fixed, or improved about you or your life—or, stated another way, focused so much on what’s “wrong.”

I ask you to really feel inside your intuitive self what author Lynn Serafinn says about abundance: “Abundance isn’t about what you have; it’s about what you feel.” Many people feel discontent right now and have felt that way for a long time when it comes to abundance, as well as about other areas of their lives.

I think our biggest reason for the discontentment so many of us feel right this moment is that we feel disconnected, and is not actually about any temporary or perceived scarcity. How can real connection ever breed scarcity? I ask you to tune in to the following questions and your own self-awareness to see if they have any relevance for you…

How connected or disconnected do you feel with Source?
How connected or disconnected do you feel with your authentic self?
How connected or disconnected do you feel with the work you do or the service you provide, and who you provide this for or to?
How connected or disconnected do you feel with your personal values and what would really feel fulfilling for you or does feel that way?
Ask this question about anything in your life and see what comes up for you.

In an audio I recently listened to, someone said that all the interruptions in our lives and the fast-food mentality that’s everywhere are causing us to feel as though we have A.D.D., if we don’t already have it. I don’t know about you, but I feel the truth of this at a deep level. Think of all the ways we’re interrupted when we work and when we relax. Is it any wonder people feel like hamsters on a wheel, or exhausted, or lack clarity or serenity? This may be an aspect of your life you want to look at. You may say you’re connected through technology, but the fact may be you feel disconnected to genuine connection.

People look for formulas as solutions—because of these reasons (and, yes, I’ve used the word “formula” myself and find I don’t like that “buzzword” any more, which I’ll have to shift in my materials and vocabulary over time):

You want a formula because you feel disconnected from or distrustful of your own unique, natural magnetic attraction and ability to connect genuinely with others. This applies to many areas of your life, if not all of them.

Certain issues have been with you so long or have you so frustrated, you want a quick-fix. A quick-fix seldom happens. Maybe a temporary fix, but not a long-lasting one. I think you know this, as well as I do. Yet, it’s so tempting to believe a quick-fix formula promise about anything you perceive as a scarcity in your life.

Maybe you’ve been trying to fit into a mold when you really need to stand out in your interesting, distinctive, authentic way. Put a sparrow inside a box and it can’t fly.

A formula is about mixing specific “ingredients” in a specific way to get specific results, and to get the same results each and every time you use it. That works for cake baking, but no way does that fits you—or me—as individuals; and that’s why formulas don’t always work for us, if they work at all, and why you can feel “off” when you use them. This is why deliberately going for your authenticity can’t use a formula to get there. Getting “there” will be as unique and ever-changing as you are.

I encourage you to give what you’ve read here some thought, as well as to get out of your thinking and into your feelings about this. What do you want for yourself and your life? If what you’ve been doing hasn’t created results, it’s time to re-assess this.

I sincerely appreciate that you let me visit you at home or work each week through State of Appreciation. I sincerely appreciate how publishing SOA lets me BE and play in ways that feel good for me. I appreciate when you let me know that something I did or said let you feel heard or inspired.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and New Year, and holidays and a New Year filled with wonders,

Joyce Shafer
You Are More! Empowerment Coach & Author
Publisher, State of Appreciation

P.S. ~ Here is information about my $1 e-book special I’m leaving open until Dec. 30, so you don’t feel rushed about considering this or making a decision, unless you know right off, that is. I’ve put my offerings into categories, with brief but I hope enough description, so you don’t have to figure out which area of your life they belong to. Also—if you get one or more of these offerings, please choose another one as my gift to you.
If you don’t feel my offerings might support you as you’d like, I encourage you to find another author or coach whose work will. You deserve to feel, be, and live strong. And, none of us do this completely alone.


I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say (New Edition): It’s a one-hour read that invites you to give new consideration to everyday matters we all deal with, as well as invite the bigger picture of life into the mix. This is done through a fictional story about a conversation held between two individuals. Feedback from readers has included they read it more than once and write heavily in the margins, because the messages speak to them. I will share that the Universe guided my hand in this one.

Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life & Business--The eCourse: This includes information I received and worked with when I did additional training with Coaching From Spirit. It provides methods that do work to help you manage your energy, plan your day from a more spirit/intuitive-centered approach, give voice to what you want and don’t want in life, tap into your creativity—and it does offer ways to intuitively, energetically connect with people in life or business—but if you’re looking for a business-related offering, I recommend you check out that category. Some information found here and there is repeated, though expanded in the business offerings. This one can help you manage yourself and emotions through the holidays. The reason “eCourse” is in the title is because I originally created the content for a coaching course I did.

Law of Attraction Alchemy: Change Lead Thoughts into Gold: If you are on my special list to receive uplifting messages Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, you’ll recognize that those messages (though tweaked at times) come from here. However, the e-book has an introduction that explains a bit about Law of Attraction (enough info for newbies and a good reminder for others) and my own experience of using the statements in a specific meditative way.

Amp Up Your Awareness: Reflections on the Go: This is a collection of some of my articles that deal specifically with areas of life that concern us emotionally and energetically. Inkstone approached me to create this collection, but I arranged it to serve you in a way like angel cards: pick one and let it speak to you for the day or the moment.


How I Dropped 35 Lbs. in 2 Months the Healthy Way!: Weight gain is something that is on many people’s minds during and after the holidays. I really did do what I include in this e-book, and I really did shed 35 pounds in 2 months, and I really did feel and look healthier as a result. I included a tummy flattening exercise that, in this case, really is quick and easy and seriously effective.


How To Get Your Spirituality-Based and Practical "Ducks" in a Row Before and After You Become a SoloEntrepreneur: This one’s foundation is from Reinvent Yourself, but expanded. This is why you don’t need both, just the one that better fits what you’re looking for or feels like a better fit right now. What’s true for both e-books is that they offer you methods that do allow you to discover how to be you in your business and in your connection with potential and existing clients or customers.

Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Design, Plan, & Live Your Ideal Life and Business: I got inspired to tweak and expand the information, but this is, at its foundation, what you find in the e-book listed above, just slanted towards people starting a business and struggling to keep spirituality in the mix. Again, feel the title that speaks to you, if this is something you feel drawn to explore and expand in the New Year.

How to Create a Basic Business Plan (Probably the Simplest, Most Straightforward Format You’ll Ever Use): Back when God made dirt, I kept trying to learn how to do a business plan. I went to several classes given by professionals. I heard a lot of info, but never learned how to actually create a plan. When I decided to create a print newsletter way back when, I was determined to put a plan together so I knew what I was doing—at least, as much as I could. A year or so later, my before and after plans (before I experienced the reality of publishing, and after publishing the first issue taught me some things), Gale Research published my before and after versions in their handbook. This is the standard format plus a bit.


Write, Get Published, and Promote: An Easy e-Guide for New and Aspiring Writers: I put this one together because I kept being asked some of the same questions by aspiring writers, plus, there were questions they didn’t ask and needed to. The publishing industry changes each week, it seems, but this was designed to help anyone who wants to write but hasn’t, or is new to writing, including articles. It’s a “foot in the door” level of information, based on experience.

PIPPI'S AND PIPER'S OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: If you want to encourage a child, grandchild, or students ages 4-8 to read, improve reading skills, and enhance their thinking processes, this e-book inspires these skills with a tale of 7-year-old twins (brother and sister) who have interesting conversations with a beetle, a lizard, and a grasshopper on the first day of summer vacation. Includes fun clip art images to support the story and connect images and words. If you’re an educator, you have my permission to print copies to share with your class as they read it or follow along as you or someone reads it aloud to them.

If you wish to order from my e-book selection for the $1 special, here are the instructions:
*Go to
*Go to Send Payment
*Type in my email address –
*Copy and paste the title(s) you want – remember to include which title you’d like as a gift.
*$1 for each title (except the gift, of course)
*Include the email address where you want them sent
*Once I see the notice, I’ll email your selection to you. That’s right, this isn’t automated. This may change in 2012, but for now I’m okay about being like “the little shop around the corner” where you engage with the proprietor, when I offer specials like this one.
**If you believe immediate download will make a difference, you can get your selection(s) at the link I provide here, though, they’ll be full price. If this is your choice, please forward your emailed order confirmation/receipt to me and list the e-book you choose as your gift. The link is

I have just one more thing to do before I wrap this up, and that’s to share four other ways I may be able to assist you:

