In a really great book, “Finding Your North Star“, Martha Beck talks about believing lies. In other words we often believe things about ourselves that aren’t true. It’s often some variation of “I am (something bad)…” or “I am not (something good).”

Maxwell Maltz in “The New Pyscho-Cybernetics” talks about your mind as a sort of great homing device, that will accept any instructions you give without judgment, and then goes to work getting you to the destination of what it is you put in. Kind of like your own personal GPS navigation system for getting whatever it is you say about yourself or your life.

I prefer Maltz’s view. Thinking of disempowering beliefs as believing lies is not helpful because it makes you think there is something that is true that you should believe. I think it’s more helpful to get that whatever you believe becomes true for you. That’s the power of your mind, and why it’s important that every human being devote him/herself to the study of how the mind works. An essential part of the practice of your life.

Your mind is like a computer, and your beliefs are like the programs that run a computer. In the same way that computer programs determine what is possible for the computer to do, your beliefs determine not only what you can do, but even your very experience of life. Your beliefs determine what you notice, and what you experience.

Most of our experiences of life comes from programming that was put in a very long time ago, and we’ve spent years “improving” on this original programming with newer and stronger releases in much the same way that Microsoft brings out a new release every few years on it’s operating system. Only difference is that for you it’s a very unconscious process.

So why not break this cycle?

As you go through your day, try noticing what are your fundamental beliefs. The big clues will be your feelings about situations that develop during your day , especially about other people and yourself. Just learn to notice your feelings and ask “Why do I feel this way.” Following this line of questioning may reveal some fundamental belief that you hold. Once you see it, the choice is yours to “un-install” the program. 😉

Note to self: Provide an example in a subsequent post as to how this works.

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The other day my friend Brenda posted a video of a guy dancing on her blog “Scrapbooks for the Soul“, and she said it made her cry. It shows a very white guy, doing a very white jig in different places all over the world. Now I’m out of the closet when it comes to expressing my feminine side, so I fully expected to have the tears welling up, but at the start of it I had doubts about the emotional value of the piece. I was reaching for the tissues by the end.

Then another friend sent me another clip showing people walking around with a sign saying “free hugs”. Tissues also. Both are below (need to have good sound with your system to appreciate fully). Two things strike me about both videos:

  1. Somebody had to have a silly idea and decide to do it regardless of what anybody said.
  2. The love among all people that is just underneath once we give up our conversations of fear.

Here they are. Watch out for the guy in front in Paris

Here’s the other (it was a public service piece that won awards):

You’ve heard “life is a gift.” Well this weekend I met this wonderful woman Maya who looks at this a bit differently.

For Maya, a gift is not something you’re obligated to do anything with except perhaps to “treasure.” At least for her receiving a gift does not require the same degree of attention and intention that receiving a loan does. For Maya, living your life calls for more than treasuring it in the way that you would a gift.

I think Maya is on to something. When you receive a loan there is an intention that you’re going to do something with the loan. There was a reason that you requested the loan, and there is an expectation from the person(s) granting it that you will be successful on that intention and that they will be rewarded for granting you the loan.

If you’re a spiritual or religious person perhaps you could look at your life as analogous to the loan, and your life’s purpose as the reason you were given the loan. For some people their life’s purpose is clear, and for many it takes some searching to find it. But find it we must, as without it we have no chance on returning the investment to whomever/whatever granted us the loan.

Reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14 (I’m actually quoting the bible), where the master punishes the servant that did nothing with the one talent that was given him. Matthew 25:29 goes on to say “For everyone who has will be given more, and (s)he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what (s)he has will be taken from him (her).” I added the parentheses.

Hmmmm. Makes you think doesn’t it? Perhaps life is that talent in the parable. Some of us have one, some many, and we’re expected to use whatever we were given. You get to choose how or even if you use yours, but consider that you have an obligation to do something with it.

Thank you Maya for sharing your beauty and wisdom. Think of me the next time you’re enjoying your playful Margherita. 😉

Actually wept watching this:

You can find it on You Tube under “Lighthouse Everything”.

It’s not often you have an encounter with another human being that moves you. I mean really moves you. Someone had that effect on me last night, and the interesting thing is that this person really has no idea the effect she had on me.

I had a brush with purity. Almost the divine. It’s amazing that to a casual observer what occurred would not have been noticed, and moreover might even have been trivialized had I tried to explain it. Almost like, “Wow, you’re being a little dramatic.” But I can’t help what I felt.

Quite simply, a very attractive woman whom I had just met said something to me that touched my soul. She looked into my eyes and said, “Don’t look so hard, you will find it.”

And the message received was, it will come, I am deserving, it is waiting, and I’m blocking it by looking so hard.

In law of attraction speak, I’m too attached to the outcome. Deepak Chopra referred to this as the law of detachment. He explains it something like don’t be too attached to what you want. Believe that you are deserving of it, focus on it while at the same time being OK with not, or in fact never having it.

Interesting mind frame when you think of it. To be focused on something. To know that you are deserving of it and will have it, while at the same time being at peace with not receiving it. Some people call this the practice of allowing.

Well tonight, at a bar with a friend of mine, this very attractive bartender shared what she saw in both of us. She spent most of the time with my friend who is a George Clooney look-alike so you can’t blame her, but when she did share what she saw in me, it spoke to me at the deep level of my soul.

“Don’t look so hard, you will find it.”

I can’t remember what else she said because those initial words struck such a chord that I had stopped listening. The cynic in me is quick to point out that what she said could apply to anyone and the cynic is right.

And this does no justice to the emotional impact of what she said. How much of her impact on me had to do with how attractive she was or the Glenlivit in my hand I’ll never know, but I know what I felt.

I felt that she looked into my soul. In a brief, superficial even trivial encounter she saw me and saw my pain and her words and her being were like a healing balm. (Forgive the drama.)

“Don’t look so hard, you will find it.”

Those words resonated with me at such a deep level that I can’t express. I just feel blessed to have been in the presence of an angel, and I thank her for sharing what she saw.

I am challenged by what relevance this has for your life. Perhaps it’s just to be open to what the Universe or God is trying to tell you. We are all getting signals, even being communicated with by a higher power all of the time. The trick is to look for it, to listen and be open.

Last night it was easy because her beauty got my attention. I did not expect that she had a message for me that would penetrate so deeply. It was like a parent kissing a child and saying, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right.”

One is stressful, the other is numbing. The latter type of distraction serves to numb you to the pain of the former. The best example of a numbing distraction is TV. You turn it on and it effectively distracts you (numbs) from all your concerns in the world. It turns your mind off. Other good examples are alcohol or sex.

Did I mention that I do watch some TV? 😉

I hadn’t thought of the first type until the other morning when my real estate agent made a request of me that required me to focus on something that I hadn’t budgeted any time for. This was something clearly important and needed to be dealt with.

It’s just that I hadn’t planned for it.

So this distracted me from what I had planned to focus on that morning and it served to pull me away (distracted me) from my intention for the day.

The fact that these distractions deal with things that are important to my life and that they yell for immediate action creates stress. The fact that they pull me away from other important, and maybe also urgent things, creates more stress.

So here we create stress on two fronts: falling behind on something that is planned and important, and the immediate distress of something that is suddenly urgent. On reflecting on my days, I observe stressful distractions often. Too often.

I know that stressful distractions will always occur. They are part of life, of being human. However my goal is to minimize their occurrence in my life, and this is a function of a vigorous practice of planning. A good practice of planning anticipates breakdowns so that they can either be prevented or prepared for in advance. (Thanks to the Aji Network for getting me to take on “planning” as a practice.)

Do you notice a lot of stressful distractions in your day? A cue perhaps that you don’t have any rigorous practice of planning?

Here’s something that I’ve noticed recently. I don’t say my prayers the way I used to. Yes I say my prayers. My mother will be very happy to know that.

You see I recently moved and this ritual fell out at exactly the time I changed location. It occurs to me that in my old apartment I had a physical space all set out that was right there “in my face” so to speak and it just made doing this ritual (of praying) very easy. The environment I had created “called this action forth”, as my old coach would say. My new environment does not have room for such a space and I now have to remind myself to do this practice.

This topic also came up in a course I’m doing now where they point out that if you don’t manage the clutter in your workspace, it will manage you. This reminds me of the office space of every very successful person I’ve ever been in.

Open and clear. Absolutely devoid of clutter.

Nothing on the desk besides the ubiquitous telephone, a couple ornaments, pictures of the family and maybe a computer. I’m sure there exists a famous CEO out there whose workspace is filled with bits of paper, sticky notes, reports, magazines etc., but I’ve never seen one. If you have consider he/she is the exception that proves the rule.

A clean space leaves the successful people open to possibilities. The agenda is set by the person, not by the unfinished business left laying around their workspace.

Managing your physical space consistent with what you’re up to is probably one of the most important practices you can develop.

Consider it’s no accident that you don’t do the reading you intend every evening simply because when you get home your TV dominates your living/workspace. It’s physical presence and location silently commands you.

Your TV says, “Turn me on, baby. You know I’ll be good. You know I have stuff that you want to see. Come on, kick off your shoes … forget the world outside … and let me pleasure you. ”

OK, my TV is veeery sexy. But trust me, if your TV is visibly front and center of your primary living space, you will likely watch it. If you have your fridge stocked with the sweet stuff that’s what you will eat. If your bathroom is adorned with tabloids? Guess what you’ll be reading?

So consider your physical spaces and what you put in them. If you don’t control them, they will control you.

Five things I hate? Interesting, almost refreshing twist on what everyone seems to be asking these days. On the phone messages you hear “ … and before you hang up, tell me one thing you love about your life.”

I guess it’s progress on the road to enlightenment that I actually can’t think of anything… at least not at first. A good sign I think. I don’t hate anything? What a highly conscious evolved person am I?

And then I think of a person that really irritates me sometimes. I hate it when she’s like that. When she’s that way, you know …  so unnecessarily difficult. That’s it! That’s something I can roll around with in the pig pen of hate. I hate it when she, or anyone else for that matter chooses the difficult path when the alternative is so available and obviously easy. There, that wasn’t so hard. I nailed #1.

What else do I hate? I’m challenged with five. Hmmm one down, four to go. I hate people that don’t clean up after their dogs. Ok I don’t actually hate them; I just hate dog shit on the streets. I’m sure the dogs are great to play with and their owners are much more hygienic at home, I just hate stepping in dog shit. Yes! Another victory I really hate stepping in dog shit.

And oh, the smell. Can I claim that as # 3? There’s the stepping in, and then there’s the smell of it. God, I hate the smell of dog shit. Yes. I’m claiming that as #3. I hate the smell of dog shit. I could milk this with the wiping off of it, but where would the challenge be? I’ll go for the challenge.

What else? Think, think, think. Well there’s traffic. I actually don’t hate traffic. I don’t even drive anymore. Plus I usually have an audio book I could listen to. Ah hah!

Wasting time.

I hate wasting time, or rather having someone else waste my time. I as Grand Master of my own time, am the only one that has the prerogative to waste my time. Anybody else wasting my time earns my contemptible scorn. How’s that for hatred: contempt and scorn. What passionate words.

And for #5 what else do I hate? Oh this one’s easy: salsa songs that go on forever. Don’t get me wrong I love salsa, and I’m even credited with being a decent salsa dancer. It’s just that I’ve got only so many moves and after I use them up, I get bored or rather I think she gets bored. Starts a whole conversation in my head about what she’s thinking about my dancing, and God. The freaking song won’t stop! It just goes on and on and on. Why couldn’t it stop after 3 minutes and I could milk my four or five really cool moves, song ends and I still have some perceived mojo left. But no, it’s gotta go on for for fifteen frickin’ minutes. Damn I hate long salsa songs.

Ok. That’s it. Five things I hate. That wasn’t so bad. Now I can go back to my transformed higher self. Until I step in dog shit as a salsa party.

Damn! What a great word. Wished I had coined it. Kudos to Jeffrey Luger though. He’s the mastermind behind the book of the same name.

Luger’s point is that the world around us filled with examples of things that appear simple and are enormously complex in their operation and vice versa. He cites a common houseplant with its microhydraulics and fine-tuned metabolism as being more complex than a manufacturing plant.

I particularly like his example of how very complex algothirms and systems can make something very simple e.g. the experience of shopping at Amazon. From the actual searching for what you want, to the ordering and it shipping to your doorstep. In addition, the system is smart enough to make useful recommendations based on what you’ve ordered. The systems that make this possible is enormous in their scope and complexity but once set up (after much trial, error and evolution) are effective and very efficient.

This got me thinking of how complex it seems to set up the systems/routines and practices in my life that work. The trial and error, the monitoring of what works and what doesn’t, the research to see what tools are available etc., etc. However, once the systems are set up the experience of using them can make life silky simple.

The next time you see someone or something operating very smoothly, remember that the underlying systems and operations may have been very complex to set up. So don’t give up on yours. 😉

Working for yourself presents unexpected challenges. Being on my own has taught me the value of routines in my daily life.

Without the imposed routines that come from a corporate job that starts at 8 or 9am every day, you find yourself pondering when to take showers, exercise, meditation etc., in addition to whatever work it is you do.

And yes. When to take a shower can actually become a major decision point in your day when you don’t have a regular 9 to 5 job. Hell, sometimes wondering if to change from by Bugs Bunny boxers to my Daffy track pants (very comfy both) is a half hour debate with myself.

Then there is the thought given to what shall I do for exercise, or how will I meditate today when I don’t have effective routines as part of my exercise or meditational practices.

Having to think about and choose every day when and what the actual practice will look like that day WASTES TIME.

Routines are either imposed upon you, or you are forced to create them when you work for someone else. If you do it’s good to notice them and the role they play in helping you be productive. Some of them may not. A routine of having garlic rice and beans before your one o’ clock dept. meeting for example may not be appreciated by your colleagues.

If you work for yourself, especially starting out create some routines right at the beginning. Getting up showering and dressing for work just as if you had a 9 to fiver may do wonders for your productivity.

There are two measures that enable me to assess my progress in this area of my life. One is Time to Productivity (TP) which is a measure of the amount of time that elapses from waking up till you actually are working.

The other is Productive Time (PT) and is simply a measure of how much time you spend working … actually working as opposed to watching reporters lose their cool when bugs fly into their mouth on YouTube (very funny), chatting with friends and other assorted time wasters.

Choose whatever works for you, but do invent something to keep you in action. Goofing off on your own time, intentionally or unconsciously will be at your own cost not your old boss.