Recently I wrote about how to really get what you want. I emphasized the importance of consciously choosing your language to match what you want to create in your world. How's it going for you? Without judgment, reflect and make note of what has worked...and perhaps what has not worked and re-commit.
This week I want to share with you powerfully simple practices I learned during my shamanic energy training about creating stillness. By stillness I don't mean being physically still--although sometimes that is exactly what we need! In this case I am speaking about cultivating stillness on the inside, at the soul level.
When I am still on the inside, I experience a sense of deep peace and connection to myself and others. All fear, worry and doubt about "how" simply melt away. For many of us, we are so busy in the doing and thinking we neglect to notice and nourish how we are being.
What to do?? In shamanic energy medicine, we cultivate relationships with different archetypal energies to help us. These energies help bring balance into our life in order for us to co-create our world with the divine. As it relates to stillness, we connect with the medicine of hummingbird. The hummingbird reminds us that yes, life is sacred...yet when we take life and our self too seriously, we will bog our self down with heaviness. As we call on hummingbird to show us the way, we realize it is possible and preferable to have a good time no matter what we are doing--working, playing, eating, living! This is not to say we don't shed tears and experience grief. What it does mean is that we also recognize how short, sweet and precious every moment is that we are alive. With this recognition, we are able to enter more willingly into the stillness of our soul.
In practice this means beginners mind--forgetting what we know, giving up expectations of our self and others, and being childlike in our wonder. It also means recognizing the impact of our choices on our reality as well as living with integrity--being impeccable with our word--to our self and others. Lastly, and for me, the most profound practice, is being myself fully, out in the open, no hiding! Whether I am running my business or shaking my rattle during a shamanic healing, I am doing it my way.
As a result of practicing the above we begin to understand the way to create stillness inside is to drink only from the sweetest nectar of life. These practices cultivate sweetness!!! As we make sweetness a priority, we eventually live into experiencing the stillness of our soul. Some might even say it's the conscious choice to sing and dance in this sweet mystery of life, day after day, no natter what!!!
What Do You Want Instead
A few weeks ago during a mentoring session with a client I've been working with for over a year now, I had an epiphany of sorts. Love when that happens!!
At the start of our conversation, I do what I typically do and ask what she wants to work with during our time together. She shared that she wanted clarity about cultivating an intimate relationship and then proceeded to say, "and you know, I have anxiety". Since I've worked with this person many times before, the anxiety conversation is not new. And yet-- this time--I heard what she said in a totally new way. Immediately I replied to her with, "Do you want to have anxiety"? After a long pause she eked out, "uh...no".
I went on to explain how the words we choose have an impact on our reality because they have energetic resonance. As such, if she really wanted to get "rid of" the anxiety, she would first need to contemplate what she wants instead. It was such a powerful realization for the both of us. I helped her to understand that we choose what we want "to have". Meaning, it's our choices, not our circumstances that dictate how we experience life. When we choose to speak, "I have anxiety", we will continue to have the experience of anxiety. However, when we choose to speak, "I have peace..clarity...love...joy", we will begin to experience life as such.
So, the question becomes, if you no longer want what you have...what do YOU want instead?
It's a powerfully important question. Think about it. Would you embark on a road trip for life without first asking, "what do I want to experience?" No way!!! When we know the answer to the question of what we want to have, we are inspired to take action in that direction.
Why is this important? So many reasons!! Life is short, let's enjoy it! And, as I wrote about last week, I want to live with No Regrets. The choices we make (and those we do not make!) create the fabric of our life. Consciously choosing our language to match what we want is an important part of the process to make it happen. The universe is always listening and much prefers statements (and thoughts!) that are affirmative.
Try it for yourself. When you catch yourself saying (or thinking), "I don't want 'x'". Instead, take a moment to upgrade your sentence (or thought) to "I want 'x'". Notice what happens as you practice this consistently (remember consistency = the secret to mastery).
How would you live if you knew your life would soon be over?
After the sudden death of my father in 2004 from a massive heart attack, 3 weeks before my wedding, I vowed to live my life to the fullest. At the time however, I didn't know how. I was so sad and so busy in the doing. I was driving myself harder and harder. It was an escape from the pain. It was a vicious cycle. Deep down, I knew I had to stop or I would end up like him. I had to slow down, be silent and question everything. In particular, I became fascinated with creating a quality future for myself. I wanted to live the depth and width as well as the length of my life.
I read voraciously. I prayed often. I meditated. I cried... a lot. In so doing I decided I wanted--needed-- my tomorrows to be better than they were. Lucky for me, I was gifted the book The 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, written by John Izzo. Amazing, life changing book. In the book Izzo spoke of exactly what I felt after losing my father so tragically: we are here for an undefined yet limited amount of time. And we have unlimited choices about how to spend our time. Most importantly, the choices we make (and those we do not make!) create the fabric of our life. In his book what Izzo was trying to understand was--- if at the end of our life, we are to die happy, what does that mean? What does it look like, feel like? And how do we do it? What he found by interviewing people who were deemed by their family and friends as "having lived a happy life" was that they were wise. They understood what really mattered to them and lived accordingly. They took risks and had the courage to move toward what they wanted out of life rather than away from what they feared. Easy, no? Worth it? Yes. They had no regrets!! What a wonderful way to have lived. I am here to tell you it's possible for all of us.
Losing my father was very painful. In order to survive I had to make choices and therefore changes in order to create a future I would love. I also had to find the gift of his passing. Izzo's book helped me uncover this gift, which ultimately fueled my actions. The gift was the choice I made to live my life with no regrets.
My experience of losing my father so unexpectedly showed me that even a full life is short. I decided I better get busy living-- doing and being-- what I love, both personally and professionally. It's now 12 years after my dad's death, and when faced with a challenging decision, all I ask myself to seal the deal is, "Will I regret this?" Powerful. Works every time. Try it.
Last week I was engaging in one of my most favorite activities: teaching a husband and wife in their late 70's how to meditate. As I was explaining the "methodology" behind meditation, the husband interrupted me to ask about the success rate I have had with other people. I love this question! Its's honest, real, and shows me a person is invested in their own success. Being invested in our own success is critical to attain mastery at something. It was clear this gentleman wanted to master meditation! My reply was simple: Consistency.
Why consistency? I will answer this in two parts.
First, as it relates to meditation specifically, after consistently practicing for over 15 years, even when I didn't "feel" like it, I consider myself to have mastered it. That said, this does not mean there isn't more for me to learn. There is always more to learn. What it does mean is that I meditate daily, without fail. My commitment to being consistent set me up for success not only in meditation, it has laid the foundation for thriving in all areas of my life. My meditation practice has given me incredible tools (to name a few: awareness, focus, discipline, wisdom, peace) to uncover what truly brings me joy. I speak about this more in my book, Reclaiming Joy: Your 4-Step Guide to Happy, Healthy & Free.
Second, as it relates to attaining mastery in general, when we commit to practicing something consistently, we stick with it. By sticking with it, we build our discipline muscle which keeps us on the path. By staying on the path through the ups and downs, we give our self the opportunity to learn. In learning, we strengthen our commitment, confidence and at the same time, we grow. Over time, as we stay committed to consistency, we continue to learn and grow. This learning and growth enables us to gain mastery as we deeply understand "what it takes" and we do it!
The invitation for you is to consider this: What is it you wish to master?
Commit to consistency.
Get Support as needed.
Notice what happens.
Celebrate yourself for sticking with it, especially when the going gets tough.