Friday, January 31, 2014

Choices and False Choices

How many of our choices are actually false choices? What does this even mean? It means sometimes we are given or experience the illusion of choice, and may not realize this.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is with a question a parent, who wants vegetables eaten, might ask a reluctant child: Do you want broccoli or carrots? It seems a clever way to get a goal accomplished, when dealing with a child, that is. Sometimes a false choice is so subtle you don’t see it for what it is.

A man and woman were guest experts on a news program, to discuss a finding that claimed the happiest wives, based on a study, were ones whose husbands stayed at work longer. That the ideal number of hours a husband should be at work each week is 56. The man said that after people are married a number of years, they don’t want to be around each other as much as they once did. The woman said one reason this office time for husbands makes wives happy is there is more money available for the wives to take care of themselves with and for them to have lunch with their girlfriends; that these husbands working 56 or more hours a week are supposed to come home after their day on the job and make their wives feel special and cared for. She then mentioned that women who work outside the home always have two jobs: the office and the home and children, which is why husbands should help at home. The man countered that he realized men are now expected to help with housework, but that wives complain that they washed a dish with cold water rather than hot.

I don’t think I blinked the entire brief time they spoke, and I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. Was it a real study or a quick survey, and what questions were asked? How accurate are we to believe the results are? One guest added quickly, as an afterthought at the end, that the participants were middle-age. How effective and representative is it to test only one age group and only one gender?

What’s sad, I think, is how many people may have watched that segment in part or in its entirety and then believed the finding is a truth that should be adhered to—because the guest experts said so—or rather, because they said the wives involved said so, which they then shared as gospel, and the rest of us are supposed to accept as fact. We are to believe that any husband not doing this is now wrong. That a husband’s choice is to work 56 or more hours a week and have a happy wife or work fewer hours a week and have an unhappy one. What might some women and men (and children) who heard this think their choices are? What were your thoughts as you read this?

The two program guests were to be considered authority figures by viewers, but I saw them more as promoters, of what though, I’m still not sure. There are some who hear or read such information as the guests provided and believe it’s their only or best choice, made consciously or subconsciously. Any choice given that leads one or more sentient individuals into being controlled or manipulated, no matter the path or the provider, is a false choice, with only the provider’s agenda in mind. This is important because too often we miss or don’t recognize that believing in or dealing with false choices is not only about who offers the choices and what the choices are but also about us and our willingness or conditioned habit of going along with such controlling or manipulating methods. 

We have the ability and the Free Will Right to make discernments and judgments for ourselves. We are not supposed to believe everything we’re told, including by those we consider or are told are authority figures. We are meant to listen to or read information then assess and decide for ourselves, using rationale, reasoning, and, as appropriate, personal experience. We are to notice when a false choice is being offered to or pushed upon us. We are to use common sense and conscience to guide us about right and wrong.

Anytime we KNOW a particular choice is wrong for us or just plain wrong, yet choose it or agree to it or allow it anyway, we practice a form of schizophrenia (split-personality), and that can add up over a lifetime, with negative effects, especially about decision-making and what we believe we deserve. Have you ever felt that way when you weren’t on board or aligned with something but did it or agreed to it just the same? You’re uncomfortable—about the choice and about how you feel during and after what follows. Maybe you made the choice or chose to go along because you may have been afraid of some form of loss, criticism, reprimand, or penalty or punishment if you didn’t, whether imagined or real. That’s also a false choice experience, imposed by another and exercised by you. Head and heart alignment is imperative, to keep us in integrity.

There is a certain amount of going along that gets done in life because it is a rational choice made in order to avoid unnecessary conflict, especially violent, and to exist peacefully. But this isn’t to happen when our choices are clearly seen as false ones we truly don’t agree or align with based on what is morally appropriate and inappropriate or right and wrong. We have the responsibility to discern what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong; and not just according to our perceptions, which may be falsely indoctrinated ones, but by looking at what’s really there for us to see.

Perception serves us best when it aligns exactly or as closely as possible with Truth. In The Trivium, Sister Miriam Joseph stated, “Truth has an objective norm in the real.” Objective, not subjective. My dictionary defines the word perceive as “to take hold of, feel, comprehend through; to grasp mentally; take note of; observe; to become aware of through one of the senses, especially through sight—SYN. DISCERN.” Perception is meant to assist us with greater accuracy in our translation of information received and what we discern about it then do with it.

Perception often gets confused with attitude adjustment or alignment, the interpretation that results after we pass what we see or experience through personal mental-emotional filters. An example is the “glass half full, half empty” one. We can observe and then perceive the truth that the water is at the halfway mark. Being told we must choose whether the glass is half full or half empty is a false choice. Deciding subjectively whether it’s to be thought of or called half full or half empty by us is a personal choice, made for our own benefit or comfort, but the objective truth is the water is at the halfway mark.

Several decades back a diet book written by an expert became a mega-best-seller (I will not mention the name). The information in the book was assumed to help people lose extra weight and stay optimally fit for life. What actually happened was that after several years, the obesity rate in the U.S., as well as diabetes, escalated in a way never before seen. In fairness, the author did state who in particular was to follow the diet and who wasn’t, which was ignored. The fact is that each individual is responsible to learn what his or her body responds well to and poorly to. If a diet method says to ingest something your body doesn’t tolerate well, you have the free will choice to ingest or not whatever it is that creates the symptoms or reaction. And, using a product available to mask symptoms of your body’s reaction to something it doesn’t tolerate is a choice you can make, but based on a false choice. That’s allowing someone deemed as in authority to tell you it is okay to do what’s inappropriate or harmful for you rather than you being responsible and saying, “No, it isn’t. There has to be a better way, even if it means not doing it” or “I choose to do what I choose to do.”

False choices occur as often as they do because some people attempt to skew others’ perceptions of reality to their own, for their own purposes, or to the one they want to sell (Aspartame, once listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical agent for warfare, now renamed AminoSweet because it sounds “healthier,” for example). Please—read my articles if you choose, but question what I say as well; do your own research and exploration. We all need to be able to question what we see and hear in an intelligent manner and not believe everything we’re told. If the latter is what we practice more often, we’ll make choices that seem correct or appropriate but are anything but, for ourselves and for others. This is important not just for individuals to practice, but for the collective as well.

When what we’re told to believe contrasts with the reality we see and experience, what then? Do we trust the truth we observe or experience ourselves, or do we engage in a shared collective hallucination? What false choices do we present to ourselves, including behaviors? We also have to monitor ourselves for false perceptions, as well, self-induced or otherwise. Sounds tricky, doesn’t it? But, it’s a worthy practice we owe to ourselves to engage in. You can know the truth (water at halfway mark) and also choose how you wish to consider it (half full, half empty), if making that choice assists you in any way, but don’t then consider the truth as unimportant or subjective.

Know that when you recognize a false choice or an inaccuracy for what it is and perhaps choose not to go along, you may be criticized, ostracized or even penalized. I know how strong that sounds, but it’s not an unfamiliar experience for any of us, if we pause to think about it. When you are given the choice between two or more options you recognize as equally not good, be willing to recognize it for what it is: a false choice, not a real choice, because neither or none are what you would choose. What you do or choose from there serves you better if you follow your true moral compass, which isn’t always necessarily easy to do but can be done and is worth it. Keep your integrity intact through head and heart alignment. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.             

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, January 24, 2014

How We Can Begin to Free Ourselves from Certain Self-Imposed Burdens

“I have a dream…,” and so goes the noted speech filled with words spoken from and with higher thought, heart, courage, and Care. But there’s a phrase included that is key to shedding certain self-imposed individual and collective burdens we share.

The third Monday in January in the United States is a date Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is honored. Yes, the man and what he sacrificed and gained for many is remembered, but what is also supposed to be remembered and honored as well is our choice—and our responsibility—to act with and from higher thought, emotion, word, action, and Care for ourselves and for all who share our human experience.

This is what, from the speech, got my attention in a particular way: “I have a dream that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…. and all of God’s children…. will sing…. ‘Free at last! Free at last!’” We often miss the fact that it isn’t only those who are caused to be in or are coerced into any form of oppression who are oppressed or enslaved, but also those who actively engage in this practice or who condone or perpetuate, through their ambivalence or ignore-ance, any form of oppression, be that in our personal lives or on a larger canvas. Whether at the individual or collective level, no one who controls or manipulates or oppresses, or seeks to (or allows it), is free, nor can they be, until they cease such practices.

