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Eckart Tolle talks about the space between things, the silence between the sounds.  In these gaps are “portals,” as he calls them, to the inner body, to Being, to where the Power of Now lies.

Tricky thing to do.  As far as the space, he talks of the molecules and the spaces between, in relation to their size, as they move at their pace and create matter.  I like the notion of here, there and the space in between. It’s a very different way of perceiving. It’s so natural to focus your attention on the cup, the keyboard, the paper, the phone. Focusing on what‘s in between them quiets the chatter, shuts down the labeling.

The silence between the sounds.  How cool is that?  What a fresh way to look at it! It’s the rests in music which really make it.  I think it’s a survival skill that’s been bred into us, to listen to the sound.  We must be alert for danger. Truthfully, I don’t think I need to sharpen my hearing, ever-searching for the sound of a hungry animal, bent on eating me.  If I’m listening to the silence, I’m quite sure I will hear the phone ringing or someone speaking to me.

Eckart talked about focusing on the silence even in a discussion. Listen for the pauses between the words. I think that helps to ground you.  To help keep your attention on the person speaking and more in tune to what they’re saying.

In between the breaths is God, I have heard. In between . . . jobs, lovers, meals.  There are deep places to be found in between. 

I believe we get so caught in our dual world: up/down, left/right, sad/happy and tend to dismiss those gray areas. But those places are far more interesting and perhaps informative.

Sometimes life gets too absorbing.  My nose is to the grindstone, trying hard.  But it’s at times like these I need to step back and remember that it’s far more productive to use the “Elementals” to make things happen.

1)  The first step is always to get quiet and look inside. There I can find the inspiration of Guidance.  It is speaking to me through my dreams and visions.  Showing what I want and giving me the match to light the fire.  It reveals my Mission, what I truly want to do.

2)  Next I want to give my clear Attention and Awareness to this Mission.  Tell the truth and own what I want.  Listen, research, and learn what I need to do.  Give it thought and planning to know how to proceed.

3)  Back that up with Consistent Discipline, making the right choices, taking the steps I feel guided to take.  A small amount of effort, repeated regularly, produces results.  Keep taking authentic action.

4)  Along the way, care for myself and my actions with Acceptance and Flexibility.  Allowing myself to dance this way or that, fail or succeed, rest and play. Remaining open to whatever comes my way.

5)  I don’t want to forget to fuel myself with Gratitude and Appreciation.  Keep the talk ever positive, filling the well. Be grateful for whatever I create through my actions. Gratitude will multiply whatever I do.

Return inside for Guidance to check that my mission still feels right. Sharpen my awareness, keep taking conscious steps, take good care, and be grateful for everything I make happen.

Rinse and repeat.

Cheryl Richardson wrote this week about breaking the spell of worry.  It’s sort of like the song lyrics getting stuck in your head.  When you get going on the possible negative scenarios you dig yourself deeper and deeper into worry.

Cheryl describes it as if you were under a spell. You can’t seem to help yourself as you spin more and more dire circumstances. I think many of us feel like we have to stay in that pool of scary stories  As if we owe it to whoever or whatever might be at risk.

But your magic wand, pointed to where you choose to put your attention, can reverse the spell.

The truth is we do more for ourselves and the other if we change the march from bad to good.  Cheryl suggested writing out at least 5 positive outcomes (or in process scenarios) for the thing we’re worrying about.  How would you like it to play out?  In an ideal world? Instead of repeating the “Oh my goodness, what if  . . .” affirmations, try instead, “Wow, maybe this could happen!”

I believe we can actually affect the energy. If not single handedly, we can at least help to trend the energy in the direction we prefer. Clearly we are the masters of our own universe.

Use your magic wand to change the spell, alter the affirmation, replace the repeating lyric in the your head to something positive.  Then watch the magic you can make!

Cheryl Richardson’s newsletter this week talks about how attachments can make you blind to what’s right in front of you.  When you’re all wrought up, searching for something or expecting something to happen, you often miss the prize that’s there for the taking.

Attachments affect us in all kinds of ways.  For instance, I’m feeling sad today about the passing of summer. A final weekend at the beach, coupled with a gloomy and cool day has me feeling like summer has packed up its things and moved out.  I don’t want to let it go.

I love summer! Everyone’s out and in colorful, easy clothes. The rules are different in the summertime. You get to leave early or take Fridays off.  Dress is always more casual through the summer, in the heat.  Adventures lay ahead.  Ice cream cones and sprinklers. Swimming pools, oceans and lakes beckon. The hum of the air conditioner and the livin’ is easy. I’m always taken by the array of summer flowers around otherwise dreary parking lots. Trees and bushes are full and abundant. There’s nothing like the sun coming through a roof of green leaves. When it’s warm out, even rain feels good. Cookouts and outdoor games . . .  There’s so much to cheer about in the summer! 

But holding fast to it is not going to make it stay any longer than it chooses. Clearly there are attachments which just don’t make any sense. Having attachments to things that are bound to change is much like lugging around a huge weight. You’re unlikely to get anywhere, much less have any success in bringing the object along with you.

We tend to get attached to many things that are clearly changeable. All of life is subject to change. Certainly things like youth, old victories, life, sameness, routine, others, to name a few. Day turns to night. Seasons change. Even my delicious long weekend had to end at some point. Trying to stave off that inevitable ending is quite futile and frustrating.

I believe many of these aches can be relieved by simply turning our attention. I adore summer, there’s no question about that. But fall has a few good points, too. The wondrous vista of fall colors fills my heart with joy. The chill in the air makes me feel like something special is just around the corner. Fires in the fireplace, sweaters and light scarves. Perfect sleeping weather. Dandelion wine and Dandelion tea. Apple cider and crispy fresh apples. There is much to celebrate about the fall.

So, where we can, let’s try to turn our attention away from the attachments that are clearly marching on with or without us. I can focus on the Fall and let the summer fade away. Say a loving goodbye and get on with it.

One of my All-Time Favorite books, perhaps the one which touched me on the deepest level, was “Conversations With God” by Neale Donald Walsch.  Though I have loved every minute of the entire series, the first book returned God to my heart.  I must not have been completely sure about God before it.  Or wondered if He’d forgotten me along the way. But this book presented such a loving and approachable God.  It explained life in such a clear and specific way.  It just felt Right to me. With so many intriguing and beautiful concepts in this book it’s hard to know where to start. This jumped out at me today – the Power of Words.

God says we all co-create our lives with Him.  After all, we chose where to live, what work we would do, our partners and friends . . .

In the book, God talks about suffering.  He says that what we’re actually doing when we suffer is to  “experience something we might see as insufferable.”  But the master, God goes on to say, knows the power of the word and so does not speak of it.

This week I had a bit of a meltdown.  A lot of things were closing in on me at once.  I reached out for help. Instead of giving a litany of what was wrong, I explained, quickly, how I was feeling.  My friend was then able to help me  to figure out what I needed, remind me to focus on what was working and get me back to what I could control.

God tells us,  “We make real that which we pay attention to.” If you are interested in sports cars, your ears will perk up when others are talking about sports cars.  You’re likely to search for and read about them, too. You’ll probably watch shows like “Top Gear.”  So, if you pay attention to, talk about, wrestle with that which you might experience as insufferable, you bring more of that into your life.

As co-creators, we create on three levels: thought, word and deed. Everything that we can see hear, taste came from someone having a thought, first. They talked about it and then took actions to create it.  I happen to believe in the Power of the Word. Perhaps it’s not as evocative or as powerful at creating as deeds can be, but words definitely have impact.

We know through the Law of Attraction that we create faster when there is  emotion behind the thought, word and deed. Don’t we hold a lot of strong emotions around the ways we feel we suffer?  Why make it any more manifest by using words to talk or write about it?  Doesn’t it make sense that will generate more?

I’m not sure why it’s so hard for us.  I guess we get a lot of support and attention when we complain. Much more than if we talk of all the wonderful things going on. We are afraid, perhaps, others will turn away, not like us if we’re doing too well. We will no longer be part of the gang. I am far more likely to join in the chorus if I’m talking with people who are stuck in that negative song, singing about what’s wrong instead of what’s right.  Someone says, I had a bad day, I immediately start to think about how lousy my day was . . .   It’s even harder with  Chronic Negative Talkers.  These people don’t want to hear how to change the situation.  They just want to talk about it. If you are on top of your game, you may be able to distract them for a time, but they will soon return to their chant of what’s bad.

I often find myself thinking if I don’t acknowledge or talk about what’s wrong I won’t see solutions.  But I truly believe that the best solutions come from a peaceful, open, loving heart.  I want to use my words to evoke only good things.   Amen.

I had an opportunity to listen to an interview with Marci Shimoff, author of the “Chicken Soup for Women” series and “Happy for No Reason.”

Marci says that dreams have led the way in her life.  She knew that she wanted to be a speaker when she was just a child and saw the great sales expert, Zig Ziglar speak.  Marci believes that dreams are planted in our hearts when we’re born.  Maybe that’s why they never go away.  She talks of going through cycles of rest and activity with them.  Sometimes you’re manifesting your dreams, sometimes you are incubating them.

Her credo in this is: Intention, Attention and No Tension.  For Intention we get clear on what our dream is.  Next we prepare ourselves by putting Attention to the dream.  Then we have to let go of Tension, surrender, relax and let it happen.  We allow Divine Grace to work through us when we let go.  But, Marci said, that part was the hardest for her.  It is for me, too.  And, I suspect, lots of others.  She says we must have faith.  When we’re driving in a car at night, we can only see 200 yards in front of us.

In her wonderful book, “Happy for No Reason,” Marci teaches us that everyone has a happiness set point.  So you might get really happy or really sad about one thing or another, but then you return to that happiness set point.  Where you are most of the time. But there are ways to raise your happiness set point in several areas of your life, such as the mind.  In the book, we learn to not believe everything we think and to release the reoccuring patterns of the mind.  We need to take responsibility for our own happiness and let love lead the way.  There are lots of other great ideas and Happiness Habits in her book.  I did a review of it awhile back here at The Positive Slant.

I don’t recall if this was an exact quote, but she said that when we are living our dream we are bringing the greatest gift to the planet.

Marci said that the way she operates is to continually ask herself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for myself now?  I think that’s a powerful question.  It emphasizes  the present moment.  Right now, what is the most loving thing?  That could change frequently, so we must be really aware to get the answer. She also suggested getting rid of 27 things a day for 9 days.  That sounds like a lot to me!  But I can try to get rid of something every day.

In the end, she said the most important thing to know is to follow your heart.  I think that is beautiful, simple, doable advice.  Thank you, Marci!

The undisputed Queen of delightful growth exercises is Julia Cameron.  We are in Week 2 of the classic, “The Artist’s Way – a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.”  Anyone who does creative activities (or would like to) should read this book and follow the exercises at least once.  It is a 12-week recovery program.  Each week is jam-packed with interesting, thought-provoking and varied activities.  Going through the entire program is an amazing and eye-opening experience.  Ask anyone who’s done it.

Week Two is called “Recovering a Sense of Identity.”  Julia explains it, “This week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery.”  She starts out talking about “Going Sane.”  As you start to change you might feel strange.  “At first flush,” Julia says, “going sane feels just like going crazy.”  Most reassuring to know!  The chapter goes on to talk about the people in your life who may be hurting your growth. Julia warns us, “Be particularly alert to any suggestion that you have become selfish or different.”  We need to keep reminding ourselves, even in the face of resistance from inside or out, that: “The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  Along the way there are wonderful quotes from some very inspirational people like Brenda Ueland, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Shakti Gawain, Henry Miller and Eddie Cantor.

The next section talks about the “Crazymakers.”  People who can take over your life, Julia describes them, “They do things like break deals and destroy schedules, expect special treatment, spend your time and/or your money.”  We all know these kinds of people.  The kind that suck you up and very often spit you out.

Next we have to deal with Skepticism.  Those doubts that creep up inside of us.  About a Creator helping us or even about our own dear selves. Julia explains it so well, “. . .  our reluctance to take seriously the possibility that the universe just might be cooperating with our new and expanded plans. . . .   We still feel too much like frauds to handle some success. When it comes, we want to go.”  We need to just keep opening our minds to it.  Over and over again, as a practice.

Attention is such a beautiful and powerful thing. Where we put attention is where things grow.  “The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.”  We pay attention to the things we care about, the things we choose to put our attention on.  When that comes from a clear place in us, it is truly delightful!  “The reward for attention,” Julia goes on to say is “is always healing.”

She ends the chapter with box of “Rules for the Road.”  In it she finishes the statement, “In order to be an artist, I must:” and adds 10 tactics, like “Set small and gentle goals and meet them.”  She ends with a suggestion to make a sign for yourself which reads, “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.”  A freeing statement that allows you to let go of the outcome and focus your attention, give your care to what’s important, what you have the most control over.

As for the exercises, I can only offer a sampling. Many of the exercises are linked or built on previous ones. Or tied with the regular routine she asks of you.  Every day you are to write Morning Pages.  And once a week go on what she calls an Artist’s Date – where you make plans and take your artist somewhere fun.  A place where your artist can come out and play. Like a museum.  Or even something different like bowling.  Just for fun, for a different perspective.

Here are a few of the fun things she asks of you:

*  Where does your time go? List your five major activities this week.  How much time did you give to each one? Which were what you wanted to do and which were shoulds? How much of your time is spent helping others and ignoring your own desires?  Have any of your well-meaning friends triggered doubts in you?

I’ve been playing with this lately. I do a diary every day. Some days I can pull it right from my agenda for the day, but on others, everything gets changed.  It’s important for me to see the things I’ve accomplished.  I had this idea, working with The Coach By the Lake, to go over my diary and color code to find out where I’m spending most of my time. Noting what did I really want to do – my highest priority items and how much time I spent on lower priorities.  I think it’s most helpful to get a picture of how you’re spending your time.

*  Another exercise is to list 20 things you enjoy doing.  Barbara Sher has a similar exercise.  It’s so much fun to do!  The reality lies in the next step where you are to put down next to the item when the last time was you did it.  That can be sobering! But you end up with a good list for Artist’s Dates and an awareness of some enjoyable activities you can start to add back in your life.

*  Julia goes on to suggest that from this list you might find two things that you could put on your weekly schedule and do.  She reminds us that it can be done in a small time frames, instead of giving up because you don’t have a big enough space for it.

*  I like the Life Pie.  It’s almost like the Wheel of Life.  Check out where you can link to a Wheel of Life you can create.  The by hand version looks like this: Draw a circle.  Divide it into six pieces and label the pieces: Spiritual, Exercises, Play, Work, Friends, Romance, Adventure (or whatever you please).  Place a dot in each slice indicating what degree you feel fulfilled in this area.  Outer rim indicates great fulfilment, inner is not so great.  Connect the dots.  This will show you where you are lopsided.  Again we’re gaining insight into which areas need more attention.

*  Finally, we’re going to list 10 changes we’d like to make.  It’s called “Ten Tiny Changes,” but she says they can go from “the significant to the small.”  I like the idea of listing the tiny things you could do that would have an effect.  Like a Game Changer Goal that you could accomplish quickly and easily and see results.  Julia asks us to pick one of those items and get it done in a week.

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