Monday, April 29, 2013

Procrastination Is A Message

In our world where “Just do it” and “Take massive action” are touted as mottos and mantras, procrastination is often considered a bad word. But, what if procrastination holds a powerful message or process for you?

Maybe you’ve experienced being inspired or feeling compelled to take specific action at a specific time, and you found you were right to act on it. And, maybe you’ve had the same experience I have, where you procrastinate, only to discover you were right to do so. Do you find the first example easier to trust or allow than the second? I’d say many, if not most, people feel like that. We’ve been taught to be prejudiced in this way.

Trusting your intuitive impulse to procrastinate can be a challenging mental and emotional place to be in, because something inside you is urging you to not take action, yet others are pressing you to do so or you can hear those who talk and teach about taking action chattering in your mind. You may go into self-judgment mode, and that makes you feel even worse. OR, maybe you’ve learned to trust the particular feeling that happens at those times.

If intuitive procrastination proved to be the right thing to do about a particular matter, that’s one thing. What else might be going on when procrastination happens? I listened to an Abraham-Hicks audio on YouTube called “Procrastination is the way you feel when trying to fill your own grid.” Unless you’re familiar with the grid concept, you likely have no idea what this means. I’ll explain; and I promise the explanation will connect with procrastination again.

When you focus on anything, you summon it to you. The way to summon productively is to create an energy grid; then you must allow the grid to be filled in. Think of this like a house being built. The frame is up and you can see through the grid work of the boards; you have somewhat of an idea what the house will look like. Then walls go up and you begin to get a better image of what it will look like as it gets more and more filled in.

Your grid is your point of attraction. When you create your grid, you want to think and feel deliberately rather than “all over the place,” as may often happen with thoughts and feelings. And, despite what you’ve been told, you do not want to put specifics into the grid; all those specific details will slow the energy and make you work harder than you need to. You want to aim at general feelings with words like ease, comfort, appreciation, confidence, serenity, enthusiasm, joy, love, well-being, worthiness, right place, right time, right people, abundance, means to accomplish, etc., in your grid. This is the framework you create.

Each time you put a general word into your grid, feel what it’s like to feel the energy of the word, e.g., what does ease feel like; what does enthusiasm feel like? Let the feelings, not specific details, do the work for you energetically. What I do is call to mind a moment when I felt the feeling I want to deliberately feel in the now. Once I connect with that feeling, I let go of replaying the moment in my mind because that will just clutter the “space” with details, and I simply feel the feeling for as long as I can hold it. You want to practice feeling the vibration of each word often. Practice leads to resonance with the fullness of the vibration. When a vibration is matched, you experience full manifestation; but while you’re raising your energy and getting your vibration closer and closer as a match, some pretty cool things happen, as well. This is the Universe filling in everything after the framework is created.

Your grid is a reflection of or is constructed by your active beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. Too often, we decide what we want then push ourselves toward what we desire (or believe we’re supposed to) rather than allow it to come to us, whether the pushing is mental, emotional, physical, or all three. We tend to leave the spiritual aspect out of the equation; yet, that spiritual energy work is what gets the ball rolling, so to speak, and in our favor, and is what the “allowing” is about (more on this as we go). All that pushing usually or eventually puts us up against an obstruction of some kind, so we push or struggle even more, or we stop in our tracks—we procrastinate, or the Universe procrastinates on our behalf.

Procrastination can come from resistance to doing something you’re required to do rather than inspired to do, as you construct your grid of experiences and manifestations. When you feel inspired, you are eager to take action. When you feel required but uninspired to take action, you can feel unenthusiastic, put upon, or resistant.

When you procrastinate about doing something you know you need to do, check the Whys. Why do you need to do it; is there any benefit to you or others, or both, if you take this action? Why do you hesitate about getting started? Something Abraham said that I found amusing and profound, that perhaps you, as well as I, have encountered is: “I HAVE to do this thing that I don’t want to do. And I can’t figure out why I’m not getting the cooperation from the Universe to do this thing that I don’t want to do.”

