Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Have You Crossed The Line Lately ??

We each have a box of sorts. Four sides and a floor and ceiling. It's a cube really. Our comfort cube. Whether we are consciously aware of the our barriers or not, many of us tend to keep ourselves in a space that feels mostly comfortable, or familiar at least.  Most of us have a collection of "sub cubes" as well.  We tend to eat familiar foods, wear familiar styles, watch familiar television and take familiar vacations. Many of us even have a money cube, we will for most of our lives bring home roughly the same income never falling below our glass floor and not breaking our glass ceiling. We risk enough to keep moving on but for many of us we don't risk enough to cross lines or break boundaries.  

Have you ever been about to do something new or perhaps a bit scary, like give that big presentation to your boss and co-workers, and felt a kaleidoscope of butterflies take flight in your stomach?? Did you step out in front of the group anyway?? How did you feel afterwards?? Now that you have been in front of a similar group and given a similar presentation twenty times how do you feel?? Do you feel more natural now than you did that very first time?? I bet you do. Even if you get a few butterflies as you begin I bet they don't start as early in the day and I bet they don't last as long in flight as they did that very first time. 

Those butterflies happen as a physiological reaction to our expansion. They are, not so painful, growing pains. When we are standing at the edge of our current comfort cube and we are contemplating stepping over the line and expanding ourselves, we often have a physical response. Butterflies is a common one but being as unique as we each are we tend to feel our growth in unique and personal ways.   

Now having moved through, despite the flutters in your stomach, your comfort cube has grown to include presentation giving.  

What may have been out of your comfort zone before has become something that is familiar to you.  Perhaps the first time you tried spicy foods you felt a little uncomfortable with the idea and now.....like the Old Lady in the hot sauce commercial, you put that sh*t on everything. Food cube expanded!

Or maybe the first time you talked to a new client about your pay rates you felt a bit anxious and now.....many conversations later, you are comfortable with money coming to you in exchange for you talents. Money cube expanded! 

I remember clearly hoping that the skinny jean trend would disappear. I held out for a long time and even after I gave in a bought a pair I was too nervous to leave the house in them for almost 2 weeks, but now I rock a pair of skinny jeans regularly. My style cube was expanded. 

Like a mime in a box the walls of our comfort cube are invisible and self imposed. Good news is that lines and barriers drawn by you can be moved by you. It's always up to you.  

Take a risk. Put yourself out there. Try something on (and change your mind if it doesn't feel right). Date a new man, try a new food, engage in a new activity. The list of reasons that those butterflies may take flight is endless, but what have you got to lose, really??  Remember our expansion is the reason that we are in this life, and that it is through new experiences that that expansion will happen. So step across the line. Expand your comfort cube.  Start with something small if that's what feels doable, but do something for your own expansion and give yourself something to celebrate (celebrating is an important step not to be skipped) 

I'd love to hear your story. Where have you crossed the line and expanded your comfort cube?? What can you think of that you tried and discovered you loved?? Is there something that you tried and discovered that you didn't like?? Are you glad that you tried it - maybe in a  "now I know for sure that it isn't for me" kinda way?? That still counts as experience and expansion.  

Now - if you enjoyed the last few moments of reading, please use the share buttons. Then jump on over to facebook and say hello. I love meeting new friends. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Two Paths to the Same Result Aren't Always the Same At All

When my sister and I were young my Mom used to tell us, among others, the story of the sun and the wind and their argument over strength.  She told it well. The Sun the Wind and the Traveler were all characters and had dialog. The battle back and forth between the two natural forces was fascinating.  It's one of Aesop's fables, and like his tales do, it has a moral (though when I was a kid I just remember enjoying the story part and not being very aware of the lesson woven within, though it clearly impacted me).

Mom told it better, in a much longer and more entertaining way but, in a nutshell, it goes like this:

The Wind and the Sun
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which between them was stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road and the Sun said, "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that travelers cloak to come off of his shoulders shall be regarded as the stronger of us. You begin." So the Sun went behind a cloud as the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler.  But the harder he blew the more closely the traveler held his cloak to him, til at last the Wind had to give up in despair.  

Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, wrapping him in warmth. Soon the traveler found it too warm to be walking with his cloak on and he took it off.

Kindness, Gentleness and Warmth Win 
Where Force Fails

In this story the result was the same, the man made it home. Yet his two experiences, and two paths to the same result, were very different. Picture the man walking in each condition. What does his speed and his posture say about the experience he is having. Now imagine the story the man would tell his family as he arrived home. 

"What a wild walk home. Brrrr. The wind was so crazy that I lost my cloak"  
Imagine his tone and his face. What would his muscle tension be? 

Now the other.

"What a lovely walk home. The sun came out and shone so brightly that I carried my cloak home" 
Imagine his face and his time as he told this tale.

I have often heard people speak of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. For one moment let us considered just that. I don't mean to imply that you should consider treating others well because you will then be more likely to get from them what you want. But I am asking you to consider that if the end result will be the same, or perhaps even better, why would you not choose to go about the process in a way that makes the experience just as rewarding as the result?? 

Sometimes there are 2 paths to the same destination and sometimes those two paths are each very different.

Shift your perception some. Bend the rules. Create a Win/Win scenario. Practice seeing the situation from the side of light. Be gentle, kind and warm wherever you can. Let that good feeling spread throughout your whole self and spill into the experiences of those near you. Let THAT be the ripple effect that your choices cause. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by choosing to do what you do in the most love filled way that you can. 

Is there a story from your childhood that you remember not just enjoying but learning from??  How do you feel when you think about it now?? Is there a lesson in the story that still applies today?? Is it one you have shared with generations younger than you?? What do you hope that they learn from your favorite story??  

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Beautiful Calm AND a Great Power Discovered Through Words

A few weeks ago I came across an image that I hadn't seen in a long time.  It really brought me back in time for a moment.  This poem I had purchased at a poster sale many years ago, in the start of my first year of University. The poster sale happened every year on campus and was to help students to decorate and to personalize their res rooms.  I was drawn to this one above all others. I wasn't sure why. I had no idea that there were such large and dark feeling struggles ahead of meat the time that I was putting this poster on my wall.  I had no idea that it would become a corner stone of strength for me.  I had no idea it would end up being the first piece a puzzle that I would be putting together for the rest of my life.  I just liked it.

Each time I read Virginia Satir's words I again feel that same calm hopefulness I felt standing in the school lecture hall surrounded by colorful posters and buzzing student life.  And I want to share that feeling with you. I want to share what began my journey of discovery, of healing and of self love. I imagine that many of you have read this poem before, and if so then like me it may be a nice feeling reminder. For anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of feeling these words I am thrilled to introduce you.

Self Esteem 
by Virginia Satir

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me
Everything that comes out of me is authentically me
Because I alone choose it - I own everything about me 
My body, me feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions,
Whether they be to others or to myself - I own my fantasies, 
My dreams, my hopes, my fears - I own all my triumphs and 
Successes, all my failures and mistakes 
Because I own all of ME,
I can become intimately acquainted with me - by so doing
I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts, - I know
There are aspects about myself that puzzle me and other 
Aspects that I do not know - but as long as I am
Friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously 
And hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles
And for ways to find out more about me - However I 
Look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever
I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically
Me - If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought
And felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is
Unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that
Which I discarded - I can see, hear, feel ,think, say, and do
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be
Productive to make sense and order out of the world of
People and things outside of me - I own me, and 
therefore I can engineer me - I am me and 

Have you read and felt these words before today??  Did today feel the same as you remember it from past or are you reading from a different perspective now?? OR was this your first encounter with these words?? What did you feel while you read???

I would be very excited to have you use the comment section below to share your thoughts. Or feel free to contact me via email or Facebook if public sharing feels like too much. I understand that fear because I have stood in that place also. If something here has resonated with a part of you today I invite and encourage you to share this post with those in your circles, allowing those others to feel something wonderfully strong about themselves. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Affirmations and Mantras and Quotes Oh My

There is much to be said, and IS being said, about the power of positive thought. There is for certain a lot being shared on all social media in the way of affirmations and mantras and so often quotes. I am on board with it all. I have lots of special reminders posted for myself and I have shared many all over the internet.  

Yet, there are so many people who still don't get it. There seems to be a huge disconnect about what affirmations and mantras are actually meant to do for you. 'Cause yeah, they do have a job - but then so do you. 

There is a population out there who calls someone like myself a little "woo woo". (I feel that I can really truly say that because there have been people who have shared that opinion with me as their own.) And that's fine. It doesn't hold a whole lot of meaning for me. To each their own. If my way of living does not feel comfortable for you that's fine. Your way of living does not feel comfortable for me, and since neither one of us is hurting the other.... I say we agree to disagree and move on.  But before I do I just want to point out one thing.  Yes I DO use affirmations and mantas and at the same time I believe that action IS a required step.

Affirmations and Mantras and Quotes of Inspiration are fun and insightful and they play an often thought provoking role. But they are not magical incantations that once spoken are like spreading sprinkles of fairy dust over my life.  I don't sit in a lawn chair, think good thoughts and repeat beautiful words all day and expect the Universe to drop anything into my lap.  Those woo woo words are only (an important) part of my process. 

What affirmations and mantras do do is help you to shift and to raise your vibration.  They help to inspire and to bring that peaceful place of your soul to the surface.  They are like lilly pads in the pond - a place for you to rest a moment, to catch your breathe and to refocus before moving on. For me they also act like verbal grounding cords. When I find myself caught up in a storm of unhelpful, downward pulling thoughts ( 'cause it happens to all of us) an affirmation helps me to break out of the spiral, catch my breathe and refocus myself. It also brings me back to a space of grounded understanding and love from which to build on as I keep moving. Simply put - it makes me feel good. And when you feel good - you know what happens next.... 

When you feel good you start to notice other good things around you. You are tuned in and turned on to the world. You make better choices. You have more creative ideas. You solve more problems. You laugh and you smile and all of those things make you feel even better. And your feeling even better then goes on to bring to you more of the same kind of good feeling stuff which feels even better still. 

An Affirmation, a mantra, or an inspirational quote are all jumping off points and can most effectively be used sort of like reset buttons to get you back on track. They are not meant to be your solution but they are meant to set you on a path to your best and most positive creating. 

Some of my very most favorite rest buttons are

- I am pure grace and love energy.

- I am figuring it out.

- It is unfolding for me in a way that in mine.

- Its just a thought. (I can change this)

- I may not be there yet, but I am in the process - and I am closer now than I was just moments ago.

Do you have use affirmations, mantras or quotes in your life?? How do you use them and what kind of experiences have you had with them?? Do you have a favorite to share with the rest of us??