1. Do It Yourself: Get the easy-to-follow Order Form and Activation Letter format to the Universe for $17. You find the Order Form, but not the letter, included in Reinvent Yourself and the similar e-books in the business category—because it’s effective. But if you just want the process and not all the other information, you can get that and the letter here. Order today at
2. Coaching to Create and Activate Your Order Form with the Universe: Get the form, the letter, and me as your life coach to assist you with either a 30-minute coaching call or up to 3 comprehensive emails to discuss your form and letter. $97 ~ Details are at
3. Fulfillment Is an Inside Job! ~ This is especially beneficial if you’re at a crossroads point in your life, which is a precarious time. When frustrated or desperate for change, you may jump—or be tempted to—onto the “Flashy Things” wagon and be taken for a ride that uses up time, money, and energy without leading to desired results, plus ignore your intuition… because you want to end whichever fear or frustration has a grip on you. This coaching course lets you take a journey through discovery about who you are, what you find fulfilling, what your strengths and talents are, and deepen your connection to yourself and your life. Details about this 8-week online course are available at
4. Standard Life Coaching: The “rules” say I’m supposed to remind you about your pain (as though you need reminding) then tell you the benefits you’ll get, and never ever tell you what coaching is about—yet, how very many people tell me they don’t have a clue about it. So, I’m going to tell you about coaching, and what I will tell you is from my own experience. When I want to vent, I contact my friends. When I want to go deeper and/or move something forward I’m stuck on or perceive as an obstacle, I talk with my coach. I save these conversations for my coach because we went through the same training. We know how to listen with a coach’s “ears” and intuition, how to not believe each others’ stories, how to ask better questions so we help each other do the work, because we choose to get out of that mental/emotional space and into a better one. People want to not just be heard, but feel heard… want to feel they aren’t being judged by someone as they commit to moving through what has them feeling stuck. If this sounds like something you want to do for yourself, you can see more at

If you made it all the way to this point, WOW! And, thank you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Does Trying to Be Positive Ever Annoy You?

Trying to be positive when that’s not how you feel is kind of like being hungry with a plate of food in front of you, but allowing yourself only a few or no bites. And then there’s the guilt, right?

Sometimes it can feel frustrating to me to practice what I preach: Look for and aim at the positive aspects and a positive attitude in each moment for your own peace of mind and harmony in your life. Why is this? I think it’s because I, and maybe you, too, aim at the desired end result too close to an experience and forget there’s a process that has a purpose that fits right smack in the middle of those two points. That process includes feelings we may label as negative, but they need to “eat” too.

I believe I’m a spiritual being having a human experience, but sometimes I slip into judgment about the human part of that equation, as though it has less value than the spiritual part, instead of being the yang to that yin, or to say it another way, the other side of a whole coin. When I do this to myself, I get onto a merry-go-round that spins a lot, but takes me nowhere. When I disregard my human aspect in this way, it puts me into the mindset of denying my emotions and feelings, as though they are faulty burdens or flaws rather than tools that are also gifts that inform. And, that doesn’t feel good either.

When we feel negative, how obligated are we to feel better fast? I think part of our confusion about this is that we try to respond to such times according to what others expect or we think they do—so, we think that’s what we also should believe, rather than let our human and spiritual aspects act as the partners they are so they can take us through an experience and move us beyond it. This is one reason some of our issues stay unresolved for such a lengthy time: we don’t hang out with them long enough in a way that allows us to be self-informed enough to make firm decisions about how to make an inner then outer shift. However, being “too comfortable” in negativity means identifying with it, as though it has you rather than you have it.

When any of us deny an emotion that asks for our attention, we deny its right to be heard. It’s like feeling the sting of a splinter in your finger, yet insisting it should be ignored in favor of a “higher” approach. It’s a fact that if that splinter finds its way deeper into your body and travels, that ain’t good. That’s what happens with denied feelings. Instead of being fully present with what’s going on, we judge ourselves for having anything going on that’s not totally positive… like insisting our coin always land heads-up and never tails-up. It’s just not realistic.

If you also believe you’re a spiritual being having a human experience, why do you think that is—what I mean is why come here to be in a body? I think we do that to feel, including feelings—like instead of watching a movie, we become actors in it so we experience it. Yet, this seems to be the very thing many of us try not to do inside our lives. With all the things we feel annoy us in life, this denial of our whole self is a really big one we annoy ourselves with.

Here are some of my personal annoyances. Maybe you share one or more:

There are times I don’t like what my human “mirrors” show me about myself. It annoys me to have a gripe about someone and have to face the fact that I do what I’m griping about them doing, in some way, shape, or form. If I don’t want to see it in them or be triggered negatively when I do, I have to shift it so I’m not doing my version of it anymore.

