Your Secret Place

The holiday season is meant to be a basket of joy, but I am getting the sense that many people are more on edge than usual.

On those days when life gets out of hand, expectations mount and stress spills into your bloodstream, it is important to go to that secret place inside yourself that makes you feel whole again.

Sometimes it helps to surround yourself with beauty. Nature can do that. In fact, Nature does it without trying. It is amazing how effortlessly the sky can look like this:

FR Llama

Mundenhof, Freiburg

FR Sky

The Freiburg Sky, December 16, 2013

FR Sky with Llama

Mundenhof, Freiburg

Astounding grace! The perfection with which the Freiburg sky embroiders sunlight with cloud humbly brings me back to my secret center ~every time.

If you are getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, go outdoors. Discover the simplicity of Nature’s call. It will help you return to that place inside that is more powerful than the sun, reminding you that who you are is more than enough.

Always.

 

Reclaiming Your Power

Have you ever noticed how we all seem to act according to the rule book in our heads? We acquire a set of ideas about how we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to say, how we are supposed to feel. Then, like a theater piece, we act out our lines, memorized through years of personal experience.

That’s when the trouble sets in.

As we live out our customized scripts, we end up having internal dialogues with ourselves when we think we are actually talking to the other person.

What we’re mostly doing is talking to ourselves or — at most — the first person with whom we had a similiar experience.

Let’s look at a workplace example.

Your boss comes into the office, grumpy as hell, and scowls at you. His face reminds you of your first grade teacher, the one that scared you so badly you actually peed in your pants. Now, back at the office, you have that same feeling and you spend the rest of the day recovering from the embarassment you first experienced at the age of six. Your boss’s behavior has nothing to do with you, but it triggered a memory that burns in your mind to this day.

Many of us operate from that child-like space inside. We forget that we are now adults who get to choose things from a broader view of the world. We aren’t at the mercy of crazy adults anymore.

But how many of us actually liberate ourselves from the thinking that was formed when we were?

There are no “supposed to’s”. Sure, we have traffic rules and rules of etiquette at dinner parties. Most of it is based on honoring the higher good. Somewhere along the line, however, we tend to bastardize those rules. Once meant to keep us safe, they morph into a haunting series of behavioral adaptations that leave us twisted, corked up and completely divorced from ourselves.

Weird, isn’t it? The very thing that is meant to make us happy and well-adjusted leads us down a path of self-inflicted sorrow.

We can reclaim our power by recognizing when our past conditioning kicks in. It is as much a part of us as our heartbeat is. It is what makes us tick.

Believe me when I say: You are beautiful just as you are — peed pants and all.

 

Slow Childhood

 

Translation: Language and Computer Courses for Children as of 3 years old

Translation: Language and Computer Courses for Children as of 3 years old

The blue hue of the screen lent my kids’ faces an eery glow. Eyes widened, mouths slightly ajar, they looked as if they were frozen in time.

Digital devices can do that. They not only freeze time, they eat it up, skewing our perception of how long we actually spend time with them.

An example:

Son shouts from his desk.

“I’ve only been on my laptop for a few minutes!” The rings under his eyes tell me something different.

“How much more time do you want to spend on it?” I ask.

“I don’t know.”

“Okay. ‘I don’t know’ tells me you want to turn it off now. So that’s what we’re going to do.”

You’d think I cut off his oxygen supply from the Space Shuttle as he floats weightlessly through cyberspace. But a few minutes of stretching and walking around the apartment bring him back to life. Real life. The one without a mouse, sound card or clickable links.

Living in Freiburg where the sun shines virtually every day, it is hard to argue with my kid to go outside “on a day like this.”

“Mom, every day is like this,” he mumbles, flicking off another video game soldier from the battlefield that is his screen. He says it with a mix of pride and practiced boredom. He is twelve, after all.

Or my teenage daughter, who visited last weekend. She wanted to chill out. So she grabbed her laptop and watched YouTube video games for the final two hours of her visit.

“You don’t want to bond, play Scrabble and talk about boys?” I asked with a furrowed brow.

“Mom? Can you just — leave?”

At one point I gave in and watched my own livestreamed show on my laptop in my room.

Where are our lives going with all this disconnection?

Like most people,  I love the Internet. It actually saved my life by connecting me with people and events that made my world a better place. But too much of a good thing is, well, too much. And I worry that our children will never learn how to maintain eye contact, speak a full sentence or hold a pencil with one hand.

Do I sound dramatic? Well, maybe I do. Some days it feels like an uphill battle, working against an unstoppable stream of information that competes with my children’s attention. All day. Every day. And sometimes into the night.

It’s a brave new world. One in which three-year-olds are encouraged to hone their computer skills. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought learning how to ride a bike would come first.

Slow Childhood ~are you a thing of the past?

 

The Universal Law of Abundance

Never underestimate the power of your mind. What you think truly is so.

When we entertain a lack mentality, such as a lack of time, money or other resources, we literally create an energetic wall around ourselves that keeps those very things from entering our lives.

When we move through the world with a mentality of abundance, we get a tsunami wave of every intention fulfilled, every desire met, every need completed.

I saw the Unviersal Law of Abundance in action just yesterday.

My friend has been selling his wares across open air markets for over two decades. But over the last few years his motivation has slowed. He is ready to move on in his life, tackle new challenges and make room for projects that excite him.

So he decided to do something radical. For the first time ever he slashed all his prices in half. Sitting on a mountain of inventory, he knew the only thing standing between him and his dream was the stuff sitting on that table.

