Affirmations Keep You Focused

HibiscusOne of my favorite things to keep me focused is affirmations. They keep me in my present moment and one of my clients told me they keep the boogie man away.

They can help you remain positive and open. Depending upon the affirmation, it trains your mind which in time changes your thinking to be more confident, abundant, happier and healthy. Remember my earlier post about creating your reality?

Here are a few of my favorite affirmations:

  • I see the abundance in all I do.
  • Loving others is easy when I love myself
  • I am successful in all I do
  • I release all fear and negativity
  • I am willing to let go
  • I experience love and happiness wherever I go
  • I love my body
  • Change is easy for me
  • I am safe in my environment
  • I choose to be successful
  • I am the creator of my own reality

I hope you have fun with these and they work for you. I would love to hear some of your affirmations in the comments section below.

Think Happy Thoughts

Let a series of happy thoughts run through your mind. They will show on your face.Happy thoughts are everywhere. The trick is to focus on them more than on television news, what people say to you, or someone getting mad at you on the road and flipping you off. You know, those every day crush-your-life-thoughts that keep building until you are either very mad at the world, yourself, or someone else.

I don’t know about you, but holding onto the negative thoughts thrown at me from every direction don’t necessarily do a thing for me. So I decided to start focusing on Happy Thoughts about 10 years ago. It is amazing how much happier I am and at peace.

Yes, there are times that I could handle things better, like someone else’s anger, or stupidity. But I’ve mostly kept my world happy. I am aware of what is going on I just don’t let it get to me as easily.

Here are some ways you can think happy:

  • Take more time in nature
  • Turn off your phone and computer
  • Take a moment for yourself; maybe stop for coffee instead of grabbing coffee and spilling it on yourself while driving
  • I like gardening, something about getting your hands in dirt that is calming
  • Take yourself to a movie
  • Create a space in your house or yard that is tranquil and sit there taking deep breaths
  • Get lost in a book
  • If you can go to a lake or river, creek or some type of water, water is very soothing and peaceful
  • Maybe you like to clean your house and then just enjoy it for the weekend

These are just some of the things either I do for myself or my clients have done. The most important thing to remember is that if you are not relaxed and enjoying your happy, you’re not doing the right thing for you.

I have named a few but I would love to get more ideas. What do you do to keep happy? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Three Minute Meditation

balancing rocksWhy is meditation so important?

Meditation gets us out of our brain, it helps us to realize there is more to life than our preoccupation with the past or our fear of the future. It keeps us in the very present moment which is all we really have. When you meditate you free yourself from your mind that holds you in the past or the future or both, causing you to miss so much of your life.

Statements that indicate you might not be present? “Wow the kids grew up so fast”, “I can’t believe I am 40”, “I always wanted to go back to school, where did the time go?” Mediation gives you back that time and gives you clarity, awareness, and brings a lot of joy to your life.

The Three Minute Meditation

I like to start my students of mediation with one my mother taught me when I was very young.

Start by putting your finger on the right side of your nose and inhaling to the count of five, then hold to the count of five and then release to the count of five. Place your finger on the left side to repeat the process. Do this three times.

This is a great beginning meditation and it helps with stress. It is a quick way to center and focus. Most of all it is easy. I am not fussy about position or correct breathing, that can come in time.

Once you have gotten the hang of that you can find yourself some nice spa or Zen music to help create a quiet place in or around your home to sit quietly and breathe. You can also get a guided meditation CD if that helps.

Mediation takes practice. It isn’t easy at first and that is why so many people give up, but keep practicing and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

I hope you try meditating. It feels wonderful and life seems to go much better when I am focused, aware and happy.

Create Your Own Reality

You create your realityYou have been creating your reality since you were born, but you might have just forgotten it. You might have started believing what others said when they told you were wrong or you couldn’t. You forgot to listen to yourself and what you wanted.

Your thoughts help create your reality. Have you ever woken up in a bad mood? Have you noticed that it seems like everything goes wrong? It seems like it is all downhill from there, right? Or maybe you get up in the morning and you are feeling great! Life is good and everything is going your way.

You are creating your reality by either staying mad and creating chaos or staying happy and creating harmony. You are the creator of your own future and there are two ways to go about it: consciously or unconsciously.

I have a client that had a slight tremor in his hand and the doctor told him he had uncontrollable tremors but it could be controlled with medication. But he was convinced that the doctor was keeping the worst news from him so he went home and started to do research and convinced himself he had Parkinson’s. He now sits around convincing himself it is getting worse, and soon he won’t be able to work, that he has maybe 10 good years left before he can no longer function.  I have watched him go from having a small tremor in his hand to watching his whole body tremble six months’ time. He won’t listen to anything positive and just says nobody knows what they are talking about including the doctor.  He has created a reality that he somehow feels okay with.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my daughter decided to move to Seattle from Northern Arizona just after college and I have never seen anything so remarkable and fun to watch. She had never even been to Seattle before, but she started doing research, telling people she was moving, and visualizing what it would be like to live there. Two weeks before she planned to leave, she still hadn’t saved as much money as she wanted, she still didn’t have a job, and she had no place to live, but that didn’t stop her. She just knew that everything was going to work out. Three days before she left, a close friend of mine wrote her a check, giving her just enough to move. She rented a moving van and she and her best friend drove to Seattle with no specific destination in mind. They parked the truck, rented a car, and miraculously found her an apartment on Labor Day weekend. She had unpacked and moved in within six hours of finding her new home and received a job offer the next day.

See? Your thoughts are your creation.

It is amazing what you can create when you are consciously aware of your thoughts and your visualizations. But it takes insight, patience, constant attention, and daydreaming; you have to believe in what you want.

You’ve got to visualize, see yourself doing what you want to do, feel it, fantasize about it, and make it as real as you can.

I recommend two good books on this subject if you are interested and want to get started: Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

So basically what I am saying is, go for it!

Forget Regret

Erase RegretHow many times have you carried around a burden from a mistake you might have made years ago? As if it is not enough that the world seems to beat you up, you beat yourself up too.

That’s regret!

It’s important that you move past those perceived mistakes by looking at the situation with an objective mind. What was it you think you could have done in that situation? How would you have acted differently? Is it guilt that still drives you? Or do you truly think you would have turned out differently?

Hindsight is 20/20, right? It is always easier, knowing what you know now, to second guess how you would have handled things differently, but when you were in that situation, you may have had no way of knowing what the outcome would be. You need to really look at the situation and see what your real responsibility was. Most of the time, there really wasn’t anything you could have done to change the outcome of that moment.

So once you recognize the burden, how do you release it? You can start with some simple affirmations:

I am always safe taking chances, moving forward.

I love the opportunity to take chances to move forward in my life.

It is safe for me to move forward and take risks.

It is easy to take one step forward at a time.

I can move through this with grace and ease. The Universe always gives me what I need at the time.

Forgiving yourself is the first step to forgetting regret and making the change to become a healthier you.

There is No Love Without Trust

TrustTrust is letting go of any need for a specific outcome or way in which something needs to happen. It means allowing things to just flow and watching them unfold naturally. When you begin to open up to your own personal spirituality you are constantly being asked to TRUST.

The hardest thing you are going to do is to let go of your old way of thinking and believing. You’re going to be asked to TRUST in a new way of thinking with good thoughts, kind thoughts, and forgiving thoughts – towards yourself and others. But especially yourself. And as you do this things will start to get better.

Just TRUST.

You’re going to be asked to believe in the Universe, God, the Divine, or your higher deity and trust they are helping you and leading the way. When you trust, you’ll feel better and life will flow much easier. Things can be joyful as long as you Trust.

You’re going to be asked to trust down to your deepest core being and then some.  This is how you start the process of self-help. Self-love. And Personal Growth. You can choose to go as far as you like, or you can stop at any time. But honestly, you may find that you feel so good and life is working so nicely that you get the point and you don’t want to stop, TRUST me.

I teach people how to open up and TRUST. I like to help them on their path and when they get the hang of it I send them out into the world to find themselves and walk their path. Everyone has one, TRUST me.

TRUST your inner self, listen to your own guidance. TRUST yourself to follow your right path.

The Manipulator

Dead TreeOne of my favorite authors, John Randolph Price, has a wonderful book called, “Removing the Masks that Bind Us.” In it, he outlines twelve different behavior patterns and tools for changing them. One of those patterns is The Manipulator.

According to Randolph Price:

A manipulator is a schemer – a devious, shrewd, cunning, trouble-maker. He or she has descended into the lower frequencies of planetary energies. Under the impact to these forces, one has uncontrolled ambition for power, position and prestige. These are crafty and calculating people with intense egotism and purely selfish desires.

In extreme cases, the Manipulators simply do not understand the meaning of compassion, and go through life intolerant of any ideas or views except their own. They will practice destructive criticism, be prone to gossip, and be devoted to petty concerns, whether in the family or workplace.

I’ve also come across manipulators in my counseling practice. For example, one woman was so afraid of not being accepted or loved she needed to control everything to her advantage. She’d lie. Change the truth, deny, and isolate her victim. She’d do anything it took to keep herself in favor. The end result was that at some point she couldn’t remember what she said to who, and slowly the thing she feared the most began to happen. Once again she was rejected and found herself isolated because she drove people away with her behavior.

Her need to control and manipulate came from a deep-seeded fear of rejection and she was so afraid of not being loved, heard, or seen, she would overcompensate by showering those around her with cheap gifts, false compliments and unwelcome advice. She thought that by making people around her succumb to her wishes or feel beholden to her, she would feel safer. Actually, the opposite was true.

Generally, manipulators are completely oblivious to the fact that they are a manipulator. It takes someone pointing out their behavior or standing up to them to call their attention to their destructive behavior. And – surprise! they don’t take to counseling too well. In order for a manipulator to heal, they need to learn how to love themselves enough to allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs and this can be very threatening to a manipulator because deep down they truly hate themselves and feel extremely unlovable.

It takes time and patience to work through this particular behavior, but with a good therapist it’s possible.

Look for Coincidences

CoincidenceThe Universe is always willing to give you what you want if you just ask….and trust that you will get what you ask for. Trusting is the important part, if you don’t trust that it can happen, you won’t see the “coincidence happen”.

Coincidences don’t have to be big, or earth-shattering or life-changing. Mainly, they are just little ways in which the Universe reminds you that they are listening to you. You just have to be open to the idea of receiving and trust.

One of the most happy coincidences I ever experienced was on a visit to surprise my grandma for Christmas. I was living in Phoenix, AZ and she lived in Oakland, CA. She was in her 80’s and because I lived so far away, I wasn’t able to visit her as often as I wanted to. So one year, I booked tickets for the whole family to visit her a week before Christmas.

We arrived early in the morning on the day we were going to surprise my grandma and I wanted to get her a little tree for her apartment, (I had packed the decorations,) so we went in search of trees and found the most perfect one! It was still early, so we decided to eat breakfast then head to grandmas house. While we were eating, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up one of her most important presents – a roll of quarters. (My grandma played Bingo six nights a week.) The banks were closed and there was nowhere to get them. I was so sad because that was going to be her best gift. I was thinking about it out loud and wishing I had a roll of quarters, but there was nothing I could do about it now. I got up from the table to pay for breakfast and I had to stand in line because there was a crowd at the register. The whole time I was trying to figure out how to get those quarters when suddenly the man in front of me asked the cashier if she minded if he paid his bill with a roll of quarters. I couldn’t believe it! I tapped him on the shoulder and offered to buy them from him. He was happy. The cashier was happy and I was ecstatic. What a perfect “coincidence”!

