IDENTIFICATION

I just re-read my post from Monday about the parking lot incident which illustrates identification, the first step toward ‘freedom from the bondage of self.’ Identification is one of my most valuable self-improvement tools. It allows me to assess the effectiveness of a certain behavior and not judge the person exhibiting it. Identification also frees me from chain-of-pain perpetuated by the prison of self-deception. Because I am able to IDentify a characteristic, I recognize it from memories of my past experiences. If I am willing to accept that I have been just as immature and forgive myself for the imperfection, I open the floodgates of compassion and forgiveness toward the person Compassiontempting me to scorn. Miraculously, I feel love for this person who has not yet found this path to inner peace. An overwhelming sense of gratitude follows as a result of realizing that forgiving myself is the key to freedom and peace of mind. How simple is that?

Okay…simple, but not so easy! It is just so tempting to go for the temporary high of ‘righteous’ indignation. Outrage is denial of my own earlier outrageous behavior. The brief exhilaration of feeling ‘better than’ comes from ignorance to the automatic low that must follow from karmic kickback. Why must I feel shame soon after feeling pride? It is because my disgust implies my innocence as if I have never and/or would never do something like that. However, I would not be agitated by this person if I didn’t feel shame about similar behaviors that I won’t admit to myself. Instead, my reaction would be magnanimous and I get a wonderful feeling about myself that lasts. When I tell myself that my agitation is about disapproval of them and not myself, they need to change – not me. While that may seem convenient, it is also very dis-empowering. I am doomed to repeat what I won’t admit. It sets me up for another opportunity to behave shamefully and then another to opportunity to temporarily feel better about myself by shaming someone else, and so on, and so on, and….

Admitting is the act of letting in. I can’t release what I haven’t let in! Conversely, the minute I admit a flaw, I can accept it, forgive myself and move on without carrying it around, walled off buried deep in my psyche like an abscess that causes me to react any time someone touches it. That which I resist will persist. Better to feel the pain of admitting it, so I can let it go. This is like feeling the momentary pain when piercing an abscess so I can feel the relief thereafter instead of guarding and defending it forever. If I could recognize my aggressor’s self-sabotaging animosity as something I have been able to conquer, my response will be gracious. This is far more likely to benefit me and anyone involved or even observing the exchange. Any time I have been able to behave with grace or dignity, it has put an extra spring in my step – not from pride, but from LOVE.

Hold the Vision

One of my clients has a daughter who serves as a barometer for his well-being.

He came to me for guidance handling the emotional stress of divorce, being a single dad and new fiscal challenges.  He was high on a potent cocktail of resentment and fear.   When we met, he was stuck in a chain of pain that seemed as if it was manifest in his daughter. His relationship with his daughter has made my job very easy!  She was like my Cliff Notes.  Once he described what was ‘wrong’ with her, I knew how to help him arrive at his solution.  Like clockwork, when his daughter acted out, he reacted  impulsively with feelings of anger and even rage.  Then he felt engulfed by remorse for his behavior.  He told me how much he loved his daughter and didn’t want to hurt her, but….. he was just so afraid that she would end up like her mother!  Having heard about some of his former wife’s antics, I certainly understood why he hoped for something different for his daughter.  I also clearly saw why some of his daughter’s behavior would remind him of her mother and trigger his fear.  Luckily, it was easy for him to see that saying things like, “You’re just like your mother!” would not help his daughter to blossom into a woman of substance, especially since she was aware of his disdain for her mother.  But nothing was working.  He could not issue enough consequences or express enough disapproval or launch enough warning flares to get her to change.  Thank goodness.

Because of his failure to effect a change in his daughter after having exhausted every option he could imagine, by the time he came to me, he was teachable.  I explained to him H.O.W. I surmised in less than 3 minutes that he that he will have the relationship of his dreams with his daughter.  From the moment we first spoke, he was Honest, Open and Willing.  If one of those components was missing he would have had to cycle back through his pain-driven chain-reactions until he was ready to  let go.

H.O.W. can you spot a winner? They are Honest, Open and Willing.  Denial is a valuable tool of the human psyche.  It protects us when we could be overwhelmed by circumstances.  However, it will also destroy us if we are not willing to face it when it is no longer serving us.  How will you know if you are stuck in denial?  You will get repeated unpleasant feedback from your environment.  This is our inner guidance system at work letting us know it is time for another growth spurt.  Getting honest with ourselves and others allows us to change for the better…evolve.  However, honesty alone is not enough.  Openness to new ways of thinking and acting is a need for intentional change.  I like the expression, “My best thinking got me here.”   Until you are open to see that your way of processing events is no longer working for you, you will keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.  Lastly, winners are willing to change.  They don’t feel like a failure when their way didn’t work.  They are excited to find and try a different way of thinking or acting that will give them what they want.  You will know they are willing by their actions.  There is no other way to show willingness.  Period.

Coming to me, who another one of my clients calls her tormentor,  as you process another of life’s growth opportunities, is almost a guarantee that you know H.O.W. it works!  I say that in humility and with a big smile on my face because I know that just showing up to hear me say, “You are the problem'” is an act of willingness!   Someone once told me that he hated me for more than a year because I wrote on a 3×5 card “I AM THE PROBLEM,” and told him to tape it to his mirror.  But, he never forgot it.  And, he knew that my motives were pure and helpful.  So, gradually he became open to try to understand what I meant.  That is when he realized that if he is the problem, then he is also the solution!.  Oprah calls that an “Aha moment.”  In the case of my client with the daughter issues, when he understood his role in real-izing her ‘flaws,’  his behavior changed immediately.   I showed him how to define the exact nature of his objections.  Once he identified the problem in her, I directed him within asking, “How is this a mirror of you?”  He began to notice that if he didn’t  do what was necessary to take care of himself with loving compassion, his daughter would show risky behavior.  If he was too hard on himself, she may have a cutting relapse.  If he was being judgmental or resentful, she would judge him, resent his ‘flaws,’ and ignore him for weeks.

Realizing that she is a reflection of his spiritual fitness, he  began to change his behavior with her and made great changes with his internal dialogue. Of course he had his moments of  ‘two-steps forward and one step backward,’ but that is life.  No one ever gets through life without what they perceive as a misstep.  When we are honest about the events that came before a little slip backwards, we prevent a mindless slide back into that powerless chain of pain.  Honesty allows us to correct course. Every so-called step backwards can serve as the catalyst to move us even further forward…. if we don’t stare at it and blow it out of proportion.

Meditation is a microcosm of life – as well access to pure awareness of the Source of life.  In a meditative retreat our awareness of the stimulus of life slips  to the silence of pure Source awareness.  We come out of  silent Source awareness feeling refreshed and ready for anything.  The brief retreats in life that we call setbacks, give us the fuel or motivation for forward motion.  The ancients liken it to an archer pulling back on his bow with the arrow.  That retreat gives the arrow all the dynamism for its flight.  Lamenting losses , missteps, etc. is like trying to shoot an arrow without the tension of backwards motion.

Demonstrating great skill with one of my favorite tools, the mirror of life and relationship, my client began to see major changes in his relationship with his daughter.  In time, he actually saw major changes in her.  He began to notice that the connection between his attitude and his experiences ran deep indeed.  When he assumed responsibility and gained response-ability for his experiences, he stopped all blame. When  his daughter dented their expensive car, he conveyed his relief and gratitude that his priceless daughter wasn’t damaged.  In the past she may not have been hurt in the car accident but the invisible damage her father would have caused by overreacting would have affected her indefinitely.  Instead, he gave her a huge hug and helped her come up with a plan to pay for the damages  – resisting his impulse to take care of everything himself.  He gave her the ability to assume responsibility for the events of her life!  The pain in her pocketbook was a small price to pay for the empowerment she received by her father’s respect. His compassionate, tempered response felt like trust to his daughter, which is quite different from approval for doing  the ‘right’ way  or being ‘good enough.’

That wasn’t the last time she did something that would have made his head spin in the past.  In fact, a few events followed that I am not sure I would have been able to handle without a lot of  fear and some regrettable behavior.  But, he held the vision. He used Joel Osteen’s trick:  When someone we love misbehaves, instead of  highlighting or inflaming the situation by rehashing and shaming, simply accept what happened and then silently say, “Subject to change!”  Then quickly get back to your vision of this person at their best.  Refuse to dwell anywhere else.  This loving dad did just that in the face of some very trying situations. I remember being in awe of his growth and humbled by his devotion.   Before I could catch my breath he began regaling me with the most joyous stories of her transformation.  Because of his unconditional love and acceptance, she began to feel worthy.  She started to take better care of herself.  She acted with poise and dignity.  She was beginning to impress and humble him as he had done with me.  I have the greatest job I can imagine!

NASH FLASH

THE DAILY MANDALA by Henry Reed

RE-MEMBER 

re+member = re-join, re-connect (i.e. sign-up)

“Always remember.”  Really?  Why?

Be certain you want to keep revisiting a memory – the energy the memory evokes is an electromagnetic attractor field.  If you cannot visit a memory without becoming sad, bitter or anxious…why would you want to attract more of it?

CONTROL ISSUES

Just before Christmas when I was 7 years old my dad died and I experienced a life altering paradigm shift.  It was as if the curtains closed at the end of an act on the stage of my life and when they reopened, the scenery had completely changed leaving me feeling unsafe and bewildered.  As a result, I can rationalize, deny and forget anything.  It is a mechanism I employed to make sense my unfathomable reality.  It helped me survive the grief and terror that threatened my sanity for decades and felt life threatening.  I thought I was safe in my head even though I knew on some subconscious level that I didn’t feel safe.  This ‘survival’ mechanism carried me until I was 35 years old when it backfired for the last time.

At the age of 35 I experienced another paradigm shift.  I could no longer escape my reality. I had to embark on that treacherous journey from my head, where I rationalized my experiences, to my heart, where I began realizing them.  When I ‘surrendered’ and began processing my crippling feelings of grief, rage, shame, resentment, etc., something amazing happened.  I learned that the seemingly miraculous solution to any of my ‘problems’ is contained within my deepest fears! When I began to feel the feelings I had resisted, I made some critical discoveries:

  1. That which I resist persists.
  2. My emotions won’t kill me.
  3. Emotions are simply energy in motion.

    EMOTION = Energy in Motion

  4. My emotions they cannot pass if I resist/deny/stuff/block them.
  5. When I feel my feelings, I can release them and drop my ‘baggage.’
  6. Once I process the emotion, I discover that “peace that passes all understanding” rationally.
  7. Established in this peace of mind I am able to and I want to stay in present moment awareness.
  8. The Intelligence and the Power that creates worlds exists only in the present moment.
  9. Connected to that Power – my fears slip away and I gain ‘control’ of my life.
  10. When I feel a constricting emotion it is my sign that I am shutting down, resisting my experience, and cutting myself off from the Power to change that  undesirable experience .
  11. When I accept the experience as it is, I return to the present and the Power it has.  A feeling of expansion results.
  12. The ‘control’ (over my thoughts, words, deeds and experiences) that I craved was in my Awareness all along!
  13. As long as I was looking for that Power and Control over my life ‘out there,’ it would remain illusive.
  14. This EOS  (Emotional Operating System) is my infallible IGS – Internal Guidance System.  If I remain aware and pay attention to it, it will guide me to the life of my dreams and deepest desires.

I can think of many examples in life when I ignored the wisdom of my IGS and paid a steep price.  One obvious example was in my early twenties when I took a job as a mortgage-backed securities bond broker.  I was about to become the only woman on a dog-eat-dog bond-trading floor.  I had many reasons for taking the job despite a nagging ‘sinking’ feeling.  I was unable to show up for my first week on the job because I had colitis, which in retrospect was my IGS on overdrive, desperately trying to get my attention.  I had stuffed every emotion that surfaced before and after taking the job because I was in survival mode.  I felt that I had to stuff the grief associated with selling my soul to survive because I believed I had to take that job.  The disease I developed as a result of my dis-ease with my decision forced me stop physically.  But since I refused to stop mentally long enough to just be in the present moment, I delayed my discovery of true Power.

I was extremely ‘successful” and convinced myself that I was in control (happy, safe and secure).  I went on compromising my integrity for years saying and doing things that made me so uncomfortable I could hardly stand in my skin…another feeling I worked at denying !  Every year it became more difficult to contain all the trapped energy of my repressed emotions.  Finally at age 35, I reached the tipping point. Choices I made (albeit unconsciously) resulted in a situation that I would typically have denied, but at that particular moment, I could not house another emotion without imploding.  As a result, I accepted reality in the moment and suddenly, in touch with true Power, all my walls collapsed instantly and I stepped into this new miraculous paradigm.

ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE AWAKE?

Sleepwalking

When we are not living consciously we run the risk of making choices that we don’t realize are choices – on autopilot.  We become victims of our own conditioning.  Unconscious living makes us susceptible to making choices for the wrong reasons – without checking our motives.  Exhaustive research reveals that about 96% of humanity does not even realize that this is an issue, which is to say that 96% of humanity is sleepwalking.  Fewer realize that present moment conscious awareness is the single most important factor of success in life – whatever success means to each of us.  Our lives are enjoyable and rewarding to extent that we are present in it.  Being present means being aware in the moment as our thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body, and/or events unfold throughout our day enabling us to check-in with ourselves:

• We might ask ourselves, “Is this train of thought life-affirming, loving, in-line with my goals, worthy of me and suitable for me to share without shame?”

• We can pay attention to our IGS (my Internal Guidance System) noticing feelings of constriction or expansion within? 

• Am I acting according to what I have said and what I think?

• Is this really my thought or am I being a parrot?  

• Is this thought true?  Is it valid?  Is this a belief?  

• Do this person’s action match up with their words?  

• Does this thought or action help me or hinder my progress?  

• Why I am thinking, saying or doing this?

• Am I paying attention?  

• Am I hearing what I want to hear instead of what is really being said?  

• What was I thinking before I did this?

• Should I acknowledge what I just saw, heard, said, and/or did?

These are just a few examples of the type of insight available to one who is practicing present moment awareness.  Insight is awareness of and attention to one’s inner vision.  Insight grants us every advantage to create the life of our dreams.  Life is not happening to us.  It is happening from us.  Life is lived from the inside → out.  The observable world that each one of us experiences  (‘outsight’) is the result of our prolonged, habitual focus and the quality of that attention  – interpretation of what we are experiencing.  

When we intentionally choose our attitude each moment, and when we decide where to direct our attention & energy each moment, we choose the experiences that ensue.  People, who do not know this, keep observing and reacting to circumstances (aka: the result) with little or no sense of our responsibility for them. Unable to improve their circumstances permanently at the level of cause, they spin out in a continuous feedback loop. 

One of my clients described a scenario that illustrates this quite well.  She told me that her husband is making her crazy.  She can no longer sit with him at their son’s basketball games.  He is aggressive at best and often downright abusive.  He directs his negativity toward their son, his coach, the referees, the other players on his team, the other team, the other parents, and so on.  The tension comes home with them and has often led to family drama that continues for days.  The father is mad at the son for ‘underperforming;’ the son is mad at the father for the abuse; the wife is mad at the husband for once again disrupting the family; the husband is mad at the wife for not supporting him, etc.  

In this scenario the father keeps focusing on what the son did wrong.  The son keeps focusing on his father’s anger.  The wife keeps focusing on the pain this causing everyone.  She told me, “Yesterday, I screamed at him asking him how he could be so stupid.  Did it ever occur to him that he has done this for 13 years and it has not improved the situation one bit?  The same thing keeps happening over and over!”  I asked her if she has chastised him for as long.  She flushed.  I got my answer.  

If we keep looking at the result of negative thinking we will keep seeing things we do not like: If she could begin to change her inner dialogue to predispose her to the solution, little by little things would evolve more favorably.  If she could inspire her husband to change his perception and inner dialogue, things would have to change for the better very quickly.  The burden of stress their son carries would evaporate and his performance would be affected measurably.   All the evidence we need about stress blocking us from the zone is demonstrated for all  to see by Tiger Woods.   More importantly, the long-rage impact of support and encouragement instead of disapproval and disappointment is obvious.  

The cost of sleepwalking is devastating and the benefits of remaining alert in the present moment are so magnificent that everyone’s main goal should be learning to stay present and think constructively.

 

NASH FLASH

RELATIONSHIPS REFLECT

 

 Everywhere you go, there YOU are!

 

The quality of our relationships with others reflects the quality of our relationship with ourSelves.  If our relationships feel good, it is because we have a strong connection with our Source, our IGS (Internal Guidance System). As always, the reverse it true.  The only change, which can favorably impact any of our relationships, must occur within ourselves.

 

 Watch my blog for a link to my podcast discussing this in depth!

 

 

 

ASK NASH

ACTUAL REALITY BROADCASTING FOR THOSE WHO ARE ASKING
How can I get rid of my anxiety? Why am I so anxious? Why can’t I catch a break? Do we make our luck or are some people just born with it?  Will I ever have peace of mind?  Why doesn’t anyone appreciate me? I have tried everything and I just can’t seem to get there…how can I get my life where I want it to be? How can I stop this awful habit? Why can’t I leave her/him? Why do I keep doing this? Why can’t I leave my job? Am I really stuck? How can I get rid of my jealousy? Is it good to be suspicious? Why does it seem like everyone is happier than me? Why do bad things happen to good people? I have been TRYING SO HARD to stay positive and I don’t see any difference – what am I doing WRONG?????