Friday, December 19, 2014

Don’t Let Resistance Run Your Life

Resistance is an automatic reaction to undesirable experiences in your life. Resistance may seem natural, even right, but some instances of resistance cost you big-time.

How can resistance cost you? Resistance creates more things to resist: like attracts like. It creates a near-constant stream of negative thoughts that lead to even more negative feelings expressed verbally, physically, or internally through health imbalances and uninspired life experiences.

Look at anything you resist in your life: Status of relationships, finances, career, success, etc. If your desire is strong for anything to NOT be what it is, you’re current address is on Resistance Loop. Resistance will cause what you do not want more of to continue and possibly expand, most especially, any unpleasant feelings and emotions you have about whatever caused you to feel resistance in the first place.

You have a right and responsibility to yourself, to NOT engage with anything or anyone you know you are better off without (negative people, news, events, etc.) when you can choose otherwise. And, as challenging as it may seem, you really can choose what you feel and therefore think, say, and do.

And there will be times when you find you’re in a situation with no easy out or solution. This is truly the time to release resistance and ask, “What can I do that I will do?” This puts your conscious mind to work in your behalf. You may not be able to alter the particular situation, but you can shift what you feel, think, say, and do, and do this in a way that leads you to perform with personal integrity and grace.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete," said Richard Buckminster Fuller.

You can choose to release your insistence that something or someone in your life be different—insistence, just as resistance, really does not work as desired—and take actions required in and for your best interest, without being tense. Tension does not shift anything, except, perhaps, your blood pressure and your ability to get proper sleep and rest. Adjust your thinking and approach in this way to get your subconscious programming aligned with your conscious choices and actions.

One big form of resistance that may challenge you is to NOT include or allow any past experiences in the NOW. This is a challenge because your subconscious will play back tapes of previous struggles and will do this with lots of detailed images. This causes you to recall, focus on, and feel specific past struggles, as though they are happening in this moment. They are not. You may have present-moment matters to address, but past ones are over. Past matters only affect the moment you’re in now, if you allow them to.

As long as you believe those old tapes are still part of your current reality, or react to them as though they are—which is precisely what the brain and then body do when old tapes are played, you resist any positive present-moment shifts: “I HAVE to feel THIS way now because I once (or more often) experienced THAT.” This approach will block your good, and your serenity, from coming to you. Your release of resistance gives the Universe permission to deliver your good—what is in and for your highest good. This release also allows serenity in, which is a feeling you desire anyway, underneath all the other stuff you believe you desire.

You learned certain aspects of resistance from others who learned them as well. It is the tape your subconscious plays in its belief that this approach, habit, or practice will help you survive. Your subconscious focuses on what helps you survive; your conscious mind focuses—or can—on what helps you thrive. You want them to work as a team, which means you have to NOT listen to old, negative tapes when they run. You want to create new tapes and run THEM.

Ernest Holmes wrote: “Healing, then, is accomplished by uncovering, neutralizing and erasing false images of thought, and letting the perfect idea reflect itself through subjective mind into the body. When one realizes that everything is Mind and that nothing moves but Mind . . . he will see that nothing can permanently heal unless it be accompanied by right thinking.” Healing can refer to anything in your self or your life or your business that you feel is not whole, healthy, joyful, and fulfilling. Ultimately, it’s always your feelings and thoughts that need to heal.

Pay attention to when and how often you run such tapes. Put right thinking into practice until it becomes more natural to you, whatever time that takes. Practice self-observation rather than self-judgment as you move through this process. Self-judgment is a form of resistance.

Release the belief that you will (eventually) never repeat old patterns. Maybe that will happen and maybe it won’t. Belief that you must never repeat them is . . . Resistance. It’s more important that you observe when you resist so you can consciously choose to embrace what you really want to feel, rather than emotionally engage what you don’t want. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Does Being In Flow Really Mean?

“Get into the flow” has been a catchy phrase for several decades. We think we know what it means: good stuff happens, right? Is that all it’s about?

If you’ve ever been aware that you were in flow, you know how good that feels. We’re actually always in the flow, but the fact is we don’t always feel it or, rather, we’re not always aware of it. The “flow” is a stream of consciousness and energy that is always in motion, always evolving. It’s the All That Is that we are part of. We’re in the stream at all times, but it can feel as though we aren’t. Why is that? Since we’re always in the stream, we can only feel or believe that we aren’t, which means any perceived separation from the stream is just that: a perception, not a Truth. So, to be in flow is often, but not always, a conscious choice, and to be out of flow is always a subconscious choice (who would consciously choose to be out of the flow?). Whichever our choice, it then becomes our state of being and an experience.

I was contemplating what it means to be in flow and these words came to me: “You have to trust, to be in flow; and to be in flow, you have to trust.” The words clarified the process I’ve experienced: Each requires and results in the other. When you trust Source to act in your behalf and trust that all your needs are always and in all ways met, you’re in flow. When you’re in flow, you trust that Source always and in all ways meets your needs and acts in your behalf. And that trust leads you to feel serene, open, and receptive. But, of course, there’s more to this—there always is.

There are aspects of being in flow. One aspect is non-resistance to what-is. This doesn’t mean you have to like or “want” what-is; you just have to release your resistance about it. This includes anger, frustration, self-doubt, and trying to force your will on others and or the situation. Non-resistance does not mean you allow improper behavior or abuse or don’t do what you need to do to affect improvement. Non-resistance means that rather than wallowing in negativity, you find a way to get your awareness back in alignment with trust in Source, which puts you back into the flow so that right solutions come to you and or happen for you. Again, there is more to understand about this, which I’ll get to. Just know that release of resistance is a key that opens a door to a magical realm within you and in your life.

During one of my morning meditations, I looked at something I’d been saying: “It is Truth that my abundance, prosperity, and well-being are always and in all ways supplied by Source.” A realization caused me to adjust that statement to “It is Truth that my abundance, prosperity, and well-being are Source.” Many of us, despite what we know or practice, still tend to perceive Source as something separate from us, and that our abundance, prosperity, and well-being are also separate from us. But, this is not so. There is only Source. Everything in existence is Source. We are individualized expressions of Source. Just as we are always in the stream, everything and everyone we interact with is Source, which includes us. This is something to wrap your mind and understanding around. It may take a while.

Maybe you know how to get yourself—your awareness—into the flow and maybe you don’t. Maybe you’d like some tips on how to do this quicker and easier. There are some things to consider about this first, because the things to consider are also tips.

For example, what about when you ask or pray for something? Do you feel in flow at such times, or do you feel outside of it? One way to get into flow at such times is to understand that the ultimate prayer or request and the ultimate answer are the same, or should be—if you truly desire to be in flow: “Thank you for always and in all ways acting in and for my highest good and the highest good of all involved, and always in right timing.” For you to be fully on board with this and trust it, as your own practice, there’s something you need to understand: sometimes the answer may feel like it’s anything but the answer, until the moment you realize it is.

One personal example is this: I had a serious, debilitating experience going on for me and nothing I tried worked to shift it. After struggling with this for a Very Long Time, I finally realized I was addressing the situation through resistance, even though I believed I was trying to be constructive and productive in my attempts to affect a solution or resolution, also known as trying to control everything and everyone involved so I could feel better. So I said, “Source, I’m leaving my ego’s need to fix this the way it wants it fixed out of this and I’m turning this matter over to you, because, frankly, I don’t know what the hell to do about it. I trust you to act in and for my highest good and the highest good of all involved.” And, I meant it. I was flat-out frustrated, and I knew frustration was not the path that would get me where I wanted to be.

Well, a lot of shift had to hit the fan first. And, yes, there were many moments (days during a several-month period) when I was anything but serene. Then something happened: What was needed showed up, or, rather, unfolded, in its right timing. I soon realized how everything that had happened had been necessary, and how utterly brilliant it all was. There was no way I could ever have accomplished the inner and outer outcome on my own, and I really mean that. The design plan was flawless. Only a consciousness that had all the information could accomplish that outcome. What was needed was provided, even if it felt at times like I was in hell or at least purgatory while getting there. 

I realize that not everyone thinks about these things the same way I do. For some, they perceive only what they see and never go deeper. I see beyond what appears evident (eventually, and because I look for it because I KNOW it’s there): I see the cosmic tapestry where all the threads contribute to the bigger picture, if you will. And sometimes what I perceive about events could or would make some people feel uncomfortable or even angry and absolutely ready to dispute my interpretation.

An example of this is a friend who had to say goodbye to her elderly, failing, beloved dog. That’s a heartache that only someone who’s been there can empathize with. About a year later, she and her husband had their first child, and the child, it turned out, was allergic to dogs. As painful as losing her dog had been, imagine the heartache that would have happened had she been forced to face the situation that could have arisen. Every living thing has its time and purpose. And, there is a higher-level communication between all things that is going on at all times that we are not consciously aware of, until we see the evidence of it, if we use our “eyes” to see it with. This kind of awareness is another form of being in flow, as are moments of intuition.

Another form of being in the flow is to realize the truth that “No man is an island.” Just as we often perceive Source and our good, our resources, as outside of us, we can also perceive ourselves and our resources as separate from others. The no-separation Truth ties in with another statement I make during my morning meditation: “Thank you for my ongoing unlimited increase in Mind, Wisdom, Mindfulness, Intuition, Serenity, Money, Energy, Creativity, Spiritual Realization, Well-Being, and (something private to me that also serves others as well as me).”

Each of the aspects I listed are obviously good things to have and experience, and perhaps you can see why anyone would want them to be part of their being and life. But one morning, the realization came to me that not only do these things serve and benefit me, but that they also allow me to serve and benefit others in ways appropriate for them and for me—and are meant to do so. No man is an island—ever—except in his own mind and or heart.

Suddenly, my statement had an entirely new texture and I had an entirely new understanding and feeling (realization) within me. To be in flow means we have to realize that it’s not a one-way street that flows into our life and stops there. This may seem obvious, but is it really integrated as your understanding and way of thinking, feeling, and being? Whatever we desire or need and receive and have is meant to flow to us, for us, and through us in some way, at some time, and in some measure. That awareness, that consciousness, that realization is another form of being in flow.

If you’ve had any level of struggle in your life, it’s possible that your primary focus has been on receiving; and you may have felt that as soon as you have extra to give or share, you’ll give or share it. Apply my list to this, as though it were your own, and see what comes up for you. Here’s the list again: ongoing unlimited increase in Mind, Wisdom, Mindfulness, Intuition, Serenity, Money, Energy, Creativity, Spiritual Realization, and Well-Being. Can you feel the benefit to you and to others, if these are your experiences? Can you perceive how life is richer for all involved when they overlap?

In times of struggle, appreciation is definitely a form of putting yourself back into the flow. Say money is a bit tight, but there are things you need to take care of that require money. Maybe a lump sum shows up for you or maybe various amounts show up at different times, and what you experience is each need being able to be met at the right time—maybe not ahead of time, as your ego aspect would prefer, but in the right timing. Any moment when you can genuinely appreciate how this is working out for you is a moment that puts you—through your awareness—back into the flow.

Being in the flow, where you receive what it is you desire and need is wonderful. But being in the flow where you understand the greater give-and-receive loop that feels so good is even better. It’s a higher level of being in flow. When we practice being in the flow, we truly do not have to seek what we need and want, it comes to us in expected, unexpected, and wonderful ways, and often with a promptness that is astonishing, as Dr. Ernest C. Wilson stated. It’s the ultimate way to work smarter, not harder. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Simple Meaning of True Magic

When we get Law of Attraction to work the way we prefer, it feels like true magic, doesn’t it? Here’s something that puts what really makes it work, what our true magic is, into practical perspective.

Trying to figure out how to make Law of Attraction work for us, in our favor that is (it is always working), and feel confident about our skills is something a lot of people focus on, and often. I had a dream where five critters had been presented to me in a certain way, to get my attention. At first I had no idea what it meant, until I thought about the critters and realized they were represented in some material I have: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. So I picked up the book and read about each critter. Then I found it—a phrase that said it in a nutshell: “. . . magic is no more than a change in consciousness.” If you know anything at all about metaphysics and Law of Attraction—and even if you just think of magic tricks, you recognize or realize that the statement is absolutely, undeniably correct. Similar statements have been made by many others, but sometimes it’s a matter of reading or hearing the right one for you, at the right time.

This connects to something else I read just a few days before I looked at the medicine cards. I was cleaning out a chest of drawers, getting rid of stuff I no longer needed to keep, when I came across one of my TUT messages from 2008 (TUT is a site where you can sign up to receive clever, uplifting daily notes from The Universe, aka Mike Dooley). This was the message:

“Tell me, when you think of taking consistent action in the general direction of your dreams, (your name), do you imagine discipline, stamina, work, sacrifice, monotony, courage, and strategies, or are you thinking adventure, discovery, new friends, excitement at the crack of dawn, magic, surprises, fun, laughter, and, on occasion, the Macarena? P.S. Your chosen perspective changes everything.”

Wow! Read that every morning, before you start your activities for the day and before you start any and every project—or anything you’re going to do (and maybe every night), and how do you imagine you might feel and perform? What and who do you think you’ll attract to you? Which version do you usually choose? Which version would you prefer to choose? Yeah, I prefer to choose the fun version, as well. Okay, there will be times when you read that message, if you choose to practice this, and you’re aware that your energy is a little lower than you’d like. This tells you that your thoughts about conditions are influencing you. I say more about conditions in a moment.

When we practice the first version in that message, we suppress the true magic that is innate in us, which means we block it from ourselves and our lives. Then we likely do all manner of machinations to try to find a way to put the magic back in, while we continue practices that don’t and will never allow the magic to perform for us as it’s designed to. We are the spiritual magicians in our lives; all we need to do to experience the magic—our magic—is to shift our consciousness so that the innate magic can work for us. Easier said than done, you say? Is that a fact? Only if we decide it is. Yes, you may have to apply yourself to this, but practice makes progress.

Why do we struggle with shifting our consciousness? Because the mindset we’ve operated with for so long is a habit and who the heck likes to shift a habit? This would mean we’d have to work at it. We want it to be easy, to just happen (and happen immediately); plus, we don’t like the word “work.” This would mean we’d have to really see ourselves—our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions that we often let control us and sabotage us and our lives—then do something about them, for crikey’s sake! It might really annoy us to see how often we practice anti-magic thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, and who the heck wants to admit they’re ever wrong, or worse—doing it to themselves? And, this would mean we might not enjoy the process, and who wants to do more of what they won’t enjoy (but this is true only until the moment you begin to experience desired results, of course, then, you’re in, even if it takes a while for you to really jump in with full commitment and enthusiasm).

Ernest Holmes wrote in The Science of Mind, “To rise above the contemplation of conditions is to enter that field of Causation which makes all things new in our experience.” If we look at the TUT message again, we see how when we practice the first part of that message, we do so because we are focused on conditions. If we practice the second part, we rise above conditions via our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. And this will cause conditions to shift and improve or, at the very least, will improve our perceptions, which can lead to serenity, even when life feels stormy. We gain new, preferred experiences rather than repeat old, worn-out ones because of what we practice, as well as, likely, gain deeper understanding.

To paraphrase and add to something else Holmes wrote, all our experiences represent the different phases of our beliefs, which means we can give ourselves over to the Truth and the good magic as easily as any other belief, if we are confident in and or one with our spiritual realization of Truth. Why we may not find this as simple as we’d like ties in with what I said about why we struggle when it comes to shifting our consciousness. To realize our responsibility makes us uneasy. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Another relevant quote comes from Ralph Marston: “Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”

Then we have to face another fact: All of this is not about our thoughts alone, but about the feelings we have underneath our thoughts. This is why you can affirm or practice something out the yin-yang, but until you find a way to believe what you’re saying and thinking—to find some measure of Truth in your statement that you align with and feel as truth, you’re basically spinning your wheels. Never confuse activity with productivity. This includes mental activity, especially mental activity.

We struggle with the fact that the Law of Attraction is subjective. Holmes explained it this way: The chief characteristic of the subjective Law is that It is sensitive, creative and can reason only from a deductive viewpoint. Being the very essence of sensitiveness It is compelled to receive the slightest impression of thought; being creative, It is compelled to act upon this thought; and being deductive, It cannot argue back or deny any use of It that may be made.

It isn’t that once you reconnect with your magic everything will be perfect and life will be challenge-free. In fact, to have that idea or belief is just another way to focus on conditions we don’t prefer. Challenges assist us to focus on possibilities and to hone our magic skills, if you will. And we can use our magic to buffer the effects of challenges that show up as we strive to deepen our understanding of ourselves and of how the magic works for us. What we can also understand is that a challenge may lead us to initially feel like the first part in the TUT message, until we adjust our consciousness to one that supports the second, possibility-driven version.

We make tremendous strides the moment we realize we don’t acquire our magic; we awaken to the fact that it is already there, and then we apply it to the physical universe around us with more conscious awareness than subconscious default practices, practices you can change through your conscious choices and practices. This is when we rise above group consciousness that may be influencing us and instead express our lives in an individualized way, in a strengthened, trust-in-Source-and-ourselves way. When we do this, we realize the Truth that our magic IS no more than a change in consciousness. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                   
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, November 21, 2014

Do You Ever Feel Restricted or Limited?

How easy is it, really, for you to manage your thoughts when negativity sneaks up on you and bites you on the bum? Maybe this will help.

You’re going along just fine then wham! Something or someone throws you off kilter, and you feel restricted in some way. This feeling of restriction causes some level of fear to pop up—even anger is fear-based—and suddenly you feel as though you’re treading water, perhaps in a storm, especially emotion-wise. Not a good feeling. And if you usually do any inner work at all, you then tend to go into self-judgment: “I know better; so why don’t I do better?” That restricted feeling that surfaced as a result of the event seems to double, because you’re now dealing with two issues, not just one.

Ernest Holmes wrote this in his book, The Science of Mind: A sense of separation from good causes us to feel restricted; while a sense of our Unity with GOOD changes the currents of Causation and brings a happier condition into the experience. Everything in the physical universe is an effect, and exists only by virtue of some invisible cause. Man’s individuality enables him to make such use of the Law as he desires. He is bound, not by limitation but by limited thought. The same power which binds him will free him when he understands the Law to be one of liberty and not of bondage. The power within man can free him from all distasteful conditions if the Law governing this power is properly understood and utilized.

What we attract, whether it’s welcomed, not welcomed, or a period of what seems like stagnation, is a result of limited or restricted thinking—our mental attitudes, which can either connect or disconnect us from feeling and trusting our unity with Good and therefore Source, as well as what we are actually capable of. Since these thoughts and attitudes are a result of a mental process, we’re the only ones who can shift them in our favor.

Holmes stated that “The conscious thought controls the subconscious and, in its turn, the subconscious controls conditions.” Law of Attraction always works according to our subconscious thoughts, and our subconscious thoughts can be shifted with our conscious thoughts. “We plant the seed and the Law produces the plant.” Our thoughts are always at work for us, showing us our personal cause-and-effect power. Easy to know; easy to forget; easy to feel “Say it isn’t so.”

Why do we bind ourselves and our lives with limited thought? We know we do this, we know what to do about it; so why is it such a challenge to shift this in our favor? This is a challenge because we learned, by example and or statements during childhood, things like “We don’t have enough money because someone or something outside (or even inside) the family unit prevents this.” This limited thought process is not restricted to money; it can include education, health, common sense, endurance, success, confidence, and so on, which tends to always reflect effects via money in the long run, because society has promoted the belief that money is the way we and our worth or worthiness are to be graded. We practice this, without realizing what we’re doing. And, we make it worse by comparing ourselves and our lives to others and letting others tell us what makes us and our lives a success and or worthy. Bah! Humbug!

Holmes wrote, “There is One Infinite Law; and every time man thinks, he sets this Law in motion. . . . There is One Limitless Life, which returns to the thinker exactly what he thinks into It.” We are always thinking something into motion and possibly into our experience of it. The only way to use this in our favor is to seek and reveal and remind ourselves about the Truth of how Source set up the Universe, the Law of Attraction, to work and then put it into practice, especially when we feel challenged. Easy to say, isn’t it; not so easy to remember to practice.

I ride the same roller coaster many of you do. I feel good, in the flow, and then something makes my ego-aspect quake a little or a lot, and I’m into that treading-water feeling. And, yes, reminding myself of the Truth does get me back into balance and flow, but only after I do something specific: Calm myself down, request then trust that my highest good is always and in all ways provided, and then LET IT GO. What I let go of is the frantic, panicky energy my ego-aspect unleashes and the backward thinking process that goes with that.

There are times when you just have to push pause and catch your breath, when you just must stop all the thinking that takes you nowhere but in circles that wear a rut into the ground beneath you. Letting go feels completely counterintuitive, yet it’s the only thing that has ever truly shifted the energy, experiences, and results for me at such times, and or led me to right action. Initially, it freaks me out somewhat, but I just remind myself of all the times I did this and the positive shift this dynamic created—and fast, not to mention how good it felt to let go and be serene instead of stressed. This method is not for the timid. Most of us were taught to emulate Chicken Little. However, you might not recognize how strong you really are and the Truth of your unity with Source, until you take this route.

The fact of the matter, of life, is this: Stuff is going to happen, shift is going to happen. We’re not here to experience a life with no challenges or changes. There isn’t one animate or inanimate thing on Earth that does not experience challenges and change. Ultimately, it’s not about the challenges, it’s about how we manage ourselves in relation to them. That saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is a good one to keep in mind. Big stuff shows up at times for all of us, but how we react to stuff can cause us to act as though even the small stuff is big stuff. We wear ourselves out. We practice the wrong things; and when stuff happens, we go into default behaviors, because that’s what we practice more often.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, The Signature of All Things, the main character reaches a point in her life and her mental attitude where certain truths about mosses become apparent to her, and she sees how these truths relate to people as well. The character writes that mosses endure challenging times through a process of adaptive change. What’s the first thing most of us do when faced with a challenge or change? We resist, rather than adapt; though, if we’re to survive challenges, we eventually have to adapt in some way. You wouldn’t be where you are today, if you hadn’t done this with a measure of success throughout your life. Please take a moment to appreciate this fact.

The character also writes the following, and you can see how it relates to us: That moss was almost certainly a different entity before it was moss; that moss—as the world continues to transform—may itself eventually become a different entity; that whatever is true for mosses must be true for all living things. The strong find a way to survive and the weak retreat and give up. I’ll bet you’re a lot stronger than you ever imagined or allowed yourself to imagine. 

Train yourself to shift restrictive thoughts to ones based in Truth, truth about how the Universe and the Law of Attraction, the Law of the Universe, works. Do this so you allow the Truth of your personal power to inspire you into strength and right-for-you actions and solutions. Celebrate your strength and ability to adapt. The Truth truly does set you free. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                  
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Is the Main Thing You Should Focus On?

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

Is the main thing one of these: Actions? Beliefs? Desires? Goals? Results? Nope. The Main Thing is stated in this additional wise statement by Bob: “Your results are an expression of your own level of awareness.”

Ernest Holmes can contribute something about this from his book, The Science of Mind: “There is a law in physics which says that water will reach its own level by its own weight. There is a law of metaphysics corresponding to it; consciousness will externalize at its own level, by its own recognition. We may call this faith, we may call it embodiment, we may call it whatever we will, there is something in the Universe which responds and corresponds to our mental states. Therefore, it is imperative that we turn from the relative, because TO VIEW LIMITATION IS TO IMPRESS IT UPON THE MIND, and accentuate the state of consciousness which produced it. It is not always easy to turn from fear, from poverty and pain, and from the hurt of human existence, to that which is perfect. But whoever can do this—and will train himself to do it—will be like the man healed of blindness. He had little comprehension of how it had been done; he could only say: ‘Whereas I was blind, now I see.’” Your primary focus is better placed on expanding your awareness. Everything else is built upon this. How often this fact gets lost in the shuffle, a shuffle often tempered with fear and frustration.

Are you aware of things you can do but aren’t doing, in your own best interest and perhaps in the best interest of others as well? Are you doing things you really don’t have to do, but haven’t reached the point of awareness that you don’t have to do them or accept or allow them? Are you aware that improper focus on results creates an energetic ripple-effect that impedes your experience and progress?

If too much focus is on desired results (future), you’re not 100 percent in your present, right-now moment, with all the opportunities at hand for your benefit. You’re also not fully aware of, which means you’re not fully appreciating, all that you do have right now (appreciation is a magnet that draws and delivers your good to you). The most significant things you have with you always are your current level of awareness and your ability to expand your awareness.

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

In creative-mode you use your energy wisely and follow what you feel inspired and motivated to do, which then leads to something that benefits you as well as others. When you follow what you’re inspired and motivated to do, you are joyful and enthused more often than not. You pay attention differently, which expands your awareness, in each moment. You appreciate the journey as much or even more than the destination; and, you are true to yourself.

If having more money or any desired result is a concern—that is, it causes you to worry—where is your focus, your energy, your awareness? Likely, NOT aligned with creativity, enthusiasm, joyfulness, inspired ideas, inspired motivation, much less Trust in the Source of All Things to operate in and on your behalf. You may stand in the inner space of all this chaotic energy, using spiritual techniques frantically (or not) and expect desired results to penetrate that energy and end your emotional pain and frustration. You may do the same with frantic outer actions (or not). That’s kind of like expecting to perform at your best while someone standing next to you is raging at you: you are both the performer and the one raging. You can expand your awareness about this with this thought: “I can get anywhere from here,” here being wherever you currently are at the inner and outer levels.

You may have been lured into a fallacy about results through flashy-things e-mails that aim at your fears and tell you that if you do “this,” you (like the sender) can get thousands of dollars or massive success or whatever form of relief you seek and do so overnight, in one week, in one month. Maybe you can, but how long was the inner and outer journey to get where you are now? However long, this doesn’t mean shifts into improved circumstances will take as long.

Or, you may repeatedly start new paths or projects then stop doing them just as quickly as you decided to start. This happens because you are looking, perhaps somewhat desperately, for something to create that shift you so desire. This is also what many of the books, tapes, videos, and so on that take up, perhaps clutter, your space are about, which can also sometimes be flashy-things: You seek the magic “key” that will unlock the innate awareness you already possess, though you may initially or still believe it is something that has to come from outside of you, from somewhere or someone. At the very least, let these things stimulate your thoughts that lead to awareness. Shift yourself first; calm down and allow your awareness to communicate with you and inspired ideas appropriate for you to arrive. Then take action you have head-and-heart alignment and genuine enthusiasm about.

You can easily fall into the trap of focusing on results, to end your pain or frustration fast, instead of expanding awareness, which shifts pain into wisdom, which is a far better guide to actions that lead to improved experiences and results. If your energy is entwined with beliefs that hold you back and keep you unaware of your true power, even if you use flashy-things and get some results initially, you’re awareness may not shift and you’ll find yourself paddling in the same old boat, perhaps more than once. 

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

A very simple example is when I found I had to walk in weather that was cold, windy, and rainy and asked myself how I could expand my awareness about that. My immediate answer was: I can choose how I “do” weather. I could be unhappy and complain about it or I could find something to appreciate or focus on a project I was enthusiastic about. Just as we are not obligated to complain about weather we consider inclement, we are not obligated to complain about lots of things, rather than do something more constructive or productive with our time and energy. Alan Lakein said, Time equals life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.”

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

Here are some awareness-expanding questions:
§         Do the thoughts, words, actions, FEELINGS I have (or “feed”) support that the power over my self and my experiences is outside of me or within me?
§         Should I do what everyone else does, or says I “should” do, or should I open myself to inspired ideas and motivation about what’s appropriate for me, based on my head-and-heart alignment, and act from there?
§         Does my motivation to take an action come from inner knowing or from fear? Which will energize me? Which will exhaust me?
§         Am I paying attention to my feelings and what they attempt to tell me?
§         From what level of awareness do I listen and act?
§         Do I connect my experiences to my thoughts that preceded them as often as I might?

Your experiences and results are an expression of your own level of awareness, which is something you have absolute control over. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Life and how you choose to perceive and experience life improves when you amp up your awareness. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                      
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, November 7, 2014

What Are the Three Levels of Thankfulness, and How Do They Influence You?

As children, we were taught it’s important to say thank you, but not so much about the importance of feeling thankful. As adults, it’s time to give this a closer look, to better understand its more subtle significance to us and our lives. There may be some buried treasure to discover.

Gratitude is a relevant sentiment; and Attitude of Gratitude is a catchy phrase. But I suggest there’s more to this that may influence your energy and experiences. Several years back I wrote an article about gratitude vs. appreciation, the first two levels of thankfulness. I’m going to use a few parts of that article here and add some significant bits, particularly what the third level is and is about, which wasn’t included in that article, because I only recently realized how it connects to thankfulness.

Back then I attached "I am grateful for" in front of all my affirmations (for what I wanted), which was the popular practice advocated at the time. But the morning I contemplated writing an article about gratitude, something niggled at my mind. It was a subtle discomfort about the word, which I realized was a discomfort about the energy I personally felt about it: gratitude seemed, to me, to have a thought of lack attached to it. And that wasn’t what I wanted to feel or practice.

The First Level: Gratitude

I had to look deeper into why the word Gratitude was nudging my attention. I looked it up in my dictionary: A feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received. I looked up Favor. Amidst the many variations of meaning was: A kind, obliging, friendly, or generous act. Benefit: A kindly, charitable act.

Even though the definition of Favor included above seems a positive one, most of us have heard or read the phrase "I called in a favor;" and please note that obliging is one of the meanings. A favor then, by its nature, can mean something done that often obligates the receiver to the giver. Benefit carries the energy of charity. None of these are bad, per se, but these definitions supported my underlying unrest about the word Gratitude. They imply the recipient is in a state of lack—and, likely, feeling it keenly; and even though assistance may be provided, it doesn’t necessarily cause the recipient to feel empowered or re-empowered; though, it might. That depends on the recipient. Let’s face it: if we find ourselves in real need of assistance, we’re darn glad to receive it. So, gratitude has it’s time and place. But none of us like or want to feel disempowered.

The Second Level: Appreciation

I moved on to Appreciation, or its root—appreciate: To think well of; understand and enjoy; recognize the value of. No mention of lack or obligation, just enjoyment, understanding, and recognition of value, on some level, of something. So, what is the, even if somewhat subtle, difference between appreciation and gratitude?

Let's try an experiment using both words. You sit down to a meal and say, "I am grateful for this meal." Deep down (or perhaps right at the surface, depending on the circumstances), there may be a fear-based, even unrecognized or not-perceived, form of relief that you are not one of the starving millions or one of the homeless. There’s something of a “There but for the grace of God go I” energy present or, perhaps, the energy of “If it wasn’t for (whomever), I wouldn’t have this.” Now suppose you say instead, "I appreciate this meal." You recognize the value of the food and what it provides to your body, and even the experience. You appreciate every person, critter, or plant that made it possible for you to be able to have access to the food and whatever means you have that either provided the funds to buy it or receive it as a gift or offering of camaraderie. This may seem a subtle distinction, but it's there, at least it is for me. Appreciation seems a happier, stronger way to feel. And it’s been my experience that if I practice appreciation, it keeps me from having or having more experiences than I’d like that lead to a need for gratitude.

Okay, that gives us a brief look at Gratitude and Appreciation. I said there were three levels.

The Third Level: KNOWING

Knowing the Truth is what the third level is about; the Truth that Source is All That Is, which includes you and your supply of every real need and whatever is for your highest good. The Truth that it is not about what you can get from the flow but that you get into the flow! Knowing is more than an attitude: it’s a state of mind and being.

Look around you right now. Like it or not, there is nothing and no one who isn’t an individualized expression of Source, including you. Ernest Holmes wrote in his book The Science of Mind: “Mind is individualized but never individual. This Mind which is Universal will never be any less than Universal; It will never be individual, but It will be individualized. There is a great difference. The wave in the ocean will never be a wave by itself. IT WILL BE THE OCEAN AS A WAVE.” I include this passage because it is so very easy to forget what we are actually and eternally a part of.

But what about Knowing; what does that even mean? How do you know when or that you Know? It’s challenging to explain what it means to someone who’s never experienced Knowing or identified it as such, like trying to explain water to a fish. Knowing is a personal experience; so even if I managed to explain it in any reasonable way, you’d only relate if you’d had your own experience of it. I’ll give it a shot, though.

For me, Knowing is a pervasive flash of feeling that rushes over me, into me, out of me—is one with me as I am one with the feeling; a moment when I am aware of being the wave and the ocean, the water and the fish. It’s awareness of the Divine that, for a brief period of time, snaps me out of the amnesia the illusion of physical reality creates and supports, so I remember, so I feel, the Truth of where I come from, who I am, and the Truth of what Source is and what our real relationship is. Here’s something to keep in mind: the eternal you is already in a state of Knowing, but you and I agreed to forget that when we came here so we could experience physical reality in a way that served our highest spiritual good and purposes. And if we do have flashes of Knowing, that’s part of our purpose, as well.

When certain experiences happen and I find myself slipping or crashing out of balance, it’s very easy to temporarily forget I’m not alone—ever. I’ve had a number of experiences that proved I’m never alone. One in particular was when I was drowning. I was an adolescent; and friends from out of town were visiting my family during the summer. My father arranged with a motel downtown to let us use their swimming pool. I don’t recall what happened to cause it, but I became aware that I was drowning. I was taking in water and sinking fast in the deep end of the pool, and couldn’t stop this. My thought was, “My family and friends are all around me, but no one is aware I’m drowning.”

Immediately after that thought, two Beings were at my side. I didn’t see them with my eyes, but saw them with my awareness, as though I viewed them with peripheral vision. But, it wasn’t my time to depart this life. They speedily lifted me up and onto the side of the pool, where I choked and gasped until I recovered. Once I had my breath back, I looked around: No one was aware of what had happened or even looking my way. It was as though they were in one reality and I was in another, but in the same physical space.

Why do I mention this? There’s no way to experience Knowing, in its myriad appearances, and still believe you’re alone or on your own or without assistance at the ready—ever, which is something to genuinely appreciate! And there is the experience of simply thinking a thought and having it or something even better manifest (I love those!), and Knowing it’s not a one-time-only experience, which is evidence of something collaborating with you for your benefit, right? When similar experiences happen a time or two or two hundred or two thousand to and for you, it’s easy for you, or could be, to get into the KNOW. You may have to remind yourself of this, especially when tempted to forget it.

The thing about the three levels is this—and, yes, this is my personal take on this topic: Gratitude, based on its definition, usually comes after you receive something. Gratitude is like having a small screwdriver for a larger screw.  Appreciation usually follows receiving, as well; though, you can also practice feeling appreciation beforehand, which usually requires you remind or re-Mind yourself to do this. Appreciation felt before manifestation does get momentum going and creates results. Appreciation is like the right size screwdriver. Knowing, however, is something you can train yourself to live, maybe more so in moments rather than all the time; but it can be deliberately, instantly engaged for your own purposes, again, not so that it’s about what you can get from the flow but that you get into the flow. Through Knowing, you begin to recognize that you play a significant part in what you create or can create. Knowing is like a battery-powered magnetic screwdriver: it gets the real job done quickly and easily, you feel confident and comfortable about relying on it, and you don’t drop or lose your screws.

Something else Ernest Holmes wrote is this juicy bit of Truth: “They saw the shadows of bondage, and thought they were bound, while all the while the chains had no reality.” What a profound truth to keep in mind: what we believe binds us, that is, impedes our freedom, flow, abundance, prosperity, and well-being are nothing more than shadows of wrong thinking. The Truth really will set you free, but it starts in your heart and mind connection then radiates outward, into your experiences and your perceptions of your experiences. Knowing is the form of thankfulness that frees you from the chains of dark-shadow thoughts.

It’s a good practice to say “Thank you for” before whatever it is you truly desire, and especially to communicate your genuine appreciation of Source when you communicate with Source. I read once that if the only prayer you ever say is “Thank you,” it will be enough. There’s true wisdom in that statement. Sit with it quietly and see how it feels and what comes into your mind and awareness.

We may continue to practice all three levels of thankfulness, based on where we are in our mindset in a particular moment, and that’s okay. Each level has its turn at being appropriate for a particular moment. However, imagine how Source responds to you Knowing the Truth and living from there and appreciating this dynamic and your ability to engage it. Imagine how you respond to and collaborate with life when you do this. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                      
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, October 31, 2014

What Is Your Mental Atmosphere?

Why do the same types of events or same types of people—ones we don’t want to experience—keep turning up in our lives? We work on ourselves, we know about Law of Attraction; so, what the bleep is going on?

That’s a big topic, of course, but we need to start somewhere: We’ll start with mental atmosphere. Ernest Holmes, in his book, The Science of Mind, says this: “Each person has a mental atmosphere which is the result of all that he has thought, said and done, and consciously or unconsciously perceived. The mental atmosphere is very real, and is that subtle influence which constitutes the power of personal attraction, for personal attraction has but little to do with looks. . . . No matter what the lips may be saying, the inner thought outspeaks them, and the unspoken word often carries more weight than the spoken.” Yep. It’s what’s under the “ground” that influences what’s above the “ground.”

My thoughts about why we get the repeats we get is that we have unresolved (to our satisfaction) issues. Let’s say there’s someone in your life you feel did wrong by you or to you, in whatever measure and over however long a time, but you either know you will never tell them off or get back at them the way your ego would like you to or you can’t (they’re somewhere unknown to you or in some state of being where you can’t reach them, or are deceased). In this type of situation, your ego-aspect is going to feel unfulfilled. And it’s going to nag the hell out of you. Only, ego doesn’t nag you about what you should be doing at the inner level and what your lesson is for your personal evolution, but about what “they,” those you’re upset with, should be doing that makes them take responsibility and, perhaps, even make amends. Talk about your hamster-wheel experience.

Water seeks its own level; so does energy, including and especially your energy. Your energy is your signal that you send out, the signal that gets matched. It’s the program language that shows up on your life screen. If you have an unresolved issue with someone or with a particular event—which actually means there is something within you that is still unresolved, you’ll continue to draw people and circumstances to you, to give yourself yet another opportunity to figure out what to do or choose how you will deal with it. But, of course, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Which is your predominant mental atmosphere based on or in: Ego or spirit? Are you sure? Your ego-aspect sends out signals, like a duck call that attracts ducks to you, while your spirit-aspect subtly nudges you to take care of matters in the highest possible way—ultimately, for you and how you feel about yourself and life. The tricky part is that the ego-aspect thinks it’s all about the other person, people, or event, and what you need to say or do to put them right or in their place. Sometimes, that is necessary because you’re actually helping another with their evolution by doing this, as well as your own evolution (e.g., people who allow themselves to be doormats finally get kicked in the proverbial or actual butt enough by others and life to speak up and stand up for themselves and learn how to make better, more conscious choices in their best behalf—that’s real progress, isn’t it?). Your spirit-aspect knows that it’s always and in all ways primarily about you. You are who and what needs to be healed and re-Minded, and only you can determine what that will entail.

This is not a judgment, because goodness knows I have my moments, but you can watch people who talk the talk but don’t really walk the walk, even though they think they do. Now, granted, every one of us has the right to feel what we feel and to even react when something comes out of the blue and metaphorically (or literally) slaps us. Those not-good feelings we have at such times are to be expected, allowed, and paid attention to.

If you believe you’re supposed to be so evolved that you maintain your cool no matter what happens at the moment it happens, and even afterwards, well, how’s that working for you so far? How realistic is it, really? We’re not here to be emotionless; we’re here to feel emotions. Emotions guide and teach us, if we let them, as we’re meant to. But we’re also here to figure out how to manage emotions and how to use them for personal growth, rather than allow them to manage us and thwart or cause our personal growth to stagnate.

Proficient and efficient management of emotions is an ideal to work toward, but don’t burden yourself with the heavy expectation of perfection. It’s more important that after you freak out a little or a lot, you use your inner tools to regain your inner balance so that the way you deal with whatever is going on is done so with personal integrity and head-and-heart alignment. If you err, forgive yourself. This means you assess what didn’t feel good at the inner level and figure out why it didn’t feel good, and how to improve what you think, feel, say, and do the next time and how you handle yourself from this moment on. And there’s likely to be a next time, based on what Holmes’ said about mental atmosphere, until you figure out some stuff about you. Then, even if a next time happens, you will feel about it and handle it differently, because you’ve evolved a bit or a lot.

If you’re not attracting the quality people and events and circumstances you really want, look within, rather than outside of you. Get your mental dipstick out and check the level of your energy. What kinds of thoughts and feelings do you predominantly have each and every day? That’s your mental atmosphere. What you put into the field is what you get out of the field.

What happens is not random, even though we sometimes or often would like to believe that. Your experiences are for your personal evolution; and here’s the really freaky part: they are designed or agreed to by you. That can be icky, but it’s true. And when you grasp this, you’ll have stepped into the realm of higher spiritual understanding, which may be uncomfortable at first but gets easier and far more rewarding as you progress.

And no matter how much your ego-aspect wants to put responsibility for your mental atmosphere on someone else, for whatever reason, that’s just not the way it works. That’s not the way to get desired experiences and results—at the inner and outer levels, or to feel about you and life the way you really want to.

Will you choose an ego-based or spirit-based mental atmosphere? One keeps you a prisoner of your own making; the other sets you free. Freedom at the inner and outer level: It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                     
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at