Say YES!

27 02 2013

 

 

My experience is that the process of letting go can’t be forced, only allowed by welcoming EVERYTHING that happens in your life as an opportunity to let go of thoughts and emotions that aren’t working for you. I have made it my primary intent to let go of anything that holds me back from living my full potential. By focusing on that intention, the willingness to go through everything life offers to me and being appreciative of every vessel for transformation, no matter what it looks like, I not only attract into my life plenty of opportunities to let go, I’m also gaining momentum. I have attracted plenty of seemingly pretty shitty experiences, and I got completely stuck in the overwhelming pain some carried. With time I got through them, and although in retrospect, with the knowledge I have now, it sometimes feels like I have wasted time being stuck in those situations, I KNOW that at the time I did the best I could and I feel deep appreciation for all the lessons they provided and the insights I have gained through experiencing them which have brought me where I am today. And by allowing and releasing the pain and fear that is  activated within me, my pain body has become and is becoming less dense and the experiences I am attracting today are of a different quality than before and help me to let go even faster.

What I know for sure is that letting go starts with saying ‘YES’ to all of life’s experiences, not just some. So often we push away what we don’t want to experience and equally crave the experience of what we do want. When you open yourself up to every experience, the pain and the joy, the craving and the resistance, you unlock the door to a life more magnificent than you ever dreamt of. Say ‘YES’ to all that you are. Most of us only love and accept parts of ourselves, or maybe we merely like them. For the most part, we try to suppress the unwanted parts and punish ourselves for feeling and acting a certain way. When you have the courage to allow all of yourself, even the parts you fear to show most, you will be equalized, you will be in harmony with yourself. And in that state, you will line up with the grandest version of yourself.

When you start seeing your life and your personality as means of transformation, as ways to become free of pain and fear, you will start seeing the blessing in every moment. Everything life hands you, will become a gift. You will learn to see that the wrapping does not affect the quality of the gift. You will rediscover the joy of unwrapping and the delight of receiving a personalized gift. Life will become awesome.

May you welcome every opportunity life has to offer to you right NOW and allow your life to help you let go of all the thoughts and emotions you have carried with you for too long. May you be free. Namasté.

 





Getting out of the tread wheel

20 02 2013

 

 

(part 5 in a series on letting go, click here to read part 1 or part 4)

Most of us have a hard time accepting. Somehow we feel that by accepting something we don’t like, we give it our stamp of approval. Or worse, accepting equals hitting the like button. That is not the case. Acceptance means that we stop resisting what has happened and what is happening as a result. Acceptance is key in becoming a calm and assertive leader. Only when you have accepted where you are now and what isn’t working for you, you are in a space where you can see new possibilities and take the neccessary steps towards realizing your vision. Restistance, or stress, contracts our brain and impairs our ability to think creatively. The more we resist what is happening, the more likely it is that we will not find a way out of it. It’s like a dog on a tread wheel that keeps running to get out. Ironic, isn’t it?

In our brain, we have an alarm system and an emergency alert system. When the alarm goes off, the emergency alert system is activated, which readies our body for the so-called fight-or-flight response. These systems increased our chances of survival drastically when we were still living on the savannah surrounded by hungry lions. When faced with a lion, our ancestors had no choice but to deal with it. Accepting a situation as it is has nothing to do with resigning or giving up. It means dealing with the present moment. When in a life-or-death situation, Read the rest of this entry »





The Sway Bridge

13 02 2013

 

 

(part 4 in a series on The Art of Letting Go, click here for part 1 or part 3)

In this test your dog is on one side of a sway bridge. You know the kind that always wobbles. Your dog tried one paw on the first step and decided it isn’t going to cross that bridge. It has its tail between its legs, it’s whimpering softly. It is your job to get the dog from one side to the other. You may not recognize the situation, but it is very common. For most of us, most of the time, our mind is standing on that one side, saying “I AM NOT brave enough to cross that bridge, I AM a loser!”, seemingly unable to go to the other side where you could say with proud “I AM brave, I crossed that bridge”.  I AM going to help you let go of your limiting inner-speech by teaching you how to cross that bridge step by step.

Your thoughts shape your words and your words shape your reality. Whatever you think about a subject, influences how you react to it and what you do about it. When you are used to thinking of yourself as a failure, you will think like a failure, talk like a failure and this way you will draw into your life the act of failing. The fear of failing causes a stress response. Stress causes you to contract. In a contracted state of mind, you are focused on problems and cannot access the solutions to these problems. This way your inner-speech becomes a self-fulfilling profecy. The highway to success in any domain of your life is to change your inner-speech.
What do you say to yourself repetitively? Which automated negative thoughts shape your reality? Do you tell yourself: “I’m so weak”, when you don’t keep your resolutions, or “I’m so clumsy” when things goes wrong, or “I’m so stupid” when you don’t know an answer directly. Who has planted these negative seeds in your mind that you have allowed to take root? See that they are not yours to begin with. How do you feel when you believe that statement to be true? See the effect this thought has on your feelings, words and actions.    Does this limiting self-talk help you be who you want to be? Are you willing to be held back by these thoughts?

When your mind is whimpering “I AM weak”, it is YOU who has to see the other side. It is you who has to determine how you get your mind to cross the gap, it is you who has to lead your mind to the other side, to face its fears and cross that wobbly sway bridge. You wouldn’t let your dog cross that bridge if it were too dangerous. You know that it will reach the other side safely. It is your job to create trust and lead your dog to the other side safely, even if you have never crossed that bridge before and don’t know exactly what is on the other side. You have to trust your heart’s vision. You have to trust that it will lead you safely to the other side. You have to trust that the other side is where you need to go, simply because your heart inspired you to go there. Even if you have no way of knowing for sure that the other side is the right side, you cannot let your mind know. You have to fake it till you make it.

When I was ill for almost 2 years, this is what I learned. When I was feeling exhausted, my rational mind would repeat incessantly “I AM so incredibly tired”. After  a while, I discovered that I spoke and moved my body more slowly when I had that thought. Believing that thought made me feel even more tired. So I started playing with it. Instead of focusing on being ill, I started focusing on feeling healthy. Instead of focusing on being tired, I focused on being energetic. That’s when I learned the act of bridging. If the gap between where you are and where you want to be is too big to make it in one leap, you’ll have to feel your way towards your goal. If I would have said to myself “I AM energetic”, while laying in bed, feeling exhausted, my rational mind would not have believed me. It just would have retorted. “Yeah right, and pigs fly. You’re completely exhausted, that’s what you are.” I learned to trick my mind by finding a statement that was close to the way I was feeling, but slightly better and phrased positively. It may be as simple as “I AM feeling more energetic than yesterday.” I would focus on that thought as if my life depended on it, and when I could feel the truth of it, I would find an even better feeling statement. “I AM feeling my energy increase.” I would play this game a lot, and without knowing it my mind and body were finding new steps, slowly crossing my sway bridge, until one day they reached the other side and were united with my vision for me. Today, I AM energetic. Today, my mind and body are crossing a new bridge, finding their way to “I AM an Energizer Bunny” and I love it! I AM so looking forward to feeling even more energized than I AM today.

Not all our limiting and self-sabotaging I AM’s are as clear at the example above. You define yourself in all kinds of ways, all the time. You may say, “I AM a gourmand”, unintentionally giving yourself permission to indulge in food, or “I AM just a C”, inadvertedly giving your brain the command to stop looking after a certain while, because you are ‘not smart enough‘ to find the solution. Or you say to yourself, “That’s who I AM”, unconsciously reinforcing the belief that you are powerless and unable to change your behavior.

Eventhough you may not see or feel the truth of it yet, you are SPECIAL, you are TALENTED, and you are GORGEOUS. Now, listen to your inner-speech. Which I AM’s are keeping you from all that you already ARE on the inside? Which I AM’s are keeping you from living your vision. Then ask yourself, which I AM is standing on the other side of this gap? How can you help your mind take a new step? Which statement in the direction of this new truth would feel true enough for your mind to believe? Which statement do you feel calm and assertive about? Which statement do you know to be attainable? Try the new statement. See how your mind reacts. When you feel resistance, find a statement that is even closer to where you are. When you feel no resistance, focus on your new thought. Write it down, repeat it aloud, do whatever it takes for your mind and body to feel the truth of this new step, to feel confident about it. Repeat these steps until you it reach the other side. This way your mind will keep up with the vision you have for your life. When you keep moving forward there will always be new dreams to live and new bridges to conquer. Somehow crossing new bridges doesn’t get less scary, but you’ll get more confident and you get to enjoy the process of working towards your dreams. So, what bridge are you crossing? What will be your next step?

 

In the next article, I’ll discuss the important role acceptance has in the process of letting go.

 

Picture is by Beth Borchardt from Akekal

 





The Mind Agility Training

6 02 2013

 

 

(part 3 in a series on the art of letting go, click here for part 1 and part 2)

Welcome to the mind agility training. As you may know, dog agility is a fun sport for intelligent dogs and their owners. The goal is for the dog to cross an obstacle course as quickly as possible with maximum accuracy. From dog agility to mind agility is not too big a leap. I personally believe there is no difference between getting your dog to cooperate or your mind. Although it is called dog agility, it is the handler who has to learn how to lead so the dog will follow. In mind agility, it is the handler, you, who is trained to become a leader. A really, really good dog handler is called a dog whisperer. This agility training will help you take the first steps toward becoming a mind whisperer.

In an agility race a dog runs without a leash. It’s the handler’s  job to direct the dog through the obstacles. She is not allowed to touch the dog or the obstacles, nor is she allowed to lure the dog with toys or food. She can only use her voice, body signals and the way she moves over the field to give her dog directions. In order for the dog to reach the finish, both willl have to learn to cooperate smoothly.  A calm and assertive handler not only knows how to handle her dog effectively, she has a vision. The handler’s vision is simple: to be the best team, to be champions. In order to win, she assesses the course, determines how to cross it effectively and decides on the handling strategies. In the race she trusts her vision, her dog and their training to finish as smoothly as possible.

Today, we’re going to start our training.  When you start something new, you usually miss more than half of what is going on. And that’s okay. Once you get to know the game better, once you get better at playing the game, you’ll start seeing nuances and understand underlying patterns that first escaped you. At the start of this training, I want you to see the big picture, finesse will come later.

Question: If the training field were to represent your life, what course are you going to run? How do you see yourself finish? Can you see yourself running a course that no one else has run before, a very personal, unique course? Can you see yourself as an outstanding handler? How DO you see yourself?  Suppose you could find nothing wrong with who you are, that you were perfect in every way? How would you think, speak and act? How would you treat yourself, your partner, your kids and all you meet? How would that feel? Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what that would be like.
What if I tell you that you are all that, that you are just as perfect now as on the day you were born. It is true that along the way you have picked up beliefs and behaviors that are keeping you from being who you are on the inside, but those can be let go off. You are a unique human being. In the whole wide world there is no one like you. You are one of a kind. You are endowed with a unique set of experiences, talents and skills. This makes you special. Having a vision means seeing and respecting your uniqueness, the perfection of who you are and letting go of what others have believed and to this day believe you to be. Having a vision means choosing the life that is growing on the inside, the life you feel inspired to live.

I have struggled with this a lot. It’s is a different way of thinking. It’s relearning to think with the whole of your being. You don’t have to create a vision, your vision of all that you are is already locked up inside of you. All you have to do is uncover it, make it visible. Don’t worry if you can’t see ‘the perfection of you’, I certainly didn’t when I started my training. Just relax. Like me, you will be allright. What I have learned is that when you are somewhat confused, when your vision is cluttered or blurry, if you keep focusing and make decisions based on what you do see, it will become clearer, bit by bit. If your vision feels like some indecipherable quantum soup to you right now, don’t focus too hard on it. Instead focus on whatever makes you feel best about yourself, however small, and just stumble ahead. When you make decisions based on that part of you, you will get a clearer feel of how you will want to run your course in time.

Uncovering your vision is exciting and scary at the same time. Having a vision means knowing why you do what you do and how you do it. Living your vision means making choices that are aligned with your personal vision of who you are, and in doing so you automatically let go of options that are not aligned with living your best life, of the life others have envisioned and lovingly are evisioning for you. Uncovering your vision and letting go go hand in hand. By moving forward in the direction that your heart recognizes as your best future, you move away from what is holding you back from living it. It is a step by step process. Doing the mind agility course will help you get more clear.

In part 4 of this series, we’re going to conquer obstacle #1, the sway bridge. Your heart’s vision is always ahead of your rational mind. Bridging is helping your mind cross that gap and join your vision of all that you can be. We’re going to continue the mind-dog metaphore. I think you’ll agree it is easier to imagine a dog walking on a sway bridge than you would your mind.

 

photo by Lloyd Bristow