Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Teach Yourself "Down the Line" Perception

What in the world is that, "Down the Line" Perception? Well, I think I just made it up, not the concept but the title.

It's a way of thinking, of catching certain types of thoughts and swapping them out for others. I taught myself to think this way for practical reasons. Why suffer if you don't have to?

Hindsight is 20/20
What lead me to this way of thinking was that I suffered a lot from believing that I had lost things or that I had missed things in my life. However, when I really looked at all the experiences in my life, I noticed that once I had gotten far enough past most difficult situations, I saw how beneficial those experiences turned out to actually be. After reviewing a certain number of experiences, large and small, that I had been disappointed about in my life, I realized that what had seemed awful at the time turned out to be, not just "not-so-bad" but, truly a good thing.

Example: A devastating breakup back in 2001 had me depressed, bitter and shunning men for over 2 years. At the time, it seemed like I had lost something really precious that I would never be able to replace. In the long run, I was right, I was never able to replace that relationship... and THANK GOD for that!

The person I was with had a permanently dissatisfied disposition. He was never happy, always looking for better, never convinced I was good enough, didn't really see what was good in me or our relationship. I exhausted myself mentally and emotionally in trying to keep up, be better and "improve" to suit his idea of what I/we should be. It was a huge blow to my self-esteem being with him. Now that I'm many years "down the line", my perception of those events is very different than it was at the time. I look back and am incredibly grateful that we weren't together longer than we were. I now feel blessed that things fell apart as I feel I was spared even worse self-esteem issues and wasting more of my time on a relationship that was deeply unhealthy for me.

What this and many other events that I am now "down the line" from have taught me is that very few things that have happened or which I have "missed" are as bad or disappointing as they seemed at the time. Because of that, I am teaching myself to assume that what is happening to me in every moment, however seemingly disagreeable and apparently "wrong" is actually "right" and that I will be able to perceive it in that light once I am "down the line" enough from it in the future.

My thinking now is: Why wait? Why wait to be "down the line" to see what is almost always the case? Why not assume right away that what is happening is actually the "right" thing and stop the suffering before it starts? Suffering comes from our perception and judgment that the experience is happening in the "wrong" way. Start thinking of ways, right now, that it could be interpreted as "right".

We are always a work in progress but more and more often I catch myself if I begin to feel disappointed about something and flip it off like a light switch. When I hear thoughts like: "things don't work out for me" or "I never catch a break" or "I've missed my only chance", replacement thoughts pop into place. "Maybe I just missed being in an accident" (if I'm held up and I leave later than I wanted)", "I wonder what the Universe has in store for me that's even better than that?" (if I seem to have missed an opportunity) or "These people needed a more personal touch to get the learnings" (if a class I'm giving doesn't fill up as I would have liked it to).

Being able to do this type of reverse thinking means that things that would have previously been upsetting aren't. I can let them go with little or no disappointment or sadness. In fact, in some instances I actually get excited when things don't work out as I wonder, "Something better than THAT is coming my way? Fantastic!" And it almost always does.

I can't swear to you that everything I miss out on is always replaced by something better but if my personal past is any indication of my future, a really large percentage of the time that will be the case. I don't see a point in feeling bad 100% of the time when such a small number turn out to be truly unfortunate events. This has been my personal experience - your life may be different but have you ever really evaluated it. I can always feel bad about those few times later if I "need to".

Give this method a try. Start asking yourself: "If this is actually the right/better way for things to go for me then why/how could that be or what would that mean?" See what answers you get. Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Redefining Success

How do you measure or define success? 

I measure it in units of freedom. 

Freedom to do what I want, when I want, with the people I want? 

I consider myself highly successful because I have greatly gained in freedom over the past few years. 

Not in money, not yet. I admit that hasn’t been as abundant as I’d have liked but my life is becoming more and more something that is fun, interesting, stimulating and exciting.

Generating extra money is taking a bit more time but it, too, is coming. When you are making a new trail that you have not gone down before, it may take a while to figure out which direction you want to go and to cut down the trees blocking your way.

Certainly, money can have an effect on our freedom (below certain levels, choices can be extremely limited) but for most of us in western cultures, money is not the issue we believe it to be. Understand that I am not independently wealthy. I am simply able to live the way I enjoy with a salary that is on the lowest end of the lower middle class income scale.

I've made many choices in my life that others might not have made and the quality of my life has gone up, by MY standards and my measurements. Mainstream society might not agree with me.

My unusual choices:
  • I have never wanted nor had any children
  • I have an old car
  • I live in a very small apartment
  • I do not have a romantic partner at the moment
  • I work only 3 days a week at a "normal" job
  • I do not have a TV, I have a computer with internet
  • I do not have cable or Netflix
  • I do not have a landline, I have a cell phone

My unusual results:
  • I work two days a week at a job I adore
  • I volunteer two hours a week at a holistic cancer wellness centre
  • I occasionally give evening or weekend classes on subjects that I'm passionate about
  • I can have breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea with friends, colleagues and family members pretty much when I want
  • My colleagues in my beloved work are also often my good friends
  • I'm mostly on the road at non-traffic times
  • I get massages in the middle of the day in the middle of the week
  • To create long weekends, I can switch around my days off when I need to
  • Four out of seven days a week, I can pretty much go to bed and get up at any time I choose
  • I attend conferences, talks and trainings that interest me a few times a year, both near home and further afield

These choices may seem unappealing to some of you and impractical for others. I only illustrate my life and my interpretation of success as freedom so that you understand that we can deviate from the TV stereotype of a "good life" and we can be happy, satisfied and live wonderful lives anyway. Probably, in many cases, BETTER lives.

We can question cultural norms about the expected size of our home, the quality of our car, what is "acceptable" work and what is not. We can question these social ideals and decide that we don't share them and that we don't need to do things the way everyone else does. In doing this, we can choose differently and create lives for ourselves that WE prefer, that make us more happy than the big house, fancy car or high paying job ever could.

I've never had a family who tried to make me conform so it has been easier for me to be different and choose differently. I encourage you to begin to consider what your own idea of success might be if not for these social pressures.

If you decide that just maybe you would like to be successful in another way, start small. Make little changes at first, if you need to, but figure out what you want more of and what you want less of in your life and multiply the more and subtract from the less.

One tiny change at a time, we can carve out lives that are fulfilling for us and model that freedom of choice for our children and all those around us. If we value joy and satisfaction above money and perceived prestige, we can change our personal worlds to ones that we appreciate more.

For a fulfilling life, please consider all your options, not just the typical ones.

Monday, 27 July 2015

What does Spirit think of suicide?

A woman on one of the FB groups I frequent had a question regarding legalized, end-of-life, assisted suicide. She wanted to know what we thought the "heavens" think of all that as so many religions disapprove of and even condemn suicide. She was asking the psychics in the group specifically what they thought but that didn't stop the rest of us all from having and giving our opinions. :)

This is my take on it (for the moment, my beliefs and my spirituality are ever changing): 
Many who have had Near-Death Experiences (NDEs), ex. Anita Moorjani, Eben Alexander, etc. say that there is absolutely no judgement on the other side of the veil, only complete acceptance and unconditional love unlike anything we can even imagine here on Earth. 

All judgment seems to happen here, in human minds. I'm not psychic nor have I had an NDE, however, it seems to me that religious beliefs are mostly human interpretation of divine messages received by other humans. And most religious doctrines come from documents written by other humans.

Even if the messages and documents are channeled, as I'm sure they are, they've come through a human vessel. That person who received the message and/or wrote the document lived in a certain body (male or female), at a certain time in history and came from a certain culture. All of those elements colour the message that they received. Like air moving through different organ pipes make different sounds yet the air creates ALL of those sounds so none can be said to be the "correct" one that represents the air. Air is so much more than just the different sounds it can make through even a multi-piped organ.

I guess I don't believe human brains can ever capture the entire story that just "is". All that means to me is that our holy words and religious scriptures are not God's word. They are only a representation of that word because God/the Universe/Source/The Light/whatever you like to call it... IS the word and cannot ever be represented in its entirety in any Earthly form.

Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and words are not enough to express that being. And if there is any judgment in our version of Spirit (toward suicide, toward someone who has a particular sexual orientation, etc. ad infinitum) then I think it is the vessel through which the air is passing that is to "blame" for that judgment and not the air itself. Air just is.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Make no mistake about it, you have been hypnotized!

If you hypnotize someone into believing that they are a chicken in a barnyard, what happens? We’ve all seen enough stage hypnosis shows to know that what happens is the hypnotist will get the person to start clucking like a chicken.

Cluck like a chicken
Well, here’s the thing… your beliefs about yourself, about life, about the world… have hypnotized you. Whatever or whoever you believe you are is who you will be. Your behaviours and actions, or lack of behaviours and actions, only ever come from your beliefs. Unless you make a conscious effort (and it is a very big effort of willpower that you will need), you will never take an action that falls outside of what you believe to be possible.

