Friday, June 27, 2014

What Really Blocks the Good Stuff From You and Your Life?

Maybe you’ve been on the spirituality/metaphysical/Law of Attraction path for quite a while, yet don’t feel as in the flow as you’d like to or that it’s easy to get in the flow, no matter what you know. What’s up with that?

You may or may not like what this is really about, but until you take hold of it to help you move forward, you’ll likely stay frustrated in one or more areas of your life. Ernest Holmes got right to it when he wrote, “We are One with the Universe, and that Spirit flows through us at the level of our recognition and embodiment of it…. Spirit expresses itself through each individual at the level of his [or her] consciousness.”

Okay, so we have to face the truth that this is akin to water seeking and meeting its own level, which means the energy of what’s going on to us, for us, and through us meets our own consciousness level. And the only place energy and consciousness can increase is within us, by choice, intention, and commitment. So what blocks this from happening easily for us?

Ernest Holmes (again) said “The Spirit can do for us only what IT can do through us. Unless we are able to provide the consciousness, IT cannot make the gift.” Catherine Ponder said it this way: “God can only do for you what He can first do through your mental attitudes.” This leads us to look at our habit of thought, or said another way, our mental/emotional attitudes.

What happens when things are not going well for you? Your ego-aspect runs amok, for one, whether it’s about the state of your health, finances, business, job, relationships, and so on. It resists what’s happening, probably in a big way. Maybe it blames others, who may have been triggers, but it doesn’t want to take any responsibility, or take as much as it might, for perpetuating your mental/emotional discomfort. Maybe it expresses envy about others who aren’t having the same experiences (and ignores other experiences they may be having). Maybe it goes into self-pity and stays there. Maybe it starts talking in statements (thoughts) that oppose (are opposite of) your good and won’t shut up.

I just learned about a book and method called The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson, which I’ll read soon. You can look up his videos on YouTube (especially check out the one called “Emotion Code example” that runs almost 12 minutes). He points out that some of what blocks us may not even be ours. Wouldn’t that please the ego?! But, it could be true. It’s now ever more widely believed that we inherit more than just physical aspects through our DNA, we inherit non-physical ones, as well, such as beliefs. That sense of lack or any prevalent negativity you feel and haven’t been able to shake that you wear like a wool overcoat, for any area in life, may not be yours. You could be living your life according to one or more patterns that aren’t yours and can be easily released.

But, there are your own patterns to consider, as well. What happens when you hold onto resentment, fear, un-forgiveness, criticism, or any negative emotional attachment to any part of your past (and the past can be five minutes ago)? You create one or more blocks that cause you to unwillingly, unknowingly reject YOUR good that Source is eager to deliver to you, whether that’s health, finances, or whatever area of life you feel blocked in. Maybe you believe it’s more spiritual to give than receive, rather than realize it’s a loop of energy, so you block receiving. Any or all of these, when practiced, are why you ask and ask—maybe plead and plead, yet “it” doesn’t happen the way you desire and which your spiritual self knows it’s designed to and is meant to.

Neale Donald Walsch said that blocks we bump into are requests for our attention on unfinished business. More often than not, that unfinished business is about our mental/emotional attitude (but it could also be an emotion code). We’ve got crud in our stream that blocks the flow of our energy and our good, blocks our ability to be in flow and receive our good. So we keep asking and asking Source for what we need or desire, and Source patiently waits for us to clear the way for its delivery. Sometimes, we relax enough for some of our good to squeeze through to us. Maybe we recognize this for the demonstration of a mental/emotional attitude it is, or maybe we don’t.

Forgive yourself for not knowing better, as well as for anything you’ve been rejecting about yourself. Release others from your rejection of them, because like you, they picked up patterns that weren’t theirs, as well as sometimes just didn’t have a bleeping clue about what they were doing to themselves, much less to others, just as we all sometimes experience. Release the crud that your ego finds so tantalizing to dwell on and in. Swap those thoughts, every time they surface, with better thoughts, especially with the thought that you, from now on, choose to learn what you can, and will keep only the good from everything. Choose to now accept the possibility of what’s new and good. As Catherine Ponder also said, “Although we cannot force good into our life, we can invite it by dwelling on it.” Our good, our success, our relationship with Source are not usually what many dwell on most of the time.

When we dwell on and in opposing thoughts to our good, we create experiences that the ego takes as rejection from outside of us, when in fact it is we who are doing the rejecting of something, from a subconscious level. And what we reject for ourselves is actually something we reject about ourselves, because of patterns of beliefs we carry that need to be shed or shifted. Source would NEVER and will never reject us. So, it is us doing the rejecting. That’s worth looking into.

We also have to let go of the idea that our good can come to us from only one source or only a few sources. Source’s resources are INFINITE and always available to us, according to what is appropriate for us, which is something our spiritual self is directly involved in determining, not Source. As far as Source is concerned, if we ask and have the consciousness to allow and receive it, it’s ours. But we do have an inner coach (our Spirit) calling the game for our particular experience and evolution. Only when our ego-aspect works in opposition to our own inner spiritual coach do we hit roadblocks and detours. And even if some of our experiences are not what our ego-aspect would ever sign up for, our relationship with our inner spirit self allows us to say, “Show me.” And we can glean from our experiences that which will help us evolve in the way we came here to do, in each moment.

Another gem from Catherine Ponder about this is, “You do not so much attract what you want as what you are—according to your secret thoughts.” Any negative secret thoughts come from that chatterbox we call the ego-aspect. It gnaws on our mental and emotional attitudes the way beavers gnaw on trees. And it’s just as effective at damming (and damning) the flow as the dams beavers build. From Emma Curtis Hopkins, we get these wise words: “The world in which we live is the exact record of our thoughts. If we do not like the world we live in, then we do not like our thoughts.” This can be both a discomforting and comforting realization. But it also inspires us to monitor and shift our thoughts in order to shift our experiences.

I’m not just “whistling Dixie” about this topic: I’ve bumped up against it in a big way (more than a few times—if I had a dollar for every time…). As an image posted on a social site said, “If you’re still looking for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.” I had to look at how much of what I’ve learned and know is floating on the surface of my consciousness, meaning what I’ve yet to integrate as a mental attitude or way of being versus what I have integrated. And like me, maybe you’re doing this as well, not realizing that you aren’t, at times, actually practicing what you know the Truth to be (and instead are letting ego drive your bus); that knowing the Truth is never enough to get you where you want to go—you have to live the Truth to make the journey you truly desire to make.

I can say that this, as Ponder wrote, has been my (repeated) experience: “…when we dissolve the barriers of repellent thought and substitute a receptive attitude of mind, good things come to us in unexpected and wonderful ways, and sometimes with a promptness that is astonishing.” Now, I just have to practice remembering this and living it more than I sometimes do, and especially when I’ve allowed my ego-aspect to get my mental and emotional knickers in a knot.

Why don’t we practice what we know as we should or could? It’s because we often practice opposing thoughts yet are unaware of this because of the emotions we feel and are justified to feel, but get stuck there. We may practice patterns that may or may not be ours. What also blocks us is if we have somehow become locked into the negativity of others. In the Bible, there’s the story of Jesus going to the home where the daughter had died. When he got there, all the mourners told him there was nothing he could do about it. He knew differently, but he also knew something else; and this knowledge caused him to kick everyone out so he could do what he knew he could. It’s not always easy to put an end to or remove ourselves from the negativity in our lives, but it is imperative to do this as much as we can so we can function and perform what we know we’re capable of. Not doing something to shift negativity or remove ourselves from its influence is more often than not a form of self-rejection (ouch!), not necessarily stoicism, which does have its place, but is a wholly different energy.

So, we need to look at the blocks we practice without realizing it or without realizing how fully they affect us, such as self-rejection, in all its forms and influences. We need to look at how much we carry the past around with us and resolve to release all but the good we can extract from past experiences. We need to look at our attachment to self-pity and shift this by embracing our relationship with Source and allowing Source to supply and support us. We need to discover whether or not patterns we practice are actually ours or if we picked them up from others, and then release these patterns, no matter their origin. We need to become better at identifying our opposing thoughts and replacing them with supportive ones. And, we need to love and accept ourselves as we are and as we evolve, and honor this, be available to it. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.          
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Power of Reframing Your Reality

If you're not familiar with what reframing is, I have a quote from American Actress Shelley Winters that is an example: "I'm not overweight. I'm just nine inches too short."

Why would anyone need to reframe what-is? Reality is what it is, isn't it? Maybe. We know that how we perceive things is how we experience them. This is why two people can see or hear the same thing and respond or react differently. Sometimes, this means we ignore the obvious, perhaps make excuses. Other times, it means the story we tell ourselves causes us to feel bad rather than better. When your attention is primarily on things as they are, or seem to be, you block expansion of what-is and what is possible.

