You’re so impressive

Chances are, I’ve never met you and yet I can still stay with 100 percent certainty that you are impressive. Really, you are.

Actually, all of us here on Earth are impressive but probably not in the way you’re used to thinking about the word. In conscious creation terms, you impress the universe with your vibrational signature, that unique combination of thoughts, emotions and beliefs that are uniquely yours.

What you think matters; what you feel matters; what you believe matters. And when you get a hold of that concept fully, you can start to take conscious control over your day-to-day existence in a much more meaningful way.

So what does this mean to you, personally?

It means that you’re never at the mercy of an uncaring universe. It signifies that others don’t have the control over you that you think they do. It means you have control over your experience in ways you’re not even aware of. Most of all, it means you have a choice in the way you steer yourself through this thing we call “life.”

Without going all quantum physics on you, think about your existence in some simple terms. You are consciousness. Consciousness is energy. You come from and are a part of that great energy. Some people call this energy “God,” others call it “source.” The terms aren’t important. But what is important is understanding that you are a part of all existence because you are made of it and you help it grow with every thought and action you perform. You are co-creating the universe right now.

Your thoughts are made up of electrified, coded information. They literally send out “imprinted” information into the universe, stamped with your intent. As those thoughts go forth into the universe, they seek out similar vibrational patterns that eventually form the “real,” physical world you experience. You’ve heard this referred to as Law of Attraction or Law of Creation. The important part to remember, however, is that your imprint—your imprint—is what forms your reality.

That’s some pretty trippy stuff, I understand. But if you agree to it—whether or not you understand the mechanics of it—you begin to get a sense of why it’s important to direct your conscious thoughts in constructive ways.

You are impressing the universe in every moment of the day and night, literally. So you can understand why taking a hold of your unwanted, negative or distrustful—even sloppy—thoughts is important. Your beliefs and expectations are formed through habitual thought patterns and those beliefs and expectations are the biggest driving force of the reality that you know.

What does all this mean in practical terms?

It means “waking up” to yourself. It means becoming aware of your thoughts when you can catch them. If your thoughts and beliefs are serving you well and you’re happy with the life you’re living—keep at it! But in those areas where you’re unhappy, dissatisfied or simply want change, you must become acutely aware of what you’re doing. What are you thinking? What do you tell others? What do you daydream about? What do you believe? What outcome do you really expect? If you catch yourself focused in negativity, judgment, and criticism or if you’re holding onto bad memories of the past, make an effort to change. Change the thought, rearrange the picture, choose a different word, walk a different path. Do something to interrupt your habitual imprint.

This isn’t easy work. In fact, it seems to fly in the face of what we’ve been conditioned to believe about the way the world works. We’ve been taught that if you have a problem, you should concentrate on it, keep a hold of it and analyze it to death. In the world of conscious creation, you become aware of a problem, realize it’s the result of your past thinking and then make a conscious choice to move your thoughts in a new direction.

Sounds simple on the surface, doesn’t it? I admit, it does take effort to become aware of your thoughts. It takes courage to face those thoughts directly and it takes willpower to change them. It does get easier as you go along.

The goal is not to be Polly. Or Anna.

I’m not suggesting that you become one of those people who won’t say a bad word about anyone or anything or that you deny your experience. You must allow your creations their due. What I am suggesting is that you familiarize yourself with your vibrational signature. Remember that your signature imprints itself on the universe and returns to you the physical world you experience.

When you consciously understand your role in creation—the point that you mold your physical experience through the action of your thoughts, beliefs and expectations—you become more aware of your choices. You come to believe that it’s important to direct yourself in carefully chosen directions. You also then come to experience the world in a new way, one that is more fulfilling, creative and exuberant.

That is pretty impressive.


The value of doing nothing

If I were in kindergarten, I would be crying. I was losing a real-world game of hide and seek and time was running out. Instead of looking for someone, however, I was looking for something. In this case, the right words to a book review I was trying to write for my blog. The words simply didn’t want to be found.

I put off the task for several days, hoping that my creative subconscious would work on the project while I attended to that little thing called life. I dutifully kept my normal schedule: work, chores, cooking and walking the dog, hoping I could sit down and knock out the review once it had time to brew in the back of my mind.

The longer I put it off, however, the harder it became. So I sat down, determined to write something—anything—to get started and still, the words would not come. What did appear was a realization that my creative block was deeper than it seemed on the surface. I wasn’t blocked; I was unmotivated, toward writing and toward life itself.

I could hypothesize all kinds of reasons for my lack of motivation: I had a busier than usual fall, working on a big writing project, wading through rivers of projects at work and dealing with a lot of personal change. Yes, all of these things can take a toll on the human spirit and they certainly did with mine. Yet a little voice kept nagging me to stop complaining, get moving, get writing and get on with my life.