If you believe you are a chicken, you will cluck like a chicken. If you believe you are a loser, you will act like a loser and get a loser's results - reinforcing that belief. If you believe women or poor people can’t do X, Y or Z and you identify with being a “woman” or a “poor person” then you won’t be able to do X, Y or Z… but you are only hypnotized.

Maybe it’s your family who unwittingly or intentionally hypnotized you. Perhaps your culture or your teachers repeated the same things to you over and over until you believed them as well. In some cases, it was just one very emotional and negatively interpreted experience that made you take on a particular belief. 

All of this is only hypnosis and a hypnotic trance can be broken. Waking up from the trance means opening doors to other possibilities, opening doors to a new life and a new you.

Hypnosis happens in a number of ways but the two most common are repetition (all forms of advertising use this tactic) and emotional impact.

Repetition as hypnosis

If you hear the same string of words or see the same happenings over and over again, it sinks into your subconscious. Your mind, being a meaning-making-machine, attempts to make sense of it and that "sense", which is quite often nonsense, becomes something that you believe. X begins to = Y.

High levels of emotion induce trance

Any experiences we have while we are feeling highly emotional (fear, joy, anger, love, shame, etc.)  become embedded in our subconscious minds. That is why it's often easy for us to call them to memory. Again, our minds are always trying to comprehend what is happening. Whatever our interpretation of this situation is, it becomes our belief.

"The Truth"

What we believe is NOT “the truth”. This is very hard for us to grasp and understand because what we believe FEELS true to us. “The truth” is that what is true for you may be completely false for someone else in the exact same situation as you.

An example: Imagine you have to give up your home and most of your possessions. You own only a backpack worth of "stuff" and must go live with friends. To some, this would be their worst nightmare ever and yet there is another interpretation. I know of a person who has this happening to her yet she is feeling great. She feels free and unfettered. This is one of the best times of her life. She is not interpreting this situation to mean she has no worth, she is not interpreting it to mean that she is going to starve in the future, she is not interpreting that she’s a burden to her friends… she is enjoying her time feeling free, happy and light.

Here’s another thing that it’s hard for us to hear and believe: it’s NOT the situation, it is the interpretation of the situation, it’s the judgment we put on the situation. Our beliefs and judgments can be changed so that we can view “bad” situations differently, find peace with them and enjoy life more fully… no matter the situation.

So, coming back to beliefs and hypnotism: If we can become aware of our beliefs, we have a better chance of de-hypnotizing ourselves. We can also ask for help in finding our beliefs and reinterpreting our situations. There are many techniques that allow us to explore and release these beliefs and the pain they cause us: my favourites are EFT, The Work of Byron Katie and PSTec, among many other options.

Don’t allow life and other people to keep you stuck in your hypnotized state. It may have taken many years of childhood or one very emotional experience to hypnotize you but the state can be broken in an instant.

When you notice that you don’t like how you feel, ask yourself “What am I believing about this person/this situation, that makes me feel sad/angry/ashamed/afraid”? Pick up a healing tool or technique – maybe all you need to do is take some deep breaths – and de-hypnotize yourself or ask for help to do it. Know that it can be done.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Gratitude for Books, Reading and Google

I've been wanting to start a blog for a long time. Every once in a while, I will be riding home in my car, thinking about something I've read or heard recently and I'll start a discussion with no one in my head. Seems like a bit of a waste to have it stop there. So I think I'll start this out as a gratitude journal entry.

The first thing to mention is that I'm grateful to Google for making it so easy for me to get this underway.

Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, MD
The next thing that comes to mind is that I have had the privilege to read some absolutely amazing books over the last year or so related to healing; trauma's effects on health, what causes illness, how emotions play into disease, how we can heal ourselves. I'm just so happy and full of gratitude today that those books exist and that they have found their way to me. I'm looking forward to sharing some of them with you.

These are just a few to pique your curiosity:

I'm also really grateful that I know how to read. I don't even give it a second thought most of the time but I can't imagine what my life would have been like, would BE like if I couldn't read. I consider myself one of the truly lucky ones for that gift.

My mother was key in sparking and supporting my interest in books and my first grade teacher at Marie V. Duffy in Wharton, NJ was the one who taught me how to do it. I remember I couldn't stop reading billboards once I was able to figure out what they meant. So today I'm sending out gratitude to both my mother and Mrs. I-can't-remember-her-name as well.

I like to make a list of about 3 to 5 things when I do a gratitude journal entry, not too many that it will take too much time -if it takes more than 5 minutes, I probably won't do it at all- and not too few that I won't have to sit and think about my day for a little while.

What's in your gratitude journal entry today?