It sometimes annoys me to realize that thinking about “can’t’s” and “won’t’s”, as in what I can’t do and what I don’t have, will NEVER create desired results, that I really do have to direct my thoughts onto what I can do and what I do have if I want desired experiences and results. This one comes from those early years when we’re taught to compare ourselves to others, but with a negative comparison instead of a positive one, a habit we tend to continue as adults. Imagine Mozart self-judging because he wasn’t something other than what he was. He focused on what he did best, and which fed his spiritual-human self.

It annoys me to be in a bad mood and it annoys me to think I should never be in a bad mood. This is some part of me “dissing” my human aspect because, after all, as someone who’s in the self-improvement arena, I “should” always be in a good mood, right? No. I prefer to be in a good mood, so I know I’ll eventually make the effort to go in that direction or hit that target. But the fact is that sometimes it feels GOOD to be in a bad mood just for a while. Whether I inflict that on someone else and to what degree, is another matter altogether.

I know that wallowing in any emotion doesn’t benefit me, and I know that wallowing and experiencing are not the same things. I know that denial of my emotions doesn’t feel good, but neither does letting them rule me like an unruly child. I know that self-judgment never improves a down or bad mood, but denying that this happens sometimes, puts me on that merry-go-round.

I do appreciate how quickly a not-great or even bad mood can flip in a flash. I value those moments. When this happens it’s usually because someone stated appreciation to me in some way or I chose to do or say something that made another person smile or feel appreciated. Maybe we ought to re-assess and re-value how valuable appreciation is to us and others.

You may grasp and accept that everything happens for a reason, has a purpose, and has perfection in the bigger scheme, but it takes true integration before you behave like a calm, wise sage when something affects you and your life. The sage still feels, but has applied him- or herself to doing the process that leads to expanded conscious awareness, by taking themselves through contrasts brought to their attention through emotions and feelings. This process done consistently for however long it takes is what allows them to more quickly close the gap between upset feelings about an experience and true spiritual understanding and at-one-ment, which leads them to manage themselves in the way most of us aspire to do.

Life is about looking for and traveling in the direction that leads us along our path that takes us from one point to another. But, it’s our path to walk. However, we can choose who we engage with at times and how. We can choose to talk to friends, a life coach, or a counselor or therapist. We can be aware there are three forms of communication. There’s complaining while being closed to feedback and productive action steps, which energetically drains the complainer and those who listen to it. There’s venting, which is about tea and sympathy; it asks for a gentle listener who cares and will support you. And there’s discussion, which is a way to brainstorm ideas and possible solutions. Sometimes, we do all three in one conversation. But you can aim at the same target performers do: Whatever happens during the performance, end well, because that’s what people remember.

There’s an art and science to using negative emotions in our favor. We can choose to put this into practice just as soon as we decide it’s time to stop being or stop enjoying being annoyed.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer
See the 4-day $1 sale on all my e-books at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do You Practice This Mega Energy Zapper?

You may use some of the usual ways to increase energy like rest, diet, supplements, etc., but finding a way to remove or shift this energy zapper will make a huge difference in every area of your life. It’s so commonly practiced that we hardly see it for what it is.

Imagine you’re in the third grade and the teacher hands you your math test, showing you got eight out of ten questions correct. Imagine the teacher being sincere in his or her praise of how well you grasped those eight questions. Now imagine the teacher working with you, pleasantly, to help you grasp the other two so you can feel even stronger in this skill, that what you both look for is what will “connect the dots” for you about these two questions. How supported would you feel? How do you think your self-esteem and self-confidence would be? What kind of self-talk would this approach create; and how would you, then, engage with others?

I used a school example, but we have to include home life, as well. What’s described above is the opposite of what usually happens in both environments. What usually happens is the huge energy zapper of what’s-wrong thinking is put into practice. This kind of thinking is taught to us, and to those who teach it to us, through criticism. What happens when criticism rather than instruction is used?

Criticism causes people to fear making mistakes—a necessary aspect of learning, evolving, and taking calculated risks that result in success. Criticism doesn’t ask good questions, it gives opinions. It focuses on the past; it makes people feel defensive instead of opens communication. It affects learning negatively instead of inspires it (fear of making mistakes); it lowers energy instead of feeds it. All of this combined sets up an environment inside a person to focus on avoiding pain, even if that causes more pain, rather than aim at the pleasure of desired results. They may even give up trying.

There are four energy forms: Physical, emotional, mental, and creative. It’s important, vital actually, to realize that all four forms are interconnected. Deplete or enhance one and the other three are affected, as well.

