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How is that I can be a few inches above the ground, floating on enthusiasm one day . . .  the enthusiasm of God filling me to brimming, feeling great and productive, shining that light? And the next day, the sun is gone, the printer’s acting up, the cat is trying, I’m getting nowhere? All my enthusiasm drained out of me.
It happens, I know.  So, what can be done about it?  Perhaps I could have a back up supply ready.  That could be a list of those things that make me feel enthusiastic: my dream, my projects, my loved ones.

It’s true that sometimes I just need a little downtime. When I can’t make things happen, maybe it’s better to not try so hard.  Take a break, breathe a little.  Getting a change of scenery can sometimes work wonders.  

Maria Nemeth, in her brilliant book “The Energy of Money,” talks about energy leaks.  If we can leak money through small, unconscious expenses, we can also lose physical energy with small, unconscious expenditures of fear and worry.

Keeping a watchful, attentive eye on where my energy leaks are can be helpful.  SARK talks a lot about controlling our energy.  But it begins with observation.  Noticing what drains my energy helps to know how to patch it. Taking good care is always a good place to start.  Listening to find out what my body needs

Another solution might be to stoke the momentum that’s already going, using it. If I’m hot into a project, leave a little bit to get me started tomorrow.  Keep my enthusiasm up around a long-term project by remembering why I’m doing it or finding new ways to go.  Acting while the iron’s still hot always works. I could find small ways to keep the fires burning in between sessions with a project.

Just being conscious of where my enthusiasm level is will likely reveal many ways.  

I spent most of the weekend feeling sad.  Friday was the last episode of One Life to Live, a soap opera that has been on for 43 years.  There are many people who don’t remember a time when Daytime TV wasn’t synonymous with continuing drama.  It’s been a legend.  For the better part of the last decade, very few days have gone by when I didn’t watch One Life.

There are executives who say that nobody cares about these stories anymore.  I say, they’re wrong.  I’ve found a huge community of dedicated, hard-working soap lovers – not just bored housewives.  I’ve written before about the relationships we have with these characters.  We see them more than we see our own family sometimes.  And we know more about them than we do our closest friends.  As Victoria Lord said, matriarch of Llanview, PA, where One Life to Live is set, all we have to do to continue the relationship is tune in tomorrow.  But there will be no show tomorrow.

It has been such an integral part of my life for such a long time.  How will I bear not seeing Vicki and Clint married?  Or finding out if Jessica finds love?  What will I do without Roxie’s rants, or David’s declarations which have kept me laughing so long?  What will happen to John and Natalie now that they’ve finally found each other?  I sigh.

Will it hurt more in a few weeks?  When days and days have gone by and I haven’t had my fix of life in Llanview? I weep for the genre that is dying.  There’s only one soap left on ABC, one on NBC and CBS is hanging onto two.  How long with they last?  When will the plug be pulled on all of them?  What will become of the hard working men and women who have given so much so that I can be entertained every day and fall in love,  be angry, laugh a little and cheer for my faves?  Soap acting is some of the hardest out there.  And so many successful actors today owe their start to soaps, honed their craft in daytime.

I must stop and take a breath.  They are just fictional characters, though they mean so much to me.  I’m reminded of a quote from Maria Nemeth, from her fabulous book, “The Energy of Money.”  She said this: “The next phase of development is learning to say yes to whatever is on your plate and realizing that anything you find in your life today is here to wake you up.”

She’s so right.  I know there are far worse things that can befall a person.  This is a chance for me to practice on something smaller so that the larger ones are easier to take.  I have been concerned about the hole this will leave in my life.  Perhaps that is my wake up call:  To find other things to fill the hole.  New stories I make up myself.  Time for other things . . .

It’s easy to fall into sadness over a loss of any kind.  But if we can see it as another opportunity to accept what is in front of us, viewing it as a chance  to wake up and take notice of all that we can do, it can become a gift.  May we all have plenty of things like this to practice on!

We always have the choice – to wallow in grief or do something about it.  Crying will not bring back what we’ve lost.  Finding a different perspective, when we’re ready, can help us to grow.

There are several streams coming together this week for me.  The Coach by the Lake and I talk of crossing the streams like they did in “Ghost Busters,” for maximum effect.

As Positive Slant blog readers know, I have been reading “The Energy of Money” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.  In the last chapter, she talked about the Jewish tradition of saying, when a healthy, beautiful baby is born, “What a shame about that ugly, sickly baby,” to avoid tempting fate.  I am quite certain that my mother’s Dutch and German heritage had similar superstitions and deep fears. This is not the first message I’ve gotten recently that I need to change the stories I’ve been telling myself too long.

This week in the SARK class we had a guest teacher since SARK was at Kripalu, teaching another class.  Marney Makridakis.  She has been the Inner View-er of the Inner Views we get every week.  One of the things Marney did was to ask us to pretend we were at a TV broadcast of the reunion of this Dream Boogie class in May, 2012.  We were going to be asked the following four questions.  In our small groups, we could answer any one of them.

1.  What do you love most about your life right now?
2.  What was your biggest challenge and how did you get through it?
3.  What advice might you give for people to achieve what you’ve achieved?
4.  The most important thing to know about the journey from dreaming to doing is:

Of course it’s not easy to come up with spiffy answers after having about 2 minutes to think about it and only 3 minutes to answer.  But it got us all jazzed up any way.  After the class, when I had some time to think, I answered all four.  In telling how I had overcome my challenge to get where I am, here in good old 2012, I loved the idea of saying, I rewrote my story.  What a perfect thing for a writer to do! 

Dr. Nemeth also spoke, in this chapter, about Abundance. That we so often think of it as having more.  When in fact, Abundance is about the totality.  The compliments and the complaints.  Accepting it all, allowing it all, opens pathways for receiving and loosens the energy for doing. What a revelation that has been for me!

And finally, this SARK class is, after all, about going from Dreaming to Doing.  As I cross these streams and prepare to use this opened energy, with my new story in hand, and an acceptance of the abundance of the world, The Coach by the Lake is helping me make concrete goals and holding me accountable.  I am so excited about the bold moves I have ahead of me!  You will be hearing from me. 

Marney and SARK are going to be teaching a free teleclass next Thursday, June 3rd.  If you have the time, I highly recommend it.  They are both, I can say from first hand experience, excellent teachers!  It’s called “SARK and Marney’s Magic Management: How Your Inner CEO and Inner Spirit Can Get Along and Thrive” and it’s going to be wonderful! They both have much they can teach us on this subject. After the class, there will be a live information session for Dream Boogie, where participants in the current session will share their experiences and answer questions.  I will be one of them!

Please click on this banner for more information and to register for an illuminating free teleclass.

SARK and Marney's Magic Management

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

Maria has an interesting take on the word abundance.  She says that we so often relate it to the idea of more. “The desire for MORE is most often a conversation about scarcity.”  That is true.  “I want ___” signifies that you do not, at this time, have.

But abundance actually means everything.  The total experience of life.  The ups and downs, the complaints and compliments.  The way to increase our experience of abundance is to say yes to everything.  When we say yes, “the veil lifts from our perception [and] we see both the miracles and the lessons that surround us.”  That is what SARK said about accepting complaints and compliments with “gladness and gratitude.”  Doing that lifts the veil.

“Prosperity,” Maria says, “comes when you participate fully in every aspect of your life.”  Saying yes allows that participation.  “Using everything as an opportunity to wake up and express who you are in your heart.”

Maria describes Prosperity in this way ~
* Not blocking anything
* Willing to learn from everything
* Committed to expressing your true nature

Yes is a very powerful word.  In this course, Maria has taught us to discern when to say no to things that drain or diffuse our energy.  But anything you say no to drains you in some way.  Instead, she suggests, Gratitude.  The Fine Art of Gratitude she calls it. “Finding gratefulness in every day circumstances.”  This is a perfect state to see the miracles and the lessons, the compliments and the complaints equally.

“A goal destined to try to get away from an uncomfortable or painful circumstance only prolongs the very circumstance you seek to escape.”  It makes life feel close. It crowds you in. There is no room, no breath for creativity.  But gratitude throws open the windows and doors. It allows the space for receptivity.  And everything loosens and flows again.

When you are willing to let it be true, whatever is happening, when you are willing to be open to whatever it is and whatever it can bring, you are in gratitude.

One way to help use be in that state, is using Affirmations.  Maria says, to affirm (or to make firm) “is a simple process of shifting the way you observe the events in your life and imbuing them with gratitude.”  It’s about re-framing.  See things in a new way.  Same situation, different angle.

Maria has three ways to Affirm:
1) Note and Welcome Daily Lessons.
This might mean using a Barbara Sher “Hard Times” session to let go of your anger or frustration in the moment.  When you do that, you allow yourself to get to a place were you can come around to being willing to accept the situation.  (Or willing to be willing.)  After letting out all that emotion, you are able to see the lesson.

2.  Being Grateful for the Good Things. 
That sounds easy and fun to me.  But the truth is, most of us don’t spend a lot of time doing that.  We might say, “Hey, that was good,” but then we’re onto the next thing.  Taking the time to reflect often on the things that are easy to be grateful for, brings more of the same into your life.

3.  Affirming Your True Nature.  Who You Really Are.
Maria suggests using your Standards of Integrity for this (see Principle 2).  When we put together our Standards of Integrity, we learned that we can only recognize those traits we like in others when we have them ourselves. 

There is a small exercise we can do here:

A.  Take your Standards of Integrity or any list of the way you’d like to live your life.  And repeat the following statement, “I am willing to be ___ (honest, trustworthy, strong . . . )  Say this to yourself every night for at least a week.  This is not telling a lie.  There is something in you that has this quality right now.

B.  You can take this further and when you notice in your daily life when you’re not in balance or alignment with your standards, take authentic action steps to return to the wholeness of integrity.  You might ask yourself, “How can I express my standards in everyday life?”

Seeing how much you have in your life naturally leads to wanting to give back.  Maria tells us that we “are compensated immediately when we intentionally and generously send energy away to others from ourselves.”  When we contribute to others.

The rewards for doing this are many: knowing you have the ability to give raises your self esteem.  “The act of giving is empowering,” she tells us. Most spiritual groups espouse this practice regularly.  Giving restores balance and opens you to the flow.

But beware! If you give with the intention of getting something back, for a Return on Investment, you thwart the process.  It leaves an incomplete, coming from a place of need.  You need that thing back.

Contribution to others must flow naturally. You can feel that “wielding the energy of money powerfully enough to make this gift,” you are in the flow. Giving in the moment, not with the halting steps of agenda or thoughts of the future.  It’s a state of being, not a cause and effect action.

It is the nature of energy that when it is given in this free flowing manner it flows back immediately. This is an indication of how we are all connected.

There is a rather extensive list of exercises to complete this program.  I am going to wait for next week to finish.  For now, I leave you with the twin powers of Saying Yes and Gratitude.

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

As promised this week is all about support.  Maria says, “Behind every great success is a team of supporters.”  I have also found this to be true.

We are energetic beings. And we are all connected.  The giving and taking energy is what created us and what sustains us.  What are we without others to interact with?

There is much we can do on our own, but there is not one of us who hasn’t felt scared or unsure at one time, or many.  When you’re in that state, it’s not easy to bring yourself out of it.  It’s like trying to pull yourself out of quick sand.  You, literally, don’t have the footing.

Others can give us the courage we need when we feel we don’t have it.  They can remind us of the promises we’ve made and lift the mirror so we can see all we are and have to give.

It is my experience that people love to talk about what they know.  I am in awe of the generosity of my writing support team.  There is never any hesitation or competition among writers.

Must of us want to help each other and are eager to share what we have.  The water can get murky when we don’t know what to give.  I have often struggled with trying to give someone something they didn’t want or need.  I’ve had many do the same to me. One of the challenges I face in this give and take game is that I don’t always know exactly what I want or need.  How can I possibly know what others want?

So, step 1 in getting support is to figure out what you need.  I think that makes it so much easier to ask. That is the second step (and one many people have difficulty with).  You are unlikely to (or you leave it up to chance to) get the support you really want if  you don’t ask for it.  Step 3, to connect the two, is to receive.  I was surprised to find how difficult that is for me. SARK says most of us are far more used to giving. You need to stay open to receive and allow the other person to give.  Finally, to complete the exchange, say thanks; let the other person know.

Some people think it’s selfish to ask for help.  But this process is always of mutual benefit.  Maria says, “letting others know their value to us is far more precious than any gift you could buy them.”  Self esteem, Maria reminds us, comes from creating value for others.  Does anything feel better than that?

Maria also wants to warn us that support is different from co-dependency.  In co-dependency the other is trying to fix us.  Notice how the help feels.  Does it make you feel empowered or lacking?

Exercise: Getting Support on Your Hero’s Journey.
Maria asks us first to take a look at our structure of knowing about getting support.  Be willing to go beyond that.

Here are some qualities of a good support team person:
* Genuinely supportive
* Someone you like and trust who cannot be manipulated
* Someone who will not manipulate or collude with you in talking about what you don’t have
* Ruthless compassion in reminding you of your promises
* Without a vested interested in the outcome

1. Make a list of the people who have these qualities.
2.  If you come up short, Maria assures us that the act of thinking about how to “give and get quality support” will open us to ideas.  Allow yourself time to ponder, if necessary.  (Really, I’d say, one or two is sufficient to get started.  For this exercise, you only need one person.)
3. Choose a project in which you are willing to be supported. (I like the way she says that.)
4.  Of the people on your list, ask, “Am I willing to let this person have success in supporting me?”  Maria suggests looking at the ways you have used in the past to avoid support.  See how you have kept yourself from moving forward on this project.  It may be uncomfortable to look at that, but the results of doing so will be well worth it.
5.  Within 48 hours, ask one of the people on your list  for help.  You might share with them the ways you have used to get out of it doing it in the past.
6.  Tell the person about the project and make a promise to do a specific Authentic Action in the next two days. This action should be a bit of a stretch, but one you are relatively sure you can do.  Success breeds success.  Tell the person to call you to support you before you do it, or afterwards to celebrate it.
7.  She says you might give the other person your Standards of Integrity so he or she can throw them in your face if you’re not following them.
8.  Tell the truth!  If you haven’t done it, say so. Restate your promise and try again.  Keep coming back.
9.  Acknowledge each other.
10.  If you want to, make another promise.
Maria, of course, adds to write about any thoughts or feelings that come up.

The rest of the chapter goes into detailed instructions of how to create a success group.  Here are the questions she wants you to answer:
1.  What specific qualities am I willing to contribute to the group session so that all of us will be successful?
2.  Am I willing to dismantle my structures of knowing?
3.  Am I willing to use everything that goes on in the group session as a personal lesson for myself?
4.  Am I willing to listen to the support others in the group offer?  Even if I do not agree with what they are saying . . . especially if I do not agree with it?  It’s possible you are being defensive.  Check for that.

This “Sturdy Platform of Support” as SARK calls it, according to Maria will, “Feed you the energy to go beyond where you would normally stop yourself.”  And that’s how we can all be successful. Here’s to moving forward!

Next week – Gratitude, ahhh!

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

This week were are learning to lead when we dance with energy.  It’s about promises made and promises broken.  As Dan Fogelberg says, “Measures of our demise.”   Maria calls a promise, “your word, whether spoken or implied cast forth into physical reality.”

When we make promises we set up an energy imbalance until it is fulfilled.  If you make a date with someone, there is a sense of tension until you meet.  “The energy dance that keeps us moving on our path involves creating and resolving imbalances,” Maria tells us.

If it’s on your mind, your schedule, your wall, you are more likely to take the authentic action to get to your goal. But what happens when you don’t do what you say you will?  You leave that tension open. Maria explains it like this,  “We expand more energy keeping open a gap than we do when we solve it.”

Like the Alex in the book, I tend to be much better at keeping promises to others, but Maria assures us that not keeping promises to yourself is the same thing.  The Universe doesn’t know the difference.

Lots of unfinished business makes you heavy.  “When you are traveling light, miracles just seem to occur all around you,” Maria says. The more we can clear out the unfinisheds the more open we are to the flow of money energy.

The Universe may be unlimited, but we are not.  We can only hold a limited amount of anything.  So, Maria tells us, “The hero’s purpose is to discover just how much he or she can create by infusing energy into this limited, dense physical realm.”

So, consequently, in order to direct this dance, we need to be clear and flowing.  Maria warns us that old ways of thinking and incompletes can cause a “sludge” to build up, disrupting that flow.  “The frustration you experience in being powerful with money is directly proportionate to the amount of money sludge you’ve built . . . ,“ she warns.

Exercise: Taking Care of Business – An Inventory
As always the first step is becoming aware. Maria wants you to take a fearless inventory of what you have left undone.  Write out whatever “is true about it,” she says.  Use specific facts.

1.  Have you balanced your checkbook to the penny?
2.  Do you have all the insurance you should?
3.  Do you have a will or revocable living trust? 
4.  Do you have a durable power of attorney?
5.  Tell some truths about your credit card situation.
6.  Have you put off any medical check ups?
7.  What about your car? Does it need repairs?  Any thing around it like unpaid parking tickets?
8.  Have you returned all rented items?
9.  Are you paying property taxes on time and in full?
10. Do you have the proper insurance for your profession?
11. Do you owe people money that you haven’t made arrangements to pay?
12. Does anyone owe you money?
13. Have you returned all borrowed items?
14. Are your financial records in order?
15. If you bill for your services, are your accounts receivable paid up?
16. Are you charging enough?
17. Are you giving your children the allowance you promised so they can learn to handle money?
18. Is your desk in order?  Your closet?  Your garage? (Gulp!)
19. Have you repaid student loans?
20. If applicable, have you set up an account to pay for your children’s education?
21. Is everything in your home repaired?
22. Have you gotten the professional help you need?
23. Do you have retirement accounts and plans?
24. Is there money saved for holidays?
25. Have you made arrangements to pay overdue bills?
26. Do you have a budget?  (Chellie Campbell calls it Baby U Deserve to Get Every Thing!)
27. Anything else that you can think of that’s unfinished?

Part Two: Taking Authentic Action
The first thing Maria asks is that, if we haven’t, to balance our checkbooks to the penny.  Frankly, I do mine on Quicken and it’s always balanced.  But then she wants us to take a least one authentic action toward completing everything on this list above that you found applies to you.  Do it within the next 2 weeks.  List the specific steps you will take and make a promise to yourself to do it. Maria says, “It is one of the most powerfully direct things you can do to prepare yourself for miracles in your relationship with money.”

Exercise: Fixing the Leaks in Your Conduits
We’re going to get even more aware.  In the next two weeks, Maria says to keep track of where and how you spend money to see whether you’re spending or leaking.  You can ask yourself the following questions ~

1.  Regarding the way I use money, what is the difference for me between leaking and spending? Where do I go unconscious when I spend money?  At a particular time, particular mood?  What do I buy at those times?  Do I put those items to good use?  Where do I spend consciously?  Do I value everything I buy?

2.  Is there a parallel here with how I leak or spend my time? Do I leak time with unimportant activity?  What am I doing?  Are they compulsive activities?  When do I usually leak time?  Do I make promises to myself or others that I don’t keep because of meaningless activities? Do I spend as much time as I want with family and friends?

3. If I fix the way I leak money, what will happen to the time I use to earn it? (Intriguing question.)

4.  Is it possible for me to work less and have more of what I truly want?  (Isn’t that the bottom line question?)

With every promise you keep, with every bit of unfinished business you close, you free up more energy to go where you wish to go.  And you begin to lead the dance.

We start on Part IV next week, “Staying the Course.”

From the book, “The Energy of Money” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

Forgiveness is a tricky thing.  Many people balk at the thought.  How can I ever forgive so and so for doing this terrible thing?  Forgiveness, Dr. Nemeth says, “releases energy that’s bound to judgements and assessments of people for what they did in the past, whether distant or recent.”  To me that says forgiveness is all about you. About cleaning out and letting go of the worn out stories that you’ve been telling over and over, keeping the transgression alive. Staying in the unforgiven state keeps you tied to this person or this incident, as long as you continue to hold on.

What people do is what they do.  I believe that everyone believes what they’re doing, in the moment, is the “right” thing to do.  You can’t always know a person’s motivations. If they did it deliberately to hurt you, they must have had their own good reason for it. This is, by no means, at all, excusing bad or miscreant behavior.  It is only to say that the reasons why are irrelevant. They belong to someone else and they do not alter what has happened.

Dr. Nemeth goes onto explain, “It’s a bit like splitting the bonds of an atom, and the net effect is movement and power on your path toward your dream.  You will move more quickly on your path if you forgive.”  Bottom line: Forgiveness is an inside job.  Forgetting is not a part of the equation.  Neither is confessing.  Remembering helps you to heal and supports you in the future.  The person you are forgiving doesn’t even need to be present in your life or on the planet.  But forgiveness can free up energy for you.

The first step Dr. Nemeth advises us to take in releasing this burden is to see what it is we’re saying about it.  Looking directly at our thoughts and seeing them in all their glory.  Generally speaking, we find it’s a huge body of work to be carrying around! 

The second step is rather profound, I think, and may help the skeptics accept this process. It gets over that hump of saying, but it was so horrible, how can I ever forgive?   “You must become willing to relinquish the permission you give yourself to entertain these thoughts.”  It has nothing to do with the other person.  It’s not excusing it in any way.  It’s just saying I’m going to stop rehashing it over and over again.

It is an act of courage to let go of how you’ve been hurt.  But this process is about shifting what Dr. Nemeth talked about in the last chapter: these “Structures of Knowing” which we have built for ourselves.  Forgiveness is about being willing to let it go, (to see that the box isn’t even there), that’s all.  And she reminds us to not get discouraged if the thoughts creep up again. The “Monkey Mind” chatter in our heads may take awhile to catch up to the forgiveness we’ve already accepted in our hearts.

Much of what we say about others is contained in another level of structure of knowing called Characterizations.  Dr. Nemeth doesn’t offer a handy definition for it, but I would say it’s simply less-than-loving thoughts about another person.  She describes it as talk that is “negative, pointing to the other person’s shortcomings.”  It has an air of “finality, even resignation about the situation.”

It’s easy to see these characterizations are all coming from you. You are the one constructing them.  And these characterizations don’t change the basic personality (or the behavior) of the other. All they do is “keep the two of you tied together in a way that stunts your growth and theirs.”

Have you ever noticed how once you have a judgment about a person, maybe, “he’s always late,” there seems to stack up overwhelming evidence that you are Right?  He was late a couple times for something and then, again, many months later, he is late again.  Even if he has a good excuse, he is late once more!  The Dr. says this, “The mind continues to collect data to flesh out the structure and prove itself correct.”  It doesn’t stop there.  Discounting is a dastardly thing and often happens when you’re in this characterization mode.  Maybe last week he was early for something, but you don’t see that.  And, Dr. Nemeth adds, it doesn’t stop with you.  You put a thought in someone else’s head about this tardy guy and soon others think of him as “always late.”  I remember when I was in college, in a new, small town, my brother pointed out that when someone says, “What a great person Eloise is!” it tends to leave you more open to getting to know Eloise, that great person.

You can’t get out of this by stopping your thoughts.  What you resists persists.  Especially when you’re deep in collecting evidence mode!  Instead, Dr. Nemeth says, just observe what’s going on and tell the truth about it.  Some of your thoughts might  be over the top. Some may not even be relevant any more.  “When you give up permission to dance with your characterizations, they no longer shape you . . . you liberate yourself.” Sounds to me like a much better path than lugging around all that baggage!

“You cannot let go of anything unless you are aware of it,” Dr. Nemeth said. So let’s get aware!

Forgiveness Exercises:
Exercise 1: Stepping Toward Forgiveness.
This is another mind mapping exercise. (You write the word in the middle of a piece of paper and then draw lines out from it with other thoughts.) Dr. Nemeth says to choose a dream or goal that you haven’t attained.  Find a word or two that will describe it and start mind mapping all the reasons and excuses you have for not attaining it.

When you’ve laid it all out, think about the people who have gotten in your way.  Write down what happened.  “Don’t worry about being uncharitable,” Dr. Nemeth says, “just be honest.”

She’d like to know what you feel as you do this.  What feelings come up when you think about this, when you’re with that person?  “This is not traveling light,” she adds. Ask yourself: “If this person were never in my life, would I have gotten what it is I say I want?”

If you weren’t able to find a person, look behind reasons like, “I don’t have enough money.”  Dr. Nemeth says, eventually, you will find a person.  Ultimately, the story is always about a person. Remember, she says, “when you forgive another person you cease to use what they did as a reason that your dreams and goals failed to materialize.”

This is a courageous act, but you will see that you have been using this as an excuse to not move forward.  You can be willing to stop it.  Or as my teacher, Paulette Terrels says, be willing to be willing, even if you can’t quite get to willing, yet.

Exercise 2: The Forgiveness Process
First, you need to be willing to forgive this person.(Dr. Nemeth suggests starting with someone who is not a parent, and fairly easy to work with to get used to the process.)  Draw an oval on a sheet of paper that covers the whole page.  Write the person’s name at the top.  Fill in the oval with all the thoughts, feelings, judgements and attitudes you have about them. Again, “Be as picky, unmerciful and derisive as you like.” I do this in my journal, frequently.  I find that spilling out everything on paper dissipates the energy, makes it easier to hold and calms me down.  By the time I write about what a horrible bitch she was to me and how could she, I’ve lost steam and it doesn’t matter any more. 

Dr. Nemeth was asked, why bring all this nasty stuff up?  Her answer was, if you can remember it, it’s still with you “festering away.”  Now’s the time to get rid of it!

When you feel like you’ve written it all, write, “And anything else.”  Just in case you come up with a few more later.

Then there is a meditation.  (She says there is “tape” of it through the Sounds True catalog, but I couldn’t find it.  If anyone wants the text, I’ll type it up and send it to you.) Basically, it goes like this.  You sit comfortably in a chair, back straight, feet on the floor.  Put your piece of paper on your lap and let your hands rest on it.  Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  In your minds eye, see the person coming toward you and watch that person sit in a chair in front of you. Note how they look.

Then you need to answer the following questions with a yes or no.  There is nothing in between.  If there are qualifications, the answer is no. 

1.  Are you willing to forgive this person totally?  To let go of everything on the paper?

2.  Are you wiling to forgive this person absolutely?  Give up your favorite stories about them?

3.  Are you willing to forgive this person unconditionally? Give up permission to entertain characterizations now and forever?

Dr. Nemeth says it’s okay if you’re not ready yet to say yes to all the questions. The fact that you’re there means you have opened your heart to the possibility.  You are willing to be willing.

If there’s something you want to say to the person, while still in that state, do it. Listen and see if they have anything to say to you.  Are you willing to listen?

If you like, you can hug or shake hands with that person.  Maybe part with a final word. Watch them get up and walk away.

She ends the meditation with this question: “Would it be all right with you to discover how courageous you are, and that all is well?”  I love questions like that!

When you’re done, Dr Nemeth says, tear up the piece of paper and throw it away.  Then, wash your hands, and wash your hands of the stories. You might want to write down how you feel afterwards. 

Then watch to see how you, the other person, or the energy shifts for you.  See what kind of energy arises in you.

Next week is about making and keeping promises.

Part III: Clearing the Path From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

This chapter teaches us how to observe and take apart our structures of knowing. “A structure of knowing is a mental model of how things work.” Maria tells us that it “ . . .organizes everything we know about the world.” In other words, our paradigms. What we know to be true about life. We need to learn to see what’s working for us and what isn’t. Those structures of knowing that are holding us back are stealing our energy. “Keep them past their time,” Maria adds, “and you experience stagnation. Dare to release them and you create the future.” As always, it’s about being aware.

How do you know when you have a structure of knowing that isn’t working for you? Usually when you are absolutely certain that what you think and feel is the only correct way, you’re probably stuck in a structure of knowing. Maria tells us, “when your body gets tight and your mind feels overheated,” you are in caught in a structure of knowing.

Use your Standards of Integrity and your Life’s Intentions as a yard stick to measure if what you’ve been telling yourself is relevant. The thoughts that swirl around your head and tell you it’s the only way can be valid, but not necessarily relevant. With Coach by the Lake, I’ve been using the Wheel of Life. How many areas of my Wheel of Life (the areas of my life that are important to me, like career, money, home, friends, etc.) will be affected? Recently I had to make a decision about whether to take a class or not. There were several valid reasons why I couldn’t do it. But, as my coach showed me, this class would fit in several places on my Wheel of Life. It will support my Life’s Intentions and keep with my Standard’s of Integrity. It is relevant. I promptly signed up.

Discovering these things can bring on confusion. Monkey Mind doesn’t like not knowing. But if you allow yourself to be with it, if you accept that state of confusion, and breathe through it, something amazing starts to happen. As you ponder the possibility of something else, you’re likely to enter the state of paradox. Maria defines paradox as “a self-canceling statement or thought that forces the mind into a sort of logical gridlock.” When that happens a new point of view has a chance to arise.

If you can be with these uncomfortable feelings for awhile, before you take action, you create space for miracles.

Miracles are interesting happenings. Something can start out as a miracle. Maria described watching someone ride a two-wheel bike when you were little. How amazing it seemed that they could keep themselves upright! But then you tried it, you did it and it became of your everyday life.

This, to me, sums it all up: “When you discern a miracle and interact with it, the scope of your structure of knowing expands to incorporate the event. If you keep stretching your structures of knowing, there will always be another miracle within reach.”

Now, let’s get to the exercises:

Exercise: Your Structures of Knowing Money
This is an interesting exercise. Some call it mind mapping. You take a big piece of paper and write money in the center of it. Then, draw lines from it and write any word or phrase that comes into your head when you think about money. I circle each one. The idea is to fill the piece of paper with everything you think, feel and say about Money. Your entire structure of knowing about money. Maria offers a few starters to get you going:

  • What it will take for me to have all the money I want.
  • What I know I am right about regarding money.
  • Why I want money.
  • What I must give up to have money.
  • What I think and feel about others who have lots of money.
  • How having more money will change my life or the lives of loved ones.
  • What I will be able to do with more money that I cannot do now.

When you’ve exhausted everything (she suggests giving it an hour’s time) you take colored pens and circle themes and repeated patterns. You are to keep this colorful representation close by and look at it for three days. Observe it, looking for any more patterns. Maria says you can use a red dot on those things that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy and a blue dot on those things that make you feel good. Two weeks after doing this, Maria wants us to look for miracles around money – how we feel and what we know about it.

I can’t really share my mind map here. But I can say this: I have done work on my money structures of knowing, so most of my mind map was positive. I have had money before and I know all the wonderful things it can deliver. What keeps coming up for me though, is that you have to work hard to have money. I can’t seem to shake that for some reason . . . So that even when the path to money is good and fun, I have to make it hard to make it valid.

Exercise: Dismantling through Authentic Action.

Maria defines dismantling as taking off the cover. If you take the cover off, you can see things much better. She wants us to do something that is totally out of the realm of what we usually do.

1. For three days, resolve to pay for everything with cash.
2. Put all your credits cards in a place where you cannot easily get to them for one week.
3. The next three times you go grocery shopping, put 10 percent of what you just spent in the charity box at the checkout counter.
4. Tell someone you know and trust how much money you make each month.

Write about your experiences doing these things and your reactions. Do they create a shift in your experience of money? What new thoughts or feelings arise?

I don’t have any credit cards. And there just isn’t much to report on the money-making front just now. I don’t seem to have an issue about confessing that, anyway. I will try the grocery shopping donation and see what happens. Not really a big stretch for me. Maybe I can come up with a couple “out of the box” ideas I can use. I will ponder this.

Maria ends the chapter by encouraging us to have what the Buddhist’s call “beginner’s mind.” That fresh place where all the world is a miracle!

Next week is about the blessed art of forgiveness.

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

Scarcity is: “The mind’s experience of the limits that are a rational part of physical reality.”  So scarcity is merely an experience.  It’s not something that’s true.

There is a rational and natural limit of time and energy.  If you take away the limits, you take away the usefulness.  We can only work with these energies because they are limited.  The idea is to become masterful, to learn to work within and appreciate these natural limits.

Limits are useful.  It’s our perception of them that gets us into trouble.  We need to face these limitations, look them dead on. Maria reminds us that “if you are willing to learn from your dragons, you turn them into allies.  But you must first ask to see the lesson they bring.”  What is the wisdom and what can we learn from our experience of scarcity?

The truth is that most of us try to get more to eliminate the feeling of scarcity.  But the truth is, the more you get, the more scarcity seems to grow, the more scarcity you perceive. 

Using affirmations (or food) to cover up negative thoughts doesn’t work.  Instead, Shakti Gawain suggests that if you use affirmations to remind yourself of something that already is (and combine it with Authentic Action) you’ve got something that can work for you.  Affirming that way can turn your perception of scarcity into something positive. But merely saying “I’m rich” over and over, Maria says, won’t do it.  I’d like to think it will.  But I agree that it takes a lot of energy to cover up the negative that way.

Deprivation is one way we convince ourselves of scarcity.  I don’t have enough.  I find this works very well with food, too.  Maria says, “As soon as we start thinking we deserve something, we create a need.“ She poses this question: “Instead of having what you deserve, what would it be like for you to simply have what you want?”  I like that. Simple and to the point. We may think we want more stuff, certain things, particular people, luscious desserts, but, she says, what we really want is “rest, time, meaning and connection with others.”

I’m seeing this in my Creating Space work.  Discerning what’s really important to me.  The Standards of Integrity that we do in this program help us to see what we really need in our lives.  What’s important to us.

It comes down to being aware and facing our shadow side, our negative thoughts, without covering them up with affirmations, food, or spending sprees.  “The Shadow Side,” Maria offers a good definition as always, “simply means the side that the light of consciousness hasn’t yet shined upon.” Seems a whole lot less scary to look at it that way.  Whatever you most don’t want to look at is probably what you most need to see.  That’s your shadow.  And until you shine a light on it, it will continue to fester and sabotage you.

Maria shares a lengthy, beautiful quote from Pema Chodron (I apologize for the lack of accent marks in her name.)  She talks about this notion we all seem to have that the point is to avoid pain and suffering.  But, as they describe so eloquently  in “Conversations with God,” God is manifesting Himself as an individuation in us in order to experience Himself and everything around Him. She ends the quote with “we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is. . . “ It’s all about experiencing everything, as it is.

What you resist persists. The only way to transmute the pain and the pleasure is to feel it, experience it, embrace it.  In the end it is an illusion anyway.  This notion of Scarcity is a construct of the mind.  Ignoring it won’t make it go away.

Exercise: Encounter the Dragon

Part One: An Overall Pictures of the Dragon.
1.  What issues, problems or concerns do I have about money?  There’s a good exercise!  To spill out on paper all your scattered and passionate thoughts about money.  It was a good, cleansing experience for me.  And you know what I found out?  Very surprising.  That Money is probably not as much an issue for me as Time and how I use it.

2.  What do I say or think about myself for having these issues, problems or concerns? This is an interesting one, too.  She says to keep at until you have six statements.  I’ve done a lot of work in this area, but remain frustrated by the lingering scarcity issues.  I tend to think that the world-at-large promotes it.

3.  What are my major blunders regarding money?  I think I‘ve not had money long enough to have any serious blunders.  She’s talking about gambling, signing bad contracts, investing in the wrong places . . .  Sure, I’ve messed up and bounced a check now and again, but nothing that destroyed my finances.  I think sometimes my blunders come in the form of reluctance.  I didn’t sign the deal I should have . . .   I didn’t do what it took to get what I wanted.

4.  Whom have I blamed for my difficulties with money?  Again, I’ve done some work here, so I have little blame for others. My parents didn’t have good money attitudes. But they came out of the Depression and taught me just what they knew.  I don’t blame them.  If there’s blame to be passed around it’s usually just to myself.  Which, I think, ties this into Question 2. At least for me.

At the conclusion of this part, Maria wants us to notice how answering these questions makes us feel.  Overall, I found it cleansing.  I feel like I’ve gotten some good insights, too.  It was a little scary to really look at my attitudes and concerns.  But in the end I feel better for it.

Part Two: Dragon Prints in the Sand. 
This is a tougher one.  You are to take each word listed below and write about a specific incident that illustrates it.  She warns to “do your best to cut out rationalizations or justifications . . . “ Just get to the heart of the matter.
I was surprised to find that I had an incident for a number of these, but there were some I couldn’t find any.  Maybe that’s good.  I’m not very greedy.

Maria says this exercise should make you feel lighter.  I’d say it did.  “Like a person removing heavy armor that is awkward and bulky. . . “ For someone who has never done this kind of work, it’s a tremendous step forward!

Part Three: Discovering the Magic in the Dragon.  (I always like the happy part best.)
1.  What choices would I make if I no longer held scarcity at bay?  I think she means what would I do if I didn’t experience scarcity?  What fun!  What I discovered is that I’m doing what I want to be doing, just with the scarcity notions.  How wonderful it would be to do without that!

2.  Recall a time when you faced and learned from a limitation.  What was it?  I’d have to say that I discovered that the times I have done this many wonderful exciting ideas came out of it.  The world abounds with stories of how people have overcome adversities.  It’s a beautiful thing.

3.  If I were to simplify my life, what would I do with my money?  Time can work well here, too.  What would you give to, invest in, support, buy if you weren’t worried about the next dollar?  What would you do if you felt you had plenty of time?

It’s an amazing thing to transform your perception of scarcity into something that can work for you. When you see your fears clearly it’s a whole lot easier to get a handle on them. Without an overarching sense of scarcity, the way is clear for abundance to flow in many areas.  It literally frees up that energy.

Next week we transform the blocks we’ve discovered!

I have decided to work the Energy of Money course, by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.  From her marvelous, 1997 book “The Energy of Money, A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment.”

The first chapter, “What is the Energy of Money?” doesn’t offer any exercises, but, like she does, I will give an overview of what this is all about.

We are beings of energy. Everything that flows around us is energy.  In this book Dr. Nemeth works with the energy of money, time, physical vitality, enjoyment, creativity and the support of friends.  The book teaches us to become conscious conduits of energy.  When you can direct the energy of money, you will be successful.  Dr. Nemeth defines success as “doing what you say you’re going to do, with ease.”  Flowing the energy of money makes it easier.

In creating these conduits, Dr. Nemeth takes us on a “hero’s journey.” I like that mythology.  It conjures up all kinds of visions.  Certainly it requires us to leave what’s been comfortable and safe and strike out on new adventures.  Dr Nemeth warns us that “. . .  the easy life includes the experience of discomfort.  It is when we try to avoid naturally occurring pain or discomfort that life becomes difficult.”  Alan Cohen adds, “Do not resist events that move you out of your comfort zone, especially when your comfort zone was not all that comfortable.”

Dr Nemeth tells us that what we contribute to the world is what makes us heroes.  Living out our deepest passions and dreams is really the best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone else.  “ . . . when we know that we are making a larger contribution, when we know that our personal goals are also helping our business succeed or when we know that being financially successful will also put our children through college, we are using the energy of money heroically.”

If our purpose in this enlightenment game is to become more awake, more aware, she goes onto ask, “What if waking up really means seeing how to conduct yourself powerfully in your everyday, regular life in the real world?” Makes sense.  It’s a whole different ball game to be spiritually enlightened on a mountain top where your entire existence is dedicated to it.  It’s quite another when you have children, a spouse, friends, work, shopping to do, events to attend, bills to pay . . .

In the book is an interesting map of the way energy works.  In the metaphysical reality energy is “undifferentiated.” As it becomes an idea it takes on more shape.  When you set an intention of how you want it to be, it becomes more congealed.  Then the energy must pass through into the physical reality to become a solid goal and manifest itself.

Dr. Nemeth talks at length about the problem spot she calls “Trouble at the Border.”  The energy of a new idea is vibrant and strong.  But when you actually get to making it happen, you get scared.  The doubts come up.  The fear encroaches.  Next thing you know you’ve talked yourself out of it. 

This chatter is referred to in Buddhist circles as “Monkey Mind.”  You can recognize Monkey Mind talk because it is incessant and does not support. The author says, “The energy cost is tremendous when we divert the time and attention that could be energizing our dreams into concerns of failure.” Dr Nemeth contends that successful people are those that don’t listen to Monkey Mind, but instead use that energy for other purposes.  They are able to push their dreams and visions through the Trouble at the Border and keep going until their ideas become reality. Successful people use their fears and doubts as guides, not as reasons to quit.

Dr Nemeth wants us to ground our goals and dreams in what she terms “Life Intentions.”  Like intending to be a successful author, a good parent, an adventurer, or physically fit . . . She calls them “. . . blueprints for what happens in physical reality.” She says the best way to feel good about our goals and energize them is to select goals that come out of these Life Intentions. She uses that delightful definition of goal as “an area or object toward which play is directed in order to score.” To be a successful author, a goal might be to publish a book.  To be an adventurer, our goal might be to take an eco-tour of Mexico.

The process begins, she says, with doing the work on ourselves in the metaphysical reality to clear the way and then taking what she refers to as  “Authentic Action” in the physical reality.  This Authentic Action is not busywork, but actions that move us closer to our goal.

Dr. Nemeth wants us to become conduits of the energy of money.  Whatever discomforts we feel can be re-channeled so we use our fears and unease to let us know what we need.  We can learn, as Libby Gill advises, to focus our energies toward what we want and away from what we don’t want.

Next week I’ll start working the exercises.

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