“It is the ability to choose which makes us human.” — Madeleine L’Engleakes
The other night at my Sunday dinner, my friend Chelsea asked me if I had read the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”by Greg McKeown.
When I told her no, she said: “If anyone needs to read that book, it’s you!” By the next morning, the book had arrived at my front door with an inscription to “get reading!”
I love when friends suggest books or articles to read because I love to learn. I am constantly searching for ways to be a better, more evolved human being, as well as a more focused and effective leader at work.
Chelsea told me that “Essentialism” resonated with her on many levels, but that there was one point in particular that really stayed with her. It was the author’s message that if we want to rise from “good to great” in our work and our lives, then we must identify what we’re most passionate about and apply the bulk of our effort and energy there. If we get focused and pick the things that matter most to you, then it will empower you to say “yes” to opportunities that align with your priorities and say “no” to everything else.
“What are two areas you want to be great in?” Chelsea asked me and others at dinner last Sunday. “I want to be a great skier and a great writer. Maria, what about you?”
One thing about a seasonal change is, well, change! On our farm, we have become hosts to various nests – owls, sparrows, robins and more. We have a mated pair of coywolves who have made a den in the ravine and all manner of other creatures including some very bold raccoons seem to think it’s ok to stroll past our house in broad daylight like they own the place and we don’t count. Now thankfully, we have a ten-foot fence around the back of the compound so my teeny Pomeranians don’t get eaten, but I always have to go out with them and supervise just in case the pair of red-tailed hawks that hang out in the trees decide they look like snacks. This morning I went out with the fluff balls and stood under a new robin’s nest (or should I say condo) that she skillfully built right above the door and whose occupant decided to poop on my head. I was so upset for a moment I could not believe I had to change my clothes since I had an interview online and fix my hair yadaydaya!! But I stopped pretty quickly and I just had to laugh! Bird poop is not the end of the world and if I had to go on right away I could have pretended it was toothpaste HA!
Never a dull moment at Zen Farm.
This week’s Goddess Power Oracle reading is all about having a sense of humor around our revelations brought into light by the symbolism of the Goddess Yhi. It’s asking us to really trust that our new beginnings are called new for a reason. New means we might not know how, or might need to learn something, might not know the steps, etc. We are brimming with potential this week, says Cerridwyn, but this is all uncharted if it’s new, so how can we expect ourselves to have all the answers, know the steps, given that new doesn’t mean familiar or “the same as before”.
The power of seeing is well known to everyone, and many examples exist. There is love at first sight and Alexander Fleming noticing that penicillium mold kills bacteria. Galileo as a youth in church was the first to notice that a pendulum swings in a regular rhythm, setting the basis for pendulum clocks. Isaac Newton famously discovered gravity by watching an apple fall, although this tale was told second-hand and is probably a romantic fiction.
But what if a mere glance has untold power, literally the power to create reality? The opening for this idea came from what is known in quantum physics as the measurement problem a hundred years ago. A quantum is a tiny unit of energy, and if a specific quantum like an electron or a photon is considered a thing, it should be measurable. You should be able to know where it is at a given instant in time, for example, or how fast it is moving, how much it weighs, and the other properties that we assign to things in the everyday world.
Everyone has a unique purpose in life, and finding and following that purpose is the key to creating a happy, abundant, meaningful and fulfilling life for yourself.
Sometimes, though, for one reason or another, you may unconsciously drift away from your staying true to your purpose, or you may think you are on the right path when really you’re heading in the opposite direction of where you intended to go.
In my last blog, we talked about financial fears and conditioned belief systems. Did you take some time to visualize yourself in that future you desire? When it comes to a job, it can be scary to make a move. Even if we aren’t happy, we’re still getting that paycheck, right? Well, you can have both the joy and the paycheck. Let me share a story of someone who faced this job situation head on.
Someone close to me was in a good job. It was stable, income was decent, she liked most of the people she worked with, but her dream job posting had come to her attention. She found out that they were considering three people inside the company for the job. She would be the only outsider considered for the position. It would have been easy to give into her fears and do all that negative self-talk of the low odds of her actually being picked since she didn’t already work there or have any relationships with those she’d be interviewing with. Blah, blah, blah….. I told her that was a bunch of hogwash. If you believe it, then it will be true.” She felt like the underdog, she was younger, an outsider and she didn’t have as much experience.
Life expands and contracts in the yoke of a second. One minute there’s an unseeable vastness between life and death, and the next, it’s the length of a needle we’ve dropped and can’t seem to find. There is no one name or reason or label we can put on what we go through, though all of us, in our want to calm our fears, try to pin it down. Yet when doing all we can—holding, listening, bearing witness, and resisting the demon of “why” while leaning into the angel of “how”—there’s so much wisdom in the depths of our rawness. In being so present and engaged, we are forever shaped and carved as we shape and carve. This only makes us a more finely wrought instrument. So you are not blind and thickheaded, no matter how powerless you might feel. Quite the opposite: you are a clear jewel being burnished until all of life is reflected through your deeply exposed heart.
Len contacted me for Inner Bonding facilitation while he was going through a divorce. He had discovered Inner Bonding through a Google search and realized that what he was struggling with was self-abandonment.
Len was diligent in having sessions with me and in reading everything he could about Inner Bonding. Within a couple of months, he could spout Inner Bonding with the best of them, and had even started to help various friends and relatives with Inner Bonding. He was keenly aware of the taker role his wife had adopted in their marriage, and completely understood the caretaking role and level of self-abandonment that had been his end of their codependent system.
But Nothing Changed…
However, nothing was actually changing is his relationships with others – because all this information was in his mind, but not in his experience. He was not actually practicing Inner Bonding. He believed that if he understood it, then somehow something would change.
Does it ever feel as though you can’t get ahead financially no matter how hard you try?
It’s the code you’re operating in at any given moment that controls your projections and perceptions.
We each choose our own code and our choice of code is frequently triggered by an unconscious program that blocks or limits success.
Our entire life experience can change instantly with the removal of these unconscious blocks.
What’s causing you to block money in your life?
In order to find out, you need to be able to neutralize the old programs around money that are still running in your unconscious and delete their effects.
This calendar week has always been special to me and to my family. The Easter holiday was always the herald of a new beginning and that something sacred and beautiful was shared in my home. It was a time for peace, reconciliation, and one where everything felt like we were all getting a second chance. I don’t have one bad memory of this time of year (unlike Christmas, which took me years to heal my inner Scrooge and fear of holiday crazy).
And, to top it off, I was raised to celebrate 2 Easters in a row! These were the western Christian holiday, as we were raised as Anglicans, and then another one the next weekend as my Dad celebrated the Serbian Orthodox traditions, which followed a different calendar.
And, although these are supposed to be religious holidays, we were also all painting eggs and hunting for chocolate from the Easter Bunny!!
So this year Easter came late since it is always held the Sunday after the full moon that followed the March equinox. And since the full moon happened literally right after the equinox- here we are!
When you take the popular phrase “Follow your bliss” and trace it back to its source, something more powerful was intended. In a late interview the famous expert on mythology Joseph Campbell first used the phrase, saying “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you.”
This implication that bliss is a personal path, and that the path is pre-determined, is much more than “do what you really like to do,” which is how most people interpret “Follow your bliss.” Let me expand on this point by showing that “bliss” is much more fundamental than almost anyone realizes. It holds the key to transforming the mind.
“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you.”
Doing what you really like to do is certainly a good idea; it is much better than the opposite, doing what you have to do even if you don’t particularly like it. But no one can engage in pleasurable activity all the time. The human mind brings us experiences of pleasure and pain, and since the two are paired as inescapable opposites, mental tension and conflict are inevitable no matter how positive and pleasant you try to make your life be. (For deeper background, please see my most recent post, “Can You Make Your Mind Your Friend?”)
In every life, reminders arrive about what's really key.
What matters most to you?
Remember the important things.
In every life, reminders arrive about what's really important.
I’ve received some myself, as I’m sure you have, too. Perhaps it was news of a potentially serious health problem, the death of a loved one, or an accident that could have turned fatal. These are uncomfortably concrete messages that sooner or later something will catch up with each one of us.
When I’m pierced with one of these reminders, it’s like there are three layers in my mind. The top layer is focused on problem-solving. Beneath that is what seems like a furry little animal that’s upset and wants to curl up and be hugged. The bottom layer feels accepting, peaceful, and grateful.
While everyone knows you should be practicing gratitude on a daily basis, it can be difficult when times are tough. But it is during these challenging times that you most need to see the silver lining. This is a learned skill, and one that becomes much easier when you’re able to recognize the point where you’re at a crossroads. You can go left, and continue down the rabbit hole of negativity, perpetuating the energy that is surrounding your struggle, or you can go right, and break that cycle of negativity by consciously looking for the good that you know is there.
Here are four ways to discover the silver lining in any situation:
As normal balanced human beings, we need to organize ourselves in such a way, that stress really doesn't enter our lives. We need to figure what it is that keeps us empowered when we are facing a lot, and what we need to do to keep us in that constantly aligned state, which facilitates the relaxation mode.
We have to first delve into our level of awareness, this is what holds the key to what we need to do to keep us calm, happy and also find us the means to what keeps us centered, the ongoing techniques and formulas we need, to maintain the balance.
I start each day by opening the blinds and making coffee for my wife. This way, I enter the day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love. From there, come what may, I’m centered in the strength of light and care. Then I feed our dog and go to work, which for me is re-entering my conversation with life. Like an astronomer who spends his days looking into the galaxy, tracing the movement of stars and planets, I look into the inner galaxy, tracing and mapping what I can.
By midmorning, I take Zuzu, our yellow Lab, for a walk. It’s there that the trees and birds begin to speak. Or rather, I begin to listen, as they’ve been sharing their secrets constantly. Most mornings, I see birds tending and feeding their young, flying to and fro with twigs, or pecking at the ground for seed. They’re always building and mending their makeshift nests. Much like us, going to and fro to gas up the car, and pay the bills, and get the tools we need to patch the roof. Endless tasks that keep us a part of life.
Spring time shifts how the sunlight enters our house. I returned home midmorning, planning on writing my blog. As I looked for the perfect patch of light, I wondered what I would write about. It is almost always a mystery until the words find a way to each other and form a story. Our small kitchen table was perfect for discovering the unknown I brought my lap top, calendar, and phone. My office was complete. Just the dogs and I were home. Everything was perfect until I knocked over my mug of coffee and coconut milk all over my lap top key board. It was totally soaked.
If you truly desire financial freedom, you must break the ego mind’s hold over your life.
In fact, true success in every area of your life… relationships, work, finances and health require ego mind training in the high frequency attributes of integrity and trust.
The lack of integrity in the world of business and government is so widely known and deplored that sometimes “corporate integrity” is called an oxymoron. The Global Financial Crisis was triggered in 2008 by a systemic lack of integrity in business, financial and governmental institutions.
Financial challenges can be overwhelming. Ask yourself these questions:
Truthful principles can only change us when we choose to enact them. Their capacity to restore self-command, grant us a mind at peace, or deliver us from fearful dark states is only as great as our willingness to call upon their powers. That’s why we must do the personal work it takes to put higher principles into practice. Napoleon Hill, one of the early great pioneers of personal development, asserts: “We can become complete masters of ourselves, if we so desire. The main thought to hold in mind is first to gain the knowledge, and secondly to act upon it.” And then act upon it! Wisdom is the seed of freedom, but only in action do we see it flower.
Study the special lessons that follow closely. Little by little, but surely as the acorn becomes the oak, you will know and grow into their power. New courage will flow into all of your actions, and the change will be unmistakable. Instead of reliving old reactions that take you nowhere, your path will become one of ceaseless transformation. And the fuel that drives this upward spiral of self-renewal is simple. You are learning to act on what you know is true about negative states, instead of allowing them to tell you what is true about you.
Although we don’t often put it this way, the most important relationship in everyone’s life is with the mind. The late Stephen Hawking drew the world’s attention by leading a life totally of the mind, his physical activity reduced to eye motion and blinking. The body without the mind is inconceivable, however. We cannot exist without thought. So it’s important to ask how best to relate to our minds.
I’m thinking of the most basic issue: Is the mind friend or enemy? Leave aside for the moment the traits that make it fascinating to be human: love, creativity, intelligence, evolution, and self-awareness. These traits make the human mind unique among all life forms on Earth, but we also suffer uniquely. Our minds are the source of anger, fear, envy, depression, grief, and hopelessness. If a friend brought suffering into our lives, it wouldn’t matter how happy he made us at other times—suffering trumps friendship, especially when you consider that the mind is capable of confusing us so deeply. The last thing the mind seems to understand is itself.
Every moment of every day, we make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are small and inconsequential, and sometimes those decisions are life-altering. In the end, though, the outcome of your day, your year, and your entire life are mostly defined by the sum of decision making and the actions that you take along the way.
There’s power in making a decision – even when you’re not completely sure that it’s the right one. I promise you that once you realize the incredible impact that making decisions can have, you can truly begin to live your best life.
Decisions can be powerful, but they aren’t always easy…
To a degree, almost all of us suffer from decision paralysis at some point in time. Realizing the impact that your decisions can have is often frightening.
After all, if a decision is important enough to change your life, it’s understandable that you’d want to be sure to get it right.
The problem is that many people have a “deer in the headlights” moment when faced with decisions. Afraid of making the wrong decision, they end up not making a decision at all. However, not making a decision is a decision in and of itself – and it’s almost always the wrong one.
The inability to make a decision can leave you frozen in place when changes are necessary. It can also wreak havoc on your confidence, your happiness, and your overall emotional well-being.
Faced with the problem of decision paralysis, it’s essential to realize that – in almost every case – any decision is going to be better than no decision at all.
If you can push past the fear and doubts associated with making decisions, you can start taking control of your life’s outcomes.
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