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The Winding Path To What I Want

In an Abraham CD I have, Abraham says that sometimes source calls us into contrast to provide clarity that we need to get what we want. I’ve had a couple of examples of that in my life lately.

Someone I love just had a heart attack. Luckily, he got treatment and he’s okay. He’s young to have a heart attack. Apparently, he’s been feeling unwell for years but didn’t know what it was or what to do about it. They found the blockage and put a stent in an artery. While he was in the hospital they treated an additional health issue. He’s home now, feeling better than he has in a long time.

My friend certainly didn’t want a heart attack, but the heart attack turned out to be a surprising path to better health for him.

For a few years I’ve wanted to cut down my hours at my job from 5 days per week to 4 days per week. My monthly expenses have increased this year so I’m stretching to pay my bills. I seem to be getting further away from being able to afford to work 4 days per week.

Recently, we’ve had a staffing crisis at my job. I’ve been working a lot of overtime and weird hours to help out. At first, I got tired and resentful. And unhealthy. I actually got into a bit of a health crisis myself.

My own health crisis scared me into improving my lifestyle. I radically changed my diet. I started doing more yoga and meditating. I started taking more vitamins and supplements that help me and taking them reliably every day.

I feel much better now. I’m still working a lot of overtime, but it doesn’t bother me as much. I decided to give in to the current circumstances and do what I can to help out. I decided to take a promotion I’d been offered a couple of years ago. The position is open again and they desperately need the help.

The decision to surrender to current circumstances and work more, felt like giving up on my insistence on working less. My efforts to work less weren’t getting me where I wanted to go. I was tired of struggling to make my desires happen. I stopped struggling.

I got the promotion and a raise with it. I’m looking forward to paying off debts faster with the increased income. I realized that when the staffing crisis is resolved, with this promotion and reduced debts, I will be able to afford to cut down my hours to 4 days per week.

So, now I’m healthier and have a possible path to the reduced schedule I wanted. Both my own health crisis and the staffing crisis at work, brought me here.

For me, this is further proof that if I just trust the universe and go with the flow of whatever feels easy, I will be led to the things I want.

A Welcoming Universe

I’m reading an interview of writer Anne Lamott, by Gloria Steinem. (Read the interview here.) They are two of my favorite public figures. This interview makes me want to cry because it is so much what I need to read right now.

In one question, Steinem says, “I don’t believe in dividing everything into two, but there do seem to be two kinds of people – those who see the universe as welcoming, and those who see it as hostile. I’ve always assumed this had to do with how we were raised, yet you seem to have traveled from a hostile childhood to a friendly place, thus allowing readers to do the same.”

Reading this brought more tears to my eyes and a mental fist pump. Yes! This is the issue.

All my years of spiritual seeking and seeking for mental health, come down to this – learning to go from seeing the world as a hostile place to seeing it as a welcoming place. To me, seeing the world as a beautiful, welcoming place is the key to peace of mind, health, friendship, love and all good things. It’s the single thing that draws me to spiritual leaders. It is the most important point of focus for me.

Next to the idea of seeing the world as a welcoming place, this knowledge of law of attraction is just a minor tool. It helps me understand that whatever I focus on grows in my experience, but it doesn’t tell me what to focus on. What to focus on for me is a vision of a loving, welcoming world. It’s there when I look for it and it fills me like nothing else.

Thanks for the reminder, Gloria!

A Classic LOA Error

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends that people who want to get unstuck from creative blocks, do “morning pages.” Morning pages are 3 handwritten pages of stream of consciousness writing. They’re not supposed to be inspired or creative. They are not meant to be read by anyone else. They are just a place to dump out the contents of our minds so we can see what’s there.

I’ve done morning pages or something like them, for decades. I haven’t always done them daily, but I do them frequently. I’ve used them to stay grounded and clear. They are the primary way that I make time to listen to myself. Doing morning pages is like having a long conversation with a good friend, except they’re available anywhere and at any time.

In the past year, I’ve fallen into what I think is a common trap in LOA circles. By trying to feel more positive, I denied or didn’t pay attention to how I was actually feeling.

As soon as I noticed something bothering me, I would run to youtube to try to find an Abraham video that would help me feel better. Or I would immediately try to find better feeling thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with either of those methods for feeling better. I just missed the crucial first step of identifying how I was actually feeling. In an effort to not dwell on negative feelings, I avoided looking at my feelings at all.

This led me to an emotional crisis. Various stresses had come up in my life and my efforts to find better feeling thoughts, just weren’t helping. I was getting depressed and edgy. I was crying often and randomly. I was having some self-destructive thoughts.

Depression and self-destructive thoughts aren’t new to me. I spent years in daily battles, trying to overcome them. Now, I go years without feeling any depression or self-destructive urges at all. It shocks me when I do have feelings like that, because it is so rare.

Luckily, my past experience has given me plenty of tools to get out of depression. During my recent crisis, I picked up those tools again. I rested. I meditated. I did everything I could to take pressure off of myself. And I wrote.

The turning point out of this depression, was the long afternoon I spent writing “morning” pages and sitting beside a river. I wrote quickly, without censoring myself. I filled at least a dozen pages with my thoughts and feelings. At the end of it, I felt a new calm and had a better understanding of why I had been feeling so bad.

It took a few more days for me to nurture myself back to equilibrium. Once I was clearer about the thoughts and feelings that led to this crisis, I was able to use some of the LOA techniques I’ve learned to improve those thoughts and feelings.

So, I’m back to writing morning pages almost every day. It’s nice to have this old friend back. I’m feeling better. Life is good.

Habits

I’ve been working on getting myself out of a funk. As always, I learn something when I deliberately try to improve how I’m feeling.

I listened to a few Kyle Cease videos on youtube. He’s a former comedian who now teaches people to go for the lives they want. In one video he leads an exercise that starts with listing 50 to 100 experiences/feelings/things that we want.

I did the exercise. There was another point to the exercise, but what I came away with was that a lot of the experiences I want in my ideal life, are available to me now. I can eat really good tasting, healthy food. I can sit on my porch in the spring and watch the birds. I can dance.

It was the inspiration I needed to get back to deliberately trying to enjoy my life. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to deliberately enjoy life, but I find it difficult. If I don’t pay attention, I fall into habits of worry, resentment and self-criticism.

Recently, I’ve been trying to revive healthy habits – yoga, meditation, eating more vegetables. I’d started feeling a little better physically. The morning after watching that Kyle Cease video, I made a conscious choice to enjoy my morning as I got ready for work.

Instead of trying to cram in as many tasks as possible, I relaxed and enjoyed my breakfast. I did what I felt like doing, at a pace that felt good, until it was time to leave for work. On the way to work, I made a point of enjoying the scenery and the sunny weather.

I’d been feeling stressed and overwhelmed at work, but this day, I felt inspired in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. Instead of dragging myself through my work shift, I felt energized and focused. When I feel good at work, I find myself almost skipping down the hallways. That’s how I felt that day.

I’d been wanting to get back to that feeling at work. It amazed me that it just took one morning of pampering myself to feel that way again. The good feelings didn’t quite last through the whole day, but for several hours I felt really good.

The lesson for me this time, is that I have to make a deliberate habit of trying to feel good. I have to deliberately relax as often as possible. I have to make sure I make time to do the things I enjoy. I have to be really nice to myself and everything else falls into place.

Making myself feel good is a discipline for me to master. I need a post-it note on my forehead to help me remember. I need a “to do” list full of fun things. I have to “force” myself to do things that feel good, until the momentum takes over and it comes naturally.

Abe-isms

“You can be or do or have anything you want.” she says.

“Yah, right. ” I say. “How?”

“Get happy.” she says.

I roll my eyes.

 

“I’m trying. That’s why I want that stuff.” I reply.

“It does not work that way. Get happy and you will have what you want.” she says.

“That’s not what I’ve been taught.” I say.

 

“A belief is just a thought you keep thinking.”

“Obviously.” I think.

“Nevertheless, this is what I believe.” I say, a bit sanctimoniously.

“How’s that working out for you?” she replies.

 

“Nobody likes a smart ass.” I think.

She just smiles.

 

“You keep looking at what is. That is old news.” she says.

“It’s new to me.” I mutter as I glance around.

 

“When you identify a new desire, your vortex immediately becomes that desire. Your vortex is filled to the brim with everything you have put there.” she says.

“Can you please point me toward it’s location?” I ask

“Just get happy!” she says, inanely.

 

“But I’m not happy.” I whine.

“Law of attraction makes it difficult to think different thoughts.” she admits

“Start first thing in the morning. When you slumber, momentum ceases. First thing is the morning is the best time to start momentum in the way you choose.” she advises.

 

“I’m on a late schedule. I don’t get up in the morning.”

She gives me that look.

“Okay. I could start whenever I get up. Maybe. If I remember.” I grumble.

 

“Or take a nap.” she suggests.

“What if I can’t take a nap? I can’t nap at work.”

“Find a better feeling thought.” she says.

 

“It’s hard.”

“Go general.” she advises.

 

“How long do I have to do this until I feel better?” I ask.

“17 seconds.” she replies.

“I can do that.” I think.

 

“And when I feel better?”

“Appreciate. Make long lists of the positive aspects of people and things around you.” she says.

“What will that help me do?” I ask.

 

She pauses for a beat. “Get happy.”

Sexual Transmutation?

I was listening to an Abrahams-Hicks CD where a questioner asked Abraham about sexual energy as an expression of source or spiritual energy. Abraham talked about the sexual transmutation that Napoleon Hill wrote about in Think and Grow Rich. Basically, Abraham said that sexuality allowed one to tap into source energy because of the way we focus when we’re sexual.

Abraham noted that our focus becomes singular on the topic of sexuality. We’re less likely to be distracted by other subjects when we’re focusing on sexuality. When we join with another in that singular focus, the energy is expanded. The implication was that pure focus aligns us with source energy.

In thinking about this, I would add that other aspects of focus on sexuality, lead us closer to alignment with source energy. We are expecting enjoyment when we are sexual. At the same time we are rooted in the present moment more than usual. We pay attention to everything happening in the present moment. It’s like meditation in that way.

Abraham also said that sexuality is not different than other aspects of being physical in that we have mixed feelings about paying attention to it and following our own impulses. I certainly have a lot of mixed feelings about sexuality, but it’s hard to deny the strength and focus of sexual feelings.

I’m finding it useful to think of sexual interest as a good model for generating focus on other things I want. For example, imagine getting as focused, hopeful and enthralled with good health as with a new lover. Imagine courting health with the same fervor as we court a potential lover. Imagine giving long periods of unhurried time to relaxing the way we do when we’re sexual.

Napoleon Hill writes that the successful people he studied, were very sexually active. Apparently, the lesson is, if you want to learn to focus better, have more sex!

Everything Is Always Working Out For Me

This is my new mantra, “Everything is always working out for me.” It comes from Abraham-Hicks. Their assertion is that the universe, our higher selves, the spiritual forces in the world are leading each of us along the paths of least resistance toward what we want. I’ve found that if I relax and flow with the stream of events in my life and follow my intuition, it does lead me quickly to the things I want.

I discovered this phenomenon, earlier in my life when I was attending 12-step programs. One of the 12 steps is “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Friends and I, who try to use this method, call it “turning it over.” Turning what over? Everything. Anything. Any time we are concerned or afraid about something or want to achieve something, we learn to turn it over to the benevolent spiritual forces in the universe.

I did this “turning it over” pretty intently once, for about 6 months. It was a daily practice. My life moved and changed at rocket speed. It scared me a bit. It also brought me to dealing with some painful childhood stuff that was crippling my life. I had wanted to understand my own difficulties. It was necessary and freeing to address that childhood stuff, but not very pleasant. I decided to slow down the whole “turning it over” experiment.

I did develop a new habit that has served me well. Whenever I need to have a conversation that I’m not comfortable with, I say to the universe “Give me the words.” and then I let it go. I find that the perfect words come to me easily or the situation resolves without the need for me to say anything at all.

This asking for the perfect words has helped me in all kinds of situations. It’s helped me with conflicts with others. It’s helped me with job interviews. It’s helped me to comfort loved ones who were in pain. I’ve had such good luck with this technique that I feel total confidence in using it.

So why doesn’t everything in my life just automatically go well, all the time? Mostly, because I’m not in the habit of turning things over and asking for guidance. My habit is to struggle and strive and work hard and try to think my way to my goals. Too often, I think I’m powerless over my circumstances because I can’t change them immediately through an act of will. Ironically, my quickest path to the things I want, is to let go of trying to will them into being. I’m more successful when I trust that I will be led to what I want.

Saying this mantra, “Everything is always working out for me.” reminds me that life can be easy if I let it. When I repeat this mantra, it always helps me feel peaceful. I do believe that everything is always working out for me.

Five Lessons from Crisis for Accomplishing Goals

crisis: a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life (from dictionary.com)

I’ve noticed that my use of law of attraction principles has been most effective when I’ve been in crisis. I can accomplish almost anything if I feel like I have no choice. I would like to learn to generate the benefits of crisis without an actual crisis.

I’ve been thinking about one particular crisis I went through. I believe the ways I automatically cope with crisis, could be applied to any goal. My crisis was that on my way to work on a cold November day, my car died by the side of the road. The car couldn’t be fixed. I had no money for another car and no credit. I had to have a car to get to work or do almost anything in my semi-rural community.

Here are the 5 lessons that I learned from coping with that crisis.

1. Focus exclusively on the goal.

When something is going wrong, my focus is sharpened. The crisis has all of my attention. When my car died, my attention was exclusively on getting home, then getting a new car. It took me a week to resolve this crisis. Getting a new car was my exclusive focus for the whole week.

2. Maintain focus until the goal is achieved.

Crisis keeps my attention on the change I want to make until it is made. I can’t shrug it off and go into denial when a crisis must be dealt with. I did not and could not stop focusing on getting a new car until I had a new car.

3. Ask for help.

Asking for help can be hard, but a crisis makes it unavoidable. In my car crisis, I asked for help figuring out what to do. I asked for rides to get to work and to get to the local car dealership. Sometimes I just talked to people about what was going on and they spontaneously offered help. Help from others got me to my goal and helped me to function in the meantime. I discovered that I am surrounded by a loving community that will help me when I ask.

4. Be open to new approaches.

Some 12-step groups say that crisis brings the gift of desperation. In the car crisis, I had to find a solution so I could work and support myself. I was desperate, so I considered every solution I could imagine. I considered applying to the one place within walking distance where I could use my current job skills. I even walked there to see how long it would take. (45 minutes) I considered moving to a city if I couldn’t get a car. I asked a couple of people to co-sign a car loan. Neither could, but one offered me a loan for a down payment on a car.

5. Use spiritual guidance.

When I’m frightened or confused, I often turn to spiritual solutions. While dealing with my car crisis, I prayed, I meditated and I very deliberately used law of attraction principles. When I didn’t know what to do, I reminded myself that the situation could work out well, even if I didn’t know the solution at that particular moment. I deliberately appreciated everything I could. I visualized and talked about the outcome I would like to achieve.

How did the crisis resolve? Within a week, I had a two year old car, with just 30,000 miles on it. In addition to the down payment loan, I had a car loan I could afford with a reasonable interest rate.

Now I’m working on applying these techniques to a goal that I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time.

I’ll let you know if it works.

Finding Inspiration

I’ve always loved the creative arts. Music and dance and painting have seemed like magic to me. The sensual appeal is a big part of my enjoyment of art. Beauty and movement, sound and color are some of the best parts of life. The art I love the most is art that also inspires me.

When I try to create art myself, it’s the feeling of inspiration that I’m reaching for. That’s why I write. I want that feeling of my mind swirling with wonderful ideas that I can’t wait to act on. Writing gets me in touch with inspiration and inspiration makes me happy.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn how to live in a way that makes me happy. For many years, I thought that meant doing the right actions to create the right circumstances to be happy.

I got it backward. When I make myself happy, I’m inspired to take actions and find circumstances that just emphasize and expand that feeling of happiness and inspiration. I believe now that generating and expanding this feeling of happy inspiration is the main purpose of my life. The wonderful things I see and experience along the way are a result and benefit of maintaining that feeling.

One of the ways I access that feeling of happy inspiration is to get quiet and listen to my intuition.

I’ve learned over the years that I can rely on the intuitive guidance I get when I listen to my intuition and act on it rather than trying to reason out how to accomplish goals. Intuition is quicker and more reliable than reason.

Sometimes following intuition is a bit unsettling. I can’t see far down the path I’m following. I know from experience that following my intuition will take me efficiently to that happy, inspired place where everything comes together easily. It’s still hard to trust it when I can’t see very far ahead.

The key is to stay in this moment and appreciate what’s here. I access both intuition and inspiration when I’m paying attention to the present moment.

Learning about law of attraction and deliberate creation has made it easier to follow my intuition to inspiration. It turns out that when I deliberately make myself happy, I hear my intuition more clearly and I’m more easily led to inspiration.

I make myself happy by reaching for thoughts that feel good. I make myself happy by staying in the present moment and appreciating what’s there and by relaxing. When I do these things to feel happy, my intuition becomes a reliable guide and happiness is quickly followed by inspiration. That’s when life really gets fun.

Quick Focus

One of Abraham-Hicks’ teachings is that if we focus for 17 seconds on a thought, another thought that feels similar will join it. If we continue to focus on similar feeling thoughts for 68 seconds then we have started momentum and it will continue and grow as long as we don’t interrupt it with different feeling thoughts.

So, for example, if I want to start a feeling of abundance, I can think about ways I already feel abundant. I have a good car. I can buy cheesecake whenever I want. There are many wonderful flavors of cheesecake available. I can also focus on the ways I would like to enjoy more abundance. I can imagine the vacations I would take with enough money. I can think about the causes I would like to financially support. I can think of all the cheesecake I could buy for others. As I focus in that direction for a minute or more, I can easily generate more thoughts that feel abundant.

The thing I love about the idea of focusing for 17 or 68 seconds is that it’s so doable! I could do almost anything for 17 seconds. I could drink vinegar or stand on one foot for 17 seconds. Certainly, I can think in a way that feels good to me for 17 seconds. I just have to remember to do it.

I don’t know where that 17 second or 68 second figures comes from. Abraham-Hicks talks about this like it’s a law of physics. Maybe. I don’t know how you would prove it’s accuracy. I just know it’s a useful idea.

The beauty of this idea is that I can use it anytime and anywhere. I can deliberately focus for 17 seconds when I’m feeling bored. I can take a slow moment at work and use 17 seconds to get myself into a happier state of mind. I can do it while I’m driving or walking from one place to another. I can do it in the grocery store.

Of course, this 17 second rule also applies to negative feelings. It doesn’t take any longer to get negative momentum going than positive momentum.

There’s a youtube clip of an Abraham seminar where a man talks about using this 17 second rule with his intention to be happy. He made a practice of reducing the time that he held any negative thought. Eventually he claims he got to not holding a negative thought for more than 17 seconds. He talks about how wonderful this made his life. And, oh, he won the lottery. You can listen to the clip here if you like.

How are you going to use your next 17 seconds?