This morning I was working out with a friend who was telling me a story about how he went to a quintessential Cuban cafe for breakfast. Although he used his best Spanish to order, they ended up giving him the wrong kind of steak with his eggs. Now my friend, who is dedicated to health and fitness, is vigilant about what he puts into his body and eating clean. When I asked him if he sent his meal back, he shrugged his shoulders and replied,
“No. I don’t want to be that person.”
Being raised around people who sent things back at restaurants, got upset if the service was slow, or took it personally if they didn’t get “the right” table, I vowed at an early age not to be a complainer. I, like many of us, have played the role of the meal martyr and tolerated underwhelming service, waiters getting my order wrong (you know, the whole “no croutons, dressing on the side” thing), and my biggest pet-peeve - cold food, just because I didn’t want to be that person!
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have sat silent, fought with ourselves about whether to say something or send something back or not, and paid for things we did not order because we didn’t want to be that person. Our fear and worry about being judged or labeled as a complainer, spoiled, entitled, or a pain in the butt has caused us to bite our tongue and swallow our integrity along with an order of food we didn’t want or care for.
If we want to grow inwardly we must find new ways to learn about ourselves. These higher discoveries call for higher learning. Think of each of the following eleven laws as individual magic strands of a flying carpet. Make it your aim to weave them together in your mind. Then watch how these lessons combine to effortlessly lift you to a higher and happier life level.
The First Law
Nothing can stop you from starting over.
The greatest power you possess for succeeding in life is your understanding that life gives you a fresh start any moment you choose to start fresh. Nothing that stood in your way even a heartbeat before stands there now in the same way. It's all new, even if you can't as yet see it that way. You've only to test the truth of this fact about the newness of life to discover the incredible freedom that waits for you just behind it. And then nothing can stop you. You'll know the real secret and the perfect power of starting over.
He was thirteen before he knew what a hand drill was. His father saved and bought him one for 75 cents. Before that, he made holes in wood by twisting coal-fired nails into the grain. It was his job to throw wood in the fire after school. When red hot, he’d pinch a nail with a pair of pliers and twist it through the wood, which went soft and dark until there was an opening. Now his skin is thin and just last week he stumbled out of bed and landed hard on the radiator, his forearm tearing like a thin curtain. It took an hour to stop bleeding.
He just took care of it himself. We are held this way in the fire of time where we go soft and dark till our skin goes thin and just waking tears us open.
A Question to Walk With: Ask an elder in your life for a story about the first tool they learned how to use.
This excerpt is from a new book in progress, Compass Work: Finding Our Fathers While Finding Ourselves.
“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.” ~C. JoyBell C.
Do you have the courage to be fully human?
To me it boils down to this: being vulnerable enough to allow your emotions to rise up and flow through you unchecked, without hindrance, without judgment. Inconceivable joy. Devastating sadness. Raging anger. Unmitigated self-judgement. Burning guilt. The entire spectrum of emotions. There is no hierarchy. No one is better than the other. Each are powerful. Each of them teach essential lessons if we are willing to listen.
We get into trouble when we impede this flow and ignore the lessons. Because we are afraid of the change these lessons will bring, we reign in our emotions. We stuff them down and ignore them. We become energetically constipated and slow the vibrational possibility that is always calling us into more. We turn away from the light and reject our best selves.
Ah, carpe diem. How many times have you heard this phrase? But have you really paid attention to what it means? It was made popular by the movie Dead Poets Society in 1990 but when I read the blog post Don’t Carpe Diem, I asked myself, “Why not? Isn’t ‘to carpe diem’ a good thing?”
Glennon Doyle is my hero. I never heard of her until I read her book, Love Warrior. I fell in love with this woman who, in my eyes, had the heart of a lion, opening herself up to the world with her real-life vulnerabilities. That is real courage to me. Her life inspired me to get real with my own fears and reservations and embrace my true self. How could I not? There’s this woman who went through alcohol and drug addiction and bulimia and she was not the slightest embarrassed to talk about it. No shame concealed her words and that is both respectable and admirable. My own life experiences are nothing compared to hers but I’ve carefully and desperately covered up my battle scars my whole life and so I finally asked myself, “Why is it so hard for me to show my wounds when they are the very things that made me who I am today?” I am stronger today than yesterday because I stared suffering down many times in the past allowing it to decide that I have become strong enough for it to leave.
One of Glennon’s most—if not the most—popular entries from her Momastery blog is Don’t carpe diem, which garnered over one million views and had been reposted and shared online countless of times. She talked about how she resented people’s well-meaning but unsolicited advice to enjoy the precious moments with her children while she struggled to “carpe fifteen minutes in a row.” And she’s got a point. You can’t really carpe diem when you’re struggling to get past the challenging moments because its very definition, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the ‘enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.’ How would you feel if the dentist pulling your tooth without anesthesia tells you to carpe diem?
But here’s the disconnect: Carpe diem is derived from the Latin phrase Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero, which means pluck (or seize) the day trusting as little as possible in the future. And Merriam-Webster defines seize the day as: to do the things one wants to do when there is the chance instead of waiting for a later time. Clearly, the modern definition for carpe diem veered away from its true meaning. Here’s why:
For the past four weeks, I've been drowning in a swamp of stuckness. You've heard of the dark night of the soul, but with three crushing disappointments back to back, it was a dark month of the soul that left me feeling deflated, burnt out, overwhelmed and alone. Like I'd fallen and just couldn't get back up. The story that immediately came to mind was of these baby elephant circus performers that were shackled to the ground to condition them not to move. So they grew up into these massive creatures capable of moving buildings yet conditioned to stay put. This repetitive conditioning created a neural pattern called automaticity meaning automatically staying stuck in that spot! Can you relate? Where in your life are you stuck in the same spot?
Perhaps you realize you've made a bad bargain clinging to your nightly wine habit or your 2 pm date with those chocolate chip cookies or salty chips? Or are you married to a partner or career or viewpoint or attitude that no longer fits (it it ever did) who you really are? How do you flow from the swamp of stuckness to a different river? A river of constant change (that's our life) and flow with it?
Harness the powers of your subconscious mind, teach it to be subservient to your conscious mind and watch your life turn into a big miracle.
" It is our beliefs that create our reality. Start believing in all positive realities and watch the stress fly away."
A belief is a thought in your mind. Believe in your subconscious, to heal and strengthen you. Do not harbor resentment and hatred, allow the beauty of the world to infiltrate your mind and let life be a beautiful ride.
Most individuals believe that people or circumstances cause their emotional pain. They say, for example, “He broke my heart.” They make themselves victims. Creatingauthentic powershows you that you are not a victim. You discover that your emotions are created by dynamics inside you. When you focus outside yourself, these dynamics remain intact to be activated again. Each time, they generate the same or similar emotions in you.
You have experienced these painful emotions in other places and times with other people. The individual you believe is causing them now is actually the latest in a series of individuals who have activated this dynamic in you before. When you focus on the activator, you miss what got activated.
On my last radio show, a woman was telling me how she felt stuck about her next career move. She didn’t know what to do. I gave her some advice that I’d heard a long time ago which has often resonated with people, namely: “Sometimes you have to live into the answer.”
It’s not uncommon to feel stuck when you don't know which option to take, which direction to go, or which offer is for your highest good. It happens to many people – myself included. We get caught in the trap of feeling that you have to be doing, doing, doing! By contrast, I feel it’s perfectly okay to just be – to pause and reflect for a while – to take stock of what works and what doesn’t.
Another metaphor or saying I often use is:Sometimes it’s the right decision to grab the oars and steer yourself slowly and carefully to a goal or desire.Yet other times it’s also okay to put the oars down and see where the current or river of life takes you. Hence the saying:“Living into the answer.”When I go through such times of feeling a little stuck, I take time out to pray, meditate, and ask synchronicity to help me.
Often, when things in our life seem to go wrong, we feel as if it's the end of the world because we can't see further than what's right in front of us. It is only when we look back, after we've survived the storm, that we realize that those "broken" parts are actually pieces that make up the beautiful picture that is our destiny.
Five years ago, I lost my job. No, I did not quit, I was made redundant (which is just a pretty word for 'fired') from a job for which I worked so hard it almost broke me. Immediately, I tried to get back on the racehorse, so to speak, but in all the job interviews that I've had, I would always land at the top two and not get it in the end. In fact, there was one time that I was the only one left standing and still did not land that elusive employment contract. Going through rejection after rejection, my ego was hurt by others' blatant disregard of my self-worth and value. But it was not so much the losing the job that I mourned but the career I built; and interestingly enough, when I managed to turn off my churning mind and listen to my heart instead for reasons I could not understand then I felt a little flutter of something I could only describe as joy.
There's a common grumble, generally directed at the young, that they are constantly distracted by texting, video games, and other ways to stop paying attention. But few of us have truly mastered the skill of paying attention, or even realize that it is a skill. This is because we haven't looked deeply into how awareness works.
Attention, which is another way of describing focused awareness, is important because whatever you pay attention to grows in importance and significance. If you focus on your job, your relationship, or a favorite hobby, your attention nourishes a feedback loop--you become better at what you pay attention to. Your brain strengthens or weakens in specific areas depending on the input it receives, and paying attention provides concentrated input. Attention can’t be faked or forced. When a schoolteacher scolds an unruly class with, “Pay attention, people!” he may get results for a few minutes, but the demand loses its effect very quickly. Asking a restless mind to settle down and pay attention is even more futile. The secret is to know how attention can be mastered.
This is the way I look at life… everyone gets to choose what they want, and what they want has nothing to do with you… You will never be good enough, nice enough, rich enough.. to change someone else. It won’t happen. People change when they are ready to change… if ever. So, when someone chooses something different than what you think they should have, it is not personal.It is simply what they want, in that moment.Whether they are choosing what you feel is best for them or not, they are, at that time..choosing what they believe will “taste” good.
I love the metaphor of the message below. It is one of the ways I too, look at life so I wanted to share it. I believe it explains something complicated in a very simplified way.
“We want you to enjoy the contrasting experience, just like you enjoy the contrasting buffet. And we want you to reach the place that whenever you’re in front of a buffet that has so much that you do like to eat, as well as some that you don’t like to eat, you don’t feel frustrated that there are things there you don’t want to eat. You don’t feel compelled to put them on your plate and eat them; you just pick the things that you like. And the Universe of thought is the same way. You can choose from it the things that you like.” —Abraham
The longest, most challenging journey I have ever taken was the one getting home to my true self. It took decades to arrive and I willingly chose to make many side trips through roles, responsibilities, expectations, careers, and marriages where I had to work day and night to become something other than who I truly was. But when I finally found my way back to the real me, the honest me, the most authentic me, there was no greater joy.
I’m not talking about a perfect version of me. I’m referring to the me as I am right now. Comfortable in my 60s. Curly, messy hair. The butt and boobs of a real woman. Wrinkles around my eyes and mouth from smiling at my husband and laughing at my children. It’s me waking up at 3 AM and still worrying about finances. And it’s me dancing around with my iPhone plugged into my ears, joyfully singing Streisand’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” Like I said, it's all about being yourself.
The dangers of the corporatocracy and the Death Economy – a world created by economic hit men and now manipulated by many of our “leaders” – and the powers of the rising Consciousness Revolution: These were the topics of the three speeches and numerous media interviews I gave at the Melting Pot conference help within the Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. It was attended by more than 50,000 people in late July 2018.
It was an amazing event, a happening of world-class musicians, quantum physicists, media giants, philosophers, economists, and thinkers from many walks of life. To me, the venue itself represented the transition from a Death to a Life Economy, our evolution into a new consciousness. A huge and once highly successful coal mine/steel mill that went bankrupt because it used up all its coal has now been converted into a magnificent series of stages and auditoriums. This symbol of the Death Economy now conveys inspiration, hope, joy, and – above all – ideas for catapulting humankind into the new era, a Life Economy.
I can’t begin to express the extent of my joy at how the teachings and prophecies of the indigenous people I’ve so often written about are being manifest in places like Ostrava. As the groups I take to the Achuar of the Amazon, Kogi of Colombia, and Maya of Guatemala learn, we all come from indigenous ancestors who are part of (versus “apart from”) nature. They know that a Life Economy that is itself a renewable resource is essential to the future survival of our species and many other species. They live in a present that supports the long-term, unlike the Death Economy that advocates a materialist, greedy and selfish present and insists on maximizing short-term profits.
Everyone wonders whether or not there is one great secret for truly successful living. There is. And it is not a secret. It has been quietly, steadily telling itself right in front of us all along. We just couldn't hear it over the clatter and chatter of our own secret demands. Listen quietly for a moment. Everything can change right now. Learning to hear this supreme secret is no more difficult than choosing whether to swim against a current or to let it carry you safely to the shore. Let it speak its wisdom to that secret part of you that can not only hear what it is saying but that is, in reality, its very voice. Listen to it now. It is saying, "Want What Life Wants." Think about it. Locked within these four simple words is the secret of an uncompromising power for effortless living; a new kind of power that never fails to place you on the winning side of any situation. Why? Because when you want what Life wants, your wish is for Life itself.
"What if I don't like what life brings to me?"
"Try to see that it is not what life has brought to you that you don't like. It is your reactions that turn the gift of life into the resentment of it."
This post begins a series on "skills in awareness." These are skills that anyone can learn -and benefit form. the more aware you are, the better you will be at making positive lifestyle choices, resisting impulsiveness, being triggered by stress and people around you, and finding out who you really are. These are the goals of conscious living.
Most people use the words "consciousness" and "awareness" in a fuzzy way. The average person might think "If I’m awake and not asleep in bed, I'm conscious." But to be aware is defined more accurately as not being unconscious in your habits, attitudes, and beliefs. Being aware isn't passive. It influences all of your mental activity.
To illustrate, we can begin with the most basic awareness skill, being centered. The experience of many actors and singers is that they suffer from terrible stage fright until the moment they walk on stage, when suddenly they fall into a groove - despite their nerves, great performers like Olivier and Pavarotti, two notable sufferers from stage fright, showed total command of their art before the public. What causes such an instantaneous transformation? A combination of things:
A few weekends ago, I went to visit my brother Bobby and his family in Wyoming. He left LA about two years ago, and at the time, his departure really hit me hard. I liked having him as a neighbor and so close by.
But my essay today isn’t really about why he moved or how his move affected me. Instead, it’s about something he said to me on my first day in his new home.
He said: “When I woke up this morning, I heard your voice downstairs and I said, ‘Everything is good.’ Your voice sounds like home. I’ve heard it my whole life and it makes me happy.”
I was taken aback by his words. The idea that my voice could make another human being feel content and feel at home deeply moved me.
A lot of people are asking me what prediction I can make about our world and where we are headed. For the record I don’t make predictions, I track energy, watch for patterns and choice points and share the prescription to empower people. Everyone is looking for answers, for support, to be told they will be ok, that they will be safe, get what they want etc. It’s always in times of great turmoil that people turn to an intuitive /psychic reading to make predictions to help them feel better. Certainty is a hot commodity right now but I say, buyer beware! If your motive is absolute certainty you run the risk of disempowering yourself, the opposite of what you need.
Over the years I’ve received tons of emails from people asking for my thoughts on predictions. Some of the common questions are: What do you do if you get a negative prediction? Are predictions absolute or can you change them? Why haven’t particular predictions from psychic readings come true yet? What about predictions (often doomy and gloomy) made about world events? I heard recently someone say with absolute surety we are heading to World War Three, and another person predicting aliens for sure will come to stop it.
You see a friend with a split in their pants, a stain in an unfortunate location, their zipper down, or some kind of wardrobe malfunction…Do you tell them?
A potential business associate keeps mispronouncing your name in meetings…Do you correct them?
A fellow professional has misspellings on their website, social media posts, or blogs…Do you let them know?
An acquaintance or even a stranger at a bar has something green in their teeth…Do you say something?
Especially at this time when being “politically correct,” more accepting, and less judgmental is being emphasized, you can’t help but getting caught up in the quandary of “Do I say something or just keep my mouth shut?”
Now before I go on, let me clarify two things.
First, I believe there is a distinction in terms of situations that are matters of opinion versus those like the ones mentioned above which are black and white or “facts.” This blog is about those hard truths, the times you know when that person gets home and finds their fly down or the lettuce wedged in their teeth, a wave of embarrassment will wash over them as they try to trace who might have noticed and how bad it was.
And second, this blog is not about the person who is being told about their mistake or faux pas since everyone reacts differently to honest feedback. And it is their insecurities, wounds, or shadows which will determine how they process, defend, reject, spin, use, or integrate the feedback.
This blog is for all of us who spend the five seconds, minutes, or hours belaboring the question “Do I tell them or not?”