If you know you really need to do something and aren’t feeling inspired, aren’t feeling cooperation from the Universe (or yourself), you might assess the conversation you’re having with yourself and the Universe about this thing. Is your conversation creating alignment for you about doing the needed action? If it isn’t, you can be certain it isn’t creating the alignment with Law of Attraction you truly desire either. So, you want to change your conversation.

Abraham said procrastination happens when we try to take action before the energies are aligned. We’re trying to move something forward through action rather than moving it forward with aligned momentum. We need to enlist the cooperation of the Universe by doing the energy work first, which is how the grid serves us: we use the grid to align our vibration with the vibration of what we wish to experience.

Releasing disempowering, resistant, worried, anxious thoughts and frenetic activity opens your energy – maybe “relaxes your energy” is a better term to use – so that your vibration can go up. When your vibration goes up, you get closer to the frequency of Source. The frequency of Source is alignment, never strain; if you’re straining on any level, you’re moving away from alignment. Don’t judge that; let it draw your attention to what’s happening so you can shift it. You know when you’re in alignment or not by how you feel. If you feel good or great feelings, you are aligned; if you have bad feelings, you aren’t. The thing to remember is that you can practice your way out of bad feelings by releasing any unwanted thoughts and filling in that space with general thoughts, like those mentioned above, and feeling their vibrations.

Let’s get back to procrastination. What are we supposed to do when we bump up against some forms of procrastination? I’ve done what Abraham advises about this: “When you feel procrastination, procrastinate. Don’t try to push through it. You can’t buck that current. Go do something fun.” I know, I know. There are times when you might be penalized for doing this. Take this into consideration, but know there are times you need to procrastinate because the Universe IS assisting you; times when you need to procrastinate because you need to pause and align your energy with your desired experience; and times when you procrastinate because you need to recharge your energy at the mental, emotional, and physical levels.

Rushing around with a frenzied energy or having too many things to do makes and keeps our energy vibration low, not high, the way we need it to be for alignment to happen. When we want or want to do too many things at one time, we diffuse our energy and cause a shortage of focus. A low vibration and shortage of focus creates struggle.

I recall a time when I was asked to house sit for a friend. I’d been under a strain about a lot of things, including money. When I arrived at her house, I made a conscious choice to put all of those kinds of thoughts and that kind of energy aside and be where I was for the time I was there, and that’s exactly what I did. A lot of people, feeling that kind of strain, would have used every spare moment to make a plan or take all kinds of action to change their financial situation.

I chose to take care of the house sitting responsibilities as needed and make the rest of the time a vacation, including or especially from thinking about anything other than what was right where I was. I did such a good job with this release that income and means for income started showing up in my inbox immediately and nearly every day I was there. I didn’t add any strain to this; I told those who contacted me that I was away until a certain date, made whatever arrangements I could easily make by e-mail (including pre-payment from them) until I returned home, and relaxed and recharged my energy with a nice influx of income that I didn’t stress or strain to acquire. A gain without strain—what we all desire yet usually do the opposite.

Someone said to Abraham, “So what I’m hearing is that it’s okay for me to just sit there and wait to feel inspired action.” Abraham responded: What you’re hearing is that you have no choice. What you’re hearing is you can take the action and can make yourself do it, but the results won’t be pleasing, and that’s why you feel like procrastinating. You’ve been playing this game a long time. It’s not fun. You can make yourself do it, but all you do is carve out a mediocre life by making yourself do stuff you don’t want to do. What you want to do is find the reason that you want to do it, or don’t do it.

Being easygoing, rather than stressing and straining, is frowned upon because society has stipulated that effort is rewarded, not laziness; that there can be no gain without pain; that no matter what, we should just do it. We’ve been conditioned to believe if we aren’t struggling or taking massive action (whether aligned with it or not), we aren’t doing what we should be doing. To deliberately procrastinate or allow it for a period of time while we raise our vibration and match it to what we want seems counter-intuitive because of this conditioning to please or appease those who do not know about or understand the leverage of alignment. We are conditioned to worry and be active, even if not productive, despite any trust we may feel about the alignment process and its leverage (if we’ve gotten that far in our spiritual development), because others will criticize us if we’re calm and trusting.

