I believe Life is an incredible miracle, made manifest by a universal mystical and spiritual power many have named God. God is Life. God is Love. God is Good. The best life is full of love and goodness, full of Godliness. To me, God is the power behind, within and between all things known, unknown and unknowable. You can call God or the Universe by any name and affiliate it’s power with any spiritual system and color it with any cultural, theological or philosophical paint, but the truth of that power remains the same. It is all encompassing, all pervasive and its force is truly universal, holistic and indivisible. People like to separate things into categories, to define and control them and make use of their understanding. As I believe all things are part of the Universe and naturally inseparable (though they may appear so), defining God or the Universe as something separate from us “lowly” human beings seems illogical. We are all part of God. We have Godliness within us and the power to make manifest what could be considered miracles.
We live in a three-dimensional reality of height, width and depth. We exist in the presence of matter, energy and space-time. Each day we observe light, darkness and twilight times. We feel good, bad or indifferent. Many agree, across cultures, that we experience the passages of life, death and an afterlife. The most basic unit of our reproductive ability consists of a father, mother and child. Do you see a pattern of three emerging? That is the essential number needed to manifest the light-filled miracles of our hopes, dreams, wants, wishes and even the darkness of our fears. Since antiquity accounts of the number three appear again and again, on this third rock from the sun, as a harbinger of change, growth and rebirth. The number two represents opposition or polarity, the creative and destructive forces of the universe, which will remain in conflict until a third force is introduced to sway that entropy or provide a balancing influence. Three comes to represent creation itself and the triangulation of forces that leads to the manifestation of energy into matter
Here are just a few examples of the repeated reference to triangular relationships in nature, literature, science, spirituality and culture that underpin and lend efficacy to the notion of the number three manifesting reality and changing the form of what we perceive as truth: From our understanding of the human condition, the three aspects of human nature are body, mind and spirit; the three aspects of human culture are art, science and religion; the three parts of human will can be characterized as thought, feeling and action. From science and mathematics, there is the triangular Pythagorean theorem, Isaac Newton’s 3 Laws of Physics and the triplet codons of the DNA/genome structure that is the basis for all life as we know it. From our sacred spiritual traditions we may observe a Holy Trinity in the Christian faith of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as the three Wise Men or Magi and the Christ rising from the dead after three days; the three gods of the Hindu religion, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer and Shiva the Destroyer who preside over an endless cycle of birth, growth and renewal; the three saintly entities of Amitabha Buddha in the Buddhist faith; and, the Maid, Mother and Crone trinity, as represented by the triskelion, of the ancient Celtic or Pagan religious tradition.
We are constantly reminded of the presence of the number three in our everyday lives, morning, noon and night. We stop at traffic lights with three colored signals that cause us to stop, go or use caution when driving. Our goals are often characterized as immediate, short-term or long-term and their results seen as a win, a loss or a draw. Each day we face the sun, each night the moon and in our dreams the sleeping earth grounds us in it’s cosmic cradle. Our psyches are run by a self-conscious ego, a subconscious intuition and a super-conscious continuum. Our will, the performing, demonstrative aspect of our being, can be characterized as active, passive or reciprocal. We must deal with needs, wants and compromises to survive and flourish in this reality. Action, reaction and synchronicity govern Newton’s 3rd law of physics – that equal and opposite forces must balance each other to have three dimensions exist harmoniously. What we do, what really matters in space and time, is ultimately effective, affective or reflective of our needs, desires and will. In all relationships we are essentially independent, dependent or inter-dependent. Energy goes outward, inward or is transformed. In all these examples of our three-fold nature, nurture and self-orchestrated renewal we are bound by the number three to manifest what we must know to become what we must be in compelling physical, intellectual and mystical form.
So how do we make manifest such miracles as I have described? How do we find happiness, health and heaven on earth? It’s by using the power of three to your advantage! Recently some researchers in the scientific realm of quantum mechanics have come to some startling conclusions, based on years of research that I won’t bore you with, about how our minds can manipulate matter and events. Research in the fields of synchronistic events, the scientific observer effect and the quantum uncertainty principle indicate the power of our predominant thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and expectations can influence reality so as to effect change over a random or average result by about 3% above chance! Yes, we are shaping reality – or as I like to put it – we are “real-izing” reality or making it bend to our wills, about 3% of the time (which is also about how much brain activity we’re using at any given time). People can influence events by changing their attention and the world mirrors back to us our assertions and assumptions, reminding us that we have a magical part of God within us. What we focus on and feel is merely a metaphysical perception but we make it real.
If you want to make manifest what you believe you want, need and dream about – too late – you’re already doing it! If it’s not what you really want or feel you deserve, just dream bigger and have more faith – focus more deeply, have a crisper vision and feel more gratitude and what you wish for and are willing to create becomes your new reality over time. But let me put it another way with three simple rules that will guide you along the way to the self-directed, consciously guided miracle of manifestation: 1) Give your best, everyday… 2) Receive what’s best in all situations… and, 3) Share the best of what you have with All. Happy manifesting and may the power of three be the key that sets you free!
What is the nature of your truth, your reality? What are the duties you must embrace to live a life of meaning and purpose? What does it mean to you to live with honor, dignity and integrity? In times of great inspiration, dark fear and deep longing, these are questions that may enter your mind. The answers have a lot to do with what you believe your responsibilities are in life. What does your soul, the heart of your being, tell you is the truth of what you must do to be the person you want and need to be?
Being conscious of your life’s purpose and living your truth has a lot to do with what you believe is possible. I honestly believe we are only limited by what reality we impose upon ourselves. If you believe you can do or be something, you’ll find a way to make it happen. If you believe you cannot, you’ll find a way to make that true for yourself, too. I’ve found that faith, like fear, defines what you’re willing to do in life. Faith and trust in yourself and the universe creates possibilities. The act of doing what you believe is possible manifests the opportunities to fulfill your dreams and desires. Fear limits possibility; it crushes confidence and destroys opportunities before they can ever come to pass. We all want to feel good about ourselves, but it can be challenging to find what makes us happy, proud and fulfilled. Some approach challenge as an adventure, an exciting path through the unknown to find great treasure; others avoid challenge, fearing change, and prefer the familiar road, even if it only leads to pain. I think attitude is everything. Nothing is impossible when you remind yourself, “I’m possible.” How you choose to frame your mind defines the range of your actions and what you decide is possible. What is your soul worth? What possibilities for your development can you find the courage to fulfill? Isn’t it your soul’s duty to be aware of how your thoughts guide you and change them if they limit your growth?
Beyond your faith, there are other aspects of your soul that determine your will to succeed or fail at your life’s purpose. What you focus on, where you put your attention, is crucial to finding out what will make you happy and provide betterment for the world. I firmly believe what we focus on grows. If you focus on what you’re lacking in life, you’ll find more to complain, worry and feel bad about. If you place your attention on your blessings, you’ll experience more pleasure, joy and goodness in your life. Focusing on your purpose, on what ambitions motivate you, will cause you to take steps toward your goals. Avoiding the fulfillment of your God-given talents, gifts, skills and abilities with a negative focus or simply feeling unworthy will only trap you in a loop of self-limitation.
Humor is another key to living your truth. When you can look lovingly at your reality and laugh at your faults, you reclaim power over what you can control and relinquish responsibility over what you cannot. Humor also denotes humility and honesty. Seeing yourself and your situation in life with clarity, a healthy ego and optimism will see you through the dark times and remind you that your conditions can always improve. We must each honor our truth, whatever story we have to share. Telling your truth helps others have the confidence to share their own, which helps us all to learn and live better. Living with honor and dignity is essential if you want to grow and discover your purpose and passion, the gifts that will lead you to happiness. We all have compromises we need to make at times as we relate to the world. But one should never compromise one’s dreams, goals, ideals or sense of self-worth. How can that ever empower you to live with purpose or contribute your unique goodness to the world? Only your truth, no matter how painful it may be to admit, can ever set you free to be your best.
This world isn’t always an easy place to find yourself or shape your dreams. I am concerned that we’re living in a time of perverse and disorderly disconnection from our spiritual origins and our endemic nature. We have more ways of communicating than ever, yet we live more separately and with less decency and consideration. Common sense and courtesy seem less common and selfishness seems more acceptable than it should be accepted. We over-analyze and over-rationalize our actions. We under-estimate and undermine our power. It’s become second nature to second-guess ourselves. Distractions and diversions have become our education and enlightenment. Excuses have become reasons and reason has become opinion. We work hard and play hard but find it difficult to feel satisfied or relaxed. Our potential becomes squandered and impotent. It’s like a wedge has come between what we want and what we are. I think we’re explorers, seekers of truth and creators of new realty. But we can’t live that purpose if we’re always concerned about fulfilling our selfish desires and competing for our slice of the proverbial pie. How can we fulfill our worth and find our worthiness if we keep wandering desperately from temporary fix to material yearning to selfish urge? How do we find our soul’s purpose without having a definite purpose for seeking it?
Only you can know what you truly need to be the person you want to feel proud of. You must look deep within yourself to identify what drives you toward your dreams. When you know what you want and have the courage to ask for it, I believe you’ll find a way to earn, gain win or otherwise receive it. I want to inspire you to gather up and pass on your truth, the beauty that is you – the information, ideas and knowledge that will foster a greater understanding and compassion within humanity.
Let your purpose guide you – to help, heal, teach and promote greater good in the world – to achieve your goals and to find reason and meaning in your life. As you better yourself, so too you better the world. There is a purpose in all thing that we create and real-ize, in all we think and feel and come to know. It is what we experience, what we do, that allows for what we may know, within ourselves and of our universe, so that we can better become the guides, guardians, masters and creators of our reality. Be the change. Become your purpose. Value your gifts. Have the selfless audacity and courage to face your truth and embody the full masterpiece of what your soul has so exquisitely designed for you to paint.
There are no guarantees in life. This existence we call reality is unpredictable, fraught with upheavals, reversals and all kinds of twists and turns. Just when we think we’re on a path with sure and certain footing, the ground can give way. It is our expectations that bring disappointments; our inability to accept and flow with change that makes adaptation so challenging. We all prefer what’s familiar and can forget the adventure of life demands change and flexibility. It is the flexible mind-set that fairs best in times of change and a flexible, strong body that weathers the unpredictable nature of life. We each have strong wants and needs, related to our subconscious desires and self-conscious awareness. When these two states of consciousness are married, and their differences honored, we are able to come to an understanding of “super-consciousness” where the needs of the self are recognized within the framework of the greater whole of life-awareness and cosmic consciousness is revealed. This leads to a state of creative flow, what is commonly referred to as being in “the zone.” One’s passive and assertive sides, the analogous navigator and driver of one’s consciousness is made available so one’s purpose can be understood and reached. As state of harmonious awakening then comes into being.
If the purpose of life is to grow, learn, heal and expand consciousness, it is essential to meditate on one’s place in life and to escape the confines of ego, fear and desperation. One must embrace change and uncertainty with bravery, selflessness and openness to fully understand one’s purpose and potential. We all intrinsically want and need love, peace, purpose and freedom – the channels to true prosperity and happiness. We know these things to be our birthrights, what we each deserve as human beings. But there can be no love without bravery, no peace without sacrifice, no purpose without discipline and no freedom without justice.
These are the four foundational lessons of life and karma. Aligning one’s self with such knowledge and wisdom will inevitably enlighten one’s experience of life. Ignoring these lessons and neglecting their development shortens one’s potential for conscious evolution. If there is one purpose to each day, let it be this: make your life a shining example of good in the world and leave the world better each day than how you found it. Embody the bravery, sacrifice, discipline and justice you know will make a difference and reshape the world to your highest standard of what you wish it to be. In all things, be faithful, grateful and generous and no door in this life will be closed to you.
In life, it can be challenging to prioritize our needs and wants in order to reach our dreams and goals. Choosing one path inevitably means giving up another. Taking one action or making one decision always means another choice is left unexplored. This past January, due to unforeseen changes in my domestic situation, I chose to take on new consulting work that required using my energy and attention in ways I never had before and more travel than I was accustomed to. This lead me to certain realizations about how there were limits on what I could give of myself in other areas of my life. My life had turned a corner and I needed to figure out how I could balance my new work with all the previous commitments I had made and with the goals I had set out for myself. I kept wondering, “What must I change to have everything I want?” and “How can I integrate my needs with what I dream of doing?” I began to discover that I’d have to give up some things for others and as I’ve stated before, everything is a trade-off. I want to share how I began to overcome my challenges of having enough time, energy and attention to set myself free, even while honoring those limitations.
First, I want to say that restrictions don’t have to be interpreted as negative. The words “strict” and “structure” have the same root, “strictus,” from the Latin meaning tight or narrow. This is also where we get the word “construction,” to shape or build. So when we feel restricted, or limited, it’s just a narrowing of possibilities or discipline in order to make something more clear or whole. Having a structure or foundation that is set and precise is how we skillfully build the edifices of our life. Dreams and imagination have no real limits, but taking the steps to fulfill them do. Respecting the restrictions you have in moving toward your dreams can actually set you free to achieve your goals. Having a plan of action, with calculated limits in mind, usually proves a winning formula in setting a blueprint for success.
What I have discovered is nothing too new or earth shattering: we all deal with limited resources when planning for our dreams fruition. The main resources we must cultivate, preserve and spend wisely to get the results we want out of life are simple yet profound. Just like your wishes, creativity and imagination are fairly unlimited, there are three parts of being productive that we must honor or enriching ourselves becomes fairly impossible. This is what has come into focus for me lately and hopefully it will inspire you to make better choices, take necessary risks and make the most of the resources you have to get what you want more easily.
1. TIME – Our most limited resource. We’re each given a certain amount of time on this green earth to make our dreams come true. A friend of mine would often say to me, “This is the testing ground and life is a pass-fail course.” That may seem a bit dire, but really it puts matters into perspective. How we spend our time is what determines our success and happiness in life. As an American, we can expect an average of 80 years to leave our mark on the world. That’s a limit we have to respect or we can easily forget to make our lives matter. In minutes a day you can tend to the plans and practice that will generate your success, defining how you spend your life, or you can ignore this resource and have time define you. If you spend most of your life in fear and worry, you’ll avoid your power to overcome challenges, learn and grow and wind up nowhere. If you spend your time bravely, confidently climbing each mountain you find, endless vistas will be revealed to you and life becomes an exciting adventure. Taking time to care for yourself and others, exercise, eat right, meditate, pray, travel, volunteer and enlighten yourself each day will reshape your life in myriad, positive ways. Neglecting such practices by over-working, ignoring your needs and others or abandoning your dreams will only lead to heartache and regret. I’ve come to understand that my time is precious and how I spend it will determine my success or failure, my ambitions being reached or short-changed and the realization of my happiness or misery. Pass-fail, time is your most finite resource and what you do with it freely is what matters most. Check out this video on measuring your life in jellybeans… It will really give you some perspective on how finite our time is to be and do what we dream. I hope it sets you free to make the most of your “free time.”
2. ENERGY – It can’t be created or destroyed; only transferred. This simple law of physics applies to all facets of life. Your cells, the building blocks of your life, only have so much mitochondrial energy to expend before they die. Everyday you are challenged to manage your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy to make the most of their life force. If you spend your energy one way, you are limited in how it can be spent another. There’s always a proverbial fork in the road. You can build and spend energy, but there’s not much you can keep for long. Energy moves. It can come in and go out, like a relay, but must continuously be transferred somewhere new. If you spend your energy on fruitless pursuits, what fruit will hang from your tree of life? If you plant, water, trim and feed that tree of metaphorical energy, eventually it will be ripe with fruit. Again, taking time to exercise and play, dream and take action, feed yourself well, rest and relax, refine and shape your body, mind, heart, spirit, relationships, finances and goals will define the energy you have to give, receive and share. Are you an electric or magnetic personality? Do you inspire others or draw them in? Asking such questions can help you get a better feel for how you spend your energy and how to focus it toward what you want out of life. Start putting your energy in one direction and see where that current you initiate takes you. If you have enough faith it will deliver results over time. For me, activity has a lot to do with how energy works in the body and how much I have to do what I want. I’ve found that exercise, no matter how inconvenient at times, always give me more energy to lend to my life goals. Eating and sleeping well also give me more energy to spend. Your health and the love you cultivate are other ways you can increase your energy. Effort can also be seen as a measure of energy and it’s output. We are limited in how much effort we can put into any endeavor and so we must choose wisely how our efforts are spent. The power, force and activity of your life is the measure of your energy. But it isn’t free and how you use it creates your life.
3. ATTENTION – What you focus on grows. As the metaphysical law of increase states, your attention defines what you experience. Attentiveness can seem like an oblique measurement of success and happiness. But, really, it is essential when establishing goals and plans. Attention denotes choice, which is also limited to available circumstances, possibilities and probabilities. And it’s a severely limited resource, too! In this Age of ADD we live in, where distractions have become the norm, where we put our focus and the choices we make become even more crucial to creating successful lives of achievement. If we put our attention on one thing, it can’t be put elsewhere – hence, the failure of the multi-tasking mentality. Our conscious thought and awareness can only be placed one place at a time. Yes, perhaps it can rotate tasks efficiently, moving from one focus to the next in rapid succession. But we are limited in how much we can focus on at once. This is where time and energy come together and help define each other. With limits of the time and energy you have to focus your thoughts and observation, you come to realize that only so much attention can be paid to any one process, goal or intention. Therefore, what you focus on will grow and what you cannot focus on will wither, at least in terms of the time and energy you can spend on its understanding or development. Try focusing on two things at once and notice how your mind switches focus over and over, never truly blending foci. So, if you focus on a goal, with undivided attention and the necessary time and energy required to fulfill it, you will have the increase in awareness and practice needed to achieve it. It’s a great freedom to know you have such limits on your attention so you can learn to focus it toward what you desire more wisely and make the best possible choices.
Realizing you have these limitations can set you free. Also knowing you can only ever control your own thoughts, feelings and actions takes the weight off your shoulders of how others behave while empowering you to use your time, energy and attention to your greatest advantage. Besides your imagination, dreams and inspiration, here are come other unlimited resources that can motivate you to be and do your best: love, joy, peace, prosperity, goodness, beauty, truth, curiosity, healing, kindness and generosity. Let these boundless resources be abundant in your life and honor your time, energy and attention so you can freely be an unlimited success with unlimited happiness.
New Year’s resolutions can be, to say the least, challenging to keep. That’s because we’re all creatures of habit. We all prefer familiarity and regularity. Even if spontaneity is your thing, you still like it on a regular basis! If a new activity or behavior feels fairly uncomfortable, we’re far less likely to prioritize it or make a commitment to doing it. But that’s the rub! We have to get used to being uncomfortable and dealing with the unfamiliar to gradually get over that discomfort in order to form the new habit and make it feel normal, everyday, easy and routine. It’s like starting a new job. At first it’s all new – the people, the tasks, the expectations, the environment – it’s all strange. But then you work there a while and make friends, get to know the place, get the job done and make peace with it. It’s just a matter of time and commitment. A new habit can be formed in three to four weeks. That’s how long it takes our neurology to adjust to new behaviors becoming regular parts of our body-mind complex.
Consistency is everything when it comes to reprogramming your behavior. Whether it’s a new exercise routine, a special nutrition program, letting go of a bad habit like smoking or resetting your clock to wake up earlier it takes daily discipline to shift into the new regimen. Without that daily reinforcement, the body-mind has no idea what you really expect from it and reverts to it’s old patterns of behavior because it knows how to manage your actions in that framework. There really isn’t any simpler formula when it comes to changing any aspect of your life: take time daily to engage in the new activity or behavior and gradually, step by step, day by day, it will become a new habit and feel like a second skin. The same applies to letting go of an old habit: commit to daily positive reinforcement and watch those outmoded patterns melt away.
It’s also useful to replace an old habit you want to drop with a more desirable habit you wish to enact. If you’re trying to let go of a smoking habit or over-eating, you’ll want to program daily activities like exercise, quality time with friends and family, working on a project, practicing a hobby, getting out of the house, getting involved in your community and making time to laugh, sing, dance and enjoy life. So much of developing and maintaining healthy habits has to do with your interest level. Find the activities you enjoy most and those will more than likely become your habits for life. What’s your goal, honestly? Is it something worth dealing with temporary discomfort to achieve? Setting sail with your goals in mind is always a commendable intention but you must put the systems in place to achieve that goal or you wind up doing more wishing than willing the changes you want. The systems are your sails. Do what you love and do it well all the time and you’ll create a pattern of success that can direct you toward any destination.
So, if the wind feels like it’s left your sails and you’re meandering in a sea of old habits with not much motivation to make the changes you know will improve your health and happiness, breathe new life into those proverbial sails by taking on an empowering daily routine for about thirty days. Stay focused and determined for just that long and you’ll realize you’ve adopted a new, positive behavior that will change the course of your life for the better. You can do anything (within reason) for a month! I challenge you to try your best everyday, for just a month, and guarantee you’ll discover a more powerful, uncompromising side of yourself that you’ll love, cherish and respect for having given you the chance to keep the promises you’ve made to yourself. By February you’ll be a new person and glad you took my challenge! Best of luck and do report back… I’m always thrilled to hear about your progress!
~Be the wind, the sail, the goal and the journey… and be well!
It’s nearly 2015! How does the time fly so fast? We must have been having tons of fun! With all the hope, possibility and potential of the new year sitting right around the corner – and our resolutions sitting on ready – I’m reminded of all the past accomplishments and progress of the last year and inspired for future successes. Many of my year’s best moments revolved around 10 practices or habits that I’ve incorporated into my life over the past twenty years to make myself feel happy and healthy, whole and well. These “paths to peace” help me unwind, enhance my sense of well-being and shift my energy when I need it. In my vernacular blog lingo – they help me to be more Zen. All have had a special place and time in improving my life since I began practicing them and all can be life changing when they become habits. I hope you’re inspired to take action and try some of them to advance your life and increase your health, wealth, wisdom and happiness…
Denny’s Top 10 Wellness Habits:
1. Yoga – any style, anywhere, as often as I can get to it! Yoga always makes me feel centered, balanced, aligned, strong, loose, calm and clear. Yoga means unity and brings together the best of physical, mental and spiritual exercise and connects the parts of our being together through the breath. My favorite forms are Ashtanga (power) yoga and Restorative yoga, both of which I’m certified to teach. The daily practice of doing my own yoga at home has freed me from neck and spinal tension, rehabilitated my once shoddy knees and given me much greater flexibility, strength, breath control and mental focus. It is such a complete exercise form and miraculous “nerve tonic” that simply doing twenty minutes of yoga each day can drastically improve your joint and cardiovascular health, muscle tone, nerve and immune response, digestion and lower your blood pressure. Try a simple program of repeating Child’s pose and Down-dog pose in succession every morning for a few minutes to start and build your practice slowly from there. If it wasn’t for yoga I’m sure I’d be tied up in knots right now!
2. Acupressure and Energy Work – Therapeutic acupressure, acupuncture, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Shiatsu, Reiki, Haptonomy and other forms of mainly Eastern energetic bodywork therapies can be fantastically effective methods to help the body heal itself. Whether it’s mind over matter or matter over mind, accessing the body’s natural energetic centers, like the chakras, tsubos and meridians, through specific therapeutic practice can unlock one’s potential for health and restore one’s sense of well-being. The power of touch, such as the “laying on of hands,” can not be over-estimated for it’s curative effects. I have tried several forms of energy therapy to reduce anxiety, heal old emotional wounds and improve my concentration. I became certified in acupressure and Reflexology over ten years ago when I realized it’s unique potential for helping others. I still use it to this day to help friends and family in need of pain-relief. I also learned Jin Shin Jyutsu, or self-acupressure, to hone myself in times of ill health or scattered energy. I highly recommend learning this method for yourself.
3. Hynotherapy and Self-hypnosis – I became certified in Hypnotherapy in 2005 because I found it fascinating as a method for reprogramming the mind for desired behavioral changes. I learned all I could about the power of suggestion and how the subconscious mind works as an autopilot response to keep us safe and confortable, even in our bad habits. I realized I could help others “rewire” their thoughts to let go of past hurts and self-imposed limitations so they could experience more out of their lives. I also became adept at self-hypnosis or auto-suggestion, the process of reprogramming your own mind through self-induced relaxation, visualization and retraining of the subconscious. It’s empowered me to achieve great feats of memorization, overcome apprehension with public speaking and develop greater confidence in business and creative endeavors. Hypnosis can help you stop smoking, lose weight, overcome insomnia and phobias or enhance your performance in any field. Digital audio-visual hypnosis programs that use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) or anything by life coach Jon Mercer can also work wonders for whatever behaviors you want to change. All things are first a matter of mind!
4. The Arts – Be it acting, singing, music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing or participating in any kind of performance or artistic expression, the arts have been my lifesaver for years. Some people are naturally more creative and need to express themselves in that way to free their spirits and live their purpose. I definitely fall into that category, but I know many people who are more “critical” than creative minded who have greatly benefitted from exposure to the arts and some form of self-expression. Seeing a work of visual or performing art can help you relate more to the human condition and allow your spirit to feel great depths and heights of human emotion. It can be freeing, healing, calming, exciting, thought provoking, inspiring and life-affirming to experience art in any form. I’ve performed as an actor and singer since I was in Middle School and love to write and tell stories. This passion led me to obtain two academic degrees, star in two Off-Broadway shows, perform in my own comedy troupe for two years in Manhattan and fill the leading role in a two-act comedy, “The Year of Independent Living,” at this year’s Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. I know the power of the arts first-hand and can attest to it’s magical ability to transform your life and open up your heart, mind and spirit. Those who’ve gone through traumatic experience, dealt with mental illness or have been in need of physical rehabilitation have turned to the arts to help the body and mind heal via the soul’s expression. I say, pick up a pen, paintbrush or piccolo and have at it! Do it for yourself… do it for the love of art!
5. Fitness and Weight Training – I started strength training when I was seventeen but never got serious about it until I was about nineteen, a sophomore in college. I discovered yoga about that time, too. Once I really got into it, there was no turning back. Still, I’ve had fits and starts, dry spells with waning enthusiasm and booms where I was fully committed to regular weight training, cardiovascular exercise and regular flexibility and stretching components to my workouts. Everybody is different and needs different types of exercise to remain engaged. I tried running but that really killed my knees and some competitive sports but they never satisfied my personal desires when it came to feeling physically fit. I seem to do best with a combination of yoga, swimming and weight lifting. It really makes me feel strong, supple and energized. Having been a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor for over fourteen years, I know there’s a lot of information out there and it can be confusing and conflicting. If you try various workouts you’re bound to find something that will work out for you. Experiment, go with your interests and vary your routines until you find the right fit. A great rule of thumb is to make flexibility 20-30% of your total workout bout, strength training 40-60% and cardio another 20-30%. Doing your workout in that order also promotes the most efficient use of the body’s energy supply systems, not wasting too much energy on cardio early on and feeling too tires for strength training which builds and maintains muscle – the key to your metabolic rate and fat burning. That way you do 12-18 minutes of stretching, 24-36 minutes of strength and 12-18 minutes of cardio at the end to manage your workout in a 60 minute time frame. If you subscribe to the “afterburn effect” workout, you might want to stick with only strength training for 15-20 minutes, which supercharges your metabolic rate to burn calories for much longer periods of time than traditional exercise models. There’s always more to learn when it comes to fitness so I encourage you to keep researching and stay active! And don’t forget to feed your muscles!!
6. Deep Breathing Exercises – There are many ways to breathe and we’re simply not taught how magnificent breath control is in beating stress, regulating the emotions, opening blood vessels, managing the heart rate, energizing the body, stabilizing mood and deepening mental focus and relaxation. The breath is the most essential element needed for life. We can scarcely live more than two minutes without it. Yet we take it so for granted. It’s really a miracle that the exact right atmospheric and chemical conditions exist to sustain us through the magical air we breathe. Feeling grateful and joyful for each breath we take is the essence of living in grace. The Ujjayi pranayama, a type of yogic throat breathing practiced in Ashtanga yoga, is called the “victorious breath” and deeply connects you with the universal life force energy known as prana. But there are many types of simple deep breathing techniques that can help you find a tranquil state of body and mind like “reverse breathing,” where you inhale through the mouth like sucking through a straw and then exhale out the nose completely, which clears the sinus cavity and calms the central nervous system. Diaphragmatic breathing, where your belly rises and falls with each breath is also deeply calming and expands breath capacity. Focusing on certain body parts, like the eyes, fingers and toes while breathing can deepen your sensation of relaxation, too. Simply yawning and sighing in succession can also make you feel peaceful, light and free. Try sitting or lying down comfortably with a hand, a book or a pillow on your abdomen and watch as it slowly lifts and lowers as you breathe deeply. Notice each exhale taking a bit longer than the last. Feel the natural rhythm and flow of the breath deepening as you simply observe. The navel will drop lower into your abdomen as you exhale more deeply and feel more relaxed. Do this each night before bed and notice how well you sleep! My breath has always been there for me in my times of need and I keep just practicing so I never forget how to do it right.
7. Writing and Journaling – For the better part of twenty years my journal has been my constant companion and confidant. When I was just out of college it became vitally important to record my thoughts and feelings so I could later make sense of them when all other reason failed. I’ve used a spiral notebook to record my ideas for books, sketch comedy and movie concepts. I’ve written a children’s book, short stories, poetry, stage plays and screenplays and I keep aspiring to be a published author because it inspires me to challenge myself such goals. Writing is how I make sense of the world, which can often seem nonsensical. Whether it’s creative writing, blogging or journaling, I always seem to be putting my ideas down somewhere so I can remember them and reference them when needed or simply express how I’m feeling in the safest, clearest way I know. It’s a form of therapy for me and I highly recommend getting into a regular writing routine for anyone who needs to structure their thoughts and understand the way they think. Who doesn’t need that? I wrote my “morning pages” as instructed in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” for years – just writing out 3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling, long-hand, each morning until I would hit creative or cathartic pay dirt. I have resolved many personal issues this way and found spiritual enlightenment through the patient, regular task of writing. Many times it saved me from a sticky situation and protected my relationships and goals from rash, unregulated emotion and poorly planned action. Dumping your psychic garbage and sorting through your thoughts in a journal can help you do the same. Whether it’s writing lists, poems, lyrics, memoires or anything at all you want to express you’ll notice the act of jotting it down can make you feel better than all right.
8. Meditating and Praying – Transcendental meditation has been a stalwart companion in my search for truth and inner peace for many years now. It easily brings calm and serenity to my life and has become easier and more fulfilling the more I practice it. Any form of meditation doesn’t have to be done cross-legged (called zazen in Zen Buddhist practice) for hours at a time to be of benefit. Finding one’s inner power, purpose and patience can come in just a few minutes at a time once the practice has been mastered. Simply listening to the breath with laser-like attention can make for an effective meditation practice. Guided visualization, brain entrainment music like binaural beats or repetitive motions can also be utilized to induce the trance-like state associated with deep meditative focus. Yoga is said to be form of moving meditation and prepares the body for the quiet stillness where oneness of body, mind and spirit can be attained through relaxation, focus and breath. Meditation can also be described as listening to one’s higher self, the wisest inner voice that is connected to universal knowledge, where the answers to all of one’s needs and wants can be found. Prayer, on the other hand, is where one’s questions or requests from the universe, creator or higher power are directed. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, who you think is in charge or who you pray to when you take up the act of prayer. There is no true separation of energy in divine terms and your prayers are being heard by the powers that be, whomever they are. Since we’re all connected to the universe, our creator and each other, the energy of prayer creates ripples that eventually come back to us – so it’s best to stay positive and pray only for good, for the best possible outcome for all. But prayer, like meditation, is a private act and very personal, so I won’t espouse my beliefs as definitive or dare thrust them upon you as superior. I have faith that all good people who pray or meditate do it for the right reasons and I respect all beliefs that cause no harm. I believe that if you’re a good person and practice your spiritual beliefs in positive ways, it all gets heard by the same benevolent, supportive power and the answers we need are given to us in accordance with the energy we radiate and with what we can handle. Both prayer and meditation can help heal the body, mind and spirit and should be considered when other methods of self-improvement fall short.
9. Traveling – I think broadening one’s horizons is essential in developing a wider perspective on life and opening up one’s sense of adventure, possibility, wonder, enrichment and enlightenment. Making more of one’s own life is what we all want. When we travel we add new people, cultures, customs, languages, art, food, wisdom, stories, music, spirituality and social understanding to our concept of life and how we fit into it. I have been lucky enough in my life to travel extensively through Europe and North America to sacred sites and natural wonders and have seen and done amazing things that forever enriched my sense of self and of the world. From the Acropolis in Athens to Stonehenge in England; from the Duomo in Florence to the Louvre in Paris; from the cliffs of Moher in Ireland to the palace of Knossos on Crete I have experienced ancient history and architecture, the greatest works of art ever produced and nature’s most awe-inspiring vistas first-hand it and it made me grow and appreciate the world I live in so acutely. Traveling to Chichen Itza in Mexico, hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Brice and Zion national parks, seeing the Grand Canyon up close and even viewing the New York City skyline at night have all shown me what magnificent opportunities and possibilities, both natural and man-made, that this world can offer. My big bucket list trips still include the Big Island of Hawaii, Machu Picchu in Peru, Bali in Indonesia and an African safari in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. I can only imagine how much visiting those places will reshape my worldview and remind me what a gift my life is. I can’t wait to find out! Even exploring local vistas that are new to me, like the Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, FL where the legend of the “fountain of youth” originated has made me a richer person for having the experience of visiting… and was fantastic for my skin tone!
10. Teaching and Volunteering – I’ll keep it simple and true: teaching and volunteering are two of the most fulfilling things I’ve done. I’ve taught all kinds fitness classes and wellness workshops to preschoolers, seniors and everyone in between and it’s always a joy to help people learn and grow. I’ve volunteered for various charitable fundraisers and foundations as a singer, yoga instructor, server, non-medical assistant and caregiver and it always feels great to help those less fortunate than myself. I always walk away feeling more fortunate and grateful that I donated my time and energy and that I got to make a difference in some else’s life. Selfless acts of kindness remind me to be thankful for my life and to be humble, to give generously of my heart and rejoice in alleviating someone’s suffering and savor the pleasure of feeling their gratitude and seeing them smile or hearing them laugh. It’s those little things we do that mean a lot. Volunteering and donating time, effort, energy and money, advocating for others well-being and supporting worthy causes for those in need uplifts the spirit. Helping children, seniors, the disabled and the diseased and all of God’s creatures, big and small, makes this world a better place to live in and your life a bigger light in the world. Teaching anyone to help him or herself is the easiest way to guarantee their betterment and the future benefit of others. So pay-it-forward and give of yourself, make a difference and fight for what you believe in, spread your wisdom and compassion far and wide. The boost to humankind will be worth it and the rewards for your soul will be immeasurable.
I also practice giving gratitude or counting my blessings daily, which always makes me feel more connected with the goodness and abundance in my life. Each morning I’ll think of at least ten things I’m grateful for, like my health, friends, family, my home, my clients, my food and drink, my cat, my car, my computer, my imagination (and much more) to start my day in a healthy frame of mind. Then at night I’ll think of the best thing that happened to me that day and recall all the many good things in that process of remembering, too. That helps me go to sleep in a peaceful, joyful way. Try counting your blessings instead of sheep the next time you need to rest. This is my feel-good motto: “If you’re alive and thinking, be in love and thanking!”
I hope these 10 Zen practices help promote wellness and fulfillment in your life as you move forward and grow this coming year. Thank you for taking this journey with me and sharing in my adventure of enlightenment. May the promise of 2015 inspire you to be your personal best, reach for your dreams and achieve your goals… even the sky is not the limit!
As we approach 2015 I find myself reflecting on the year that’s past and looking forward to the promise of the new year to come. This time last year I officially relaunched my website and blog after the almost year-old site died due to a server crash. It was a tragic feeling to have the thirty or so blog posts I had written lost in the cyber ethers. But I picked up the pieces and decided to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. The fatality of my original website made me realize that I had to reprioritize my goals and rethink my approach to blogging and spreading the good word about fitness and wellness. My best friend and fellow wellness practitioner, Daniel Wiener, and I began collaborating on a book concept that would tie together the best of our experience and knowledge as fitness instructors, life coaches and wellness advisors. Our lifestyle and self-help fitness and wellness guide is about maximizing your lifestyle potential in minutes everyday. “Lifestyle” is how we describe the fashion, quality and experience of our lives or how we want to live. Reaching your lifestyle potential means making the most of your life and your time to live the life you desire. This blog post is a bit of a sneak preview and primer to our upcoming publication and hopefully will act as inspiration to those of you who are looking to renew your purpose and realize your full potential as a human being with measurable results in manageable amounts of time.
Being human is a funny thing. We want so many things and yet sometimes we forget to take care of what we need to do to achieve our goals and reach our dreams. Our passions and desires can guide and inspire us or blind and distract us. Our need for freedom, fear of failure and yearning for recognition can keep us from developing the discipline we need to become what would serve others and settle the urgings of our souls. That’s what our book is all about: discovering what your priorities are and making time to fit in the necessary practices needed to achieve full expression of one’s life goals within one’s desired lifestyle. Time is our most finite resource. It’s brevity makes life important. We only have so many turns around the sun before our number is up. In that scale of time we must find out what we want, come to know who we are, learn to love and accept ourselves, embrace our gifts and then strive toward our goals until we reach them. We are only limited by our own imagination, motivation and effort and how we organize the time we have on Earth to shape what we feel is important into a reality we can be proud of, our ultimate legacy.
We all want to matter; to leave our mark. Some people have children whom they raise well to forward their impression on the world. Others give of their minds with creative works and inventions to become an indelible influence on the human race. Still others provide services and give of their hearts to make the world a better place. All are remarkable, commendable and honorable ways of contributing to the advancement of our society. If one is lucky and organized, they can leave many contributions to the world. But there are only so many days to make your life matter and be a special stitch in the fabric of humanity. Improving your life and making the most of your time is never a selfish act. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you help others? When you don’t contribute your best to uplift those you love, isn’t that selfish? The way we use our time and energy determines the course and effectiveness of our lives. With focus and discipline all people can achieve positive goals through determination and planning. But we must also be willing to change, make better choices, take chances, adapt and adopt new actions to become something we haven’t yet been. All experiences and actions in our lives exact change. What matters most is how we spend it!
Ever get to the end of the day and wonder where it all went? How about the week, month or year? Time can seem quite relative. It flies when we’re having fun and slows to a crawl when we’re bored or have to wait. Time goes by differently for a child than an adult. The years slip away quickly when we grow up, but can you remember waiting for Christmas or your birthday as a child? It seemed like an aeon away! Time is largely a construct of the mind, though we measure it so precisely. It can run like water and our efforts and experiences can seem to evaporate with only digital snapshots, videos and fleeting results of what was meant to be and what could have been. Time isn’t free… it takes its toll and we want to be ready with our token when our time comes. Life, in fact, is a measure of time and what we do with it. It’s important to live a life of breadth and meaning, but that end requires making the most of the time we have here on Earth to make our lives what we want them to be and impact the world in some significant way. When it comes to measuring how well we live – the great equalizer – the container in which we fulfill our existence – the most important component for creating our lifestyle and legacy – it’s all a matter of time.
Learning to manage your time, as a resource, may be the most valuable practice you ever implement. People feel limited by many different things, but time is the ultimate boundary between one’s aspirations and their realization. Never underestimate the power of now. Dreams and goals require action to be met. Taking mere minutes everyday to reach your destiny can make all the difference in the quality of your life and lifestyle. A great example is taking the time each day to exercise and maintain your physical fitness. If you leave out that time for self-sustaining practice your health and fitness will be negatively impacted. You will lose muscle, become inflexible, retain fat and your arteries will harden and collapse prematurely. But taking just a twenty-minute bout of exercise each day will most certainly stave off ill health, build and maintain muscle, preserve suppleness, keep you slim and trim, open your blood vessels and re-energize your life force.
How we choose to spend our minutes, everyday, winds up defining key aspects of our lives. We cannot achieve goals tomorrow that we haven’t already worked toward or prepared for in the present. It has to be today that we take action. Otherwise we will procrastinate and “bump” our actions into some nebulous future tense. Action today equals creation and achievement over time. Inaction, in essence, is the wasting of precious time. We have to take the steps now to make our lives what we want. We must act as if there is no future tense. A new action, habit, intention or solution must be made active today to impact tomorrow or it has no true meaning, power, importance or value! When it comes to really developing your life, it’s not about “having time”… it’s about making your time matter!
I will update you on the timely process of publishing our book, but at this crucial time let me give you a few tips that will guide you toward maximizing your own lifestyle potential now. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself about what you want, your priorities and how you manage your time. Your answers will reflect your lifestyle choices and the changes you may need to make to have the life you want. Remember, well managed and specifically dedicated time is the most essential element needed to create the life experience you desire and propel you forward…
· What’s missing in your life? Really – what do you want that you don’t have? Is it good health, physical fitness, loving relationships, free time, enrichment, enlightenment, spirituality, wealth, respect, happiness or something else that’s missing in your life? Define it – and be honest!
· What’s in the way? What lies between you and what you really want? Do you need more education, a teacher or guide, a new perspective or some courage to move forward? Do you have an ailment, a hang-up, a prejudice, a sense of distrust, low self-esteem or a lack of motivation or focus that’s keeping you stuck and unfulfilled? Understand your obstacle and you can learn to overcome it!
· What are your real goals? Do you have truly strong, crucial desires? Desire often precedes action and action defines success.
· What do you do with your free time? Is it spent in productive pursuits or wasted on distractions? Does your “free” time make you feel free? Only you can decide the importance and meaning of your work, playtime, rest time and time dedicated to some goal.
· What matters most to you? What are your biggest priorities in life, right now? Is your lifestyle too busy to attend to things you really care about? When can you make the time to prepare meals, eat right, exercise, meditate, de-clutter and reorganize your affairs, manage your finances, volunteer, communicate with and take care of those you love and enrich your body, mind and soul? Taking some time each day to handle all those responsibilities, in an organized way, will bring balance and focus to all you do – so you can do it all.
· What do you think your lifestyle potential is? What life can you see yourself living? How do you attain that dream life without committing some time each day to its realization? We cannot build our tomorrows on foundations we haven’t laid today.
· What was the last major goal you set for yourself and did you achieve it? We all need something to look forward to in order to be motivated. If it’s been a while since you’ve challenged yourself by goal setting and taking the necessary steps to reach your goal, you may feel “rusty” and need to practice setting your aims and firing toward a target.
· Are you a perfectionist, procrastinator or do you over-prepare when setting a goal? Are you stuck in a “comfort zone?” Do you feel responsible for other people’s happiness? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions there are signs that you’re avoiding your own ambitions, making excuses and stalling on moving ahead with your goals, dreams and plans.
· Do you make yourself accountable or reflect on your progress regularly as you go along your journey of dream realization? Tracking your efforts and having someone you report to can help you refine your process and stay committed to your purpose.
Here are some parts of your lifestyle that may need re-prioritizing to figure out what needs the most help, where changes need to be made and what’s already functioning as you wish and therefore doesn’t need as much attention. These aspects of living are common to all people but some will be more important to you than others, depending on where you feel you need improvement and advancement in your life. Here are the 12 keys areas to unlocking your lifestyle potential each day…
1. Fitness – 20 minutes of sweat everyday will keep your body and mind stress free so you can live healthy, happy and whole!
2. Nutrition – Planning, preparing and portioning healthy meals to energize your life in 20-30 minutes each day!
3. Beauty – Taking 10-15 minutes everyday to pamper and beautify yourself with proper hygiene, skin, hair, teeth and nail maintenance.
4. Wisdom – 10-30 minutes a day of reading, education, brain games, puzzles, meditation or other mind building practices to keep you razor sharp.
5. Nurturing – 10 or more minutes everyday dedicated to improving your emotional well-being, including self-appreciation, compassion, patience and forgiveness.
6. Soul – Freeing your spirit by finding purpose, passion and power within. Sometimes a 5-minute prayer is all it takes!
7. Love – Making a stronger connection with every relationship in your life; checking in with those you love in meaningful ways in minutes a day.
8. Service – Simple ways to give back and help the world each and every day; getting involved by volunteering, donating and advocating for those in need.
9. Gratitude – Giving thanks to enhance your happiness; cultivating gratitude by counting your blessings and feeling joy for all you have, everyday.
10. Creativity – Nurturing your inner-child’s need for playtime and structure so you can express yourself in fun, free and fantastically healthy ways.
11. Aspiration – Making time to tend to your career and financial needs so you can plan ahead for wealth, create success, travel to enrich yourself and be of great use and value.
12. Reflection – Leaving some time each day to take stock of your progress and be accountable; journaling, self-coaching and tracking your development. This includes taking time to “go off the grid,” unplug, disconnect and experience true down-time.
These are well-tested life coaching methods that you can apply to your life to get more organized about how you spend your time and energy and how taking just minutes each and everyday to balance your lifestyle priorities in a holistic way can help you enhance your quality of life. Leaving any of these aspects neglected or under-developed means short-changing your lifestyle potential. Giving them some nurturing time each day will help you harness your true power, advance your goals and attain self-fulfillment. As always, please contact me if you need further information or assistance with these concepts and their application. I appreciate your comments and wish you the best in maximizing your lifestyle potential. I hope this post has inspired you to look at how you manage your time and make some changes that will improve the quality of your life. We’re each given the same amount of time to make our dreams come true – NOW!
~Be the master of your destiny… Be the change… Be resolute… Be well!
Have you ever noticed that some people rarely, if ever, stand in their own way of achieving personal progress and professional success? How some people are ever so willing to take chances and assume the best will come their way, no matter what obstacles they face? Isn’t their confidence and self-assuredness infectious, inspiring and even intimidating at times? Don’t you sometimes wish you had 10% of their faith in themselves? Ever notice how other people respond to challenges, risks and facing the unknown poorly, with minimal confidence or self-esteem? If you’re like most people, you are painfully aware of your own limitations. In fact, feeling confident and secure with yourself and your abilities may be a fairly foreign concept to consider. Far too many of us allow our limitations, our concepts of what we can and can’t do in life, to define what actions we will or won’t take to reach our potential and secure our dreams. But, like so many parts of our identity, our supposed limits are based on our skewed individual perspectives and subjective personal perceptions. Power, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and must be held to know.
Personal power, a measure of self-worth, is the essential element of one’s belief in one’s self to persevere through difficulties and achieve any goal. If you believe you have a lot of power, you believe you can achieve almost anything. If you think you have a limited ability to make changes in your life or in the world, chances are you probably won’t attempt to do so. If you believe you can influence, mold and create your life as you wish it to be, you’ll find ways to fulfill that desire by taking action, without any fear or trepidation of what obstacles you’ll face. Even if you are afraid, you know you’ll conquer your demons and triumph over adversity because you trust and have faith in your talents, skills and gifts so deeply. Whereas, if you don’t trust that you can risk the obliteration of your security, you probably won’t test your limits, reach for success or chance the possibility of failure.
Power means different things to different people. For some, power is related to physical strength or prowess. Others find power in wealth and influence. Still others see intelligence, talent and experiential wisdom as their power. All are valid forms of power, but there are other ways to be powerful in the world and develop great self-confidence and security. Some are positive in their scope, others rely on negative qualities to express themselves. Most power is limited, but some has limitless potential for creating good.
If you want something and you use your emotional pull on others to get it, that’s a negative, self-centered and limited form of influential power. Anyone who’s had to deal with a demanding friend, an aloof co-worker or “victim-martyr” type relative knows this to be true. Such pitiful “power” is always taken from another person and lacks any generosity of spirit. Their sway over your good nature can only last so long before you resent them and deny them the power they seek to hold over you. A positive, expansive and relatively limitless form of power to use in achieving your goals is spiritual power, the power we receive from prayer, meditation and self-development. Asking more of yourself, making yourself into a bigger person to match greater challenges and transforming yourself to reach your potential by sheer will creates a stronger character that can achieve greater results. Connecting with your higher self, the greatest and best part of you, to make your life better is indeed a spiritual pursuit and relies on no one but yourself and your relationship with the creative forces of the universe to manifest your good fortune.
There are other forms of power that have some unavoidable limits but hold great potential for personal development when they are fully realized. Self-control is one. The ability to see that your power is limited to your control over your thoughts, feelings and actions can actually free you to let go of expectations, assumptions and unhealthy desires in the material world of things and relationships. Being responsible for your words, deeds and health sets others free to control their lives and releases you from any need to have them behave in any certain way. You can control your health through good nutrition, a sold fitness routine, regular sleep and rest periods and a positive mindset. You have power over yourself – your body, mind, emotions and actions – nothing more and nothing less, which is a great blessing, a relief and a terrific responsibility.
You have no real control or responsibility over how others live their lives. All you can do is be a positive influence and good example or model and hope they compliment your energy. The rest you can let go, and that is a blessing. You can also control your feelings, your emotions, how you react to others. It may not always feel that way, but you can decide how much you allow yourself to become raveled up in someone else’s drama or react defensively if riled. You can control many of your relationships – how close they are, how long they last and if they should be part of your life. If a relationship isn’t adding to your existence maybe it shouldn’t remain a connection. Aspects of your ambition can be controlled, like your commitment, resolve, enthusiasm, dedication and devotion to pursuing your goals. The power of your will, if you direct it, can produce wonders. If you squander your will to take action, you will face a lifetime of walls.
Your mind is under your control. A powerful mindset is the most valuable asset you can develop. Without harnessing the power of your mind, little else is achievable. Your imagination has great power and you can hone it into visionary genius or waste it on worries, frets and fears. You can control your level of knowledge and education. Ignorance is also in your control. Your reputation and honor is under your control. Are you reliable, honest, dignified and faithful? What you put your attention on is in your power. Do you focus on completing admirable activities or point your mind at pointless pursuits? Your level of gratitude can be a powerful asset. A thankful heart is often amply rewarded. Your energy and effort are also powerful strengths. The more you put in, the more you’re bound to get out of your investment. But all these things are somewhat limited. The most limiting power we have to make positive changes on earth is time. You only get so many turns around the sun to make your mark, so how you spend your time is a power that matters in the finite. The least limited power you hold in this life is faith. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed… you can move mountains.” Faith makes the impossible possible. The greater your faith, the greater the challenge you can overcome. Faith can be a limitless power and can make you feel unlimited in your ability to change, learn, heal and grow. Faith will help you let go of your limitations. You must be willing to let go of those barriers before you can move on and realize your potential.
Confidence, success and a winning attitude aren’t magical, easy or inborn qualities. They are nurtured by trial, error and retrial. Only through the application of courage under fire can confidence grow and become one of your defining characteristics. Feeling a sense of power in your life is like building a muscle. The more you use your power to overcome resistance, the stronger that power gets. Your limitations are only what you think they are. What happened to you in the past is not what defines you. It was all just a story, a way your mind came to understand your circumstances in order to protect and defend you, to keep you safe. And you have the power to change your mind! There are more important things in life than being safe. Like exploring your truth, defying your limits and owning up to your power before you’re forced to look back in regret.
You choose your path, of whatever level of resistance you decide you can handle. You decide your identity – as a victim or victor. There really is no good or bad direction, only a neutral universe on which you impress your perception and outlook. Your attitude is the forerunner of your success. Ultimately, you are the CEO of You, Incorporated. Why not make the executive decision to move past your self-imposed, self-limiting ideas and behaviors and choose to be the strongest, wisest, most attractive and capable person you can be? Why not have faith and believe that you are a beautiful, brilliant, blessed and majestic being? Why not accept and own your true power to create, to choose your own path? The responsibility is yours, whether you choose to take those reigns or not. Will you let the lies of fear and self-doubt guide you into mediocrity and obscurity or shall the truth of love and self-respect lead the way to your brightest, fullest potential and best destiny?
Here are two visualization exercises to help you uncover your power to achieve personal and professional greatness:
The Wall – A Perspective
Close your eyes and take a couple deep breaths. Then imagine your biggest problem, issue or limitation as a wall in front of you, no more than a few feet away. Can you see what it looks like? Notice its color and texture, what its made of, how tough it seems and how tall or wide it appears to be.
Now, step 20 large paces backward, away from the wall. Count those 20 steps before you look back at the wall. What does the wall look like now? It’s much smaller isn’t it? You may not be able to see where it begins or ends. It may have large cracks in it or even holes, places where it’s crumbling apart. Maybe you can see it does terminate at some bend. Or someone has dug a tunnel underneath it at one part or has set up a ladder to climb over it. There are ways through that wall.
On the other side of the wall you can see a beautiful green pasture with flowers, trees and endless possibilities. Difficulties are surmountable, as long as we can gain a healthy perspective and find ways of working around them. Empower yourself to see and live beyond your supposed limitations. Take bold action to gain greater confidence and your walls will become stepping-stones to success.
You, Unlimited – The Vision
Imagination is one of our greatest powers and is fairly unlimited in its scope. For a moment, make believe you are a magician or wizard. You have the ability to conjure up any reality you desire. Now, look into a mirror in your mind. Make sure it’s a large mirror so you can see yourself and the panorama surrounding you. Waive your magic wand and cast a spell. One by one create the circumstances you wish to have in your life, the reality you desire, all around you and within you. Imagine the beautiful body and health you want as real. Create the education, career, wealth and finances you desire in this vision. See the loving, joyful relationships, fabulous experiences, the freedom, success and legacy you want as solid parts of your life. All the material possessions you ever wanted are there, too. Keep imagining all these good things in your master vision until you’re satisfied with how it looks.
Now, with that vision seeming like a dream come true, begin to FEEL yourself living as that person – unlimited, grateful and beaming with happiness! Let your heart and emotions become completely wrapped up in the reality of what you’ve created and let it feel really good, all over your body. Take at least 30 seconds to soak in and experience the fullness of your ecstatic appreciation and bliss for what you have conjured up as your holographic, dreamlike reality. Smile from ear to ear for those 30 seconds or more and then slowly open your eyes and take that positive feeling with you to brighten your day and enlighten your path toward the most unlimited version of you that has been made possible by your envisioning and feeling the vibrations of that potential actualization. This experience becomes a part of you and will guide you to greater explorations of success and happiness. Repeat often!
I find it so interesting that the emotion of fear, a feeling meant to protect us from harm, can paralyze us and prevent us from experiencing the fullness of our life’s potential. I also find it fascinating that fear is so closely related to the emotion of excitement. When we want something, we get excited about it. So having a strong desire for an experience or thing can make you feel a bit edgy. Often channeling that desire into action can help you overcome the emotion that may be misinterpreted as fear, anxiety or apprehension. If you feel fear but there’s no basis for being afraid other than having a new experience, learning or growing somehow, then what you’re feeling really isn’t fear – it’s excitement – the thrill of trying something new or attaining your desired goal! Daring to stare fear in the face and overcome it makes you stronger. You expand your possibilities and defy your limits every time you remind fear who’s boss – you! Just because something is unknown doesn’t mean it’s unsafe or necessarily worth being scared of. Surprises can be wonderful. So, the next time you’re afraid of something new ask yourself, “Isn’t this really exciting?” and give yourself permission to try it and see how it makes you feel. You never fail when you allow yourself the chance to succeed. Learning to fly means being willing to fall. Never fight your instincts, never freeze your will and never flee from a challenge. Learn to take courage by mastering your emotions and knowing them well. If it’s not likely fear that you’re feeling… Fear not!
Human beings can’t stand to lose. We resist losing anything. We always want to gain, earn, win or feel we deserve something greater. We’re driven to make more of our lives, in every way. We respect profit, prosperity and power as if by second-nature, perhaps more than we’d like to admit. In fact, we’ll sabotage possible gains if we feel there’s an implied risk for losing. Sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us but our hope to gain even harmful things outweighs our awareness of potential loss. People simply want something added to their lives at every turn.
It’s written into our DNA to always want more, never less. Anything subtracted, diminished, removed, negated, missing, minimized or lost is abhorred and we’ll fight against it vehemently. Yet, so often, we focus on our desired health, fitness, wellness, creativity and relationships in a negative way. We say we want to “lose weight” or “stop smoking” or we want to “stop feeling sorry” for ourselves, be “less” anxious, fearful or self-conscious, “get out of” financial debt, “cut off” toxic relationships, “detox” our bodies or “reduce” stress. However, we really just want to grow, learn and develop ourselves and increase, expand and strengthen aspects of our lives. So trying to lose, get rid of or deny ourselves anything we want to change automatically meets with internal conflict and winds up blocking our progress.
If the desire to gain is a chief motivator for most people in most situations, focusing on loss simply cannot help us achieve what we want in optimal, positive ways. The case can also be made that external motivators, which can be powerful prompts for action, are inherently negative. Deadlines, expectations, demands, emptiness, fear, guilt, worry, criticism – they can all be used to make us do things we might otherwise ignore or avoid. But they come from a taking, receiving, lacking energy – a place that makes us feel like we need to fulfill ourselves with something external. Those motivations come from a place of pressure, not pleasure. Such energy is essentially thrust upon us, absorbed from the outside, and can keep us operating at a lower vibration than positive, internally generated motivators. Ambition, passion, inspiration, pride, joyfulness, opportunity, gratitude and love are all positive motivations that come from within ones self, derived by a personal need to grow and gain, emitted as a generous, giving energy.
When we need to make changes and want to achieve greater goals our motivations should be primarily internal and remain positive and gain-oriented. If “weight loss” is the goal, one should always remain driven instead by “health empowerment,” “fitness gains,” or “energy improvement.” If we want to “stop smoking” it’s better to focus instead on a ”start breathing” or a ”clear the air” regimen. Either way, you’re not really giving something up; you’re gaining a better habit. To “reduce stress,” we ultimately want to concentrate on increasing tranquility. To be “less” anxious or depressed, we need to think of being more trusting and joyful. To “get out of” financial issues, we simply want to gain more financial power and build wealth. It’s all how you look at it. Staying negative, loss-oriented or externally motivated will only bring you down. We are human beings, but we prefer to be “humans having,” so to have what you really want you’ll need to gain the right perspective. Success is usually a matter of habit, repeated in thought, feeling and action.
To drive home the point about how our needs, desires and motivations direct our habits and actions, let’s look at a few more negative motivators within more positive, gain-oriented frameworks…
1) Deadlines or appointments can also be seen as disciplines or opportunities.
2) Requests or meeting the needs of others can be viewed as caring, service and bilateral reciprocation.
3) Suggestions and demands can become greater receptivity, inspiration or self-will.
4) Criticism can be countered with increasing creativity.
5) Fear, doubt and anxiety once understood can generate compassion and faith.
6) Shame and avoidance can be turned into pride and engagement.
7) A need for comfort and ease can motivate an acceptance of tension or pain.
8) Lack or emptiness can become motivations for fulfillment and gratitude.
9) Guilt or worry can spawn serenity, tranquility and understanding.
10) Responsibility or duty, which can feel heavy, is lightened by a desire to help.
11) Expectations can lead to a greater, more honed acceptance of one’s abilities.
12) Selflessness in giving can allow one to experience receiving with appreciation and grace.
These are just a few examples of some opposites that can help you perceive your true motivations in a different light. Once you see that you’ve been looking at how to compensate for losses instead of aggrandizing your gains, it becomes clear that what moves you into action may not always be the energy you want to exude or attract. There is another way of practicing positive motivation I must mention. If your purpose is to gain and grow, that should be the process, too. You’ll want to enjoy the journey of making gains more than what result might come from them. You can control the energy and intention you direct, but you often cannot have any real control over the results, response or outcome of your efforts. You’re better off remaining detached from the destination and savor the path to making more out of your life. Remember that, whatever your goal, you can make it work for you simply because you want to have and become more of yourself, fulfilled by your own willingness to change and grow. The rest is mainly a matter of practice, diligence, discipline and integrity. Whether you choose to win or lose, what matters most is how you play your inside game.