When anyone seeks to control, manipulate, coerce, or unfairly treat another in any way, he or she is no freer than those who receive such treatment: the finer qualities of their true spiritual natures and of their humanity are blocked; practiced long enough, these qualities wither. The individuals are or become slaves themselves, oppressed by their own fears, insecurities, and immoral behaviors, recognized as such or not—locked into a mental-emotional cage of their own making or choice. Deep down they know this imbalance exists, though their affected or afflicted ego aspects or psyches may attempt to dress this in different garments. As a result, they believe the only thing that will ease this unease or dis-ease is to do more of the same in order to attain their goal: to feel powerful enough to feel secure, whatever the cost, whatever the means.

Any individual, group, or institution burdens and oppresses themselves when they practice taking anything from others, whether it be something tangible or dignity or basic Rights, in order to enhance or empower themselves; or withholds what would benefit or uplift others; practices hate or ambivalence rather than Love, or oppression rather than honor the Right of Free Will for all, that is, Free Will based on acting in accordance with the Natural Laws and their Unifying Principle.

The premise of the Natural Laws and the Unifying Principle is that there are standards about right and wrong which do not rely on anyone deciding or decreeing what they are, that humans have an inherent understanding of these and the ability to recognize one from the other, e.g., theft (of life, property, security) is wrong. The Universe is a spiritual construct designed by the Creator for us to have experiences and learn and grow in Higher Consciousness. The more we all practice this the more we all benefit. The less we all practice this the less we all benefit.

The 7 Natural Laws, and their Unifying Principle, which are universal so do not recognize as exempt such things as boundary lines, race, religion, social position, or income brackets, are these:

The Law of Mentalism: Thoughts are formed before any manifestation; therefore, thoughts create things and conditions. We are to be responsible for our own thoughts rather than think, speak, and act from programming, especially flawed mental-emotional programming. We are to recognize pathological thinking and behavior, which includes oppression of any kind, when we see it, so that we may address it and cease passing it down (teaching it) to generations that follow.

The Law of Correspondence: The above is like or similar to the below. The macro- and microcosms mirror each other. As individuals are or behave, so will the collective be or behave. As the collective is or behaves, so will be the individuals be or behave. This is when the Law of Mentalism can assist us: we have personal responsibility when it comes to our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions.

The Law of Vibration: There is no non-motion or complete rest; everything moves. Everything vibrates. The Universe is pure vibratory energy manifesting itself in different ways. All matter is energy in a state of vibration; nothing is truly solid. This means that everything changes, that everything is in a constant state of change. Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are ultimately vibrations that create manifested experiences. We are meant to be responsible co-creators, about what we create or don’t create, change or don’t change.

The Law of Polarity: Everything has a dual nature, that is, has its pair of opposites. However, the opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree, just as hot and cold are both measures of temperature, but different in degree. Skin color is a matter of degree in pigmentation; nothing more, nothing less: we are human beings. Any other (perceived) difference, including culture, is imposed by man, not by the Creator.

The Law of Rhythm: Everything has its tides, its ascents and descents. Rhythm compensates: the measure of the pendulum swing to the right is the same measure of the swing to the left. Rhythm is real, but not set in stone. Rhythm reveals tendencies; therefore, Consciousness can override a tendency.

The Law of Cause and Effect: Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause. Chance is what we call a Law not recognized. No matter the cause, nothing escapes this Law. We have the Right of Free Will, but not to ignore the Natural Laws and the Unifying Principle without consequences. There is a time lag for what is often called Karma (you reap what you sow; what goes around comes around). And the effect is not always delivered to us on a one-to-one basis, alone. The effect is also experienced by the collective humanity, whether that’s a result of action or inaction, whether positive or negative.

