Freedom, Listen

Looking for Some Understanding?

If you want to know a person, seek to understand them.  We all want to feel like we are, at the very least, being heard so someone can understand where we are coming from.  Isn’t this why we continue to argue our case and make our point known?  Yet in our efforts to make our point we often don’t extend the same to others.  Our need to be right, our need to hold tight to our point of view and our need to bolster our sense of self keeps us from the very things we desire:  to be understood and to feel a sense of connection with others.

How can we demand someone understand us when we do not strive to understand others?  We can’t demand what we ourselves are not willing and capable of doing.

So, if you would like to know someone, seek to understand them.

Start with the people closest to you. The people you actually want around in your life. It’s easier to start with these people as you already have a genuine desire to really get to know them. Begin with the simple act of listening. Not what you are currently doing as listening, but begin to listen with you whole mind and heart. That means clear your mind of your own inner dialogue and judgments while they are speaking in order to actually hear what they are attempting to reveal to you. You can’t understand someone if all you have in your mind is a list of ways to dismiss what they have to say. If you really want to know someone, get curious and listen to them completely. This may take some practice at first but in time this will become much easier.

Remember, leave judgement behind.  You can’t possibly know what led a person to where they are, with the decisions they are facing and the life events they find themselves in at any moment.  All of us have gone down some rocky roads at some point in our life and only wanted someone, anyone, to understand and accept us for who and where we were in that moment.  This is an example of what love looks like every day.  A genuine desire to understand and accept where people are, not to judge, shame or kick them when they are down.

As you become more comfortable with this new style of listening, you will start to notice a few things.  First, you will begin to gain a better understanding of people.  You’ll see what they want from life, what they value in the world and what makes them tick.  Secondly, as you have a greater understanding of someone, you will find yourself naturally compassionate toward them.  You may also find they trust you more as a byproduct.  And this could lead to them wanting to understand you better.  Now that you have given them an example of what understanding looks like in practice, they too can start to listen to you with the goal of understanding.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

 

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Freedom

Break The Cycle

Your past will never dictate your future.  Your past is done, finished and over never to be repeated again unless you decide to hold on to it.  Just like the dinner you had last night, your first kiss or the time you stubbed your toe so hard you cried it’s all in the past.  Your past only provides memories and wisdom as you move forward.  The only reason your past replays in your mind is because you believe it is you.

Memories are not you.  You are always the present moment.  You get to chose who you are moment to moment.

Every moment, every second is another opportunity to do something different.  A chance to see and experience life differently.  You chose what you are right now, not your past.  Break the cycle, break the pattern, break out of your depression and anxiety by choosing to see the present moment.  See it with clear eyes and a clear mind so you can fully take in what is in front of you.

Your past is merely a distraction.  Choose to see this life with fresh eyes and start to live in the moment. Be the author of your life today, tomorrow and for many years to come.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom

You See What You Are

Do you ever wonder why some people react to a comment, a situation or even a commercial and you do not?  Or what about the times you get upset or excited about something, yet the people around you don’t?  The truth is, you see what you are.  You can only relate to those things in the world that represent a piece of you, whether that piece of you is known to you or repressed by you.

Take for example a social encounter where you walk away offended by another person’s apparent lack of social queues.  They interrupt conversations, burp openly without an excuse me or you just don’t like the way they dress.  There is a reason these behaviors rub you the wrong way.  Yet, there were other people in the room experiencing the same offensive person, but they walk way with a completely different impression.  Perhaps they even walk away holding that person in high regard.  Funny how different people can experience the same thing and walk away with different opinions.  Neither more right or wrong than the other.  Each experiencing their own truth.

You can only see what you know.  We can only see what we are even if what we see we do not like. Notice that you are around millions of pieces of information every single day and not every one of those will trigger a reaction in you and many of those pieces of information will not even register consciously with you.  This is because you do not relate or hold that information important to who you are.

Let me put this into slightly different terms that we see and feel to some degree every day:

JUDGEMENT

When you feel judgement well up inside of you it is because you are afraid that part of you may come to the surface.  You are facing what you fear is a capability you have within yourself.  This is something you have shoved down and spent a great deal of energy keeping hidden from yourself and from the world.  You think if that part of you comes out you may be ridiculed, seen as worthless or worse case scenario become an outcast in today’s world.

Our inclination to judge others is only a judgement of ourselves.  We would not feel a need to vilify a behavior, attitude or appearance if we did not recognize this potential within ourselves.  This explains why we find ourselves fighting so fiercely against those things we judge as wrong.  We have been fighting to keep this part of ourselves from surfacing.  Once you can see that what you judge in others is only a fear you have for yourself, you can begin to move forward with an open mind.  Remember what you see as a horrifying trait, someone else sees completely opposite.  Begin to see that your judgement of others is an invitation to take a closer look at what you are hiding from yourself.

ADMIRATION

When you find yourself drawn to someone or something sparks a positive surge of energy through you, know this is something you recognize with yourself too.  We admire what we desire.  We desire what we are deep inside.  We want nothing more than to fully step into the person we were born to be and to be that every day.  When we are presented with an experience of admiration this is life’s invitation to show you what you are that you are keeping from expressing on a regular basis.

Notice the next time you feel that surge of admiration.  It makes you feel good.  You will find yourself saying oh I wish I could do that or I can totally do that.  You would not have the vision to see it, feel it or even speak about it if you didn’t already have that piece inside yourself already.  Take a deeper look at what specifically you admire about a person or a thing and look for all the ways you have shown up in the world with those same traits. Once you know what those underlying traits are, make a conscious effort to be more of that in your day to day.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom

Beyond Our Thoughts

Are you living a life that you get excited about?  Or have you found yourself living a life they say you should live?

We all begin in life with everything we need.  As child, you followed your intuition and your instincts.  You knew who you enjoyed being around and you knew what you wanted to do moment to moment and you did it.  But somewhere along the way you were pushed to question our own inner wisdom. From that questioning, you find yourself living a life out of alignment, leaving you feeling confused, bitter at times and wondering if this is all there is in this life.  You are not alone.  This is part of being human, it’s part of the process of experiencing this life. You don’t have to stay stuck here.

If you have found yourself walking down a path in life where you feel lost, unsure of where you are going and just not feeling like you are yourself, don’t worry.  We all veer off our path from time to time, but we can do something about it and make a course correction.

Begin by noticing your thoughts.  Are your thoughts your own?  Meaning do they feel true to you or do they leave you feeling like a bad person, an unworthy person or someone who is stuck with limited options?  When the majority of our thoughts beat us down, it’s time to look at them and question them.  Where did these thoughts come from in the first place?  Did I pick this up from a parent, a friend, a teacher, the media or a religious institution?  Are my thoughts fueling me to be the best version of myself or are they keeping me stuck?

Just the simple act of noticing your thoughts without having to buy into them is life changing.  You will create an awareness within yourself to listen deeper, to uncover the truth and to experience yourself without being a prisoner to your thoughts.  It is possible to see beyond the thoughts we have in our mind and see there is much more wisdom waiting for us to discover.  Imagine what is possible when you don’t attach yourself to every thought that comes into your mind.  Imagine a world where you get to live a life guided by an inner wisdom that knows how to keep you feeling alive, curious and knowing that anything is possible.   Unlimited possibility, passion and excitement awaits just beyond our limiting thought patterns.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.  Be a life changer.

 

 

 

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Freedom

What is Your Disatisfaction Trying to Tell You?

Spring is officially here!  This is my favorite season because it brings so many reminders of how everything can come back to life and it is even more beautiful than I remember.  As I look around at the sudden vibrant life in the trees and amazing colors of the flowers it reminds me about the purpose of seasons and the cycles of life.  Spring is the season of renewal and rebirth.  What once seemed dead and is now renewed and filled with life.  The seeds buried deep within the Earth were merely lying there preparing for the new season.

I see this as a metaphor for our dreams and desires.  When I was a young girl, I had dreams and desired to make an impact on people.  I wanted to infuse people with hope and to encourage them to follow their heart.  I saw and heard the potential in people and wanted nothing more than for them to follow their heart so they could to bring that dormant potential to life.  There was a time in my life when I thought that dream was dead, as life had taken a much different turn.  The season turned to survival then into a wonder into wilderness where I ended up buried under all of life’s demands.

Years passed by, as my dreams and desires lay dormant, or so I thought.

One day I noticed this nagging in the back of my mind that kept hinting that I was supposed to be doing something else with my life.  No matter what I did – work more, acquire more stuff, stay busy, numb it away, even just trying to flat out ignore it as crazy – it didn’t go away.  It was as if something was starting to wake up inside of me and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.

All those dreams and desires never really go away.  They are always somewhere inside.  If you take a look around you will see little hints of them trying to come out.  Perhaps they show up as that voice in your head gently reminding you that you are not doing what you have been called to do, you find yourself questioning, is this really all there is to life.  Maybe it shows up as a consistent and very persistent annoyance in the world around you that only you seem to notice.  Or you find yourself in certain situations over and over again.

I was blessed with the trifecta.  All of the above were screaming at me loudly right before I finally admitted I couldn’t take it anymore and started seriously exploring what was going on. I felt misplaced, disconnected and my overall mood was one of anxiety sprinkled with sadness that I just could not shake.  I knew there was so much more to life.  I was so annoyed by the lack of listening that was taking place everywhere I went – from seeing friends completely ignore their friends, parents cutting off their children to leaders and co-workers too busy to pay attention to each other.  It really ate me up inside.  In addition, I was placed in situations over and over again that put me in position to be an example of the very thing that annoyed me.

If you are fed up with the way your life is, not fired up or just not excited about anything anymore you probably have dreams and desires inside of you trying to get out.  All of us have desires that were planted deep inside that are meant to grow.  You don’t have to keep them buried and you don’t have to wait until you hit the trifecta of clues to do something.  Please don’t wait like I did or you run the risk of that dull sadness turning into depression or the worry taking over into anxiety.  You can bring your dreams and desires back to life.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by dreaming on purpose.  Spend time allowing yourself to think about things that get you excited, things that make you feel connected again.  Get a journal and just write out all the things you loved as a child, these are great pointers to the desires planted inside of you.  It is springtime, the season of revival and new beginnings.  Let’s get into the spirit and start growing into your life.

 

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Seasons of Change

It is time for spring.  A season of renewal, a season of growth and a season known for change.

We don’t always handle change and differences well.  In fact, most of the time we view change as a threat. Our behavior can become erratic, tempers quick to irritation and frustration because we fill ourselves with fear.  When things don’t go our way, we lash out.  We blame the outside world for the fear we feel welling up inside threatening to destroy us and break us apart.

There is nothing here to harm you.  The only thing causing you harm are the thoughts and fears in your mind. You hold so tightly to your fears as if you need to squeeze the life out of it before it threatens to squeeze the life out of you.

Yet you are still here, you are still alive and still breathing.  It is just a mind trick throwing you into a fit and creating the illusion that there is a threat.  There is no threat it’s only a thought.

Just as the season of spring is a symbol of change, it is also showing us how beautiful growth and change can be in this world.  As you move through the changes of the season and season of change in your life, keep in your mind and bring awareness to the beauty that change can bring.  Everything else is just a thought.

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Freedom

Life is Not Difficult

There is a message out there about getting what you want.  It always seems to be delivered with the idea, the assumption, that getting what you want or making a change is hard and has to be difficult.  But does it?

Of course this life will be hard, when we aren’t living the life we were designed to live. When we are continually chasing after the very things that will never fulfill our individual soul.  We go out, follow someone else’s plan and think somehow, we will get a life specifically designed for our own personal happiness and fulfillment.  This conditioned way of thinking that tells us life is hard, getting what you want is hard, living itself is hard is nothing more than a way to keep people distracted and doing life in line with someone else’s agenda.

We MUST see, once and for all, that one person’s idea of success, one person’s vision of the “good life”, one person’s path to a life of joy is NOT the path, vision or idea for everyone.  Our need for acceptance, connection and love has been used and exploited to convince us that there is only one way for every human on this planet to have a successful and happy life.

Following someone else’s formula has led to the state of the world we find ourselves in today.  We are experiencing the highest levels of depression, anxiety and misery today more than any other time in history.  Following someone else’s idea of a well lived life has denied us the greatness that is lying dormant in each and every one of us.

When will we see that our desires are unique?  They are ours to discover and uncover, not something we can be can told.  We are put here to listen and to develop and to experience who it is we really are.  When will we shift into a knowing that who we are is easy, fulfilling and creates the passion and the drive to be just that?

The next 3 years of your life will look like the previous 3 years of your life only if you buy into to the notion that getting what you want is hard and there is a certain prescriptive way to get it.  It’s only when you decide you want to change, decide you want to develop yourself and decide to see that you are able, capable and designed to change that you will.

 

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The Reason You are Here

Whether you want to believe it or not, every moment you are choosing how you show up in this world.  Every moment you get to decide who you want to be, how you want to respond and what you want to experience.  Many of us walk through this life in pain when we do not have to, simply because we made a decision to not show up as who we truly are moment to moment.  Perhaps we were afraid or didn’t feel we had the strength to be completely authentic to ourselves and to others in the moment.  But we still made a choice to sacrifice who are and now we get to experience the pain as a consequence.

Notice the difference when you show up as yourself.  You are completely engaged.  Even if something scary comes along you know what to do when you are fully yourself.  When you make the decision to hide parts and pieces of yourself it feels horrible, you start to feel trapped and that inner dialogue begins to criticize who you are being.  When you unnecessarily adapt and change for others, deny your true feelings and desires it’s painful. And for good reason.  When I find myself being less than myself it’s feels like I am running my hand against a piece of wood the wrong way.  It’s not meant to go that way and yes, it’s going to cause some pain.

Being yourself is what this life is all about. Being you is what invites in all the good stuff.  Just being yourself will allow you to be present, to know what to do in any moment and to see people for who they truly are.  You become malleable to the moment and what it needs from you. Which means you can really be there for another the way they need and they can also be there for you.  When you walk through this life as you, the real you, you will see yourself as a person who can be trusted.  When you are the real you, there is no desire to harm another there is only a desire to be in the moment.  When we no longer feel the pain of hiding and denying ourselves there is no longer a need to prove anything, to make someone look or feel bad, it all goes away.

Don’t deny the world of who you really are.  We need you to show up.  You are here for a reason and it’s not to hide or to try to be someone you think you need to be.  No! You are you for a bigger reason than you can wrap your head around.  You are a huge piece to this puzzle called life.  You are needed just as you are.  Being you is what you are called to be and do.  You offer this world a set of unique gifts in the form of your perspectives and insights that only you can bring to the table.

You’re here for many specific reasons.  You don’t need to know what they are because they aren’t about you.  Where you are in the world and the people you encounter are there to experience something from you.  It may be a 10 second smile or an hour-long conversation or some really cool product you create.  You will never know how deeply and broadly your impact will go.  What I do know is, the only way to be sure we are doing what we are here to do is to show up as your authentic self.  Being you is the key.  Anything less is painful.

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How and Why We Hide

When people do not feel heard, they shrink, hide and become someone they are not in order to gain acceptance.  We put on masks that become hard to remove.   The longer we put on the masks the more misunderstood we feel because we stop showing up as ourselves.  You see these masks on people wherever you go.  It seems like living under a mask is the way to live in our world today.  They show up in many different forms.

  • Status Chaser – Some masks have people chasing money and status to gain approval and acceptance. Never stopping, always striving for the next level on the corporate ladder, creating a bigger business, chasing after the illusion of being the best.  Whenever they get to that next level it is never enough. If they think someone else has more status or has more attention, they immediately start thinking of ways to be better or have something better than another to get the affection and admiration of others focused back on them.
  • Numbing Out – Others wear the numbing mask. The one that causes a person to buy more stuff, the compulsion to keep buying and keep shopping until they are accepted. The numbing mask isn’t restricted to shopping and acquiring things for approval, it shows itself through other addictions and over indulgences in alcohol, sex, drugs, zoning out on television and yes even mindlessly searching the Internet.  All of these are ways to numb out or avoid feeling.
  • The Cover Up – Then there is the cover up mask. If you can just put on enough make-up, wear flashy or distracting clothes or go to the extremes of altering your physical appearance through surgeries, then a person might finally feel approved and accepted.  This cover up mask also shows up in the form of distracting others from seeing who they really are by tearing down others.  The old don’t look at me, look over there, tactic. Pointing a finger, putting others down, judging another so you feel more important. All so you can continue to hide behind an illusion of covering up who you really are out of fear.
  • Codependent – This is a tough one to recognize because we all love people who want to do things for us.  However, you can spot this as a mask when someone is sacrificing their health and emotional well-being to please other people.  They never say no to you, church, charities, and organizations out of fear they won’t experience or be worthy of love or acceptance.  They are the ones who never have enough time to take care of themselves. They complain of exhaustion and having too much on their plate.  As with all the other masks, this one especially has lost the ability to listen to their own voice.

Every single one of these masks is hiding who we really are and leads to a life that is not your own.  Hiding distorts and blocks your ability to see and hear others, yourself and even the world for what it is.  You find yourself overwhelmed, stressed out, in debt, in troubled relationships, struggling at work or in a failing business.  You are likely to experience a lack in energy, easily angered or agitated, sleeplessness and your thoughts just race through your head most days.

For this week, I want you to become aware.  What mask do you tend to put on to get other people to hear you?   Just notice, there is no need to judge the mask.  The mask has been there for a purpose and you can find out what purpose that is by simply noticing.  Perhaps it is a mask to protect you from others or from yourself or to gain approval, acceptance or love.  Once you start to identify which mask you put on and see what protection it has been offering you, you will begin to naturally question if the protection is even necessary anymore.

“For everything hidden is meant to be revealed, and everything concealed is meant to be brought to light.” –  Mark 4:22

Working with individuals and groups, I have found this identification and questioning process a game changer for people.  These masks seem to disappear and with it so do a whole list of issues.  People have restored relationships, gotten themselves out of debt, they find themselves sleeping better and their stress levels dramatically decrease.  In the workplace I have seen productivity increase, effective collaboration replacing internal competition and increased repots of job satisfaction.  Overall, people report they have a deeper sense of peace and joy in life.

 

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Don’t Wait to be “Home”

Have you ever met someone that inspired you or sparked something within you?  Do you remember what it was that drew you in?  It wasn’t how they dressed or their position in life.  It was the fact that they were truly themselves and you connected with them.  When we see these people in our everyday life it’s a breath of fresh air almost like they are infusing us with a ray of hope that enables us to see we can step into who we are too.

I meet people like this almost everywhere I go.  Last year I was traveling every week for work and had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people.  There is one I remember fondly.  She had that special something about her.  We talked and shared our observations and musing about this life and how we believe others should be treated.  She said something that really stuck with me and led me down a road of contemplation.  She said we should treat each other like they are family, especially when they enter our home.  For her, home is a sacred place and the people she invites in need to be treated with love and kindness.

For most of us home is where we can be ourselves, feel love, show kindness and understanding like it’s the only place reserved for such indulgences.  Since I have traveled so much, I see the environment of home a little differently.  Home for me is whatever environment I am in. Wherever I am, I am home.  I cannot wait to go to a physical place to experience who I truly am in this world, that could be weeks and sometimes months.  I have to be myself at all times.  Wherever I go, my beliefs about how to treat others remains the same.

We can’t wait to be at “home” before we decide to treat people with love, kindness and a desire to understand them.  We don’t always get to pick and choose who invites themselves into our life so I do not believe we get to pick and choose how we treat people based on our physical location in the moment.  Be yourself everywhere you go.  Treat people as if you invited them into your home.  Maybe you’ll be that ray of hope someone needs so they can do the same.

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