So, the top energy zapper you use on yourself, others can use on you, and you can use on others is to ask, imply, or focus on what’s wrong, which is criticism that’s often mistaken as solution finding. Sometimes it’s phrased as these questions: What’s wrong with you?! What were you thinking?! Who do you think you are?! Why did you do that?! Why is this happening?! Notice the deliberate use of the interrobang punctuation, named well because it really conveys the “Wham! I just hit you with a ‘What’s wrong with you’ question (that’s really a statement of my personal perspective) right between the eyes.”

Actually, it hits the solar plexus, our energetic area of personal power and security, as it relates to fear and anxiety (not immediate survival threat), which in certain modalities is linked to the adrenal glands and adrenal cortex: Adrenals influence the performance of all four energy forms. Once this Wham! happens, it’s likely we (or others) wear (inside and out) the feeling of “something’s wrong with me” or “this person sees only what they perceive is wrong with me.” Maybe we wear the feeling all the time or just when we get around certain people, depending on how we internalize it.

Whatever the question or statement form, it puts you and them into a negative mind loop. Whether on the giving or receiving end of this, thinking is likely to stay in the good/bad, right/wrong judgment mode. This closes off any input from our intuitive mind that connects our feelings with our thoughts, including empathy and compassion, and very important—curiosity. Something to be curious about is what does a person have to tell him- or herself to make the choice or decision that was made? Think of a recent choice you made, positive or negative: what did you tell yourself in order to make it?

We consider, and even label, someone who’s focused on what’s wrong as negative. Actually, it’s really about how they were influenced to think—that is, to analyze, assess, and process information. And this influence leans far or very far to the side of judging in strict terms of good/bad or right/wrong.
This kind of thinking, because it’s done while on the negative mind loop, may cause a person to do one or all of what’s listed below—and any of us can enter this loop if we aren’t watching out for it:

●Resistance or panic when change seems on the horizon or happens, instead of looking for any value the change may bring.
●Nothing is learned from new or past events, because focus is on what’s wrong, and questions based on what’s wrong get asked; and this also makes the what’s-wrong-filled present and future feel scary.
●Personal strengths or the strengths of others are ignored or forgotten, and focus and emphasis is on perceived weaknesses.
●Negative internal and external thoughts and behaviors are repeated, even though these have yet to produce desired results, and may even have made a situation worse.
●The what’s-wrong approach lowers the emotional energy of everyone involved, which then affects the other three energies.
●“Facts,” as interpreted from the negative mind loop, are gone over and over, rather than look for what’s right and how to do more of that, or a right question that could open the opportunity for improvement, an inspired idea, or a solution to arrive.
●Focus is on mistakes, or fear of making them, rather than on desired results that may take time and ongoing reassessment and adjustment.

If you have any knowledge at all about Law of Attraction, the importance of self-talk, what you see IS what you believe, or any proven truism akin to these, what does what you’ve read so far tell you a person’s life or life in general will feel and be like if “what’s wrong” is the foundation of how they (or you) think? If you pause and consider what’s going on in the smaller and larger circles of life, it’s pretty easy to see what kind of thinking is prevalent at the foundation of family life, society, and education.

This part is tricky, but key: We cannot judge something negatively about ourselves, others, or a situation and change it at the same time. That’s two contrasting visions being held at once. It’s like saying to the Universe (or ourselves), “I want the soup. No, I want the salad. No, the soup… the salad… the soup… You stall either of them from coming to you and sit in hunger, which grows, until you decide and get served the one you choose. Let’s face it, judgment happens. But at some point, if we want something different, we have to let go of judgment and train our vision (thoughts, words, actions) to support our intended result.

Is it time to start using an approach like the one described in the supportive classroom example with yourself and others? If yes, allow a learning curve and adaptation time. You and those you interact with may have a mindset entrenched in what’s-wrong thinking, and it may not be as simple as you’d like to move into a new model—but it’s worth it. Put this new way to focus into practice and you’ll start to experience how it enhances your physical, emotional, mental, and creative energies and that of others around you.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Coach, author, and provider of Fulfillment Is an Inside Job!, an 8-week life-changing online coaching course, and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles and free downloads, when you subscribe at

Monday, December 5, 2011

Number Your Days and Name Your Blessings

Do your days feel ordinary? Do you feel there are too few blessings in your life? Maybe you’d like to shift this.

Let’s look at the second part of the article title first. We tend to put a lot of energy into naming what we want (often stated as “don’t haves”) and not a lot of energy into naming what we have. We are surrounded by people and advertising—obvious and subtle—that promote this as a natural or expected way to be and feel. The result is that we wake each morning, go about our days, and go to sleep with very little appreciation for what we have and may, in fact, dwell on the opposite.

We believe—which is really mimic others and repeat behaviors we learned—that it’s natural or responsible to focus on what’s “wrong” with us, everyone else, and in certain areas of our lives or life itself. This is so prevalent that we miss or discount what is right in us, others, and life. We learned to think about what’s “wrong.” We learned to complain (rather than occasionally vent) to anyone who’ll listen or happens to be where we are, maybe about the same things over and over. We’re so focused in this way that often our perspective about “what is” gets skewed, and our ability to be creative about solutions, resolutions, or improvements gets diminished.

Kurt Wright explained in his book, Breaking the Rules, that we use our rational minds to judge, to assign value as right/wrong, good/bad rather than use that part of our mind as it was designed: To convey “facts into and back out of our intuition,” so that we use our whole-mind function rather than just the analytical mind, which has been scientifically proven unable to discern fact from fiction. The result is that we disallow “good judgment” to happen. Judgment, in its most beneficial form, is there to help us figure out what fits and doesn’t, in an ongoing, ever-evolving assessment of a desired ideal. When we go straight into right/wrong, good/bad judgment, we block our intuition’s ability to respond to beneficial questions like, “What else might be going on here? What might the bigger picture be? What feels appropriate for me, or inappropriate? What would have to happen for me to feel head and heart alignment about this?”

Recognizing what you have doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of what you’d like to shift so that you have more desirable experiences and results. In fact, the greater your appreciation for what you have, the greater your ability is to solve, resolve, and make productive shifts. We want more “blessings” in our life, but do we notice (name) the ones we have? To those who have appreciation, more to appreciate is given.

One way to name your blessings, as wisely stated by Joel Osteen, is to as often as possible, exchange the words HAVE TO with GET TO. Think about what this really means in the greater scheme of life around the world. You don’t have to go to work, you get to go to work (you’re able to receive income). You don’t have to do your studies, you get to do them (education is available). You don’t have to wake up, you get to wake up (you’re alive another day, with its opportunities). You don’t have to interact with your children or other family members, you get to (your loved ones are still with you). You don’t have to work with clients or customers, you get to (people want what you provide). Recall the last thing you said you had to do and use “get to” instead of “have to”. How does that feel? Example: I have to grocery shop vs. I get to grocery shop, which means I get to walk into a store and easily reach for what I want or need rather than have to grow, raise, process, or preserve all of it.

What else in your life do you say you Have to do that, with a perspective shift, you realize you Get to do? See? Hear? Breathe? Feel? Think? Love? Appreciate? Pay for products and services that benefit your life? Use your limbs? How many things do you experience that go unnoticed or unappreciated by you?

This leads to the first part of the article title: Number Your Days. The quote comes from the Bible, Psalm 90:12 – “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” This is about appreciating each day. It’s about realizing what author Dan Millman realized: “There are no ordinary moments.” I add: only ordinary perspectives.

We are so involved with our thoughts about matters and things, mostly negative thoughts, that we miss the fact that every moment we have is extraordinary—and numbered. None of us know the number of our days or the days of others. It’s not that we’re to use this as our motivation to behave better, but to let awareness of this motivate better behavior and deeper appreciation—to place greater value on our moments and blessings than we have been. I’m not saying we should appreciate anything that’s intolerable or inappropriate (though, we can appreciate that we can discern this and make a choice in favor of our well-being); this is about the gifts in our life that we don’t recognize and name as such.

You woke up today. It’s likely you were able to get out of bed without assistance—same for going to the bathroom; or if you needed assistance, it’s likely you had it. It’s likely you showered or bathed inside, with water you could adjust temperature-wise to suit you. You probably had coffee and food in your kitchen or easy access to someone who provided them. Maybe you drove, rode a bike, used public transportation, or walked to work—even if that’s in the next room. Maybe you interacted with a loved one or will during the day. The list can go on and on. It’s up to you to practice naming your blessings, small and large. It’s up to you to practice seeing your days and moments as numbered and, therefore, not in the least ordinary.

Today, and everyday, take time to appreciate what you have, especially what you usually don’t think about, or often take for granted. Consider the habit of not getting out of bed until you find at least one reason to feel deep appreciation, rather than start your day with grumbling. Make a moment to state appreciation to someone—it matters. It makes a difference—for them and for you.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer