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“Your thoughts do not create your reality, but they do create your experience.” – Alan Cohen

This feels good to me. Brings me some ease.  But it also confuses me.  I have, for a long time now, believed that we DO create our reality through our thoughts. But here he’s saying that we don’t.  Alan has another quote that says, “Your thoughts do not create your reality. They either permit it or they do not.”

This puts an interesting twist on things.  It says to me that reality is busy marching along its way, passing by. That does make sense.  My tiny thoughts probably do not create the big reality around me.  It is, after all, affected by the thoughts of others in my life.  Surely what happens in my world has something to do with what goes on in government – locally and nationally. My work situation goes this way or that depending on the thoughts of others.  I can see that my reality is formed from the meshing of the thoughts of all of us, everywhere.

So … whew!  I don’t have to be responsible for creating everything that happens.  But I am certainly responsible for how willing I am to say yes to whatever passes by my door.  How I think about whatever approaches me is what creates my experience of it.  Do I see myself as empowered or as a victim?  That creates my reality far more than the situation that has come into my view.  Am I fighting against it, saying, no, thanks anyway, but take it back?  Doesn’t that decide whether I’m happy or miserable?  Or am I taking hold of what I find in my life, embracing what comes my way and looking for the sacred jewel shard in it all?

“There are two ways to complete a task: 1. Do more.  2. Let go.” – Alan Cohen

This makes a lot of sense.  It may be that you have to get busy, get off your duff and do more to forge toward completion.  Sometimes you can’t see that the end is just around the next bend.  There may well be times when you’ve just not done what was needed. Perseverance is key to completing anything you undertake.

But there are other times when you’ve done all you can do and it’s just not coming to an end.  It’s important to know when it’s time to give up.  At this point, if you want completion, in order to keep the books clear, you must let go.  It may be time to decide that you’re not going to finish it.  Have done with it, move it aside and get to the next thing.

However, letting go does not always mean giving up.  It may mean letting go of your heavy hand in the mix. Letting go of the need to complete the task.  Or letting go of your need to be the one to finish it.  Sometimes you  have to trust and allow the Universe (or someone else) to see it through. The world may be asking you to release and let the flow of life take it from there.

“The universe is ingenious in the ways it can help you.  Let it.” —  Alan Cohen

I just love this quote! How wonderful its message.  I especially enjoy the choice of the word “ingenious.”  M-W uses words to describe it like, discernment, discovery, inventing, originality, resourcefulness and cleverness.  The origins of the word speak to it being “natural capacity.”

It warms my heart to think the Universe is doing all these delicious things for me.  And all I have to do is “let it.”

I’m all about Surrender these days.  It is a wonderful practice, though a constant one.  I keep seeing my teacher, Paulette Terrels, twirling her palms up and out.  “Keep surrendering, releasing,” she says.

Surrender is often misunderstood as inactivity.  Truthfully, it has nothing to do with the bodying doing or not doing.  It’s an attitude, a state of mind, which keeps saying, “Okay.  This is the way it is.”

I suppose it starts to get deep into spiritual soil.  Surrender asks you to trust in a higher power.  “Turning our will and lives over to the care of God as we understand Him,” says Alcoholics Anonymous.  I always find, though, when I do, miracles abound!  The more I release, the better it gets.

It has to begin with my Intention.  What is it I really want?  Then, turning it over to the Universe to guide, to show me the way.  After all, the Universe is far more ingenious than I am!

Do you have stories of miracles from surrender you’d like to share?

“You don’t have to make anything happen.  Just align yourself with what wants to happen and let it.” – Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen always gets me thinking with his simple prescriptions of ease.  I like this one especially. It seems to capture so much.

I am intrigued by this notion of “aligning’” myself with what wants to happen.  How do you do that?  I had a thought that it’s kind of like putting yourself in glory’s way.  Why put yourself in harm’s way when you can step into a spot where good things can get you?

There’s also the job searching/networking theory of putting yourself out there.  I guess that’s good for a lot of things.  If you want something good to happen to you, it’s a little foolish to hide out at home, talking to no one.  It simply can’t find you.

Maybe it’s about flowing with life.  Letting go of the resistance and allowing it to happen, to come into your life.  Alan asks us to let it happen in the second part, but maybe it’s in the moving piece too, the lining up.  Makes sense that there’s a certain amount of letting go involved in getting in line.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this Resistance thing. Eckhart Tolle says it’s the ego trying to protect itself. Resistance causes blockage and dis-ease. (Doesn’t sound like a clear flow to me.)  I’ve always been taught to fight through resistance.  But I’m getting the message lately that it’s better to accept it. The tides of my life are trying to flow in a different way than how I’m going. That is Resistance.  If I let myself move where life wants to take me, perhaps I will align myself with what wants to happen.

I just love the ease in this.  It’s about surrender which – though I can’t say I practice as well as I’d like –  I do believe in.  It’s that softer touch, going with the flow.  Acceptance of what is going on is the only sane way to live. Anything else is useless, and perhaps bordering on madness. We haven’t yet figured out how to bend space.  You can exert effort, but you are not often enough to change the course of things.  You can only affect its path a little.

Perhaps it’s a daily practice.  Aligning day in and day out.  Trusting, sort of sitting back and watching life happen.  After all, we’re all conscious and aware.  We’ve set intentions. We can trust in that.  Making choices in the now, accepting and aligning with what is happening in front of us.

It’s important during this Holidaze season to practice infinite patience with yourself.  Give yourself the gift of self care.  Just being more kind to yourself. People tend to want to make everything happen perfectly, while still doing the “usual.”  It’s just not possible.

Detach from worry about what can’t be controlled.  Or a need for things to look a certain way, or happen at a certain time.   Be willing to say it’s okay, even if it’s not all you hoped it would be.

This is a good time to give yourself the gift of just taking a breath once in a while and checking  in.  Ask yourself how you’re feeling.  What do you need?  Slow down when you can, when you don’t have to be at high speed.  Surely there are moments for that.

Think about giving a special gift to others. Listen to what you are saying. Is it what you truly want to say?  Can you be more careful with your words?

Remember that you are always doing your best.  Appreciate all the gifts you have.  Remember what the holiday is really about.

Alan Cohen reminds us, “Your gift to the world is not what you buy or do.  Your gift is your happiness.”

Elizabeth O’Connor added, “We do not experience ourselves as a gift until we are engaged in the act of creating.”

Take heed of the gifts which really matter.

“Whoever you meet has been sent by God.  How would you greet them?”  — Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen never ceases to amaze me.  This is a fabulous idea: to see everyone you meet as a gift.  Sometimes, when it’s a little more difficult to see a person that way, we say they are our “Zen Master.”  It’s such a great way to look at others.  Everyone who comes into your life has something to offer you.  To teach you, to show you, to uplift you, to get you to see things in a new way.

It’s not a selfish thing to look at it that way because you are also a gift to others.  You were sent to them by God, as well.  So, no matter what happens in your exchange, it was for the good of both of you.

So, how would we greet them if we were aware that they were in our lives for a reason?  Perhaps we would be more open to who they are and what they bring.  Maybe we’d be  a little kinder, more accepting.  Would we maybe even welcome them with open arms and a wide heart?

I think I’d like to sharpen my awareness of others – what they’re projecting, how they are appearing.  Also, what they’re saying (and what they’re not saying).  I think one could not have a better avocation than to be a people watcher.

Perhaps I will be a little more patient with the prattling of others.  I will try to remember that even if it appears to be out of my realm, in fact, there is a gift for me.  This will help me to tune in more carefully, listen more deeply.

You know, this practice is likely to make me a more loving person.  That Alan Cohen surely is a wise one!

“As you recognize your wholeness and worth, dysfunctional situations evaporate like bad dreams exposed to the sun.”  – Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen is a very wise man and a powerful writer.  Which is why, even with others interspersing, there is so much great material from him to fill his Daily Inspirations.

This one intrigued me.  Is it possible for that to happen so easily?  My Midwestern work ethic balks, it can’t possibly disappear that smoothly. But wait a minute. How easy is it to wake from a bad dream in the sunlight?  Perhaps it’s a bit unsettling, maybe jarring.  It is clearly a transition.

My growth into recognizing my wholeness and worth has been gradual.  But I’ve noticed dysfunctional situations either slipping out of my gaps like a live fish, or urging me to let go like an impatient child who isn’t entirely sure what she wants, but certain this is not it.

I’m struggling to change a few dysfunctional situations in my life right now.  But I’m finding that if I just allow them to run their course, they will.  Bashar said, “Dysfunctional systems will fall under their own weight.  Let them.”  I don’t have to push so hard, or worry so much. Nor must I go through such machinations.

Sure, I need to take steps, but the idea is to not be so stuck on the outcome of those steps.  Take one, take another.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other, but let it be and watch the dysfunctional situations fall of their own accord.

“The only thing more important than being good is being Real.” – Alan Cohen

We can all agree that being Good is important. Being good and kind to others should be the bedrock of everything we do. If we are to consider ourselves “spiritual” people. Positive and upright. That is the first rule: do no harm. Treat others well. In fact, treat others as you would have them treat you. We are all made of the same stuff, anyway. And since we are all one, we might include ourselves in that being good. I don’t know anyone who would dispute that.

But, Alan Cohen, wise man that he is, takes it a step further. That it is even more important to be Real.

Being real means we get in touch with what’s real, what’s true. Both inside and out. If we are being real, we’re sharing with others what we truly feel. So many of us don’t know even what that is. The process of knowing what we feel can begin with being real about what is going on around us. This awareness of reality gives us lots of information about who we are, where we’re at, and how we feel about it.

I believe that part and parcel of being good is seeing life in a positive light. And holding a vision of how you’d like things to be. But we must be careful that our vision doesn’t cloud what is really happening in the moment.

Presently, I am trying to negotiate with someone. It’s been difficult, I think, because she wants so to see life as she wants to see it. This keeps her from seeing (and accepting) the truth of the situation.

So often we’re not real with others (or ourselves). Opting instead for posturing, making gestures, or presenting ourselves as superior. When in reality we might be scared confused, or doubtful, but unable to say it. Rather than being in touch with that, being real about it, we cover it up. Maybe we even use being “good” as a shield for obscuring the truth of what we’re really feeling, or what is really happening.

In the end, being good will only get you so far. If it’s not backed by some acceptance and awareness of reality.  And, the willingness to express what’s real and true.

There seems to be a lot of talk I’m hearing these days about creating your life, pursuing your dream, getting what you want. I’m all for that. I believe, deeply, that we create our own lives.  But maybe it’s just too easy to get caught up in what I want.

In Susan Jeffer’s newsletter this month, she talks about Instant Angels – those blessed souls who show up just when you need them.  She went on to explain that we can all be Instant Angels for someone else, too. If we pay attention to others, we can spot ways we can come to someone’s rescue.

What a fun way to live life!  Thinking about yourself, obsessing on your thoughts, while beneficial, can get decidedly boring.  Maybe we can plant some thoughts like all is well, I have all I need and get on with it. Alan Cohen sent me this quote from Lao Tzu, “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Now, that’s some good marching orders for being an Instant Angel!  Imagine how you would feel if the world belonged to you.  There’s nothing you couldn’t do for others.

We all have so much to give.  Whether or not we have money, we’re likely to have some time. There’s no shortage of imagination and ideas, a kind word, a voice to motivate.  So many ways to help others!  A hand, an ear, a smile.

I just love this Instant Angel concept.  It only takes an instant to decide to help someone.  And it may only take a moment to deliver that help.  I’m not sure if I really believe this, but I heard a story that someone was feeling lost and unloved, when a stranger gave them a warm and loving smile. It completely changed their attitude and made them rethink their negative thoughts.  It turned their whole world around.  How wonderful is that!  You could change someone’s life simply by smiling at them.

Maybe we can play with one of Agent Cooper’s rules.  He says that every day you should give yourself a gift, unplanned.  Let’s shift that to giving a gift to someone else every day, unplanned.  It needn’t be wrapped in fancy paper, just a moment’s awareness will do.


“Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information but of unlearning old limits.” – Alan Cohen

We tend, in this quest for enlightenment, actualization, whatever it is we’re after, to look outside ourselves for the answer.  Sometimes we cling to the notion that the next book, class, workshop, speech, DVD will get us the key we’re been searching for. Then, as if by magic, we will turn it in the lock and be centered, peaceful, aware and loving in every perfect moment.  There’s just that one piece of the puzzle that we haven’t quite understood yet which will slip into place and we will feel whole and at home.

I think Alan Cohen is right.  That it’s not about collecting more information.  I may know everything there is to know about personal growth, but if I keep slathering it on the old limits, I’m not going to get very far.

It’s intriguing how we create this notion of limits.  In a world with so much going on, with such a vast array of infinitive possibilities, how is that we see so little? I venture to guess that most all those limits are self imposed. If you see something as a limitation, it is probably that you only see one way, the way it’s always been done.

The true answer, as always, lies within. “Unlearning old limits” is an interesting choice of words. It puts it squarely on us. We must unlearn what we have learned about life and what we are capable of.  We don’t have to fix or replace anything, just unlearn.

I don’t know about you, but I was never taught in any school class how to unlearn. (Which may well be part of the problem with our educational system.) How do you un-learn?  Perhaps it has to do with opening to new ideas, asking questions, wondering why.  Why is it that I’m capable of just this much?  Only able to have this much?  Go this far?

Thinking out of the box helps us to unlearn. Seeing all the possibilities. Realizing that just because we think it (or have always thought) it doesn’t mean that it’s true.  Thoughts are not that rigid.  We created them, we can take them apart.

Meditation helps to see and experience the frailty of thoughts.  How they pass by on our screen of awareness.  If you let them go, not cling to them, they have a tendency to fade away, move along.  They don’t have to have that much control over your life.

Try for a day thinking about something in a new way.  Say someone you know who has a nasty habit of cracking their gum.  It drives you crazy, puts you on edge.  But just for a day, decide that it doesn’t bother you. See if you can change what you think about it.  Maybe it has a certain rhythm to it. Or that it’s something this person does to think more clearly.  Watch how you can make a new decision, have a new thought.  This can change your life.  You start to unlearn what you thought you knew.  Begin the process of seeing your thoughts as ever-changing and fluid.

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