Reframing is so very important because if we don’t put it into practice, we can exhaust ourselves or make ourselves ill as a result of all the opposing thoughts to what-is that we have and repeat to ourselves and others. Our opposing thoughts can, instead, get our attention onto the fact there is deep-level resistance going on about what-is, and it’s likely about something we feel we can’t change or are afraid to change. Viktor Frankl gave us his renowned quote that relates to reframing: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

During the course of a day, or a lifetime, we tell ourselves a lot of things. Maybe we say we can't be happy, confident, serene, or whatever we want to feel until we lose 20 pounds, have a certain bank balance, or reach whatever parameter we place out ahead of us. Will we attain our goals and dreams faster and easier if we delay feeling the way we want to until we accomplish what we aim to? Even if this doesn’t cause delay, why feel bad in the process? We waste time and energy waiting for circumstances and ourselves to be perfect or ideal so that we can feel good “when” instead of feeling that way now. Neale Donald Walsch said, “Happiness is not produced by conditions; conditions are produced by happiness.”

"It is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up." – Steve Maraboli

A good time to reframe is when an outcome is less than we expect or hope for. Times such as these are not "failures," but valuable information-gathering experiences. (Did you notice how the last sentence used reframing?) You can choose to make every outcome or process work for you rather than against you. This may not feel natural or simple, but if you do it, you'll move forward rather than stand still. That is the real power of reframing. “The only thing that ever prevents your receiving something that you desire is that your habit of thought is different from your desire,” said Abraham-Hicks.

Reframing takes us out of the mono-vision we can get locked into. If we look around, we see lots of people enjoying themselves in ways we're putting off until... Do you know anyone who is not a millionaire, but is happy? Do you know any men or women without perfect bodies who are happy and in romantic relationships? Do you know anyone with a health or physical issue who not only gets around, but enjoys as fulfilling a life as possible? One thing can be assumed about such people: they tell themselves a story that is different from what someone else may tell themselves. They are reframing experts. Aristotle advised, “What we expect, that we find.”

Pick something you're putting off feeling better about until you reach a specific outcome. Choose to feel good just as things are and just as you are. This doesn't mean you don't still aim at your desired outcomes, it means you give yourself permission to enjoy yourself and your life right now, and feel and express appreciation, which is the ultimate vibration to send out, whatever the circumstances. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.         
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, June 13, 2014

Every Fear Hides a Wish

The article title is a line of dialogue from a movie. I shared it with a friend who emailed back, "What does THAT mean?" So, let’s consider what it may mean to you and to all of us.

It could mean we wish the opposite of what we're afraid of were true instead. Or, if we fear instability in some area of our lives, perhaps we wish security in this matter was etched in stone so we never had to think about it or fear it again. It could mean we're in denial. Denial of what-is and of what we feel is never a good thing. It leads to more of the same or worse happening because we aren’t addressing what needs to be addressed. Denial of what-is or what we feel makes us feel and behave like a victim, of any circumstance and of ourselves.

Dealing with a fear (or managing it) is something we can develop inner tools for. Making wishes become realities is also something we can do if we apply ourselves at the inner and outer levels. So what would be the next step in considering this?

In my opinion, whether it’s a fear or a wish we’re considering, I think that ultimately we want to feel strong. We want to feel a level of self-trust so that fears and wishes are matters we readily address but perhaps differently than we may have before. It all boils down to one underlying thing: We doubt we can or will be able to handle ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually in the face of certain challenges, be it a fear we feel or a wish we desire to be a reality.

Self-trust and security have a partnership. Security, as much as our ego self would like it to be an outer experience, is really an inner one, and it’s based on or in self-trust, and trust in Source. Everything changes; and that can rattle our sense of security pretty darn fast. However, when we KNOW our sense of security (or, perhaps preferably, serenity) comes from within, change might stir (or roil) the waters of our life, but we know we can restore inner balance by pulling from the strong foundation of who we know ourselves to be, and especially, our trust in Source. When we have a defined level of self-trust and trust in Source, we know we can manage ourselves through any gust or gale. Our self-trust and trust in Source is our security, and our serenity. And when we have the mindset that any step we take or choice we make will lead us to learn something about ourselves so we can grow, we realize we cannot ever fail.

Perhaps the next time you feel a fear, look for which wish accompanies it; though, you’ll likely find the ultimate wish is that you believe in yourself enough to trust you can handle whatever comes your way, whether that’s to take an action that creates a positive shift or to choose to release something or someone from your life that or who is taking life force from you rather than contributing to your joy and fulfillment.

Ask yourself how you truly want to feel about any matter. Then ask yourself what stops you from feeling that way now. You may quickly realize the only thing that stops you is that you made a choice based on your level of self-trust, even if that choice was to believe you are confused. You can give yourself permission to feel the way you wish to feel, no matter what, and trust yourself and Source. You can realize there are only steps that lead you to grow and learn. Try it. Watch what happens in your life as a result. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.        
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, June 6, 2014

Everything Has A Reason and A Season

Trees don't struggle to keep their leaves when autumn arrives, nor do they resist new growth in spring. But, resistance to change is how we sometimes or often approach our lives and experiences.

