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It’s hard to hear what you’re thinking.  Most of us run around with a million thoughts (or so it seems).  Things I need at the grocery, what time to be somewhere, the gas in the car, how my shoes feel, what he really thinks, that’s a good song . . .  Not to mention dealing with whatever is in front of you and what comes next.

There are a lot of thoughts going on under all the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life.  It’s difficult to know what they all are.  But these thoughts are important. They color everything we do, whether or not we’re aware of them. I sometimes see it as a running commentary: “Oh, that worked out well.  That didn’t play out the way I thought. I wonder if I can do this.” The really scary thoughts, though, are buried down deeper, under all this chatter. Things like I’m no good or people don’t really like me.

Of course, they are not true. Certainly there’s something good in me and there are people who do like me. But these thoughts have been around a long time.  And their roots run deep. The thing is that once they’re revealed, once you face them and really hear them, they lose a lot of the sting.  You can see them for what they are.

One really good way to get at these thoughts is to write.  I call it journalling, but you may call it Morning Pages, like Julia Cameron (or Writing Practice as Natalie Goldberg deems it.) Writing longhand, 3 pages of whatever is going on in your head.  Julia suggests the morning because it’s a good idea to get all that out before you start your day. But also because it tends to be quiet and there is less activity in your brain.

It does take time.  Sometimes you need more than 3 pages. And you need, most of all, to feel safe doing this.  Know that this is for your eyes only.  No one else need read it.  You must have a certain amount of trust to pursue the mining.

It’s about allowing yourself to be completely honest. To be able to say things like, “I’m not sure I really like him.”  Or “Doing that really makes me feel good!”  Perhaps, “I didn’t handle that well.  She pisses me off and I reacted too fast.  Maybe next time I’ll try to think first before I speak.”  You might also try to explore why you felt the way you dind when someone reacted to you.  The more you can partake in this monologue, the deeper you can go, the more you will learn about yourself.

Talking to someone else, especially a credentialed person, definitely helps.  But most of us don’t feel compelled to seek that kind of help.  This is free and doesn’t entail a lot of effort on your part. I believe that thinking doesn’t work because you can think yourself into circles. Writing is the key.  Nothing beats seeing it for yourself, on paper.

Some of those floating thoughts in my mind tell me that I have so many things I need to take care of.  When I take the time to write them down, I often find it’s really more like 2 or 3 things.  The others being easy, part of one of the two or something I can do tomorrow.  Saying it out loud can be powerful, but nothing gives more clarity than the written word.

You have little chance of changing a situation and zero chance of changing others, but you can change yourself.  And deep knowledge of yourself is how you do it.  Writing is the key to unlock your secrets.  It there anything more valuable than understanding yourself?

Waiting is a wonderful time to practice allowing.  You are welcome to change your mind, be proactive and say, I’m NOT waiting.  You’re empowered to do that, if you please.  But if you want to see the doctor, get your car fixed, get into the show, you are going to have to wait. That’s just the way it is.

So, I can sit (or stand) here and complain about it.  Keep checking the time, as if that will make the wait end.  I can fuss and be uncomfortable, thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

Or I can switch on the gratitude and enjoy the distant rumbling of the cars, the people around me, the quiet, the view out the window . . .   I can be grateful I have a chair to sit in and pen and paper to keep me company.  I can be glad I have a phone so I can let someone know who might be waiting for me.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive.  And before I know it, I’ll be off doing something else!

Sometimes breathing may be all you can do. But you can do that.  Be aware of your breath. That will slow down the antsies when you are deep in anxious mode.

I’m glad it’s a sunny day and I’m feeling well. It’s great to know my car is getting fixed and will be running so much better!  I’m glad to have water to drink and the money to pay for this repair.  Won’t it be wonderful when I’m finally sprung!

Waiting and getting through it easily – or with a lot less resistance – is very good practice for allowing.  When you can accept that you’re waiting, you can allow the time to pass without fighting it, without squirming in it.

It’s an odd thing: I seem to have a limit to my waiting patience.  I can be patient for exactly so long and then it runs out. For awhile, it’s easy, letting time pass. But all of a sudden, at some point, I find myself questioning what’s going on, wondering if I will ever get out of here, checking my watch, over and over again, feeling my stress level build. It’s at these times, I realize I need to work on it. I start by reminding myself that this is my choice to sit here and wait.  I breathe and find a few things to be grateful for.  I turn my focus on what’s going on around me.  Then I can feel the stress leaving my body.   I’m just here.

Certainly, sitting in traffic is about waiting.  Anything that puts you in a position where you have to be still.  Even if you’d rather not.  That is the key.  Accepting that there are no other alternatives.  It’s sometimes easier to do in these more mundane situations.  Practicing on the smaller incidents in life can help you to accept things like a job change, partner leaving or disappointments of all kinds and intensities, even illness or death.

If you use your waiting time, any frustrating situation you find yourself in, you can practice being willing to go with it. Breathe through it and practice patience and allowing.  You may find a time when you will be glad you did.

Using the Twin Constellations of Acceptance and Allowance (from the book that never was)

Acceptance is an agreement or a choice. The first step is to accept everything that goes on in the Universe.  You really don’t have any other choice. What’s happening is what’s happening.  You might just as well tell the Universe to back up and turn around.  Good luck with that.

Allowing is the second part.  To give permission. This is not saying it’s okay with you. It’s merely a willingness to open the door, allowing life to be what it is. Allowing is a much better use of energy than trying with all your might to keep the door shut.

Another analogy might be a flowing river. The first thing you need to do in order to use it to your benefit, is to agree that the river is flowing. As long as the river remains free, there is nothing you can do to change that.. Then, as you allow the current to take you with it, you use the energy of the river, rather than fight it.

When you apply this to your life, you are able to move more effectively and easily. Understanding these powerful twin forces is the beginning of your journey across the Universe.

What do you do when you’re humming along, moving in the flow and then thwack!  You stub you toe?  You might stub it on an obstacle  left in your foot path,  a hiccup in your plans, an unexpected bill or illness.

If you’re like me, your reaction is to get mad at yourself for not paying attention, not seeing the hazard ahead.  It’s quite easy for me to skip off into other times I haven’t watched where I was going or how things like this ALWAYS happen to me!

It’s difficult when you’re smacked in the face by an unforseen obstacle, such as a car or computer breakdown, expectations unfulfilled and other such left field stray balls.

This wayward ball  can often throw you off course and leave you feeling defeated, angry, victimized or otherwise closed to the abundant flow.

I find it hard at that point, to bring myself back.  This week, I was flowing along, paying good attention and allowing all the little things to fall away.  I’m not going to get hung up on this and allow my thoughts to go negative, I say.  I’m staying present and happy with life.  No, that’s not going to get me either . . .  What happens?  I find myself in a massive traffic jam.  I get a little crazy when no one is moving at all. “Usual” traffic progresses, albeit slowly.  But when there’s an accident or lane blockage, there is, what feels like, no progress.  Minutes go by and the car only moves a few inches.  It’s at this point I begin to panic and wonder what I’m doing there!  I calculate the time wasted, stress over the wear and tear on the car and end up cussing at my life, along with the other drivers.

Very negative. Very closed.  Very unhappy.

It irks me to know I have such limits.  Why can’t I accept all that happens?  Why are there some things I can’t float through?  I know my fussing does nothing to move me any closer to my destination. There seem to be tributaries of my negative thinking.  Say I accept what’s happening now.  But, I ask myself, how many other times have I been in this situation? Why haven’t I been able to get myself out of this?  What flaw has kept me stuck in this predicament, susceptible to such frustrations?  If I sit long enough, I might even find someone else to blame for it.

It’s true that many walls that toes stub are much bigger and thicker than interminable traffic.  For instance, if I was in the car that caused this jam . . . Surely, sitting behind the wreckage, I have the time to control my thoughts, gain perspective, and put myself back on track.  Before I slam into that threatening wall.

I guess it’s hard when you’re facing the culprit, head on.  But, I feel, this is exactly the time to work on it.  The best tactic seems to be to talk with yourself.  Out loud, if you can.  Tell yourself it’s okay.  Heal the wounds first.  Make sure you show concern for yourself and the situation you are in.  You might slide into gratitude, if you’ve calmed yourself down enough: “I’m grateful it wasn’t my accident. I’m grateful for the cell phone so I won’t leave anyone hanging.  It’s a nice day and the music is humming.”

This is a the time to remind yourself there’s nothing you can do about it  at the moment.  If there are changes to be made, they don’t have to be enacted right no. Assure yourself that it will end and you will be able to clear your head and make a new choice.

This is really good practice. Not only will it make you better able to brush off smaller things, it will also prepare you for those bigger obstacles. Watch your progress and see how often and how quickly you can find that flow again.

After an especially good coaching session with Paulette Terrels, we discovered that I seem to have a need to make a fuss and complain about things. I don’t do it all the time and it’s usually not vocal.  Certainly, I’ve made progress and it’s breaking up. But through that deeper awareness, I routed out a deeply held belief which has been quiet, but steadfast.  I’m not sure if I can fully get my head around it, but I’m going to try.

I know it does me no good to dwell on the negative.  And I’m usually quick to shift gears, aware that the complaining blocks my progress toward allowing what I want to flow.  I have experienced this in action when I do allow the good feelings and thoughts to take over.  When I rest easy and trust it will happen.  Things work out so much better.  Just recently, I marked a weekend on my calendar to go to the beach.  I didn’t know how I was going to get there, where I would go, etc.  But an invitation came the Monday before.

And, yet, even as I write this, I want to moan and complain about something and find a crutch.  I feel the negative tendencies holding me back, pulling me down, poking holes in my positive energy, making a mess of everything.  Still, I cling to it, as if it were a life raft.

Why?  That is the question.  Maybe I think people won’t like me or resent me if I’m too happy, too cheerful.  Perhaps I worry that I’ll miss something I need to see.  That I’m somehow being lazy or irresponsible if I don’t take a “cold, hard look at what’s wrong.”   I either won’t know what to change or otherwise neglect my need.  What if I fall asleep to my desire to change? Some may take the view that I’m not really looking at the reality unless I see the negative.  (I guess it doesn’t matter that I’ve spent years seeing only the negative and skimming over the positive.  Or like it wouldn’t be a good idea to try it the other way around.)  I must think that I will somehow “forget” what it is I want to change.  Another thought might be that the grumpies provide “proof” that I need things to change. I’m not sure about all this.  I suspect there’s even more to the story, deeper along.

Sometimes, just hearing the possible reasons  (or seeing them) can help to blow them away.  I do know that much of this is nonsense.  It doesn’t  wipe it all away, but it can help when faced with it to remember that it’s not really true.

When I get stuck in this muck of negativity, it’s hard to extricate myself.  It usually takes someone else – like a coach – to point out where I am.  When I’m in it, I’m not aware of these reasons.  I just have a sinking feeling that I must pay attention, hold onto the gripes, or I won’t get what I want.  Now, I might be a little more aware of the reasons that I can let go of.

The Good Truth is that as soon as I realize where I am, I can step out of that pile, wipe off my shoes and put my feet into cool water.  Then, pick up something that feels better and keep on going.

What does that mean? My first thought is always about allowing others to be who they are. If I can help, I like to. But I’ve often found when I’m trying to help someone, make suggestions, they don’t want it or can’t hear it. I honor others by allowing them to go through their own process. Even if I can see a shorter or easier route.

Honoring One Another means I must allow the other to leave if he or she must. Remembering that it is not my decision to make. I can honor others by always using kind and gentle words. It must truly be honoring to forgive quickly.

I read recently about loving mistakes. Certainly scientists thrive on mistakes as that not only gives them valuable information, but some of the most important discoveries come from mistakes. So it is with the rest of us. Honoring one another includes allowing mistakes for the wonders that can come from them.

It wouldn’t be right to discuss this topic without mentioning the word Respect. I’m not sure you can do more honor to another than by respecting them. From there, everything else I’ve noted will just fall into place.

Honoring doesn’t have to mean putting on a formal party for someone – though that can be a rather fitting thing to do. Testimonials are not necessary either, if you can see the other as a fellow human being on the path, no matter what his/her status, circumstance or age.

Perhaps the trickiest part of all this honoring is in honoring yourself. After all, why shouldn’t you be honored, too? What does it mean to honor yourself? Acknowledging your needs seems a good place to start. It may be that the more you speak up for yourself and do what you can to get your needs met, honor who you are, the better and more naturally you will honor others

I having been searching for the Positive Slant on winter.  It’s not been easy.  Everywhere I go, everyone is talking about the weather.  I made a quick list of some things I can like, off the top of my head, but it was a stretch.  Feeling warm and cozy, might be one. Hot chocolate and snuggling up under the covers.  But most of these are short lived (and may all be under the heading of “warm and cozy.”)  And not particularly exciting.  I can just as well enjoy chocolate milk in the summer.  And warm and cozy (even a fire in the fireplace) can happen when it’s damp in the Fall.  I know, some people find a freshly fallen snow silent and beautiful.  But after the third day, it gets old and slips quickly into being a dirty nuisance.  Mounds of snow in parking lots, taking up valuable spaces . . .   Perhaps you enjoy a spot of cross-country skiing or ice skating.  I prefer tennis, golf and a walk – all of which are curtailed or impractical in the freezing temperatures of winter. I find myself cranky and my eyes are growing dim to blessings. I don’t like being this way.

I am practicing allowing, as my last post spoke.  Being in the now and saying, okay, this is what’s happening now.  I’ll deal with next week’s snow when it comes.  This practice has helped.  Every time I turn around in this weather business, I’m seeing a new lesson, another opportunity to expand and grow.

It occurred to me the other day, as we were driving to a nearby town, one flurry-ing evening.  Ill spirits surrounded me on what could have been a fun adventure.  My nerves were shattered and my energy almost spent.  My thoughts were telling me that I was expecting something else.  Maybe not that the next day would be sunny and 70, but at least that it would be dry with moderate temperatures. 

The truth is – no matter how hard I try to resist it and expect something different – it is winter.  And where I live that means there is always the possibility for snow and/or ice.  And there is a very high probability of temperatures at or below freezing.  What kind of fool would expect anything different?  Yes, I will admit it’s been a wetter winter than previous years.  I am more exposed than I have been in the past, too.  Surely, we have messed with Mother Nature.  All thinking people should realize, you can’t do that and expect her to remain silent.  Winter blows the way it does.  And my resistance, reluctance, revulsion, really isn’t going to stop it.

I see that allowing in the moment is one thing, but I need to take a further step into acceptance. When I accept the nature of winter, as it is, today, for better or worse, I move into an easier frequency. In that space I might at least put less stress into the already stressed atmosphere.   No wonder I’m so worn out all the time, resisting what is Winter!

Judgments are a different animal than evaluating and assessing.  Judgments put you in a state of resistance. You are putting a label on it.  Judging it good or bad instead of just allowing it to be whatever it is.  These judgments come from your thoughts. You tell a particular story, creating a rigid definition, which doesn’t allow it to be any other way.

This is a different process from taking a reading on how something is making you feel, noticing how you’re reacting to it.  It doesn’t restrict or limit the thing, event, happening, person, to be any different from what it is.  You’re just assessing how you feel it about it, evaluating what you’re telling yourself about it.

Judgment keeps you in a state of denial, wrought up in emotion.  Even if it’s a “good” emotion, you can still become stuck and unable to see what’s really going on around you.

Judgments keep you out of the present moment, as they generally come from the past.  It was like this then, it must surely be like this now.  It doesn’t leave room for the inevitable change and the acceptance of how things are at the moment.

I’m judging that the only “good” thing about judgments is that they can alert you to places where you are being too rigid.  They paint a picture of where you need to release.

Been thinking about Allowing lately.  It seems to be the most basic of the building blocks of an awakened and positively slanted life.  Allowing requires that you pay attention in the present moment, to know what it is you’re allowing.  There is no better or more powerful practice than being aware of the now.

But let’s take it a step further with Allowing.  When you allow, you welcome whoever (or whatever) is at the door.  You embrace your Guest as a friend, a comrade.  You accept whatever gift they have brought.  And you invite them to sit down so you can get to know each other more deeply, break bread and share thoughts and love.

I was wondering what would happen if you were to reverse that.  What if it was you at the door and The Universe, The Divine, Your Higher Self, was opening the door to you?  Welcoming you, embracing you with love.  Accepting the gifts you bring graciously and appreciatively.  And then, inviting you to the table to share what you have brought.

To me, turning it around, makes it more of a pulling than a pushing.  The working hard at things doesn’t work.  You wouldn’t want your guests to think it was difficult for you to have them over.  Neither does the Universe want you, as Guest, to work too hard at it.  Come in, relax.  I will take care of everything.  Like a Good Host.

For this Friday night, we’re all invited to the Divine’s House Party.  You need bring nothing but your willingness to attend.  Tonight, on the occasion of his birthday, we drink a toast to Dan Fogelberg and all the light he brought to this world in the short time he was with us.

I’ve been working on a piece for the forthcoming book, Raising Yourself, on the subject of Allowing.

It occurred to me that people seem to use the terms Allowing and Accepting interchangeably. Allowing is to admit, concede and permit what is. Accepting takes the next step to recognize the truth. In practice, I guess, they are pretty much the same. It’s that process of acknowledging what’s in front of you (or inside you.) Accepting life for what it is. Allowing Life. There’s something very sensible about that. And something insane, really, about seeing it any other way.

Part of allowing is Allowing Yourself. I had a bad cold this week. This was, at first, met with much resistance. I take good care of myself, I live a balanced life. What was I doing sick? I had things to do, I couldn’t afford to take time off. But then I started to see that I had been getting these messages for weeks. Several times, I planned to take time off for a restful Sunday, doing what Julia Cameron preaches, the “Artist’s Date” to play with an art project I’ve been wanting to tackle, and a date with a friend. But all were rescheduled, put off, blown off. As a freelance writer, I tend to work every day. Things happen, plans change. I never got to them.

So, after exposure to some cold germs, a few chills, on top of the strain of winter weather woes, incessant computer frustrations and the economic situation, my body forced me to take a few days off. “Sit down, shut up and rest!” my body called. Perhaps, if I had allowed myself those times off, I might well have prevented this.

Once I stopped haranguing myself for whatever I did wrong to get sick and all the work I wasn’t going to be able to do because of it, I had to admit that I was down for the count and that was that. From there, I could focus my attention on tending to my needs. I drank a lot of water, took Andrographis, Cold-Eze (and a few aspirin when I needed to sleep.) I had multiple cups of Echinecea tea, some Breathe Easy, Dandelion and Red Clover teas. Ate as well as I could. Did plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most of all, I allowed myself to get the rest I needed.

What an amazing gift you can give to your beloveds to accept and Allow Others to be just exactly who they are! How wonderful it feels to be with someone who isn’t expecting you to be any more than what you are, who isn’t judging you for anything. That’s a loving place for a parent to be, too. This acceptance does not mean succumbing. It means accepting the truth. Clearing the way to see what the other needs. Just think of the love that could be spread if you accepted everyone and everything in this way!

It’s not something you can get to overnight. It’s a moment to moment practice. But how many moments have you got to practice! On this Valentine’s Day, practice spreading love by allowing life to be what it is, allowing yourself to feel what you feel and do what you do, and allow others to be just exactly as they are.

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