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Three Ways to Feel Better Right Now

Posted March 25, 2017

sign framing landscape

So many spiritual people I know are upset constantly about world affairs . . .

Or something is going awry in their personal lives . . .

Or they're dreading some imminent change . . .

So they say they'll just have to hold the high watch.

Elevate their consciousness.

Stay positive.

Yeah, good luck with that.

How exactly do we shift our consciousness when we are terrified by the news on television, or someone we love is gravely ill, or we're just in a funk?

OUT OF THE MIRE

I was introduced recently to a simple but effective system to “generate state.” That is, to elevate our thoughts to the level we'd like them to be, where our creativity flourishes and life looks bright again.

Two steps, three options.

First, notice what you're noticing. Where are your thoughts? What are you dwelling on? What's the story you're telling yourself?

Hmmm, are those thoughts making you miserable? Okay, good, now you know where the problem is. You feel bad because of what you're thinking.

Second, you can generate a more positive feeling by thinking different thoughts. (You probably knew that.)

Now, here are three ways you can actually make it happen. Choose one that resonates with you, or try all three.

REFRAME. Interrupt those negative thoughts. Ask, What am I grateful for right now?

The only thing that's really happening is Infinite Intelligence expressing. Granted, you can't always see it, or maybe it's showing up in ways you do not prefer. But trust the process. God is all there is.

And if that's true, then you can get really curious about what possible good might be happening now. That will help reframe a bleak picture into one that looks at least promising.

REMEMBER. Think about a past success, some past happiness. Really feel what it was like. When was a time you felt true joy?

When the feeling has been stirred up and solidified, transfer it to the present moment. See whether life looks any different.

(This works with people, too. Picture the face of someone you deeply love and generate warm feelings for them. Then bring in the face of someone you find difficult or need to forgive. See whether some of those warm feelings can be transferred.)

RECALIBRATE. When you notice you're out of alignment, pause and freeze the scene. What would the Best Version of Yourself do in this situation? Use your imagination to recalibrate your energy as a better you.

That's it.

1. Reframe the current conditions.
2. Remember a joyful time and bring forth those feelings.
3. Recalibrate your energy to become the best version of yourself.

Whatever you tell yourself about the current conditions will be your experience of them. So it's handy to have a method to pull your thoughts out of the mire and find a new way to think, in order to feel better.

LIFE'S CURRICULUM

I have to give credit for this method to Kirsten Welles, who was teaching with Mary Morrissey at my recent coaching training in Los Angeles.

I was given several opportunities to practice this process on the trip home – missed connections, hours in an airport, having to rustle up a substitute teacher for a class back at my church that night.

Over and over, I got to generate a higher state!

So far, my favorite way to elevate my consciousness is the third one, recalibrating my energy by asking, What would the best version of myself do? And then becoming that person.

First, I noticed the best version of me has better posture. Really. I stood up straighter.

Then I noticed she is unflappable. Delays and frustrations are no big deal. She can handle life. She keeps small irritations in perspective.

She's also grateful. Often.

After working my way through the process, I was feeling so much better that I was able to notice the runway at LAX was lined with blankets of little orange flowers. Marigolds? They made me smile, even as the plane took off late.

YOUR BETTER ANGELS

Who would you be, if you were the best version of yourself? How would you be handling whatever problems your life or the world are presenting to you right now?

Would you be more loving? patient? understanding?

Would you have more fun? flirt? dance even when people were watching?

How would your best self handle the television news? How would you deal with your kids or spouse? How would you present yourself at work?

Could you go ahead and be that person now?

It takes practice, but I'm intrigued with the better version of myself who lives at a higher vibration.

And I can tell you this: She would fly first class.

   

One Sure Way to Bring About Change

Posted March 18, 2017

Buddhist novices

Who is currently the greatest spiritual teacher in your life?

Good chance it's Donald Trump.

Stay with me on this, because it's true whether you like him or not.

A spiritual teacher doesn't have to be spiritual himself. He doesn't even have to understand his role as a teacher. The learning happens within us.

If you don't like Trump, the spiritual challenges are pretty obvious. Acceptance, forgiveness, patience, understanding, finding the good and even being grateful for some things. These are familiar spiritual tools to traverse upset.

But what if you like the new president? Let's say you think he's making some long-needed and beneficial changes. How is he a spiritual teacher then?

I believe we find spiritual challenges whenever we are winners or in the majority. Your majority might be political or racial, you might be a winner in terms of money or education, or even when your favorite sports team wins a game.

What do you do when a great many other people are disappointed and left out of your joy or privilege? That's a spiritual challenge.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN

If you approve of the new administration's undertakings, you must be aware that half the country doesn't approve.

Conflict and division seem built into every policy decision being made in America, no matter who makes it. Half the people will believe Trump is wrong regardless of what he does.

This really isn't an unusual situation. All new leaders have to overcome resistance to change – new bosses, new ministers in churches, even new stepparents.

Having authority over people who may not like or trust you is a spiritual challenge. How do you innovate with integrity? How do you bring the old guard along and get their buy-in for new ideas?

Well, it's not, “Nanny nanny boo boo, you lost and I won.”

It's not, “Don't let the door hit you on the way out.”

And it's not necessarily, “I'm in charge. Do what I say.”

Personally, I think it helps to find out exactly what is already being done. Now that you're on the inside, you might find there are good reasons for the way things are handled, which you couldn't see when you were criticizing from the outside.

That's true whether you're the new majority party in Congress, the new teacher in a classroom or a new member of a church board.

Ask and listen. You might hear some good ideas and avoid some missteps.

You can also appreciate the old guard for their years of service, rather than making them feel obsolete and in the way. Introduce your ideas in a way that enrolls them, rather than accusing them of wanting to destroy the country (or company, school or family).

That's all standard management advice. And it's true, the old guard might continue to be resistant, and you might eventually part ways.

But there's another way to handle being in a new position of authority or majority. One basic, spiritual way. Pray a lot.

ONLY THE HIGHEST GOOD

Pray for the highest good of every person concerned, especially the ones who are angry and obstructionist.

Pray that everyone finds his or her perfect place of service, here or elsewhere.

See each one as enlightened and well-meaning, someone who loves the country, company or church as much as you do and wants the best.

Notice, you're not praying for specific outcomes.

In the case of Donald Trump, one side might be tempted to pray he leaves office while the other affirms he's the best president ever. That's no different than praying your sports team beats the opponent. It's your ego's preference.

The advantage to a truly spiritual solution is that everyone can win.

As you hold a strong vision of harmony and understanding, the molecules of the universe will begin to rearrange themselves into that pattern.

And one of two things will happen.

Some people will begin to change and grow in what seem to be miraculous ways. They will not create the problems you expected. They might astonish you with their newfound creativity and accomplishment.

Or they will drop away. Those who can't match the frequency of a new undertaking will leave it.

That's true whether you believe the new frequency is higher or lower than the old. It's a new vibration, and it will attract only those things, people or ideas at the same frequency.

Picture a hot air balloon rising off the ground. It has been held in place by heavy sandbags, but those bags can't rise with it. Their perfect place of service remains on the ground. They have to be released.

People who aren't a match to a new consciousness, whether it's in a political administration or an office complex, will find other places to be.

BASIC SPIRITUALITY

Do you see what I mean? You can rearrange the circumstances of your life by affirming the highest good of all, without taking a position on whether the people involved are good or bad.

I once prayed a difficult boss out of my life. I affirmed the best for him in whatever form it might take, while searching for good in him. (I learned he was a great dad.)

Eventually he was promoted to a job that took him away from me. Win-win.

So I'm not suggesting you pray for or against Donald Trump. Just affirm his highest good, in whatever form that takes. And could we also agree to affirm the highest good for the country?

When we all start doing that – giving up vociferous opinions and affirming a bright future with enlightened leaders – it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, which bills pass and which don't, who rises up and who fades away, how the courts rule, how the agencies operate, and who becomes the majority in the next go-round.

This is basic spirituality: Set an intention for what you want – peace and prosperity, health and harmony, justice and freedom – and hold that vision while the universe figures out how to bring it about.

You will have done your part as a citizen and elevated your spiritual consciousness. And you might be surprised how well things work out after all.

   

Your 5 Best Friends

Posted March 11, 2017

five girls

How many times have you heard that your income will be similar to the income of your five best friends?

Or that your weight is influenced by your five best friends?

Or maybe it's the five people you spend the most time with, who may or may not be friends, such as coworkers or relatives.

Jim Rohr, a motivational speaker, evidently was first to say, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Rohr died in 2009, the same year the New York Times Magazine wrote extensively about “social contagion,” based on a startling study that showed friends influence each other in weight, drinking, smoking, even happiness and loneliness.

More bizarre, friends of friends – people you don't even know – can have an impact on you. It's a fascinating read, if you have time.

This means your parents were right. It does matter who you hang out with. And it is possible to fall in with a bad crowd.

CROWD CONSCIOUSNESS

So it's time for a consciousness check.

Aside from physical habits like overeating or smoking – or not – what's the general mindset of the people you spend the most time with?

What do they most often talk about?

Would you rank it as negative or positive?

Does it align with who you want to be? Does it inspire you or call you higher? Or is it easier just to go along, playing “ain't it awful?” as they complain about the state of their lives and the world?

I'm not suggesting you ditch friends who have less ambition than you, or who are perennially unhappy. But notice it. This is the consciousness you are marinating in.

What are their interests? Do they love the work they do? Are their marriages good? Are they more often delighted by their children, or frustrated and discouraged?

It's not unusual, when someone is on a spiritual path, to begin to move away from friends naturally. Suddenly old friends might seem so negative! Or maybe they're not interested in self-reflection.

I talk to so many people who tell me with dismay that their new spiritual interests mean they are drifting away from certain old friends. I have to say it's typical, and it can be lonely before new friends are made.

On the flip side, some people talk to me about how they can get rid of their old, negative friends! Or at least how to move away gracefully.

ROAR OF THE CROWD

I suppose it could be argued that having a wide variety of friends is better than limiting them to those who match or exceed your own consciousness. Friends don't all have to be “like-minded.” They can be of different cultures, professions and political persuasions, keeping you open to different ideas.

And seeking out new friends who are living at a higher level could appear to be social climbing. You want prosperity, but you might hang out with millionaires who talk about nothing but wine and yachts or moan about the government and the stock market.

It's not so much about your friends' achievements as their view of the world.

Notice how you feel. Are the people you spend the most time with dragging you down? Are they stifling your dreams? Are you hesitant to be yourself around them?

How good would it feel to surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you, who encourage your dreams and can hold your vision with you?

They are likely to be people pursuing their own dreams. People who are up to something.

I was in a group for years – we called it Up to Something – where we shared what was going on in our lives and supported each other in becoming our best selves.

BE THE CHANGE

Rather than ditch friends who don't inspire you, it might be possible for you to elevate the conversation.

Would they be open to a Mastermind group? It's more structured than ordinary conversation, but it's also more powerful. It draws on the best of each person to enhance possibilities for others.

There are lots of ways to run a Mastermind group. Here's one article about what it is and another about where it came from. Here's a process for a spiritually focused group.

Many Mastermind groups are focused on business success, but yours can be about anything you want. Parenting, health, prosperity.

Maybe one of you wants to start a business and another wants to learn how to knit. It could be even more interesting if people in the same group are working on different things.

You might feel shy about asking your friends whether they'd like to engage in this. If you need backup, refer them to the study that shows friends can literally keep each other healthy.

If it works for the body, it will work for the soul.

One more thing: If each of us is influenced by our five best friends, it means we're influencing someone else. It's worth asking ourselves, What kind of friend am I?

   

Who Needs to Be Healed?

Posted March 4, 2017

angel statue

In every conversation about the possibility that we attract events and conditions into our lives, someone always, always, always asks: What about children with birth defects?

It's impossible to answer, because there are still mysteries of life we don't understand. Is it a soul choice? Is it a genetic mistake made by nature?

Or is the mistake ours?

Maybe our problem is the word “defect.”

Aren't we assuming that no one would ever choose, even at a soul level, to live outside what we call “normal?” Aren't we making them out to be victims of cruel fate?

As if a child who is different from most others couldn't possibly be happy.

EYES OF AN ANGEL

I've mentioned before that I'm teaching an online class through Unity's seminary called Healing and Wholeness. Not so much teaching it, as facilitating wonderful discussions with bright, spiritual adults.

As we near the end of the course, many of us are rethinking our definitions of illness or “defects,” and wondering what really needs to be healed.

Sure, you want to get over a cold, if you have one. You seek treatment for cancer. You'll have a broken bone set. But is anything really “wrong” with you?

One of the students had an epiphany recently when she visited 23 classrooms for special needs children to offer them a hands-on science lesson. The children were ages 3 to 5.

She described her experience in one of our class assignments and gave me permission to share it with you:

“I went from room to room, working first with deaf students, then some who were blind, a few with Down syndrome, lots of students on the autism spectrum, and also a few with cerebral palsy. Some students just had speech impediments, and they seemed so glaringly ‘normal' compared to so many others.

“As I looked into the eyes of one beautiful little girl with cerebral palsy as she sat in her wheelchair, unable to speak or to control the use of her arms and hands -- but who had the eyes and smile of an angel -- I really wondered about exactly what ‘illness' is. Is she ill?

“Is the adorable 3-year-old Hispanic boy with Down syndrome who just wanted to hug me every second? Or the little deaf girl who lit up like a Christmas tree when we signed the word ‘frog' together, as I was showing the class a live frog I brought to share?

“Certainly the autistic boy who threw himself on the floor and screamed repeatedly as he lashed out at his caretakers seemed quite tortured in his existence, but are they ill?

“Which of them needs to be healed or ‘fixed?' Which isn't whole?”

She went on to say that her own son, 18, was diagnosed with aspects of Asperger's syndrome and now “finds it laughable that someone would think he needs to be ‘fixed' in some way. As far as he is concerned, he simply looks at the world a little differently, and he is quite comfortable with that fact.”

IS IT OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT?

All I can say is that we don't know how or why people live the lives they do, in any aspect.

Why is one attracted to music while another becomes a welder? Why does one hate strawberries, or another loves animals, or someone loves ocean diving while another loves flying? Or both.

Are the differences in our bodies any more remarkable than the differences in our tastes and aptitudes? Or have we simply labeled differences as defects?

I'm not diminishing the difficult road these children and their families may be on. Of course they want to get help wherever possible.

And I'm not advocating that sick people should just stay sick. This Healing and Wholeness class is based on the work of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, who both healed themselves of lifelong ailments with the power of mind over body. Their teachings became the Unity spiritual movement.

I only wanted to share with you the idea that all the things we think are “wrong” with each other, whether the differences are physical or emotional or even political, might be perfect after all.

Might even be the way we chose to go through this life.

   




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