The Art of Holding On To Gratitude

As I sit here writing this blog about Gratitude just before Thanksgiving, I look out the window in my central CA home to the reddish yellow haze that has permeated the sky for over a week now. The weather channel app keeps warning me that the air is at the highest level of Very Unhealthy and to stay inside.  I live over four hours south of the most devastating wildfire CA has ever had.

Miracle Stories

Gratitude is a subject I’ve written about many times before. But during times of tragedy, which have been rampant in the news lately, the feelings of gratitude become more heightened, more intense. The poignant stories of devastation, bravery, kindness, and amazing miracles cannot help but jar each of us out of our daily routine and remind us of what really is important in life. Because I recently just became a grandma for the second time, I am particularly affected by stories of mothers and babies. These two stories, which both happened at the hospital in Paradise, CA, are each a miracle:

Newborn’s Mother Asks Stranger To Take Her Baby And Run
Woman Describes Surviving Camp Fire With Her Miracle Baby

In the first story, new mom Rachel Sanders whose family lost everything they owned in the fire says, “Never have I had a Thanksgiving come where I have had so little yet felt more thankful and blessed.”

Of course, we all know this is true! We know that when push comes to shove, the best of humanity always shines through. We know underneath our stress, overwhelm and discouragement there lives a spiritual hero that would rise to the occasion if needed. We even know how to connect and feel grateful for fleeting moments—until life gets in the way again.

Guilt or Gratitude

That’s when another part of us pops up—the complaining, taking for granted, human side—and we begin to feel really guilty. Guilty that we have so much when others don’t and yet we can’t seem to be MORE appreciative all the time. Guilty that we complain about the bad air when hundreds are without homes. Guilty that we get angry while sitting in traffic trying to get to the Thanksgiving dinner on time.

In general, humans like to complain. It is impossible to complain and at the same time feel grateful. Even those spiritual heroes in the stories above, after experiencing amazing miracles and feeling grateful to the depth of their souls, will continue to have plenty of moments of discouragement, anger, and complaining.   It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to be in a state of gratitude ALL the time. So instead, we can work at ways to catch ourselves sooner when we head down the unappreciative path so we can rebalance our perspective, if for no other reason than it makes us feel so much better.

The Magic of Self-Compassion

So what is the answer? How do we find our way back towards the perspective of appreciation as quickly as we can? We start by offering ourselves compassion and by accepting our humanness. As long as we are here on the planet, we will be doing a balancing act between our humanness and our better spiritual values.  Once we can have compassion and acceptance for this dichotomy within ourselves then we can begin to let go of guilt. Only when we can do that for ourselves, can we become more compassionate of others as well. When we let go of guilt and self-judgment, we are naturally more open to love and poof, like magic our ability to connect to gratitude returns quickly. Try it! We will all be given many chances to practice this during the holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wendy

Gremlins: Make Friends With Your Self-Talk

Gremlins and Negative Self Talk

How Well Do You Know YOUR Gremlins? 

Gremlins are also known as our inner critic, negative self-talk, negative fantasizing, etc. Whatever you call them, Gremlins are the keepers of the status quo.  They love to keep you locked in your comfort zone. They are also experts at blocking you from reaching (and sometimes even seeing) your greatest potential.

I work with clients on uncovering and naming their worst Gremlins.  The secret is that once you can give them a name, maybe even a face, you can begin to realize that they don’t have to be part of how you define yourself.  Say, for instance, you have a Gremlin named “I’m just not good enough to…”  What does he/she look like?  Sound like?  The more you can get to know your Gremlins, and realize they don’t have to be part of you, the more you can separate them from yourself, and then make conscious decisions about whether to listen to them or not.

How Do We Know When Our Gremlins Are Talking?

A wonderful analogy was made by a student in one of my workshops several years back that really shows the power of naming them and knowing they don’t have to control you. she compared it to the classic movie A Beautiful Mind, based on the true story of the brilliant Nobel Laureate in Economics John Nash who suffered from schizophrenia.  Similarly, think of your Gremlins like the “people” who followed John Nash around in the movie.  In the beginning, they completely ruled his life.  But as he became aware of the fact that they weren’t real, he could consciously choose to ignore them and go on doing what he needed to do in his life!  But like Nash, in order to not let them interfere, we have to be conscious of what they are saying to us.

Three Important Facts In Dealing With Gremlins

  • Everyone (no, not just you!) has this negative self-talk chattering in their head.  The difference between letting it rule us or moving on in life comes from how well we are able to recognize them for what they are ( or I should say AREN’T) and ignore their messages.
  • They never go away.  You can learn to ignore them and let them have their say, but you cannot completely destroy them.  They will learn to be quiet and harmless, but will never completely leave.
  • The closer you get to what you REALLY want in life, the LOUDER the Gremlins are!  Or if you are up to big stuff in your life—they will always be hanging around.  Remember, they like to hold you down in your comfort zone.

So how do you begin to learn to tame them?  By getting to know better the creative, resourceful, and powerful being that you truly are!  It involves becoming more familiar with your dreams, values and authentic self.  In fact, helping people to make this part of you more real is what my job is as a coach. To hold your magnificence for you, even when you forget, or get taken over by your Gremlins.

Your challenge is to begin to listen for what your Gremlins are saying to you that holds you back.  Simply begin by just noticing, not arguing or struggling with them. Once you can begin to notice them, then you can start to make conscious choices about whether to believe them or not.

Positive Affirmations: 3 Secrets That Get Results!

In the blog, Positive Affirmations: 3 Reasons Why They Don’t Work! I talked about the three most common mistakes I have seen over the years in creating affirmations.  This article is to take you one step further into how you can overcome these barriers and make affirmations work for you in a more consistent manner. Here are the 3 Secrets to Making Positive Affirmations work for you:

Notice your negative gut reactions and underlying self-talk.

As I said in the previous blog, your subconscious won’t let you be wrong. So the trick is to really identify those subconscious beliefs so you can begin to change them.  The best way to identify these is to listen to your negative self-talk and pay attention to your gut reaction.

For example, if you have a positive affirmation that says, “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams”, and every time you say that you hear that “little voice” in your head saying things like, “You could never be rich, you aren’t smart enough,” or perhaps, “no one in your family has ever been rich,” then listen carefully to those clues. These comments are a clue to your subconscious beliefs.  Make a list of these comments so you can deal with them one at a time.

Along with the self-talk, pay attention to your “gut reaction”. If your stomach tightens up each time you say this, then that is another clue to a subconscious belief. Spend some time exploring what your “gut” is telling you about this affirmation. Is it fear or anxiety or something else? Put these emotions on the list also.

Make sure your affirmation is aligned with what you truly want.

 The way to do this is to get to know your Authentic Spirit better. You need to know your true values, what is important to you, and what dreams are unique to you in order to create meaningful affirmations for your own unique self.  Sometimes we are influenced by friends, family or society and are not really clear on what we want for ourselves. Many times we have old outdated affirmations that were true for us 20 years ago, but not today.

Example: I had a client who kept setting affirmations about creating a successful new business, but could not figure out why she wasn’t following through on what she said she wanted. After much work on values and how they have changed, she realized that since she retired from her very successful VP job, she had actually jumped right into a business opportunity because that is what she had always done—work, set goals, be successful.  Now she realized that her Authentic Spirit was done with all that and had new priorities and goals—around volunteer work and making a difference. Once she stopped and really listened, and reconnected to her true self, she was able to re-align and become successful once again in a new way.

Remember to bring your affirmations back to yourself.

Many times we want things for other people. We hope by thinking positive we can change them. An affirmation must be about you, not about the world “out there”. You only have control over yourself.

In the example, I used in the last blog, “My husband doesn’t drink or get angry.” You could change that affirmation to something that you need to work on for yourself around this issue. For example, “I remain calm and make empowered choices.”

When you change your own beliefs,  behaviors, and perspectives about what happens, this will then be reflected in your external reality.

What’s Next?

In the next blog, Positive Affirmations: Lock them in with EFT, we will discuss the process for making affirmations believable and true for you and locking these into your subconscious in order to change your patterns of belief.

What Is The Color Of Your Thoughts?

I was driving down a wide and beautiful palm-tree lined boulevard last week going a consistent 45 mph and hitting every signal green–sailing along smoothly towards my destination. It reminded me of the old saying, “If you wait for all the lights to be green before you begin your journey, you will never start.” Where are you having trouble getting started? What if you had the power to set the meters so you could consistently sail through green?

I began to realize our thoughts are like traffic signals in our minds and they either let us sail along smoothly, stop us in our tracks, or keep us idling in neutral?

Let’s take a look at how noticing the color of our thoughts can help us sail more smoothly down the road of life.

Imagine that the constant dialogue you have running through your head was suddenly given a color. I’ve observed that people have three different types of head chatter, just like the signals on the road.  These either help them on their journey or get in the way. Begin to observe your own thoughts and begin to notice what color you are in most of the time.

Green Thoughts

These are the positive and empowering thoughts that say “go”! They inspire us, move us ahead, get us to take risks, try new things, and move us out of our comfort zones. They give us a positive spin on ourselves and our circumstances, our lives and our world. When your thoughts are green you are comfortable with yourself and your world so you can, therefore, be “other” oriented and contribute the most to those around you.

The highest achievers are “Green Thinkers”. They see a clear road ahead, and if an obstacle appears they immediately begin to look for ways over around or through it. They react creatively within the moment in any situation.

Interestingly enough, green is the color of our heart chakra (an Eastern name for the energy centers in the body), and many “Green Thinkers” are heart-based, coming from a frame of reference of Love instead of Fear in all areas of their lives.

Red Thoughts 

These are thoughts that can stop us right in our tracks. They can keep us stuck in one place, angry, terrified, impatient, wanting to move, but not knowing how. These thoughts always hold a worst-case scenario or doom and gloom viewpoint. Fear dominates and creativity shrivels. Someone in Red Thinking can look at a clear road ahead and begin to immediately fill it with blocks and barriers. Because we lack confidence when we have these thoughts we cannot contribute and are pulled back into a “me” orientation where survival instincts dominate.

All of us spend some time with Red Thoughts, and sometimes we need them to balance our lives and help us know where we are going next. But too many people live in Red Thoughts most of the time which keep them from reaching their own potential and blocks their happiness. Red is the color of our base or root chakra and is predominantly Fear-based. Survival instincts rule our thinking.

Yellow Thoughts 

These are our neutral thoughts. As humans, we don’t stay here very long. These are non-judging, centering thoughts. They allow us to just be, to sit, to meditate, and to be completely free of any story–green or red. They are the place to re-energize, to re-center, or to move from red to green. Sometimes these are known as “observer” thoughts –this is where we can begin to observe the chatter and dialogue that is always running in our head. Yellow Thoughts allow us to pull above and look from a higher plane. This is an important place to work towards because the more you spend time here, the more you will find yourself better equipped to notice when you are in Red Thinking and to better choose to be in Green Thinking.

The color yellow is associated with the center chakra, located in your solar plexus, or gut and is often a place to connect with your authentic self, your personal power center.

Choosing The Color Of Your Lens 

Let’s return to the traffic signal analogy. Let’s say for a minute you get to be in charge of the metering system that sets the lights! You get to choose when they flash from red to yellow to green. What if you could decide how to color your life? What mix of colors would you want at any one time?
Begin to practice these three easy steps to learn how to color your world in the way you want!

  1. Start to notice the color of your thoughts.
  2. Be aware at any given moment which colors you are creating–you may need to learn to run some red lights at first!
  3. Practice changing the lens–move from red to yellow, then yellow to green.

Positive Affirmations: 3 Reasons Why They Don’t Work

All your life you have been hearing about positive affirmations and the power of positive thinking. Maybe you have even posted phrases on your refrigerator or mirror that say, “I am super rich.” or “I attract only positive people into my life.” But then, when you look around your one bedroom apartment and realize you are having trouble keeping up with the rent and your boss at work is anything but positive, that gap creates even more frustration, guilt, and feelings of failure.  You try to stay positive, to believe it’s coming “someday”, but in the meantime, your life feels stuck and out of touch with your beliefs.

I have been working with affirmations and the power of intention for over thirty years and I can certainly relate to that scenario above. Does that mean we should all just give up on intentions? Should we just throw out the positive and become Debbie Downer? Of course not! There is plenty of evidence that positive affirmations work. The big question most of us have is: Why isn’t it working for me right now in this situation?

Three Common Mistakes:

In working with clients and myself on this over the years, I have identified some of the common problems with affirmations and positive thinking that make them appear to not work. Here are the top three common mistakes:

Your beliefs won’t let you be wrong.

Your subconscious beliefs, the stories you have developed about who you are, and the unique perspectives that you have held all your life are what REALLY rule your reality. In fact, your subconscious will do just about anything to make sure what you believe is validated to you in the world. It’s a mechanism we have for staying sane, but it can also work against us.

For example, if you believe that life is a struggle, that in your family no one was lucky or that everyone but you seems to be successful, then you can read an affirmation every day about getting rich and your subconscious reacts with “Right! Everyone but you that is!” You will self-sabotage in ways you won’t even notice and the minute anything negative happens your subconscious mind will spring back to you with, “See I’m right.”

You are disconnected from your Authentic Self.

Sometimes you think you want something that is really incongruent with what you truly want. You think you want to be rich or famous, but deep down your Authentic Spirit is much more interested in freedom of time or meaningful relationships or a simple life.  When your personal values conflict with what you are asking for, your actual life choices might be reflecting something different than your affirmation.

Your Positive Affirmations are based outside of yourself.

An affirmation must be about you, not about the world “out there”. You only have control over yourself. You can change your own beliefs, your own behaviors, your own perspective about what happens and then, in turn, this will be reflected by your external reality.

There is hope!

Don’t despair if you have been feeling discouraged about your positive affirmations. Take inventory of your own beliefs and see where you might fit into these categories. In the next blog, we will spend some time on quick remedies to these common mistakes and how the process of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a great process for correcting and locking in more positive and believable statements that can change your frustration into hope and encouragement.

Beyond Setting Goals: 6 Reasons Your Resolutions Aren’t Working

So here it is a month out from all those New Years Resolutions! How are we doing with those goals? I spend a lot of time with people on creating intentions and reaching for their goals. After all, isn’t that one of the main reasons people hire a coach—to support them in getting to the next level in whatever it is they are doing in their life, their business or their career? Absolutely! It really helps to have someone on your team that isn’t going to judge you. But there is so much more to this story than just creating some goals and making them happen. Here are a few things I’ve observed over the years that get in the way of achieving what you want:

Fears, Blocks, or Outdated Beliefs Are Standing In The Way

We all know about this one. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown—these are but a few of the things that feed our inner- critic and keep us from getting unstuck. These fears need to be identified and cleared in order begin to move forward. Becoming more aware of what these old beliefs are is the first step. You can’t change anything until you become conscious of what it is. Then you can question these old beliefs and also use wonderful tools like EFT Tapping to clear them away.

Goals Are Set By Your Inner Critic Rather Than Your Authentic Self

This is a huge one. This is what I find for a lot of my clients. For example, they come to me with a goal to reach a particular level in their business. As we begin to work through what is in their way—the fears, the inner critic, etc. and then begin also to create a vision of what they want, identifying their values and what is fulfilling for them—it becomes apparent that there is a conflict between the goal and what is important to them.

Many times we set goals based on what other people think we should do, or on what success “should” look like, and then find the process of working towards that goal to be filled with unrest and conflict.

Sometimes our inner-critic is doing the goal setting. Becoming more familiar with your authentic self you can learn to align your goals with what is truly important to you, not your spouse, your parents, the culture, etc. We take in other people’s expectations as to what we should be and want, and sometimes forget what’s true for us.

Frequently people who have gone into business for themselves find their inner critic really running the show. They left corporate jobs because they wanted more freedom or flexibility only to find their inner-critic is worse than any boss they ever worked for.

Goals Are Unclear

Perhaps you haven’t taken the time to really define what it is you want, write it down, or create a plan to get there. Most people don’t know as much about what they truly want things to be like as they do about what they don’t want. How do you get where you are going when you don’t have a good picture of “there”? These goals are more like “wishes” that live in your head with “someday maybe” attached to them. Always somewhere in the future when something else is taken care of first.

Goals Are Too Big Or Too Small

Maybe your goals are unrealistic. Even you yourself don’t remotely believe you could get them. You can say affirmations daily that you’d like to be independently wealthy, but if you really don’t see yourself being capable of achieving that, and it’s too overwhelming to break down into a plan, then it probably isn’t going to happen. Conversely, if you have a goal so small it doesn’t inspire or stretch you at all, then it won’t hold any energy and will quickly be forgotten.

Priorities Changed and You Didn’t Notice

Sometimes this means your priorities have really shifted from what you initially thought was a top priority. That goal has now become secondary. We sometimes stick to old goals because we are used to them. Maybe we keep setting a goal to be the #1 salesman, but have forgotten that we are actually a couple of years from retirement and being number one isn’t really as important as it once was. That’s great to realize! What’s important is consciously knowing that is what’s happened so you can make different choices without guilt or feelings of failure.

Life Gets In The Way

In this scenario, you aren’t doing what you set out to do because you are letting day-to-day stuff interfere. There could be lots of reasons for this, but basically, you have that nagging feeling of guilt and failure and frustration because the choices you are making are more unconscious than conscious and aren’t aligned with your priorities.

Take Another Look

So take another look at those New Years Resolutions that you haven’t been keeping up with. Run them through the list above and see if it strikes a cord. Consider the option of hiring a coach. It’s a wonderful way to help you create a structure, a support system, and get feedback and accountability that will help you reach those important goals for 2018. One of the biggest gifts of coaching is clarity. With clarity, you can begin to really know when you are working on the right things. And with clarity comes a sense of peace about what you are doing and the ability to truly enjoy the journey along the way!

Being Enough

Do you ever get tired of hearing about how important it is to believe in yourself? How limiting beliefs are holding you back?  How in order to succeed you must change your beliefs about yourself? These statements are all true of course, but sometimes I have noticed with my clients, myself and people interested in personal and spiritual growth in general, that there is a tendency to feel we are always striving and never arriving. We aren’t quite enough.

It is important to remember that you are already complete and whole right now in this moment.

There is an underlying idea in the personal growth arena that we don’t have everything we want because we aren’t quite “there” yet.  You aren’t pretty enough, spiritual enough, evolved enough, aware enough, etc. You don’t have enough money or the mate you long for or the job that fulfills your purpose because you aren’t quite enlightened “enough.”  All you have to do is look around you to notice that there are plenty of people who have lots of money that aren’t very enlightened.  There are plenty who have great relationships that aren’t completely self-aware.  There are lots of people doing satisfying work that still have their own issues to work out.  In other words, as humans, we aren’t perfect.  Even more than that, we never “arrive”.

As soon as we work out one issue, another one pops up for us to deal with. You may get a job that fulfills your purpose, brings you great money, and allows you to express our authentic self, and suddenly find yourself laid off due to an economic downturn.  Does this mean you aren’t enlightened? Could it mean you had a bad thought that created it?  Perhaps it means you need more growth before you can manifest good again?  Definitely not! This is another example of our ego working overtime when we are feeling vulnerable.  I say (or rather John Lennon said), “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

When you can fully embrace your Spirit you will realize that you are whole and complete right NOW!

We need to stop letting our ego, or as I call it, our pigeon self, put us down for all the circumstances that happen in our life, and fully embrace our Authentic Spirit.    You do not need to strive so hard because you are already that which you strive so hard to be.  All you need do is be willing to drop the false ego and embrace your authenticity. The more time you spend connecting to your Authentic Spirit, the easier it will be to take that realization of being enough back into your daily life, back into the polarity of the ups and downs, the disappointments as well as the joys of living.

Self-Trust: Staying True to Your Own Voice

Finding Self-Trust

How do we learn to trust ourselves more? Do you get gobbled up by everyone else’s opinions, beliefs, ideas and expectations? Do you find yourself losing confidence in our own voice, our own purpose by comparing ourselves to others goals and accomplishments? What does self-trust mean?

Deepak Chopra uses a term he calls Self-referral instead of self-trust. 

Being solid in your own beliefs instead of relying on others to gauge your own choices and beliefs.  Here is his description from his website:

Self-referral is identifying with your inner self – the unchanging essence of your soul. In this state, you have an internal sense of joy regardless of what is happening around you because you aren’t identified with transient objects or events. In self-referral, you experience your true being, which doesn’t fear any challenge, has respect for all people and feels beneath no one. Fear drops away and there is no compulsion to control and no struggle for approval or external power. As you experience self-referral, you pierce the mask of illusion that creates separation and fragmentation and know that you are an inextricable part of the field of infinite intelligence.

-Deepak Chopra 

To personalize this statement, think about a time when you have felt intimidated or overwhelmed when comparing yourself to others. With the flood of information we now have access to on the Internet, it’s easy to fall into discouragement just looking at the amount of information out there. It sometimes appears almost everyone on the planet is a Coach and EFT practitioner!  Our OBJECT REFERRING ego is always looking to compare and rank us in relationship to everyone else.  It is impossible to not find someone else who is better, more experienced, or better at marketing themselves. This can really erode our confidence and self-trust. It can mask that true authentic voice with confusion and discouragement.

Embrace Your Uniqueness

To be effective in our own work, we need to stop comparing ourselves to the experiences, truths, and accomplishments of others.  It’s important to keep focusing on your own unique purpose, skills. You have your own unique ways of presenting them to the world. Don’t let your inner critic of comparison convince you that you must follow someone else’s path to success.  Following a proven path can be good, but only if you are aligned with it and it feels true for you also.