Hate change? Look for the beauty anyway

changeneverstops

The change happened so fast I barely had time to notice. One week I was taking refuge in the air conditioning to escape the 99-degree weather. The next, I was walking through snow in the high country.

Weather changes quickly (and frequently) in Colorado, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But as I hiked in the mountains this past weekend, it hit me: fall had officially arrived. I’m a summer kind of guy, so this realization didn’t exactly thrill me.

Many people love fall, but not me. It signifies the onslaught of shorter days, cooler temperatures and less vacation. Fall and winter usually depress me, so the change in seasons felt heavy and restrictive. On top of it all, I knew there was nothing I could do about it.

Change is constant; we know that. Nothing ever stays the same. Ever. So if change is constant in the universe, why do we resist it?

I pondered this question on my hike, feeling my mood darken like the clouds above me. My thoughts became obsessed with all the things I wanted to get done before the end of summer and the list grew longer with each step.

In a trance, I walked up the hillside above the house, not noticing the constantly changing weather. There were periods of sunshine, rain, and some light snow. I didn’t notice the green grass or yellow wildflowers still in bloom. Change was happening all around me yet I was focused solely on one thing: nature was forcing me into something I didn’t want.

Realizing what I was doing, or more appropriately realizing what I was thinking, I searched for something—anything—that would make me feel better. I surveyed the landscape for something soothing and I found it just a few feet away.

Despite being a summer kinda guy, there is one thing I love about fall: the changing leaves. There are some pretty spectacular places on this earth to watch fall foliage changes but fall in the Colorado high country is an experience that stays with you your entire life.

During a “good” season, the Colorado Rockies gradually transform from a sea of green to a kaleidoscope of rich oranges, browns and yellows. Unlike the flora of the east coast, our colorful change comes from the Aspen tree, one of the most prevalent trees in the high country. While the colors vary in intensity year to year, it’s always fun to see what kind of “natural painting” you can catch with your eyes and camera.

Aspens usually transform from green, to orange to yellow before starting their winter hibernation. On occasion, you’ll find pockets of red and brown leaves and those are my favorite. Amid hunters searching for Elk and Deer, I set out on foot in search of ruby red leaves to photograph.

Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of photographs of red Aspen leaves and I never tire of seeing them. So on this particularly gloomy day when I found myself getting depressed over the changing seasons, I was delighted when one small four-foot Aspen caught my eye.

Standing apart from its white bark were branches filled with small leaves of browns, deep reds and a few hints of green thrown in for good measure. The Aspens are referred to locally as Quaking Aspen because in a gentle breeze, their leaves shimmer and shake in the wind, almost like the tree is quaking in its roots. The red leaves seemed to be waiving at me.

As I stopped to take as many close-up photos as I could, one particular leaf stood out. It was caught somewhere between death and life and was divided equally between green and red. It was in the midst of full-blown change brought about by the changing seasons.

The discovery lifted my spirits. Although the leaves in my neck of the woods (excuse the expression) are just now starting to turn, the discovery piqued my interest and caused me to become hypersensitive to any other exotic leaf I could find. And low-and-behold, I found many more interesting photographic subjects on my way back to the house.

The entire experience felt metaphoric. Amidst all of this change: the changing seasons, changing temperatures, and even the change in clothing required to go for a walk, I found something that lifted my spirits ever so slightly. It lessened my depression over winter’s approach and helped me realize that the best thing to do with change is to look for any beautiful aspect you can find.

The Law of Constant Change is designed to help us evolve and grow. Change drives the universe, providing fresh experiences and insights that point us toward our greatest development. Knowing that doesn’t always help us feel better about change so at times it takes a purposeful shift in perspective to understand and accept what change brings.

It helps to look for the beautiful things in change.

Personally, looking for beautiful leaves helped ease the transition into fall and winter. A friend recently diagnosed with cancer told me she’s focused on recognizing every positive thing said to her—about anything. Another friend found beauty in change after discovering a new love for painting. A coworker recognized the beauty of the sunrise when faced with a shift change. 

