Freedom, Listen

Suffering is Ironic

When I was a young adult a very wise person gave me a loving jolt, a call to wake up if you will.  I was caught up in my own suffering, complaining about how terrible and hard life was for me.  I had it with all the injustices I witnessed at work, in the world and was deep in the blame game of why I was so miserable.  Of course, it was all someone else’s doing.  It was the government, it was corporate America, it was the American culture, it was….  Well it was anyone and anything’s fault but mine.  I could not see beyond my suffering to see any other options.  Suffering was just life and it was all because someone else was doing something that stepped on my toes and kept me from being where I wanted to be.

Well, this wise person finally had enough of my suffering and mindless musings.  She abruptly interrupted me and asked: Do you think you are the only one?  You cannot possibly think you are the only one who has a hard time in this life.  Everyone struggles with something and you are here sounding like you are special and the only one who ever had it rough.

Not only was that a shock to my system, but it shook me out of the bitterness I had been holding on to.  She was right about many things, but the one thing that it really made me look hard at was the fact that yes, I did think I was special.  I thought I was the only one who saw these things and I wanted to put a stop to it.  I realized my suffering, my musings about the injustice of it all were mindless and would never solve anything. The reality was I thought I was so special that my complaining would get someone else’s attention and they would do something to change it and save me once and for all.  Ironic.  While I sat there and complained that it was everyone else’s fault I also deeply buried a belief that it was also someone else’s responsibility to help me and to stop these terrible things from happening to me.

In moments such as these, we all have to make a choice.  We can continue to complain and suffer and hope someone comes to our rescue or we can see that the ownership lies with us.  We are not special we are not unique in this world filled with differing opinions.  We all suffer in our own way and it is by our own doing, not anyone else.  We are all looking for solutions to the same underlying problem.  We all want to feel a sense of freedom to be in this world, but we have allowed someone else to stop us.  Read that line again.  It is we, the individual who have allowed someone to stop us.  No one can ever make you think or feel a certain way.  Choose to be in this world.  Choose to see your own ability to feel and think for yourself.  And finally choose to see it all starts and stops with how you choose to see yourself and this world.

Thank you to the wise woman who jolted me awake.

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Freedom, Listen, Uncategorized

How to Win a Fight

If you prefer to listen click the link to the audio

Have you ever used the phrase fighting fire with fire when it comes to an argument with another person?  I always picture someone spewing a ball of fire from their mouth into an already out of control fire only to see the fire completely engulf both people bringing them both down. Yet I see this mindset and strategy used all the time when human beings are engaged in a battle.

The term fighting fire with fire originated from a 19th century fire fighting method where small fires were set in advance of a larger fire coming to reduce the “fuel” in the larger fire’s path.  The concept seems great but it gave rise to other issues.  Without a way to put out the smaller fires before a larger fire approached, the whole strategy backfires resulting in fire completely devastating the area.

What can we learn from the 19th century fire strategy?  One, we don’t even use is correctly when we fight. Iit’s not a very smart strategy when it comes to human behavior.  And two, why start additional fires when the goal is to put the fire out?

If we are only starting fires, elevating our own anger, in the face of someone who is already angry we are only successful in intensifying the anger in the room.  With both parties now angry, and fuming, no one can see above the flames.  No one is in a state of mind to reduce the heat and hear the other person.  We are now in a battle to out anger the other party and create even more destruction.

More Fire = More Anger = More Destruction

Fires don’t put out fires.  Fighting doesn’t create peace.  An eye for an eye doesn’t bring about vision.

Instead of bringing more fire to the fight, try to understand why the person is upset to begin with.  Try hearing them out.  That’s really all they want.  They want to feel heard.  They want to calm down too and not feel they have to fight their way through life.  To win a fight you must first stop fighting.  Then you can hear what needs to be heard and you will see the fire, the anger, the fear in the other person turn down and end its destruction.

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, Listen

What To Do When You Let Yourself Down

If you prefere to listen, click here for the audio recording

We all know the feelings of guilt and shame when we let ourselves down.  Sometimes these feelings can be overwhelming and can feel like we are carrying a boulder with us everywhere we go.  While many may be holding on to old events in our life that gave us a feeling of guilt or shame, it doesn’t mean we have to keep carrying this around moving forward.

One of the quickest ways to eliminate guilt and shame from our minds is to begin by keeping our promises.  Especially the promises we have made to ourselves.  Think about it.  We all make promises to ourselves, usually promises that give us hope for a better life. Things like our famous New Year’s resolutions, the promise to do better this year than last, the promise to take better care of ourselves and to do better with others.

Whenever we break these promises to ourselves, we tend to spiral down into guilt and shame.  That hopeful, flying high feeling the promise gave us is quickly replaced with crippling doubts about who we are and what we are capable of doing.  Don’t let those crippling feelings take away the hope that had you feeling so high on the possibilities of life.  Those possibilities are still there, it’s only your thoughts that would have you believe otherwise.  You can still get back to that hopeful feeling and keep that promise to yourself.

Whenever you get that feeling you are carrying around a guilt or shame boulder, stop and ask if it’s keeping you from your promises.  If it is, then you have an awesome opportunity to bring that promise and hope back to life.  It means you still want it. We all take steps back on our way to what we want, but this is no reason to stop.

Children make mistakes all the time on their way to learning anything.  We don’t tell our kids to stop when they come up against an obstacle or allow them to wallow in misery about an innocent mistake.  We help them understand what happened and encourage them to keep going because it’s worth it.  You can do this for yourself too.

Once you have noticed that your feelings of guilt or shame are keeping you from what you want, take a moment to identify what prompted the feelings in the first place.  This will help you find where you are making yourself feel like you did something wrong.  Now that you know what it is, ask yourself what you can do to either make it right or what you can do to move forward.  Maybe you just need to slow down, give yourself permission to learn along the way, adjust the timeline or even make adjustments to the original promise.  It is in our mistakes where we learn what it is we really want and can then make the necessary course corrections to get back to it.

You can do anything you put your mind to when you allow your mind to work for you, instead of you working for whatever your mind says.

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

How to See No One is Here to Harm You

If you prefer to listen click here for the audio recording

There is not a single person on this planet who was born to hurt or harm you in any way.  People cause harm out of a reaction to their own fears.  Fear for their physical safety, emotional safety and even fear of feeling safe in their own psyche (mind).  That means if a person perceives a threat to their well-being in any way, they will choose to take action that will protect them or move them away from that perceived threat.

What does that mean for you?  It means another person is not reacting or doing anything because of you.  It has nothing to do with you.  They are acting from a place of fear, a perceived fear.

Haven’t you ever been in a situation where you acted on what appeared to be a threat when it really wasn’t?  Think back to a time where fear took you over.  Was it the person or your perception of the situation that pushed you to act? Often, we are too quick to act when we need to take a step back to question our perception of reality in a given situation.

Yes, fear can be a good thing.  When you are faced with emanate danger such as a tiger or bear chasing you. But in these modern times, the likelihood of encountering these types of dangers is pretty slim.  Most of our modern-day fears stem from a mentally constructed, fabricated illusion of danger. It is our perception of reality that is dangerous.

So, what can you do now that you know this?  Before you act, stop and ask yourself if there is a real threat, are you really in danger, or are you just triggered by the words someone just said.  Words cannot cause harm.  It is only the meaning, the perception of those words that you assign that can cause you any pain.  No one can cause harm, only your perception can.

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

Answers For Who Will You Become

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We spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about what we want from life and how we don’t have it yet.  Being caught up in our desires for the future, we forget to look at today.  We have forgotten to cherish the experiences of the moment that always let us know how we are doing and how we are making progress toward a future of our dreams.

Are we striving so hard for a “future” we don’t even pay attention to what we are creating today?

In order to design a life you want to live, you must first see and experience the moments of today.  No one has your unique set of experiences, desires, group of people or even outlook on life quite like you.  If you are trying to fit yourself into someone else’s formula for the good life you will always feel a bit out of place.  Perhaps it is time to come up with your own answers and create your own formula for living your best life.

The answers are only in one place.  The answers are inside of you.  Deep down you know who you are and who you want to become.  Instead of looking to the outside for the answers it’s time to look inside and remember who you are.  Looking to the outside only gives you the “shoulds” our society would like to see.  To live your dream life, you will need to shake of those “shoulds” to reveal the life you were born to live.

Finding the answers starts with the asking yourself the right questions. Spending time listening to yourself in quiet contemplation is necessary on the road to your best life.  If you are not sure what to ask, here are some sample questions from my book, A Year of Questions.

  • What is your overall dream for your life?
  • How would you describe yourself? What makes you, you?
  • What are your values?
  • What reoccurring thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
  • What would you like to think about yourself, others and the world you live in?

Take some time to come up with your own personalized answers to those questions.  You never know where they may take you.

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

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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Freedom, Uncategorized

No Need to Hide

Listening is one of our most powerful tools to invoke change in this world.  In a previous article, Listening is an Act of Love, we talked about the life changing power of listening and some ways to develop that power in your everyday life. I challenged you to take the concept out into the world by turning down the dialogue in your mind (judgement, formulating a response and thinking of your to do list), turning off distractions (phone, computer, television) and tuning into the person right there in front of you.

This week the focus is on what happens when we don’t listen.  How does that really impact who we are and how we show up in the world. Not listening has far reaching implications not just in our lives but in the lives of those we interact with as well.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement” – Brene Brown

When we simply listen to another, we change lives by allowing people to express themselves fully and honestly. These types of expressions let us fully process, heal and emerge into the people we are were born to be.  In contrast not listening causes harm and in many cases devastating damage.

When people do not feel heard, they shrink, hide and become someone they are not in order to gain acceptance.  People who do not feel understood tend to exhibit anger, resentment and bitterness.  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.  Our hearts become hardened the more we feel unheard and misunderstood.  As this downward spiral continues, we find ourselves in a state where we can’t even hear our own voice and you certainly can’t hear the whisper of inner wisdom.  We value who shows up in the world less and less because we show our true self to the world less and less.

Don’t be that person who causes people to hide.  Be the person who shows up every day, open, curious and willing to hear.

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Freedom, Uncategorized

The Pleasure of Life

There is nothing more pleasurable in this life than living it fully yourself, fully authentic.

It is truly remarkable how life unfolds with all the ups and downs.  How it feels like waves moving us along, guiding, pushing and pulling us toward some things and away from others.  In the moment we don’t know exactly what is going on or where we are going, but that isn’t the important part we need to know.

What is important then?  It is recognizing what feels true for you in each moment.  Allowing that truth to guide you into the next moment without denying or judging it.  Truth is truth and it is unique to every person.

No two of us are exactly the same.  We each have tendencies toward something in each moment. We are not all attracted to the same outcomes, people or experiences.  We are each here to experience something in our own way and in turn, to help others experience their truth in ways we will never know.  To deny or to judge this is to put our life, the lives of others and this world into chaos.

Yet we do that every day.  We question, we fear, we deny, we run away and for what? All because we don’t want to be judged and are afraid we will not be accepted by the people we have chosen to surround ourselves with?

Well, choose to surround yourself with people who can accept you and build you up to fully experience this life and your truth.  If that means spending a little time alone so be it.  It is better than living a life of fear and trying to please people who will never be pleased.

Choose to show up for yourself.  Commit to living a fully authentic life.  There is nothing more pleasurable.

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Stop and Ask

You would like to change your life, but you have no clue where to even start. All you know for sure is that this is not the life you had in mind for yourself and something has to change.

You are not clueless about what you want or even who you are and who you want to be in this world. You already know things about yourself. You know the roles you play in life: a child, an employee, parent, and spouse. You know what excites you and what weighs you down. Where most of us struggle is trying to identify our passions and purpose. The clues are there, you know somewhere deep inside what is calling out to you. Over time, you just let your truth slip into the back seat as the worldly “shoulds” took up the space in the front seat. You know the “shoulds” that play in your head: you should do this not that, you should want that over there not this, you should feel this way… You let the “should” take the wheel. No wonder we look around one day and wonder where we are and how we got here.

If this is where you find yourself, it’s time to stop and ask yourself some questions.  Ask questions that will reconnect you to your truth so you can get yourself back into the front seat of your life.

1.What do I like?

This sounds so basic and simple, but when was the last time you took inventory of what really excites you?  Keep a piece of paper close by and write down everything you like and everything you don’t like. Yes, everything: people, situations, food, weather, anything and everything.   After 1 week look over your list and ask yourself how you can reduce the dislikes and bring more of your likes into your life.

  1. What do I value?

Your values guide how you think and ultimately how you behave.   Values define what is most important to you and provide you with a framework on how to make decisions in life. Uncovering your values will show you who you are at your core before the world told you who you should be. Once you identify your core 3-5 values you can start living into them on purpose by choosing to do things that align with your values.

Sometimes all we need to do is to stop and ask the right questions.  You already have the answers somewhere inside of you.  Now, it’s just a matter of tapping in to hear your truth.

 

 

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