The Law of Gender: Gender is in everything. Everything and everyone has its masculine and feminine principles. The highest form of this is in exercising the Sacred Masculine AND the Sacred Feminine together. The Sacred Masculine embodies the use of intellect, reason, and the self-defense principle to protect ourselves and others when our or their Creator-Given Rights are infringed upon. The Sacred Feminine embodies creativity, intuition, and the non-aggression principle: to not steal life, property, or the Rights of another; to not initiate violence or violation in any form upon another.

The Unifying Principle that binds or encompasses the 7 Natural Laws: CARE. Care is the causal factor that generates creation. Care is that which you give your attention to and nurture. How you focus your attention and what you feed into that attention generates experiences and results. Feed ignorance, apathy, or oppression and you fuel more of each and ensure they grow. Feed true Consciousness, common sense, and Care and you fuel more of each and ensure they grow. What we care about on a daily basis acts as the driving force of our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Care is the ultimate generator of the quality of our individual and collective experiences.

Our lives and the world are what they are because of how and how much we Care or don’t care to do what’s required to effect change and improvement, including raising our Higher Consciousness, when and where needed. We can improve the quality of our attention by putting it on information that can improve both our and the collective human condition. We should ask ourselves what we spend our time on, what we pay attention to, and what kind of quality, as opposed to just quantity, do we get in return. It is up to us to help ourselves and others by raising our Consciousness and assisting others in any non-infringing way that can be done.

Larken Rose wrote: When everyone has the same misperception of reality—when everyone believes something untrue, even something patently absurd—it doesn’t feel untrue or absurd to them. When a false or illogical idea is constantly repeated and reinforced by nearly everyone, it rarely occurs to anyone to even begin to question it. In fact, most people become literally incapable of questioning it, because over time it becomes solidified in their minds as a given—an assumption that doesn’t need a rational basis and doesn’t need to be analyzed or reconsidered, because everyone knows it to be true…. Such a deeply entrenched belief is invisible to those who believe it. When a mind has always thought of something in one way, that mind will imagine evidence…. It is exceedingly uncomfortable and disturbing, even existentially terrifying, for someone to call into question one of the bedrock assumptions upon which his entire view of reality, and his entire moral code, has been based for all of his life.... will not find it easy or pleasant to contemplate the possibility that his entire belief system is based upon a lie, and that much of what he has done throughout his life, as a result of believing that lie, has been harmful to himself, his friends and family, and humanity in general.

It is a burden to carry on with flawed mental and emotional programs running us, as individuals and as a collective, as though it’s the only way we and life can be. It is a burden to try to figure out how to stay ahead or even just survive, when we know life could and should be better and more equitable than it is. It is a burden to dull our thinking, feeling, intuition, and caring rather than enhance them. It is a burden to have oppression of any kind (or slavery to any thing or idea, especially a false one) and oppressors. Dr. King had a dream of the day when both oppressed and oppressors would say, “Free at last!”
We can begin to free ourselves by becoming aware of what we’re doing and what’s going on around us that we, as a collective, have self-imposed through allowing or ignoring, and what we could be doing instead to make life a better experience. Edmund Burke said “…all that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” George Bernard Shaw said "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." This takes something Dr. King demonstrated: conscience, vision, and courage.

I, too, have a dream—of a world where we allow ourselves, and take on, the personal responsibility to be strong mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; a world where we look out for and are supportive of one another; a world where no person goes hungry, and has access to not just healthy foods but healthier foods; a world where no person goes without proper shelter and clean water; a world where we strive for and attain excellence in all we think, feel, say, and create, freed from the worry of how to make enough or just enough to live on—but done so in a way where the Free Will Rights of all are exercised and enjoyed, based on Natural Laws being understood and practiced by all, from true Wisdom and Higher Consciousness; a world where we practice Care. What we could create and experience with that! It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, January 17, 2014

Don’t Give Negativity Another Thought

Should we or shouldn’t we ever put our attention on the negative? Maybe there’s something we need to discern about this, to avoid confusing ourselves and perpetuating negativity that ought to be given our attention.

What do we think or believe negativity to be? Is it whatever doesn’t feel good to or for us individually? What about whatever doesn’t feel good to or for others or the collective humanity we are part of, as well? We aren’t meant to dwell on or in negativity in a manner that does no good for us or others, but we have to watch that we don’t stick our heads in the sand either, when we should be taking a closer look at something. Let’s consider this and what we often do and might do differently about negativity and negative experiences, through something most people are aware of.

