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Asking is about getting clear on what it is we want. It is setting intentions. When education is working well, it opens the mind. A good teacher will invite questions and discussion to wake up the mind to possibilities. Asking questions clears the way for discovery.

Science begins and ends with a question. Can this be done? What is this? How does it work? What more can this do? Just think of the things we wouldn’t have if someone didn’t ask a question first. When an hypothesis is set, isn’t that really a what-if question?

Asking acknowledges that we can’t know everything. From this place, there is more room for learning to take place. The Buddhists talk about being in that place of “Beginner’s Mind.” Where you know you don’t know it all and the mind can be a-light with questions.

In one of the Gawain stories in the Arthurian and Celtic legends, Gawain finds himself in a strange castle where a warrior is laid out as if he’s dead, with a sword in his heart that continues to bleed. Later, Gawain is witness to the Grail which floats through the hall serving everyone present. Gawain, however, fails to ask about the Grail and instead asks after the warrior. (You kinda can’t blame him for that, being a warrior himself.) However, though the land began to heal, the king still suffered. It wasn’t until later, when Gawain saw the Grail for the second time, that he remembered to ask about it. And then, finally, all was healed. This story carries a side note to me that you get more than one chance to ask. But the key is always in the asking. You don’t have to know all the answers, you just have to ask.

Seems you don’t even always have to hang around for the answer. Ask the right question and things can start to change instantaneously. The answer comes in a holy instant. You might not need to do anything more about it. Including discovering what the answer was.

We might balk at times about putting our lives in God’s Hands. After all that work to figure out what we want! But when we ask for what we want, aren’t we in a way, giving it up? Handing it onto someone else? What if we ask ourselves if we could think of it as handing it over to God? Is there much more powerful a thing to do than that?

I know that emotions are important.  They are like signposts to show us where we are, indicators of our state.  An emotion points us to what we’re thinking.  If I’m sad, I must be thinking sad thoughts.  If I’m angry . . .  Susan Jeffers, the fear expert, said that fear is not the culprit.  It’s how we react to it.  The emotion we generate comes, not from what’s happening, but from our thoughts about whatever is going on.  In this world we live in most things are hard to have control over.  Our thoughts, however, are the one things we can truly control.  We have this great system of emotions to show us what our thoughts are doing.  I often say that emotions, once unleashed, are difficult to tame.  But eventually, their intensity dissipates and we can tackle the thoughts.  In this respect, emotions are critical and important.

One the other hand, my emotions drag me around and get me into trouble.  They interfere with my life and my intentions.  They can make whatever I’m doing that much more intense or difficult.  I need to turn them down, step away from them so I can function again.  Emotions move.  E-motion can take me into places I don’t want to go.

Working on an old wound that hinders my progress, I’ve found that if I turn away from it, along with the associated emotions and just do what I need to do, I’m fine.  Maybe there is no healing possible.  Or I’ve done all I can do.  If I tell those thoughts behind the emotion to just leave me alone, I can often move forward.

I was talking with a friend today who warned me that what I was doing could turn out badly.  When we got off the phone I got to thinking about all the ways it could go wrong.  Fear took hold.  Later, I discovered someone hadn’t done something.  I felt hurt that my request had not been followed.  Normally it would’ve just gone by with nothing more than a note to ask again.  But on top of the earlier fear, it really hurt.  Before I knew it, I discovered that there was something I had forgotten.  Now I was angry at myself.  It felt like one of those nasty punches someone whips up from spit, rotten vegetables and motor oil and then asks you to drink it on a dare.

I understand the value of emotions.  But damn they make me mad!

I find this an interesting concept.  I believe in intentions.  If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there?  I have also found that life has a way of sweeping me this way and that.  Having intentions helps to stay on track and grounds me in what I have decided to do.

But unlike goals – which tend to be solid and unchangeable – intentions can be more flexible.  You can hold them more lightly.  This was what I intended to do today, but if I don’t or can’t, I can easily shift it to tomorrow, without a lot of bad feelings.

Intentions can change, too. Today I might intend to be open to giving to others. Whereas tomorrow I may not come in contact with many others, so I’ll make my intent to be more trusting.  I might have an intention to get that job.  But if it doesn’t play out the way I wanted, I can have an intention to land another job.

If I hold too tightly to my intentions, I create the potential for disappointment.  If I, instead, hold them more gently, I can use them as a guide for my steps, a reminder of what I wanted to do. But if life changes and it’s not possible, I can allow the intention to change shape, while it’s still in my hand.

I just love Pandora.  I have 10 or so stations of my favorite artists.  They are on Shuffle and can keep me entertained for hours!  95% of what it plays, I like.  Why shouldn’t it?  It’s so much easier than doing my own programming and it gives me a surprising variety.  Since I pay more attention, this method also increases the chances of hearing guidance.

I love that in the Loving Universe, messages can come to you from all kinds of sources.  I am partial to the song lyrics that jump out at me.

Al Green has been in my heart since I was a young girl.  Sexy and religious.  I like that combination.  The original Reverend Al.  He has a song called “Livin’ for You.”  I believe it is also the title track.  It sounds a bit like he’s Livin’ for a woman.  But it could be God, too.

It got me thinking about what I was living for.  Woody Allen, in his landmark film, Manhattan, has a scene where he’s stretched out on the sofa with a microphone in his hand, attached to a small tape recorder.  He asks himself, “What makes life worth living?”  He lists a few things – works of art, music, and then stumbles into “Tracy’s face.”  Tracy is the lovely girl he’d been keeping at arm’s length since he was twice her age.  Knowing that she was packing to leave Manhattan to go to school in London, the realization propels him off the sofa and into the streets of Manhattan, running to catch her before she goes.

That’s what I call action!  And inspiration.  What is it that can get you up off the chair and out there, running for what you want?

Am I living to pay the bills or for spending quality time with my loved ones?  Am I living to support someone else at the expense of myself?  Am I living for my artwork?

It’s always helpful to review your priorities regularly.  It puts fuel into whatever you do every day.  Letting you see how it fits into your life, moving you closer to your intentions.  It infuses gratitude into everything. Shine the light of what you’re living for!

I’ve observed that life will come at you as it will.  I believe it manifests itself based on several things: Your thoughts, your wishes or intentions, and picking up whatever is in your path from the Collective Consciousness.

So what you see in front of you is a collage of inputs.  It’s not there because you “deserve” it.  Nor is it proof of something you did or didn’t do.  It is, simply, what you conjured up.  Therefore you are free to choose how you wish to experience it.

Now, the question is: What are you going to do with it?  That is the central question to ask of everything.

Life isn’t about deserving or not deserving.  Proof of your goodness or badness. It’s not about rewards or punishments.  (I’ve often wondered if God would employ someone to keep track of all this. On a scale, I might add, that is not made clear to us.)

Life is about how we choose to be in relationship to whatever is happening around us. How do you want to relate to what your life is? What do you choose to do with what you have?  Simple, but awesome.

I create New Year’s Intentions every year. This year I’ve been spending more time than usual on it. 2013 has brought changes in my circumstances such that I have more space to create something wonderful!  Maybe a few things.

Truthfully, in previous years I have overloaded myself, thinking a bit bigger than my current reality could produce in the future. So, this year, I thought I’d do it a little differently.

The first step was to think about how I want to feel in the coming year.  What are the qualities I’d like to express?  Like letting go of more negative thinking.  And clearing away blame – especially of myself.

After that I thought about things I could do to let go of negative thinking and clear away blame. Like practicing moving to a better feeling thought.  How about a ritual, like going to the beach, to clear away blame? I also kept in mind my Purpose to Uplift Hearts with my Words.

When I had my Intentions down, I wanted to write some affirmations to keep me on track.  One I’ve used with success in the past is “I am Willing to__ ” and another with statements of what I choose.  I got a little hung up on what the difference is between the two.  I am willing, for instance, to try some new things.  However, I choose to stick to my health routines.

Choosing are concrete action steps I can take and measure.  It is a commitment, a solid given.  Willing is more of a promise.  It’s internal work, an attitude.  A willingness to plant seeds I hope will sprout. It only took one page, filled with things I am willing to do for the year and things I choose.  It felt good, like I’d set something down with a firm foundation.

Another new tactic I took was to keep a separate list of Goals for the Year.  As 2012 came to a close, I noticed quite a few things on my Intentions list that I wasn’t able to, for one reason or another, make happen.  I like the idea that I can maintain my Intention of making my home a more pleasant place to be, without having to kick myself that I wasn’t able to get the new deck furniture.

It feels like it’s going to be a Good Year.  I wish you all abundance, prosperity, good health and the realization of all your New Year’s plans.

In honor of the 25th anniversary publishing, I’ve started rereading Susan Jeffers’ “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.”  When I finish, I‘ll write up a nice review of it.  In the meantime, as always, Susan inspires me.

She had a story about when her mother had gone in for surgery.  Susan was sitting with her for a long time, but when she got up to leave, her mother, still weak from the procedure called to her, “Be safe.”  The point was, though her mother was being a good mother and caring about her daughter, what she was doing was acknowledging her own fear. And that she would rest easier if she knew her daughter was safe.  Susan also, wisely, noted that in saying that, even with the best intentions, her mother was also saying she didn’t trust that Susan could and would keep herself safe.

I wrote an article in college about “weasel words.”  They are those words and phrases, often used in advertising, which say nothing. They’re meant to just attract with fluff, but leave nothing at the center.  This is just the opposite of that.  These are words or phrases stuffed to the gills with meaning, overflowing.  Leaving behind ghosts of meanings in their wake.

I was freaking out the other day about not really knowing how to do something that I needed to do.   My colleague, wanting to help, offered to do it for me.  Sounds nice.  But the message delivered was:  “Since you can’t do it yourself, I’ll do it for you.”  What that said to me was I am incapable of doing it or even learning how.  Didn’t make me feel a whole lot better.  I needed to know how to do it because I couldn’t run to him anytime I had to do this in the future.

Parents are often guilty of this.  Calling warnings to their children like Susan’s mother did.  What they really mean is, “I am afraid for you.”  The message that hits those tender ears is that you can’t watch out for yourself.

Communication is a funny thing.  You have these words, hanging out there.  On the one side, you have the deliverer who may or may not know the hidden meaning behind the words.  Then, on the other side, you have the receiver who hears one thing and may ingest it in a totally different way.  How we manage to communicate at all is a miracle.  There are so many layers of information to move through.  We so rarely get the real meaning.

Like everything else, the interpretation is in the mind of the beholder.  So as the receiver, you can take things any way you please.  Particularly since you may not know the impetus behind what you hear.  You might as well take it the way that feels best and chase away the ghosts.

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!

Okay, so something went wrong.  What I wanted didn’t show up as expected.

If it’s, in fact, a Loving Universe, that means I didn’t thwart my progress for some unknown reason.  It wasn’t because I’m not good enough, either.  All of that is a lie.

In truth, it’s just a part of the process as I wind my way through this journey.  All is well.   I don’t need to dwell on the sad stories about how I messed up in the past, things never go my way, this always happen to me . . .

I can pray for help in washing away those stories.  And I can dream up new ones.  Anything I choose.  Like maybe there’s something even better coming!

Release the stress, worry and pressure.  I don’t need it.  All is well.  The Universe is Loving and looking out for me.  I’m not going to get what I want any faster by fretting about it.

Believe only good comes to me.

Stay Open for whatever arrives.

Let Go of a need for it to look a certain way.

Detach from expectations.

See if I can ask even more specifically for what I want.  Make my intention even clearer.  Renew and refresh my plans, looking for new ways.  Prepare myself to receive.  Breathe deeply and freely.  Remind myself I can.  Keep telling Good Stories.

Rest Easy.    Welcome.    Be Willing.

Today I Intend to ~

 Rest into the Present Moment

Be Loving to everyone I come in contact with

Take Good Care of myself

Do at least One Thing to move my Dream forward

Think Positive Thoughts

 (change any thought that isn’t making me feel good)

Do the Best I can

 Enjoy my day and sleep well tonight


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