That was thirty years ago, and by now I’m pretty good at asking the Universe for help and trusting it will come.

Last year an oak tree dropped a big limb in the garden. It was in the way of the garden and I wanted it for wood for my wood stove, but I had no way to cut it up and get rid of it. One morning I walked down to the garden wishing I had a chainsaw so I could cut up the log. As I was working in the garden, the gardener from next door came over and we started chit chatting about gardening. I mentioned that I wished I could cut up the big oak branch and he jumped up and ran to his truck. He came back carrying a little chainsaw he used for just such an occasion and chopped it up.

I smiled and thanked the Universe and then told him how I had asked for someone with a chainsaw to help get rid of the log. He smiled a big smile and laughed. He told me he had gotten in his truck that morning and was getting ready to leave when something told him he would need his chainsaw that day. We both smiled and thanked the Universe.

What coincidences have you experienced? Has anything ever just appeared at the exact moment you needed it? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

One Step at a Time

Rocks on a Hawaiian BeachWhen it comes to personal growth, you have three options: take a step forward, take a step back, or stay in the present moment.

One of the easiest traps to fall into when you first begin therapy is to get stuck on what it’s going to be like in the future when things have changed. But when my clients get upset and angry about how long it takes to work on themselves and feel better, I tell them it takes “one step at a time.”  You wouldn’t start kindergarten and expect to be promoted to fifth grade at the end of the year. It takes time, patience and staying in the present moment as much as you can. Thinking about your future and not paying attention to your present moment is not going to get you anywhere!

Once you’ve taken that trip to the future to see what you think life will be like, come back to the present moment and set it into motion by making a plan. But you can’t just think about it, you have to take daily steps to do it. But you also have to be aware of those daily steps to make it stick.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I often have clients that say to me “This is hard work. I don’t want to get better; I was doing just fine doing what I was doing,” or “I fixed the problem I am okay now; I don’t need to work on me anymore.”

That is like deciding to just keep wearing the same shoes you wore in third grade, even though your feet have grown since then. You can’t go back again after you have begun to change your thoughts, your perspective, and your life. You’ll always feel unhappy and out of sorts. Just like wearing those tiny shoes.

Once you get started and you are serious about change, learning to stay in the present moment and taking each day as it comes with your new tools becomes so much easier. It’s okay to take baby steps. Life has its’ moments when things aren’t so great, but if you take one step at a time and practice what you’ve learned in therapy it is so much more fun!

Setting Your Intention

Setting your intentionI hate New Year’s Resolutions.

I think they’re just a stupid way to set yourself up for failure. So instead of setting goals for the year I like to set intentions. I think it’s a more spiritual approach to self-help and personal growth. So, I’d like to share three intentions I set for myself this year:

1) First and foremost I intend to practice what I preach more often. I am a teacher and I feel it is important as a teacher of spiritual practices to walk my talk. If I tell someone to practice forgiveness, then I need to work on my forgiveness of others. It sounds easy, but it is not. If I ask someone to try to open their heart or be kinder, I also practice opening my heart. My belief as a teacher is that I should be willing to listen to my own advice. It helps me to remember this stuff isn’t easy.

2) My second intention is to give back to the community in some small way, whether it is to help out at the humane society, volunteer to help or collect for a food bank or gather odds and ends to give to the local thrift store for charity. But I have to be honest, I really like doing this so it is an easy intention.

3) My most enjoyable intention is to make people smile more. The other day I was at Home Depot and as I was about to cross to the other side of the aisle an employee came walking down the aisle in the opposite direction waving two flags back and forth. Right behind him was a guy driving one of their little forklifts with a huge package of goods. They were moving it from one place to the next. As they passed me I said out loud, “I love a parade” and both of the guys – who were not happy with what they were doing – let out with a big laugh and smiled. That is when I set this intention.

What intentions have you set for yourself this year? I’d like to hear some of them in the comments section below.