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

Friday, October 24, 2014

What’s in Your Memory Bank Account?

Those darn negative thoughts that just won’t go away, no matter how much inner work you do, are just plain annoying. What’s up with that?

Best-selling author Barbara Berger (with Tim Ray) wrote in her book, The Awakening Human Being: A Guide to the Power of Mind, about the Law of Thoughts Arising. Right off, she’s given you a big clue: It’s a universal law that thoughts will arise. “Thoughts arise and disappear. This is the first law because it describes an impersonal universal phenomenon which is true for everyone. No one knows why or where thoughts come from or what a thought is, but everyone has thoughts. This is the nature of life on this plane.”

Berger goes on to explain that when thoughts arise, it isn’t because we’re doing anything wrong; thoughts come and go on their own. Isn’t that the truth! Have you ever had a song or theme music start playing in your mind for, apparently, no reason? Where did the trigger thought for that music come from, why did it happen, and why that song or tune? And, how long does it take for you to get that recording to stop playing over and over in your mind?

Part of my daily morning practice includes reading the day’s message from Ernest Holmes’ book, The Science of Mind. I’d already decided what my article would be about this week, but was pleased to receive support through this reading. Holmes stated that everything that has ever happened or will happen leaves an imprint on “the walls of time; and could we walk down their corridors and read the writings,” we’d read the history. He likened this to how we can record voices and images, store them away safely, and revisit them, even decades later and still hear or view them. Well, this is exactly what we do: walk the corridors of our memories. And it’s not just our personal history involved; it’s also our physical, mental, and emotional genetic history.

That’s what those pesky negative thoughts are about: Our feelings and mental images, based on our perspectives and interpretations, imprint on our memory cells, like pages printed for books on shelves or paintings created and hung on the walls. Plus, there are genetic imprints on our cells as well. A thought arises and the next thing we know, we’re traveling down the corridors of our personal hall of records.

A negative-thought replay was going on for me, and this new thought came to me: Pebbles, Stones, Rocks, Boulders. I carry a lot of positive memories, which I do choose to replay from time to time. But isn’t it interesting that positive replays tend to occur more when we deliberately seek them out, rather than arise spontaneously. Negative-thought replays seem to arise far more spontaneously, but maybe that’s not really true. Maybe we have them closer to the surface than we realize. Maybe our practice is to go down negative-thought corridors, and we don’t realize this is our practice. It happens so fast, who has time to notice why it’s happening? And, after all, it’s what most people do, isn’t it? We call it being logical, or say it’s justified. We’ve made this practice almost a law, by virtue of so many of us doing it so regularly, as though it’s the only way to go.

I spoke with someone who’s trying to resolve a particular situation. The next steps are obvious, and we discussed them. Yet, every step discussed was met with a comment from the person about why it can’t be done or what’s impossible. I finally said, “Maybe you need to stop pulling up all the negatives you can imagine. You need to make a decision. The first decision is to get more information, because you’re deciding what can’t be done rather than discovering what can be done.” She agreed that was what she was doing. If all you focus on is what can’t be done, how or when the heck will you focus on what might or can be done? Which one will get you to an improved and preferred circumstance first?

Our memories are like bank accounts. You’ll find highs and lows there; and where you are with them fluctuates—because thoughts arise. But you can deliberately create more positives that get imprinted and stored in your memory bank account. You can also deliberately—or by default—continue to subtract from it by focusing on negatives. That’s what my Pebbles, Stones, Rocks, Boulders thought brought to my attention. I thought about how sometimes we get a pebble in our shoe. Maybe we stop and take it out; maybe we keep walking on it, complaining the whole time to ourselves or someone else.

Stones, rocks, and boulders, of course, won’t fit into our shoe; and if they did, we’d certainly stop and get them out right away. But when they are thoughts, which are already memories or become memories as we think them, we’ll put them into our shoe ourselves, repeatedly. When such thoughts come up, I’ve started saying to myself, “Pebbles, stones, rocks, boulders.”

I don’t need to figure out which category my negative thought fits into; that’s just walking the same path with something in my shoe that doesn’t benefit me. Saying those four words gets my attention on what I’m doing to myself—and that I can stop doing it. I can treat even the bigger ones like pebbles and remove them from my shoe then get on with creating something positive and feeling appreciation for the good stuff and people in my life, as well as the positive possibilities.

Thoughts arise. You maybe can’t break or change the law of this, but you can decide what to do from there. You can decide whether you’ll visit your memory bank account and count your negatives or your positives, as well as decide which one you’ll put more of into your account. What you put in and what you take out of your memory account is always up to you, and will reflect the inner life you experience, which then influences the outer life you live. You can choose to make your memory bank account work against you or for you. Choose for you. 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 17, 2014

What Am I Meant to Do in This Life?

