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There are so many things calling.  Pulling in a zillion different ways.  There are those calls I have to make, the errands to run, emails to return, this to work on, these things to tend to. Whoops!  Don’t forget that. Oh, and what about the stacks of mending awaiting my time and attention?  Is it Christmas already?  I still have packages to wrap. And look, Aunt Mabel showed up!  Where will she sleep? What about all those newsletters and bits of information to read?  The emails continue to pile up.  And the laundry.

Internally there are voices, too.  A running commentary about yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents, how you did, how you will do, the weather . . . Most of the time it’s easier to ignore most of it.

Sometimes I think this instant access to answers of all kinds, from millions of sources doesn’t help much. The telephone’s ringing and the television offers hundreds of options.  There is no lack of things to choose from, no dearth of distractions to keep us incredibly diffused.  Unless you’ve been spending your time atop a mountain, it’s unlikely you get more than a small portion of your day to focus quietly on anything.  Most of us are expert multi-taskers. It’s easy to see how a person could have to shut down in some places in order to keep up.

So, what are you going to listen to?  Where do you put your trust?  How do you know which of the million answers to your search you should take?  Which politician really speaks for you?  What spiritual author has all the answers?  How do I know which expert to follow?

I believe that each of has, inside our heads at all times, a voice that offers guidance.  It is buried under all that noise.  It is a quiet and unassuming voice.  It does not yell or demand.  You can tell it by its calmness. And that it never criticizes or judges.  It just quietly guides you. It’s loving and accepting. You’ll know it by how it makes you feel.

You develop it by listening to it.  Heeding its guidance.  You may, from time to time, find you’ve listened to the wrong voice.  When it feels Right, in your gut, you know you have it.  But practice will give you more skill at recognizing it.  When it makes you feel good and worthy, it’s likely to be that voice.  But you are free to test it out and see which voice feels the best.

Open your internal browser and seek answers and direction.  Use the inboard guidance system of feelings to lead you to it.  When you do, you will find a single source you can go to.  One that will support you well and help you make good choices.  Then you can pick which of the million results is right for you.

This process is especially good for teenagers.  Learning how to separate the urges that feel right, that spread warmly across your chest or settle broadly in your gut. Those that seem like they would be good for you and maybe others, too.  Leaving behind the fearful longings that someone won’t like you if you don’t do what they say.  Or that excited, risky feeling that doesn’t seem to have much in the way of positive results.

Imagine the good choices you could make if you had one source you could trust.

Reinventing yourself doesn’t have to be a huge project filled with bold moves.  It’s much easier if you let life, with its warp and woof, shape you. You are reinvented every day, every moment by the choices you make.

Let’s say you’re a baker and that’s just not cutting it anymore.  You feel a need to reinvent yourself into a candle stick maker.  If you’re not careful, and move your hands from dough to wax, you could get burned.

If you’re knocking on one door and it’s not opening, look around for another that might be ajar.  You could find an opportunity to write about baking or teach eager students.  A way you hadn’t even considered.

It starts with small building blocks.  Knowing the essence of what you want.  That is a nice, broad statement which allows multiple ways for the Universe to deliver it to you.  Rather than say, I want to be a candlestick maker, you could rephrase it to, I want a career that can make good money and feels fulfilling to me. That opens the door to a lot more possibilities!

Then, you make decisions in the present moment, based on the lay of the land, guided by your essence.  What is the next best thing you can do?  You could try looking for what feels good and exciting and could move you closer to your goal.

It’s all in how you look at it.  You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself, reviewing all your failures.  Or could you can start to poke around for some ideas. Small steps are not only allowed, they are encouraged. This brings it down to human size. You are the only one who can decide which ones you’re willing to take. You can feel shitty and be afraid of disasters in the future or you can feel groovy about what it could be.  When you put your money in the slot a gum ball may come out, or you could get a plastic container with a toy inside!  If you can view life as an unexpected adventure, you’re going to have a much easier time of it.

One thing I know for sure: when you put out energy of any kind, something comes back. And it’s rarely what you thought it would be.  But based on what shows up in the moment (what your energy has caused), guided by your essences, you decide what feels best to do next. That’s all there is to it!  One action at a time.  Things will fall into place without having to strive and work hard.  As you watch what’s happening around you, see what shows up from following those groovy feelings.  More of the same maybe?  You could be creating a trend . . .

One of my favorite career consultants is Charlene Holsendorff.  She gave me some simple, but profound advice recently.  She told me it is all about your attitude.

She is so right!  Your attitude changes everything.  It transforms a job hunt from  grueling drudgery to fun activities that can put me in a great place!  It can melt hopelessness and frustration into excited enthusiasm. Of which frame of mind or attitude do you think you can garner the best results?

Attitude is another one of the magic ingredients that do not require anyone’s permission but your own.  Some might call it the positive slant.  But it comes from making choices and practice (which is repetition of the choice).

Whether it’s job seeking or spending time with your kids or going out dancing, your attitude has a huge impact on your enjoyment of any activity.

I am of the mind, as well, that what you put out is what you’re likely to get back.  It’s just energy movement.  If I send out positive waves, that energy is more likely to find  like energy to connect with.  It makes sense to me that the happy energy will attach itself to and bring in more happy things.

Even if this theory about like energies coming together is in error, you are still going to ease the process a whole lot more if you program your own attitude.

I find music programming works really well for me.  Attitude adjustments can also come from a change in perspective.  I might need to get up and look at things from a different point of view.  I could also listen to others to discover how they see it.  The combination of the two (yours and mine) could produce a wonderful new attitude!

Attitude can often be shifted by a decision if the proposed action is being backed by Love or Fear.  Ask: “Am I seeing this through the eyes of love or fear?”  A momentary scan of the body can reveal which is which.  Are you tense or relaxed? A change of physical location can also alter your attitude. Especially to nature.  Allow it to refuel you.

Decide where you want your attitude to be.  Do something to help it.  Keep at it and it will reward you with a lighter load, and may we say at least that you’re likely to have more in your life that makes you feel good.

I know this ~

The Universe will bring me all that I need
Or Motivation

So I can just Keep Making Choices for
Following My Dream
        Taking Good Care of Myself
            Connecting with Inspiring People

Don’t Give Up.            Stay.

I can refocus, change my position, turn another way, try something new or  continue on the same path.

I Know What I Choose
I Know What I Need
I Know How to Visualize, Plan and Take Action Steps

All I have to do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other
 Shift my weight
        Dance this way or that
            Sit and Meditate on it
                Dream it again, Write it over
That’s fine!

Just keep

Picking up my foot in the present moment

And putting it on the ground in the next.

Repeat – 1, 2, 1,2, 1,2

Okay, so we’ve progressed far enough along the path to know that it is NEVER anyone else’s fault. We know that we create our own reality.  Whatever you’ve just done to me, I’ve done something to call it forth. (This is NOT about “legitimate” or “illegitimate” rape.  The Justice System is another matter entirely.  This is about personal growth.)  We have learned to take responsibility for our own actions.  And forgive others, quickly.

If you’re not getting where you wish to go, not evolving into the person (or circumstance) you wish, that’s all coming from you.  Your intentions and willingness.  It’s not often easy to spot our true intentions, but when we discover them (and take the time to search) we know why.  Forgiveness of others can wash over us, easily.

The problem is that if you know this, it puts the blame for everything, the fault back on you, no matter what.  In the end, that’s freeing.  If you created it, you can fix it.  You are not a bad person you’re just misinformed or made a mistake – which is growth.  You made a choice that brought you here, where you need to be.  Simple as that.

But that’s not always how it feels.  It’s very easy to get caught up in, “I did this. It’s my fault. Why can’t I get things right?”  When you’ve been working a long time on your personal growth, how can you allow yourself to sink back into that guilt?  And yet it is as easy as slipping into sleep.

So, how do you turn this back around?  Self forgiveness is the only way. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  We have practiced long and hard to forgive others.  When we reach a certain point that comes naturally.   Now, it’s time to apply the same tactics to ourselves.  We can learn to let it go, to clear out the blame and guilt.  We can make a choice not to look back. Then we can come back to the business of making new choices.

It’s odd how we do this.  But I guess, with no other place to put the blame, it quite easily falls back on us.  I’m going to practice forgiving myself as quickly as I forgive others.

I don’t know how it works, I only know that I have done it and have heard stories, over and over again, that when someone asks for a sign, they get it.

It’s not necessarily a subtle sign either.  My friend wanted to know if she should leave her husband.  There she was miserable, but still having feelings for him. She didn’t know what to do.  So, she asked for a sign.  Her husband said to her, that night, “I lost my wedding ring.”  Can you get any clearer than that?

There’s something very empowering about getting that confirmation.  I’ve been reading Sean Covey’s book, “The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make.” He talks about the power in making a decision. When you make that initial choice with certainty (maybe with reassurance from a sign) you don’t have to keep questioning  it every time the situation comes around.  You can stay with the feeling of knowing what you’ve decided. Then, if something comes up that makes you feel differently about it, you have a stronger platform from which to confidently say, “Yes, I stand by my commitment and decision.”  Or you can say, “You know, maybe I want to re-think this.” But you have a framework from which to make decisions in the moment.

I’ve found, in that case, when you’re questioning, if you postpone making a new decision until you’ve had a chance to think about it, you often return to the original choice.  I have made a decision to curb my sugar intake.  I rather love sticky buns and a whole bunch of them showed up at work the other day.  I sure wanted one.  So, I said to myself, I can have one, but I’ll wait and have it later.  Lo and behold, I forgot about it and the moment passed. No extra sugar!

I find this sign business works pretty well with physical ailments, too.  Like when you stub your toe, it often means you’re moving too fast toward something.  A sore index finger might mean you’re pointing the wrong way or pushing the wrong buttons.  You get it?  Rest into it.  Take a breath and you’re likely to know exactly what it means for you.

So, I’m suggesting that we pay more attention to signs. They can guide us, but also reassure us and empower our decisions. The tricks is: You have to ask.  And then be open to receive.  Stay loose about it, though, knowing the message will come. You’re  unlikely to miss it

May I tell you the story I saw unfold in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie? Now, if I read the book, it was too many years ago to remember.  I consider myself a bit of an expert on movies, but when it comes to anything at all that Johnny Depp is in, I tend to lean in the direction of loving it.  (Even if it’s not my kind of movie.)  I loved this movie.  It was beautiful to behold. And the technology was astounding.  Johnny was flawless as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice brought a fresh muchness to the role. Everyone was spectacular.  It was an enjoyable movie.

But let me tell you what I heard  ~

“All the best people are mad,” young Alice’s father tells her after a bad dream.  “Don’t be frightened.  No one can hurt you there.” 13 years later, she continues to have the same dream, but now she is off to a garden party and is not properly dressed.  Who says?  Alice wants to know.  Like many of us, she wonders if she’s normal. She can smile even if she doesn’t wear a corset and stockings.  And she can dance the appropriate dances. She fits in.

Her father was known as a man of vision. But that is not necessarily an admirable quality in Alice’s world. When Alice chuckles at a vision she has of the boys dancing in dresses and the girls dancing in pants, her boyfriend scoffs and says, “Keep your visions to yourself. When in doubt, remain silent.” He wonders why she would spend her time thinking about impossible things.  Alice retorts that her recently departed father believed in doing 6 impossible things before breakfast.

It’s no wonder that the easily distractable Alice follows the funny-looking rabbit with the waistcoat on.  In doing so she sees things, sees through the illusions of the people in her life. Then she falls down a hole, just like in her dream.

She does what needs to be done in the present moment.  She tries things.  She tells herself it’s only a dream, so why not?  She is brave because she knows no one can hurt her. The question in Underland (or “Wonderland” as she calls it) is “Who are you?” Isn’t that what we all must discover?

Alice is used to dreaming and being a dreamer. So she takes all this strangeness in stride. She moves forward, toward her destiny, though she doesn’t know what it is.  She just keeps doing what she has to do and making choices in the moment.

The Mad Hatter tells her she’s “lost her muchness.”  Alice doesn’t know what that is, but she’s darn sure she still has her muchness and she’s going to prove it!  But she balks that, in Underland (as it is on the surface) everyone tells her what she must do and who she must be.  “I make the path!” she shouts.  “I decide where it will go from here.”  She’s going to decide who she is. She doesn’t feel right letting anyone else tell her what she thinks or what she should do.

Alice moves along with confidence that it’s a dream, but also that she makes her own reality. She has a level of comfort because, though this all looks very odd, it is somehow familiar to her.  She has been here before. There is an ease about her that allows her to make good choices, or turn and make another if it’s not the right one.

In the final showdown with the Jabberwocky, she agrees to fight for what she thinks is right.  She makes mistakes in the battle, but she keeps on going.  She lists for herself 6 impossible things:  A caterpillar that talks, a cat that flies, etc.  Her 6th impossible thing is that she defeats the Jabberwocky.  And that’s exactly what she does. 

Now, she is ready to face the people in the “real” world.  She is ready for anything.  Her journey through Underland showed her what she’s made of and that what she thinks and feels is real and important.

I can only hope to be more like Alice in Wonderland.

“Every choice before you represents the Universe inviting you to remember who you are and what you want.” – Alan Cohen

This is a brilliant piece of advice for how to make choices.  If you take a moment to think about who you are and what you want and make choices based on those two factors, you’re likely to make better choices. And move yourself forward in the direction you wish to go.  Expressing who you wish to be.

It is in the making of choices that we define who we are and get what we want. It may only define you in the moment, but as you learn and grow, you come to have more consistent definitions and choices.  Think about it.  Every choice you make reflects who you are in that moment. What you’re feeling and what you think your needs are.

Remembering is the key. Seems to me, we all get way too caught up in the day-to-day buzzing of life.  It would surely behoove us to take the Universe’s invitation to take a moment to remember who we are and what we want before jumping into things.

I’ve been wrestling a lot lately (along with the Coach by the Lake) over this notion of being very specific about what you want, but then letting go, detaching and allowing it to shape as it pleases. But I think it’s not only okay but advisable to remember (and think of often) the essence of what you want. And to remember that feeling as often as you can.

I like the idea, too of seeing every choice as an invitation, rather than a duty.

Remembering who you are can take you out of a fear-based decision. It can bring to mind the essence of what you want and where you wish to go, informing your decisions.

One of the rewards I’m getting from this creating space work I’m doing, honing in on what I truly want around me, is that I am limiting my choices.

This may not, at first, sound like a good thing.  We talk a lot about limiting beliefs that keep us from moving forward.  Maybe this is an alternate universe version of that.  Limiting choices make it easier to move forward.

When I want to find something, the places it could be are far fewer, allowing me to put my fingers on exactly what I was looking for in a shorter amount of time.  By the same token, if I have something in my hands that I want to put away, I don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out where that might be.  The possibilities, the choices are limited.

Same thing applies to the time that is freed from that. There is so much vying for our time and attention these days: intriguing things to learn, delightful things to do, appealing people to talk to, wonderful movies to watch and broadcasts to listen to, home, loved ones, responsibilities, the news . . .

Sharon Salzberg in her book “A Heart as Wide as the World,” in an essay called, “The Blessing of Presence,” she tells a story about The Dalai Lama.  Upon his departure from a hotel, the entire staff gathered to say goodbye to him.  The point of the essay was how just his presence reminds us all of who we really are.  As she was describing the way he greeted each and every one of them, “The Dalai Lama walked down the line, greeting each person, smiling, looking in their eyes, thanking them for their service,” I realized he was not only being fully attentive to each person.  His choice was to be there, with them.  He wasn’t getting distracted by the ten thousand things.  He wasn’t wondering if he needed to speed things up, or where he had to be next, what he should say to them.  He was just there, thinking about nothing but the person that was in that present moment.

The Master knows well what she chooses.  It’s an odd thing, a strange mathematical formula.  It’s a lot easier when your beliefs are firmly in place, to limit the choices you have to pick from in the moment.  So, If you want to change your belief, if someone is offering you a reason, you can choose between only those two.

If you know what you believe and how that applies to various circumstances you have seen. If you know what you choose in your life without having to take a moment to think.  If your every movement is rooted in your values, you are a Master.  So your attention on the present moment never wavers. Your values and beliefs are there to support you, in knowing, accepting, loving, and being present.  It’s all the Master has to do.

Honing in on what’s really true for you, what you need, what you believe in, helps you in limiting your choices and makes the way through, clearer.  You can then make faster and more effective choices.  The more of these choices you make, the better you get at it.

I am spending a lot of energy these days on a project I call “Creating Space.”  Working with an amazing coach, Lauren Graham, the Coach by the Lake.  (at  to help me figure out what I need to keep and what can go.  I am creating space around me, in order to create space in my day for the things I really want to do.

I can generate some paper.  And I tend to be lazy about going back over the page and seeing if I need to keep it or not. In taking the time to review what I have chosen to keep (or refused to toss) I’m learning a lot about myself and my priorities.  I find that by doing this, by making choices about the paper, the supplies, the out-of-date magazines, on this small scale, I am making it easier to make choices on a larger scale.  Knowing what supports me and what drains me is drawing a clearer picture of who I am and what I need.

As you make these kinds of decisions, no matter where you make them, you begin to build a structure that is always with you, always helping make choices about what you really want, what will support you, in all areas of your life.  You have a framework to refer to in making far more clear and informed decisions.

Very often, when I’m faced with a decision, I feel like all the 10,000 things spoken of in the Tao are vying for my attention. There are so many choices! I love that scene in 1984’s “Moscow on the Hudson,” when Robin Williams, in New York City, newly defected from Russia, is asked to buy coffee.  Used to buying whatever coffee could be had, at the grocery store he is amazed at the choices and starts reading off the names, “Folger’s, Maxwell House, Sanka, Eight O’Clock, Chock full o’nuts, Hills Brothers, Taster’s Choice . . .” after the 20th brand of coffee, he passes out, overwhelmed by the choices.

These days we have ever-increasing choices. There’s still a dizzying array of coffees, but there are also growing displays of delicious, internet, TV, digital, delectable choices available 24 hours a day. Truly, the 10,000 things. If you can narrow down all those options, knowing what works for you, when something new is introduced, there is less to confuse or distract.

Making choices for what things stay and what goes in my home –  learning what supports and what drains me – I start to make better choices in what I do. Which actions will support or drain me?  The effects of that spill over into making choices that  honor me (that don’t just “treat” myself).  I make better, healthier and more supportive choices for me, for others and for the Universe!

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