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The world seems a little obsessed with “5 Hour Energy.” I’m a little concerned about the long term effects of this drink. I don’t know what’s in it and do not mean to endorse it. But I like the concept. Being in the zone is critical in sports and helpful in just about anything you take on.

That zone is really only about focus. Directed energy in the present moment. This attention keeps you looking in one direction. What could you accomplish if you were willing to give energy in the present moment to one thing? “I choose this.” That’s all focus is. You are in the zone when you say, this is all I’m doing.

Multi-tasking is okay now and again. When necessary, it’s helpful to be able to do it. But when you really want to get something done, be a success, do your best at something, the more focus you have, the better your chances for a good outcome.

No wonder everyone wants this drink.

There’s a lot of scattered energy these days. Multiple e-mails and conflicting demands are coming at us all the time and encourage that helter-skelter focus. On the contrary, anything that keeps our attention on a goal we can wrap ourselves around with energy and passion is far more productive. And it doesn’t have to come in a bottle!

Can’t we generate focus on our own? Without taking something? Think more about what you could do if you were willing. Choose one place you really want to put your energies. Make a commitment and focus your attention.

What human beings can do! Combing energies with others, we can give generously, do phenomenal things in sports, generate money, save the planet. Wow!

This title comes from an America song.

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.  The weather had taken a turn for the better and I wondered if that was the reason. Disappointed that my mood could so easily be swayed by the shifting winds of weather, I decided to take a closer look at it.

Taking quiet time listen to yourself is a very important thing to do.  Really listening to what you’re telling yourself can offer great benefits.  Even if that can only be on a weekend morning, while commuting or during nap time.

What I discovered surprised me.  True enough, I had felt better with the warming temps.  But when winter raised its ugly head again, I still had a positive attitude.  There were a few other things that may have contributed to the lift – an old friend resurfacing, a new vision and interesting projects.

When I looked deeper (not content with all those outside reasons), I found that I’ve been paying more attention to the present moment.  Usually, my thoughts tend to stray.  Especially in winter. What will the weather be like tomorrow?  Will things come together as I want them to?  Did I handle that right?  When I just keep my focus in the moment, on today, amazing things happen.

I am enjoying what I’m doing a whole lot more.  I’m not so stressed about what I didn’t do because I’m not thinking about the results tomorrow.  I’m not concerned about what I did or didn’t do, because I know I was focused on the moment and did what I needed to do.  That’s the end of that.

In the moment, all is well.  It’s either snowing or it isn’t. Tomorrow will be what it is. Whatever calamity I might have imagined in the future evaporates like the illusion it is, in the face of Today.  What I did yesterday just doesn’t matter.  I can be totally involved with nothing more than the moment I’m in.

 

Remember the show, The Rockford Files?  I find so much to like about the main character, Jim Rockford.  He is real. Some might call him down to earth.  He loves to fish with his dad. The trailer he lives in by the beach is, presumably, so that he can move to where the fish are biting. Admitting he’s been wrong is not a problem for him.  After he throws a punch, he’s usually found soothing his aching fist. He does a mean handbrake turn and he keeps his gun in a cookie jar in the kitchen.

Jim Rockford is honest.  He doesn’t always tell the truth, though, as he’s been known to pose as other people.  Even keeps a little machine in his glove compartment to make up a business card as needed.  But he has a lot of integrity and will never cheat one if his Private Eye clients.

But the thing I find most interesting about him is his ability to spot the fake.  He seems to always knows when he’s being conned.  He may not know what to do about it and often gets himself into trouble anyway.  But he can tell when he’s being lied to.  This is a very good skill in his private eye work.  Knowing who (or what) to believe and acting accordingly.

It’s also a very handy trait in life.  It would help us all if we could immediately tell if it was the genuine article or not. You could have a good sense about what your next move would be.

Another one of my favorite TV characters is Lovejoy. As an antiques dealer he has been blessed with the rare status of being a “divvie.”  That means he can divine a genuine antique.  He gets all feverish, clammy and woozy when he’s in the presence of the real McCoy.

I wonder if the guiding information to be found in the present moment can make us all divvies.

Plans change more often than they play out.  Life is like that.  The weather reflects this.  It’s hard to predict which way the wind will blow.  You don’t always know how the atmospheric conditions will change. Here’s another one of those simple phrases to practice with.

If you throw up your hands and ask, “Now, what?” with a pleading in your voice, you’re not really looking for an answer.  But when you ask it with curiosity, “Now, what?” it becomes a powerful quest.

The act of asking it grounds you in the present moment.  To ask this question, you must first accept what is happening. It comes out of a clear view of how things are now.

This is the Art of Rolling with it. When you roll with it, you welcome whatever’s at your door.  You embrace it and let it show you where to go.

Now, what?  What are you going to do with the current situation?  What are you going to do about what you wanted to do? I find it’s helpful to answer those questions.  If I must do something else right away, I don’t want to forget what gets shoved aside. I like to reschedule it as soon as possible.  Get it replanted so I can be sure it will get done.

When things change, take a breath and ask, “Now, with this new situation, what am I going to do, what do I want to feel?”

As the wind will change a beautiful day, it can change the direction of my day, my week, my hour, my years.  I wish to remain open and bend in the wind without it breaking me.

I know there have been several books written about the Zen of golf.  I admit that I have not read any of them. This is merely my humble take on the spiritual refractions in the practice of the game.  I have been watching a lot of golf lately.  The new season has just begun. And it is Masters Week. That means Spring is upon us!

One of my favorite things about golf is that it is usually set in very beautiful places. Though I may have to rethink that as I saw a documentary recently called, “You’ve Been Trumped,” about how Donald Trump raped an amazingly beautiful coastline in Scotland.  Ever see “Local Hero”?  That was the spot, but there was no hero in this story.  If Donald Trump was seriously running for president, this documentary would’ve sunk his campaign without hidden cameras.

But I digress.  The best golfers are the ones that have a solid stance and an easy swing. Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer said you need to swing your own swing.  I think that means it should be comfortable for you.

Comfort is the secret, I think.  You need to roll with the prevailing winds.  Weather is an important aspect of the game.  The way the wind is blowing can have a definite impact on the game.  Fighting against it does no good.

It is also, perhaps, largely about clearing your mind.  Very often the announcers will talk abut how a golfer, probably thinking about the mistakes he made on the last hole, stiffen up.  Sometimes they are anticipating a hole coming up. Or remembering their defeat the previous year.

There is a certain golfer.  I won’t offer names. He is a good looking man and a pretty good golfer.  But, alas, some of the reason for his success, besides his rather well-proportioned body, is the fact that he appears to have very little going on in his head.  That lack of actively-charged brain activity has helped him, I believe, to focus in on the present and move more easily.

As soon as you start to stress about something, your swing, the weather, the score . . . you tighten up.  I’ve watched golfers find themselves in the most difficult situations and come out well.  As long as they are able to get a decent stance and swing loosely, without limitations, they can get themselves back into play.  Without it, they continue to make mistakes.

The best way to play golf is with a quiet mind, focusing on the present moment, feeling the way the wind is blowing.  Finding a balanced a stance, checking out the lay of the land and deciding how you want to play it.  And then swinging loosely, your swing, easily, but with intention.  Good rules for life!

I read somewhere recently that “enthusiasm” means filled with God.

What is it like to be God-Filled?  To feel that warm light brimming inside of you.  You can hardly sit down, you are so excited!!

Enthusiasm is fueled by love.  Or something akin to it.  Your heart is embracing whatever it is you’re enthusiastic about.

It is certainly warm and has a bit of the bubbly to it.  You’re not just “up for it,” you’re enthusiastic about it!  It even sounds like you’re in that fun and active state.  As in athletic / enthusiastic.

Enthusiasm flows abundantly. It over flows and sparkles. It lights you up, brings a glow to your face.  Watch for it . . . it can be contagious and will easily stick to whatever it touches.

It’s very hard to be still when your enthusiasm is kicked up. You’re eager to get started or get back to it.  You just love it!

You’re filled with love for what you’re enthusiastic about, that’s for sure.  And you’re not usually concerned with whether it’s good or bad.  Or any such dualistic thoughts.  Your enthusiasm keeps you connected to the present moment.

It’s surely stuffed full of God!

Some days are better than others, that’s true.  But on those days when something in me is screaming, “I doan wanna,” I gotta wonder.

Is this something I need to listen to?  Or is it just the child in me exercising her rebellious nature?  Okay, maybe I’m weary and need to rest. This thing I’m asking myself might just be one too many.

But, that’s not how it is, I say, “I can do this.  I want to do this!”  Wouldn’t it be cool if I could get out my Willingness bottle and spray it on?  As soon as it seeps in, I would be fully willing to do it.  (Even if there were some boundaries, I’d be willing to make my way over them.)

Let’s say I’m tired.  The perfume of willingness would allow me to do some, anyway.  Try it for 10 or 15 minutes.  If it still isn’t flowing, take some notes and schedule another time.  But I would feel better if I did something . . . anything.

Perhaps I could whip up an infusion of Willingness. Paulette Terrels’ 30 second break might help:
1.  Stop what I’m doing and relax my shoulders.
2. Take two easy, cleansing breaths.
3.  Do the Thich Nhat Hanh chant 3 times –
“Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile, dwelling in this present moment I know it is a wonderful moment.”
On the first breath, I think about how happy I am that I can do this simple tactic.
On the second breath, I put on a big smile so I can feel it.
On the third breath I think of something that makes me feel really good so I can smile deeply. Refreshed and renewed, and I hope, more willing to take on what’s in front of me.

This spray-on Will would also help to reveal the fun. With the softer vision of willingness, the fun can shine through!

Another tactic might be to use momentum energy.  Keep it going to fuel the fires and keep the home fires burning. If used correctly, the spray could become irrelevant.

Julia Cameron says, though, that you are better motivated by inspiration and excitement, rather than will. Still it couldn’t hurt to dab a bit behind your ears when you need a little boost.

Wonder is like curiosity.  It’s one of those things that everyone – as long as the brain is fairly normal – has the capacity to wonder or be curious.  Wherever you are, you need no tools. Whatever you’re doing, you don’t even need your hands.  It’s all right there, awaiting your call.

Susan Jeffers, in Embracing Uncertainty, talks about adopting an attitude of wonder.  It  takes the angst right out of “I hope,” “I want,” even “I wish.”  It helps you to be comfortable with not knowing.  And how many of us really know everything, anyway?

“I wonder if he’ll show up,” feels so much easier than, “I hope he’ll show up.”  That seems like you’re begging him to arrive. Wondering is just sitting there imagining. “I wonder if I’ll get the call I want,” even lessons the weight of it.

I want a new job.  I choose to get a new job.  I wish I had a new job (getting closer).  But “I wonder what my new job will be,” transforms it into an adventure, a game, a joyful activity.  Now I’m looking delightedly, with a lighter heart. That lightness might well be just what I need to open to the flow of it. To make the space for it to come into my life.

When I say, “I hope” it creates something out there that has to happen.  I’ve put qualifications on what it must be.  Instead I could be moving fully forward, with arms outstretched, ears tuned, eyes searching for whatever it may be.  “I wonder if this is what I’ve been looking for?” opens a much wider Universe for bringing me what I’ve chosen

Using wonder helps to feel a different way, see a new perspective and therefore travel more lightly, without the excess heaviness of wait and doubt.

“I hope I get a new phone.” – is pleading for life to bring you the phone.
“I wish I had that phone.” – gives you some more information but still has you reaching for it.
“I choose that phone.” – is more proactive.
But then you have to let go of even that.  No restrictions.  Though you may know your intention, the essences of what you’re after, without all those qualifications, you can allow so many more things to satisfy your wish.

So just wonder.  Now that you’ve sketched out what you’d like – you toss it into the hands of wonder and proceed.  Paying attention in the present moment for the answers, the ideas, the ways and means.

It’s a Loving Universe

As I write this now, I’m thinking that this should be Part 1. When you see that the Universe is a loving place, it makes it that much easier to accept and allow.  From that place of acceptance, you are more able to access the present moment.

Be that as it may, all it takes to know it’s a Loving Universe is simply to take the time to look.  When you begin to search for evidence, you will find plenty.  Everything, I mean everything that happens to you is for your best good.  It may take some time and space to see it, but see it you will. Even (sometimes especially) things that look “bad” like losing your job, for instance, often turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.  Over and over, you will see evidence if you but take the time to observe the results.

What’s truly amazing about this is that while the Universe is busy loving you and delivering good things your way, It is also doing the very same thing for everyone else.

It’s at this point I wish to bring in the word God.  Personally, it seems like fanciful thinking to say that life sprung up out of nowhere and developed a species that can build a city, make love and create music. It seems far more rational to think there’s an intelligence, a plan behind it all. What else could make everything perfect for everyone?

This Universe (or God, if you don’t mind) is so loving that It has given us all the tools we need to manifest an awesome life.  We can create our life without money, time or help.  Everything each of us needs we come equipped with. Things like willingness, imagination and inspiration are standard equipment on all models.

One more important point I’d like to make about the Loving Universe is that It accepts us (as It asks us to accept It) completely and without reservation, just exactly the way we are.  No matter what flaws you may think you have, no matter how many “bad” things you think you’ve done, the Universe still loves you, still brings you the best.  Just because you’ve made a few mistakes (or even broken a few laws) doesn’t mean you lose your curiosity, the ability to take action, fall in love, or be committed to a goal.

If you’re not convinced it’s a Loving Universe just watch It at work and you will soon have all the proof you need.

The sky is gray and sprinkling rain.  It’s not what you’d call chilly, exactly, and yet I feel it in my bones.  The dampness has set in.  I have nothing in particular to feel badly about, except maybe the weather.  But I am fussing and picking at everything! Things that usually slip off me like fine silk are rubbing me the wrong way.  I can’t stand the way he does that!  Why does she always do that me? It’s the kind of day where I might spill cottage cheese all down my shirt and then be really upset with myself, too.  I feel like I really, really just want to be somewhere else!

This, it would seem, is exactly the state of mind Eckhart Tolle says produces no choice. It was not my choice to stub my toe, I shout!  But I can tell my head is full of other things and I just walked right into that chair.

It’s a very intriguing concept to me.  This having no choice. I have long believed we make our own choices.  We are co-creators of our own lives.  How can this be that I have no choice?

But it makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.  Perhaps it brings some relief to say, I didn’t consciously choose to lose my best friend. I can see that when I’m all tangled up in the stuff in my head, it’s not easy to be making real choices.  I can’t even control my thoughts.  You wouldn’t really say that you chose to break your arm.  Maybe you needed it to slow down and face some other things.  But that was not your conscious choice. Your head was probably buzzing with complaints, past dredging or future dreaming.  When you get right down to it, if you’re not in the present moment, truly aware of what’s going on, you really do have no choice.  Yikes!  But it answers a lot of questions when you realize there are things in your life you didn’t consciously create.

And that’s just the problem:  we are not conscious.  How can we expect to make good, healthy choices for ourselves when we’re wrapped up in repetitive, unconscious thinking?

Noticing that this is happening is clearly the first step.  Then I stop, notice my breath and try to feel my body.  A good way in is to note how your body is:  are your shoulders up?  Tightness in your back?  What’s going on in your body?  That immediately brings you out of the nasty chatter in your head.  Like taking a shower allows insights to arise.  The funny thing is that being out of your head is the best place to be for good conscious, real choices.

Once I’ve gotten in touch with my body, I feel I have some control.  I can dig deeper to the feelings under the physical sensations.  That is where the true answers lie, where the guidance is found.

All of sudden, from that place, I can say to myself, Joe didn’t mean to do that.  He doesn’t really do it all the time.  He may just be tired.  Like I am.  I didn’t get enough sleep last night. That’s why I’m so cranky.  I may be back in my head, but I’m feeling a lot gentler now.  I’m directing and choosing my thoughts.  Choosing to have kinder and more loving thoughts.

Then I notice I do have a choice how I’m thinking and feeling.  And lo and behold, the sun has come out!

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