After meditating, I decided to ignore that little voice. I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down and did absolutely nothing for several hours.

Whose voice is that anyway?

The reason for ignoring the little voice in my head was simple: it was my ego. As he’s prone to do, my ego was feeling anxious about not completing the writing project. Hard work, attention to detail and deadlines are the handmaidens of the ego and he wanted to make sure I didn’t forget it.

It took me a few days to recognize the voice of the ego, but there were a few tell tale signs that helped me make a positive identification. Repeatedly, I was hearing a lot of “should” and “need to” statements coming from the voice. Things like, “you should really finish that book review,” or “You really need to be doing something with your blog,” or “You shouldn’t be slacking off right now.” I grew irritated with the voice.

The ego wants us to move forward, work and make sure that we are living up to the standards set by society, our families and our responsibilities. The ego doesn’t see the benefit of slacking off; instead, he takes us to task on completing our to-do lists.

After a little introspection, I was more than happy to ignore the ego this time.

Following impulses

Impulses toward action are a wonderful thing. Impulses come to us from deep in the soul and inner self, urging us to move in the direction of our fondest goals and desires. We tend to be distrustful of impulses, however, because they frequently seem foreign to the rational mind. When we don’t understand an impulse intellectually, we tend to dismiss it and miss an excellent opportunity for growth.

So if following impulses is a good thing, why was I having the impulse to do nothing? Why was my psyche telling me to sit one out, regroup, and let the world move on by for a few days? And why was I fighting it?

Inaction as action

This may be hard to digest, but the act of “doing nothing,” is actually “doing something.” We have simply conditioned ourselves to believe that we must constantly work toward some arbitrary goal or we’ll fail miserably at life.

While the intellect views inaction as wrong or lazy, the spirit looks at inaction as:

  • Replenishing the body and spirit
  • Allowing the inner self to come up with fabulous new ideas
  • Giving the universe the space and time to arrange details in our favor
  • Arranging events that are more advantageous or avoiding situations that are harmful

When to accept “doing nothing”

I won’t argue that it’s hard to accept “doing nothing” as a much-needed part of daily living. It’s easier to accept this notion on vacation and even then, “doing nothing” seems suspect. How do you know when it’s okay to do nothing?

Generally, it’s best to discover whether you’ve got the impulse to do nothing or if you are instead trying to avoid doing something. I’m referring here to procrastination, where the urge to “do nothing” or the urge to “do absolutely anything but” something is key. Procrastination is avoidance and you probably have a whole handful (or mindful) of reasons why you don’t want to do something.

Sit down, get quiet for a few moments and let go of thought. You’re trying to feel your way through this exercise. Let your body talk to you through feeling (emotional or physical) and intuition. What kinds of things do you discover?

When I did this exercise, I felt a slight fatigue in my body; but, more than anything, I had the urge to sit in my favorite chair. I didn’t feel the urge to read or write. There was no impulse to surf the Internet. My body told me it only wanted to sit and be still for a while. For how long, I didn’t know.

It did take a few hours for my ego to stop whining about my inactivity. I reassured him constantly about the benefits of this new plan and how much better life would be in the long run. After I truly gave in and relaxed into inactivity, I could feel a shift in my energy and in my enthusiasm.

Accepting the impulse toward inaction is important. It’s not the norm in society and your friends, family members and coworkers may chastise you for it. Your own ego may chastise you as well. However, it’s in the fighting of the impulse to do nothing where energy gets blocked and problems appear.

Reality Challenge™

Doing nothing can be a scary proposition. It can also be one of the most fulfilling things your soul can experience. This week, I invite you to look for–to feel for–times when your spirit is telling you to slow down and take a break. The same holds true for your body, as the impulse to rest is equally as important to the body as it is the spirit.

If you identify the impulse to do nothing, accept it. Remind your ego that you’re trying something new and to stop whining. Allow yourself the luxury to do nothing, at least as much as you can without “have to” responsibilities. Try it and feel for a shift. Your spirit may thank you.




Hello, my old friend

Silence opens up space for our spirit to come through

Harvesting silence

Silence may be golden but as a commodity, it’s hard to come by. Just look around at all the tools we use to fill our heads and physical spaces with sound: iPods, television, YouTube, not to mention simple conversation. You can even buy sound machines to create artificial ambient sound. It’s no wonder we’ve become uncomfortable with the sweet sound of silence—we’re not used to it.

Silence allows us to connect with the universe on many levels. Clearing away noise clutter lets us hear the voice of our spirit that is always gently guiding us toward a better life. It’s hard to hear that voice with the constant sound of conversation, music or even your own thoughts.

Yes, thoughts count as noise pollution. Repetitive concentration on your problems—ruminating—is just as distracting as your neighbor’s radio blaring at full volume. I admit there are times I sit in complete silence only to be wrapped up fully in the sound of my own thoughts. Even without audible sound, thoughts can drown out the sound of my inner self, or nature, and deprive me of their benefits.

Silence creates space and that space is important for spiritual and psychological development. True silence roots you firmly in the present moment—that precious time where your spirit meets the physical world. Immersing yourself in the present moment allows your ego and intellect to take a back seat for a moment. In that moment, your inner self can come out and make itself known. Your inner self has access to the entire universe and when you give it space, it will reveal exactly what you need to know.

Reducing noise pollution also has health benefits. Spending time in silence can reduce blood pressure and calm your nerves. That is once you get over the initial shock of being quiet for more than five minutes! Some daily (or at least weekly) time in quiet solitude can help your body fully relax which helps lower stress levels.

How much time should you allow yourself to be quiet?

This is a personal choice and is primarily based on how comfortable you are with silence. For many people, silence is uncomfortable. And for some, it’s unbearable. The more uncomfortable you are with silence, the more you may need to set aside daily time to “be” in silence. Once you become accustomed to it, you may find that you like the space that silence gives you and add more of it to each day.

Many people find that quiet periods at the beginning or the end of the day are just what the doctor ordered. Starting the day with quiet time allows your body to ease into the day. You may find that morning quiet time helps you remember your dreams more vividly. Alternatively, quiet time before bed helps quiet the mind and the body and can help you fall asleep more easily.

Do you need to do meditate?

Meditation creates the same emotional/psychic space that helps you connect to your inner self. Having said that, it isn’t imperative that you meditate when trying to enjoy silence. Finding silent periods (or creating them) during your day helps you connect with yourself, your environment and with others. For some, learning to be silent with other people is just as important as taking time to meditate. Silence allows you—and sometimes forces you—to be present with yourself and others. It can be uncomfortable until you’re used to it.

Practicing silence in different settings at different times can help you learn what feels best to you and your spirit. For me, one of the most powerful times I can be quiet is driving through the mountains. With no radio and no companionship, the silence allows me to be present with the road, focusing my attention on driving as well as creating some space for my inner self to solve problems or be creative.

Silent retreats

My first silent retreat wasn’t planned as such. A few weeks after my father died, I decided I needed some time alone to process my emotions. I drove to our family’s mountain property with the dog and had the intention of being alone, thinking, reading and meditating for a few days. I hadn’t really thought about noise nor the lack of it.

As the first day drew to an end and the sun went down, I suddenly realized I had never scheduled time to be alone for a few days. That first night was tough on me and the silence was the worst part. I could hear every sound imaginable. After a few hours, I could even hear the deafening sound of silence. The night was still and at times there was only the sound of my own breathing.

After two days I realized I wasn’t even talking to myself mentally as much as usual. I hadn’t ceased thought but rather entered into what I can only describe as “knowing” with my inner self. There was no need for thoughts or words. Even my communication with the dog turned into glances and feelings as we learned how to be quiet together. The retreat replenished my psychic energy and helped me feel better.

Since that experience, I purposely schedule silent retreats for myself. Sometimes it’s camping in the wilderness for a few days and sometimes it’s heading to my favorite Buddhist retreat center. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a retreat for everyone but if you really want to experience the power of enforced silence, I highly recommend it.

We’ve become over stimulated in our technology-driven society. Finding time each day or each week to enjoy the sound of “nothing” can really help you connect with your spirit and refresh your soul. It seems strange to purposely set aside time to be quiet but as our world becomes more and more connected, it remains an important tool in developing your self and honoring your spirit.

You don’t have to know how

Butterfly and rocks

Go ahead: dream big. Big. Big. BIG. But don’t get wrapped up in the details of how, that’s for the universe to figure out. It’s not your job to know. When you identify those things in your life that you want, allow your spirit some breathing room. Trust that the universe is on your side and will help you meet your goals. Have faith that all you need to be successful will come to you. Once the request has been made, turn your concentration back to how good it’s going to feel when you meet your goals. Let go. Catch a tailwind. Enjoy the view and let your spirit soar.

Stop turning to karma for revenge

According to many social media contributors, we can conveniently call upon karma to fix almost any nefarious act we choose. Your girlfriend cheated on you? That’s okay, karma will get her. Your boss demoted you? No worries, karma will step in and save the day. Karma has now become a catchall phrase that evokes the desire for retribution and revenge for anything from divorce to financial hardship to car accidents.

But what most people don’t see is their own role in the karmic process. They don’t understand that they are as much responsible for those acts as the person who committed them. Knowing this, karma really can be a bitch as well as a good friend.

In traditional Eastern cultures, karma was thought of in terms of reincarnation: “paying” in this life for “mistakes” made in the last. It was viewed as a balancing mechanism, giving individuals the chance to make good on wrongs committed in previous lifetimes. But in recent years, the concept of karma has taken on new meaning.

Today’s more popularized version of karma is also based on the theory of balance. Westerners treat karma as an unseen force that rights perceived wrongs by having someone else suffer in a like manner. For example, when someone has been the victim of a so-called egregious act, they call upon karma to fix the situation by having the perpetrator suffer the exact same act. They feel justified and vilified by having that person experience their own pain.

How often do we hear friends and family members shout to the universe, “karma’s a bitch!” and then patiently wait for the universe to impose a justified payback that looks just like the original crime?

If only it were that simple

In conscious creation terms, karma has a somewhat different meaning. Your emotions, thoughts, beliefs and actions all have an energetic basis. When that energy goes out into the universe, it seeks out like energy to create your everyday life. This “law of attraction” takes your energy and lines it up for you to experience life in matching terms. To most people, that sounds nice as long as they’re talking about “good” or “wanted” manifestations. But what about the bad?

How do “you” fit in with karma?

By the time you experience an event—any event—you are at the tail end of an energetic exchange. Your beliefs, thoughts and emotions have already been broadcast to the world and found like-minded energy to interact with. A physical manifestation occurs and sometimes you like the outcome and sometimes you don’t.

That means you are responsible for creating your world and the events within it. And when you experience something unwanted, you want someone to blame. You want someone else to pay for the pain and suffering you’re experiencing. You want your friends, your family and even the woman standing next to you to acknowledge that you were wronged. And the best way to get that affirmation is to see someone else get exactly what you did.

In these terms then, many people turn to karma to justify their own reaction. An example: Someone sideswipes your car and takes off without leaving contact information. You’re furious! You justify your reaction to a friend: “karma’s a bitch. He’ll get his!” In actuality, you’ve already received yours.

Unknowingly, you have broadcast some pretty powerful energy into the universe. In the example above, perhaps you’ve been thinking about how you can’t trust other people to treat your property with care and respect. Maybe you’ve been feeling unsafe and are thoroughly convinced that the rest of the world is out to get you. The possibilities are endless and usually complicated. You don’t consciously think, “I want my car sideswiped today,” but you’re definitely giving off signals that are pulling event toward you. Since you don’t understand why you’ve created such turmoil, you ask for help from outside yourself.

You think about karma. You start to feel better believing that the universe will take care of the wayward driver. Your focus is on him and the fact that you were wronged. In essence, you feel powerless in the situation and hope that praying to the karmic gods will make you feel better. You dream that some day, some how, the other driver will have his own car side swiped and equalize the situation.

Now, those thoughts of karma and retribution and the focus upon negative events do something even worse—they create more of the same. The energy you’re emitting is composed of several dastardly ingredients: anger, victimhood, revenge, powerlessness and more. And the result of all of those thoughts and feelings will be, you guessed it, more of the same…for you.

Knowing this doesn’t help most people feel better, but it can.

Using karma as an indicator of your thoughts

Being aware of your desire for karma to kick-in for others can be a big help to understanding your own thoughts and emotions. When you find yourself in an undesirable situation and start to turn your thoughts toward revenge, train your mind to recognize you have created something that you don’t want. From there, you can refocus your thoughts and energy into more constructive directions.

Take our car example above. Instead of turning to karma to rectify the situation, immediately recognize that you yourself have created the event. Something in your thoughts, feelings, or actions has caused you to send out a signal that manifested the event. Take it easy on yourself, since most of this has been unconscious on your part.

Next, start asking questions of yourself. Why do you feel anger? Was it respect for your property? Was it feeling helpless in the world? Be aware of the thoughts you are wishing toward another person and then turn them around on yourself. Start probing into your own beliefs about safety, respect and karma. The more you investigate your beliefs and thoughts, the further you’ll understand your own role in the situation.

Remember, taking responsibility for what you’ve created is the first step in realizing that you have the power to change it. Self-empowerment begins with self-awareness and responsibility. You’re learning (as we all are) to create with your beliefs, feelings and thoughts and it takes time and practice to master these creations.

But what about the other person?

The other person—the perpetrator—has also allowed his or her energy to match yours. They, too, have beliefs about reality and are learning to create as well, consciously or unconsciously. Try as you might, you can’t control another person, so focusing on yourself is the best starting place for your own growth and development.

Does having these experiences mean you shouldn’t get mad, angry or upset? Not by any means. It’s always appropriate to feel and allow your feelings to flow as they come up. Get angry, cry, stomp your feet, beat your fists against a pillow. Engage in healthy, non-harming forms of emotional release. Feel your emotions and then let them go. The trick is to not stay stuck in them and create more of the same. Allow yourself the time to experience the frustration then set it aside and learn more about yourself and how you can change reality for the better.

Karma really is about understanding the energy you’re putting out into the universe and seeing how it is manifested in your everyday experience. Understanding it, learning from it, and adjusting your thoughts accordingly is the best way to honor your spirit.