When you’re faced with change, make a conscious effort to look for something beautiful in it. The conscious search alone will help shift your attention away from the change itself and reframe the experience into something more soothing. It’s another way to Honor Your Spirit by allowing change and appreciating it at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

That’s just one probable version of reality

It took a swamp cooler to remind me that I make my own reality.

For those unfamiliar with this marvelous invention, a swamp cooler—or more properly an evaporative cooler—is basically a giant fan that cools air through the evaporation of water. Whereas air conditioners remove moisture from the air, an evaporative cooler adds humidity, a wonderful addition to the dry air here in Colorado. It sounds odd but it strangely works in our climate.

When I came home from work this afternoon, the house was very warm. With a 97-degree temperature outside, the inside temperature wasn’t much better at 85. The weather forecasters informed us that we hit a record high temperature for the day and I could feel it.

I’ve been having some troubles with my swamp cooler and I knew I had to go up onto the roof and hose down the pads to get more water in the system. It’s not an ideal solution but with just a few weeks of summer left, I’ve made due with this adjustment.

After changing clothes and climbing up on the roof, I liberally doused the cooler with fresh, cool water. As I’ve been doing for the last week or so, I climbed back down the ladder and went inside to crank the fan to high speed to help cool the house.

Silence.

The damn fan had stopped working. Discouragement set in quickly as did a barrage of negative thoughts: Great, the swamp cooler quits on the hottest day of the year. It’s going to be 90 in the house in no time. The poor dog must be miserable inside. The belt on the fan must have snapped—where am I going to find one?

The upside of the situation: I automatically kicked into “thought observation” mode. I suddenly became aware of what I was thinking and feeling and it wasn’t serving me well. I recognized how my thoughts were projecting a negative situation into the future (it will be 90 in no time) and I wasn’t giving myself room to think…or breathe.

Since I’ve been working with the exercises given by Lynda Madden Dahl in her book Living a Safe Universe Vol. 2, I’ve become quick on my feet when it comes to my thoughts. Through the years I’ve done lots of self-development work with my thoughts: cataloging them, examining them, arranging them, and attempting to direct them. Some of these exercises have worked and sometimes I fall flat on my face.

In her Living a Safe Universe books, Lynda helps us understand the mechanics of conscious creation; that is, she explains how our thoughts actually shape our individual realities and in Vol. 2, she helps us work with our thoughts to actively change our reality in conscious directions. She’s been able to tie together for me some loose strings hanging about my head when it comes to my thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

I decided to go outside and stand in the middle of my back yard. I intuitively knew that I had to work on what Lynda calls “commanding our moment point,” when you knowingly and purposely engage your thinking in a different way than you’re normally familiar. In this new approach, you don’t focus on what “is” if you aren’t pleased with what “is” as I wasn’t at that moment.

Instead, you gently turn your thoughts in the direction of the desired outcome, knowing that in that special moment in time, you’re planting a powerful seed of intention. You’re setting the stage for the next “moment point” when the fruits of that seed may manifest. You agree to set aside normal cause-and-effect thinking and just for a moment, accept that your new intention will come to pass, not focusing on all the things that could interfere with the manifestation.

That’s just one probable version of reality.

The thought popped into my head as the sun beat down on my brow. As I stood there, aware of my negative thoughts and wondering what to do with them, this new thought intruded forcefully into my awareness. That’s just one probable version of reality. There it was again and I took notice. Instead of thinking what to do next or even what to think next, I cleared my moment point.

I felt the sun on my face and the grass under my feet. Closing my eyes, I imagined what my negative thoughts about the swamp cooler would look like as a clump of dirt and then playfully imagined a giant broom sweeping the debris out of my inner field of vision. The imagery calmed me down and opened up some space in my mind. Once again, the thought returned: That’s just one probable version of reality.

The intrusive statement felt comforting to me. It reminded me that nothing in my life is set in stone and that I have choices about what I think, how I feel and what I can experience. I decided then and there that even if the swamp cooler didn’t work, I’d be okay. I felt soothed by the experience and headed inside.

Out of habit, as soon as I was inside the house, I reached for the dial on the swamp cooler. I had turned it off when I realized the fan wasn’t working. I clicked the dial to “high cool” without thinking about it and walked into the kitchen before I realized the fan was now indeed blowing forcefully and delivering cool air to the house.

Skeptical friends would give me “rational” ideas on why the fan was now working. You probably just got the fan wet and it shorted out. There’s a loose wire in there somewhere and it wiggled back in place. Those ideas don’t matter to me, for I know in my heart that the magical approach to living works.

I had cleared my moment point, resetting my automatic and often negative mindset to zero and allowed my mind to focus on options. I didn’t even necessarily have to think about what I wanted to happen, like the fan magically working again. I simply needed a reminder that the next moment point becomes impregnated with thoughts from the current moment point. That’s just one probable version of reality.

What probable version of reality do I want to experience instead? That’s the next logical thought to the original statement and yet I didn’t even need to think that far in advance. Only the acquiescence to the idea of probable events and my role in creating them was what I needed to get the swamp cooler running once more.

For now, I’m happily writing this post in my much cooler house and occasionally glance up and say a silent “thank you” to the swamp cooler. I also thank my inner self for giving me a mantra I can use when confronted with other unwanted events in my life: That’s just one probable version of reality.

Thoughts on the wind

thoughtseedsYour thoughts are powerful little seeds.

Spiritually speaking, they pack quite a punch, for your thoughts are made up of the energy of the universe. That energy creates your body, the Earth and all of your daily interactions.

Each of your thoughts—from the tiniest to the most grand—has the ability to manifest in countless ways. With practice and patience, you can help steer your thoughts in positive, purposeful directions and in those circumstances, you may be pleased with the results.

But other times, you simply let your thoughts leave your awareness without giving them (excuse the expression) a second thought. Where do those thoughts go? Do they disappear into the ether? Do they land somewhere unintended and germinate?

When it comes to all those thoughts in your head, it’s important to remember that you have a powerful team working on your behalf. The universe itself, in coordination with your inner self, helps steer those thoughts to the places they can do the most good. Thoughts want to manifest; they want to express themselves and evolve and grow.

Like seeds, thoughts have the ability to take root in the right soil. The universe then acts like a loving wind, carrying those seeds to just the right place at just the right time for them to take hold.

You may not always be able to watch those thought-seeds sail into the wind and follow them to their destination. So how do you ensure that your crop is bountiful? You start by becoming gently aware of your thoughts. You notice them, inspect them and gauge them against your life. Are your thought-seeds producing things you love or are you planting unwanted weeds?

Once you get a handle on what you are thinking, spend some time deliberately choosing thought-seeds that will grow into things you want. This is a numbers game: see if you can produce more positive thought-seeds than negative. Since you don’t know where the universe will send those seeds, make sure the ones you release into the air are something you can appreciate down the road.

After all, if you’re going to walk among your thoughts, you may as well enjoy a beautiful path along the way.

 

 

(Are you still) arguing for limitations?

In an instant, I changed my future with a simple press of the “delete key” on my computer.

If that sounds a tad dramatic, it’s meant to. It’s dramatic because in that moment, I realized one of my long-standing—and often unconscious—actions that I indulge in on a daily basis: arguing for my limitations.

In this blog, I write a lot about the process of conscious creation: defining your intents, clarifying up your beliefs and setting out to purposely become aware of all of your thoughts. Then directing those thoughts where you want then to manifest. Part of the hardest part of conscious creation is keeping on top of your thoughts and realizing when you’re straying off course.

Conscious creation, however, goes way beyond your thoughts, beliefs and imagination. Yes, thoughts are the impetus toward creating a new, better life for yourself; they are the driving force behind your beliefs and eventually the reality you experience. Thoughts and beliefs are reinforced with action, which results in changed behavior, such as the words you speak and write as well as the physical acts you preform each day.

When I was emailing back and forth with a coworker last week, I was acting on autopilot. We were speculating on some rumored changes at work and we were in what I would call full-tilt conspiracy mode. We talked about unconfirmed reports on changes in policy and personnel and started wondering what the ramifications of those changes would be.

On one particular issue, she asked me an innocent question: “what’s the worst that could happen?” That’s when I found myself typing a seven-paragraph response. I brought up fears from the past and combined them with paranoia in the present and projected them straight into the future. I was literally writing a negative version of my future and it was staring at me from my computer screen.

That’s when I felt unease in my gut. Thankfully, I paused long enough to have a true “moment of reflection” when I could look critically at my response. Up until this point, we were feverishly writing back and forth but now I took a few minutes to re-read my response with fresh eyes because it didn’t feel right.

Right there on my computer screen, I realized what I was doing. I quickly (and elegantly) outlined exactly how I would be affected by any of the probable actions I argued for and they weren’t pretty. I used dire language and honestly made things bigger and harsher than they needed to be.

I was arguing for my own limitations—again.

Since becoming introduced to the concept of conscious creation, I’ve become much better at filtering my thoughts. I’ve gotten good at quickly realigning my thoughts in directions that better fit my goals; but, I often neglect to implement one important thing: change in my actions to align with those new goals.

I’m hardly alone in this. I see it quite frankly in many postings on Facebook, social media and in conversations with friends and family. Talking about our limitations seems practical after all; it’s the way we’ve been raised. In the Accepted View of Reality, talking about and focusing on problems is seen as the way to solve them.

We take comfort in sharing our feelings of fear and distrust. We frequently get sympathy from others when we have these kinds of conversations, hoping the other person will remind us that things aren’t that bad or that we’re speaking out of line. Unfortunately, however, we’re so attuned to this kind of behavior that half the time, we don’t even know we’re doing it.

Sometimes we become conscious of what we’re doing and make the decision to have these kinds of limiting conversations anyway. Maybe we believe that releasing the fear through words and actions will help the universe mysteriously solve the problem. Maybe we don’t really believe that change is possible. Maybe we’re just lazy.

As I read over my response to my coworker, I did become aware of my language. I realized that I was planting very powerful thought and belief seeds in the moment point and instantly realized that the fruits of those seeds would be the very things I didn’t want in my life.

This type of conscious creation action is so automatic, so practiced, it takes a sharp mind and quick thinking to catch it in time. We think we’re soothing our egos and analytical minds by “telling it like it is,” but in fact we’re simply keeping ourselves stuck. Talking about “what is” keeps us stuck in “what is.” It keeps us from moving forward with our development and fulfillment.

Commissary feels good because, as a society, that’s the way we’re used to bonding. Author and spiritual pioneer Caroline Myss calls it “woundology” – sharing our troubles with others in an effort to feel included and to soothe our aching psyches. It’s also a form of one-upmanship: “my troubles are worse than yours.” In short, it’s another way of keeping us stuck right where we are.

Lately I’ve realized how practiced I am in the art of “telling it like it is.” I complain to my coworkers, bitch to my friends, and tell my troubles to my family. And yes, there is value in venting, recognizing when you’re feeling a particular emotion and trying to remove it from your awareness.

But once that initial recognition is made, it becomes even more important to realize the positive choices that are then available. Understand that you have a choice in the way you act next. That means switching gears and performing a new action, whether it’s making a new statement about the way you want things to happen or talking about your hopes for the future. It can mean emailing a friend something positive about your day or quietly thanking the universe for having already set into motion the magical steps that will solve your challenges.

In my case, I looked at what I had written to my coworker and immediately deleted it. I responded: “I had a long list of things to add to this conversation but realized I am simply arguing for my limitations and I don’t want to do that.” She understood (some friends are sharp like that) and we dropped the whole thing. I then took a few moments to clear my mind, identify my limiting thoughts and start the process of inserting new ones in their place.

That one small act of action in the present moment helped set into motion a whole new set of probabilities that are more in line with what I want to experience. The choice, although different, felt good overall.

Creation always happens in the “now.” It’s the only time you have to shape your future. Your past thoughts and actions have brought you to this very moment right now and now is the only time you can effectively begin to change course. Recognizing your habitual thoughts, words and actions takes practice and awareness but if you find yourself arguing for limitations, the present moment is the only time to begin changing them.

Think a new thought, speak a new word, or react in a different way. Make sure your thoughts, beliefs and actions are in keeping with your desired results. Argue for your success. Make a case for your happiness. It’s a great way to Honor Your Spirit.