Friday, June 28, 2013

What Do You Want to Change vs. What Do You Want to Do

We hear that “Change is a constant” and “People resist change.” What a conundrum we find ourselves in because of this clash.

We tend to approach what we want for ourselves and our lives by looking at what we want to change. Considering that many of us react to or resist change, maybe that’s not the better or best approach to aim at a targeted outcome. What if focus on what we want to change is a form of looking backward instead of forward? Attention on what we want to change, it seems, may not lend itself to being as supportive to us as we might like or need.

When we look at what we want to change, we’re focused on what is rather than on what could be. What-is generally doesn’t stand alone, because it’s often difficult to look at what-is without being aware of whatever from the past is attached to it. You can be at peace with what-is, which is far more beneficial than resisting it. Resistance holds you back from what can be. There is a way to move forward from what-is, and I’ll get to that in a bit.

The idea of changing something about ourselves or our life, by deliberate choice or by default, also carries a mental-emotional imprint of work, effort, perhaps even sacrifice. Our ego-aspect doesn’t like this. This perspective usually does not lead to lasting success or fulfillment of desired experiences or outcomes—because we resist change. Instead, ask yourself what it is you want to do. This question has the potential to open your imagination, reveal your unspoken wishes, and aim your focus out ahead of you.

There are times when I ask clients and others what it is that they want to do. Some know; other says they have no idea. I think the latter response comes from not having allowed their imagination to play, or maybe not having allowed themselves to imagine life beyond their responsibilities—or fears. When someone gives “I don’t know” as an answer, I ask, “If you did know, what might your answer be?” This is an excellent question because the mind likes to answer questions given to it; it likes to fill in the blanks. It’s also a form of permission to explore possibilities from the mental and emotional perspectives.

The statement, “Something has to change,” whether this is about us, another, or a situation, can have an energy of helplessness attached to it. After all, what can we really change that has happened, is happening, or about another who is the only one with the power to change themselves?

“What do I want to do,” however, leads you forward to “What can I do,” which leads you to “What can I do that I will do,” which is an empowering question. It’s a question that opens your creative mind to explore your strengths, talents, resources, intentions, and commitments.

Do you want to change your physical form or state, or do you want to be healthy and fit? Do you want to change your financial situation, or do you want financial serenity? See how these questions are played with and turned in your favor? The first part (before the “or”) brings up all sorts of things you’d “have” to do, whereas the second part focuses and holds your attention on what you desire as your experience and outcome. The second part is also open to interpretation about what is appropriate for you.

The question “What can I do that I will do” can assist you in any situation, mild or severe. As I said, there are some situations that you cannot change; and this can cause your ego-aspect to feel disempowered. But, “What can I do that I will do,” restores personal power. You can then be constructive, creative, and/or collaborative.

Next time you hear your ego-aspect expressing a desire or need for something or someone to change, ask what it is that you can do that you will do, and let positive possibilities open to you. It’s a good practice; one you’ll appreciate.        

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, June 21, 2013

It’s Not What You Do, But Why You Do It That’s Important

Too often, we focus on actions instead of intentions. We can easily create regrets by doing so. There’s a right question you can use to take care of this.

“By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16) The word recognize doesn’t mean an ability to identify someone, say, by their face, but to know them—know who a person really is—by what they think, say, and do. And, likewise, others know us by our “fruit,” as well.

Also too often, we believe the “fruit” refers to what’s in their or our bank account, or our tangible assets. Our True fruit is our spiritual nature that is available to guide us through life and put our gifts and talents to good use. Whether or not we turn to our nature or develop or refine it is a choice, and every choice “bears fruit” we call outcomes or results—or regrets.

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18) Let’s look at “fruit” we would call good, and their opposites: Love vs. Indifference; Forgiveness vs. Resentment; Kindness vs. Rudeness; Compassion vs. Apathy; Inner Wisdom vs. Sheeple-Mind; Generosity vs. Self-Centeredness; Lightness of Spirit vs. Negative-Attitude Addiction; Self-Control vs. Carelessness; Collaboration vs. Manipulation; Joy vs. Anger…to name several.
Do your behaviors and life demonstrate the fruit of your inner work? Yes, they do. Are your experiences and results the fruit you choose to produce? Fortunately, we can plant new seeds or saplings that grow and result in better fruit in and from us and our lives.

A friend once said, “I believe the only thing to fear is regret.” That stuck with me; it became a part of my internal GPS. But I didn’t adversely impose on myself by saying I didn’t want to have any regrets (too late for that), but that I want to make choices appropriate for me so I have as few regrets as possible. I’m human; I’m going to make mistakes, even if that isn’t my intention. But I can do what I can to reduce mistakes and regrets. So can you.

Regrets are the results of choices we make that we don’t have head and heart alignment about. How can you get head and heart alignment about choices, especially when you face something you need to do but don’t want to do? Here’s a question to ask: Will I feel better about myself if I do this, or better if I don’t?

Here’s something Old Bill tells A.J. in I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say: “You can make better choices, but what’s underneath the choice? If your consciousness understands how the energy works, that’s far better than just doin’ what’s ‘right.’ I’ve seen folks get stuck in that place. They do somethin’ they think is right—maybe they consider it the ‘Christian’ thing to do. But underneath the action, they’re angry or bitter about doin’ it—maybe even judge those they’re doin’ it for. It’s much better if what you choose to do is somethin’ you find your mind, heart, and spirit are all together on. Doin’ somethin’ you resent isn’t productive long-term. Either shift your attitude about doin’ it—find some benefit to you for doin’ it—or don’t do it, simply because it isn’t appropriate for you. Maybe doin’ it’s gonna fragment some part of you, so-to-speak. So many folks are doin’ things because they don’t want to be a ‘bad’ person and say no, even if it’s what they really feel. Just remember, A.J., you can put a pig in a tuxedo and bring it to a party; but underneath the fancy duds, it’s still a pig. Eventually, do-gooders—folks who do stuff in order to be thought well of rather than because it’s what they really want to do—either explode on the inside with health problems or finally blow up in a fit of temper….”

Every regret can be looked at from your Why perspective; but, don’t do that unless your intention is to expand your conscious awareness. You can move forward by asking the empowering question, What’s my Why? (why you would or why you wouldn’t), about any choice that doesn’t feel clear to you. An unclear choice is usually about a contrast between your spiritual aspect that seeks to expand your consciousness (and therefore how you experience your experiences), and your ego-aspect, which seeks to survive above anything else, including above spiritual development and conscious awareness.

The right answers for you are within you. You just need to look for the right questions to ask, such as the ones offered above, that can lead you to head and heart alignment. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.        

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, June 14, 2013

What Do You Expect?

You know it's important to identify and shift limiting beliefs, but how can you more easily identify the more subtle ones you inherited or learned? One sure way is to look carefully at your expectations.
As a child, and even now, you learn and absorb beliefs about everything, limiting or not, by hearing them, through observing the actions of others, and energetically, because we ARE able to perceive the subconscious energy patterns of each other. Fortunately, you deliberately and successfully shift some of these beliefs as you move through life. This is beneficial because all beliefs become expectations; and many of them are quite subtle. They make their appearance, often in a flash, and are likely dismissed by you just as quickly, even though you experience the result of them.

In discussions about Law of Attraction, you’re told that desire is a key element. You desire a great many things you still don’t have. If desire alone did it, you would have them. One reason you don’t have some of these desires is because what you EXPECT blocks them. Desire IS important, but expectation is far more important. Desire is a form of energy: a mental exercise. Expectation is creative energy in action. Expectations come in two flavors, so-to-speak: What you really expect to happen and the expectations you hold about yourself, both of which are, likely, primarily subconscious.

Let's get something significant covered: There is a greater plan at work for you (and by you) that your soul has committed to fulfill while you’re here. If you try to avoid your soul purpose or aim at something that will not fulfill it, you will bump into proverbial brick walls set up to get you back on track, however long that takes.

We too often follow what ego craves or expectations of others, rather than what our soul came here to do and nudges us toward. When a desire isn't fulfilled, it's important to discover if this is because it doesn’t match your soul purpose or because of expectations that block its fulfillment. You can assist your soul purpose and create more desirable experiences by getting clear about the expectations you carry.

You can uncover negative expectations by stating what you desire, or an affirmation about it, then pay attention to what your inner voice says immediately afterwards. The voice will either support or refute the possibility of what you desire ever happening. This voice repeats what you’ve learned and absorbed from others about how life works, or how life works for someone of your social, income, or education level, gender, age, etc.

Then there are the expectations you hold about yourself. These come from comments, observed actions, and beliefs others held (or hold) about you that were communicated to you directly or energetically and then carried by you into your experiences, past and current (and future), and have more power over you than any affirmation or action you take.

Set aside time to list expectations you've carried about yourself and about your life. Example: If you're a woman, and depending on your age, you may have been raised with the expectation that a husband would support you financially; and, maybe your reality is that you either have to or have chosen to support yourself. Can you see the potential contrasts and conflicts that could come up for you about this and how they may defeat your success and joy in doing this? If you're a man, what expectations were placed on you about making a living and making a life, or expected behaviors?

If you carry expectations that demand you feel and do things that feel unnatural to you (unnatural is different from somewhat uncomfortable—like when you try to do something you’re just learning), you will feel like you're on a hamster wheel going nowhere, or not far, or even backwards. For example, you may be expected by others, or may expect yourself, to be someone who goes into the world like a powerhouse and does things in a particular way; yet, your nature may be that to succeed and be fulfilled you need to follow a very different path; or the reverse may be true for you. This and other such contrasts create tremendous stress, frustration, and feelings of being a failure that do not have to be your experience.

"Every decision you make - every decision - is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do." - Neale Donald Walsch

Walsch's quote reaches into the heart of the matter; though, I'd add knowing the foundation of who you are needs to be included. You can enhance choices, decisions, and how you fulfill your life vision and purpose by shedding negative expectations you carry and trusting what you discover or already know about how you can best express who you authentically are. You can become comfortable and confident "in your own skin."

You don't have to continue on with expectations that have not served you so far. Give yourself some time to list as many expectations as come up for you. Pause when they surface and look at them. Ask yourself how they influence your choices, as well as how they influence how you feel about yourself and your life. Feel your truth and write these truths down so you can refer back to them.

Appropriate-for-you supportive expectations create desired experiences and results. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.        

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, June 7, 2013

What to Say and Believe When the Shift Hits the Fan

Keeping spiritual balance can be challenging or feel nearly impossible when life seems to turn completely upside down. Here’s something that helps.

It was the third trip to the emergency room in four weeks. But instead of being led to where my mother was, as had happened all of the other times over the past several months—including just two days before this event, I was taken into a private room by a nice woman, then immediately followed in by three E.R. staff, who needed to know if my mother had a Do Not Resuscitate order in place. They told me timing was critical; they didn’t believe she could breathe on her own. Mom’s systolic blood pressure was 50, her heart rate was low, and she was unresponsive. I was being asked to make a decision about whether my mother was to continue to live or not, and being given only moments to take this in.

While I dealt with the shock of this information and an emergency team desperate for a decision, Source had other plans. I asked to see my mother; and when she finally heard my voice and said my name, her condition began to improve—slowly, but the numbers were going up, not down. And when medical staff felt they could take her for a CAT Scan (she’d hit her head when she’d lost consciousness), and the room cleared, I got on my knees and asked for guidance, which I received within seconds. I still had the rush of adrenaline, but did feel calmer because I’d been given good guidance from Source.

Once stabilized, Mom was admitted and placed into a room. We talked about a lot of things. That was the last time we were able to have that kind of conversation for several days. She was septic, meaning her blood was infected, which meant her brain was affected, as well. All of this created dementia and she also began to hallucinate, and the hallucinations went on for more than 24 hours. Her agitation was so great they had to give her a potent drug every several hours to calm her down so she could rest. Once things began to settle down, she remained confused and easily agitated for several days. To say the experience was severe on all levels is accurate. 

It became obvious, first to me then to my mother once she felt better, that there was much to get in order. My days became quite busy with so many things to think about and take care of that almost nothing about my life was the same or what I’d call “typical”; and I was exhausted.

Once circumstances became more manageable, I knew I needed to continue on with tasks that needed immediate attention, but also knew my inspiration was way down, as was my energy. But I had time to think again, rather than just be in action-mode, so drew on something I’d heard in an Abraham-Hicks video. Every morning and as often as I thought about it during the day, I made several statements to Source (and continue this practice). You might consider using these now, but especially if or when the shift hits the fan in your own life:

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for always being with me.
Thank you for always supporting me.
Thank you for inspiring me.
Thank you for always providing what’s needed, and in right timing.
Thank you for guiding and assisting me to be lovingly appropriate and appropriately loving.

The key to feeling even a bit better when times are tough or tense, or both, is to find at least one thought that lifts you up even just a bit so you don’t feel utterly alone or adrift—feelings which can happen when you feel shaken to the core by events. I will tell you that when the experience with my mom was really bad, metaphysics or spiritual practice was the last thing on or in my mind. I carry no guilt or self-criticism about that. Now that I have some time to give the experience reflection, I am giving the metaphysical aspect of manifestation and tangled hierarchy (experiences of individuals overlapping) deeper consideration. And I know I’ll be looking at this entire experience as it relates to me, and I to it, for quite a while.

I also ask you to pay attention, as well, to the fact that even amid all goings-on initially in the E.R., once the room was empty of all energies but mine and Source, I was able to regroup, so-to-speak, was able to calm myself enough to consciously turn to my connection with Source in my mind and heart.

I also reached out to people, and deeply appreciated their support and prayers. Too often, we try to carry our burdens alone. We are stronger when there are many “hands” and hearts helping us to get up and stay up.

Never cause yourself to be without support from others; reach out, and let them assist you in whatever way is appropriate for them—but don’t hesitate to isolate yourself for a while in order to have no “static” interfering with your connection with Source and your self. Don’t judge yourself if you temporarily forget pretty much all the metaphysics or spiritual practice you know when dealing with an emergency or utter exhaustion or frustration; neither be surprised if you do remember what you know while experiencing these, and begin to put it into practice. Find something like the statements I’m using to help you regain your footing, as soon as it feels or becomes appropriate for you to do so. These are good practices, ones you’ll appreciate, especially when you need them the most.           
Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer