April 28, 2009

Law of Attraction

Start telling a better-feeling story about the things that are important to you. Do not write your story like a factual documentary, weighing all the pros and cons of your experience, but instead tell the uplifting, fanciful, magical story of the wonder of your own life and watch what happens.

It will feel like magic as your life begins to transform right before yours eyes, but it is not by magic. It is by the power of the Laws of the Universe and your deliberate alignment with those Laws. (Abraham-Hicks)

April 25, 2009

Making Our Lives Work

The lives we have now are a result of thousands of small decisions...as well as a few big ones....we made over years. Most of us are only aware how the large decisions....to marry a particular person, take a particular job, move to a particular city, etc....have built the life we now have, but there were many more smaller decisions which determined what our present life looks like. And, of course, NOT making a decision, is..in fact...a decision.

Living more consciously certainly has its rewards beyond the obvious. The more conscious we are, the more we are able to shape our life to one we actually want. With every small decision we shape out life.

If we want something to work better, we better change something!

April 22, 2009


The most common form of withholding is what we commonly call "the silent treatment," but withholding encompasses any unwillingness to express your true feelings. It also includes an unwillingness to give support, praise, or positive attention to the people you love. We have all known someone who is impossible to please, and many of us have suddenly found ourselves at the other end of a chilly silence with no explanation. At the same time, many of us will recognize our own tendency to withhold our emotions rather than express them. Most of us have seen both sides of the withholding dilemma. Emotional pain is at the root of our tendency to withhold, and withholding causes pain to the people subjected to it. It is a dysfunctional pattern that creates a breakdown in communication and understanding.

No one deserves to be subjected to withholding. Feeling ignored, disrespected, or shut out, and to not know why, is a terrible feeling. The first thing to remember if this is happening to you is that you are not to blame. You are caught in someone else’s pain pattern. This person does not know how to express feelings in a healthy way probably because this is what they learned when she or he was a child. The second helpful thing to remember is that the withholder is acting out of pain. They are stuck in a habitual mode of response that is self-defeating and alienating to the people they love. Remembering this will help you feel compassion for the person hurting you. However, if you have suffered too long with this pattern, you may need to get some space. Take some time to look at your own patterns and understand why you have taken part in this drama. If you are dealing with people in a family situation, you can step up to the plate to help break the chain of this behavior patttern.

If, on the other hand, it is you that tends to withhold, understand that this is a learned response and it can be unlearned. Find safe places to begin to express all that you’ve been holding back. Begin to make an effort to say what you’re feeling and thinking. Give praise to someone you love. The more you do this, the healthier you and your relationships will become. What was learned over a course of a life cannot be changed overnight—remember, one day at a time.

(The Daily Om)


Oh, I still whine and get gloomy at times, but more and more I shy away from negative words such as withholding" is. I mean, can't you just feel the pain when you see the word? I think both the giver and the receiver hurt a lot. New thought for me! The one who is doing the withholding is not just being a jerk. Perhaps, this will help you, too.

April 20, 2009

Solving Problems

"Today's problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them."
~Albert Einstein

We can look at problems from many perspectives. For most of us it is difficult to shift our perspective and that's why it's often helpful to get feedback from others. It isn't that they are better problem solvers.....it's because they are likely to look at the problem from a different perspective.

April 18, 2009

Perhaps, The Most Important Advice

There are two ways of going through life: Gather everything in sight, just in case you need it. Or, trust that you'll find exactly what you need, just in time. Guess which one lets you really stop and smell the roses?

Shortly after World War II, executives at Japan's Toyota Motor Company made a decision from which, I believe, we all can benefit. They decided to make cars the way they'd make, say, sushi. Unlike most manufacturers, which bought and stored massive stockpiles of supplies, Toyota began ordering just enough parts to keep their lines moving, just when those parts were needed. This made them spectacularly productive, and turned the phrase "just in time" into business legend.

I know of the Toyota case because in my former life as an academic, I taught international business management. My students and I had some rousing discussions about just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, as well as its alternative, which is known as just-in-case (JIC) inventory. These students were the first people who hired me as a life coach (perhaps because I could never resist applying business theory to everyday life). When we discussed JIT versus JIC management as a lifestyle strategy, we concluded that Toyota's business innovation could positively impact all of our lives. If you feel overburdened, overstressed, and anxious, I'm betting the same is true for you.

Step 1: Why Just-in-Case Is Just Crazy
Step 2: Why Just-in-Time Just Makes Sense
Step 3: Making the Switch

Why Just-in-Case Is Just Crazy

Most people live with a just-in-case mind-set because for most of human history, it made sense. The primary fact of life for just-in-case processes is: "Everything good is scarce!" By contrast, just-in-time systems rely on the assumption "Everything good is readily available." Well, until quite recently, the former claim was true for most humans—it's still true for many. But most magazine readers like you live in settings where basic necessities, like food, clothing, and other humans, are plentiful.

Living in an abundant environment but operating on the assumption that good things are scarce leads to a host of dysfunctions that can be summed up in one word: excess. Most of us are living in some kind of excess; we work too much, eat too much, rack up debt buying too much stuff. Yet, driven by the unconscious, just-in-case assumption that "everything good is scarce," we just keep doing and accumulating more. We've all seen some of the unfortunate results, and I've found that most fall into the following four categories:

Starving off the Fat of the Land
For years I noticed that my clients who lived in a mind-set of scarcity had trouble controlling their weight, even though they dieted assiduously. I also read studies showing that poor women—particularly those who periodically starved themselves to feed their children—were particularly plagued by obesity. Researchers hypothesize that when the body knows it may be starved, whether by poverty or by dieting, it activates automatic just-in-case mechanisms that store fat on the body to get through the next "famine." Ironically, this biological just-in-case mechanism puts fat on precisely the people with the discipline to starve themselves.

Stuff Tsunamis

Just-in-case thinking triggers primal, unconscious impulses to hoard good stuff, fat supplies being just one example. Combine JIC attitudes with a superabundant culture, and things can go wildly off kilter. There have been several cases like the one in Shelton, Washington, where a woman recently suffocated under a pile of her own possessions. To recover her body, police reported having to "climb over [clutter] on their hands and knees. In some areas, their heads were touching the ceiling while they were standing on top of piles of debris."

Money Madness

My wealthiest clients have taught me that having lots of money doesn't quiet scarcity-based, JIC anxiety. This point was reinforced for me when I heard about the suicide of the German billionaire who lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the recent financial crisis. Now, this poor guy wasn't literally a poor guy. He still had a personal fortune. But to a just-in-case thinker who's used to billions, it wasn't enough to keep him from throwing himself in front of a train.

Love's Labor's Lost

Just-in-case thinking destroys relationships faster than—and sometimes with the assistance of—a speeding bullet. Along with the impulse to hoard objects, it also triggers excessive attempts to control our supply of love—that is, other people. So anxious lovers have their partners followed. Parents micromanage children. People-pleasers try to manipulate everyone into liking them. This behavior isn't love; it's a fear-based outcome of believing love is scarce. If you've ever been on the receiving end of such anxious machinations, you know they make you want to run, not bond.

Why Just-in-Time Just Makes Sense

As Toyota execs and my graduate students concluded so many years ago, hanging on to a just-in-case worldview in abundant environments is plain bad business. And as I've seen in countless coaching scenarios since, switching to a just-in-time mind-set ("Everything good is readily available") restores health and balance to our lives.

The great news is that just one mental shift—focusing on the abundance of your environment—switches your psychological settings so that your life automatically improves in many areas you may think are unrelated. This is essentially a leap from fear to faith; it's not religious faith but the simple belief that we'll probably be able to get what we need when we need it. When the issues above are considered through abundance-based, just-in-time thinking, it's a whole different ball game:

Food Fulfillment
I've never been a weight loss coach; my focus is on helping people go from fear and suffering to relaxation and happiness. So I was baffled when many of my clients told me, "I'm finally losing weight—and I'm not even trying." This intrigued me so much that I spent years researching and writing a book about it [The Four-Day Win]. After reading thousands of studies and interviewing dozens of experts, I'm convinced that the thought "Everything good is readily available" kicks the body out of its panicky, fat-storing mode and into a state that helps it shed excess fat.

Stuff Sufficiency
Dianne is 50-ish and newly divorced. Part of our coaching work helped her develop just-in-time confidence about money (which allowed her to leave the financial security of her emotionally dead marriage). During our final session, she said, "Something weird is happening. All of a sudden, I'm tidy. I've always been a stuff person, but now I don't add clutter. It's a wonderful, spacious feeling." Dianne didn't achieve this by forcing herself to clean up. She simply developed the confidence of a just-in-time manager, and her behavior changed almost on its own.

Mellow Money Management
"I got really panicky when the economy went south," says Jackie, one of my fellow coaches. "All my business dried up, and I was really scared. But I hate feeling scared, and I'm a coach, so one day I coached myself back to trusting life. I felt better immediately, but what's strange is that clients started coming out of the woodwork. I had to start a waiting list."

This, as any Toyota alum will tell you, is what happens to people who have enough confidence to run a just-in-time operation. I can't quite explain this; it often seems nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps this is why the authors of the Bible included the story of the wandering Israelites who were given manna from heaven, but only permitted to gather enough to supply their needs until the next manna-festation. Whether you take it literally or metaphorically, this tale was considered important enough to become holy writ. Why? I believe it's to counteract the just-in-case anxiety that makes billionaires keep hoarding more money. The Israelite story-keepers wanted to remind readers that, miraculous as it seems, just-in-time confidence keeps supply lines clear and prosperity flowing.

Lasting Love
I've done my share of just-in-case controlling when it comes to love (I'd like to apologize to anyone who once wandered into my danger zone). Happily, I've learned that setting people free, not trying to control them, ensures a lifetime supply of love.

Here's the closest thing I know to a genuine love spell: "I'll always love you, and I really don't care what you do." This is not a promise to stay in a relationship with someone whose behavior is destructive. It's a simple statement that you aren't dependent on the other person's choices. That means you can respond to someone as he or she really is, instead of trying to force a fallible person to be infallible. Knowing that love (like all good things) is readily available, we don't need to control any individual. And oh, how people love being loved without a care.

Making the Switch

Making the Switch

When I meet someone who's a mess of excess, I just itch to coach them. I know that if they'd reroute a few simple brain habits, their lives would improve almost effortlessly. The transformation wouldn't take much work—no need to exhume childhood traumas or hook up an antidepressant IV. We'd just throw the neurological toggle switch that exchanges fight-or-flight mode (the sympathetic nervous system) for rest-and-relaxation mode (the parasympathetic nervous system). Most animals experience this switch in response to environmental conditions. We humans possess an unparalleled ability to create it with our thoughts.

It's almost too easy: Simply by taking your attention off thoughts of scarcity and persistently focusing on observations of abundance, you can replace the nervous, just-in-case mind-set that kept our ancient forebears alive but is killing many of us. The best way to effect this shift is to use these simple exercises:

1. List 10 times you thought that there wouldn't be enough of something and you survived.

2. List 10 areas where you have too much, not too little.

3. List 20—or 50, or 1,000—wonderful things that entered your life just at the right time, with no effort on your part. Start with the little things (oxygen, sunlight, a song on the radio). You'll soon think of bigger ones. Most of my clients realize that the most important things in their lives showed up this way.

I started doing excercise 3 several years ago, and I still haven't finished my list. Once you deliberately focus on abundance, you'll be overwhelmed by all the good things that show up like manna in the desert, without much effort on your part. If this seems too easy, you can go back to fearful, just-in-case thinking (you'll need a diet ounselor, a housekeeper, and a financial planner, but that's okay—they can substitute for friends). But if, like me, my business school students, and my clients, you decide to try just-in-time thinking, you'll find yourself struggling less and accomplishing more in ways you'd never expect. You may kick yourself for not discovering this sooner. Relax. I promise, you're just in time.

(Martha Beck)

April 14, 2009

Choose Thoughts Which Feel Good

We always have a choice in just what to think, and some of us are in the habit of thinking of worst case scenarios in the hope, perhaps, that we will handle it more easily if our expectations aren't too high. I used to believe negative thinking to be a necessity, a matter of survival, but believing this certainly made me anxious and unhappy. Choosing better feeling thoughts is what we need to do if we wish to be happy.

If you get a diagnosis that is not what you want to hear, the tendency is to say, "Oh, my god! how did I get so far away from something I want so much?" And we say, it isn't big like that at all -- it's just a series of little things. It is the, "I could choose this thought which feels good, or this thought which doesn't feel so good. But I've developed a pattern for what doesn't feel good. And so, it is the daily dose of not being in the receiving mode that keeps me not in the receiving mode." And that's all that it is! (Abraham-Hicks)

April 12, 2009

Keeping It Simple

I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said that most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be. In the beginning I thought this to be a ridiculous statement, but logic...and experience...won me over.

It is very simple. If you want to be happy, find out what makes you happy. Is it family? Your pets? Flowers? Friends? Books? What ever the things are that bring joy to your soul, spend more time there! Invest yourself fully in that which makes you feel happy.

The other side of it is, that there are also things in our lives which make us unhappy. A good many of those things we have no control over. Let go of trying to control them! Steer clear of things which you know make you unhappy. You always have choices. Always. I believe every one can figure this out for themselves, but if you need help, then get help! Sometimes, a few words from an impartial person is all that's needed to jump-start your journey to happiness. It is not complicated. Don't allow anyone to tell you it needs to be complicated. Keep it simple.

I'm going to be happy. I'm going to skip. I'm going to be glad. I'm going to smile a lot. I'm going to be easy. I'm going to count my blessings. I'm going to look for reasons to feel good. I'm going to dig up positive things from the past. I'm going to look for positive things where I stand. I'm going to look for positive things in the future. It is my natural state to be a happy person. It's natural for me to love and to laugh. This is what is most natural for me. I am a happy person!


April 9, 2009

The Golden Rule

From Christianity to Buddhism, from Islam to Hinduism....this one basic rule of behavior is taught. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

At heart, every human being on earth wants to be happy. Within all the particular ways in which we seek a joyous life, certain broad rules apply. It's not difficult to understand that if you wish to be treated in a certain way, according to your rules of happiness, that the best place to start is to treat others in a similar fashion.

The Golden Rule carries with it no guarantees. Everyone would have to adhere to it for it to be a certain road to happiness. But it does give you a fighting chance in world filled with strangers, pitfalls, and unknown circumstances. By treating everyone you meet as you want them to treat you, your world has the potential to be bereft of enemies and filled with friends.
from "Yo Meow Ma" by Joanna Sandsmark

Unfortunately, we don't hear about the Golden Rule very often any more. And, yet, in a "shrinking" world, and interacting with more disparate neighbors, it is more important than ever. We don't win by fighting with them. We only win when everyone makes an honest attempt to treat each other....especially those apparently different from ourselves.....the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

April 7, 2009

Free Yourself

It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. We often lose track of this aspiration. When we make mistakes, we think that we are failing or not measuring up. But if life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best. We simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection—especially in life. All living things are in a ceaseless state of movement. Even as you read this, your hair is growing, your cells are dying and being reborn, and your blood is moving through your veins. Your life changes more than it stays the same. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state. Trying to hold on to perfection or forcing it to happen causes frustration and unhappiness.

In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to nudge ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. We are adults now, and we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a loving place where we are free to be imperfect. Once we realize this, we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun. Imperfection is inherent to being human. By embracing your imperfections, you embrace yourself.

The Daily OM

April 5, 2009

Changing Channels

I believe that life is supposed to be about joy, not struggle...and that if we are struggling, we need to change "the channel". Many of us feel guilty about laughing and feeling good when so many people are suffering, but how are you helping them by not giggling your way through life? Aren't you far more likely to think of ways to contribute to the welfare of others if YOU are coming from a place of joy?

Life is supposed to be fun. You said, "I'll go forth and choose. I'll look at the data, and I'll say, yes to this, and yes to this, and yes to this, and I'll paint a picture of the things that I want, and I'll vibrate about them, because that's what I'm giving my attention to. And the Universe will respond to my vibration. And then I'll stand in a new place where a whole new batch of yeses are available, and I'll say yes to this, and yes to this, and yes to this." You did not say, "I'll go forth and struggle into joy", because from your Nonphysical Perspective you know it is vibrationally not possible. You cannot struggle to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You joy your way to joy. You laugh your way to success. It is through your joy that good things come. Abraham-Hicks