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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.

I love simple instructions with a single focus.

This is appealing too because it leaves little room for disappointment.  There are very few situations when you can’t a least look for peace.  In chaos is where you need it the most.

It is very true that you cannot control your environment enough to keep crazy things from happening.  I know.  I’ve tried.  And it never works.  It’s easy to see that Life is Change.  Just because it is peaceful all around me at the moment is no guarantee that it won’t explode later.

If my goal is to always be looking for peace, I pave the way for it.  I have my eyes open (at least my inner eye) for that peaceful spot.

Not easy, I know.  But possible.  Completely within one’s control.   There is always a place of peace available to each and every one of us.  No tools or equipment needed.  No approvals in triplicate.  Merely a choice to find it.

Practice, no doubt, helps.  Going to that place of peace over and over again when things are not erupting madly in front of you, is a good way to practice.  It helps you to remember and become familiar with the path. Surely everyone’s lives are filled with actively popping moments – good and bad.  But you can practice as often as you can.

When the TV is blaring and the kids are shouting and there are places to go and things to do. . .  That’s the time to find a moment to take in a deliberate breath and ask for peace.

Everyone’s talking about it.  It is the backbone of the Law of Attraction.

It’s a theory that says if you can act like it’s already happening –  already in your life, you are already the person you choose to be – you create a better conduit, set up better causes and conditions for it to manifest.

Susan Jeffers explains how it works, in her book Embracing Uncertainty. “If you act-as-if long enough, your mind lets in the possibility that something is so. And, ultimately, you are able to embrace the reality that it is so.”

I’ve recently been introduced to “Ted Talks.”  I listened to a brilliant talk by Amy Cuddy called, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” She is an expert on hormones and has done extensive study on body language and how the movement and placement of your body can greatly effect your mood and your life.

She spoke about “Faking it until you make it.” Her theory was that some people feel like a fraud doing this.  Her turn of the phrase adds an intention to “Fake it until you Become it.”  If you are striving to become something, it is not being a fake.  And that is really the heart of Acting as If.  Not to fool anyone – least of all yourself – but to practice until you become it.

Many spiritual practices and teachers, including the Buddha, tell us that which we want is always waiting for us to just see it.

The great writer and teacher, Dorothea Brande said, “All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right about face which turns us from failure to success.”

Even C.S. Lewis had something to say about it. “The rule for us all is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

I believe it was Caroline Myss who said that money is a substance that faith attracts.  Believing the money will be there, acting as if it is,  is a strong indicator that it will be.  Why the rich tend to get richer and the poor stay the same.

It all adds up to the Conversations With God teaching about how most people say, “Well if I had this, I could be that and then I could do what I need to do.”  But what if we change that up and call it Do Be Have?  If we do it first, if we act as if it’s here already, fake it until we make it, we will Become it and then we will have it.  It’s not hard to believe that could greatly speed up the manifesting process.

Susan Jeffers wondered what we could accomplish if we acted as if we truly made a difference in this world.  Can you imagine?

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 have come to believe that every moment can be fun and easy.  Beautiful even, if you’re willing to see it behind whatever may show up in your life. Paulette Terrels suggests not putting too much stock in what’s actually going on around you, but, instead, seeing further beyond it, around to what’s grander and more beautiful.

Okay, I will concede that there may be times that are just Not Fun.  Let’s say it’s very hard to see the fun or the beauty. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. For most of us, who live free and relatively speaking abundant lives, there’s a whole lot of times, though, that most certainly ARE FUN!  Or could be with an attitude tweak or two.

I think we get to moving so fast we forget how easy it is to turn on the Fun switch.  Shining the light on what’s wonderful in and around the moment.

Practice, practice.  Use the obvious, easy ones.  When you’re hanging with people you love, enjoying a great meal.  Or spending time with your special one, watching a wonderful film.  At the arena, watching your favorite team win!  Notice how much fun it is. Remember the feeling so you can spot it elsewhere.

It only takes an intention to find the fun.  Just a breath (or 2) maybe a sigh and you are there.  See how many opportunities there are! The best way to increase your fun times is to notice them. The more you acknowledge, the more you will see.  It is just a practice. And, if I might add, rather a fun practice at that.

I still maintain it is actually possible to find fun all the time. I suspect the Dalai Lama finds life fun and easy most of the time.  If not all.  Despite all the things he’s seen, he loves to laugh!

So I may not reach the Dalai Lama’s level in this lifetime, but I can carve out a mighty fine life – making things easier on my mind, body and spirit.  Not only that, my joy is contagious.  Being happy and finding fun in life spreads.  It affects everything around me.  Make it a practice to see with eyes that recognize the fun and beauty which stands behind everything!

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.

Waiting is a wonderful time to practice allowing.  You are welcome to change your mind, be proactive and say, I’m NOT waiting.  You’re empowered to do that, if you please.  But if you want to see the doctor, get your car fixed, get into the show, you are going to have to wait. That’s just the way it is.

So, I can sit (or stand) here and complain about it.  Keep checking the time, as if that will make the wait end.  I can fuss and be uncomfortable, thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

Or I can switch on the gratitude and enjoy the distant rumbling of the cars, the people around me, the quiet, the view out the window . . .   I can be grateful I have a chair to sit in and pen and paper to keep me company.  I can be glad I have a phone so I can let someone know who might be waiting for me.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive.  And before I know it, I’ll be off doing something else!

Sometimes breathing may be all you can do. But you can do that.  Be aware of your breath. That will slow down the antsies when you are deep in anxious mode.

I’m glad it’s a sunny day and I’m feeling well. It’s great to know my car is getting fixed and will be running so much better!  I’m glad to have water to drink and the money to pay for this repair.  Won’t it be wonderful when I’m finally sprung!

Waiting and getting through it easily – or with a lot less resistance – is very good practice for allowing.  When you can accept that you’re waiting, you can allow the time to pass without fighting it, without squirming in it.

It’s an odd thing: I seem to have a limit to my waiting patience.  I can be patient for exactly so long and then it runs out. For awhile, it’s easy, letting time pass. But all of a sudden, at some point, I find myself questioning what’s going on, wondering if I will ever get out of here, checking my watch, over and over again, feeling my stress level build. It’s at these times, I realize I need to work on it. I start by reminding myself that this is my choice to sit here and wait.  I breathe and find a few things to be grateful for.  I turn my focus on what’s going on around me.  Then I can feel the stress leaving my body.   I’m just here.

Certainly, sitting in traffic is about waiting.  Anything that puts you in a position where you have to be still.  Even if you’d rather not.  That is the key.  Accepting that there are no other alternatives.  It’s sometimes easier to do in these more mundane situations.  Practicing on the smaller incidents in life can help you to accept things like a job change, partner leaving or disappointments of all kinds and intensities, even illness or death.

If you use your waiting time, any frustrating situation you find yourself in, you can practice being willing to go with it. Breathe through it and practice patience and allowing.  You may find a time when you will be glad you did.

I’ve been reading this book, “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting,” by Lynn Grabhorn.  Though I’m moving through it slowly, I’m enjoying it.  I like the way she talks so plainly, so almost casually about things.  I think that’s why I like it so much and why she gets me motivated to carry out her simple ideas.

Lynn says that the instant you start to feel bad, you change your thoughts.  No matter what it is, if you don’t have to act that second, shut it off!  Find something, anything else that feels better.  It might just be a tiny bit better, but that’s something to build on.  Stay with the better feeling thoughts as long as you can.  I like to use my favorite things list when this happens to me – the smell of salt water, sun on my face, vacation, Johnny Depp. . .   Like a sweet on your tongue, a cool breeze when you’re hot, putting down a heavy burden and feeling relief, this can change your mood entirely. All you have to do is let go of the distressing thought.

Right away, you need to put some healing salve on the wound. Talk to yourself, gently.  Remind yourself that it’s okay, you can handle it.  All will be well.  Give yourself a hug if you can, or the touch of a hand.  Just as a good friend or parent would do.  Smooth it on, get rid of the sting.

Immediately, switch from the soft love to the tough love. Speak frankly (she suggests out loud, but to yourself, if you need to).  I tell myself that being freaked out about this isn’t going to make it go away, or get me what I want.  It does me no good to sit and stew about it. I have to stop doing that now and not look back.  I’ll be better able to handle it without all that nasty stuff hanging around me.

You close by slipping directly into thoughts about what you do want.  Lynn’s all about generating and cooking those feelings.  Those are the magical ones which will bring what you want to you.

This is a good practice because, in time, you can do it in just a few minutes.  I like that she agrees with me that time spent on the bad feelings does nothing for you, nothing to help the situation.  Even if it requires you make some tough decisions or take some difficult action, you’ll do it far easier and more effectively if you get yourself into that calm state of good feelings.

So, all you need to do is remember the path:
1) Immediately find a better thought.
2) Then, give yourself some good love to heal.
3) Shift into talking honestly about the futility of staying in that negative state.
4) Slip gracefully into the good feelings about what you do want.
5) Be in a calmer state to take care of whatever is in front of you.

Lynn ties it up well:  “Just remember, however fast your Want comes is directly related to how fast (and how permanently) you can switch your focus OFF what is keeping you in a negative vibration, and ON where you want to go. No matter how dire your circumstances may seem at the moment, it is not permanently glued to you. You just have to decide what you want in  place of your problem, then provide the Feel Good frequency that will give it birth.”

When things go wrong in our lives, when we have upsets or heartbreaks, that’s the time when we really need the Positive Slant.

It’s easy to feel, at times like these, that you have no control. That what’s happened is out of your hands.  It can make you sink into helplessness.

The truth is there are things you CAN do.

It’s very important to feel what you’re feeling.  Be sad, mad, depressed, or sorrowful. The trick is to not let yourself sink into it.  There is a tendency to feel safe in your wallow.  That’s not going to help.  Allow yourself just enough time to acknowledge and face your feelings, accept what’s happened.  Then, move on.

Having a next step can often dig you out of it.  Get busy figuring out what you need.  What can you do to feel better, to deal with the situation?  If there’s something that needs your attention to rectify or soothe matters, do as much as you can.  Break it up into tiny actions.  A small amount of effort applied regularly, produces results.  You may not be ready to tackle everything at once, but you can time a small step.

This is a perfect time to practice reaching out for help.  It is NOT essential for you to face this alone. You may find, after your boyfriend or girlfriend is out of your life, for example, that you have a lot of time on your hands.  Rather than sitting home, feeling sorry for yourself, call on your friends and family.  Ask what they’re doing and if you can join them.  Encourage them to include you in whatever they’re doing (especially if you’ve been cutting yourself off with your significant other.)

An important note here is that people will find it much easier to give you what you need if you tell them, specifically, what you’re asking for.  Most people are happy to help, but don’t often know how.

As you go through your day (after all your friends can’t keep you distracted every moment) search for and collect whatever you can find that makes you feel good about yourself and your life.  What do you still have to feel good about?  Make a game of it.  See how many you can find.  Ordinary things are the best to fill your basket quickly. Things like the way the sun comes in the window or a tasty lunch.  Also, be sure to notice when things go your way.  When you get a seat on the subway, when you get what you wanted, when you’re praised or acknowledged for a job well done.  Find whatever you can to keep your thoughts off what’s bothering you and on what’s good, what makes you feel better.

It’s crucial at this point to take really good care of yourself.  Step up your self care.  Go out of your way to do nice things for yourself.  Eat well, get some movement, and stay away from situations which strain your emotions.  This is a time to be selfish!  If there are things you need to do, it’s better to face and do them. Just pad the way as much as you can.

When you’re feeling stronger, see if you can play with the situation. Can you turn it around, inside out and look at it from another perspective?  Exert the Positive Slant and see things in a new light.  You may be able to turn something “bad” into something positive, something that could be really good for you – a lesson, a growth.

When you can start seeing in that new way, with perhaps a sense of excitement, with a solid foundation of gratitude, you’ll know you’re on your way to healing.

“You don’t have to make anything happen.  Just align yourself with what wants to happen and let it.” – Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen always gets me thinking with his simple prescriptions of ease.  I like this one especially. It seems to capture so much.

I am intrigued by this notion of “aligning’” myself with what wants to happen.  How do you do that?  I had a thought that it’s kind of like putting yourself in glory’s way.  Why put yourself in harm’s way when you can step into a spot where good things can get you?

There’s also the job searching/networking theory of putting yourself out there.  I guess that’s good for a lot of things.  If you want something good to happen to you, it’s a little foolish to hide out at home, talking to no one.  It simply can’t find you.

Maybe it’s about flowing with life.  Letting go of the resistance and allowing it to happen, to come into your life.  Alan asks us to let it happen in the second part, but maybe it’s in the moving piece too, the lining up.  Makes sense that there’s a certain amount of letting go involved in getting in line.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this Resistance thing. Eckhart Tolle says it’s the ego trying to protect itself. Resistance causes blockage and dis-ease. (Doesn’t sound like a clear flow to me.)  I’ve always been taught to fight through resistance.  But I’m getting the message lately that it’s better to accept it. The tides of my life are trying to flow in a different way than how I’m going. That is Resistance.  If I let myself move where life wants to take me, perhaps I will align myself with what wants to happen.

I just love the ease in this.  It’s about surrender which – though I can’t say I practice as well as I’d like –  I do believe in.  It’s that softer touch, going with the flow.  Acceptance of what is going on is the only sane way to live. Anything else is useless, and perhaps bordering on madness. We haven’t yet figured out how to bend space.  You can exert effort, but you are not often enough to change the course of things.  You can only affect its path a little.

Perhaps it’s a daily practice.  Aligning day in and day out.  Trusting, sort of sitting back and watching life happen.  After all, we’re all conscious and aware.  We’ve set intentions. We can trust in that.  Making choices in the now, accepting and aligning with what is happening in front of us.

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