Archive for May, 2011

29 may

The True Opportunities to Express Love

MotiRonit

The expression of love does not require a special holiday, particularly in a couple’s relationship. We have an opportunity to re-embrace and ignite the spark in our relationship several times a year, not just on major holidays, birthdays, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and other special occasions. We certainly recognize our partner’s achievement on Valentine’s Day, and traditionally express our love to our significant others by giving scripted cards and gifts. For a moment our relationship with our loved one feels re-energized. On this day, the opportunity to affirm our affection and feelings of affinity towards our significant others arrives, via a structurally set date on the calendar.

This occasion, Valentine’s Day, is also an opportunity for couples to reaffirm their commitment to one another, from rewriting their vows to finding various ways to celebrate each other and the relationship. Partners can reignite their passion and bring back the vitality into their union. While particular dates on the calendar reawaken the chance to express our love, many couples neglect those elements of the relationship during the rest of the year. Couples may take the relationship for granted and leave it vulnerable and untended.

So, why can’t every day become an opportunity to celebrate the relationship? Why do lovers need to wait or depend on a special occasion to express love to one another?

The “Ego 2 Heart” listening and communication practice for couples emphasizes the daily awareness to reach couples’ intimate connectedness. It supports a daily cultivation of the relationship through non-judgmental listening and communicating. The following are amongst some of the daily opportunities to express love and deepen your intimate bond.

  1. It is helpful to remember that our partner is the other half of self. When we communicate daily, positive affirmations, support and affection, it empowers our partner and strengthens the relationship.
  2. Remain mindful to give as much as we receive, talk as much as we listen and provide pleasure as much as we enjoy receiving it. It helps to explain our likes and dislikes, what makes us feel good, what turns us on. We need to share and encourage our partner to do the same.
  3. Giving your partner space and taking time for self individually can be energetically replenishing. We need to keep in mind the importance of surprise, humor, playfulness, spontaneity, adventure and creativity. Break the routine by exploring new places and activities together such as camping, traveling to an exotic place and spending time in nature.

These are only a few of the various opportunities to express love and deepen our relationships. Showing your vulnerability and expressing to your partner a heartfelt affirmation such as, “I want you to know how important you are to me in my life. Who you are makes the difference in my life,” can further deepen your intimacy,

Dr. Moti Peleg & Ronit

For more information on Dr. Moti and Ronit Peleg, Ego to Heart workshops, their Oprah Show appearance and their upcoming book, “Destined Encounter,” go to www.ego2heart.org.

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Posted by Moti & Ronit Peleg on May 29th, 2011 in Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

26 may

The Wolf of Hate

The Wolf of Hate I heard a story once about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.”

This story always gives me a little shiver. It’s both humbling and hopeful. First, the wolf of love is very popular, but who among us does not also harbor a wolf of hate? We can hear its snarling both far away in distant wars and close to home in our own anger and aggression, even toward people we love. Second, the story suggests that we each have the ability—grounded in daily actions—to encourage and strengthen empathy, compassion, and kindness while also restraining and reducing ill will, disdain, and aggression.

In my previous post, I explored some of the basis, in the brain, of romance and love. In this one, let’s consider the dark side of bonding: how attachment to “us” both fuels and has been nurtured by fearful aggression toward “them.” Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on May 26th, 2011 in Health, Relationships, Spirituality | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 may

The Evolution of Love

The Evolution of Love How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet?

Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse.

On the one hand, we have the greatest capacities for empathy, communication, friendship, romance, complex social structures, and altruism. On the other, we have the greatest capacities for shaming, emotional cruelty, sadism, envy, jealousy, discrimination and other forms of dehumanization, and wholesale slaughter of our fellow humans.

In other words, to paraphrase a Native American teaching, a wolf of love and a wolf of hate live in the heart of every person.

Many factors shape each of these two wolves, including biological evolution, culture, economics, and personal history. Here, I’d like to comment on key elements of the neural substrate of bonding and love; Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on May 19th, 2011 in Family, General, Health, Relationships | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 may

The Importance of Live Conversations

MikeRobbinsNewHave you ever had a conversation, disagreement, or conflict escalate over email? Do you sometimes find yourself engaging in difficult or emotional conversations electronically because it seems “easier,” only to regret it later on? If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, you can probably answer “yes” to both of these questions.

In the past few months I’ve had a couple conflicts with important people in my life get blown way out of proportion, mainly because I engaged in them via email, instead of talking live to those involved. As I look back on these and other similar situations I’ve experienced in the past, I can see that it was my fear to connect live and my poor judgment in using written communication that contributed to the increased conflict and lack of resolution.

Why do we do this (even though most of us, myself included, know better)? First of all, email (or other forms of electronic communication – texting, Facebook, Twitter, and more), tends to be the primary mode of communication these days for many of us – both personally and professionally.

Second of all, it can sometimes seem easier for us to be honest and direct in writing because we can say what is true for us without having to worry about the in-the-moment reaction of the other person.

And third, electronic communication (or even one-way verbal communication, i.e. voice mail) takes way less courage than having a live, real conversation with another human being (on the phone or in person). When we talk to people live we have to deal with our fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, and our tendency to “sell out” on ourselves and not speak our full truth. Avoiding the live conversation and choosing to do it in writing sometimes feels “safer” and can allow us to say things we might otherwise withhold.

Regardless of why we choose to engage in important conversations via these one-way forms of communication (email, text, voice mail, etc.), it is much less likely for us to work through conflicts, align with one another, and build trust and connection when we avoid talking to each other live about important stuff.

Anything we’re willing to engage in electronically can usually be resolved much more quickly, effectively, and lovingly by having a live conversation, even if we’re scared to do so. The fear may be real, but most often the “threat” is not.

Here are some things you can do to practice engaging in live conversations with people more often and, ultimately, to resolve your conflicts more successfully.

1) Be clear about your intention – Before sending an email, text, etc. (or even leaving a voice mail), ask yourself, “What’s my intention?” If you’re about to engage in something that is in any way emotionally charged, about a conflict, or important on an inter-personal level, check in to make sure you’re not simply sending the message to avoid dealing with it and the person(s) involved directly. Tell the truth to yourself about how you feel, what you want, and why you’re about to engage in the specific type and form of communication you’re choosing.

2) Don’t send everything you write – Writing things out without a filter and just letting all of our thoughts and feelings flow can be a very important exercise, especially when we’re dealing with a conflict or something that’s important to us. However, we don’t always have to send everything we write! It’s often a good idea to save an email in your drafts folder and read it again later (maybe after you’ve calmed down a bit or even the following day).

3) Request a call or a meeting – Before engaging in a long, emotional email exchange, it can often be best to simply pick up the phone or send a note to request a specific time to talk about the situation live. Face to face is always best if you can make it happen, but if that poses a big challenge (i.e. you’re busy and it might take a while to set up) or is not possible (i.e. you don’t live close enough to the person to see them easily), talking on the phone is another option. A great email response can simply be, “Thanks for your note, this seems like something that would better to discuss live than by email, let’s set up a time to talk later today or this week.”

4) Speak your truth, without judgment or blame – When you do engage in the live conversation (in person or on the phone), focus on being REAL, not RIGHT. This means that you speak your truth by using “I statements,” (I think, I feel, I notice, I want, etc.). As soon as we move into blame or judgment, we cut off the possibility of any true resolution. Own your judgments and notice if you start to blame the other person(s) involved. If so, acknowledge it, apologize for it, and get back to speaking your truth in a real way, not accusing them of stuff.

5) Get support from others - When we’re dealing with emotionally charged conflicts, it’s often a good idea to reach out for support from other people we trust and respect. If at all possible, try to get feedback from people who will be honest with you, won’t just tell you what you want to hear and agree with you no matter what, and who aren’t too emotionally connected to the situation themselves. Whether it is to bounce ideas off of, get specific coaching or feedback, or simply to help you process through your own fear, anger, or tendency to over-react (which many of us do in situations like this), getting support from those around us in the process is essential. We don’t have to do it alone and we’re not the only ones who struggle with things like this.

Living life, doing our work, and interacting with the other human beings around us can be wonderfully exciting and incredibly challenging (or anywhere in between). Conflicts are a natural and beautiful part of life and relationships. We can learn so much about ourselves and others through engaging in productive conflict and important conversations.

The ultimate goal isn’t to live a conflict-free life; it’s to be able to engage in conflict in a way that is productive, healthy, kind, and effective. When we remember that live conversations, even if they can be scary at first, are always the best way to go, we can save ourselves from needless worry, stress and suffering – and in the process resolve our conflicts much more quickly, easily, and successfully.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on May 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

12 may

Put No One Out of Your Heart

RickHansonWhat is an open heart?
The Practice
Put no one out of your heart.
Why?

We all know people who are, ah, . . . challenging. It could be a critical parent, a bossy supervisor, a relative who has you walking on eggshells, a nice but flaky friend, a co-worker who just doesn’t like you, a partner who won’t keep his or her agreements, or a politician you dislike. Right now I’m thinking of a neighbor who refused to pay his share of a fence between us.

As Jean-Paul Sartre put it: “Hell is other people.”

Sure, that’s overstated. But still, most of a person’s hurts, disappointments, and irritations typically arise in reactions to other people.

Ironically, in order for good relationships to be so nurturing to us as human beings – who have evolved to be the most intimately relational animals on the planet – you must be so linked to others that some of them can really rattle you!

So what can you do?

Let’s suppose you’ve tried to make things better – such as taking the high road yourself and perhaps also trying to talk things out, pin down reasonable agreements, set boundaries, etc. – but the results have been partial or nonexistent.

At this point, it’s natural to close off to the other person, often accompanied by feelings of apprehension, resentment, or disdain. While the brain definitely evolved to care about “us,” it also evolved to separate from, fear, exploit, and attack “them” – and those ancient, neural mechanisms can quickly grab hold of you.

But what are the results? Closing off doesn’t feel good. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on May 12th, 2011 in Family, General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 may

Healthy Thinking: Using Your Mind to Help Heal Body, Heart and Soul

You probably know what it takes to live a healthy life, right? Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, take vitamins – maybe add in some fish oil for cardiovascular health. Make sure you get enough protein, carbohydrates, and lean fats. Fortunately for many, healthy eating and exercise have become more and more a way of life. You know the list of do’s and don’ts to keep your body strong and fit.

What is less well known is how your thoughts influence your physical, emotional, and even spiritual health. Your mind is an extremely powerful instrument that can be either a friend or foe. For most, left to its own devices, the mind is a foe, and can lead to pain, difficulty, and suffering. With a little bit of effort and awareness, however, the mind can become a friend. As a friend, your mind can be used as a powerful asset to help promote your health and well-being on all levels.

Understanding Your Mind – Friend or Foe

Is your mind your friend or your foe? If you are like most, your mind bombards you with concerns, worry, anxiety, negative self-talk and a barrage of other nonsense.

Your mind may harass you about being good enough or healthy enough. It might critique you for making “poor” decisions. Are you being a good enough mother to your children? Are you a loving enough partner? Are you taking good enough care of your physical body?

And then let’s not forget gnawing concerns about physical appearance. The mind may lament: “I have too many wrinkles.” “How did my butt get so big?” “What should I do about these sun spots?”

Does this list sound at all familiar? You can probably write your own – your unique “flavor” of negative mental messages. These messages range from annoying to downright tyrannical. They are tyrannical because they control your life.

What kind of life can you live when your mind harasses you constantly with these types of concerns and worries?

It is my contention that true health is impossible when you live with a tyrannical mind. And most people do. You can eat all the right foods, do all the right exercises, take all the best supplements, and have a wonderful mix of alternative and conventional medical care. Yet if you are a slave to your thoughts, believing every mental message that the mind produces, how can you be truly healthy?

The mind-body connection is by now well-known and documented throughout the scientific literature. If your mind is producing stress, anxiety, and insecurity, whether that is through making you believe that you are not quite good enough the way you are, or that something is wrong with you, or making you worry and stress about situations over which you have no control, this mental turbulence has a very real impact on your physical health and well-being.

The tragedy is that most people live enslaved by their minds – their thoughts, beliefs, mental patterns and emotions. The triumph is that with a little awareness and effort, you can begin to free yourself from the tyranny of your mind and move toward true health and well-being.

Freeing the Mind – Breaking Free from the Thoughts and Beliefs that Confine You

So, how do you break free from this ceaseless and controlling mind-chatter?

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take that will help you find freedom from a controlling, and even debilitating mind.

Step #1: Become aware of the thoughts that you think

Before you can break free from your negative thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about yourself, your body, and your life, you must first become aware of the thoughts that you think on a regular basis.

What thoughts and beliefs are being generated in your mind? Everyone has thoughts, messages, “tapes” if you will, that run through the mind. Without awareness, these thoughts control you and dictate your life. Yet as you become aware of the thoughts you think on a regular basis, you can gradually begin to loosen the control they have over your life.

There is no practice more important or more impactful in breaking free from the thoughts that control you than the practice of meditation. Over time, a regular meditation practice makes you more aware of the thoughts that are being generated by your mind. With meditation, you discover that you are not the thoughts you think. You are not the messages and voices inside your head. Over time, meditation will gradually help lessen the grip and hold that your thoughts have over your life. The amazing thing about meditation is that simply by practicing meditation, you will become more aware of the thoughts you think on a regular basis.

Step #2: Recognize that they are false

Before you become aware of your thoughts, they control you absolutely. As you become aware of them, you can begin to notice that they control you. You can begin to notice how they control you. The next step in breaking free from them is recognizing that they are false. You have to realize that they are simply messages, usually learned in early childhood, and they are false. They are not about you and should not be allowed to control your life.

Step#3: Refuse to believe them

The next step is refusing to believe them. As you begin to see more clearly that these false messages run through your mind, you can make a decision to not believe them. You can recognize that they are false – false messages running through your mind. As such, they should not be listened to and should be ignored.

It is like music running in the background. You can carry about your business, go about your life, and ignore the negative thoughts and beliefs. Disregard them, don’t listen to them – completely ignore them. As you practice this, gradually over time they will lessen and recede more and more.

In this way, you can use your awareness to free yourself from the negative thoughts that you think.

As the mind becomes free from these negative messages and beliefs, it can be used as an ally to promote health. When you are listening to the negative thoughts and beliefs that run through your mind, it promotes dis-ease. As you become free from these voices, the energy of your mind is elevated to help you move toward true wellbeing.

SarahMariaSarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, for true, lasting healing. Visit BreakFreeBeauty.com to learn more.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Sarah Maria on May 11th, 2011 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

02 may

Coming Out of Survival: State of Nothing-Ness

WaniManleyState of Nothing-Ness

In the last two years, I’ve been on a path of personal and spiritual growth and development with enlightenment as the end goal. In other words, my understanding at the intellectual level is that this thing called life is just a movie and my entire life is a dream; I’m hell bent on actually seeing this. As I tread this journey, so much has been transformed and shifted in me fundamentally that I don’t recognize “me” anymore. One of my biggest shifts in the past year is that I’ve gone from a person always knowing exactly what I want, how I want it and when I want to a person of indecision and not having a clue at times as to what’s going on with me and what I want. To say the least, this has been very unsettling and quite uncomfortable. As a trained lawyer and groomed to be since age six has not helped matters either to be able to flow in this fluid and nebulous state. And so as I find myself in this fluid state, this state of Nothing-Ness as I call it, I’ve learn to make friends with the principle of “allowing;” that is, accepting things to be just as they are without any resistance. In this state of allowing, for a time period I have found myself directionless with no clear goals, stuck, lost, dazed, confused, just going through the motions, in a thick fog of “I don’t know what to do with my life” that has resulted in flat out paralysis and not doing anything but just “hanging out”; hence, in a state of Nothing-Ness.

Often times when I talk to others that are walking similar paths of growth, they too are stuck, paralyzed with the same classic symptoms in this state of Nothing-ness. With the purest of intentions, they tell me “let it be,” or that “It’s ok,” “Just allow it,” or “We’re all in the same boat.” For awhile, I went with this (but kicking and screaming), yet now, when I hear this, I say “BS; this is not OK.” I get pissed and my blood starts to boil. Why? Because, I know I am underperforming and I am not living up to my fullest potential. I even get more pissed off while in this state when I hear the words of Svami Purna one year ago in my very first retreat with him whereby he stated that “one must dissolve all the questions of what’s happening to you; the suffering, the heartache, disease, birth, house, work, partner, all the little things.” He further stated that “the great task is waiting for you and you get caught in all this low energy stuff,” that we “must resolve this today and this it is not okay not to know.” These words, anchored in my heart have never left me. There isn’t a day that goes by since hearing it where I haven’t contemplated on it. In this state of Nothing-ness, to add fuel to the fire, there’s a whole world out there relatively speaking and it’s as if I’m just straight chillin’ on the sidelines waiting for God knows what to happen for me to show up. The worse thing about it is that I can’t afford to just be chillin’ on the sidelines in this state of Nothing-Ness.

I realized not too long ago that this cycle I have been in whereabout I’ve been wandering without clear goals or direction, was necessary for my personal development and spiritual growth. Yet, lately, with each passing day recently, I am more and more not at ease and so I decided enough already and told the Universe that I wanted out of this state of Nothing-Ness, and I wanted answers right now, as to why I am so stuck as to what to do with this life. I also wanted to know, why, as motivated and determined as I am, do I still feel like the proverbial mouse on the mouse-wheel with my external life looking like its going straight to hell in a hand basket but I’ve got all this overwhelming and resounding presence of Grace in my life. As Svami Purna writes, “fortunate is he who meets a God-realized Being, Blessed is he who is able to learn from that Being.” I happened to have met four and prior to two years ago, I didn’t even know or understand such beings existed and now this is the company I keep. At issue for some time has been what to do with the rest of my life because I realized a long time, it clearly isn’t law as I have no passion for it. I wanted to get in touch with my life’s purpose. And so I went off to find my dharma. Shortly after asking the question, my dharma was delivered to me on a silver platter one night through a vision with step-by-step instructions on how to execute from Svami Purna. However, I am still peddling and tiptoeing with it and haven’t said “yes” to it yet the passion is there for it.

About two weeks ago I was sharing with a friend who is also on a path of inner growth about what was going on with me at the time and about my first experience with hypnosis and past life regression. My friend told me that I must (with emphasis) listen to an audio by Carolyn Myss, Ph.D. (hereinafter “Myss”) called Advanced Energy Anatomy, which she gave me. Until then, I had never heard of Myss who is a big wig in the field of human consciousness. The week before last, after returning from New York for a retreat, I found myself filled with overwhelming emotion and pain felt in my chest never felt before. I had no idea to what I was feeling, why I was feeling it and why it was so overpowering. At best, it felt like there was so much being repressed inside of me and the lid on top of it couldn’t hold it any long. I was constantly doing slow breathing, meditation including meditation by the beach, resting but nothing would make the pain go away. I knew nothing was wrong with me medically. Still I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the emotion was and why I was feeling the way I was. So later that same week, I mentioned it to another friend and she told me to dedicate a day to talk to God to find out what hell was going on with me. I agreed but decided to wait until the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I arose early at 5:00 am to meditate and made the dedication and intention stated above and told the Universe I wanted answers; I was loud and clear that I wanted answers that day. So I carried on with my day in inner retreat, meditation, and silence with the only outside noise streaming into my ears was Myss’ audio, which I had started listening to the day before at the beach. In resuming the audio that Saturday, I did not remember my stopping point. Tired of trying to find out exactly where I had left off exactly, I just picked a random beginning point on CD 4 and pushed the PLAY button on my iPod. As soon as I did, I saw an unmistakable explosive flash of white light go off (and no it wasn’t an electrical explosion) in front of my iPod speaker deck and I knew intuitively it was Angels speaking to me delivering this stern message: “Hey! Pay Attention;” Here comes your answer to all of your questions.” Aside from hearing a choir of angelic voices singing to me once, I had never had any conversation with Angels. Astonished by what I had just experienced, I stopped dead in my tracks what I was doing, which was folding clothes, and sat on my chaise lounge to listen to the audio as if to say my life depended on it. Somehow it felt like it. In this particular audio, Myss was talking about the four archeotypes we all have in our sub-conscious minds that is running our lives on automatic when you feel you’ve lost your power and are in survival with particular emphasis on our work and vocational life. The four archeotypes are 1) the Child; 2) the Victim; 3) the Saboteur; and 4) the Prostitute.

I had randomly selected the part in the audio where Myss was explaining how these archetypes steps in and the interplay between them when one receives a vocational calling upon one’s life such as I had. Towards the end of her discussion Myss gives two examples of two women who received such a calling and the two different responses each one took. Of particular interest was a woman Myss labeled a “Walking Potential.” Myss laid out how this “Walking Potential” received several callings in her life with everything lined up for her, yet each time she would do something to sabotage herself, not proceed and blame others. It was always everybody else’s fault. As I listened, I recognized and identified with this woman known as the “Walking Potential” and the self-sabotaging patterns but rather than blame others, I blame circumstances such lack of money and my mom. To further illustrate, Myss went on to give an account of doing a talk and a women similarly situated as the “Walking Potential,” and the woman came up to Myss and told her Myss she was afraid of success. Myss told the woman how preposterous that is and what a lame excuse this statement and asked the woman for permission to tell her what was really going on with her. The woman consented. Right then and there, I felt intense heat on the back of my neck and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Again, I intuitively knew it was Angels speaking to me and this time the message was, “Here it is kid.”

Myss poignantly told the woman that it wasn’t that she was afraid of success but instead the woman didn’t want the responsibility of what success brings if she were to follow her inner vocation calling . Myss continued that the woman knew that if she took the bait of her vocational calling, her life would be changed forever and changed dramatically, that she’d have to get up and work, do real work, and that she could no longer have the care-free life she had and not having to really work work. Myss stated to the woman “you are afraid of responsibility because if your job did become the least bit successful, what terrifies you is you’d have to change your lifestyle, you’d have to get up early put in more hours, you couldn’t spend that much time on the couch anymore, you’d have to actually work, and she didn’t want to work.” The woman affirmed everything Myss said. Myss elaborated “this woman wanted her mind and fantasies to have a career.” Myss explained to the woman that her “fantasies were employed, which didn’t pay much and you can get high on a fantasy career, imagining what you could, and if you find someone you could blame for not doing what you could do, you’d be semi-employed. Because it’s like saying I’m really talented but if it wasn’t for them you’d see my talent.”

Upon hearing this, it was as if time had stood still. Suddenly, the ground beneath me was gone and everything had fallen away, a curtain had been lifted, a veil, the veil, had dropped. All the overwhelming emotional sensation I had been feeling the past weeks or so, which at this point in the audio was overtaking me to the point I was suffocating from chest pains suddenly just pushed out of my body and was gone with no trace of it whatsoever. I was clear and light as a feather and I felt at least 10 pound lighter. I was like, “OMG, this is me,” “OMG, this is me,” “This is so me.” Tears started to stream down my face and I dropped on all fours. I started to pray thanking God for this revelation. This was huge!!! I saw it as clear as day. I realized, why I hadn’t yet moved fully moved with both feet forward with Coming Out of Survival and what it entailed. I realized I hadn’t yet moved forward because I was afraid of the bigger than life responsibility I anticipate that is going to come with it. I realized being part of a movement takes work, and lots of it and I didn’t want to work that hard anymore. I realized that as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I wanted to drop this whole “Successful Independent Woman” role, which was wearing me out like hell and I just wanted to be taken care of.

My mind started to connect the dots and go down memory lane. I started to go back to the times in meditations where I’d seen bits and pieces of my future before. I’ve seen my book, Coming Out of Survival with Grace in print. I’ve seen myself at book signings with droves of people in line with a copy in hand waiting for me to sign their copy. I’ve seen those that are assigned to my book actually reading it or carrying it in hand. I’ve seen myself speaking to football stadium sized audiences. I’ve seen myself on stage with Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Louise L. Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Ariane de Bonvoisin, and other big wigs in the fields of self-help, spirituality, and consciousness. I then started to recall over the past year how I’ve had visions of some of the most powerful and influential people of our time including Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Dalia Lama, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Albert Einstein, Oprah, President Barack Obama, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and many others. I started to notice these people were all very powerful, influential and was tied to movements that shifted humanity in some way. I thought about the three times in my life where I had been read by a reader and the congruency of one thing all three related to met; that is this lifetime of mine is tied to a leadership and movement involving a shift in humanity. I was also reminded and thought about the our tribal equivalent of what has been said about ever since I was a baby of what I was to do in this life and it all tied together. I thought about all of the influential people in my life that I had met and that were in my life and how they all support this calling, only I didn’t know or realize it until now. I thought about the gravity of it all and given what I had just heard, I thought about the responsibility, the tall order, the accountability, the impact, the influence, undoubtedly, yes, I’d have to do a lot more then show up every day. This whole time, I’d been in the fog, this state of Nothing-ness, there was a part of me that knew this and was running straight for the hills.

In light of the vision for my life of what has been shown to me, there is great plan for to make a difference in this world on a considerable scale, to be a part of the unfoldment of the great task, a movement of something extraordinary, the ultimate even and that is to wake people up. Yet, rather than put my big girl panties on and woman-up, I let the 5 or 6 year old Child in me refuse to grow up and feel afraid all the time; I let the Victim in me refuse to let go of the past and keep crying “poor me;” I let the saboteur in me keep me playing small and creating perpetual existence that keeps me locked into the consciousness and lifestyle of survival; and I let the Prostitute in me keep me pimped the practice of law, all the while feeling unfilled. At last! I finally saw with clear eyes, I am consciously choosing to stay trapped in survival living and why time after time, I continuously keep myself living the way that I am, hiding out behind my “I ‘don’t have the money, or the this or the that,” which I create just to say “I ‘can’t do X or Y” and blame everything else. I clearly see that rather than rise up to the calling to be the powerful being that I am, I’d rather stay stuck in my stories, excuses, or failures because it is easy to fail. It is easy to blame, to cry “poor me,” be a victim, make excuses and get everybody to feel sorry for you, rather than get out there, work and be all that I can be and more, get out of fantasy la-la land. I thought about why I had so much resistance to letting go of this victim identity especially and why lately I keep getting messages through my dreams that indicates that I insist on holding on to the past and don’t want to let go even though a beautiful path is laid before me. After I really saw the big picture from all angles, I remembered the words of a coach, uttered to me once, when she dangled a carrot of the totality of what I just realized now. This coach said to me, “Wani, the most powerful people in the world are not victims. They are powerful beings doing extraordinary things.”

And so, after I ran through all of this, I started to pray the most powerful prayer I’d ever said in my life with the utmost expression of gratitude because I knew I was free. I was finally free. I knew the minute the curtain was lifted and the awareness was in, I was on my way home. You cannot solve a problem if you don’t know what it is. Albert Einstein said it best: “you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created the problem in the first place.” It was then signed my name on the dotted line and told the Universe I was answering the vocational calling on my life with “Coming Out of Survival.” First things first is the writing of the book, “Coming Out of Survival with Grace”. I then walked over to my computer, and called out to the Angels I knew were surrounding me although I couldn’t actually see them. I said, “I know there is an Angel assigned to me to write this book, where are you? I’m ready to write this book with you now.” Immediately, I felt an unmistakable unseen presence right next to me on the left side of my body. I then told the Angel that anytime I sat down to write whatever distracts me from writing, I wanted it removed. Soon after I started to write, I noticed my wireless connection on my lap top went out. I tried to log onto it but to no avail. I then tried all of the available unsecured networks and there was also no connectivity. I just smiled. Sometime later, I took a break from writing and tried to open up Facebook on my iphone and ofcourse, my iphone was reporting “No Connection to the Internet.” Likewise with Safari. Now isn’t that a coincidence? Then I couldn’t help but to crack up laughing. Ever since my breakthrough I’ve been writing like a mad woman possessed even pulling all-nighters writing and each time I sit down to write, I never have internet access to on my lap top, nor my iphone and my Facebook page is still reporting a case of the “No Connection to the Internet” fever. Incredible!

In conclusion, I share with those that find themselves it the state of Nothing-ness, feeling stuck not knowing what to do with their lives, and I implore you to have an honest conversation with yourself through the lens of the four archeotypes. See in which ways are you the Child that stays afraid and won’t grow up, seeking protection and always wanting attention. Look and see in which ways are you playing and holding onto the Victim in you that refuses to let go of the past and want to keep that hurt identity alive and keep singing that “poor me” song over and over. Look at the choices you make on a daily basis to sabotage yourself that keeps your circumstances perpetual. Pay attention to how even though you may be miserable where you are, see how comfortable you are where you are and how incredibly easy it is to stay where you are. And lastly, watch out for that Prostitute in you that keeps you playing small, devaluing yourself or your services. If you are serious about growth and really want out of the state of Nothing-ness you, you will be amazed. I know all too well that honest self-inquiry is no easy task, but know that life really is on your side and you are never alone. The highest help is always available for you and just wants to pour its love and grace onto you. To quote Wayne Dyer, “if you knew who walked beside you everyday, you could never ever feel you are alone.” Moreover, guidance is always available to you and is constantly streaming and flowing to you and I would have to agree with Myss, if you are facing blocks or bricks along the way, it is you are putting them there.

Coming Out of Survival,

Wani Manly

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Posted by Wani Manly on May 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments

02 may

Let Go of Blame

MikeRobbinsNewMichelle and I were having dinner with some friends a few months ago and our friend Joel said, “I’m practicing giving up blame completely.”  As he said this, I found myself simultaneously inspired and confronted. As I’ve explored the idea of letting go of blame in recent months, I’ve been quite humbled and surprised to realize how pervasive blame is in our culture, my community, and in my own life.

How often do you find yourself blaming other people or circumstances for your stress, frustration, or for things “not being the way they ’should’ be?”

For me, blame shows up in various places and ways in my life.  Some of the most common focuses of my blame are my past, my family, the economy, people I don’t agree with, my body, my clients, my schedule, my responsibilities, and more. And, the harshest blame is usually reserved for me – blaming myself for making mistakes, not doing things “right,” and simply not being good enough.  Maybe you can relate to some of this?

While blaming other people, challenging circumstances, and even ourselves is common, understandable, and reinforced in our culture, it never leaves us with any real power or with the ability to make positive, healthy, and lasting change in our lives. Blame is about avoiding responsibility and not dealing with the real issues at hand.

One of the best analogies for this is that of an orange. If I have an orange in my hand and I squeeze it, what will come out of it?  Juice.  If you squeeze it, what will come out of it? Juice.  If we give it to a friend of ours and they squeeze it, what will come out of it?  Juice.  Why?  Because, that’s what’s inside the orange.  It doesn’t matter who squeezes it or even how it is squeezed, juice will always come out of the orange (because that’s what’s inside).

You and I are like oranges and our “juice” is emotion.  We have every possible emotion within us – joy, guilt, love, shame, gratitude, anger, peacefulness, fear, happiness, rage, excitement, sadness, and more.  As we walk through life, other people, certain situations, and specific personal thoughts and reactions “squeeze” out some of our own “juice” in the form of these emotions. However, instead of taking responsibility for our emotions, we blame the people around us, the situations that arise, and even ourselves for “causing” these feelings within us.

What if we stopped doing this and let go of blame?  This doesn’t mean we live in some unrealistic, Pollyanna world where nothing bothers us.  It also doesn’t mean that the things that have happened in our past, the relationships we currently have, and the important situations in our lives right now (and the ones that show up in our future), don’t impact us.  What it does mean, however, is that we take full responsibility for our lives, our reactions, and, more important, our emotions.

Here are a few things you can do or think about as you practice letting go of blame in your own life:

1)  Take inventory of who and what you blame. Start to notice, with empathy and compassion (i.e. without judging yourself), who and what you blame the most in your life.  Maybe it’s your work, your spouse, your past, your co-workers or clients, the state of the world, or other things or people.  The more specific and honest you can be about the focus of your blame, the more ability you’ll have to let go.  Remember, some of this blame may be overt (direct, and easy to notice) and, some of it may be more covert (hidden, subtle, and “justified” in such a way that it seems “true.”)

2)  Inquire into what it would be like to let go of blame. Start to ask yourself, especially with the specific people or situations where blame comes up a lot, what it would be like, look like, and feel like to let go of blame in your life.  Allow yourself to imagine this, think about it, talk about it, and ponder it.  Regardless of how easy or difficult you think it would be, just allow yourself to imagine your life without blame. Inquiry is a powerful tool when we use it consciously like this.

3)  Take responsibility for your reactions and emotions. In just about every instance, the person (including us) or situation that we blame brings about a specific emotion or reaction (or set of emotions and reactions) that we don’t like. Instead of blaming, what if we took responsibility for our reactions and emotions, and allowed ourselves to vulnerably acknowledge and express ourselves fully.  As Eleanor Roosevelt so brilliantly said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Letting go of blame allows us to be free, to take back our power, and to avoid the trap of thinking that someone or something else has the ability to dictate our experience of life.  Whether our life is “wonderful” or “difficult” is always up to us.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on May 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,