Life Purpose: It’s a topic on the minds of many. It’s a question (and an industry) that’s like the siren’s song, luring us into its depths. What is this yearning really about?

I don’t think the question of life purpose is as deep as we make it out to be. I think what drives the question, frustrates, and confuses us about this is more about how we want to feel about ourselves than anything else, but we seem to miss that target more than we aim at and hit it. I think this is because we don’t know that it’s a real and worthy target. Nor do we want to feel guilty about or uncomfortable with our choices regarding this matter. Often, we convince ourselves there’s only One Right Choice, which scares the hell out of us. This choice isn’t supposed to be like choosing the red pill or the blue pill in The Matrix movie.

What led me to this topic was a thought process I was entertaining myself with, wondering why some people are more compelled to explore and move toward and into spiritual realization and some are more compelled toward financial and assets gain (legally or illegally attained), with little to no focus on spirituality. Is one path better or more valid than the other? I don’t have the wisdom of Source, so won’t even attempt to answer that question. In fact, it may be a useless question, like “why” often is. However, I have some thoughts about this that I’m comfortable sharing.

We know that one of the Universal Laws is Polarity. This means that everything has a duality about it, has its pair of opposites that are identical in nature but different in degree (e.g., hot and cold are polarities of temperature). The Law of Polarity is a mutable law, which means whatever goes on can be transcended. For example, there are positive and negative thoughts, but both are thoughts, and either of them can be shifted. If things are not going well, you can shift your thoughts so that you aren’t overwhelmed by your negative thoughts and can affirm Truths that lift you up. If things are going well, you can sabotage yourself with negative thinking. Polarity keeps momentum going so that stagnation doesn’t occur. We are meant to be stimulated into inner and or outer action by the polarities we experience.

Back to life purpose or what we’re meant to do in this life. What if your driving question is how to attain more money and stuff, and the spirituality aspect takes a backseat or isn’t even in the car? It’s possible you’re attuned to having a primarily physical-material experience in this lifetime—for your own soul’s purposes, whatever they may be. If this is your path, this driving force in your life is but a line on the abundance-prosperity polarity graph. Maybe it’s extreme for you and you must become or do become a millionaire or billionaire. Maybe it’s moderate. Maybe it’s low, at the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps along the way, or in your more mature years, your spiritual aspect quietly nudges you to ask how you, in your physical-material mindset, can contribute to your life and the lives of others, and how you (and maybe others) can evolve as a result. After all, you could be a generous, caring billionaire who does numerous large and small truly good works from the heart, and never consciously or deliberately entertain a spirituality-related thought in this lifetime.

What if your driving question is about how you can contribute to your life and the lives of others as well as have a deeply spiritual experience in a physical-material environment? This may lead you to shift back and forth between figuring out how to exist and evolve in both, for your own soul’s purposes. You may find yourself on the extreme end of this measuring stick and be the person who meditates in a cave and relies on others to bring food, water, and other supplies to you. Or you may feel that trying to do both materiality and spirituality creates contradictions within you—because you question the importance of doing what helps sustain you and your life versus pursuing or attaining spiritual realization. Your question about this may block the balance you can experience so that you have all you need in both areas. We see it all the time: the spirituality-based person who struggles to sustain his or her life. Not only is their struggle an inner one, but an outer one as well: there are people who question why such people charge for their services, and believe the services should be free or nominal because they are spiritual in nature. However, no one argues about fees with a plumber when they need one.

You might assess the two “paths” above as polarities, but both contribute to our unified experiences of life. We cannot all sit in caves, figuratively and or literally speaking. We cannot all focus solely on tangible and financial assets. Both materiality and spirituality are needed for life to flourish. Whichever one of these polarity paths you fit into at this time, we are all meant to process experiences and evolve in some measure as a result of them.

It’s up to each of us to figure out how we will express ourselves while here. And this may be in one way or a number of ways. But it is about what we enjoy, what we are good at, what we are interested in, short-term and or long-term, and what and how we contribute to a few or the many. And what we contribute may be in some large or grand way or through numerous small kindnesses that ripple outward in a returns-to-you and a pay-it-forward sort of way.

I’ve had a number of incarnations in this lifetime. I started out as a singer, winning awards and scholarships, and training for the opera. Then amid other make-a-living-based and life experiences, I became an artist in three mediums and did 600 pieces of art in 5 years. There were gallery showings with awards and where all my art sold, individual and corporate commissions, retail shops with sales, and a few individuals who collected my work. Then I got into writing and editing, with a stretch as a life empowerment coach thrown into the middle of this. These days, I balance my place in that second description above (physical-spiritual) by writing my weekly articles—like the one you’re reading now—and include them in my weekly newsletter that also highlights the spirituality-based works of guest experts each week. But the other thing I do, which helps sustain my life and my passion for words and the tapestries they weave, is services for writers, especially new writers. This work drives my bus! Simultaneous to this, I’m always increasing, expanding, and evolving my spiritual solidity and spiritual realization, which also drives my bus. I no longer question which one is to have more importance (I used to do that). I’ve landed in the flowering field of whole-beingness: Everything I do contributes something, in some way, to me and to others. I grasp the importance of both materiality and spirituality for this experience I’m having, just as one coin has two sides. I’ve become keenly aware that I cannot do one without affecting or influencing the other.

I share some of my own story so you can see that you can follow your path in your own way. You are meant to. Your path can lead you until the moment you’re ready to lead yourself and choose what it is you wish to do that fulfills you on all levels or on as many levels as possible for the moment or for a lifetime. What you are meant to do is find your bliss, as Joseph Campbell said. Only you know or can determine what that is. And it may not be in one way only. What you’re meant to do—your life purpose—is a feeling, not an action or a thing or a person. Find your feeling. It’s your song, your dance, your life. And it will influence whatever you choose to do and how you choose to express it.

One line of dialogue said by Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter that always speaks to me is this: “It is not our abilities that show who we are, but our choices.” You can have stellar skills, talents, and abilities and waste them or be too afraid to explore and demonstrate them for your benefit and or the benefit of others. You can be great at what you do and also be an assoholic. You can do one thing or a number of things well that provides enough income to keep you surviving or thriving and also be a person others love, respect, trust, rely on, and want the company of. You can show people what you can do and you can show people who you are. Your choices will do that by default, anyway.

Rather than wondering so much about what you should be doing or showing others what you can do so you earn approval, focus more on who you want to be and show yourself, as well as others, who you really are. And if you make or have made choices you wish you hadn’t or regret, forgive yourself; decide to choose a better way if ever faced with a similar choice. You always have the choice to do and be better.

Stephen Covey said, "But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, "I choose otherwise." What we are meant to do in this life is makes choices, preferably conscious ones rather than reactive ones; though, we usually (hopefully) realize at some point that this is part of our path we are here to travel. We can makes choices that support us or seemingly don’t. I say seemingly don’t, because sometimes you get where you’re going by traveling a back road rather than a superhighway. We can make choices that contribute to one or many others, or choices that detract. Choose to contribute in ways appropriate for you and for others. Sometimes what this means to you requires you to figure it out for yourself, but it’s a terrific form of GPS for a more satisfying life.

Choices are stepping stones on our path of experiences. The ones we choose to step on determine our destination. Whatever we choose, we live with the consequences or desired results of our choices. You might say that what you are meant to do is choose who you wish to be and be who you are meant to be, for your own purposes and based on how you intend to feel about yourself and your life, so that you align your choices with that. 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 10, 2014

What to Do When Affirmations Don’t Cut It

Sometimes affirmations seem like the best thing to do, and then they don’t. Nor do they always quiet that annoying negative voice in the mind; but there’s something that does.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get really excited about one or more new affirmations. This is usually when my energy connection to Source hasn’t been supported by me as fully as it might have been and I’m feeling low or skittish or truly out of balance. I’ll work with the affirmations that make me feel better—for a while—then I notice I begin to alter the wording. This is natural and should be expected: we all start somewhere then progress from there, so of course the wording that worked at the beginning may need to be adjusted as we move forward and evolve.

However, I may also reach the point where doing the affirmations may start to feel as though I’m trying to convince myself they’re true in my life, or that I’m asking Source for what the affirmation affirms and that my asking is tinged with worry and doubt. Energetic hiccups happen when I attempt to say an affirmation I don’t absolutely resonate with or believe as 100% true in my own regard; not in regard to Source, of course.

I recently felt such awareness regarding the affirmations I was using each morning from Catherine Ponder’s book, The Secret of Unlimited Prosperity. They were all good statements that apply to many life areas, but even at the start, I had to alter some of the words so they worked for me. I still highly recommend the book, for lots of reasons; but I reached a personal realization and had to do something about it.

There is one particular thing she wrote that always gets and holds my attention: “Realization precedes manifestation. A realization of Truth will banish every ill, and the prayer through which realization comes is the prayer that asserts the truth.” My dictionary defines realize as, among other definitions: to make real; to understand fully. This made me look at that first sentence in a certain way. A realization can be a thought belief (to make real in the mind, even if it isn’t) or true faith (to fully understand, know), and the two are not the same thing, to my way of thinking.

Realization precedes manifestation. Thoughts create experiences. How often it has been my experience to either believe something (a thought I have, which may not be in my best interest, and may change) or to have faith (the absence of doubt, a constant belief upheld by evidence) and experience what it was I believed or had faith about. I know: it’s basic Law of Attraction.

When I recently noticed that I felt doubt about some of the affirmations, even with my own rewording, I decided the best way for me to have a beneficial experience was to use only those statements I could get 100% on board with, ones that did not cause that little voice in my head to say, “Un unh.” I call these Truth statements—statements I absolutely believe are true and have absolute faith in as Truth. I’m going to share some of them with you, and you can see if they resonate within you as they do within me. The statements are modified versions from Ponder’s book.

My Truth Statements

It is Truth that the One Source of Infinite Love is the source of all supply, including my supply. Reason this feels true: I do believe there is only one primary Source, so it makes sense that everything and everyone comes from that Source, is an expression of that Source, returns to that Source from which it or they came. This is also supported by metaphysicists and quantum physics, which finally, in premise, agree, even if they use different terminology.

It is Truth that the One Source of Infinite Love is always and in all ways opening and providing new channels of abundance, prosperity, and well-being to me, for me, and through me. Reason this feels true: I experience this, when I’m in flow. And, it also makes me feel quite good to support receiving and sharing as part of the larger dynamic of my experience—a grand abundance, prosperity, and well-being loop.

It is Truth that there is no numbering of the avenues through which supply may come to me; that my resource is as far-reaching as the universe. Reason this feels true: I believe that Source is unlimited. I more than believe this; I’ve experienced it on many occasions. Only human thought limits what we believe our supply and resources are. This statement also supports my connection with life.

It is Truth that I am meant to expect my supply through all avenues of contact with life. Reason this feels true: It has been said repeatedly that Source has already provided everything we ever need or ever could, and that only our resistance to receiving it, in some way, prevents it or holds it back from coming to us. Yes, this is one that is a larger conversation I won’t get into now, but we are not meant to not expect that our needs and desires are to be supplied during our life. (It’s not about what I can get from the flow, but that I get into the flow.)

It is Truth that my abundance, prosperity, and well-being are from Source; and that my abundance, prosperity, and well-being are always and in all ways omnipresent. Reason this feels true: I do believe the first part of that statement. And because I believe it and experience it as Truth, the second part of that statement must automatically be Truth, as well, because I believe Source is omnipresent.

It is Truth that appreciation is a magnet for all good things of the universe to hasten to you. Reason this feels true: It’s basic Law of Attraction. When you feel genuine appreciation for something or about everything, even at times when you stretch to feel that way, it shifts your energy. It allows good stuff to start happening because that’s the vibration you put out and that’s what you magnetize to you. This is also based on personal experience. As most of us know, feelings opposite of appreciation magnetize undesirable experiences to us. I have personal experience with this one, as well.

It is Truth that good things come to me in expected, unexpected, and wonderful ways, and sometimes with a promptness that is astonishing. Reason this feels true: repeated personal experience. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in this way, so know it as a fact—a Truth.

It is Truth that my every need is met. Reason this feels true: Again, personal experience. No matter how many times my ego-aspect drives me around the bend about some things, I eventually return to the Truth, and this statement is proven true, once again.

It is Truth that when we live, not just know, the Law of Attraction and the Truth of the One Source of Infinite Love, we never need to go seeking—our own always comes to us. Reason this feels true: It has been my repeated experience that when I get into the flow, rather than focus on what I can get from the flow (and especially not entertain thoughts of lack), remarkable things happen. I put out a thought or request and it shows up in an amazing way and timing, often without my having done anything other than think the thought, and trust the Truth. This doesn’t mean that I never or seldom take action: I’m always taking action. It’s just that sometimes the only action that was required was trust in the Truth of this statement.

Ponder wrote that one Truth student said, “I have never yet seen a case of unanswered prayer, when the one who prayed was really ready to receive the answer.” Being ready to receive the answer—that’s the key. Do you trust Source enough to trust the answer you receive and when you receive it? That’s one to contemplate. Sometimes the answer we get is not one we would have chosen and the when-aspect is like a frightening amusement park ride. We find we have to rely on our trust in Source to have higher wisdom about this.

I offer this about these statements and any you have for yourself based in Truth: when that voice inside your head starts playing negative tapes about anything, pull up an appropriate Truth statement and repeat it as needed. Don’t let the ego-aspect’s frightened or frustrated attitude get to you or take you over. Cancel it with Truth.

Realization based in faith—the absence of doubt—precedes manifestation that is in your highest good and the highest good of all involved, no matter how it initially may appear. A realization of Truth does, indeed, banish every ill—or the inclination to worry and fret; and the prayer or statement through which realization comes is the prayer or statement that asserts the Truth. Statements that affirm the Truth lead us to experiences of the Truth and, therefore, realizations of the Truth.

What is the Truth? Some aspects are listed above as my statements; but you learn what the Truth is when you experience it in all its beauty, wonder, and constancy over and over. There are, of course, other Truths not listed here. Explore the difference between thought beliefs (temporary, possibly non-supportive) and Truth (something that is constant, unchanging, and always and in all ways supportive). Readapting something Ernest Holmes wrote: Those who get involved with Truth evolve. 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 3, 2014

Is It an Excuse or a Reason That Holds You Back?

We sometimes say we want certain things and may talk quite a bit about our ideas, but we don't take the actions needed to make them happen. Perhaps a more honest statement would be, "It would be nice, but I'm not willing (yet, if ever) to do what it takes." That's a better thing to say because it's authentic.

The fact is this: Sometimes reasons, based on facts, do hold you back. But such reasons can point you in another direction or point your attention toward another way to accomplish what you desire to. Someone intent on success, whatever that means to them, makes a plan, figures out resources needed, and gets started, taking step after step until the outcome is reached, however long it takes. Intention (and commitment) sees obstacles as clues about what doesn't work and inspires us to ask what might work instead.

When we say we can't or shouldn't have to do something in order to have what we desire, this is the time to look within. Sometimes, a particular fear is the cause of this mental attitude. Sometimes, it's a belief that doesn't serve us. If there is something you truly want but never seem to be able to attain it or you tend to stop just short of the mark, you want to look at what's holding you back. Your excuses are a good place to start.

Make a list of things you believe you want in life. To the right, make two columns titled, "It Would be Nice, But..." and "Whatever It Takes, I Intend to Make This Happen." Place a checkmark in the correct column for each item you list. This not only distinguishes what you'd like from what you are committed to, but also shows where your energy is going and where it needs to be better directed. Expending energy wishing for or talking about something you’re not committed to taking action on is a huge waste of your precious energy, skills, and talents. It keeps you from realizing your dreams and goals. It also causes those who listen to you to not believe you, if all you do is talk.

Sometimes, what holds a person back is unknown and requires therapy so it can be discovered and then result in a significant shift happening. Maybe time with a life coach will help to discover how to go beyond self-imposed limitations. Maybe the right-for-you self-help book, where you do what’s asked, works like a charm. At the very least, if you categorize what you believe you want into the two columns suggested above, you discover whether an item is a genuine intended goal—or not, as well as where you limit yourself with excuses, or where you plan to succeed. The question is: Do you want to be remembered for your excuses or your successes? Which one allows you to feel the way you desire to feel about yourself? After all, why you want what you say you do is always about how you want to feel about yourself, anyway.

I was contacted by someone who'd read one of my articles and then got my Take This Life and Live It! workbook. Our conversation left me inspired. A major transition is taking place in her life, one most would consider negative. She contacted me because she wants to move forward in the way most appropriate for her. This is courage in action.

The reason I say this woman is courageous is that she doesn't choose to focus on the past. She chooses to focus on the present and strengthen and direct herself so she can better create her future now. She intends to use the workbook to not only better understand what is happening at an inner level (emotions, thoughts), but to also map out how she wants her life to look from this point on (work, relationships, finances, etc.). She intends to make conscious choices on both levels and do what she can to make this journey easier and focused. Detours will arise; but she'll have her direction in mind and will find her way back onto the path to get where she aims to go. Her choice is to respond, not react; to move forward, not stagnate; to be her own compass, her own North Star.

Most of us have to cope with a major life transition at least once in our lives, one where the foundation we believed to be solid beneath us shifts or crumbles, and we find ourselves looking for a foothold. Many deal with the accompanying emotions as best they can and eventually choose to get on with their lives. Some, sadly, choose to stay rooted in pain or frustration. The result of this is either a life not lived fully or a tragic story that makes the news.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage takes action in spite of fear. Action sets you free. It's important to make it Right Action, not reaction. Since this woman decided to face this challenging time in this way, I trust she will accomplish whatever she chooses as she heads forward, deliberately, on her path. Whatever she was before, she is on purpose now. Be on purpose. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.                 
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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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