Friday, December 31, 2010

A Foggy Day

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Today is a foggy day. I like the fog ~ that is, when I am not in a rush to get somewhere; as it does make traffic more hazardous. But when I don’t need to go places, I can truly enjoy it...

The fog puts a veil over the world. It brings home the fact that we cannot see everything that is going on with us or around us with crystal clarity all the time. There are ‘foggy days’, and these are those times that perhaps we are best off sitting back, taking a deep breath, waiting for the fog to lift ~ waiting for that time that we can see further and more clearly again...

To me, the foggy days are magical.

The fog hides those things we are not supposed to see right now, making our world smaller, giving us the opportunity to focus on the things we can see ~ things that are closer to us; things that we may have taken for granted... And while it is doing that, it gently cleanses all that is there ~ the things that are so close to us we can see them, as well as the things further away that we cannot see... The fog gathers on the branches of the trees, the blades of grass ~ but also on the houses, the cars, the fences around the park across the street; and as the drops of water fall to the earth, they take with them all that is no longer needed ~ all dust, all dirt, all that was weighing us down.

And just as the actual fog cleanses the physical world ~ the energy of the fog cleanses inner world, our energy...
It allows us to turn inward, where it veils the things we may have lingered on for too long, and the things that may worry us even though they may still be in our (perceived) future. It allows us to step back from these things ~ and as we get less caught up in them, we may even decide to release them...

And then, as the fog lifts, the whole world is new!
The air is clean, the colors are different, everything seems brighter than it was before!

Not only in the physical world we live in can we see more clearly and enjoy the fact that we can easily see for miles around us. This is also true for our inner selves. With our energy cleansed and our focus back on our priorities ~ not only do we feel lighter, we can also see the path we are walking; our unique, personal path with much greater clarity...

Yes, a foggy day is definitely magical!
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sluggish...

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I feel sluggish during the Winter months, especially when an unending, all pervasive drizzle makes the short days even shorter and when the temperatures dip below comfort levels. On those days, the temptation is to make a big pot of coffee and curl up on the couch with a book. To simply wait for things to change...

I usually resist that temptation.

Even though there just doesn’t seem to be enough energy to go around ~ there is still work to be done, things that need to be taken care off. There is simply no time to indulge and follow that urge to step back from it all.

Of course there are any number of ways to handle the sluggishness. To get the energy up and moving. To be productive ~ even on those days.
Here are a few:
Make a conscious decision that you will not give in to the sluggishness.
Go for a walk or a run, to get the energy moving.
Change the lights in your house with ‘full spectrum’ lights.

But what if we look at the Winter season, with its short, dark, dreary days from a spiritual, even shamanic perspective?
Then the energy of Winter is an energy of introspection. An energy that invites us to step back from it all, to be with our Selves. An energy that prompts us to take time to allow ourselves to look at our innermost wishes and desires in order to plan how we might manifest these into our lives over the next year.
In other words, the short, dreary, sluggish days serve a purpose!

Of course it wouldn’t work for us to step back from our day to day lives completely ~ to let ourselves go, to hide; to hibernate in a sense throughout the Winter.
Yet, on those day that we do feel ‘sluggish’, rather than pushing on with our busy lives ~ we may want to re-evaluate if that really is our best option. Working with the energy of Winter, we may well do better allowing ourselves time to sit back ~ even to curl up on the couch ~ in order to be with our Selves so that we can become aware of the things we want to achieve over the next year. In order to plan ahead.

If we would do that, we would probably find it easier to keep our ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ ~ after all, we have already put some thought into it, and with any luck we have a plan in place as to how we want to go about bringing our New Year’s Resolutions into our lives permanently...
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Reality Shows

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I have been watching a number of reality shows ~ or rather documentaries ~  on TV where people who are fairly well-off were followed when they were taken out of there regular environment and placed in a community where people are struggling to get by.
The rules are that for ten days, these people need to find jobs or help out as a volunteer someplace of their choice so that they can meet ‘the other half’ of society. After ten days, they then make themselves known and help out those organizations or people who make a difference in their community.

The most interesting thing to me is that, after the initial shock of leaving the lap of luxury behind ~ all of the people seem to experience much more of a sense of community than they are used to while living their own lives. And as they themselves are portrayed as someone who just moved into the neighborhood and now need to find a job ~ usually in an area where openings aren’t as abundant as one would hope ~ they also find that the people they meet are quite willing to share what little they have; just to help another human being...
And in each of these reality shows, that is the second shock the person who is followed through this process gets to deal with ~ sort of like a one-two punch...

It brings home the fact that people hardly ever are who or what they seem to be.

This is true in day-to-day life, as well as when we look at the circumstances and situations we ~ or other people ~ may find themselves in. The things that are easy to comprehend to one person, can be some kind of ‘abacadabra’ to the next. Situations that are incredibly hard to handle for one, may be a ‘piece of cake’ for another...

From a spiritual perspective it boils down to the fact that ultimately no-one knows what karmic package any other person has taken on for this life experience what lessons to learn, what realizations to come to, or discoveries to make about themselves.

What it does tell us is that we shouldn’t judge people as we don’t know where they are coming from, what they are coping with and so on.
And then it is not just about the judgements like ‘he is rich’, or ‘she is poor’, good, bad, lazy, a workaholic and on and on...
It is also about the judgements that say: ‘I understand that he/she is in a difficult situation, but why aren’t they just doing this or that to change their lives around?’ Or: ‘Why can’t they see that it is their own behavior that gets them in that situation...?’

Truth of the matter is that the other person may not know how to handle the space he or she is in right now ~ but unlike the reality shows on TV, we do not know what is at play...
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The List

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Do you know that feeling of being so overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, that you have a hard time starting on any one of them? Or the sense that you really want to start a project that is important to you, and as you want it to work out perfect, you are waiting for the ‘right time’?

These are two of the most common reasons for having a hard time reaching our goals...
And the solution for either one of these, although for each in a different way, is to create a list.

As soon as you start listing all the things you need to do, you can stop remembering them. You can stop juggling them in your mind, telling yourself repeatedly that you really shouldn’t forget to do this, make that call, or send that email... Because now that it is written down, you have a piece of paper to fall back upon.
Also, reading the list of things you have written down on the piece of paper, you usually quickly discover that some of those items are more important than others ~ in other words, now that the list is written down, it becomes easier to prioritize again.
With your priorities becoming clear, you know what needs to be done first and the feeling of overwhelm fades...
And as you finish the tasks you wrote on the list, you get to what some will say is the best part of working with a list: you can scratch it off your list!

Creating a list for a project that you want to happen in its perfect timing works slightly differently, yet often just as effective. Now you may want to list all the steps you need to take to start, or even complete the project. The planning of it, what materials you may need for it, how you would like to see it being supported by others (And how you will tell those other people about it...) ~ all the way to what happens when the project is completed. And, maybe even more important, how you would feel about your project when you have done it, and have been successful at it!
And perhaps without even realizing it, in creating this list you have started your project...

Because the thing about ‘waiting for the right time’ is that there will always be things that are happening that may get in the way; that you want to do first; that seem more important...

Yet if this project really is important to you, then the time to do it is now! And a good way to start with it is to create the list.

What would you write down on your list of things to do, or steps to take?
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Planning and Preparation

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When working with the energies of the seasons, each season has its own specific focus. And as we move through the cycle, gradually the focus of the energies, and therefore our focus shifts.
In nature, the seeds that nestled in the fertile soil in Fall, prepare during the Winter, germinate and grow roots and sprouts during Spring, mature during Summer ~ only to drop their seeds in Fall; and these seeds will start the cycle all over again.

With the Winter season on our doorstep, this is an ideal time to look what seeds we may have scattered in our lives... What do we want to grow in the garden of our lives in the next cycle of the seasons?

As it turns out, there is no better time to plan and prepare or that which we want in our lives than the time starting with the Winter solstice and moving through January 1st. The Winter solstice bringing forward the energy when nature really starts preparing itself, while us humans come up with our New Year’s Resolutions on New Year’s Eve or January 1st.
These ten days in between the Winter solstice and the start of the new year is a magical time during which we can benefit from both ‘points of energy’ to plan and prepare for the things we want in our lives ~ to set our goals.

On average there are five areas in our lives that we may want to bring new things into:

  • Our relationships.
  • Our financial situation.
  • Our work situation.
  • Our living situation or home.
  • Our own personal growth.

It is a good idea to evaluate each of these areas as to whether it is bringing your the things you need or desire to have in your life ~ and then use this ten-day period of time to set new goals...

If, for instance, we would like to improve on our financial situation, we start by taking an honest look at our current financial situation, and then we would set ourselves a specific goal. Come up with the amount or number that would make your life truly and significantly better!
Having done that, you start looking at how you can make it happen for you. What do you need to do or change to reach your goal?

You start planning and preparing how you are going to go about it for each of the goals you have set for yourself, for the next year. This may involve taking on a new study, or working on your confidence to finally ask for that raise you have felt you deserve...

You don’t have to take the physical steps yet ~ but you set up the structure through which you can bring that which you need and desire into your life!
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Affirmations

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An affirmation used to just be a declaration that something is true. In this point in time, however, an affirmation is more often thought of as a statement of something we wish to have in our lives...

As such, affirmations have become a tool we may use when working with the Law of Attraction. The affirmation would then be a carefully worded statement that reflects our positive thoughts about whatever it is we want to bring into our lives.
An affirmation is stated from the perspective of ourselves already having it in our lives right now ~ and then, as is stated in the Law of Attraction, we can attract more of the same into our lives...

There are four points to consider in order to craft effective affirmations:

  • It needs to be in the present tense.
  • It needs to be personal.
  • It needs to be positive.
  • It needs to be specific.

This means that a good affirmation often will start with “I have ...”, “I am ...”, or “I will ...”. And whatever it is that follows that needs to make sense to you. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about it ~ after all, it is your affirmation!

The hardest one for me is to be specific.
For instance, using the following statement as an affirmation may not attract to you what you had in mind: “I am enjoying an ever growing wealth, I am wealthy”. As you crafted the statement, what you had in mind may have been money. Yet the affirmation can also attract a wealth of experiences into your live. Or even the things one may visualize when thinking about wealthy people, like handsome men, beautiful women, fast cars, big mansions, etc. And that is totally okay ~ as long as your intent wasn’t for the affirmation to help you attract funds to pay next month’s bills...
In other words, working with affirmations you have to call a spade a spade! If it is money you want to attract into your life, you should use the word ‘money’ in the affirmation.

It is always a good idea to create an affirmation that you can relate to with a visualization as well. And there too, it is good to be specific! If your visualization is a big river of money flowing by you, chances are that the money you attract into your life will do exactly that; as you get more money, you find yourself having greater expenses as well...
A better visualization might be a nice big magnet...

When you have crafted the affirmation that is in the present tense, is positive, personal, specific, and has a nice visualization to go along with it ~ you start using it.
You tell it to yourself. You write it down. You start or end your meditations with it...
And pretty soon you find that you are indeed attracting that which you are affirming!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

The Law of Attraction

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In short, the law of attraction states that like attracts like. It functions from the premise that in your thoughts and statements you should always stay on the positive side of things in order to attract more positive events in to your life. Therefore, you are well-advised to stay away fro a statement like ‘I need money’ as that would leave you always needing money... Whereas ‘I have enough money to fill my needs’ would ensure that you indeed will always have enough money in your pocket.
It is the same for affirmations. After all, you don’t want to affirm a negative into your life.

It means that it is important how you state what you would like to have in your life...
It also means that you have a way bigger influence as to what your life looks like than you might have thought before!

And that is as much good news as it is bad news.
The good part is that, as you have the ability to shape and form your life to a greater extend as you would have thought ~ you can actually change your circumstances into something you might desire to have in your life. The bad news is that if you can influence the things happening in your life, it is up to you to to do so!
It is all about taking responsibility!

But what if you are really careful about how you put your needs into words ~ thinking positive thoughts, affirming your desires properly ~ and it still doesn’t happen?
does that mean that the law of attraction doesn’t work, or is there something else going on?

Those that purposely use the law of attraction to shape their lives may tell you that there is one thing that is as important, if not more important than thinking the right thoughts and saying the right words...
And that is that you need to honestly believe that what you are saying or thinking is true. You cannot con yourself into believing it ~ you need to really believe it.
That means that if you are saying ‘I have enough money to fill my needs’ you have to be convinced of that, even if you have only a fiver in your wallet...

So, ultimately it all comes down to your belief system. About what you believe to be true about the world around you, about work or jobs, about relationships, and most importantly, about yourself.
Do you respect and esteem yourself, do you value yourself, do you believe you are good, and honorable, loving, and compassionate?
Do you believe that you are worth the very best you can imagine?

Then the law of attraction shouldn’t hold any secrets for you...
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If you love it, set it free...

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It is a proverb: “If you love something set it free; if it returns its yours forever, if not it was never meant to be.” And, with a slight variation a quote attributed to the author Richard Bach: “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were.”

The principle is that holding on is something that is done by mutual agreement. No matter how much you love it, both sides need to fee the same way, or else it is not going to work. It is easy to see how this can play out in relationships ~ not just partner relationships, but also relationships with kids, parents, jobs, etc. They all follow the same principle where holding on too tight eventually will block the growth that comes from moving forward with it.

To me the more interesting perspective is that, as least according to the proverb, this also holds true for things... So how does that work?

From an energy, or even spiritual viewpoint it tells us that if we are holding on too tight to the things we own, no matter how much we love them (cars, houses etc.), we will eventually block our ability to move forward with it.
In a sense it is a similar perspective to the one that says that in order for something new to come into your life, you need to create a space for it to be. So if we are holding on to what we already have and are unwilling to let go of it ~ we are blocking ourselves from moving forward to an even better version of whatever it is we are holding on to.

Whichever way you look at it, it implies that it is a good thing to take stock every once in a while. To really look at the things in your life you are holding on to, and to ask yourself if they are still serving a purpose in your life. To ask yourself if it is still something you desire to have in your life at this point in time, or whether its only reason for still being there is the fact that you just never set it free...

According to the proverb, the reassuring thing is that if you do set it free, if it is truly yours ~ in other words if it does still needs to have a space in your life right now ~ it will return to you and be yours forever!

And maybe if you love it, and set it free ~ it will even come back into your life as a newer, better, brighter version of that which you were holding on to in the first place!
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow

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It always amazes me how everything changes when it snows. The obvious things are the temperature, the fact that the snow turns nature from its greyish brown, late Fall colors into black and white ~ or totally white, depending n how much snow is there. All of a sudden there seems to be a lot more light as whatever faint Winter’s sunlight is there gets reflected by the snow.

But it goes a lot further than that.
A couple of hours after the first snow has fallen, the removal of it from highways and freeways is in full swing. Sand or salt are spread on the streets, which, combined with the carefully moving traffic turns the once white flakes into a muddy slush, before it eventually disappears. Or at least that is what everybody who needs to go places and do things is hoping for. The worst case scenario would be for the slushy substance to freeze up again ~ but let’s not go there...

Indoors the heater is purring away. My heater burns natural gas to heat the house. I like that. It means that you can get close to the heater to get really warmed up. It is also as close to instant warmth as you can get; turn it up, and there it is.
The disadvantage is that while it is nice and cosy right around the heater, the farther you get away from the heater, the colder it gets... So with hot tea close at hand, I make sure not to wander off too often.

The cats are not amused. This cold white stuff that gives way when they walk on it, that they cannot properly dig into ~ that doesn’t actually allows them to bury their droppings ~ is no fun. As of now, the litter box is still no option ~ I wonder how long they will brave the weather before they give in and stay in the relatively warm kitchen instead of braving the cold...
There has been snow for a couple of days now, and already the cats are bored. Not willing to get out, they burn their energy chasing each other around the house.

It seems that as soon as the first snow changes the atmosphere, it signals that the time to turn inwards has arrived. To look back at the goals you reached, or maybe didn’t reach... To evaluate whether to set these same goals for yourself, or if there are other, different, maybe even more important things to achieve.
To start pondering and planning as to how to go about reaching the new goals you set for yourself.

Or to just gaze out the window ~ watching it snow...
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Bottom Line

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These are expensive times. Not as much from an economical perspective, although it can seem hard to maintain the life style we have grown accustomed to as the prices for food, rent and utilities keep rising. But reaching the goals we have set for ourselves cost more from an energy perspective. ‘Getting there’ takes more out of us than it used to.
Or so it seems.

Either way, it is a good idea to keep track of what we are spending our time, money, and energy on.

Over the last month or so I have been bombarded by ‘best offers’, mostly for utilities and insurances. I have found that it is important to keep in mind that the company making the bid first and foremost has their own bottom line in mind ~ mot mine. In other words, it pays (literally) to sit down and do the calculation for yourself. It even pays to make the expensive phone calls to other suppliers in order to see comparison bids. Only when you know exactly how much you are spending, and what you are spending it on can you make a well informed decision.

So far I’m doing pretty good with it...
I have done my due diligence, found my best options, and I have made my decisions accordingly. Money-wise it does add up!

But what about the time and energy it has taken me to get all the information I needed to make those decisions? This week alone I have already spent about four hours sorting out what is what... I have found that these four hours were high focus, high energy hours ~ in other words, they have taken a lot of my energy.
And like with money, energy spent on one thing, cannot be spent on something else.

It got me thinking; where can I save on energy expended? (And yes, money and time too ~ although I have to say, the ‘time aspect’ doesn’t seem to be as pressing of right now.)
It comes down to three questions:

  • What do I need to accomplish?
  • What do I desire to achieve?
  • What do I feel I have to do?
The first two are pretty straight forward.
It is the last one that gets me into trouble every once in a while; the things I feel I have to do. Usually that feeling is related not to what is important to me (or it would have been covered by the first two questions) but by what I think is important to others.
It has to do with values I grew up with. It has to do with things I have been told along the way. It has to do with things I think are expected of me...
But are they?

