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.

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SELF-DELUSION

My niece is an amazing softball player.  She was just in Florida with her team in some series that attracts a significant amount NCAA scouts. Apparently, the competition was fierce. A key player on her team was ejected very early in the series.  Their star pitcher was taunted by an aggressive player on their opponent’s team.  She let emotion get the best of her and retaliated with no regard to consequences.  Her thinly veiled rage was detected, which is why she was charged with intentionally hitting a batter.  This is grounds for dismissal. After this huge misstep, the  team fell apart and they lost in a blow-out.

My son tells me that in soccer, savvy players will scout out the weakest link and make every attempt to break them down emotionally so they will react like a pressure valve and call a foul on themselves. I like that he knows this, which has taught him to understand the impact of giving one’s power away.  He has learned to see right through taunting and use it to his advantage channeling that energy and adrenaline to enhance his own performance.  Unfortunately, my niece’s teammate did not understand that she was falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book.  She stooped even lower than her antagonist.  She hurt her chances with the scouts behaving like a loose cannon in a high stakes environment.  She also hurt her team by depriving them of an important aspect of their strategy – her.

Coincidently, I am friends with the pitcher’s parents.  I promise you, they blamed her dismissal on biased refereeing.  They denied that the hit was intentional and decried the refs for not intervening to punish the taunting that led up to it.  This is a girl who has won prestige for her community service and  respect for activism at church.  The parents are anti-bad behavior!  It was very clear to me that their love of righteousness only worked one way…. for them.  When someone else acts out – they are sinning.  When one of theirs acts out, it is because they have been pushed to it by victimization.  Then I pointed out their self-deluded sweet-spot to my sister in some good old-fashioned gossipy back-stabbing.  This is when my alarms starting blaring!The-Two-Way-Mirror-of-Character-in-Relationships

Here I was, the teacher of the mirror philosophy, pointing out a hypocrite as if the very act of doing so wasn’t utterly hypocritical!  I had to stop to accept and  forgive my self-delusion so I wouldn’t be swallowed by my shame and begin trying to rationalize or justify my behavior.  Rather, I admitted it to my sister and explained all the various ways I have done what she did and how easy it is to fall into her parents’ trap… as I had so clearly just demonstrated.  My God, this stuff is insidious   Everything I spot – there I am!!  This is why I affirm quite often that I intend to see and assume the best in all encounters and situations.  As I always say, I am  a work in progress that looks like two steps forward and one step back, two steps forward…..

Changing How You Look at Things Changes What You’re Looking At

I want to show you how you can end stress associated with control issues.  Actually, that’s redundant!  Isn’t all stress caused by feeling powerless to guarantee a desired result?

One of the most important principles underlying everything I say and do and teach is: Life is Lived From the Inside→Out.  There are many potent principles associated with this Truth.  One of the more challenging and equally rewarding to use is: Thoughts Are More Powerful Than Words or Things.  This principle is challenging because it rarely produces instant gratification and we can’t prove cause and effect at this level.  And yet, if you pay attention, you will know that all the events of your life, began at  the invisible level of thought.  Awareness is key.  If you are not paying attention you will miss it and dismiss the most effective way to create the life of your dreams.    When we understand that our inner world creates our outer world, we know that trying to control people, places or things to get what we want is an option on par with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The formula is simple:

  • Become aware of stress.
  • Change your perspective by looking at the scenario from the perspective of the other person, the institution or an impartial observer.
  • Reinterpret the situation.  Spend as much time as it takes to imagine a way to  interpret the event(s) that benefits you.
  • Adjust your attitude by acting as if this interpretation is the correct interpretation.  
  • Use this perception every time the topic comes up.
  • If new information is presented about this topic that negates this, simply repeat the steps.

Many years ago, one of  my best friends betrayed me.  I was divorcing my husband at the time.  I felt like I had been abandoned, unappreciated, unloved and alone when I couldn’t save my marriage.  I was so afraid, depleted and depressed.  This was one of the darkest periods in my life.  To make matters worse, I discovered that friends and relatives don’t like when you upset the apple cart.  At least, back then in my little world, divorce came with stigma attached.  My friends weren’t happy that I became a single  mom and my relatives were not too thrilled with the idea of a ‘failure’ in the genealogy.

One of my go-to ‘peeps’ was so disturbed by my decision, that she set out to destroy my reputation.  My situation at the time was rife with highly effective circumstantial evidence that could be used to ‘frame’ me.  I was the unwitting starlet of my soap opera.  I faced accusation and rejection from people I loved at a time when I needed them most.  Luckily, I already had a bit of an awakening having read Deepak Chopra’s book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and James Allen’s classic, As a Man Thinketh.

We reap what we sow in thought word and deed.  This is inescapable.

This  meant that I was enduring that particular undesirable ‘harvest’ because of seeds I must have sown in the past.  If I wanted a different harvest, I would have to plant new seeds.  I would have to change something.  In this case, I first had to figure out what seeds I had planted – because I had no idea what I did to get those results.  It seemed so obvious to me that she was the problem and I was the victim!  How could I ever find a way to take responsibility for this cruelty?  Then it occurred to me.  My life had a very strong theme running through it.  From the day my father died when I was a young girl, I developed an increasingly powerful victim lens  through which I perceived seemingly unprovoked unwanted circumstances.

I needed to reframe my perception or I would keep real-izing these types of scenarios.  I remember feeling so grateful that I had figured out why I often found myself saying, “Why me?”  The warm and cozy blanket of denial known as self-pity is particularly challenging to remove.  It feels so good to blame others because it gives a brief ego-driven high of  righteousness and… quite conveniently, if you are at fault, I don’t have to change.   You do!  Unfortunately,  blaming others also means my happiness is dependent upon other people or scenarios beyond my control.  Why would I choose this feeble strategy?  Fortunately, by assuming responsibility for all the circumstances of my life, I give myself response-ability.  I can respond to an affront, insult, set-back, etc. in a way that will diffuse any negative energy associated with me and begin to build a new momentum in the direction of my choosing.

Awareness of my thoughts, feelings & emotions and the  consequences of owning or validating them, gives me the power to choose the next chapter of my life.  Conversely, if I am not paying attention to the activity between my ears(positive or negative),  I give up my freedom to choose whether what comes next is beneficial or harmful  to me.

In the case of my  friend, every time a realized I was obsessing, or got a strong feeling of self-pity or resentment, I stopped what I was doing so I could address the situation, because I knew it would be a runaway train in no time. I used to take a moment or longer to bless her and forgive her.  Pausing for a minute helped me to remember that what she thought she was doing to me, she was actually doing to herself.  She could only harm me if I ‘ate the poison’ by reacting to it, thereby tacitly agreeing with the charges. In pausing, I could also reflect on  the  thoughts that came before the gripping sensation associated with my earlier negativity. Once I identified what tapes were playing in my mind, I would replace them with new ones that made me feel better, stronger, wiser, happier, positive, etc.  I could access compassion  for her because I knew that what we ‘send out’ comes back multiplied. I knew that she had no idea of the havoc that her behavior would wreak on her life later… or she wouldn’t do it!  Meanwhile,I knew I  was fortunate because I could choose to return unkindness with love knowing that I will be so happy when  that love comes back to me exponentially.

I was vigilant about harboring no ill will.  However, I did not seek her friendship either.  That would have been an act of cruelty toward myself that would also bring an undesired harvest.  In less than a year, it was time for her to reap the harvest of the seeds she planted with me.  Misfortune she never could have imagined caused her much shame and threatened her good name and reputation.  She found herself in a very compromised situation suddenly overwhelmed by new responsibilities thrust upon her.  Without batting an eyelash, I assumed as much of her load as I was suited to handle.  Her young daughter spent the better part of a year with me going home at night just to sleep.  I did whatever else I could do. The past never occurred to me.  This is why thoughts are more powerful than words or deeds.  My response to her suffering that resulted in a beautiful win-win for all parties, was only possible with a pure heart.  If I had continued to have a grudge, I could have felt vindicated.  I may have enjoyed some twisted sense of satisfaction that ‘she got what was coming to her.’ I promise you, this would have caused subconscious self-loathing and an unintended negative spiral that I would not believe I deserved!

Instead,after a couple of years, my decision to force myself to feel compassion instead of resentment (even when I didn’t mean it at first) reaped a harvest that continues to feed my soul today.  I have in her, a most loyal friend.  We have trustworthy friendship based on respect, personal responsibility and generosity of spirit.  Perhaps even more importantly, I gained so much self-respect by honoring the Golden Rule.  Gold it is!

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.

 

YOUR PATH TO PEACE OF MIND

Week 1: WELCOME!

I have cut out and posted on my fridge a full-page Nike print adds that simply says, “LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR.”  These words are superimposed over a photograph of a woman jumping over what she seems to believe is a body of water. From the reader’s angle, it is clear that she is really just clearing a puddle!

So, here I go…

I have brought you my first in a series of video blogs designed to help you gain peace of mind regardless of your circumstances. It is located near the top of the right-hand sidebar on this page.  I hope you’ll watch, subscribe, tune into my blog for associated tools and exercises as well as listen and subscribe to my weekly podcast.

I have also included a link to a video I posted on Facebook at the beginning of the year to hold myself accountable to myself. Today I am following through.  To see my very first video blog post, click on this thumbnail:

If you would like to ask me questions in person on my podcast (anonymously or not) or if you would like me address a certain topic or question, please contact me via email at laura@lauranash.com and I will get back to you.

Warmest regards,

Laura

NASH FLASH

 REACT

An impulsive action, which results in reinacting the scenario again

RESPOND

An intentional action involving pause to respire & ponder,
which results in change and personal growth –and better outcomes!

THE DAILY MANDALA by Henry Reed

Lesson from Job(s)

It is our great fortune to have witnessed the personification of so many Truths in the life and achievements or Steve Jobs.  His iconic legacy will be available for all to draw upon when illustrating Natural Law, the governing principles of Creation.  His larger-than-life demonstration of The Power of Pure Potential (aka the Power within), The Power of Intention (focus), The Power of Self-Referral (not accepting conventional wisdom), The Power of  Visualization (imagination), The Powers of Simplicity and  Boldness (‘just do it’), The Power of Detachment (from fear, from the outcome, from the known) brought us closer to understanding that while human, we are also super-human.  If we allow ourselves to seize these Powers, move out of the illusion of safety of our comfort zone and venture forth into the realization of our seemingly miraculous potential, we can, like Steve Jobs, achieve anything we can conceive and believe.
Jobs, sadly, also demonstrated the results of violating these Laws.  Stories of his impertenance are sprinkled throughout accounts of his creative prowess.  In addition to his micro-managing (controlling? autocratic?) leadership style, he was known to belittle people, seek revenge, and harbor grudges.  Whether he was ignorant, defiant or disdainful of such fundamental Laws as The Power of Love, The Power of Attraction, The Power of Compassion, and The Power of Forgiveness, Steve Jobs has left us a few poignant examples of  what happens when we believe we are the Power or that immutable Natural Laws don’t pertain to us.  It is impossible to fool Mother Nature.  We will always reap what we sow.  Pumpkin seeds will never bring forth cherries.  Imagine if he was able to weave the Power of Potential & The Power of Intention with The Powers of Love & Compassion and the Powers of Attraction & Purpose.  He may have inspired the realize-ation of boundless Potential within those he employed.  Empowering others motivated by an absolute trust in the Power of Love without any attachment to the outcome (e.g. not fearing that Knowledge or information is dangerous or belief that your investment in another  may not pay returns) must buoy the leader/teacher exponentially.  It is Law.
Additionally, had he chosen to empower and inspire rather than intimidate, the inescapable Law of Attraction is likely to have drawn far less toxicity to his life experience and perhaps the potential for disease encoded in his DNA could have remained un-real-ized, dormant.  Nature does not compartmentalize; neither do we.  It is impossible!  We cannot have one kind of thought and a different kind of body.  Your body will reflect, measurably, whether you are stressed, angry, grateful or loving, etc.  Make sure that that you employ the Power of Love in all of your intentions, interactions and creations.  The Law of Attraction says we receive back the energy we emit multiplied on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Do you want back what you are giving out?  How would you like it on steroids?