Within several hours he had sold more product and made more money than ever before on opening day.

He had finally risked letting go of the notion of price points and sales and bottom lines. He had opened a door that let abundance rush in.

I love it when that happens. Because it does. Every time.

When we accept that we have more than enough time to fulfill our ultimate purpose, we live in a time abundant state. We let go of our pre-conceived idea of how things should be. Things are just as they are. We get to decide how we’re going to interact with the state we find ourselves in.

Would you rather have the feeling that things are never enough or turn everything around and trust that Universal power that is just itching to give you strength, love and immeasurable joy?

If there is one thing I have learned in this life, it is that attitude is everything. It doesn’t matter whether you drive a Mercedes or a Mazda, eat caviar or catfish. What goes on inside has a lot to do with what happens on the outside.

Give it a try. Release. Then see what happens next. I bet you anything you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the result of your courage to finally let abundance rain in.

DIY ~ No Wonder We’re So Tired

Our modern world has become obsessed with do-it-yourself everything. From getting gasoline to checking yourself out at the grocery store to booking your own flights to wherever – you are put in the driver’s seat.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like the freedom of choice just as anyone else. But our current ability to do virtually everything ourselves has replaced those days when service providers actually, well, provided service. Now it’s all automated and if you struggle with following directions (as I do), you’re up the river without a paddle.

Besides, what is really behind all this DIY-ing is the need for speed while cutting costs. How many of us actually go into a bank today and retrieve cash from a bank teller? As I kid, I used to love getting those lollipops after a bank transaction. No ATM in the world can offer you that.

Somehow I feel all this automation has simply cheapened the experience of life.

Not that I am complaining too much about the freedom of choice  we get to enjoy today. I greatly appreciate our manifest destiny of selection in many areas, such as which airline to fly with or which health care provider best suits my needs. But sometimes DIY simply sucks. It’s exhausting and confusing and I’d really rather leave certain decisions up to the professionals.

Do I sound like a total slacker? Bear with me now.

Our DIY mania has really gone too far. I like to be served, not because I like to treat people as servants, but because I trust that they know more than I do about certain things. Call me crazy, but don’t medical professionals have a better understanding of, say, health matters than I do?

For the first time in my life, I was recently asked to measure my own blood pressure by following the instructions in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. Eyes peering over my shoulder as I struggled with the arm cuff, I knew the stress of it alone would give me inaccurate readings.

It did. I mean, who can really relax when a half-dozen other patients are watching you? It felt a little bit like those machines you find in almost every supermarket in Florida — the median age of whose population exceeds 40 — where you insert your arm into a ring that squeezes you tight while it spews off your diastolic and systolic stats.

I’m not sure why taking my own blood pressure bothered me so. It really wasn’t that hard. But another modicum of privacy and care flew out the window with the doctor’s office’s self-service demand.

The philosophy behind DIY is you get to choose. And if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that my philosophy around The Power of Slow also centers upon the notion of choice.

We get to choose how we spend our time. For the most part.

But somehow I’ve begun to get the sense that there is little choice in the way things are set up today. I actually cancelled a car insurance policy this month because it was online and had no customer service. All in the name of “cheaper rates” (I found an even cheaper rate with a competitor who had a super-friendly customer service dude who won over my heart instantly).

Never underestimate the power of human connection.

I would have been willing to pay more just to have the ability to talk to someone when I needed help.

If I am forced to do all these tasks on my own, it is no wonder I am as tired as I am sometimes. Are you with me on this one?

What we need is more human touch in all things. So reach out and hug someone today. Hugging (and kissing) are two things that you certainly cannot do yourself!

The Harvesting Place

The best way to welcome love into your life is to give it first to yourself.

How is it that we learn this so late in life? Carving that love space within ourselves, or preserving it, is a life skill, but somehow along the way we learn to think of others first ~ be kind, be nice, be loving. And yet the greatest act of love is to direct that level of kindness to ourselves before extending it to others.

You cannot receive true love if you aren’t able to receive it from yourself first and foremost.

Easy to say, right? How many of us actually practice daily self-care?

We say we don’t have time to eat well, exercise or get a breath of fresh air, always serving our clients, our children, our partners or our friends. We feel the pulling demands that fill our days, breathless at night from the activity that pressed us beyond the breaking point.

Committing ourselves to authentic living can be pretty tough, especially for those of us conditioned to ‘make it right’ for everyone else. Making it right for ourselves can be wildly uncomfortable because it requires taking a stand beyond what we are used to.

It requires saying ‘no, that’s not right,’ in the face of someone else’s oblivion.

Somehow our egos think we will die or the other person will reject us completely if we speak from that deepest place within ourselves. The ego hides behind a mask to ensure it is safe, seeking agreement and acceptance wherever it can.

And yet that mask covers the most beautiful, naked part of our being.

When we speak authentically, we risk looking bad in the face of doing ourselves good.

Pretty ironic, huh?

As a recovering speedaholic who thought ‘getting things right’ would somehow make me acceptable in the eyes of others, I have learned a few things along the way:

  1. Perfection is a myth. Don’t expect it of others, and certainly not of yourself.
  2. Life is messy. So wear an apron. You can always wash it and move on.
  3. People may be persecuted for telling the truth, but the more people speak it, the higher the chances that the truth will prevail.
  4. Love is stronger than fear. Seek to love where you can, including yourself. Every day.

When we make a habit of loving ourselves, we create a vast space to harvest even more love for others. Go to the Harvesting Place. Remember to share it. And don’t ever, ever forget how worthy you are of the very love you give.