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I have been going through A Course in Miracles. Thanks to Chris Cade, an enlightened being who is working it well – giving, selling, and supporting others’ in their work.  Every day I get an idea to work with.  The practice doesn’t take a lot of time but generates plenty of insights.  This Blog entitled Lesson got me thinking.

The Course is rooted in Christianity, at least in its speech.  I tend to shy away from the word God in these writings, but I do, very deeply, believe in Him. Susan Jeffers said, “There is just too much that nourishes and supports us to deny the existence of something . . . whatever that something is.” Surely, the fact that we come equipped with such amazing tools could be seen as proof of His existence.  Every one of us has at our disposal, whenever and wherever we want it, things like Imagination and Curiosity.  We all have the capacity for Courage and Love.  We are well supported by these things that come built-in.  By His nature, God can be anywhere and everywhere.  So, His presence can be achieved with simply a thought.  Barbara Sher offered a tool she calls The Ideal Family.  You pull together in your mind anyone you choose.  Knowing a little something about who they are and what their experiences have been, you can imagine asking them questions.  I know a few things about Marianne Williamson who I have chosen as my ideal sister.  Whenever I have something I’m churning in my head, I can think of her and imagine what she might tell me. Angels and Saints.  Music and Art.  Not to mention all the people I can reach out to with a word, a phone call or an email. All of this adds up to some serious strength at our beckon call!

When it came to the second part, I balked a little.  God has given so many gifts!  I’m healthy, I have a wonderful husband and live in a beautiful place.  I’m able to give of my talents to support others, etc. etc.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe Vision is one of His most important gifts.  We’re not talking about physical sight, but inner vision. So even those who are sight impaired can use this vision.  If I don’t see all those blessings in my life, they don’t do me much good.  The most pervasive change I’m seeing in myself from working The Course is my perception.  It is really all about how I see things.  I don’t know if there’s anything more valuable than being able to see who I really am, the truth of a situation, what I have to give and all that I have.

Marianne Williamson is one of my favorite teachers.  Being a writer is not a prerequisite for being a helpful teacher or a successful author in this field of personal and spiritual growth.  Many of the teachers are extremely bright, well read and certainly evolved.  When your mind is clear, it’s easier to put down coherent sentences. (It also helps to have a good editor.)  But Marianne goes further. She is not an evolved person who writes books.  She is a writer who has evolved.  A true writer.  With the ability to turn a phrase or create a prayer better than anyone I know. She speaks and writers in pictures that are not only easy to understand, but are memorable and colorful.

“Our concentration on the form of fear is an ego ploy to keep us stuck in the problem, like finding a thief in your house and saying, “I have to know his name before I call the police.”  Who cares what his name is?  Call for help immediately!”  From “The Gift of Change.” 

She’s also very practical.

I love her prayers which seem to come directly and spontaneously from her.  In the midst of an illuminating passage, she pauses and lifts her heart to God.

“Dear God, May my spirit be reborn, that I might be a better person. I give You my shame over whom I have sometimes been, and my hopes for whom I wish to be. Please receive them both. Amen.”  From “The Age of Miracles.”

That’s another thing about her – she unabashedly speaks of her love and faith in God.  Many people (including me) shy away from strong references to God so as not to offend anyone. Phooey!  Who cares?  If you love God, shout it from the rooftops!  It’s unlikely that most people would be anything but touched by that outpouring of love. (Especially those listening to her.)

Speaking of Love, it is her main topic and underlines everything she says and writes.  You can’t get more true, more warm or more expansive than that. One of her best books (can I really pick one) is “A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.” I quote from the Introduction, “ When we were born, we were programmed perfectly. We had a natural tendency to focus on love.”

There is something else about Marianne, which I’m having a hard time putting my finger on.  Something personable about her, some place of kin I feel with her.  I’m not sure if it’s because she’s been honest about her life (most teachers are upfront about their hurts).  Maybe it’s because it seems we’re close in age and have had similar experience.  Perhaps she speaks so succinctly about being a woman.

 “The Princess does become a queen if she stays the road.  It is as if there were a beautiful enchantress in a luminous bubble.  She stands before us and beckons for us to become her.  Faith in her invokes our best.  We change. We become unlike who we used to be.”  From “A Woman’s Worth.”

In Barbara Sher’s wonderful, life-changing book “Wishcraft,” Barbara asks us to choose our ideal family.  I have picked Marianne as my sister.  She is all I hope to “grow” up to be. There is something in the things she says, who she is, which makes me feel comfortable, as if I grew up with her.

“I hear teenagers in my backyard, delighting in the mud puddles produced by the afternoon’s storm.  I have to consciously check myself – to remind myself that the ability to have fun in the mud is what makes being young so wonderful, and not make a stink about the fact that my towels are beige and this could ruin them.” 

How can you not love that?

Another thing I love is her civic duty.  Marianne has written beautiful documents and given inspiring speeches on the state of the world. She’s never afraid to speak her mind.  She’s used her success to get involved with causes; working hard to fight hunger and poverty around the world, among others. Truly, Marianne has done her duty to mankind in many ways. And probably not going to stop anytime soon. Marianne genuinely cares about others and her work is a testament to that.

“The Obama phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. It emerged as much from our story as from his — as much from our yearning for meaning as from his ambition to be President; as much from our determination to achieve collective redemption as from his determination to achieve an individual accomplishment. And those who fail to recognize the invisible powers at work here — who see the external drama of politics yet fail to discern the profound forces that moved mountains by moving the American heart — well, they’re just like Bob Dylan’s Thin Man to whom he sang, ‘You don’t know what’s going on here, do you, Mr. Jones?’” From an essay entitled, “Yes We Did” ~ November 05, 2008.

If you like this Blog and you haven’t read any of her books, I suggest you try one.  She’s a delightful writer and an inspired thinker.  I know you won’t be disappointed.  Please check her out here.

SARK has a tool she calls 3-Part Harmony.

I tried it this week.  I was struggling with a big change that’s trying to manifest itself in my life that I’m not entirely sure I want.  I had a lot to say about it.

The 3 Part Harmony goes a little something like this ~
You start with a good six Mad pages about whatever it is you’re mad or sad about, unwilling to do.  Let it flow.  SARK encourages you to repeat yourself, get dramatic and as demanding and as over the top as you can.  No limitations, don’t hold back, spew all of it out. (Barbara Sher calls this “Hard Times.”)

SARK’s second harmony are the Wise Pages.  When you have cleared the way with the Mad Pages, you can write out 4 to 6 pages from your wiser self.  Tell yourself what you need to hear. Maybe it’s comfort and understanding, some direction, a boost of encouragement. Address the issues brought up in the Mad Pages, but stay with the wise advice you would offer a good friend.  Say everything you want to say to yourself.

When you’ve finished that, you’re in a good place take the highest part of the harmony and do the Glad Pages. Talk of all you’re glad about.  I like the idea of pointing out those things you’re glad about in the situation that started all this, but any gratitude is healing.

What I found from this exercise was space.  I felt lighter, more open and willing.  Out of this space came a strong breakthrough on this matter.  It was different from my usual, sort of, rational revelation which says, “Ah, I see what was going on.”  This breakthrough went beyond into a new way of seeing the situation, a perspective I didn’t have before.  A more loving way to look at it.  There was new light to see the lay of the land.

Thanks SARK for opening up the orchestra, for the full sound.

This is one of many tools SARK offers and that you’ll learn about in Dream Boogie, Fall Session. There’s still time to sign up.  Registration closes on the 29th of September, 2010.  So click here before it’s too late!

At the heart of the Dream Boogie with SARK Class, are the Boogie Books. Each week, after the live tele-class, we can go to the Boogie Beans site and easily download the book for the week.  These are 12 to 13 page books designed from the playful and colorful mind of SARK. They are a joy to behold and chock full of fun things to do! 

You can see what she calls her sillybus on the web site.  But here’s my take: In Week 1, SARK helps us to define our dream, get clearer on it. For Week 2, we discover what’s in our way, seeing the bigger picture. Week 3 is all about energy management and finding the energy we need to make our dream happen.  Week Four talks about getting things done, including the amazing Micro Movements.  The next week, Week 5 teaches us how to get the support and help we need to make our dreams happen.  In Week 6, we are learning to create balance, not forgetting to build a wonderful life aside our dream. Week 7 talks of commitment and its power to keep you going. Week 8 discusses how to go the distance with your dream.

I’ll give you a glimpse into the Boogie Book from “Adventurous Week Three – The World of Yes – Creating the Proof of Your Dream.” As the tele-classes closes with a prayer, song or story from SARK, the books open with an “Inspiring Invocation.”  Here is SARK’s message for Week Three: “May our courage be activated and strengthened by more consciously applied yesses.  May we let lose the wonders inside us, and be thrilled at what’s in there.”

The Boogie Books always open with a discussion that is an adjunct to the class material, not a repeat. SARK tells us about ways to bring more Yes Energy to our dreams.

Each week we get “Own Work” which is SARK’s version of Homework.  We need to do one thing in each of the categories of Visualizing, Intending, Sharing, and Doing.  Really, not much at all.  And SARK gives us fun ideas for each one.  This week, she suggests, for Visualizing, to make a list of your own Activators – those things that boost your energy and remind you why you’re going for your dream.  For Sharing, she asks us to share some of our ideas about Micro Movements on the Forum. For Doing, there is a Positive Challenge in each Boogie Book.  This week it’s about making a map of your dream with pictures that represent what you want.  Lists of why you’re excited about it and what you can do when you feel stuck. You might put on there the micro movement wheel of steps to take, people to call when you need inspiration . . .  A fun project.

For Intending, SARK suggests doing the Dream Digging questions in each Book. These are several thought-provoking questions about the subject at hand.  It always ends with an Intake: Three things my dream Needs from me; Three things I need from my Dream. The Dream Digging Questions are always my favorites.  Some examples: What role does energy play in my life?  What is my energy style?  How am I managing my energy?  What can I do to expand my energy?  What are some things that contract energy?  SARK says to take your time.  Do nothing in between questions, ponder them a bit, be easy with them. I’ve come away with something important from every session with the Dream Digging questions.  And the beauty is, the books are mine to keep forever and ever!  I can always come back to them.

It doesn’t end there, either.  Next comes a Boogie Buddy Challenge.  This week’s is to share evidence of your dream coming true, what you’ve done to move it ahead.  See if your Boogie Buddies can see things you’ve missed.  Find a way to celebrate together, everyone’s accomplishments, the movement you’ve all made.

There is also, included with every Book, a Dream Download. A piece of some of SARK’s inspiring art.  This week is a pinwheel that you can print out, put a pin in and use as a reminder to stir up your energy.

Finally, there are Radiant Resources in the back of each Boogie Book.  Books, web sites and things that can give further illumination to the topic at hand.  Her book suggestions in Week Three include Shakti Gawain’s “Creative Visualization” and Henry Miller’s “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.”  Web sites like Martha Beck, the Goddess of Coaches and one of the best writers on the topic of creating your life in a sane way.

Time is running out to join the Fall Session of Dream Boogie with SARK.  Do it now!

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

Maria has an interesting take on the word abundance.  She says that we so often relate it to the idea of more. “The desire for MORE is most often a conversation about scarcity.”  That is true.  “I want ___” signifies that you do not, at this time, have.

But abundance actually means everything.  The total experience of life.  The ups and downs, the complaints and compliments.  The way to increase our experience of abundance is to say yes to everything.  When we say yes, “the veil lifts from our perception [and] we see both the miracles and the lessons that surround us.”  That is what SARK said about accepting complaints and compliments with “gladness and gratitude.”  Doing that lifts the veil.

“Prosperity,” Maria says, “comes when you participate fully in every aspect of your life.”  Saying yes allows that participation.  “Using everything as an opportunity to wake up and express who you are in your heart.”

Maria describes Prosperity in this way ~
* Not blocking anything
* Willing to learn from everything
* Committed to expressing your true nature

Yes is a very powerful word.  In this course, Maria has taught us to discern when to say no to things that drain or diffuse our energy.  But anything you say no to drains you in some way.  Instead, she suggests, Gratitude.  The Fine Art of Gratitude she calls it. “Finding gratefulness in every day circumstances.”  This is a perfect state to see the miracles and the lessons, the compliments and the complaints equally.

“A goal destined to try to get away from an uncomfortable or painful circumstance only prolongs the very circumstance you seek to escape.”  It makes life feel close. It crowds you in. There is no room, no breath for creativity.  But gratitude throws open the windows and doors. It allows the space for receptivity.  And everything loosens and flows again.

When you are willing to let it be true, whatever is happening, when you are willing to be open to whatever it is and whatever it can bring, you are in gratitude.

One way to help use be in that state, is using Affirmations.  Maria says, to affirm (or to make firm) “is a simple process of shifting the way you observe the events in your life and imbuing them with gratitude.”  It’s about re-framing.  See things in a new way.  Same situation, different angle.

Maria has three ways to Affirm:
1) Note and Welcome Daily Lessons.
This might mean using a Barbara Sher “Hard Times” session to let go of your anger or frustration in the moment.  When you do that, you allow yourself to get to a place were you can come around to being willing to accept the situation.  (Or willing to be willing.)  After letting out all that emotion, you are able to see the lesson.

2.  Being Grateful for the Good Things. 
That sounds easy and fun to me.  But the truth is, most of us don’t spend a lot of time doing that.  We might say, “Hey, that was good,” but then we’re onto the next thing.  Taking the time to reflect often on the things that are easy to be grateful for, brings more of the same into your life.

3.  Affirming Your True Nature.  Who You Really Are.
Maria suggests using your Standards of Integrity for this (see Principle 2).  When we put together our Standards of Integrity, we learned that we can only recognize those traits we like in others when we have them ourselves. 

There is a small exercise we can do here:

A.  Take your Standards of Integrity or any list of the way you’d like to live your life.  And repeat the following statement, “I am willing to be ___ (honest, trustworthy, strong . . . )  Say this to yourself every night for at least a week.  This is not telling a lie.  There is something in you that has this quality right now.

B.  You can take this further and when you notice in your daily life when you’re not in balance or alignment with your standards, take authentic action steps to return to the wholeness of integrity.  You might ask yourself, “How can I express my standards in everyday life?”

Seeing how much you have in your life naturally leads to wanting to give back.  Maria tells us that we “are compensated immediately when we intentionally and generously send energy away to others from ourselves.”  When we contribute to others.

The rewards for doing this are many: knowing you have the ability to give raises your self esteem.  “The act of giving is empowering,” she tells us. Most spiritual groups espouse this practice regularly.  Giving restores balance and opens you to the flow.

But beware! If you give with the intention of getting something back, for a Return on Investment, you thwart the process.  It leaves an incomplete, coming from a place of need.  You need that thing back.

Contribution to others must flow naturally. You can feel that “wielding the energy of money powerfully enough to make this gift,” you are in the flow. Giving in the moment, not with the halting steps of agenda or thoughts of the future.  It’s a state of being, not a cause and effect action.

It is the nature of energy that when it is given in this free flowing manner it flows back immediately. This is an indication of how we are all connected.

There is a rather extensive list of exercises to complete this program.  I am going to wait for next week to finish.  For now, I leave you with the twin powers of Saying Yes and Gratitude.

This week’s SARK Dream Boogie class is about Building Platforms of Support.  In the booklet that we get every week, she talks a lot about the word Inspiration.  About it being about breathing air into things, like your work, your dream. M-W defines it as, “The act of drawing in, specifically:  the act of drawing of air into the lungs.” 

My favorite movie to quote these days is “Kiss Me Deadly.”  In it, Mike Hammer has gone to an apartment building, following up a lead.  He needs to find out about a tenant.  There is a man standing at the back of a truck, struggling to get a pack on his back as he moves someone in.  Mike helps him lift it.  The elderly man thanks him profusely in a strong Italian accent.  He says Mike gave him “a deep-a breath.”  And he returns the favor by telling Mike what he needs to know.  Mike gave him the breath he needed to keep going. He gave Mike the information he needed to keep going. Inspiring both. I like that image of inspiration.

SARK asked us to think about what kinds of people, things and situations inspire us, breathe air into what we’re doing. The more of those you have in your life, the more sturdy support you have.  She took it a step further into ways you inspire yourself.  I guess I knew I had to be inspiring myself.  After all, who gets me to work every day?  But I was surprised to realize there are many other ways I inspire myself. I’ve learned, over the years, what motivates me.  And I have, after all, done “The Artist’s Way.”  I know how to fill the well when it runs low.  Some days I love my writing, I’m delighted by what I’m doing and feel I have much to share.  But there are other days, other times when I find myself lazy, hackneyed and breathless.  Boring and bland. 

What a marvelous thing to have sturdy platform of support I can go to for motivation and inspiration on those off days.  I have what I feel is a strong platform of outside support.  There are ways I can improve it for sure.  But I have some wonderfully wise and helpful friends I can call on.  Such is the world, though, that they are not always available right when I need them.  That’s when it pays to have a support team . . . shall we say, from another plane?  My Ideal Family from Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft,” are all busy, famous people.  But I can have them with me by simply asking and they are there. Better still, I can find inspiration right here, in me.  Consistent, on the spot care.  Now that’s some great support!

SARK tells us we can find inspiration in ordinary, every day things.  That way we can use what’s around us to help support us.

Sometimes we need support or help from others.  SARK is teaching us ways to receive.  I am of the mind that people love to help, want to share their stories, their resources.  For me, anyway, it makes it a whole lot easier to give if someone tells me what they need.  There is an art to asking others for support.  You need to let go of your expectations, ask without consequence, and allow the other to respond from the heart. If they chose not to participate, it’s okay with you.  If you stay open to whatever happens, you can learn much from the experience, whatever it is.

We are practicing asking, specifically, for what we want or need.  And allowing the other to give. Being on the receiving end and allowing that to inspire us to give more to others.

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.

It’s a New Year so things, naturally, change.  Regular readers will have noticed that I have deemed Wednesdays as “Personal Growth Exercises Day.”  I’m not sure yet how it will play out, whether I will work through a book at a time or write about various exercises.  I should like to see how that goes. 

I have to admit, what with the television shows we’ve been watching lately, I have had a hard time coming up with the positive slant on films.  So, I’ve decided to call Mondays:”Keeping up with Alan.”  First of all, Alan Cohen sends me a Daily Inspiration and in order to honor his commitment every day, I want to pick some that particularly inspire me and expand on them. I leave this open, if I’m feeling of a mood, or come across a particularly interesting one, to post one of Alan Scott’s scripts.

Sundays (or whenever on the weekend I can get it posted), I will leave open for the floating topic that may come about.  Perhaps a rant now and again. As a practice, though, I would like to write about something I’m working on or a book I’ve just finished reading.

For instance, today, I’d like to say a little of this and that about what’s happening to me as I de-clutter my office, my home, and my life.  It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve only just begun.  I’m working with an exceptional Life Coach, Lauren Graham.  She is helping me create more space in my life.  We have started by moving out bags of paper.

I am a collector.  Mostly it’s information, but as a writer (and a tendency to be  what Barbara Sher calls a Scanner – those folks with more ideas than time), I can pile up the paper!  I started on my Household Information files. Lauren and I carved out a couple of questions to ask which boil down to: Does it support or does it drain?  She’s helped me set up other boundaries for deciding what to keep and what to let go of. I dumped a whole bag of Health Information last week! We’re putting together a program for me to get rid of as much as possible.

In the process of reducing, of hauling out more and more crap that I don’t need, I’m finding some amazing results.  I seem to be more in tune with the abundance of my life.  It’s not really about more money flowing, but it is about flow.  It’s about seeing all that is around me, right now.  Instead of thinking about what I don’t have or didn’t do. I’m feeling lighter, too, and freer to do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do.  I might even be more productive!

Some of that productivity may be coming from my new practice of being easier on myself.  And noticing how I can treat myself well.  Fun and Easy!  I’m enjoying setting up priorities. Defining what stays and what goes.  I’ve been able to get more clarity on where I choose to put my energy.  I’d much rather research new books in my genre than file papers.  Or instead of spending a lot of time trying to find something, I can use that time to implement some of my business ideas. It’s a whole lot easier when your way is clear.

The real beauty of this is that you can practice doing it on small things like files and catalogs, but it easily translates into larger realms like making choices creatively about your life, your work and how you want your relationships to be.  It seems that when you’re clear on what you choose to do, it doesn’t feel as though there are 500 other things vying for your attention. When something new comes up, you have the space to compare it to the choice you’ve made and decide, with a clearer head, if you want to take it on.  Does it fit with what I’m trying to do?  Will it expand my capacity to love myself or others?  Will it bring me what I’m looking for? I can stay with my choice without having to be too rigid about. This clearer vision allows me to think more about how I can make it more fun, easier, of better service to others.

Review of SARK’s “Prosperity Pie: How to Relax about Money and Everything Else”

SARK is always so fun and easy to read.  Fun and Easy? That’s my theme for the year.  I would just love to do nothing but read SARK all year.  That would certainly be a fun and easy year! But for right now, it’s one at a time and Prosperity Pie is a good one.  Aren’t they all?

“Relief,” SARK says, “is not found in not working.  True relief is found in surrendering into work, whatever it is.”

Of course, SARK doesn’t want us to be unhappy in our work, unfulfilled. She talks about finding your True Work.  “True Work glows.”  I just love that.  My friend Lauren uses the term “hum.”  Works just as well.

SARK quotes liberally from Shakti Gawain’s seminal work, “Creative Visualization” to help us find our True Work.  SARK says, if you’re complaining about your work now, ask yourself, “What else could I do with that energy?” SARK has these things called micromovements.  Sort of like the small steps talked of elsewhere.  But she defines them as things that take five minutes or less. That’s really small!  She suggests we take one micromovement to locate or explore our True Work.  Put a date on it to create that heat.  There are other great ideas, like asking a friend to describe your True Work.  Fun and doable.  Another one is to describe what it feels like when you say, “I’ve found my True Work and I’m utterly happy!”

The challenge most of us face, according to SARK is “our reaction to work or no work” and “resistance to feeling what we feel.”  She asks us to welcome and allow our feelings.  They are the energy of motion.  E-motion.  SARK also wants us to relax about things.  Even if we can’t find work, she claims, “Work always surfaces.”  I am a testament to that!  What you need to find work is “Tall Courage, Deep Faith and Unshakable Certainty.”  Not so micro, that one.  But SARK says we can borrow hers.

The exercises throughout the book are part of a Discovery System. Discovery Systems for Work, Money and Teachers, among others.  These Discovery Systems give you a few thought-provoking questions to answer.  Some Reminders and a few Resources.

SARK is so utterly quotable.  Here’s one that struck me: “Divine Agitation is a good thing.”  What a wonderful way to look at life!  “Procrastination” she expounds, “gives us more time.”  Why, you know, it does.  “Perfectionism keeps you from being wrong.”  A shelter she calls it.  I have never thought if it that way!  Here’s one more: “See Time as a Choice.”  I love that!  Barbara Sher teaches that as well.  When you bust up time into small pieces you can make choices about what you want to do with it.

In the Money section, SARK talks about how everything we believe about money was learned, so we can change those beliefs.  “We’re so afraid of lack,” she says,” we turn away from learning systems and methods that could change that. Because we’re afraid they won’t work, we grasp tightly to previous systems.”  Even if they don’t work.  We need a new vision of money.  She asks us to identify areas around money that are “stuck, parched, unexplored, rigid and unclear.”  Also, areas that are “juicy, alive, supportive, unusual, creative and nourishing.” That’s one of the prettiest pictures of money I’ve ever seen.  SARK wants us to find new ways to play with money, as she teaches us to find ways to play with all of life!

In the Time section, SARK teaches us that time can shrink and expand.  “The Miracle of Time Stretcher.”  One of the questions she poses is “If time wasn’t a factor, what would you do/not do?”  Intriguing thought.

We are also asked to look at and seek out that which inspires us.  SARK, of course, has lots of inspiring moments.  “The more you welcome inspiriting people,” she says, “The more they will appear.” She also gets us to look at the other side.  Where are we inspiring others?  “Sharing inspiration multiplies it.”

All in all, another delightful and inspiring book from SARK.  For more, be sure to check out her web site at  And remember to use colors liberally and always have fun!!

From the book, Wishcraft by Barbara Sher.

Wishcraft 11, Proceeding

Would Barbara Sher leave you hanging?  Absolutely not.  How do you continue once you’ve reached this stage?  It’s about the day-to-day actions that move you toward your dream.

Barbara has a very specific agenda to follow.  A Sunday Night Planning Session to get ready for the coming week. You can do this with your Buddy.  (We do ours on Saturday.)  It’s about looking back at what you did and thinking ahead to what you need to do in the coming days.  Because of the work you’ve done over the previous week, your First Steps may change.  You may have had a Brainstorming Session or a Barn Raising party and have new information, new people to contact, new activities to complete.
Fill out your weekly calendar and share with your Buddy the things you plan to accomplish in the next week.  And make sure any appointments are on your calendar.  You can talk about any problems you’re encountering (or write them down.)  Barbara suggests a little Hard Times, if necessary.  It’s always easier with a Buddy.

Every day, Barbara suggests, fill in your Action Feelings Journal.  I keep a diary of what I do each day and have added how I feel to it.  I am certainly seeing that I often get more done on the days I don’t feel good.  I’m not sure what’s up with that.  Maybe it’s about making up for it.  Or trying to get out of feeling bad: If I accomplish a few things I will feel better. And I do.  I like to think that I do better work on the days that I feel good, but I can plow through a lot of little nitty things when I’m not.

I have to admit, I don’t actually write it out, but I do think a lot more now about what I need to do tonight in order to prepare for tomorrow. 

In her inimitable fashion, Barbara asks that we reward ourselves each and every day.  I love that! “Give yourself something nice,” she says. It can be as simple as a cup of herb tea or, if you did exceptionally well this week (or this day), think of something bigger.

Finally, as you’re drifting off to sleep, think about yourself in your Ideal Environment and sleep with that.  What a beautiful way to go to dreamland!

The morning routine consists of getting up a little earlier (ugh!)  Just a little to look at your planning chart and see where today’s action fits into the whole.  That might be worth getting up earlier for.

In the Epilogue, Barbara asks us to learn to live with our successes. “Each small step you accomplish is going to feel like success.”  And remember, “Winning is a process, not a product.”  The more you can enjoy the day-to-day activities (releasing the outcome) the happier you will be!

She leaves us with three tips to keep on keeping on.

1) Hooray for Me! Give yourself praise along the way.  It is the best way to keep going.

2) Fake It.  With every step you take there will be new challenges.  Many teachers have taught us to “fake it until you make it.”  It’s a corny phrase, but it really works.  Barbara also offers us a mantra: .  “I will not, repeat, will not sabotage myself, no matter how much I may want to!” Recently, I’ve been seeing how I thwart myself by telling myself I’m too tired or I need that extra helping . . .  The truth is: I don’t.  She gives us two ways to help fake it.  Use a Hard Times before you do something that’s scary and one after.  Also, dress the part. Wear the clothes that say Success. If you don’t feel like doing something, dressing the part will often help to motivate you.

3) Until You Get Used to It – keep moving forward.  Imagine something even better to pull you ahead.  “Each destination you reach only opens out into wider horizons, new and undiscovered countries for you to explore.”  Let that energy propel you forward!

Wishcraft is a phenomenal book that just gets better with each reading.  It holds up extremely well.  If you had a new copy in your hand, it wouldn’t occur to you that it’s 30 years old!  The only thing I found that might give it away is the process of logging resources.  It’s so much easier now! If you want to get up and get going, this is the book to read. 

Barbara has several other books including “Refuse to Choose” and “Live the Life You Love.”  Check our some of her web sites through my web site,  under “Connections.” Among other things, you'[ll see how you how she’s brought logging resources into the 21st Century.

Her blogs are as follows: (This is a more personal blog.)

Barbara Sher has much to give.  Listen to her.  On these blogs you’ll find information on an amazing teaching offer.  Act now!  You only have until January 15th to respond.

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