In John Earle’s book, Waking Up—Learning What Your Life is Trying to Teach You, he writes about a dying man’s last wish, which is for “the town judge to give his inheritance to the one of his three sons who the judge finds to be the laziest. ‘Laziest’ here is used to identify the son who is the greatest mystic…” From the Rumi poem, The Night Air: “Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it, because they continually see God working all around them. The harvest keeps coming in, yet they never did the plowing.”

That last part about “never did the plowing” might confuse some. When you focus on aligning your energy vibration to the energy vibration of what you choose to experience or create, you are working, but more effortlessly. And, you will also, in that place of alignment, receive inspired ideas. You’ll also find people look for you to connect with, rather than you looking for them. Yes, you take action as needed, but you don’t need to take more action than is really needed. You act, and you allow the Universe to direct what or who fulfills your desire to you so you connect with it or them, by holding the vibration.

Remember, it’s more effective to choose a good feeling and practice feeling it often, until inspired ideas begin to arrive and then you take inspired action you feel eager about. It’s more effective to relax and recharge, or revisit your Whys and conversations with yourself and Source when you feel procrastination. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the feeling that comes with procrastination you are meant to trust that is operating in your behalf. You are meant to create and enjoy the creative energy grid of your choice. Create a grid for any project, phone call, or whatever you wish to experience. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.           

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.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Words You Speak Become the House You Live In

This article title comes from a poster shared on a social site; the words are a timeless truth. Maybe it’s time to put them into practice by deepening our understanding of what they mean for us individually AND globally.

When I’d initially decided what I wanted to write about this week, I’d planned to include a paragraph from Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money, because of its relevance to the scarcity mindset so many around the world practice in daily life. Then the Boston Marathon event happened on April 15, which inspired me to alter my intended topic. Twist’s words I wanted to share took on even greater importance, took on meaning of an even greater scope, which I believe you’ll understand when you read them.

Here is the paragraph: We think we live in the world. We think we live in a set of circumstances, but we don’t. We live in our conversation about the world and our conversation about the circumstances. When we’re in a conversation about fear and terror, about revenge and anger and retribution, jealously and envy and comparison, then that is the world we inhabit. If we’re in a conversation about possibility, a conversation about gratitude and appreciation for the things in front of us, then that’s the world we inhabit. I used to think that the words we say simply represent our inner thoughts expressed. Experience has taught me that it is also true that words we say create our thoughts and our experience, and even our world. The conversation we have with ourselves and with others—the thoughts that grip our attention—has enormous power over how we feel, what we experience, and how we see the world in that moment.

Soon after news about the Boston Marathon was released, I read many conversations about this event on social sites and in personal e-mails. Understandably, some asked or commented about the kind of world we live in. I’m in agreement with Lynne Twist that we live in a world created by our conversations, public and private. The world, which includes you and me, needs healing – because we need healing. And we can engage this process by first healing our own conversations. The words being spoken by each of us are, indeed, influencing the world house we live in, beginning with ourselves.

The thoughts, feelings, and beliefs we start with—our conversations—are what our experiences and results will be. As I thought about this, I imagined a GPS unit that was designed to follow and match our thoughts, which, if you think about it, is what happens with our self-conditioning that leads to “self-fulfilling prophecies,” and the Law of Attraction that matches experiences to our emotion-based feelings, without discretion. We program ourselves and our experiences akin to how we program GPS units, through our conversations with ourselves and others; yet, we are sometimes or often surprised about the destination we arrive at.

We can tell ourselves anything about anyone or any thing or matter; it really is our choice. But our stories are more often than not limited in perspective, because they are based on our perspective. This begs the question: What does anyone tell themselves in order to convince them or others to do something that harms others without regard, whether that’s at the severity level of 9/11 or the Boston Marathon (or some of the other events that are even more severe or ongoing), or cause relied-on pensions to deplete or disappear, commit crimes against or mistreat individuals, or any number of actions that never serve and honor the good of humanity or individuals (both those who do such acts and those who such acts are done to)? Any such actions always begin, always are seeded, as conversations with the self first then with others, if others are to be involved.

We can easily condemn those who commit such acts as with the marathon and any other events that span our individual and shared histories, but we are also called upon to examine our own behaviors in our personal and other relationships. Are they what they could be? Are our conversations with those we share our personal, professional, community, or spiritual life with what they could be? If not, we can or must begin there. We can look at those conversations and see what we can do to improve them.

Granted, there may be some, in our personal lives especially, who, without their collaboration, we cannot co-create a better relationship, but we can choose the conversations we have about that, as well. Not always easy, because it’s so tempting to appease the ego-aspect that wants to feel justified in carrying negativity (and acting on it), but it is doable. If we can’t collaborate, we can, at least, endeavor to find ways to cooperate or co-exist, as much as possible. And, yes, I’m well aware of the challenges inherent in this suggestion. The challenges present us with opportunities. There is a lot to do, or often is; but as with any worthy goal, dream, or improvement, you have to start where you are and keep going.

A friend included this line in an e-mail to me: “Keep your path filled with Light.” I responded that my path will be filled with Light if I am filled with Light, that I am the light-bringer in my life. I am the one who illuminates my path (or casts shadows upon it); and that, of course, this gets into my relationship with Source and with my self. This is also a conversation that each of us might consider having with ourselves.

One way we as individuals, and all the way up to global leaders, can begin to improve our conversations with ourselves and others, is to ask better or right questions. Randy Pausch said, “The questions are always more important than the answers.” He makes a strong point, when you consider what this really means: It means examining situations and considering solutions with different “eyes”, with more conscious awareness, especially about how all life is interconnected and interdependent.

Kurt Wright, in his book Breaking the Rules: Removing the Obstacles to Effortless High Performance, offers many sets of questions throughout the book. But here are five questions that open right dialogues and stimulate productive conversations for improvements that serve need, not greed – or hate.

  1. What’s right? Or What’s working?
  2. What makes it right? Or Why does it work?
  3. What would be ideally right? Or What would work ideally?
  4. What’s not yet quite right?
  5. What resources can I find to make it right?

Many people are engaging in the wrong kinds of conversations with themselves and others. I venture to say that each of us do this when our ego-aspect is driving the bus rather than our TRUE spirit-aspect that comes from conscious awareness, not dogma of any kind. All we have to do is look around us to see this is true with our own lives and relationships, the economy, education, the environment, etc.

Different, that is, better, conversations are needed. We need solutions, yes, but too often we rush ahead without exploring right questions, which would lead to right solutions rather than just expedient ones that may or may not create better short- and long-term results for all or the majority involved. Perhaps we could borrow a phrase segment from the Hippocratic Oath to use as a foundation that supports any conversation we engage in, and what comes of it: do no harm or injustice.

We can choose words of hate, anger, revenge, arrogance, fear, scarcity, oppression, unkindness, and so on. We can choose words of love, appreciation, compassion, spiritual trust, abundance, kindness, and so on. We can choose to practice improving our conversational skills in ways that open true dialogues and connection and collaboration or cooperation. This has to start with each of us, with the conversations we have with ourselves then with others, to eventually make a difference on a larger scale. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.            

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, April 12, 2013

Scarcity Mindset and the Hungry Soul

We are a planet of souls hungering for one thing and fruitlessly trying to feed that hunger with another. The only one who can change this for us is us, individually.

We can comment all we want to about the economy, but we need to look at our role played in it becoming the way it is. We played, and still play, our role from a scarcity mindset, which has led to all sorts of nonsense and discrepancies happening in our individual lives, our communities, and globally. And our souls continue to hunger as a result because we continue to try to quell this hunger with the incorrect sustenance. What can I possibly mean, you ask? I’ll explain by starting with a trend that amazed me when I learned about it.

One Sunday morning I went to the diner in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Annie (not her real name) had one job there and that was to make sure everyone who wanted coffee got it almost as soon as they sat down, and to keep it coming: definitely not a high-paying position, no matter how much we appreciated her service. That morning Annie looked upset. Since it was our routine to chat, I asked what was going on.

She explained that her daughter wanted a Sweet Sixteen birthday party and that to provide what she wanted, which they estimated to cost around $25,000, Annie and her husband were sweating out waiting for approval for a second mortgage on their home. The party date was getting close and she didn’t know what they’d do if they couldn’t get the money, and she wasn’t sure how they’d make the extra monthly payments, on their wages. According to TV episodes about these parties I paused to watch for a few minutes while channel surfing, Annie and her husband would be giving their daughter a party that might be considered a bit shabby, when compared to parents who could or would spend a hundred thousand dollars or more on such an event.

My thought then, and still, is: Since when?! Since when are parents obligated to provide a sixteenth birthday party that costs as much as a wedding might (or more), or spend as much as part of a college education (or an entire one); and perhaps go into debt to do so? Since someone gave such a party, and then others felt the need to match that or outdo it, which to me is a form of competing with no real useful purpose for doing so. What are we thinking?! What are we teaching the next generation about the value of money, self-worth, and fulfillment? What kind of economy and mindset (and burden) does this create in individual lives now and in the future?

We may say we want to be freed from money concerns, or feeling inauthentic, but do our beliefs and actions support this? Minister Joyce Meyer said, “You’re not free until you have nothing to prove and no need to impress anybody.”

Two weeks after I published an article about what I would call our not-enough syndrome (“I don’t have enough; I’m not enough) and how this impacts us every single day, and nearly every single experience we have, I got Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources. There was a segment in there about our not-enough mindset. It was so close to what I’d written that I was relieved I had printed proof that I’d read it weeks after I’d written what I had. It was, also, affirming to learn that I was in good company on this thought path.

The topic of what is enough brings to mind a segment in a documentary about the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One man realized a need that members of his community had, abandoned together as they were until others entered their part of New Orleans with relief and resources: Diapers. He filled a shopping cart with a variety of packaged sizes then looked for mothers who might need them. A woman carrying her infant approached him and asked if he had the size she needed. He sorted through the stacks and asked her how many packages she wanted. She responded, “Just one for now. I know there are other mothers who need them for their babies.” Those may not be her exact words, but they are as close as I can recall.

The man had taken the diapers from an unmonitored store that had been broken into by some who greedily took items not necessary for survival (theirs or anyone else’s), and by some, like him, who took only what was needed for survival or assistance. He didn’t charge for the diapers. And even if the mother would have preferred to make sure she had several packages on hand for her baby or had asked for several then sold a few for money she might need, her understanding and empathy for other mothers trying to care for their infants and toddlers in such dire conditions was her compassionate moral compass. These two people fed their souls through this action, not their pockets. Their actions also fed the souls of others who were in the mental-emotional space to witness this and understand it.

Our souls hunger and we feel this keenly. This hunger is buried beneath the hunger for more money so we can have more, often mostly so we can be “judged” more by others, and therefore feel or “finally” believe we are more than others have influenced us to believe. It’s a vicious merry-go-round we’re on; but the thing about a merry-go-round is you can choose to get off that mind-spinning ride.

In the book, Twist writes: This book is entitled The Soul of Money, but it is really about our own soul and how and why we often eclipse it, dismiss it, or compromise it in our relationship with money: the way we get money, use money, give money, and or sometimes just try to avoid thinking about money…. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough…. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources and our inner resources.

Another thing I greatly appreciate is that Twist devotes an entire chapter to the topic of appreciation and the power within it. My own perspective considers the appreciation mindset as the opposite of scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset keeps you focused on problems, even if you falsely believe you’re focused on solutions; and this creates a most uncomfortable, frustrating circle that seems to have no end. An appreciation mindset lets you focus on the resources you have on hand and within you; and, sometimes these resources are all you have to get started or start over with. But a scarcity mindset will drag you down about this rather than lift you up. And it will attract more scarcity, whereas appreciation attracts more of what you need and want because you DO appreciate what you have and what you receive; and you put it to good use.

Pooling sentences from two paragraphs in the book, I offer this: "What you appreciate, and the way you direct your attention, determines the quality of your life…. In appreciation of all that we are and already have, we can resee the possibilities, identify a vision, make a commitment, and act on it."

When we focus on problems and scarcity, we can’t see the resources we are and have, resources that could help us move forward and feel and express our true strength and gifts. Except, we might tend to move forward to ease any financial strain we feel, which is understandable and perhaps needed, but what about the strain our soul feels from being so wrapped up in believing we’ll never be happy or fulfilled unless we have more money and stuff, in order to get nods of approval from others?

What about the fact that “more” is like the mathematical number Pi, a number that keeps going and we never find the end of it? At what point will enough money or stuff be enough so that we can feel the way our hungry soul wants to feel? The hungry soul will never be fed by money and stuff, only by fulfillment; fulfillment can be equated with meaning, meaningfulness. We have to figure out what fulfillment means to us, separate from money and stuff, separate from the opinions of those stuck on the scarcity, not-enough, gotta-have-more-to-feel-I’m-more merry-go-round. Please understand that there is nothing wrong with having more; the problem stems from what the motivation for more is about.

Our lack of understanding the soul of money, which Twist explains in the book, is one aspect of our hunger. I’d say another or the other aspect is self-love. Lack of appropriate love for our selves is another epidemic, just as scarcity mindset is; but I believe they tend to walk hand-in-hand. If we truly love and appreciate ourselves, and understand what creates fulfillment or meaning for us, what choices will we make about how we earn money, use or spend money, teach the next generations about money, and contribute or donate money and why and to achieve what result? One fact is that a soul can hunger in a person with great monetary wealth as readily as it can with someone struggling to pay basic monthly expenses. So, it isn’t necessarily or only about the money, but the hungering of the soul that needs addressing.

You know if you need to re-examine your relationship with money, and whether or not you have a scarcity or sufficiency mindset. You know if your self-love has fullness, and whether or not you know and consistently reassess what creates or would create fulfillment for you. If any of these are out of balance, your soul is hungering and you can find what satisfies it.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pause for just a moment from the incessant pursuit of more so that we can feel and know we are more, and recognize and appreciate what we have and who we are, including and especially our skills and talents that provide value to others and fulfillment for us; what we can do with what we have; and find our getting-off point from the scarcity-mindset merry-go-round. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.           

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, April 5, 2013

One Way to Get Past Many Fears

All of us come face to face with tasks or choices we feel anxious or fearful about, that perhaps stop us in our tracks. Here’s something you can do to empower your way past them.

Maybe you’ve been in this uncomfortable place: There’s something you need to do or know you should do, or a choice to make, but you hesitate or outright resist it because you’re scared. Likely, the primary thing you’re scared of is being scared. We resist feeling scared because we believe it’s wrong to feel that way; that if we do feel that way, then something must be wrong with or lacking in us. And if something is wrong with or lacking in us, we’re bound to mess up; so we’d prefer to avoid the matter entirely, rather than address the cause of the fearful or anxious feeling.

This involves a number of other fears, as well: Being embarrassed, thought less of, or humiliated (including about feeling scared, even though everyone feels scared at times). Who wants to willingly volunteer for THAT kind of experience?! We may also be scared about the outcome, or scared about what might or will be required of us after we make a choice.

What’s listed here, or any similar concerns you may think of, seem like pretty good reasons (to our ego-aspect) to avoid any or all action, which includes making choices, so we might avoid the thing or things we fear might happen, or might prove “true” about us, or the feelings that are unwanted. But, then a whole other set of thoughts and feelings happen as a result of avoidance, don’t they? And these can feel even worse than the ones we initially feared.

What can you do about this? You can have this conversation with yourself: “Even though I feel fear or anxiety about this matter, is there anything or anyone, including my well-being, involved here that I truly or deeply care about? If my answer is yes, is the care stronger than the scare?”

We get caught up in or blocked by the scare aspect and miss the important care aspect. A strong level of care is a powerful motivator. More care than scare creates different feelings in you, empowering feelings or, at least, intention and commitment. These two questions can help you identify your level of care or investment, or identify what is and is not appropriate for you.

If or when you find there is something or someone you care about more than you’re scared about regarding a particular matter, including care about you, you’ll find it far easier to figure out a right action (or next step) and to take it, than you could imagine while being in scared-mode only. It’s even possible that nothing will stop you from taking right action, not even fear, if your level of care is deep enough.


When you care enough about something or someone, including yourself, you may find that you won’t feel good about yourself unless or until you take a right action, whatever else happens. Theodore Roosevelt said: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”  Although, those who practice spirituality or metaphysics would offer that there are times when it’s best to do nothing until you are clear about what you must or choose to do. And, you can always do something at the inner level.

When you identify with something you really care about regarding a person, yourself, or a specific matter, you do what needs to be done. You find the will and the way. And if you feel nervous or anxious, you do it anyway. You can do things that scare you and release most or all of your fear about doing it whenever the real or potential greater needs of another (or your needs) are put before your need to not feel scared. Notice I didn’t say to put others’ needs before yours, but before your need to avoid feeling fearful or anxious.

This Q&A with your self is intended to reveal head-and-heart alignment about your level of care as the result of the questions, not so you convince yourself that you “should” do something that you’re not in alignment with. You serve no one if your choice or chosen action invalidates or fragments you in any real way; and only you can know this about yourself.

Decades back, I went to a monthly meeting that was held in a fair-size room, though attendance was usually 10 to 15 people. I walked in and saw about 100 chairs positioned in a semi-circle across from a table with 3 chairs behind it. The 100 chairs were filling fast, and I wondered what was going on. The director approached me and said, “Thank goodness you’re here. I planned a 3-person panel today, and one of them can’t make it. Would you please take her place?” It was about two minutes to start-time. There was no time for me to do any kind of real preparation. But she needed a third person and believed my perspective would contribute to the dialogues she hoped would happen.

It was an adoption triad meeting, meaning attendees included anyone in a relationship with an adoptee, was an adoptee, had adopted, or was a birth parent or birth family member. At that time I was married to an adoptee who’d decided to search, or rather had asked me to do the search because of his fears about it. The director asked me to speak about this.

I took my seat at the table and looked around the room. The realization that at least one person there probably needed to hear what I would say pushed most of my fear out of the picture. I’d speak about what I knew, based on my experiences, and hope that it benefitted someone.

The other two speakers went before me, and they each received one or two questions from attendees. Then it was my turn; and with no notes to assist me, I shared what I felt were the relevant parts of my story that they might appreciate hearing. I got lots of questions; and after the meeting, one man said it was as though I had repeated his story, that I had expressed how he, as an adoptee, felt.

I could have let my scare outweigh my care that day and refused the director’s request to be on the panel, because the thought of public speaking made me nervous, not to mention my concern that they wouldn’t like what I said or that I’d do a bad job of it. Putting care before scare allowed me to contribute something of value and make a difference for others.

How many ways might you make a positive difference in your personal, professional, or vocational life if the care outweighed the scare? What kind of difference might you experience at the inner level because of this? How might how you feel about you be different? How might your life be different?

Many times care vs. scare does involve others, but it always involves you. You are the constant in your life and experiences. The next time you face a task or choice that you feel anxious or fearful about, ask yourself if there’s anything or anyone involved, including you, which causes the care aspect to be stronger than the scare aspect. If there is, or if there isn’t, let this fuel your motivation to right choices and right actions, and always in ways validating and appropriate for you. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.          

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer