Friday, March 29, 2013

Do You Suffer the Effects of Lack of Appreciation aka When Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Do you wake, go through your day, and go to bed thinking about all the “not-enoughs” about you and in your life? How’s that working for you?

Every day we think, on our own (as well as get hammered by others and the media), thoughts of how we don’t have enough or aren’t enough. How many of these kinds of thoughts have you had today: I’m not physically shaped “right” enough, attractive enough, financially set enough, successful enough, clever enough, creative enough, knowledgeable enough, confident enough, spiritual enough, empowered enough, physically or emotionally strong enough, and so on? What, today, did you think you don’t have or aren’t enough of? Were these thoughts new ones, different from ones you had yesterday and, perhaps, the day or days (weeks, months, years) before, or more of the same?

Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” None of us use our imagination, that is, entertain thoughts of not-enough because we enjoy it. We do this because it’s the model we grew up with and live with, are spoon-fed daily, so to speak. Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Though this makes sense to us when we consider it, and definitely works better than the long, drawn-out inner and outer battles we’re accustomed to, it can also feel counterintuitive, like going against “the norm.” We’ve been conditioned not to do that; we’ve been conditioned to be like everyone else so we can fit it. (I comment more on “fitting in,” in a moment.)

Any form of not-enough thinking usually puts us into a scarcity mindset. And this bumps right into Law of Attraction’s “like attracts like.” This mindset invites all manner of “like” into our lives: more fearful scarcity thoughts that feel as though they’re actually happening in that very moment (because our body doesn’t know they aren’t), more scarcity experiences, more of the very things we don’t want more of, and especially, don’t want to feel.

Something we forget when in the midst of unpleasant emotions is that the more we feed them with our thoughts, the more they multiply or amplify in quantity and quality. The very thing we need to do, on all levels and as soon as we’ve given some time to honor what we feel, is calm ourselves, which also feels counterintuitive because of the models we learned and copied. Researcher and author Brene Brown defines calm as “…creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.”

Part of what’s contributed to this not-enough or fear about not-enough mindset being such a challenge to move beyond is that others have “suggested” (or insisted) that unless we and our life experiences are super-sized, we’re just ordinary, and that ordinary is bad. But, is it really? Some, if not nearly all, of our most cherished moments and memories are the ones those “others” would consider ordinary. We’re told we must live extraordinary lives; and we nod in agreement, hungry to be labeled something other than that bad word: ordinary. Extraordinary means outside the usual. Are moments truly extraordinary in themselves, or are they extraordinary because of how we perceive them? Just as one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so it is with determining how ordinary or extraordinary moments are: it’s as individual a determination as we are individuals. This means you could view every moment as extraordinary, or not.

What kind of strain are you under right this moment because “they” (meaning anyone who isn’t you) don’t think you and your life are super-sized or extraordinary enough, and you believe them? What would you have to do to make your life fit their requirements? So many are overworked, overscheduled, and exhausted because of this. Even worse is that we’ve allowed ourselves, from our not-enough mindset, to consider being stressed in these ways a symbol of how worthy others should deem us, or how we are to measure our self-worth, which, in this model, more often than not, never measures up and never will. Anxiety happens because of this.

We are designed to cope with moments of anxiety, but as intervals that happen to us all, not as a way of life. When anxious, we are triggered in one of two ways: we over-function (become overly active and micromanagers) or under-function (become less competent for a period of time). What would assist both responses is to re-mind ourselves about how much there IS to appreciate, before or so we can respond outwardly in ways appropriate for us. We hunger for more so we can escape feelings of not-enough, when the reality is that more appreciation of ourselves, what we have, and what we can do would not only feed that hunger, but provide a feast for us, with dessert! And it wouldn’t provide just one feast; life would be an ongoing banquet we partake of.

What might you find if you let go of a scarcity or not-enough mindset? You might discover what enough work, enough rest, enough play, enough spirituality, enough physical or emotional strength, enough knowledge, enough money, enough of anything is for YOU – in EACH moment. Because each moment is the only one you ever have. Do you have enough or are you enough for the moment you’re in, and only that moment (as opposed to a future moment you can build toward), is a question that would serve you. If you ask yourself this question in each moment, more often than not, you’ll find you are or do have enough to be or do what you choose to or need to in that exact moment.

Part of this scarcity or not-enough mindset is competitiveness that has been conveyed to us as “Be like everyone else, but better,” as Brown wrote in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. This puts us into comparison mode; and comparing ourselves to others in order to feel we’re enough and to satisfy others first and ourselves last, keeps us in a frustrating vortex of never good enough. We are also frustrated because of the mixed message we receive: fit in AND stand out. And, we aren’t quite sure how to do both well and at the same time.

One solution is to let go of worrying about what others think or will. But this scares anyone trapped in the not-enough vortex. Who are we or will we be if the opinions of others aren’t our measuring stick? Who, indeed? Besides, it’s a risk for many to let go of concern about what others will think, because we risk revealing our vulnerabilities, which may result in being ridiculed. That can be a terrifying proposition. It isn’t our preferred way to stand out from the crowd. It’s also scary because, as the saying goes, “No man is an island.” By nature, and need, we are social beings who rely on others in many ways. To secure our place in whatever society, group, or family network we find ourselves within, we make every effort to fit in. Fitting in may mean denying your authenticity, your truth, that you’re enough or have enough in the moment you’re in, because one rule of “the game” is that, as players, we must always be discontent with who and where we are and what we have, and make enough noise about this so that others calling the shots can see that we really are in the game, really are trying to fit in.

The catch-22 here is that all of this is done so that we can one day feel content about who we are and what we have. The joke is on us in that we can choose to feel this way in any moment. The choice to feel this way is what opens the door for us to the banquet hall of life. We are meant and designed to go for more in life, but as experiences that help us appreciate ourselves and what we create and life even more, not so that others can or will approve of us, or to justify our existence or worthiness.

What would you and your day be like if instead of feeding yourself a steady stream of “not-enoughs,” you nurtured yourself with appreciation for who you are, what you have, what YOUR dreams and intentions are and your ability to fulfill them – for the experiences and how these expand and enhance you and your life in ways appropriate for you? You’d become your own measuring stick, your own approval committee, your own voice of reason and purpose.

In the “I am and have enough for this moment” mindset, you realize that if you have two dollars in your pocket and need or want to buy something that costs eighty-nine cents plus tax, you not only have enough, but extra. It isn’t wrong to know or feel that you’d also appreciate having five dollars or more in your pocket; but feeling you aren’t enough or don’t have enough because it’s two dollars at this time (even though it’s really all you need at this precise moment) can send you into the vortex. Enter this vortex every time or enough times, and you find yourself stuck in there. The only way to leave the vortex is with your thoughts, which is how you got there in the first place. Because even if you win the lottery, your mindset will still be what it is. You could have millions and still not feel you are enough or that you’ll ever really have enough. What you have is never, ever who you are. Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” the empowering ruby slippers have always been on your feet. All you have to do is click them together and believe, “There’s no place like home,” home being your authentic self that holds the power of choice for you and your life.

Brown wrote that she and her family created an “ingredients list for joy and meaning.” This was a challenge because the list initially had desired goals, accomplishments, and achievements listed rather than things like more family play and together time, time for real rest and relaxation, or time to nurture creativity. They quickly realized that the initial list was more about how to get more so they could spend more, not about how they could create more joy, meaning, and free time in their overscheduled lives. What would be on your list for joy and meaning, and what would you do to make it so?

Perhaps we don’t need to find better ways to manage ourselves within our anxieties about the not-enough demands put on us by others and ourselves, but a way to eliminate some of those demands so we reduce or eliminate some of the anxieties that have become second-nature. Perhaps it’s time for us to create a new model for ourselves, one that supports us just as we are in each moment, as well as our choices to expand ourselves and our experiences in ways meaningful, fulfilling, and joyful for us. A new model that embraces the priceless value of ordinary moments, as well as those that feel a bit extra special because of the experiences we had in them, and not just because of any tangibles that may have resulted. In this new model, we decide in each moment what enough means to us. We decide to appreciate who we are as much as we appreciate breathing. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.        

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, March 15, 2013

If You Want to Move Forward, You Have to Kick Some Buts

Energy is always in motion; but you can feel stuck when your thinking process goes in opposing directions. Here’s an effective way to get your thinking and energy moving in one direction only.

Is it even possible to think in opposing directions? Yes. It happens when you say or think, “I want (this), but…” Attention on what you believe opposes what you want (whatever follows the “but”) will never, ever lead you to what you do want. This opposing motion makes your energy and your life feel stuck in place. To shift this you need to find and kick your own buts.

There’s a lot of talk these days about surrendering to what-is, some of it from me (surrender meaning allowing the appearance of something that’s present in your life and working on it from there, rather than resisting it, or to give up or give in). I’d like to clarify this a bit by adding that we tend to focus on what-is as it appears to us or as we interpret it, rather than on the energy underneath it (cause and effect). In other words, we’d assist ourselves in a better way by allowing the appearance to be what it is instead of resisting it (because it is there), and identifying the cause and effect factor, to see how we may do something different or differently, in order to create a desirable shift in us and in our experiences.

Because our ego-aspect prefers being comfortable and unruffled, we can get lost or mired by focusing on the appearance of what-is in our life, which puts us in the mindset of opposing thoughts, which means situations or matters don’t change in the way or as quickly as we’d like. Then one day we feel more uncomfortable than ever before. We feel a sense of urgency about a needed change or adjustment in our lives; and we may even feel we’re running out of time or have. The last thing we – that is, our ego-aspect - think we need to focus on is the energy underneath the what-is we’re concerned with or panicking about.

The thing is that this kind of focus is your best option, maybe your only option, at least initially; and you will have to allow right timing, which you can support with trust in Source and by doing the inner work. That which bothers us is or can be a motivator to get us moving forward, but that is one choice presented to us. The other choice is to be miserable about what we want and don’t have, as yet. Under anything and everything we ever want is, in reality, the feeling we expect the having of it to give or provide to us. Once we grasp this truth, we can access a whole new level of inspiration, motivation, and potential. When we identify the feeling we want to have, then choose to feel it no matter what’s going on, this is the key that unlocks that particular door and many other doors for us.

Sometimes, though, our “buts” cause us to believe we’re thinking or doing one thing when we’re actually thinking or doing another. Here’s an example of this. Let’s take something many people say they want: Security. Let’s try a quick thought experiment with this. Say to yourself, “I want (or need) security.” How do you feel when you say this? Please take a moment to actually say and feel this statement so you really get this; perhaps close your eyes to do this, and stay with it for several seconds.

Did you keenly feel the absence of security, if you don’t believe you have it or can? Did you perceive the silent “but”: “I want/need security, but I don’t have it/will likely never have it/work or struggle so hard, yet still can’t seem to attain it”? Does security feel like an object positioned somewhere outside of you and far off in the distance?

Now follow the same closed-eyes instruction and say this to yourself, “I choose serenity.” How did you feel when you said that? Did you feel serenity start to flow into you, or even outward from you as though it had been let loose from its container, when you said you chose it then paused a moment to be with your choice? There was likely no feeling of distance; and even if it felt outside of you, it likely felt closer than security did. You might have felt it flowing into you or even, perhaps, merging with your hidden or buried inner serenity.

The energy vibration of the word “security” vs. the vibration of the word “serenity” can be quite different at your inner level, despite your intention. The word “security” likely leads your energy to vibrate at the frequency of not having it or not having as much as your ego-aspect would need to feel secure (chasing security – enough to satisfy your ego-aspect, that is - is akin to chasing perfection rather than excellence).

The not-so-funny thing about these words being used “out there” is that you’d get a nod of approval or agreement from mainstream, if you say you want security, and probably more than a few raised eyebrows if you tell mainstream that you’re into choosing serenity these days, despite what’s going on, because you know that what’s going on will eventually align with the vibration of serenity you maintain. Because that IS how this works, whether you choose to focus on security or serenity.

Choosing serenity puts you in a better “place”: A better feeling, a better mindset, a better response mode. It opens you to possibilities and experiences that seem magical or miraculous. Focus on wanting to feel secure is an opposing thought to being it because it’s about the “lack” of it, and this causes you to chase it (or feel stuck in place); whereas, choosing serenity means you open to and receive lovely “gifts” and surprises from the infinite resources of Source. Life feels easier when “amble and appreciate” is your chosen pace and mindset rather than “chase in haste.” What words do you currently use that seem to support you but actually create opposing feelings and energy, and keep you stuck? Choosing serenity at all times can help you deal with the opposing motion of the “buts.”

One way “buts” intrude on our serenity and experiences is that every story we tell ourselves, especially ones we repeat over and over, to ourselves or others, create actual neural pathways in our brains. These thoughts bio-chemically become our “paths of least resistance” in/on our brain, meaning they are either the first response when we are triggered or the foundation of our mindset. Happily, this can be adjusted by telling ourselves better stories with the same energy level and repetition we use to tell ourselves unhelpful ones. We all use the word “but” on occasion; it does have its purposes as a word. However, when it lingers in the mind or is uttered often, or even thought, as the start of a “reason” something will never happen or why we can’t do something, we benefit by calling it out as a story. It is just that, one of many possible stories we can tell ourselves. “But,” you ask, “what if my reason is factual?” Keep reading.

“Buts” ask us to revisit our intention and commitment. If we say we want something “but…,” do we really want it, or want it enough? Why do we want it? Who do we want it for? If it’s not for us, if it’s not our sincere personal want, we’ll feel stuck at some point, because we’re thinking and feeling and attempting to plan in opposing directions. We can’t walk forward and back at the same time. Our “buts” keep us out of alignment with Source and out of head-and-heart alignment. Recall my earlier mention of feeling urgency. Whether urgency is present or not, if you find, choose, and tell yourself a story that will align your head and heart, and you with Source, your experiences and results, and you, will be the better for it.

When a “but” shows up, you might say something like this: “Okay, maybe that’s true; but what CAN I do that I WILL do to get a desirable result, one appropriate for me?” As the saying goes, if there’s no wind – row. Also, when appropriate, a good replacement for “but” is “and”: I appreciate what I have, and I appreciate the “even more” on its way to me now. This is far better than “I appreciate what I have, but I want/must have more.” The wording may seem a small technicality, but so it may seem with “security” vs. “serenity”; yet, the difference becomes obvious in how your body-mind feels when you say each.

“Wanting” gets a bad rap a lot of the time. What helps is to identify the energy under your use of the word “want”. Is it the energy of lack, like “security,” or the energy like “serenity” – something you’d appreciate having even more of? Your wants, especially if unencumbered by frustration about not having whatever right this moment, can fuel your motivation. Wants can drive your focus, your intention, your commitment. Wants can provide the opportunity to align your energy with Source. Alignment provides what? Serenity. Enthusiasm. Excitement. Results! As Abraham-Hicks said, use your leverage of alignment.

So go ahead and kick some of those buts impacting you and your life. At least do what you can to dilute them. Use your but-light mindset to put you in alignment with Source and your good. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.      

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, March 8, 2013

After You Ask Source for What You Want, Then What?

You’re supposed to ask for what you want, right? What are your thoughts about how, when, and what to ask for? And what about after you ask; is what you do then really that important?

If you’re familiar with the teachings of Abraham through Esther and Jerry Hicks, or any ancient teachings readily available to you today, you know you are always “asking” and you are always “receiving.” The glitch or hitch is that we forget, ignore, or don’t realize that every thought, but especially each emotionally-charged thought (positive or negative) is received by the quantum field as a “request” to be matched up with an experience. Fortunately for us, not every “request” gets fulfilled, for a variety of reasons: slow energy, we change our minds often, or it doesn’t fit into the bigger picture at that time or ever. For the more scientifically-inclined readers, quantum physics confirmed this thought-to-manifestation process; though, the scientists didn’t focus on the emotional aspect.

The duration of a thought or an emotionally-charged thought doesn’t matter as much as the “pure” quality of the thought vibration transmitted, meaning the thought is a clear, concise one not jumbled with other “stuff,” and it produces a distinct feeling in you. This is why you can have a passing thought that has a pure “charge” and feeling to it that produces results the same as a thought you pondered on for quite a while, and perhaps gets fulfilled even sooner than one you dwelled on.

What about how you ask? A funny thing happened as I began my notes for this writing: I realized I practice two forms of asking, deliberately, that is. Before having this realization, I’d made a note that rather than ask for anything tangible in the form of a stated or written request, what I do is briefly think about what is needed or wanted – practically skim over the thought of it - then connect with a deep feeling of appreciation for all I have and have ever received, especially those times when Source supplied what was needed in pleasantly surprising ways and at just the right moment. This is followed with a silent, and sometimes aloud, heart- and spirit-felt “Thank you,” which I feel through every cell of my body. According to the Law of Matching Vibration (Attraction), the more you appreciate what you have and have received, the more you receive and have to appreciate. But, you can negate this, which I explain in a bit.

This note about feeling appreciation mentioned above was made before my prior week’s article was published. As I turned my attention to that other article, I heard myself silently say, as I do each week, or before each engagement with a coaching client, “I ask for assistance with this.” Huh?! Why did I use feeling appreciation for one and a direct request for another? Both led me to conscious receptive alignment, so what was the difference, as far as my consciousness was concerned?

Then it came to me: When I wish to be of beneficial service, I ask for specific assistance. When I’m ready to receive more of my “good” or just want to feel better or really good, I appreciate. I’d never noticed this distinction in my asking practice before. Kind of illuminating, actually. But, that’s me. It’s possible that how you ask is or will be different. Evidence of the effectiveness of your way is in your results and How You Feel.

Okay, so we’ve looked at asking. What comes after that? The bridge does. The bridge between request and result is to practice trust. I could say “practice patience,” but the word “patience” tends to annoy the ego-aspect of many, which is understandable. So, practice trust imbued with appreciation, including about right timing. This is helpful and beneficial because how you behave while you wait matters, which I’ll explain.

One thing it’s best or wise not to practice after you ask is doubt. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” (Life of Pi) The waiting time between request and result opens you to doubt. Resistance, struggle, and doubt can result in a longer wait than originally intended. We are meant to trust; and, perhaps, this is one of the primary things we are meant to learn while here. Yes, we are meant to take action once we have a clear next step, but we are above all meant to trust in the overall bigger picture unfolding and evolving simultaneous to our individual experience. This not only leads to trust and appreciation of Source, but also builds self-trust and personal and spiritual power.

By all means, do some productive venting with an appropriate person, coach, or therapist, if you need to, but then use the power of your words in your favor, whether spoken or thought. This means letting go of complaining, criticism, judgment, self-pity, seeking pity from others, and so on. Sounds simple, yes? Not! But, it is doable. And it’s important you do it because what you give, or give out, you get back: If you doubt or worry or complain, you get more experiences than what you might have in the “normal” course of your life, that cause you to doubt or worry or complain. Okay, let’s face it: There’s a certain amount of doubt, worry, or complaining you might feel justified doing while you try to figure your way through some of the mazes you find you and your life in. But we all pretty much know that it’s one thing to “ride a ride” a few times, and quite another to never get off.

When you practice doubt, worry, and complaining, you negate your asking, because “have” and “have not” cannot occupy the same mental, emotional, or physical space at the same time; and the one you feel more strongly is the one usually matched, e.g., “I ask for (or appreciate) my abundance” is negated by “I never have enough, and I never will,” or “Why does everything have to be a struggle?” You can negate in the other direction as well, e.g., “Nothing good is happening or ever happens for me” can become “Something wonderful happens for me every day.” It also helps to know that whatever you want more of, give more of. Need encouragement? Give it. Need to be understood? Give understanding. Need generosity? Be generous in some way. Need peace? Be peaceful.

I’m reminded of the movie, “50 First Dates,” which is about a young woman with a head injury that caused her to relive the same day over and over, in almost exactly the same way. Fortunately, her family and those she interacted with the day of the injury are aware of this and go to extreme lengths to repeat that day as close to exact as possible so she isn’t traumatized. Also fortunate is that the young man who meets and falls in love with her comes up with an inspired idea that helps her move forward in life; in fact, it helps everyone in her life move forward. My point in using this movie as an example is that our thoughts, words, and behaviors cause us, and those we share our life with, to experience something similar to her experience each time we practice repeating the same or pretty much the same non-supportive, non-forward-moving, non-trusting thoughts, words, and behaviors.

Imagine that each time you ask for what you want then follow that action with focus on or statements about what you don’t want or don’t like, it’s like the movie: You basically return to where you started from or experience a one-step-forward, two-steps-back “progression.” If we knew this was what happened, we’d be more diligent about this, wouldn’t we? But isn’t this exactly what the Law of Matching Vibration (Attraction) reveals does happen when this is our practice? And if we pause to consider this, if we haven’t before, we’re all too familiar with these types of experiences, aren’t we?

Yes, life continues along the time-stream it’s on; and we add years and different experiences to our lives, but some of the same experiences repeat. They repeat because, as Abraham-Hicks conveyed, “So if you are predominantly thinking about the things that you desire, your life experience reflects those things. And, in the same way, if you are predominantly thinking about what you do not want, your life experience reflects those things.” Joyce Meyer says it this way: Praise and raise; complain and remain.

There’s also another aspect to all of this, one not everyone may be pleased about, but it’s present all the same and ties everything together. It’s something of a “Thy will be done” aspect, whether you mean to convey this to God, Source, the Universe, or your Higher Self. This doesn’t mean you do nothing; it’s more like “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em” kind of conscious awareness, because, as I stated earlier, there is always a bigger picture unfolding and evolving. Butting your head against this fact never helps, only hurts. What you resist persists. Action sets you free, whether that’s inner or outer action; but even outer action is birthed at the inner level, so start there with one other good thing you can ask for.

The one other good thing you can ask for is insight - or call it awareness or higher consciousness. But just like anything you ask for, there is some level of action required on your part such as paying attention differently; asking right questions, which can include asking for the right question or questions; and being receptive to shifting at the inner and outer levels, which may involve no longer practicing some long-held beliefs and behaviors that really haven’t served you and your life the way you’d hoped, but that may feel “comfortable” or that you may be addicted to.

Ask for what you need or want, as you are meant to do. Use your emotions and words to soothe or keep doubt out of the picture. Know and allow that there is a bigger picture happening that you are a part of. Allow trust and appreciation to be your purest emotional charges and feelings. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.    

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, March 1, 2013

Impermanence Is Here to Stay

There are times we wish for change and times we dread it. To paraphrase the truth-filled saying, the only constant in life is change.

Our ego-aspect fools itself by believing what we have will always be there, will never change. It’s like a form of temporary amnesia or a dream-state we walk around in, whether this is about a change we would welcome or one we wouldn’t. The ego-aspect wants to believe the dream-state, more often than not, so it can feel secure and comfortable. But everything changes, doesn’t it, either by improving or by diminishing, until it’s a memory only. So, we can say there are two types of impermanence, as far as our ego-aspect is concerned: what is not our choice and what is.

We don’t like to feel uncomfortable or unsure. In fact, we often take it as a personal affront when something happens that causes us to have changes in our life that we (our ego-aspect that is) don’t desire.

But, family and friends move away or pass on; jobs change by our design or someone else’s; children are born and the family expands, as does its needs; the weather and even the planet bring about gradual or immediate changes: the list is endless because everything changes. Everything changes because we (and our planet) mature and age, and our needs and wants change through the years.

We are meant to be of service, in ways appropriate for us; meant to learn, evolve, and create betterment for ourselves and others. Some of the most significant innovations, inventions, and services might not be around today, were it not for necessity brought on by change being the “mother of invention.”

We are also meant to enjoy and appreciate what we have, while we have it. And when we see the signs of impending change, either from within or outside of us or both, we are meant to prepare ourselves for it. The first preparations should take place at the inner level. The next preparations should address anything at the outer level that we know we must do, are inspired to do, or that we intuit should be done, including right timing about these.

Sometimes change happens suddenly, and we feel shaken somewhat or to our core by it, even if we mentally, emotionally, or physically prepared a bit or a lot. But this is when the strength of our spiritual foundation and our relationship with Source can assist us, and is why we are meant to develop and strengthen these at all times. A true feeling of security comes from trust in Source, and self-trust; and the former supplies and nurtures the latter.

Awareness of impermanence – gentle awareness, not dwelling on it – can assist the quality of our experiences. When we’re in the dream-state, where everything we are happy about or comfortable with or at the very least feel “sure” of “stays the same,” we tend to miss or ignore how precious and special people and moments and experiences are. This kind of awareness or consciousness happens in the Now, and can only happen in the Now. The dream-state of “permanence” has us volleying back and forth between past and future; two moments we are never actually in. We are always in the Now. We are always in a state of impermanence. If you’re really brave – or have expanded or embraced conscious awareness at a certain level, you could say we’re always in a state of Divine Impermanence.

The dream-state can and does keep us out of appreciation. There’s a wonderful quote by Meister Eckhart that says, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” When ANY change happens, we could use this quote as a power statement to help us navigate our feelings, our fears, our strength, and our trust in Source.

Appreciation is best expressed as often as possible and as soon as we can enter that state of mind and being, rather than just when the ego-aspect believes a moment is worthy of it. To the ego-aspect, this differentiation of worthy or unworthy makes sense or seems logical and appropriate. Our spirit-aspect knows every moment is worthy of appreciation. Albert Einstein understood this when he said, “You either live as if everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle.” Nicely said. Not always so easy to live up to; but we can aim ourselves in this direction and benefit by it.

Einstein’s statement reminds me of a powerful question you’ve possibly seen or heard before: Do you believe the Universe is friendly or unfriendly? Your response has ALL to do with your experience while here. And if your response is a result of what you learned in your formative years, you can either change your beliefs or enhance them, and do so in your favor. You are not locked into negative or non-beneficial beliefs. Remember, nothing but Source is permanent. Beliefs always change; real Truths never do. One of the most profound journeys you can ever make is the one that leads you to Truths that are permanent.

Begin to pay attention to what and who you appreciate (and what and who you don’t apply this practice to). Ask if your appreciation is as present and deep as you’d like as a means to enhance your experience of joy, love, fulfillment, curiosity, illumination, and becoming the person you intend to be. Or as Patti Davis wrote, “I’m learning how, at age 60, to become the person I want to leave behind on this earth.” It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.     

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer