Thank you around the world

One of the things I love most about WordPress is that it shows me where my readers are from. In all, 80 countries are represented. It’s very cool to know I have people reading my blog from: US, Canada, UK, Australia, India, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Pakistan, France, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Sweden, Japan, Romania, UAE, Austria, SaudiArabia, Ireland, Russian Federation, Egypt, Malaysia, Israel, Thailand, Denmark, Ukraine, Belgium, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary, Brazil, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovakia, Peru, Chile, Croatia, Jamaica, Kuwait, Morocco, Finland, Kenya, Cyprus, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Lebanon, Georgia, Lithuania, Serbia, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, Uganda, Poland, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Cameroon, Taiwan, Senegal, Argentina, Algeria, Estonia, Columbia, Viet Nam, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Moldova.


Thank you for taking the time to visit the blog and our Facebook community. I truly appreciate it!

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Easing into the spacious present

The spacious present is always only a thought away.

The spacious present is always only a thought away.

Daily living has a way of closing in on the human spirit. Work, chores, headlines, traffic—they all conspire to steal a precious commodity that belongs to each and every one of us. And while it’s easy to let the toils of day-to-day existence chip away at it, the spacious present can be brought back into existence with a mere change of thought.

The idea and the value of the “present” has been talked about in spiritual, religious and self-help books for many years. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now is dedicated to the study of using the present moment as a springboard for understanding our very existence. But even after I read Tolle’s book (which is excellent, by the way), I was still left wondering, “what’s the big deal?”

It would take several years and many authors later for the idea to take root. I was reading a passage from Seth/Jane Robert’s The Early Sessions when Seth added the word “spacious” to “present” when I felt an immediate sense of understanding. Suddenly, I saw what all the fuss was about.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that easy for me to get the concept but it did start to gel in my mind. Perhaps it was this one tiny bit of information that really started to get the ball rolling: all of creation happens in the present moment. All of it. I had to let that sink in before I could really do anything with the concept. I tried to deny it and I tried to reason it away, but it just sat there, taunting me to think about it, study it, perceive it and then live it. Everything is happening now.

The only source of perception happens in the present moment. Think about it: you can’t think ahead to the future or think back to the past (really, you don’t). You use your consciousness in the present moment to do either of those tasks. Let that sink in for a moment. You use the present moment to experience your now, to imagine your future or think about your past. While you can mentally examine any “time” you’d like, you must do so with your feet planted firmly in the present moment. There is no other way.

What makes the ‘present’ so important?

The present moment is the stage where you produce your life. The actors you choose, the scenery you imagine, the actions you create, all happens right there, or rather, right “here.” The present moment is where you consciously, or often unconsciously, set the stage for what you will experience in your next moment, your next “now.” An understanding of that concept is important if you want to use conscious creation to your advantage.

Understanding that all of creation happens in this very moment underscores the need to be conscious of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and imaginations…now. If you worry about the future, you do so from the present moment. If you opine about your past, you do so from the now. So either of those actions take on new significance when you realize you have a choice about how you think about them this very second.

What does “spacious” have to do with it?

When I first read Seth use the term “spacious present,” it brought the present moment alive for me. “Now” truly is wide open, vast and almost incomprehensible. Think for a moment about an astronaut looking down on Earth and freezing one moment of time. She would see over six billion people all “being” and “doing” and “living.” She would see rivers racing, oceans churning and mountains reaching for the sky. Billions upon billions of insects would be flying and crawling on Earth while uncountable animal life would be completing the circle.

Sounds pretty big, doesn’t it?

For me, getting a grasp on “spacious” in relation to the present moment is important because it helps to see and feel the enormity of what I experience. It also allows me to feel how much room I have to consciously direct my thoughts into what will be my next experienced moment.

Any attempt to sense the present moment brings me right back into it. That is, when I try to consciously perceive the present moment, it actually brings me right into real time—a moment where clock time doesn’t exist. When I add the layer of spaciousness to the present moment, it relaxes me and makes me feel energized at the same time.

Reality Challenge™

Attempting to sense the spacious present is an excellent way to ease into an awareness of yourself, your thoughts and your subjective mood. It stops the world for a moment, giving your mind a chance to catch its breath and luxuriate in the state of being.

Throughout the day, see if you can take a moment here and there to sense the spacious present. There are many ways to become aware of the present moment. Here are two of my favorites:

  • Close your eyes and place your awareness on your breath. Breathe consciously and slowly in and out a few times then let your awareness flow to your body. Feel your legs on the chair or your feet on the ground. Loosen any tight muscles. Then allow your awareness to flow past yourself, into the world. Open your eyes: what do you see? Allow your eyes to move easily and slowly in your range of sight. Notice shapes, objects and colors. Listen carefully to what’s around you: birds chirping, cars passing, people talking. Listen for silence between sounds.
  • You can also simply pause and allow your mind and body to sense the openness that surrounds you. This is a hard one to explain, but you’re trying to “feel” your way into the spacious present. Ease into it and let it envelope you. It almost feels like you’re allowing your body to vaporize and become part of the landscape. How far can your perception of the world take you?

While you’re sensing the spacious present

Once you’ve allowed your consciousness to slow down a bit and rest comfortably in the present moment, you can use that time to consciously create. Being truly present stops your thoughts long enough for you to become aware of them. Think to yourself: what do I want to happen next? How do I want to feel? What do I want to experience?

You don’t necessarily need to have a plan mapped out for yourself, but you can place positive and constructive thoughts and emotions in your spacious present that will meld with the universe to become manifest later on. For example, you can set your intention to feel calm and centered in the spacious present. Sitting (figuratively) with this feeling for even a moment will frame your spacious present and help you achieve that goal in the future.

You needn’t worry about trying to catch the spacious present constantly throughout the day. What you’re aiming for here is a periodic reminder of your present and using it as a springboard for intentional creation.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you create with your conscious (or unconscious) “mixture”?

Your conscious creation "mix" determines the world you experience.

Your conscious creation “mix” determines the world you experience.

Appreciation is a hard feeling to find when you’re freezing. And as my friend and I started out on a walk with the dogs in 12 degree weather, I wasn’t expecting to feel appreciation for anything until I returned to the comfort of my warm home.

It had been a few days since the snow fell and although it was sunny out, the freezing temperatures ensured that the snow and ice stayed on the ground. Carefully navigating icy streets with two big dogs was a challenge and left us little time to look around at the natural beauty of a cold Colorado winter morning. But as my dog, Bloo, stopped to do his business, my eye was drawn to the sewer grate several feet away. There, amid the dirty, icy asphalt was a beautiful arrangement of ice and snow. The combination of wind, sun, temperature and the construction of the grate had turned our winter snow into a beautiful display of crystal wonderment.

Suddenly I had more of an appreciation for our walk. I snapped a picture of the scene and we continued our trek.

It seemed like such a little thing at the time but the beauty of the ice and snow on that metal grate got me thinking about how we create our own personal universes. I write a lot about how we combine thoughts, emotions, beliefs and imaginations into our personal worlds and here was a perfect example of that process, albeit couched in nature.

The elements of creation–our intimate thoughts, beliefs and emotions–are akin to water. On its own, water is a fantastic substance. It’s life giving and life supporting and can easily transform from liquid to snow to ice to vapor and back again in endless cycles. Water, combined with wind, temperature, shape and surface can easily transform into many things, good and “bad,” from the water we drink to the power behind a destructive tsunami. The combination of elements transforms water into different uses as does our own thoughts and emotions.

All too often, we get stuck on particular thoughts. Ditto for emotions. Whether we’re trying to manifest something concrete, like a new job, or simply enhance our own personal experience, we often get caught up in one particular thought or emotion we’re trying to change. What we must realize (myself included) is how important the overall mix and consistency of our thoughts is to the creation process.

The process of conscious creation means using all of the elements at our disposal in a manner that fits our overall goals and expectations. To do that, we must become conscious of our thoughts, aware of our emotions and purposeful with our imaginations and combine them in a directive manner. When we do this (and we must do it consistently), we set the stage for beautiful things to appear in our lives.

My walk with the dog is a condensed, but good example. After just a few yards from the house, I began to bitch about the cold weather. Then came the complaints about the ice. From there, with my thoughts and words unchecked, I convinced myself it was never going to get warm again and I’d forever be frozen in this moment (frozen in time, if you’ll excuse the pun). That thinking quickly created a mood which was anything but productive or fun. Soon I was complaining about many other aspects of my life–my job, friends, the list went on and on.

Once I finally caught myself in the act, meaning once I finally became conscious of my thoughts and imaginations (and recognizing the role they played in my mood), I was able to do something about it. It took seeing that beautiful sewer grate (have you ever heard those words together before?) to wake me up and realize I needed to work on my conscious creation “mix.” I could instantly recognize I was creating negativity in my “now” moment and projecting it into the future. So, I set out to purposely look at my reality in a different way: The sun was out, that’s a good thing. The forecast called for higher temperatures in a day or two, I could hold out till then. If I continued my line of thinking/imagining, I would be miserable for the foreseeable future.

Applying these concepts on a larger scale, from specific goals to overall emotional wellbeing, can be a little more difficult. Still, starting the process is important. Will you succeed each and every time? Probably not. What we’re aiming here for is an overall re-orientation to our thought/emotional/imagination mix, adjusting it where necessary and sometimes scrubbing the whole thing and starting over.

However you begin to adjust your mix is up to you. For me, it began by noticing the beauty of a sewer grate and becoming appreciative of a cold Colorado day.

What’s your dummy light telling you?

It’s amazing how a little red light can throw you into a panic. Have you ever driven down the highway and had one of the “dummy” lights come on in your car? You know the kind: the little warning lights that tell you that you’re running out of gas…or oil…or air pressure in a tire. When you see one of those lights, you know you need to check something at the next stop.

Indicator lights—or “dummy” lights—are designed to give warning that something isn’t working correctly with your car. They are there to keep you from having to preform a check of your car every time you get in. In short, they alert you to problems, hopefully, before they become too serious.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we had those same kinds of dummy lights for our own lives? We do, we simply don’t recognize them as such.

In conscious creation terms, you create your own reality. Everything you see around you in your life, everything you experience in your life, is a reflection of the thoughts, beliefs and expectations you hold. So when something isn’t going exactly the way you would like, think of it is a dummy light illuminating itself in the dashboard of your mind.

For me this week, my dummy light came in the form of a head cold. I felt the sniffles coming on a few days ago and tried my best to “think my way” to a more healthy body. I tried to put the thought of sickness out of my mind and trudge on with everyday life. But ignoring dummy lights only makes them illuminate brighter and brighter until finally, you are forced to pull over and take stock of what’s happening.

Sickness of any kind—colds, flu, cancer, disease—are often dummy lights in disguise. They turn on when we have contradictory thoughts; they turn on when we haven’t addressed certain beliefs or when we’ve tried to ignore other warning signs. But those dummy lights go way beyond health issues.

Almost anything that isn’t working life can be a dummy light. Are you constantly worried about money and lack of abundance?  That’s a dummy light. Is the relationship with your spouse or friends causing you frustration, anger or sadness? Again, that little red light is getting brighter and brighter right before your eyes.

The problem we have with dummy lights is that we often take them as reflections of “reality” rather than beliefs about reality. This is a subtle difference but it’s an important one when trying to create your best life possible. When you realize your thoughts about realty are just that, you have the power to change them and move in a more positive direction.

Learning to understand your own dummy lights can be a hard process to tackle. It’s easy to see that our inner selves are trying to get our attention on particular issues but we may be too blind to understand what the indicator lights actually mean.

Let me give you another example. When I left my last corporate job, I was becoming more and more miserable. It was a slow process to see the cumulative effects of my thoughts around work and so I started to develop a regularly occurring series of dummy lights. The first started with a sore throat. For months, I would start to get a sore throat and immediately spot the problem. I would go to the doctor, discover it was strep throat and have to miss several days if not a full week of work. In this case, my doctor acted as a mechanic, diagnosing the symptom and offering a quick way to alleviate the problem. Back to work I’d go.

Although the doctor was resetting my dummy light, the underlying cause of the problem was still not being addressed or healed. The doctor was simply hitting the reset button that controlled the light and sent me forward thinking the problem was solved.

A few months later, I was in an annual performance review with my boss when right in the meeting, my dummy light illuminated, again in the form of a sore throat and trouble swallowing. I had seen this light before and knew exactly what it meant: it was the one telling me I had a bout of strep throat coming my way. Like most indicators, the dummy light got my attention loud and clear (with a little panic thrown in). That meeting was a turning point for me. Within an hour, I stopped listening to the ranting and raving of my boss and realized that I alone was causing my reality—sickness and all.

It was time to stop into the nearest service station, otherwise known as my home, and begin to take stock of what the dummy light was telling me. Over the course of the next week as I nursed myself back to health, stopping to investigate what the sickness (dummy light) was trying to tell me. Two truths emerged from that week. First, I was creating this health challenge myself, it was not being forced upon me by some outside agency. Second, since I developed the symptoms on my own, I had the ability to change them on my own. I wanted to feel better and so I reluctantly realized it was time to take matters into my own hands.

It was no secret to anyone involved. I had become increasingly unhappy with my job. I was constantly fighting with my boss and coworkers and was trying to blame external circumstances for my unhappiness. Because I had been blaming others and life for my unhappiness, I felt powerless to change. But this final warning light got my attention loud and clear and I realized it was up to me to make changes that would feel good to my spirit and myself.

It’s not only health issues that serve as giant warning lights; there are many, many other ways your inner self attempts to communicate with your conscious mind (and ego). Dummy lights can indicate to us our thoughts about money, careers relationships, women and men, ease-of-life, pets and other things. The more the light affects us with panic and wonder, the more serious the problem the inner self wants you to address. Again, warning lights are simply an indicator that something isn’t working or is about to go haywire, so it’s best to take time to investigate the light.

Some warning lights are easy to understand. When you find yourself cranky and irritable around 11:30 in the morning, your dummy light may be simply telling you to stop and have lunch. A bad cold every time you try to arrange a vacation with your friends may indicate you don’t really want to go on the trip or have relationships issues with your friends. The list goes on and on.

But as a warning light gets more serious and shines brighter into your consciousness, it’s going to take some investigative work to understand it better. Here are some quick ways to start the investigative process:

  1. Acknowledge that the warning light (or unpleasant situation) is trying to get your attention. Realize that, accept it, and make the commitment to find out what it is.
  2. Realize that the dummy light is trying to help move you in the proper direction. This is the universe’s way of saying, “ I see you’re off course, here’s a way to help.”
  3. If nothing sticks out at you about why the warning light is on, tell yourself this, “I realize that my inner self is trying to get my attention. Whatever I need to know will float to the top of my conscious thoughts so that I can deal with them on a different level.
  4. Continue to tell yourself, whatever the problem (health or otherwise), “I can release the need for the manifestation of this challenge while I work on it at a another level. So for a health challenge, remind yourself that the body can release the physical symptoms while you intellectually deal with your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about the challenge.

Will you always realize what your dummy light is telling you? Maybe not, but bringing conscious awareness to the process is the first step in taking responsibility for your life and helping it move forward in a positive way.

For me this week, I’ve had no clear idea of why I’ve developed a head cold, so I’m relying on a regular affirmation of “my body can release the physical symptoms while I understand what thoughts and beliefs are causing this physical distress.” So far that suggestion seems to be keeping the cold from getting worse. I’m learning to relax and become aware of my discordant thoughts when they do finally work their way to the top of my consciousness.

Stick with it and realize that it will take time to learn a new way of looking at challenges in your life. Similarly, think about the good things that happen in your life as a green dummy light telling you that you’re on the right track. Smile to yourself when you realize this and keep heading in the current direction. Those thoughts/beliefs/emotions that are working for you need no other acknowledgement except a “thank you” to the universe for helping you become aware of them.

 

 

 

 

 

What are you resolving?

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Quitting smoking? That lasted a day. Exercising more? I made it a week. Resolving to cook at home more? I went out to dinner on Jan. 1.

Most people don’t even think about resolutions until Dec. 31. Suddenly, the urge to change your life becomes more real as the clock ticks toward midnight and you find yourself scrambling to make life-altering decisions on the fly. It’s no wonder we poke fun at resolutions and the people who let them slide just a few days later.

The desire to change your life is constant, whether you admit to it or not. You’re always looking for ways to make your life more pleasant and your experience more fulfilling. But New Year’s resolutions that focus solely on measureable outcomes—like exercising more and spending less—are oftentimes counter productive to living a better life.

The solution lies in a more subtle approach to self-care. This year, consider making some broad-based resolutions that direct your life rather than constrain it.

Resolve to be more gentle with yourself

At first blush, this sounds a lot like something you’d read in a typical self-help book. I know I’ve been one to roll my eyes at a suggestion such as this. However, the point is valid: we’re often too tough on ourselves. How often do you find yourself berating yourself for something you view as a “mistake” or getting angry with yourself for a decision you’ve made?

When you talk to yourself, think about what you’d like to hear from a trusted friend or family member. Would they yell at you or put you down? Hopefully not. Apply the same approach to yourself. Being gentle means reducing the amount of guilt or anger you direct at yourself. It means laughing at yourself more and realizing that you are in a constant state of learning.

You are always doing the best you can at any given point in time so stop getting angry if you don’t measure up to your goals. Most goals are simply ideals–desired outcomes. Being gentle with yourself allows you the freedom to reach those ideals in different and unexpected ways.

Resolve to love yourself more

Learning to love yourself is one of the most important lessons you will ever undertake yet many view it in a narcissistic light. Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s necessary for spiritual growth and prosperity. Loving yourself takes many forms, from caring for your body to making time for yourself. But the place to start is much more basic: declaring your love for yourself to yourself every day.

If you’re not in the practice of saying, “I love you” to yourself, this will sound and feel odd at first. That’s why it’s important to start small and build a solid foundation. When you stand in the mirror in the morning, simply say to yourself (out loud or with your thoughts), “I love you.” It’s that simple. As you go through your day, make a conscious decision to say, “I love myself,” as many times as you remember to do so. In the beginning, you’ll have to remind yourself to do this. As you keep at it, it will become more natural and you’ll start to actually feel love with the positive affirmation.

If you’re rolling your eyes at this resolution, you’re in need of more self-love. Keep at it every day.

Resolve to follow your impulses

Most people distrust their impulses. They’re often viewed as coming from an unsavory part of the subconscious. However, impulses are messages from the inner self that help guide us toward our best fulfillment. We’ve simply schooled ourselves into believing something bad will happen if we let go and follow those urges to action. (You can read more about impulses here).

Rather than making a full-scale resolution to follow every impulse that comes your way, again, start small. If the impulse to do something shoves its way into your conscious thoughts, stop and recognize it. Follow the thought: what would happen if you let yourself go with the impulse? Pausing and imagining the outcome of that impulse will help train your mind into seeing the benefit of it. Too often we simply block the impulse and discard it.

If you are able to do so, follow an impulse every day. It could be as simple as getting up from your desk to take a quick walk or writing an email to a friend if the thought arises. When an impulse seems to come out of nowhere, pay special attention. Your inner self is trying to get your attention. Honor yourself by seeing where the impulse will take you.

Resolve to follow your joy

Why is following your joy so difficult? Because we believe that it is. Following your joy doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and becoming a beachcomber. It doesn’t mean making huge life changes at every turn. It does mean making small, positive steps toward doing what you enjoy.

Start taking note of the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Then, make a promise to yourself to do more of those things each day. Spending just a few minutes per day indulging in your joy will bring you more satisfaction than you can ever imagine. Give yourself the permission to do so.

New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be constrictive. Frame 2013 with some basic tenants toward living that will enhance your joy and allow you to Honor Your Spirit. Best wishes for a great year ahead!

Christopher