Life asks—insists really, that we engage a continuous shedding and new growth aspect. Maybe you're trying to hang onto something it's time to let go of or trying to change something not ready to shift just yet.

Everything that comes to us really does have a reason, as difficult as it sometimes is to perceive or believe. Even some of the most painful, frustrating, and scary moments have eventually made sense at some later time—have shown some purpose in my life and in the greater tapestry I'm part of. Like when a personal or professional relationship ends, only to see days, months, or years later that what happened was actually order demonstrated within what felt like chaos initially or even for a while longer.

Every change that's happened or happens in my life is eventually revealed as an intricate, integral aspect of something larger—something only a Higher Mind could orchestrate with such precision and wisdom, whether we attribute that wisdom to our soul self or Source or the partnership that exists between them. Pain and struggle felt after events have happened, felt that way because I temporarily disconnected from absolute trust in Source (and sometimes in myself), a trust that has been demonstrated as worthy and worth it more times than it seems it should take for an individual to finally accept and allow that everything has a reason.

Everything also has a season. How often have you relied on something for a while only to see it diminish or begin to show signs of this, and you tried to cling to it as though it were permanent, or should be? When something is shed or removed from our life, it means that something else is coming our way; something desires to open, expand, renew, or be created.

Look at your life right now and notice what, as the Native American phrase goes, has stopped "growing corn" for you, or you're aware that it's heading that way. I bet you can think of at least one aspect of your life this applies to, just as I can. Sometimes we think we are obligated to hold on when we are actually obligated to let go in order to look after our best interests and well-being, or look toward where and how we are to grow next. People, things, and events come into our life for a reason and a season, though the season may be brief or long and the reason unclear, until it's time for us to understand it differently.

When you see that a season for something in your life is approaching its end, that's the time to envision the next phase or realize you're at a crossroads, and that it's time to give what's next real consideration. Often, because we tend to hang on to things when their season is waning, or even over, we ignore the fact that we're being nudged or kicked in the backside to not only embrace the fact of forthcoming change but get involved with it so we have as much influence as possible about how we experience what comes next.

Whenever the stream or streams you rely on show signs of drying up or changing course, for a reason or a season, you can consider one of these approaches:
1.       Is it time to find a new stream? Perhaps you're being nudged toward growth and newness, and a new right-for-you stream is elsewhere. You need to go there, where you find fresh, flowing waters. The reason your stream dries up or changes course is because you might not make the move you need to unless this happens. You may feel like you're being punished or penalized. You aren't; you're being motivated to grow.
2.       Maybe there's a better way, an innovation, you haven't thought of or tried yet. One tweak or even a small shift in one direction or another may make all the difference.
3.       Maybe it's about looking for what blocks the stream, like limiting beliefs or negative thinking or fear of change, so you can begin a process that lets the metaphorical waters flow again. (An empowering book that can help is Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.)

Sometimes we attempt to make a change happen before its time. This can feel frustrating, like we're spinning our wheels, when we've simply shown up for our appointment a bit too early. It's like getting to the restaurant far earlier than you can be seated or before other members of your party arrive. The wait feels different than if you arrived on time or together.

There's another aspect to this. Have you ever had the feeling that something you're about to do isn't as "right" as it might be, or you feel hesitation? That's your intuition communicating with you. If you're headstrong or so focused on easing a fear, pain, or frustration with an action, you may ignore that inner nudge. I'm not saying I get this right every time, but I more often than not get that nudge and pause, like when I'm about to send an e-mail I'm eager to get out and that twinge comes to me. I have to be willing to trust that my inner wisdom and guidance wants me to pay attention to something; and when I listen I see why the signal was sent. It’s also important to discern if it’s a true intuitive nudge or a fear based on a self-worth or confidence issue.

You've heard it before: A vacuum is created so there's room to fill it with something else, or something better, but always something that contributes to our life experience in a meaningful way. How quickly we open to seeing it this way has all to do with how long we choose to struggle with the transition. This doesn't mean we are obligated to "like" all change that happens; but just as forgiveness is really about setting us free, understanding this reason-and-season fact can help us find serenity that results from trust in Source, and in ourselves, when inner storms happen. You can also adopt the mindset that everything that happens is a win for you because it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. You can deliberately look for the potential benefits.

Maybe it's time for you to give thought to which streams in your life supply you with energy and life force, which don't, and which need adjustment so they flow smoothly and abundantly again. As the saying from an unknown author goes, “The pathway is smooth. Why do you throw rocks before you?” Put this kind of consideration into practice and see where or how it leads you. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.        
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer