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In a recent issue of Cheryl Richardson’s newsletter, she talked about listening to your body.

The body is a wonderful communicator if you but listen to it.  If you don’t, it will make itself known. Try ignoring the signs that you’re overwhelmed, overworked and under tended.  Watch your body poke you in the chest and force you to sit down and rest.

The body doesn’t lie.  It will let you know when you’re hungry, when you’re cold, and when you’re angry.  Your body doesn’t get caught up in maybe you should or maybe you shouldn’t.  It doesn’t care what others think.  Listening to your body and heeding its call can help you avoid a lot of problems and pitfalls.

When I want to know what I’m thinking, I get quiet and listen to how I feel.  How my body is feeling. The body is much easier to read.  Are my muscles tight, where are my shoulders, how am I sitting?  Is my throat dry, my eyes sharp, my energy high?  I have found this creates a direct line into my thoughts. All that’s needed is a little space.

During the day it always pays to take a moment to check on how your body is feeling.  (Even if you don’t have time to sit and analyze your thoughts.)  A quick scan will help you find center again, adjust your position and focus more intently on what you’re doing.

It is so important to pay attention to these physical indicators.  They will help you have a much happier and easier life.  As well as a more productive day.

I am of the strong belief that you get what you ask for.  The books support me, as do the authors I’ve read and my own experience.  Conversely, if you don’t ask for something, you’ll never get it.

The problem most of us have is that we don’t know what we’re asking for. We’re all full of noise in our heads about what we don’t want. With all that emphasis and thought we end up “asking” for what we don’t want by spending so much time and energy on it.

We discover what we really want by listening to our feelings. What makes you feel great?  What tickles your fancy or jazzes you up?  Watch and see what lights you.  You can often see it in others when they’re talking about what they love.

Beware of the tricky wants like I want to lose weight or I want to get out of debt, which focus on what you don’t want.  I want to wear beautiful clothes and feel great about the way I look or I want to easily buy a Porsche, work much better!  They’re backed with a lot more enthusiasm and good feelings.

Some folks say it’s good to take that one step further to make it an intention.  Truthfully, when you say you want something, you are still echoing thoughts of lack.  I don’t now wear beautiful clothes or have that car.  So, you simply rephrase it to say,  I intend to have that car, or I choose to feel great. In a way you’re saying that it’s going to happen, even if you don’t know exactly how, yet.  It’s a different and more powerful mind set.

At last we get to the actual asking. This phase requires a little work, but when you think about it, in the long run, this is precious little to do to have what you want.

The first step in asking is to figure out who to ask.  They teach this in Sales.  If you convince the security guard your product is the best, it’s not going to land the sale.  You have to talk to the purchasing manager to get a go-ahead that will actually mean something. If you are looking for a job, though the secretary might like you, you need someone higher up to make the decision to hire you.

So, who is the person that can give you what you want?  Or at least point you in the right direction?  No use in wasting your asking on the wrong person.

Once you find the right person or persons, the next thing you need to do is figure out the right words to use.  Cheryl Richardson talks a lot about this.  I think it’s in The Art of Extreme Self Care (which recently came out in paperback).  She asks us to be thoughtful about the words we choose.  To allow the person to say no without feeling bad. You don’t want to put the person on the defensive, but you want to be clear and firm.  Give it some thought and decide what you’re going to say before you do it.

Finally, you have to open your mouth and ask!

Cheryl Richardson said, in “The Unmistakable Touch of Grace,” when we decide to have a more conscious life, one of the effects is “instead of seeing our experiences or encounters with others as random occurrences, we see them as deliberate spiritual events that remind us who we really are – magnificent souls being molded and shaped by sacred hands.”

This gets me thinking again about the people in my life.  Everyone, from my partner to the “extras” who pass through.  The chance encounters, the cashiers along the way, the delivery guy. What if I was to see all my encounters as “deliberate spiritual events”?  Maybe I would treat them a little differently, think of them in a fresh way.

The person in front of me is not here to hold me up, but to teach me patience. That woman wasn’t being selfish, she was letting me practice compassion and equanimity.  That guy isn’t trying to waste my time, he is in need and hoping I can help him.

Some people are mirrors, reflecting back to us things we may not see in ourselves.  I find sometimes, if I am listening, I overhear something. I may not even know the context, but the words illuminate something I haven’t seen before and I get clarity.  What a gift that person was to me! He or she may not even have a clue, not even know who I am.  There are those magical moments when you’re standing at a bus stop, for instance, and someone shares words of wisdom with you and then fades into the back drop of other riders on the bus.

The trick is to see everyone like that.  Even if it’s not a life changing encounter.  But to see all encounters as sacred, as touching your life in some way.

This brings a new light to all your relationships, encounters, and interactions.  It makes life so much more beautiful and vital! Rather than looking for what you or the other can gain out of the relationship, if instead you are looking for the gift, the light of growth, doesn’t that sound like more fun?

I’m going to try to see every interaction – especially those which are a bit trying – as sacred.

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 favorite writers has a Blog called “Dairy of an Unborn Writer.” (See link to the left, under my blogroll.)  Today he offers a short poem which asks to “live with a more open heart.” This struck me as the most important thing, maybe the only thing there is to do.  He moans his lack, but the realization of this piece  proves  he is more than he thinks. To simply keep opening your heart to love more and accept more is a wise and smooth path.

Cheryl Richardson wrote this week about the Thought Meter. Like the speed meter which reads the speed we’re driving, we need to pay attention to our thoughts. This is a lovely image to hold onto and surely, as she says, “awareness raises consciousness.”

Cheryl offers a few ways to remember to stop and read your thoughts, but I like the idea of then asking the question: Does this thought open my heart or close it?  If we keep thinking in terms of opening, we’re on the right path.  Another convenient visual.

Opening does not mean being vulnerable.  How can you be less vulnerable if you’re thinking angry or hateful thoughts?  How does that keep you better protected?  In fact, when your heart is open you see more of the possibilities.  Your vision and stance is wider and your responses can be more calm and sure.

Paulette Terrels’ Tuesday Morning Whispering said this: “Looking deeply invites us to put aside our preconceptions, our current labels and allow for freshness.  May we be open to new possibilities today.”  What a wonderful place to be! Listening to your thoughts and choosing to stay open brings all that to you.

Opening your heart keeps you in a state of forgiveness.  In trying to forgive someone and opening to that, I realized, I need to include myself in that forgiveness.  Even if I can’t find an exact action to blame on myself, I can certainly point the finger at myself for not seeing it coming or allowing it to come to this point. 

Clearly, this blaming does me no good.  I may not ever get to forgiving the other if I can’t forgive myself. When I can open my heart enough to forgive myself, then I’ll see my way to fully forgiving the other person.

The clarity comes when I choose how I want to see this.  I can try to figure out what each of us did wrong or I can throw a blanket of forgiveness over the whole mess and say, this is a new beginning for me.  I’ve dodged a bullet, as the situation has righted itself. I open my heart to accept all the possibilities that this new way can bring to me and the other person.  That feels good and forward-moving!  All from opening.

May we all choose, like the Unborn Writer, “to live with a more open heart.”

This week in my newsletter from Cheryl Richardson, she was talking about her new book, “You Can Create an Exceptional Life,” written with Louise Hay and due out on September 20, 2011. It came out of a year long discussion with Louise Hay. (Some people have such blessings!) Cheryl shared some of the book with us.  I think these habits are excellent and wanted to pass them along.

1.  Optimism — That’s taking the Positive slant, which works for me.  I’m coming to believe what I keep hearing: that life is what you think it is. The more you fill your head with optimistic thoughts, the happier you are. It’s not denying what is, but putting a positive slant on it, to keep yourself centered and smiling.

2.  Simplicity — I don’t think anyone would say that complicated is better than simple.  It’s SARK’s notion of Micromovements, chunking it down, baby steps.  We are creatures that don’t do well (most of us) when there’s too much going on.  Be on the lookout for multi-tasking.  Wherever you can simplify your life you feel better.  I believe it was Cheryl Richardson who said that improving your life is usually not about adding something to it, but getting rid of things you don’t need.

3.  Trust — This one speaks of having a view of life that all is well. That there is perfection in everything that happens, that there is a reason. With this kind of attitude you’re more able to bounce back and move through whatever comes your way.

4. Service — Nothing makes for an evolved life quite like being of service.  It adds dimension to everything you do.  And raises the level of vibration.  It is an amazing cure for many mental stresses.  Give of yourself and watch how much comes back.  When you’re trying to do something, if you add the aspect of service you infuse everything with an energy and power that can’t be equaled by anything else.

5.  Action — Without action, nothing gets done.  I’m a dreamer myself and have often gotten lost in the imaginations of my mind.  But without action, whatever you dream of remains on the border between metaphysical and physical realities that Maria Nemeth speaks about.

6.  Faith — Behind all action is the willingness, the faith, to move forward even though you don’t really know what’s ahead. I think of it as a form of courage. Faith is the driving force that gets us all up every day.  Whether it’s faith in God or money, that things will get better, or something wonderful will happen.  None of which we know for sure.

7.  Magnetism — This is an interesting one to include.  It’s the knowledge that like attracts like. It’s knowing that our feelings dictate what are lives are about.  Cheryl and Louise talk about it coming from “putting (and keeping) ourselves in the right state of mind.”  And, they say, there’s much about that in the book. 

I would suggest keeping an eye out for “You Can Create an Exceptional Life.”  I’m sure it will be available everywhere.

Keep on evolving!

Cheryl Richardson has a spot on her website where you can get a “Touch of Grace.” You think about an issue, click on a twinkling star and get one of her cards with a word and a thought to ponder.  Today I got Chance.

What does that mean?  Taking a chance means allowing yourself to take steps that make you feel scared and excited at the same time.  Something you’d really like to do but feel unsure about.

Taking a chance can be fun. Remember the Take a Chance from Monopoly?  You just never know what you’re going to get for taking the leap. There needs to be a certain amount of mystery to it. After all, if you knew how it would turn out for sure, it wouldn’t really be a chance, would it?

Taking chances, it’s true can leave you vulnerable.  But that’s part of the game. If you look at it from a different direction, it’s being open to the opportunities.

When you take a chance, you are filled with expectations, not stuck with one.  You are open and willing.  Anything can happen!

Taking a chance means moving ahead despite reluctance or fear.  You may question or doubt, but that’s the time to toss it all aside and do it anyway. As Susan Jeffers teaches, “Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” And what a powerful teaching that is!

Taking a chance means moving out of your comfort zone, opening the door, stepping out.  It’s a good practice to take a chance every day. Even a small one.

What does it mean to be selfish?  Do you have to perform a certain number of “selfish” acts to be labeled such?  Must you completely sacrifice everything you think and feel and need so others can have theirs to be called unselfish? I believe that selfishness has gotten a bad rap. And perhaps is misnamed.  Why don’t we call it self aware, instead?

Being Self Aware means, I would say, that you give when you can.  If you find some place where your needs are calling out, I believe you’re obligated, as a steward of your own life, to ask for what you need.  Even if it appears to be “selfish.”

I heard Cheryl Richardson speak this weekend.  She is a wonderful speaker. I could’ve listened to her speak about any subject and be mesmerized.  She told us a story about being on Oprah.  In front of a large audience of mothers, Cheryl told them that they must put their own needs ahead of their children’s.  There were many gasps, mumbles of disapproval and several shout outs that she was wrong.  But Cheryl stuck to what she said.  Especially for mothers.  Mothers so often stretch themselves thin trying to please everyone  Tell me, how much can mom do if she’s drained and burned out?  What harm might she inflict on her children if her needs go unmet?  What kind of role model is a mother who never takes care of her own needs?  As Cheryl said, we are not suggesting the mother toss the children aside and drive to Vegas for a  round of partying.  But if you need some quiet time, an extra once of encouragement, space to do your own thing, you owe it to yourself and to everyone you care about to try to get what you need. My thinking is: if you don’t stand up for what you want or need, who will?

I recently got a lot of flack for asking for what I needed. I felt like I allowed, allowed, allowed and then I stood up for myself when I thought it was necessary. It’s easy, in situations like this to have selective memory.  Oh my, when was I selfish before? There, maybe? And perhaps that time I was, too.  But in between, I wasn’t.  I asked what others wanted, I did what I could to give others what they needed.  I put aside my preferences.  But maybe it wasn’t enough.  Perhaps others have given more than I have.  Is it wise to play that kind of adding up game?  Being impossible to keep track of the score.

How can I know what others need if they don’t ask?  So, true for me: How can I expect others to know what I need unless I tell them?  Being selfish is really all you can do – to take care that your own needs are met.  When you do, you are in much better shape to take care of others’ needs.

I am going to try to be more self aware and in the process more aware of what others are asking for.  I will give when I can, but remember to ask for what I need when the situation comes up.  And not worry if I’m called selfish.

Cheryl Richardson speaks about creating an Ideal Profile.  I have heard this notion before.  To outline what you want in a perfect world, if things were just exactly the way you want them. I blanch at the idea of this, frankly.  Because I so often make too specific demands.  I go overboard and get it down to the color of the shutters on the windows. And so often, I’m disappointed.

I realize, though, the validity of this process.  It’s a really good place to start.  If you don’t know what you want, you’re going to have a very hard time finding it.  I like to say, too, that if you don’t know where you’re going, what you’re aiming for, it’s highly unlikely that you will arrive – or realize it when you’re there. And as Cheryl Richardson points out in her examples – you might throw out the baby with the bath water  – giving up something good for the wrong reasons.  Treating something that isn’t really the problem. 

Cheryl tells us of a woman thinking about selling her successful business because she has grown tired of the work and uninspired.  When Cheryl suggested she try the Ideal Profile exercise, the woman came up with a description of her ideal client. Then, Cheryl asked her to “give up good for great.”  That meant, not settling for less than the ideal, not taking on a client that was “almost” there.  In the process she turned her business into one that truly excited her.  The trick is to have the faith to pass on something that is close enough. Instead to hold out for everything you want.  Wow!  That feels hard to do.  What if I end up with nothing?  But that’s the risk and I think it pays off.

Caroline Myss describes money as something which faith attracts. I know this about the law of attraction that if you don’t think you deserve something, you probably won’t get it. This holding out process says, yes, I can have this.  I believe our President won, against all odds, with something similar.

I have done this before and watched the Universe produce.  I wanted a new bag.  My coach had me outline just exactly what I wanted to carry and then let it go.  That’s an important step.  Otherwise you keep looking for those shutters and miss the perfect house just because it has slightly different shutters. I ended up finding the perfect bag in my closet.  That worked because I had a clear picture of what I was looking for and didn’t feel I had to settle for anything less.

Let’s take a moment with this concept of letting go.  I could, perhaps, write 3 or 4 posts on this topic.  It can be key in attracting things into your life.  Neediness doesn’t create a wide open path to you.  If you need it too much, you actually shut down the flow. That certainly speaks to your deserv-ability.  Neediness turns your faith way down.  So the letting go, the surrendering to whatever happens, the trust factor, is crucial in attracting and finding what you really want.

When you are light about it, you have a sense of knowing that it will arrive. You know you deserve it, so you’re not worried about.  From this place, you’re more able to give up the good and wait for the great to show up.

The process has to begin with your intention – your Ideal profile, your specific request if you will. You can use this Ideal Profile in many places.  Certainly for a new job, but also for a pen, or even what you want to eat. Feel good about it, imagine yourself having it, generate some good feelings around it, knowing you deserve to have it and then let go.  Then, all you have to do is rejoice when what you’ve asked for arrives.

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