Here’s the first part of the “Serenity Prayer” most of us are familiar with and frequently use or refer to:
God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change, 
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Here’s the same first part of the “Serenity Prayer,” as its author Reinhold Niebahr wrote it and intended it to be reflected upon and used:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity 
the things that cannot be changed, 
Courage to change the things 
which should be changed, 
and the Wisdom to distinguish 
the one from the other.

An initial difference between the two versions that got my attention is how each starts. The altered version has no comma after God, but the original version does. The comma indicates a direct, personal conversation with the Creator of All Things is being held (just as it does in rules of punctuation), whereas the absence of it in the altered version makes it seem removed and rote, as though we’re repeating words to ourselves in the hope it—the repetition—will make the difference.

In the altered version, it’s all about the “I,” the individual. It asks for “me” to be granted serenity, as though serenity must be provided to us or we don’t or won’t or can’t have it. And the word granted is something of a subservient term, as when someone in “authority” grants a favor, but it comes with a price or an obligation, that is, if it’s granted. It states serenity is needed in order to accept the things “I” cannot change. This can be problematic because we humans are known to confuse (or ignore) the difference between cannot and will not.

The altered version asks to be granted the courage to change the things “I” can. We’re faced with the same cannot/will not conundrum. How many things are there that you believe need to change but you also believe you are powerless to do anything about them? (Perhaps, as an individual this is sometimes true, but as a group or collective, it isn’t.)

It asks for the wisdom to know the difference—the difference to know what you can’t change and what you can. Well, depending on what you believe you are capable of and what you know or don’t know your Rights to be, that could be an interesting form of wisdom that reflects more of an “I’ll do it if it’s convenient or comfortable and doesn’t require too much of me” kind of scenario. 

The original version is about “us,” we as individuals, as well as humanity as an aggregate or collective of individuals sharing the human experience. The original version requests grace to be given, as a gift, with no strings attached. If we truly understand what the Creator has given us, we understand that that grace has already been given; that acting with grace is always a choice. And, “to accept with serenity” reminds us that we have a choice to accept with resistance or anger or serenity—that is, to make peace with the fact of what cannot be changed. 

The original writing makes it clear there are some things that cannot be changed. Such things include the Natural Laws the Creator of the Universe put into effect to assist us to raise our Consciousness so we do a good job as co-creators and with how we operate within our individual and shared physical reality (To exercise Consciousness is to interact with Truth more often than not interact with it, to marry our perceptions with Truth so that our perceptions more closely and frequently align or intersect with Truth); death (once it’s happened and we’re sure the person is beyond resuscitation); any event that has already taken place and is factually irreversible; gravity; and so forth. 

It asks for courage, which we can infer means to assist or remind us to use inner strength to make the choice to engage our courage to change the things which should be changed. This wording is a whole different ball of wax from the altered version, isn’t it? It’s a statement that recognizes that part of our human nature is to at times be so fearful or unmotivated that we won’t change even what should be changed. And, it points out that there are, indeed, some things that should be changed. The problem with the altered version is that it implies if something doesn’t affect “me” (or “me” too badly), “I” shouldn’t necessarily do anything about it or give it another thought.

Then, we request the Wisdom (capitalized in the original version, to indicate a higher level of knowledge and common sense, rather than a personal opinion) to distinguish the one from the other: Things that cannot be changed (have happened or are Natural Laws and cannot be altered) and things that should be changed (require our attention and right action). Neibahr meant for all of us to practice this version particularly because our individual and collective behaviors influence the conditions we share, and the conditions we share influence our individual and collective behaviors.

There are levels of negativity, and negativity happens in degrees. Therefore, our responses must be appropriate and in appropriate measure.

There’s the level of the individual experience and expression of negative thoughts, words, and actions. Reasons for this negativity vary: learned behavior, chosen behavior, depression or some other form of psychosis, sleep deprivation, chemical imbalance, physical or emotional pain, overwhelm, to list some prevalent ones. About each of these, something can be done. The individual has the Free Will Right to choose to do or not to do something about it, especially to do no harm or stop harm to the self and or others, unless something specific impedes this, like a mental or physical infirmity that makes right or conscious choice impossible.