The bottom line is that it is a good thing to take stock every once in a while. To take the time to really see where you are expending your energy and your money.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Bucket List

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Is there anything you always wanted to do, but never actually did? Something you would most definitely still want to do before you pass on? Those are the things you would put on the ‘bucket list’ ~ the things you still want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’. It’s a concept that first was mentioned in the 2007 movie with the same name, and that since has become like a benchmark to indicate which things in life would be so important to you that they cannot be missed out on...

So, is there anything on your bucket list?
Just think about it....
Anything?
And if so, what are you going to do about it?

If there is a problem with the concept of a bucket list, it is its name.
In essence, if you wait doing the things that are on your bucket list when time starts pressing ~ like in the movie ~ then, at least the way I am looking at it, you are starting on it a bit on the late side.
After all, wouldn’t it be great to do those things you really, really want to do at that time when they come up? So that you have the rest of your hopefully long and healthy life to enjoy the fact that you have actually done it?
Or are you going to push it off a bit longer still, because there is no time for something like that? Or because  there is a tinge of danger in the thing you want to do, and what if...? Or because right now there are other things that need to be done, even other people to take care of?

If that is the case, then maybe the real question is if you consider yourself worth it to do something that is ultimately so important for you to experience?

There comes a time when we have to decide to make a choice that benefits ourselves first and foremost. To decide that for you too, the purpose of life is to have fun! That it is not only okay, but it is necessary for you to do those things that have, may, or will make it to your ‘bucket list’.
There comes a time to stop coming up with excuses and to start doing the things we really want to do.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up anything. You can still keep your job, take care of your family. Even keep your daily, weekly, or monthly routines ~ at least for the most part.

There is just one thing we shouldn’t be doing...
And that is to end up on our own bucket lists ourselves.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Something worth going for...

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Writing to me comes easiest when I ‘allow it to happen’. When I go with the flow of words that well up inside of me - just letting them out. In doing so, sometimes surprising lines of thought appear on the computer in front of me. Things that have been there for quite a while already, things that I never really gave much thought. It is just that now the words are right in front of me...

This happened not too long ago as I was writing the outline to a new book.
As I was writing the book as I envision it as an outline, it suddenly occurred to me that as I child I had known exactly what I was going to do. And it wasn’t as much a dream, or a phantasy ~ you know like a lot of children will tell you they are going to be a fireman, doctor, nurse, teacher etc. when they grow up. I may not have had the vocabulary at the time to express it succinctly ~ but I knew with a certainty what I was here to do!
I would speak to groups of people.

So why am I currently ~ this blog aside ~ not doing that?
What happened?

Life happened.

Between school, friends, study, jobs, family, travel, and not in the least the fact that, like everybody else I have to pay the bills ~ that certainty of what I am here to do I had as a child was put on the back-burner. In fact, for many years it had fallen off the stove completely!

And while life may allow you to ‘not remember’ something ~ if that something is part of your personal path of growth for this life-experience it will most certainly not let you forget.
At some point, whatever it is will be brought back to your awareness; for you to evaluate whether this is still something you want to do.
Perhaps you now see that there is a different platform, new technology to do this thing you always wanted to do. Or do you choose to not do it at all ~ after all, we do have ‘free will choice’.

On the other hand, if it was that important that you were certain you were going to do it, achieve it, as a child ~ when it then, many years later comes back into your life maybe ~ rather than pushing it aside again it is good to take a second look. To really see it for what it is.

I bet it is something worth going for!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

If you build it, they will come...

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Famous words from the 1989 movie ‘Field of Dreams’, where ‘it’ is a baseball field, and ‘they’ are famous baseball players.
And while the movie by now is a ‘classic’, the sentence remains: If you build it, they will come...

In a sense there seems to be a similarity between these words, and the saying that ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.’
In both cases the desire, or frame work even, needs to be in place before things can start happening. This has always made perfect sense to me, for if there is no desire to go somewhere other than where you are at this moment ~ whether that applies to geographical places or in mind; whether it applies to education, jobs, health... If there isn’t the desire to make a change, to create something that suits you better in whatever way you can dream it ~ nothing is going to happen.

And yet, I can’t help wondering if in the fast paced societies of today, it is still true.
“If you build it, they will come..” Is that really all there is to it? You just set up the framework for what you want to see happen, and all the pieces are going to fall into place?
Does that mean that when you have something really powerful to offer ~ like a teaching program that can help a lot of people ~ you just create the program, and ‘they will come’?
Or is there more to it?

For starters, in the information-age that is this point in time you are bound to not be the only one offering a helpful study to the world. So what is it that sets what you have to offer apart from the others? How is it distinct?
And even if that which you would like to give to the world ~ how is ‘the world’ going to know about it? Through ‘word of mouth’ the news may not reach quite as far as you would hope. But even if you choose to go digital, there are no guarantees that your website ~ once you have built it ~ will be found by all those who are seeking for what you have to offer.

The question then becomes; what will you do to let people know that you have this terrific study program that is going to help them.
For the past 10 to 15 years the way to go seemed to be ‘louder is better’ strategies, where aggressive steps were taken to attract people to your business.
That seems to be changing now; moving in a more balanced direction where the digital media are used to teach people ~ and if they like what they are being taught, they will tell their friends.

So, ‘if you build it, they will come’ ~ but you better start playing yourself as well, otherwise no-one will know that the field is there...
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If what we are doing doesn’t work...

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At some point in our life we may find that for all our efforts, what we are doing isn’t getting us where we want to go. It usually takes a while to come to that realization, but then something happens that makes us fully aware of the fact that the situation we find ourselves in is (no longer) working for us.

The big question then becomes: “Well, if this doesn’t work, what can I do that will work for me?”
And so we find ourselves on a quest to find what we need to change, what we need to do different, and where we can apply our energy more productively.

As soon as we start looking at these things, a number of things are likely to happen:
  • We may become aware that our old patterns have different sources and are harder to break than we held possible.
  • When we break those old patterns, change the old tapes in our minds, the solutions we now see may be vastly different than we ever thought they would be.
  • We may discover that, once we start talking about our new-found direction ~ in any other field but the metaphysical or spiritual, making that change is applauded. Yet especially when there is money (yes, making money...) involved ~ when your path is a spiritual one, the reactions are more likely to be: “Uh-oh; her/his ego is taking over! Now it is all over, that is such a shame...”

Now, the first two are relatively easy to deal with. There are books on the how-to; there is the internet where processes can be found to handle things like this; motivational speakers, coaches, therapists ~ in other words, if you really want to change, help is out there.

The last point, however, seems to have to do with an ‘old tape’ that is more cultural. It is a message that when we are walking a spiritual path, we will be provided for.
For me, the first thing that comes to mind are holy men from pretty much all over the world, who are holding out a beggar’s bowl. And I am thinking, ‘They are clearly spiritual, if they are to be provided for, then why are they begging?’

In our modern-day lives it doesn’t work that way anymore.

Even when we are walking a spiritual path, we have bills to pay! We may have families to care for. And we probably like to eat a good meal at regular times.
At this point in time, not only is it okay to make money while on a spiritual path ~ the process of doing so is what helps us in our personal growth! And from that perspective, it makes us even more ‘spiritual’!
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Rats, Mice, and Tails

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Let me start by saying that I really do appreciate all animals. Even mosquitos, although I have to admit I prefer them to stay far from me.
This is therefore not about the the animas as such, but more about the figurative perspectives...

There is a Dutch saying that says that every mouse has a tail. It means as much as that even when you think something is all finished, there is something still coming. It is usually referring to some kind of interaction.
There is also an American saying that says that when you see one rat, there are a hundred more that you don’t see.

This being said ~ I have been thinking a lot about rats and mice and tails over the last weeks.
It all started with what at least on the surface looked like an administrative change in my telephone subscription. How hard can it be to go from analogue to digital, right?
But just when I thought I had successfully wound my way through the bureaucratic process, and thought I had made it to the finish, one of my telephone lines was cut off.
The mouse most definitely has a tail...
Apparently it is easy to bring one line into the digital era; but not two.
It’s complicated, I am told by every customer service person I have talked with since, and I must have talked with pretty much all of them by now. Good thing mice come in large families.

In this process where I am explaining my plight to every new person I get on the phone all over again, little tidbits of information (that I am certain they were not intending me to have) leak out.
It appears that in this simple shift from analogue to digital, multiple mistakes were made. Where it started with one miscommunication, this became the basis for another mistake, and another, and another.
When you see one rat, there are a hundred more you don’t see...

In the meantime I find myself at a curious halfway point.
Not only do I have only one out of two telephone lines ~ halfway to full interaction. With one ~ the working phone line ~ that has made it to the digital age, the future in a sense; and the other line ~ the one I am working so hard to recover ~ stuck in the analogue era, and as such in the past.

One could state that when you are living in the present, in that moment between past and future, not many words are needed. Or, on the other hand, that being partly stuck in the past is holding back full interaction with the world around me.

One thing is certain, I can’t wait for this rat’s nest to be unravelled!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What do you believe?

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If we are the (co)creators of our lives, our thoughts and our actions are what shapes and forms our lives. Yet, if it were that easy, we should all be happy ~ living exactly the lives we envision for ourselves...
As that at least doesn’t seem to be true for all of us; there has to be more to it.

The things is that our thoughts and actions are directed by our conscious mind, which in turn relies on the input of the subconscious mind. And it is this input that we are not always aware of; even though it signals us all the time. Through dreams, omens, visions, intuitive insights and so on.

The subconscious is programmed from the moment we are born, and is also home to our belief system.
And these are the things that are most influential in the way we create our lives.

So if we believe that we have to work really hard and make long hours in order to make a living ~ chances are that we will find ourselves in exactly that position: a job where we have to work hard and make long hours for our salary. As long as we believe the need for working hard, and the long hours to be true ~ it also will proof difficult to change; to find a job which allows us to make the same amount of money in fewer hours...
Now, this example is fairly straightforward. Where it gets to be harder to see the cause and effect of our believe system is when we start looking at things like self esteem, self worth, self respect.

Our quick, conscious-mind reaction often is: “Of course I’m worth it” or “Sure, I respect myself”. And while that is a good thing ~ the real question is whether, deep down inside ourselves we truly, honestly believe that we are worthy. Worthy of respect, to be held in esteem.
Because, no matter what we say ~ if deep down inside our subconscious mind tells us something different, ultimately, that message is what counts as we are shaping our lives...

And so we find ourselves living a pattern; and no matter how badly we want to step out of that pattern ~ unless we can change the message our subconscious is giving us, our subconscious belief system will keep dictating how we are creating our lives.

So looking at how we are creating our lives ~ we really should take a good, honest look at the things we  believe to be true. To ask ourselves the question: “What do I believe?”
About the world around you. And maybe most importantly, about ourselves.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Efficiency

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Some time ago I have changed my telephone, internet and television subscriptions from their separate originals into an ‘all in one’ subscription. Seemed more efficient at the time; starting to pay just over half of what the old set of subscriptions cost me is most definitely a bonus!

When I ordered the new package deal I was informed that the whole thing would take 4 weeks to be processed, send out, installed etc. ~ which was surprising to me, but no deal breaker. As expected I received the new modem, cables and manuals about two weeks into the process. On the day the switch from one to another would take place I installed the new and better system; for now adding to the ‘rats-nest’ of cables rather than subtracting from it. Yet, one telephone call later, everything worked.

As so often, it turned out that working out the details is where it gets complicated...

In the old set-up I had four telephone lines. Over time, two of these lines had outlived their usefulness ~ and this seemed the perfect time to discard the extra lines and numbers. Something that, according to the manual is easy to do yourself when you access your account online.
Taking this next step, I am surprised to find that the window where I should be able to make those changes is absolutely empty.
So I call customer service. I get the message that they are too busy right now, I should give them a call at a later time, and the call will be automatically disconnected.
Oh well...

A couple of days later, I receive an email telling me that my new subscription is working and processed; and any changes I would like to make in my telephone settings I can easily do myself when I access my account online. So I give it another shot. Still an empty page.

Another couple of days later ~ more than a week after my new subscription has taken effect ~ I am still unable to change my telephone settings. Time for another call to customer service.
This time I am being bounced from one person to the next ~ the third person finally comes with an answer: “It’s complicated”.

How complicated can it get? The whole process is automated from the moment the order is entered into the system ~ this to make sure everything is handled with the utmost efficiency. And yet, the (automated) administrative changes take 10 days and allow for an email to be sent out that says the process of switching over to the new subscription is all finished, when in reality it is not...

The friendly, yet somewhat argumentative customer service person insists: “It’s not that easy”.

It makes me wonder ~ does efficiency really complicate things?
Or have we, in our strive for efficiency forgotten that the simplest solution more often than not is the best solution?
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Multitasking

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Most people, at some point or other, are multitasking. Doing two things at the same time in order to get them done faster. Sometimes, the two activities are similar, and doing both together as one task makes sense. Other times the various activities in the ‘multitasking pool’ are vastly different ~ making it unclear whether multitasking is, in reality, saving any time at all.

There are different ‘forms’ of multitasking. One form is where you yourself are the only person involved with the multitude of tasks. The other form is where there are more people than just you involved...

It seems that one of the most common multitasking events is to carry on a conversation while doing something else ~ talking about something while doing the dishes, folding the laundry, watching TV ~ but also while shopping, taking a walk in the park etc. now that cell phones are everywhere...
And usually, this seems to work pretty well.

Have you noticed though that every time you are focusing on one of the activities, the other seems to stop for a moment? If you really want to get your point across in the conversation, your hands stop doing dishes, folding laundry; you probably even would look up from the TV ~ and feel a sense of frustration when the other person doesn’t look up, doesn’t appreciate the importance of what you have to say.

Suddenly, what started out as ‘multitasking’ has become an issue of respect for one another; and for the conversation you are engaged in. After all, nothing spells “What you are saying is not important to me” than keep staying focused on ‘the other task’ you are involved with.

And doing things while talking on a cell phone brings up other things that can be disrespectful, and even quite dangerous ~ but which certainly take away from your being aware of what is going on around you at that time.

So what does this say about ‘multitasking’ as an activity? Does it make multitasking ‘good, bad or indifferent’?
Or does it just create a division between forms of multitasking that are morally acceptable, and forms of multitasking that are being frowned upon ~ or even made illegal like using a cell phone while driving?

At any rate it shows that some tasks are more suitable for multitasking than others. It does seem to suggest that, unless ‘watching the kids’ is one of the tasks at hand ~ you should be the only person involved with your multiple tasks at hand.
And some things should just not be part of the multitasking experience. Like driving, or interacting with others.
We owe that to ourselves, and to others around us.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Target market

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Defining your target market is essential when you are setting up your business. It means you need to sort out who you are going to help, and how you are going to do that. Or who you are going to supply with what product.
And with any luck, your chosen target market, your decision who you are going to help and how you will go about doing that, coincides with the things you like best doing.

It seems that going through that process does have certain pitfalls.
For instance, it appears to be quite easy to first look at what you like doing best, and then focus on finding a target market for what you have to offer. And although this sounds like a good idea ~ and perhaps really is a good idea ~ the problem may be that you start focussing more on your need to do what you like to do, than on the needs of your target market.

When you look at an art like painting, there may be two types of painters. Those that paint ‘commercially’, and those that paint expressively. The first group will create paintings a client wants to have, the second group creates pieces of art out of the inner need for creative expression. And yet, both groups may define their target market in a similar manner; like art-loving, forty-something ‘two kids and a dog’ type clients.
At first glance, the first group seems more likely to be successful, as they are willing to supply their clients with what they feel suits them best. Yet, the second group may strike it big when their specific, inner self driven, creative expression hits a cord with, for instance, someone who is well known...

In reality, working with your target market may work best when all aspects come together in a balanced way. So what you do is something you like doing, or even something you have an inner drive to do ~ while you do it for people that really need what you have to offer. It means that while it can be tempting to only look at what you feel you want to do, you will have to observe the world around you in order to see what service or product the people ‘out there’ feel they need. In order to make your business successful, you will need to be flexible enough to adapt to what is needed in the market place.

I firmly believe that it is possible to build a successful business doing the things you like best doing. And in a sense, whether it is best to put your focus on the target market or on the inner drive to do what you like doing best is a ‘chicken and egg’ thing. Ultimately, both will need to come together in order for your business to work, and to bring you the fulfillment you need...
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Regaining Balance

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During times when a lot is going on in our lives, it is important to stay balanced. Not necessarily balanced with all the things that are going on, but balanced within ourselves. Centered, or even grounded.
This is something that is easier said than done!

It is also something that works differently for different people; there is no one recipe that works for everybody equally as well ~ although it does seem to be really important to not keep everything bottled up inside yourself; it is a good idea to do something to place it outside of yourself.
And there are guidelines as to what way might work best for you that are based on your astrological sun sign.

For ‘Air Signs’ (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra) talking it out or writing it out, putting your thoughts to paper, may be a good way in which a potential overload situation is put outside of Self.
For ‘Fire Signs’ (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) walking ~ or dancing, or running ~ can be a suitable way to regain balance.
‘Water Signs’ (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) may want to write or make a drawing of whatever they feel has brought them to be overwhelmed.
And ‘Earth Signs’ (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) may be best off rebalancing themselves while sitting down with a cup of tea...

For me, being an ‘Earth Sign’, today is a day to sit down with a cup of tea.

After a couple of really busy months, it is time to sit back, to take a deep breath, a cup of tea, and to regain my balance. To center again in the core of my Self so that I can evaluate whether my time and energy has been spent productively...
For instance, have my activities over the past months brought me closer to my goals? Or have I just been ‘putting out fires’, while every time I solved a problem another situation came up to take its place? Have I burned the candle on both ends, spinning my wheels, without ever getting closer to my goals ~ let alone getting closer to fulfilling my dreams and desires?

Those are questions we probably should look at every once in a while.
Because taking an honest look at where we are applying our time and energy allows us to see the direction we are going. If we like which direction we are going, a couple of really busy months are just that ~ and likely they have brought us closer to our goals.
If we don’t like the direction we are going, or if we feel like we are treading water, it is time to see what we can do differently in order to get moving in any direction we desire to go!
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Waiting Rooms

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Waiting rooms, no matter where they are or what they are for, all have similar energies. On one hand there is a sense of anticipation, while on the other hand there is an apprehensiveness, maybe even a fear... And there is always boredom.
The magazines on the table are usually old ~ sometimes even so old that they are not telling yesterday’s news, but tend to resemble a history lesson... And when you find yourself in a situation that you come to visit the same waiting room on a number of occasions, you may find little changes from one visit to the next.

Granted, some waiting rooms are way better equipped than others. My dentists waiting room, for instance, is a light and open area, it has two big flat-screens on the wall; one with the European news, the other with some documentary. And the magazines are fairly recent and change often.
Still it sparks this feeling of boredom, the idea that there are better things I can do with my time then being there.

Whether the waiting rooms are in doctor’s or dentist’s offices, in city hall, or even the post office (as it has a tendency to resemble a waiting room more often than not) we have a need to be there. To keep our appointment, to get some business taken care off ~ there always is a pressing reason for us to be there, in that waiting room, being bored.

Now, the spiritual perspective says that we create the events we experience in our lives.

The most obvious was in which we create this specific event of waiting in a waiting room is because we made an appointment. And we are there awaiting the time of our appointment. And when everything goes smoothly, the door opens at exactly the time we made the appointment for, and we are called in.

But sometimes, the expected single visit turns into a series of visits ~ and therefore a series of waits. We have a perfectly good reason for being there, yet even when everybody is on time, it becomes a bit of a drag.

Another way to look at it is that events like this reflect a part of our lives.
That we create this type of events subconsciously, because we are anticipating things to come into our lives, but it is not the right timing yet ~ like a trip or vacation.
Or because in some aspect of our lives we feel bored, or even apprehensive.

If the latter is the case, it bears the question: What in our lives are we waiting for?
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time

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All my clocks but two were stopped this morning. It took me a while to catch on to that fact (I’m not a ‘morning person’).
As I woke up, my alarm clock was flashing due to a short power outage that had occurred. A bit alarmed I went to the clock in my work room, only to find that the ‘seconds-arm’ was making its last feeble attempts to move at all - the time stuck at 7.15... AM or PM ~ no idea... The next clock, the one in the bathroom that worked fine yesterday, had even given up on its last attempts on keeping time at 8.45
The clock in the living room was still dutifully ticking the seconds away, showing that 8.45 AM indeed was the right time.
A sigh of relief. Not too late to get things done and to make it to my appointments for the day in time.

It made me think though ~ how much of our lives are ruled by keeping time. The appointments we set up with others rely on being there on time. But there are also the times in our day that are our anchors; divisions between one activity and another, like ‘dinner time’, time to watch the ten o’clock news, etc.

Somehow, keeping track of time gives us a sense of control over our busy lives.
As long as we are in time, there is order and structure in our lives.

To maintain this structure, we set aside time to perform our chores, we make time to visit friends, we loose time when we get stuck in heavy traffic, we run out of time as a deadline approaches... Time has  become the measuring stick with which we measure the amount of control we have over our lives.

At the same time, time itself has a fleeting aspect to it. When we have all the time in the world, it tends to disappear like sand running through our fingers. Time doesn’t seem a constant, it can stretch and move ~ when we are doing something that inspires us, time seems to go much faster than when we are doing something we really don’t like doing all that much.
And at some point we ask ourselves, where did the time go?

Yet time is.
In some sense there are only three points in time that have importance: the past, this moment, and the future.
The past is the path that has brought us where we are now, in this moment. The future is the direction our minds are going in order to shape and form the moment we are in...
Dwelling on the past is unproductive ~ could-have-beens and would-have-beens are bygones.
Worrying or doubting about things in our future is unproductive as this takes our awareness away from the moment that is ‘now’.

When we surrender control and allow ourselves to be in this moment as it unfolds, we shift into universal structure. And chances are, we are right on time!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

‘Doing’ or ‘Being’

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In our world today we have a tendency to be so caught up in all the things we need to do ~ work, family, social calls etc. ~ that we may forget who we really are; to be ourselves.

Not only does the focus tend to be on our expression in the world around us, it can make us feel that what we experience is not enough. Not enough work, not enough money, not enough happiness, love, fun, projects... The list can go on and on.
Often, our immediate excuse is that we can’t afford those things that would give us meaningful experiences ~ however, when we really start looking at what we can do that don’t cost us anything (or very little) there are all kinds of things we can do even today! Things around the house ~ like rearranging the furniture to change the energy of the room. Or a walk in the park. Calling a friend...
Another excuse is that we are too busy to to do these things. There is work, and a whole list of things to be done ~ therefore there is no time to take a walk in the park. And would we still take time to go to the park instead of doing the things ‘we should be doing’, chances are that we will feel guilty about it...

While we are focused on all the things we can do, and are doing in a day ~ we may be forgetting to be ourselves. We may even loose track of who we really are; of our desires, our needs, our dreams. Of the things we have to offer to the world, not as much by doing things, but more by being who we are ~ being who we are meant to be. And expressing that to ourselves and to the world around us.

We may get the feeling that we are not enough. That we are not accomplishing enough, not helping others enough. That we ourselves, what we do or have to say, aren’t worth enough...

Focusing on being who we really are, being ourselves, doesn’t take away any of the things we do in a day, a week, a month... Yet when doing these things is based in the foundation of a healthy relationship with ourselves, we tend to be more efficient in getting the things that are important to us done. Also, there is a good chance that we keep an eye on the things we need and desire in life ~ rather than just taking care of everybody else.

Looking at it that way, it is not about ‘doing or being’ ~ it is about ‘being and doing’.
To truly be ourselves, and to do the things that are really important to us.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Higher Standard

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I believe that in this day and age, especially when we are walking a spiritual path, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Even while most of us are law-abiding, productive citizens ~ there still seems to be room for improvement, ways in which we can become even better individuals.

Let me ask you some questions...

Are you an honest person?
If you answer that with ‘yes’, does that mean that you don’t tell lies? Not even little white lies? Or does that mean that you are always so honest and straightforward that there is no room for diplomacy? Does that mean that you are, apart from being honest to others, also honest to yourself? All the time?

Are you trustworthy?
Again, if you answer ‘yes’, does that mean that you always say what’s up, without resorting to manipulation (on occasion)? Does that mean that you really never gossip? That the things told in confidence are really safe with you? And do you trust yourself enough to know that what ever comes up in your life, you will be able to handle it?

Are you peaceful?
If you say ‘yes’ again, does that mean that you, whenever you get angry, you immediately handle whatever made you angry, without holding onto the anger ~ to be able to restore the peace as quickly as possible? Do you find peace within yourself? Do you spread peace to others?

Three simple questions that are very easy to answer with ‘yes’. And yet it is so easy to then come up with the excuse that ‘everybody tells a little white lie, every once in a while’. Or ‘but I only told my best friend...’. And even ‘I am really angry, but they had it coming!’

And what about those three questions from a very personal, even inner perspective?

For me, in all reality, I probably should answer these questions with: ‘I am mostly honest, I am fairly trustworthy, and I try to be peaceful.’
And I know, that if I measure myself to a higher standard in regarding these three things, I almost certainly would become a more spiritual person. Learn my lessons with more grace. Complain less and be more positive. Not necessarily because the world around me changes, but because my perspectives change to a more inner, spiritual world.

Living to a higher standard gives us the opportunity to find the things we want in life, the things we often look for outside of us, inside of ourselves. And while it may take a while to get the hang of it, the better we get at it, the easier it becomes to accept ourselves, to see ourselves as good, honorable people on a spiritual path.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Karma

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The best explanation of ‘karma’ I have found is that karma is the universal law of cause and effect in action. This means that when your cause is ‘good’, when what you are doing is the right thing ~ good will come to you.
Now, as this is an universal law, the way the good things come back to you is not always straightforward. As it turns out, it may come back to you in totally surprising ways, at an unexpected time and place ~ without any obvious relation to your original actions.
The same is true when your actions have been less than honorable. In the short term, you may have received an advantage because of your actions, or the manner in which you have conducted yourself. In the long term, the law of cause and effect may present you with opportunities to correct your actions or behavior ~ often in ways we experience as unpleasant.

This perspective on karma implies that karma is not just active form one life experience to the next, but is also at play within the life experience, or incarnation you are in at the moment.

Going back to the universal law of cause and effect, which says that every cause has its effect, every effect has its cause ~ it seems to add up to a fairly simple guideline for our lives.
What goes around, comes around...

So if we are honest, fair, and trustworthy ~ intent on doing ‘the right thing’, then good things will come to us. While if we push the moral envelope and get ahead to the detriment of others ~ retribution will knock on our door before long. Right?

Well, yeah...

However, from our human perspective, it may still seem that it pays to push the moral envelop. Sometimes those who are truly honorable, seem to be viewed as ‘suckers’ that are easily taken advantage of.
When that happens, from a universal perspective, the most ‘good’ it may have to offer is for the honorable person to learn to stand up for themselves in an ethical manner ~ which in turn means that we don’t have to overly concern ourselves with the person we felt was taking advantage of us in the first place.
The law of cause and effect will eventually catch up with them.

So if we do choose to use the law of cause and effect as a guide in our lives ~ and if we aim to become ever more honorable, ethical people; the ‘good’ in our lives may not come as riches. It may come in the realization that we are at the right place a the right time, as a feeling of happiness, a sense of peace...

The universe is wiser than we are, and karma is perfect.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Morals and Ethics...

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Lets first visit the dictionary and see what it says about morals, ethics and the similarity and difference between the two...

Morals: concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character

Ethics: a set of moral principles, esp. ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct

< You can be an ethical person without necessarily being a moral one, since ethical implies conformity with a code of fair and honest behavior, particularly in business or in a profession (: an ethical legislator who didn't believe in cutting deals), while moral refers to generally accepted standards of goodness and rightness in character and conduct—especially sexual conduct (: the moral values she'd learned from her mother).
In the same way, you can be honorable without necessarily being virtuous, since honorable suggests dealing with others in a decent and ethical manner, while virtuous implies the possession of moral excellence in character (: many honorable businesspeople fail to live a virtuous private life). >

So far for the dictionary.
It does bring up an interesting perspective though, as it says that while obeying the law is moral, there may be an even higher ethical standard we can follow, which might be different than what is written in the letter of the law.
For instance, when a law is bend to a use it was never intended for. The law is still followed and therefore what happens may be morally right, yet its intent is lost, which can make the outcome ethically wrong.

Looking around me in the world today, it seems to me that the gap between morals and ethics is growing wider. It seems that the “generally accepted standards of goodness and rightness in character and conduct” are slowly sliding to a lower level as it becomes acceptable to tell the little white lie, the lie by omission ~ as it becomes an accepted practice to manipulate people into the direction you want them to go; and when ‘politics’ are expected to be prevalent in pretty much any meeting with others.
We may view ourselves as honorable people. This implies that we are fair and honest toward others and not in the least to ourselves ~ independent of our role in the situation at hand. The honorable thing to do when you could have done better, is to say so ~ even if you are just telling yourself. Having recognized that there is room for improvement, chances are the next time you will do better! And when you were wrong, especially when someone else has suffered damages because of it ~ the honorable thing to do is to confess and pay the price...

Yet, it seems the moral thing to do is to see how you can get away with it; preferably legally.

And the spiritual perspective?
I would say it in three words: Karma is perfect.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Luggage

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Although luggage is mostly referred to as the suitcases we carry to our vacation destinations, in more general terms it is literally the ‘stuff’ we are lugging around with us.

Question is, how much of that which we are lugging around with us is actually useful to us?

This question holds true for material possessions we may have as well as for things that take up less space, like attitudes, perspectives, life-styles ~ and even the things we were taught; the things we learned along the way are not automatically things we want to stick with...

The rule of thumb that says that when you haven’t used an item for a year, it has lost its usefulness to you and is now just taking up space works for many people who seek to determine what possessions to keep, and which to get rid of. Of course there are certain seasonal items for which you may want to extend that time frame. On the other hand, there are also things that were nice at the time ~ but never had a real use...
This makes it relatively easy to see which of our possessions are essential to our (quality of) life, and which are not ~ what things we need on a day to day basis, and what items we are lugging around with us.

It is much harder to determine what is helping us and what is hindering us when we look at things like values (which we often inherit from our parents), our attitudes, perspectives, life-styles etc. ~ yet it is looking at these things that is all the more interesting!

What are the attitudes we have? Where did they come from? Were we taught the things that have become our attitudes? Are these attitudes helping us or hindering us? Do they lift us up, or weigh us down? And if they are weighing us down; then why are we lugging them around with us?

The reality is that all of us are lugging ‘stuff’ around with us ~ some more than others ~ but no-one seems to be exempt. And most of it is there because we haven’t taken the time to really take a look at whether an attitude is realistic, is helping us or is getting in our way.

The luggage we take along on our vacations, whether it is a lot of luggage or only hand luggage, gets unpacked after we get back from our trip ~ after it has served its purpose...
It would serve us to do the same thing with the non-physical luggage we are lugging around with us ~ to, every once in a while, take some time to unpack and see if it is something we want to keep, or is there is a chance we rather get rid of it...
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You are so worth it!!

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Maybe what we really need is a new way to measure our worth...
And it seems to me that if the ‘guilt-cycle’ is to be excluded from that process, a different, perhaps greater standard is needed. A standard that doesn’t necessarily involves ourselves and people around us, but is about ourselves and the earth, ourselves and the universe, the cosmos, or even the Creative Force itself.

When we shift our perspectives in that manner, what would be the things by which we measure ourselves?

Would it be how successful we are in business? How powerful we are? How many people are working for us? How big a difference we have made on a global scale?
Or would it be much more personal (And yes, much more under our control), like being respectful, honest, honorable, peaceful, content...

Another way of looking at it is from the perspective that in our use of language ‘worth’ and ‘value’ are related. So, in that greater perspective, what value do you have to yourself, the earth, the universe, or the Creative Force?

Before you say, how can I be of any value to systems and processes that are so much bigger than me ~ just take a moment to look at it this way: why else would we have our ‘God-given’ qualities, our unique abilities and potentials?

To me it seems these things are a much better way to measure ourselves for a number of reasons.
First, it implies that the better we get at being ourselves, exploring our individual, unique talents and potentials has value on a grand scale!
Second, each and every one of these things are under our own control. We decide how far we take it. And we decide how we are measuring up ~ according to our own standards...
Third, and maybe most importantly ~ it starts from the premise that each of us in our own right is a valuable, deserving, worthy individual.

So, what can we do to become even more deserving? What steps can we take to explore our talents? To become an even more valuable part of the ‘Big Picture’?

Some things that come to mind are to communicate with those around you with honesty and respect; to extend that respect to nature, and even to property (whether it is your own, or that of another person); to take care of yourself ~ after all, you are valuable and should be well taken care of!

Looking at yourself in that manner, finding ways to enforce those things in yourself and in your life, will make you feel better about yourself! You are measuring up quite nicely!

And you are so worth it!!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

You’re worth it!

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Over the last year or so, a number of add-campaigns on television have incorporated that little sentence in their promotional efforts. You’re worth it! And while there is little doubt in my mind that we are worth it ~ that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with whether we have any desire for that specific product.
So what makes that sentence so powerful? Or, maybe more to the point, why do we feel we need to be reminded that we are worth it ~ what makes us so hungry for that positive feedback on who we are?

The most obvious reason would be that, left to our own devices, we don’t feel we are good enough or indeed, worthy enough. Somehow we feel that we are not deserving of the good things in life.

The reasons for not feeling good enough are varied. From the sense that we really need to work hard to pull our own weight, to an all-pervasive idea that we need to please those that are close to us ~ to the somewhat innocuous sounding need to be nice. And these are only a few examples...

Not succeeding in any of those areas is almost guaranteed to make us feel guilty.
And nothing tells us more effectively that we are not good enough than a feeling of guilt...

So in a sense we find ourselves in a vicious cycle where not feeling good enough makes us feel guilty, which in turn gives us a sense of not being good enough...
Sad thing is, it is not getting us anywhere ~ and, more often than not, isn’t even true!

And from that perspective, any feedback on who we are that tells us that we are worth it is a powerful message ~ one that we would so like to believe.

What would it take to step out of that cycle and to start believing on ourselves? To not only hope that we are good enough, but to know it in our hearts?

Being told on TV apparently is a step in the right direction or else add agencies would have dropped the sentence... On the other hand, they too play on our sense of guilt: in order to be worth it, we’d better buy their product and make ourselves look as beautiful as the person who is telling us that we are worth it.
And if we don’t ~ are we still worth it?

Pondering that question leads me to yet another question: What is it in me that makes me deserving, that makes me ‘good enough’, in short, that makes me worth it?
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn

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With every change in the seasons I am in awe at how the weather turns on a dime ~ moving from one season to the next. Last week, suddenly, Fall weather set in, and with it the light changed, different  scents fill the air, the leaves on the trees take on their colors, slightly foggy mornings, and a realization that the days are already a lot shorter than they were only four short weeks ago...
And with the change in the weather, it seems to be colder ~ something that is not necessarily the case; Autumn can bring the most wonderful, warm weather ~ and yet, the Fall energy makes us want to dress warmer, and turn the heater on just a little earlier in the evenings...

Summer is over, and the time of the harvest is upon us.

Not too long ago, Autumn was not only the time of harvest, but also the time when there was a feast of fresh fruits, new potatoes ~ a time when vegetables were canned or frozen so that we could enjoy the luxury of ‘out of season’ tastes throughout Winter.
Nowadays, at any point in the year there seems to be some place on the earth where a crop of fresh veggies or fruits is harvested. Nothing seems to be ‘out of season’ any longer ~ as long as you are willing to pay the price for transportation. The world is ‘getting smaller’.

This leaves me wondering about the time of harvest... No doubt that ripened fruits are harvested now, but there is not the anticipation of being able to buying the new, freshly picked crops anymore.
It seems that the significance of the time of harvest has been lost; if not changed.

A more spiritual perspective on the time of harvest is that we, mankind, as part of nature follow the same cycle through the seasons. Autumn then becomes a time in which we harvest ‘crops’ within ourselves, and within our lives.
And while it may not always seem like our harvest is as purposeful as the harvest of fruits or veggies, it may come in the form of finally seeing a solution for a problem, something we hadn’t been able to put our finger on before. Or a sudden realization of where we are heading in our lives. It can also come as the result of a project or process ~ something we have been working toward, but that hasn’t ‘payed off’ yet.

Whichever way it comes, like in the olden days the harvest is followed by a time of gratitude. It is therefore from a spiritual perspective as well as from a mundane, common sense perspective important to take time to see what you have accomplished ~ and to celebrate the achievement!

So, what have been your accomplishments, and how will you celebrate what you have achieved?
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Jet lag

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To me, jet lag manifests as an experience where my body and my mind each think they are in a different time zone. And as that happens, I am hungry at weird times ~ feel awake in the middle of the night, and sleep the day away... Often it takes a couple of days for my body and my mind to get on the same page again; to regain my rhythm.
It is interesting though that I seem to have jet lag less when I travel west, compared to when I travel east. Another thing that doesn’t strike me as logical is that the number of time zones I have crossed seems to have less to do with it than the direction traveled...

There are many ways in which people manage jet lag, I hear. From taking a melatonin food supplement, to adding light to the back of your knees, to setting your watch to the time zone you are traveling to the moment you board the aircraft (something that I actually do), to drinking lots of water (always a healthy choice, independent from the jet lag), to, and this may be the weirdest, wearing insoles in your shoes that you have cut out of brown paper bags.
And where some of these methods have an effect on your body chemistry, others seem to be mostly affecting your mind; the way you think about jet lag...

Having bounced back and forth to six time zones away recently, at the moment I do feel a little out of sorts. Having packed and unpacked a number of times in rapid succession makes me lose track a little bit as to what clothes are where, and yes, there are some things that have ended up in the bag packed for the weekend workshop that even surprise me a tiny bit (apart from having packed about twice as many clothes as I can possibly wear during one weekend.

This weekend workshop, my partner Sam and I are teaching in the Netherlands ~ the same time zone ~ and still it feels like I am in a different world yet again. This time because of a cultural difference between different parts of the same country. And although it doesn’t fit the definition of jet lag, it most certainly feels that way.

Putting all this together, it seems to me that jet lag is more than just the number of time zones one has traveled. It seems to indicate that part of the ‘jet lag experience’ has to do with the stress of not taking time to stand still for a moment. To take a deep breath, to look around, to enjoy the sunlight on your face ~ before you start moving again to the next appointment, the next obligation.

Could it be that easy? Can jet lag be countered by taking the time to smell the roses?
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Having your ducks in a row

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Looking at ducks moving from one place to another, this is typically an expression that has found its origin in nature. And once those ducks have decided where to go to, it actually seems to happen in the orderly fashion the saying suggests...

The thing is, that before that decision is made, there can be ducks everywhere ~ each doing its own thing, hardly bothered by what their fellow ducks are doing or where they want to go.

That is how I have  been feeling lately.
Plenty ducks, but they are all over the place, moving in all directions and not going anywhere fast.
It is probably hard to believe that I consider this situation a step up from where I was before: chaos, and not any scattered ducks in sight... At least now there are ducks...

So how did a nice girl like me get in a situation like this?
Well, the short answer is that I want my cake and eat it too!

Last Spring I decided that I enjoy all the things I do tremendously, and therefore, if I really want to be successful in doing a variety of things to make a living ~ I had better put energy into each and every one of them. And not only that; I also decided that a good use of my time would be to start to process of getting an e-business going ~ realizing this would take some time and energy, but also hoping that would be time and energy well spent in the long run.
So this is what I have set out to do ~ expanding not only the number of things I do, but also the time spend on each of those things.

And pretty soon I had created plenty of ducks that all were moving in their own, uncoordinated directions. The problem seems to come with getting all these ducks in a row...
In other words, creating one flow of energy that encompasses all my separate endeavors.

One way to do this is to find where each activity touches on another. What are the common ingredients?
At first glance, I seem to be the only common ingredient. But when I look at it longer, other things start to pop up: like creative expression, an urge to be self sufficient, and a desire to be able to help others.
And as soon as I took those things as guidelines to make decisions as to where to spend my time and energy first, I found that my ducks started to align themselves...

I am now beginning to believe that yes, I can have my cake and eat it too!
(And by the way, ducks love cake ~ but then especially here in town, they pretty much eat anything they can get their bills on)
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Sharing

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When asked to share something of Julian’s teachings ~ something that has affected me most ~ I found myself facing a dilemma. In the 10 years or so that I have experienced the teachings first hand from June Burke and Julian, there have been so many things that, certainly with the clarity of 20/20 hindsight, have changed my life!

When I look at my life today, there are certain things that have happened that looking back, remain to be markers, or even milestones.
Things like getting my drivers license, and later-on the truck that allowed me independence in traveling with my horse, the motor bike accident, meeting Sam, and through him meeting June and Julian.
As I am writing this down, I find it just as interesting what events seemed just as big and important at the time; may even have been life-changing events, and yet they don’t make the list of milestones...

Needless to say that Julian’s teachings have, and continue to change my life.
But when asked what single thing has affected me most... There have been so many things both in the mystical teachings as well as in private encounters with both June and Julian ~ and each has helped me to direct my life in such a way that I find myself expressing more and more of my unique potential, gaining an ever greater sense of my reality Self.

Having to choose just one or two things, I think the most important thing happened in one of the first of Julian’s workshops I attended. It was break-time, and pretty much everybody was following Julian’s advice to move around and breathe a little bit. And although Julian often answered personal questions during those breaks, this time he did not ~ resting a bit himself. As I got up, to my surprise Julian called me over ~ and he told me: “You are enough! You don’t have to be anything else than who you are, and you are enough.”

It has been an affirmation I have worked with for a long, long time. Telling myself that ‘I am enough’ every time I saw myself in the mirror; in the reflection of a window, or just enjoying a walk ~ ‘I am enough’.
After working with this affirmation for about three weeks, it began to sink in ~ and as it did, my life began to change, empowering me every step of the way.

“I am enough, I don’t have to be anyone else except my Self, and I can do it”

And in a point in time where the energies not only have a high vibration, but seem scattered every once in a while, it is something that is a good thing to remember ~ not just for me, but for everybody...


Information on Julian's Teachings can be found at the Julian Teachings website.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sensory Overload

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As more and more people become more and more aware in a world that seems to get smaller by the day and with an energy of this point in time that is getting ever higher in vibration ~ it is really easy to get in a ‘sensory overload situation’...

This can be a situation like walking in a busy shopping mall where people seem to wander aimlessly around while you are in a hurry to get what you need and get on with your day; it can be because there are simply too many things to do that particular day; because of stress... The causes of a sensory overload can be a ‘biggie’ or a series of small things happening to you or around you ~ the result is that all of a sudden the sensory input is too much to handle...

While this works the same for most people (although the levels of input at which an overload occurs differ) ~ what we do about it is both the same as well as very individual: we start shutting out the world around us.

This can be done in many ways ~ we can retract ourselves from the situation, finding a quiet spot where we can regroup; we can take a walk in the park, or watch TV, read a book, play computer games... Yet when I look around the methods of choice involve an MP3 player or a cel phone...

As soon as we put those earbuds in, whether it is to make a telephone call or to listen to the music of our choice, we dismiss the interaction with the world around us ~ at least to a certain extend. We can still get to where we want to go, but we do so in our own little bubble ~ a sub-environment of our choosing. Another purpose wearing those earbuds serves is that people around us are discouraged to talk to us, ask us a question or start any interaction of any kind.
We effectively broadcast the message: ‘Don’t bother me!’.

So, as a method to cope with sensory overload, it makes perfect sense to me.

On the other hand I do wonder why anyone would want to step out into the world ~ only to take overate action to shut that same world out as fast as they can...

And then there is the question as to how this works with our awareness.
When we move out and about in our own little bubble ~ are we still as aware of what is happening around us? Do we still sense the ebb and flow of the energies we may be moving through? And are we alert enough to react if anything happens just outside of our chosen environment?

In the energy of today, it seems to be a fine line between our increasing awareness and sensory overload...
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Friday, September 3, 2010

What’s in a name? ~ again

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Where in business the name and the energy of a business seem to get interwoven on much deeper levels than meet the eye ~ the same is true with our personal names and our energies.

It was a long time ago when I noticed that some people would call be by either one of my given names ~ and that which name they picked to call me by indicated which aspects of me they preferred to interact with. Those that called me ‘Anne’ seemed to not want to stray from practical, logical ‘real world’ interaction. While those that called me ‘Claire’ usually were open to my more ‘airy-fairy’ side and subsequent perspectives.
I have come to understand that my name ~ Anne Claire ~ provides me with a balance on a much deeper level than is obvious, as it allows both sides of me to thrive.

This would mean that a name is really important, as it refers to, and maybe even brings out, certain aspects of Self!

And in turn this makes me wonder about people who feel they need to change their names. On one hand it seems an obvious way to start ringing out a different aspect of who you are ~ and I can totally understand how that can be so appropriate! Especially when one has encountered circumstances that have profoundly changed their perspectives on live. On the other hand, how do you know what name to  choose? Are the effects of the new name more or less clear in advance?
And what happens if you would choose a name that changes the energy in such a manner that you seem to step from the frying pan into the fire? (And is this at all possible?)

The concept of how your name and your energy are interwoven also makes me curious if there might be certain characteristics that go with certain names. Like if there might be similarities in energy or otherwise between say 100 people named ‘Paul’, or ‘Lisa’.
And if there were, would those similarities be across cultures? Across astrological signs? Would they be as strong in people who were given their grandfather’s or grandmother’s given names because tradition required them being named that way?

Following the path my mind is wandering along, I even question how big the influence of the name our parents gave us is from the perspective that they ~ consciously or subconsciously ~ have chosen a name for us that would bring those aspects of us to the surface that would shape us into what they desired us to be... And if this is so, wouldn’t it be a natural thing to do to, at some point in our lives, change our names into a name of our choosing, our desire?

Think about it... Would you change your name?
And what name would you choose?
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What’s in a name?

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For the last twelve or so years, my partner Sam and I have had two websites: ‘The Path of the Mystic’ is our American digital home, while ‘The Shamans Journey’ is our digital home in the Netherlands ~ although it started out as that part of our activities that hosted our products.



As time has moved on, different parts of our activities have moved to the foreground ~ even under different names. Yet, especially in the Netherlands, The Shamans Journey is still the ‘umbrella’ under which most of our activities find shelter.

And all this time, it has been regarded as exactly that.

But something seems to have shifted. Last weekend I was a vendor at the ‘Levenskunstbeurs’ in the small Dutch town of Driebergen ~ a big fair of which the name translates to the ‘The Art of Living Fair’. The name ‘The Shamans Journey’ was advertised; as it has been before with other fairs I have been to.
This time around, a lot of people came up to me asking about shamanism. What kind of shamanism we practice, what kind of shamanic journeys we take, and so on.

Now, shamanism is something that is very close to our hearts. For me, my greatest interest lies in how we can strengthen our bond with nature while living our day-to-day lives in our Western society ~ with all our obligations, not to mention living very close to our neighbors...

What was just as surprising to me, was that most people coming over to ask about shamanism, did not seem happy with this explanation. They apparently hoped to find a specific brand of classical shamanism, which although well known, has its roots in a different part of the world altogether...

It has made me wonder; what has given the name for our business which we have had for many years such a different ‘ring’ to it? Is it the energy of this point in time? Have we, unwittingly, changed our energies to such extend that it shows in the name? Are our current perspectives more suited to a more general public (even though they may not agree with our view on shamanism)? Or is it a message to us from the Universe, and if so, what does it tell us?

Another aspect to ponder is whether the same thing has happened to ‘The Path of the Mystic’...  And if so, how is it being viewed differently? What are the questions people may have about us and ‘The Path of the Mystic’ at this point in time?
Would it instigate similar questions on shamanic practices? Or would it spark questions on mysticism? And if the latter were the case, would it be about a specific mystical practice or belief?

Whichever way you look at it, it seems that the name and its energy have a lot more to them than meets the eye...
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Friday, August 27, 2010

The choices we have...

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There are a number of way we can look at the choices we have in life. There are choices that are clear, obvious, and can be a lot of fun (for instance where to go to on vacation). Then there are choices that have more repercussions (like moving or changing jobs). And then there are those instances that we feel we don’t have any choice in the matter at all. Where we feel stuck in a situation or a set of circumstances that we cannot influence, let alone solve, or move away from.

Now you may think that we can always move away from a situation if we truly don’t like it ~ and in a sense this is true. However, there are those situations where moving away from it brings a whole different set of circumstances about, that aren’t necessarily easier to deal with... For instance when caught in a job without any prospects, that is not interesting, that doesn’t pay well ~ in short, a job you really don’t desire to have ~ but you need this job to pay the bills, and you may feel unlikely to find another, better, more interesting job at the same or better pay in the area you live in.

All of a sudden, it seems there are no choices.
Or no ‘good’ choices, anyway...

And for all the theory on always having choices and making your decisions based on these choices in order to live a life full of purpose ~ here you are... Stuck between a rock and a hard place...

In a situation like this, a helpful exercise can be to think of five ways to improve on the situation you are in. In this example that could be for instance:
through education (prepare yourself for the job you desire)
through actively starting to look for another job anyway (at least you will set the energy into motion that there is something else out there that is better...)
through moving to a different area
through starting something you really enjoy doing next to your job (and if that would bring in an extra couple of $$, great!)
through counting your blessings and actively find things that are good about the job you have now (it brings a more positive energy to the existing situation)

Now, I’m not saying that any of these five choices are ‘good’ ones, but what you do with an exercise like this is that you do give yourself choices again! You put yourself in a position where you are actively involved in the situation.

And even if the situation doesn’t change immediately, listing five possible choices makes that you may not feel stuck in it anymore!
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Decisions ~ again

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As we have the opportunity to shape our lives with every decision we make, our awareness of the choices we have becomes more and more important. The more clearly we can see the choices we have in life, the more active we can be in shaping and molding our lives to match our desires...
And pretty soon our personal path is one that is productive and fulfilling.
Along with that, we become more and more aware of our spiritual path ~ our path of personal growth.

The key here is to be aware of the decisions we make based on the choices we have.

This means not only making the best decisions we can in the areas of our lives where the choices are obvious, but also to spend time looking at what choices we really have in those areas that are less obvious... And to take a look at the decisions we, one way or another, are not feeling comfortable about making just yet, the ‘non-decisions’.

It seems these non-decisions are most tricky as we start looking at actively shaping our lives, as there is a fine line between the point where waiting it out is the wise thing to do, and where not making a decision is stopping us in our movement forward...

One may say that when in doubt, do nothing and wait it out; wait until something happens that sheds light on the situation at hand. And a lot of times this may be the right thing to do.
On the other hand, one may be waiting forever, as this decision is crucial for taking the next step on the spiritual path, and as such a learning experience from a spiritual perspective.

When we find ourselves facing a non-decision, it is important to discover why we are not willing to make that particular decision at this point in time.
Is it because we feel overwhelmed? Because we have too much on our plate to come to a balanced perspective? It is because we are not fully aware of the choices we have? Or is it because of the ramifications we suspect this decision may have (it may be an unpopular decision, making people not like you anymore)?
Or is it because there seem to be several choices that could work out really well, and you are not quite certain yet which direction to take it? In this case, taking a little bit more time before you decide can be a good thing!

However, as long as we stay tuned to the choices we have, and actively make our decisions accordingly ~ the more actively we are shaping our lives and the more aware we will be of our personal paths.
Things don’t just happen to us anymore, we actually choose which direction to go every step of the way!
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Decisions

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As we as humanity have free will choice, at least from a spiritual perspective ~ there are a lot of decisions we have to make as we move along our personal paths. Almost every step we take is because of a decision we have made.

Therefore, decisions and how we make our decisions is important!

Some decisions are totally obvious like a decision to change jobs, to move, to take a vacation (and where to spend that vacation ~ just stay home, find a sunny beach, go for some adventure, or even to travel the world...)
The fact that these decisions are obvious, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily easy to make...
For instance, from the initial decision of wanting to change jobs ~ a lot of other decisions come up for us to look at; not to mention the fears and doubts that it can spark. Like ‘Am I good enough for this job I want’, or ‘If I get the job, do I need to move? And will I find a suitable house?’, or ‘Even though this is a job I always wanted to have, is its pay going to support me and the lifestyle I desire?’...

In order to make the one decision, we need to look at everything that is involved ~ including our fears and doubt about it ~ in order to come to a balanced perspective, and therefore a ‘wise decision’.
And pretty soon, the whole picture can become somewhat overwhelming, leading us to not make that decision right now. We will first see what happens, and then we will act accordingly.

And what has happened at that point is that instead of being the active force that leads us along our personal paths, we have become reactive. We have made the decision to not make a decision.
In itself that doesn’t automatically mean that this is a ‘bad decision’. In fact, it may be the best decision we can make at that point in our lives.

As long as we are aware that not making that decision, is a decision in its own right!
It is one of the ‘not so obvious decisions’ we make...

Other decisions along this line are those that we may not even view as being decisions as we may not be fully aware that we have a choice in the matter, like the things we have, from childhood on, always done a certain way, or things that are deeply imbedded in the culture we live in.
With these things, we first need to realize that we have choices, before we can make a decision about them.

All in all, the more we become aware of the choices we have, and make our decisions accordingly ~ the more we can purposely shape our lives...
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