There’s the level of an individual, but usually more than just one individual experiencing and expressing negative thoughts, words, and actions, where Rights of individuals in any number are infringed on or taken away. We might call these basic Rights or Freedoms, in accordance with Natural Laws, which are different than man-made laws. About this form of negativity, something should be done. Individuals, whether alone or who are members of a group or collective, have the Free Will Right to choose to do or not do something about this. Again, our individual and collective behaviors influence the conditions we share, and the conditions we share influence our individual and collective behaviors.

I watched The Truman Show recently, and was affected by a dialogue line that was spoken by a fake radio announcer: “Don’t think about that. Sit back and enjoy this relaxing music.” The advice to not think about that (Don’t give it another thought) referred to something anomalous that happened and had gotten Truman’s attention, causing him to question its strangeness or not-rightness. After that anomalous event, the practice of diverting Truman’s attention from what the reality or truth was, worked only for so long, until he began to come out of his mental fog (or ambivalence) and pay more attention to what was really going on than he had been. The more attention he paid the more the truth was revealed.

Carl Jung: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable, and therefore, not popular.” This can refer to the darkness that is negativity, as well as lack of true Consciousness and willingness to attain it within each of us, as well as within our collective humanity.

None of us wants to see or experience negativity. But we need to understand there’s a difference between dwelling on it and not doing anything about it at any level other than complain, or tolerate it in silence, and putting our attention on it to understand it better so we can and will do something about it, so that we, hopefully, can prevent more of the same from happening again. Part of the New Age information has been that if we focus on something negative, we give it power. We’ve interpreted this to mean we shouldn’t give it any of our attention. Is the true power, especially to effect change, in whether or not we put our attention on the negativity, or is the true power in the individual? There’s a difference between feeding negativity and not feeding it, ignoring it and shifting it. Had Truman believed the power was in the illusion and those supporting it and not in him and his desire for truth, he’d have remained trapped, used, and miserable.

One of the most powerful things we can do is to say No to perpetuating negativity or creating new negativity. If something has already happened, we can choose the grace to accept the fact of it with serenity (for our best benefit and clear-mindedness) and choose the courage to change whatever about it should be and can be changed. We need to consider that maybe it isn’t that we shouldn’t put attention on the negative, but that we should put the right kind of attention on it, as well as on the desired result of our attention; then, take right action to attain or accomplish it or something even better.

We could lessen or eliminate some of the negativity in our individual and shared experiences if we did give negativity another thought—the right kind of thought so that we can demonstrate our power to do more than what we may have been doing. 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, January 10, 2014

Say Goodbye to Typical New Year Resolutions Blues

The things you do or don't do about New Year resolutions are what you do right now as a consistent practice about any such decisions. Whatever you don’t do about them, and why, you can do differently starting today.

How would this affect how we practice the Golden Rule?

It's important to understand why resolutions you make any time of the year fizzle out. You may feel a desire for something to shift or change, but if your commitment to make it happen doesn't match your desire, you'll return to doing what's convenient or familiar rather than what it takes, because it’s really a wish rather than a genuine desire backed by commitment. Resolution means you are resolved, committed, intentional.

Another reason is perhaps you aren't clear about your WHY: Why you really want what you say you do. The reason you think you want something may be buried under layers of other thoughts and feelings, hiding your real reason, which is a feeling you wish to have and keep. For example, if you want to reduce the numbers on a weight scale or increase the numbers in your bank account, what's your why? If it's so the opinion of others about you will be what you want it to be, that's a formula for probable failure and an unpleasant experience: that’s too many people to attempt to please. Maybe what’s really there is a desire to feel loved and accepted, which is a layer over your real desire to love and accept yourself, which requires a different approach than weight loss or focusing on more money, alone. This kind of thought process can, of course, be applied to anything you say you want.

Sometimes the absence of an effective plan is what causes the fizzle. What is an effective plan? It's something you have head and heart alignment about. Stated a different way, it includes required steps you are fully committed to taking and, possibly or likely, are even enthusiastic about taking, and is in alignment with who you know yourself to be and your Principles. Aim for what will really make you sizzle so you won’t fizzle.

There are key steps to take, in order to fulfill any desired intention (that is, any intention that is ultimately for your highest good and the highest good of all involved) and say goodbye to resolution blues, which is about causing yourself to feel bad about resolutions you don't keep, and to feel good about ones you do.

1.You have to be fully aligned with what you say you want and what you are resolved to accomplish. If, every day, you replay images of yourself as not having your desired outcome or experience, or you replay what it feels like to not have what you are resolved about, you aren't as open to ways you can make it happen more easily as you might be and you are blocking the result from happening more readily, because you are focused on not having it, plus, not feeling good about yourself or life as you move through this process, which is, essentially, being in opposition to yourself.

You cannot be negatively focused and “charged” (“It’ll never work” or “I’m not deserving”) and affect positive change at the same time. A small shift from "this is awful" to "there is a way" does make a difference, simply because one closes you off to inspired ideas and actions, as well as receptive, attracting energy, and the other keeps you open to them and doing what’s required. Whether you call this energy or attitude management doesn’t matter; it's an important practice.

Sometimes anger is the motivation that moves people into action. That is a step up from hopeless or apathetic, but unconscious actions taken from anger are generally not the best ones to take. You might feed a need in the moment, but what do you intend to build long-term? How do you really feel once the anger need is satisfied? It's important to feel what you feel and let this motivate you, but is unconscious action based in anger your desired practice? Does your action, or speech, come from consciousness (the ability to accurately observe and assess what’s going on) and preserve integrity and moral rightness or does it deplete these? If you can act from justified anger (based on a true infringement on your Rights or the Rights of others) as your catalyst AND maintain morality (do no harm) and integrity, that’s different.

2.There are two ways to make a plan. One way is to be motivated by fear. This typically leads to long hours, agitated energy, bad moods, and lots of activity that may not actually be productive. You may be conditioned to believe that worry, strain, stress, frustration, criticism, and other such fear-based "motivators" are effective ways to create change, but how's that worked for you so far? How does it feel to be in and operate from that place?

It's imperative that you put your attention on what really creates shift. You've been told you can't succeed without a goal, strategy, or a plan. These are tools that help you stay on track, but they aren't what make things happen initially or keep you on the path. Kurt Wright wrote, “Commitment is a magnet.” Your intention, commitment, and aligned energy are what ignite forward motion and build momentum in you and cause what you desire or something better to happen.

This means that the better way to make a plan is to take a little time to get clear on what you really want, and your true Why, and align your energy and attitude in a way that keeps you open to inspired ideas and actions, right timing, right people, right opportunities, and right resources. This allows or causes you to make a plan you are in alignment with, as well as be in alignment with taking required actions you include in your plan. It supports the courage you need to get started and to keep going. This isn't pie-in-the-sky thinking. When you do this, you build a foundation that is so strong, you can aim at and go toward anything you truly desire that is in your and the greater best interest, because what you build is Self Trust, Self Esteem, Self Empowerment, and Self Reliance.

Whatever you tell yourself you want from your New Year resolutions or resolutions made at any time of the year, those four Self attributes are what lie underneath your reasons for wanting what you do or say you do. You want to do what is needed to believe in yourself completely and from an authentic perspective, not a perspective of trying to get the approval you desire from others, though that approval may (or may not) happen as a side-effect.

It is important that you know what is appropriate or inappropriate and fulfilling or unfulfilling for you, including you in the bigger picture. What's probably causing you to fizzle out is that you've never taken the time or the courageous stand to define what your ideals are for YOU in the different areas of your life. But I don’t mean just for you, as in solely service-to-self, but for you and in service-to-others and beyond, into service-to-Truth; hence, for the highest good of all involved. How can you go for what you really want if you don't even know what it is, or are afraid to state it even to yourself then claim it?

A resolution is only as good as your defined image of it (using your imagination productively and constructively), your commitment, your enthusiasm, your alignment with it, and your core underlying reason for wanting it, which is, ultimately, how you really want to feel as an individual and as an integral contributor to the reality you share with others. Start now. It's neither too early nor too late. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.     
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer