Archive for the ‘change’ Category

5 Easy Steps for Making Life’s Lemons into Lemonade

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 all know the axiom, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” For sure, that’s sound advice but few of us actually know how to put the sweetness back into a situation once it’s gone sour.

One minute, life is going along just fine and then—calamity strikes. The kids aren’t paying attention, someone cuts you off in traffic, a co-worker undercuts you in front of the boss. You end up with a sour taste in your mouth, wishing you could get back to the sweet life.

It’s easier than you think. Here’s how to turn life’s lemons into lemonade in just five  steps.

Step 1: Look beyond the situation by asking, “What do I think this means?”

You see it’s not the situation itself that’s the problem. It’s the meaning you’re giving it.

Ponder this for a moment: could a problem be a problem, if you didn’t think it was? One man’s problem is another man’s opportunity. How are you making this situation a problem for yourself?

Find out what meaning you’re giving to the situation, because it’s the real source of the sour taste in your mouth.

Step 2:  Once you’ve identified the meaning you’ve assigned to the situation, challenge the meaning.

You can do this by asking, “Is this the only possible meaning this could have?”

Now, if you’re really being honest—and not just trying to be right—you’ll be quickly forced to acknowledge that, in a world of infinite possible meanings, your current meaning is vastly outnumbered.

Your current perspective is not the only one available to you, no matter how justified you feel in keeping your meaning. I know, it’s hard to let it go, so here’s a way to quell the arguments—realize that when you choose the meaning, you choose the feeling and behavior it generates.

Step 3: Pay attention to the feelings and behaviors that are generated when you give your “truth” to your original meaning.

Not very pleasant, right?

Notice that you’re giving your truth to this meaning, you’re not taking your truth from it. This truth is a relative truth, not an absolute one. I say relative, because in the whole of humanity, someone’s likely to see this situation differently than you do.

For instance: getting angry at your child because you’ve given your truth to the idea, “he/she doesn’t respect me,” might feel relatively true in the moment. However, asking yourself what else it might mean gives you an opportunity to look beyond the sour situation being created by your meaning.

You’ll have a better sense for whether or not your relative truth is helping or hindering the situation. Is your original meaning—and the anger and yelling it creates—helping or hindering your ability to communicate effectively with your child? Which bring us to step 4.

Step 4: Ask what you want to experience instead.

In other words, what result are you looking to bring about. Generally, this is the exact opposite of whatever emotion was being generated by the old meaning. This is where you transform anger into patience, frustration into understanding.

Step 5: Find a meaning that’s congruently aligned with a feeling and behavior you want to achieve.

You can do this by asking yourself, “What meaning could I give my truth to—one that would enable me to feel and behave differently?”

Your old meaning is no more true than this meaning. Remember that you’re the giver of truth.

What happens when you sincerely consider this as another possible meaning? However much you might want to reaffirm your old meaning, keep in mind—if you continue to choose it—you’ll be choosing the result it creates. Decide on a meaning that brings about the result you want.

For instance: Deciding that your child is over-tired, over-stimulated, or under-engaged is bound to bring about an entirely different approach to the ‘problem’ at hand. By redefining your meaning, you’ve redefined your resulting feelings and response.

So open up your lemonade stand, the people around you will suddenly like what you’re serving. You’ll find your situation is not so sour after all. In fact, it may get a whole lot sweeter right away.



ChangeWorks Makes News

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Mindopoly is proud to be a  featured business in this month’s Rochester Woman’s Magazine.  Hot off the press, here it is.

‘Perhaps’ ~ Life is By Adventure

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

growing new ideasHow often does life go exactly according to your plans for it? If you’re like most of us, not so often, right?

I’m not here to discourage the perspective that we’re in many ways the author of our lives. It’s healthy to plan for the positive. It’s just that I think it’s time to grow up to the idea that we have absolutely no control over what IS. 

Believe me, I sympathize if this is a little uncomfortable to embrace; mostly because, I like being in control too. Here’s the thing. I just don’t try to control the wrong stuff anymore. Because what is always trumps our plans for what we think it should be. And there’s no use fighting the facts.

There are two stories to everyone’s life: the one that is and the one we think it should be. When life’s going as we think it should be, those two stories — The Story of Is and the Story of Should Be — don’t stray too far from the same plot line. But whatever harmony that exists between those stories is usually short lived, as Life continues to unfold into the Story of Is.

And The Story of Is and the Story of Should Be are usually contradictions to one another.  I should have gotten that raise. Kids should be more respectful. Drivers should be more courteous. But whatever we think, our shoulds never change the is. They do, however, create an undefeatable unhappiness.

In my own Story of Should Be, right now I’m at the gym shedding some winter weight that’s been holding on as stubbornly as the snowbank still outside my window. That’s what should be. However, in The Story of Is, I’m sitting not so comfortably—okay, in massive pain—almost flat on my back staring out the window at that aforementioned snow. Apparently, my back didn’t get the memo marked “should” and simply is what it IS. Not only can I not go to the gym, I can’t stand up without assistance.

Okay, that’s the bad news. Here’s the good.

The moment I surrender to what obviously is, I can change my should be to a perhaps.

Perhaps, if I wasn’t flat on my back I wouldn’t be writing this. And perhaps, my perhaps story will help someone else create their own. Perhaps, this isn’t happening to me. Perhaps, it’s happening for me. Perhaps, it’s happening so that I can help others. Perhaps, by the time I finally get to the gym, I’ll be twice as motivated.

I’m intrigued with the idea of creating and keeping a perspective that allows for the possibility that what IS might just be an opportunity to create a perhaps. I looked up the etimology of the word, by the way. It means: “by, through”  + happening, chance or adventure.

It’s natural for us to create a Story of Should Be (as in: I believe, I prefer, I desire), but it needn’t make us miserable. Because there’s a Third Story we can create, if we choose to.

The current Story of Is can become a far more exciting Story of Perhaps.

Perhaps, Life is By Adventure!

Do you have a Story of Perhaps you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it. Post it below!


Making Friends With The Enemy

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 few days ago, GrayBall, The Brain and I started the day out as enemies. No worries. It all turned out in the end. Here’s how it happened.

I was determined that I should buckle down and use my regularly scheduled block of time to finish editing my new book. Brain thought a day in the sunshine was a Much Better Idea.

Although I could hardly dispute that  a sunny, comfortable 75 degree August day in Rochester was cause for celebration, my resolution to keep my self on track was too important to dismiss. I was conflicted. I had a part that wanted to do one thing and another part of me with an entirely different opinion. I see-sawed between the joy of being outdoors and the satisfaction of following through with a personal commitment to myself.

In the past, this would have started an argument between competing purposes. I would have labeled Brain’s attempts as a sabotage. I’ve since learned better. I’ve realized that GrayBall is sometimes a misguided friend.

Here’s how it all worked out in the end …

I assumed a positive intention and negotiated a truce. Here’s how I did that.

I began by asking Brain, “What’s the positive intention behind wanting to be outdoors?” Brain quickly responded by pointing out how lovely it would be to be in the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air.

So I asked, “And if I did spend time outdoors today, what would that get me?” To which Brain responded, “relaxation and enjoyment.” Well, I had to admit that that sounded pretty good to me. I wrote the answer down.

Then I thanked Brain for it’s positive intention and asked if it would be willing to help me understand it’s intention even better. It agreed; so I asked, “and if I had relaxation and enjoyment (it’s intention) what would that get me?” When Brain gave me the next answer, I wrote that one down too. Then I kept asking the same question of Brain, substituting each additional intention it gave me into the question, until Grey Ball ran out of answers.

When we finally arrived at “peace,” I asked GrayBall if there was anything more important than experiencing peace. To which it responded, “No.”

I next asked Brain, “Are you congruently creating peace by pulling my attention away from my project?” GrayBall had to admit that creating conflict, when what it wanted most of all was peace, was not congruent.

Having reached the end of that line of inquiry, I then asked Brain, “What’s the positive intention behind wanting to follow through with my personal commitment to finish the edit on my new book?” Brain—now eager to play along— answered that it would give me “a sense of accomplishment.” I couldn’t argue with that one either; so I quickly thanked Brain for wanting that for me. And I wrote it down and followed the same process of inquiry that I used the first time.

So I continued to ask, “and what would that get me?,” until GrayBall ran out of answers. Lo and behold, it’s highest intention for “us” was—one again—peace.

Now I asked GrayBall to notice that both choices were moving “us” toward the same intention. It said, “Yes.” So I asked it, “If we get to peace, then it really doesn’t matter how we get there, right?” Gray Ball was beginning to get the point.

So I next asked GrayBall to notice that peace was a state of being. In other words, it wasn’t a doing. It didn’t have to do anything to acquire it.

I directed it’s attention toward the fact that it could simply decide to “step into a state of being at peace and experience what that would be like to be there already.”

Once I could connect to the feeling of peace in my body, I asked it, “What happens when you begin in  a state of peace as a way of approaching this project?” and “How would that affect your ability to complete this project more efficiently and effectively?”

By now, GrayBall was getting the point. Since it already had what it most wanted, it no longer felt the need to distract me away from my work. Finally I asked GrayBall whether it would be willing to maintain a sense of peace for me while I continued to craft a new intro to my book. Because—after all—that was it’s highest intention, right?

Gray Ball happily agreed. And it turned out to be a Very Sunny Day indeed.

So the next time you feel conflicted—when part of you wants this and another part of you wants that—ask your GrayBall what positive intention it has for you. You’re bound to be surprised how easy it is to make friends with the enemy.

P.S. Thanks to Connie Rae Andreas for developing the process I used above, called CoreTransformation.


The Shield Program – Bully Proofing Our Kids

Friday, November 9th, 2012

With all the outrage, talk and interest in the topic of bullying, why is it getting worse?

Find out the answer to that question and our surprising solution to the problem of bullying by tuning into WHAM 1180 at 7pm on Sunday.   We’ll be hosting an ‘Ask the Experts” hour entitled “Bully Proofing Our Kids – Taking The ‘Mean” Out of the Meaning We Give Words.”

Want a little preview of what’s behind our message?  Here’s Jim at this year’s Flour City TEDx on the “World’s Deadliest Belief” … and remember to tune in on Sunday night at 7pm to join in the conversation.  Looking forward to hearing from you.


5 Ways to Get Your Happy On

Monday, January 30th, 2012

With the heavy skies of winter blanketing most of the Northeast this time of year, many of us are struggling to keep our sunny dispositions intact.

But intentional activities and practices can account for as much as 40% of the individual differences in happiness, whatever the weather may be.

Here are 5 quick ways to get your happy on, regardless of the weather.

Set a Sunny Outlook

Your inner world directs your outer experience.   Where the mind goes, the body follows and along with it the ability to quickly transform your mood.

Grey skies got you down?

Close your eyes and as vividly as possible imagine yourself in your favorite place in nature with the sun streaming down on your upturned face.

Picture a brilliant sun against a clear and cloudless blue sky, feel the heat on your skin and the light of the sun bright red behind your closed eyelids, hear all of nature alive with summer.

Relax into the warmth on your skin, smooth the muscles of your face, take a few deep breaths, smile and quietly notice, “when there is sun within, the sun is always out.”

Now open your eyes and notice how much brighter everything looks.

Move Your Body, Move Your Mind ~ Try Something New

Rather than going into hibernation this winter, give yourself a boost with the anticipatory thrill of the new.

If you’ve been promising yourself to try salsa dancing, indoor rock climbing, learn a new language, or join a book club, now is the perfect time of the year.

Although many of us try to beat the doldrums by pursuing passive activities such as surfing the net or checking out our Face Book page, research shows that after about 30 minutes they start sapping our energy.

Our brains love to be challenged.  And novelty often sparks a feeling of natural vitality simply by engaging in new activities.

Something to keep in mind … one man’s mountain is another man’s public podium.

The more thrilling and challenging the activity is to you – and the bigger the perceived risk – the more likely it is to light up the reward centers of the brain.  The riskier the behavior the more nature’s natural anti-depressant, dopamine, is produced in the brain.

Perhaps, for you,  a course in public speaking is every bit as adventurous and risky as skiing down a mountain.

Volunteer Your Time or Do Random Acts of Kindness

Research has proven the adage, “It is better to give than to receive.” 

It increases our general sense of well-being and may lead to a longer life, expressly when it is tied to altruism and service.

Never do we feel as good as when we are helping someone less fortunate than ourselves.  Keep in mind, it’s best to mix it up a bit.  Five small kindness spread out over the course of five days is more beneficial to your level of happiness than one big grand gesture.

On a more practical note, it may well help to control our tendency to imagine and then compare ourselves with others more fortunate than ourselves.  It often serves to remind us to be more realistic in our views about how fortunate most of us truly are when we are helping others less fortunate than ourselves.

Pay Attention to All You Have to Be Grateful For

Being mindful of what we have to be grateful for helps us minimize the brain’s natural tendency to create what I call “a not quite satisfied set-point” in our lives, where things never seem quite good enough.

This set-point often results in us taking too many things for granted. Things that immediately become more valuable to us in their loss than they once were when we had them . . .  a standard of living, a loved one, or our health.

So what if the sun isn’t shining today?

Instead of feeling grouchy, be grateful for the electricity to power a light, the loved one that forgets to turn it off, and the ability to get up and turn it off yourself.

If you’re afraid this might kill your ambition or drive, think again.  Research shows that happy, satisfied people are more productive and successful in all areas of their life.

By noticing what you have with a “good enough for now, moving toward better” attitude, you can balance the gratitude you already feel with the drive and desire to have or experience more.

Rather than using unhappiness as a way to motivate yourself to be happy in the future, notice that gratitude can increase your sense of success and happiness right here in the now.  By recognizing how much you already have it’s much easier to notice how much more you can create.

Watch Your Spending Habits

It’s not so much that we spend money, it’s what we spend it on that counts.

Buy yourself a different kind of ‘retail therapy’ this winter.  Rather than shop for the latest gadget or new pair of shoes, go to the movies, take a short vacation, or host a party.

Research shows that people get more satisfaction purchasing experiences over things.  So if you have to, go ahead and buy yourself that new outfit, just remember to make memories while you’re wearing it.








A New Year’s ReVolution

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution.  More than likely because I always equated the word resolution with that dreaded word “discipline.”

And when it comes to discipline?

Well, let’s just say, the day they were handing it out, I happened to be at the back of a very long line and didn’t have enough discipline to wait for it.

So discipline and I have never been friends. A fact all too often brought to my attention by one or another of the well-intentioned, ruler wielding, knuckling slapping nuns who terrorized my young life in order to knock it into me.

Actually, the sum total of all that knuckle slapping did amount to something: my earlier belief that if only I were more disciplined my life would not only be easier but a whole lot less painful too. After all, you need discipline to get things done, right?


Here’s the reason why. Discipline isn’t the Holy Grail that leads to the Kingdom of All Promises Made and Kept that you’ve been led to believe. There’s an equally potent – far easier – way to keeping the promises you’ve made to yourself to change aspects of your life.

It’s really quite simple.

Use your passion, enthusiasm and desire more effectively.  Here’s how.

Do you have a promise you’d like to keep this year?

Imagine having already kept it.  Picture it in vivid detail by asking yourself a few questions:

“How has this changed my life and/or the lives of those around me?”
“What would I have missed out on if I hadn’t made this change? “
“What is now possible that only once seemed impossible?”
“What’s now present that was missing before I made this change?”

Now, notice the feeling of success and accomplishment. Ask yourself:

“How do I feel about myself now that I’ve accomplished this?”

Finally ask yourself:

“Do I want to feel this way?”
“Do I want this?”

I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes.’

And if this is the case, how much discipline does it take for you to do something you really, really want to do? That’s right. None – all you need to have is passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So when it comes to something that we really want, what looks like discipline from the outside becomes effortless efforting on the inside.   And if ever you feel yourself drifting away from your promise(s), simply reconnect to your passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So if you’re worried that you won’t have enough discipline to achieve your New Years Resolution, why not join me in making a New Year’s ReVolution instead?   So what’s yours going to be?


You and Your World~Metaphorically Speaking, Part II

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“If you really want to know what’s going on in your unconscious mind, look closely at your life–because it’s telling you the truth.” (jc)

In Part One of this series, I posed a question about possible strategies for dealing with a brain at war with itself.

Well, there’s lots of tactical manuevers people use in this kind of war hoping to emerge victorious.

One popular approach is to get the conflict diagnosed as a mental illness. Then you get to exact vengeance upon your brain with prescription chemical warfare until it burns out and surrenders.

Or, you could enter into desperate negotiations with your brain, hoping to garner a truce. But do any of these really present a useful solution?

I think you know the answer.

But there’s another more solution-oriented approach to finding peace by resolving the conflict. One that most people aren’t aware of.

You remember that beliefs generate our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, right?

Well, lurking beneath statements like I’m at war with myself, or I’m stuck in a rut, or I just can’t handle all this *stuff* hanging over my head, is the structure of the beliefs that are creating the difficulty.

These, and other similar statements are among the countless metaphors people use to describe their life situation.

Your metaphors reveal the landscape of your internal reality.

The experience you’re having right now is the effect of living your life within the metaphoric landscape of what you believe to be true. See?

And while you may be profoundly aware of the effects of the belief, the structure of the problem created by the belief is usually outside of your conscious awareness. Because a person can be aware of how they feel and what they do without actually knowing the cause.

Have you ever noticed a peculiar behavior or puzzling limitation of your own and wondered, “What the heck is that all about?”

Here’s a Mind-Warp for you.

If you were caught in a trap that you could see and feel–like a cage or a pit–you could study the characteristics of the trap and have a good chance of finding a way out, couldn’t you? You might even discover that you had a number of choices for implementing a solution.

But what if you were caught in a trap–and didn’t even know it? What chance for escape would you have then?

Well, practically speaking–none. Your choices are limited to the information you have. How’s that for freedom of choice?

Most people don’t realize they’re living, or are trapped, within a metaphoric world. And because they don’t realize it, they’re unable to find their way out.

Problematic states like chronic depression and anxiety are common examples of this situation. People living within these problems are often caught in a closed recursive neurological loop–a trap consisting of limiting beliefs. And they don’t know that. So the problem persists.

But there are solutions; even for some of the most difficult of these problems. And sometimes they’re so simple, it boggles the mind.

Uncovering the structure of the metaphor within which the problem exists is like bringing the ‘invisible trap’ into view. Then, the specific characteristics of the trap can be observed, and more often than not, a solution created.

Your inner world is made up of beliefs.

And the structure of that world is evident in your behaviors and language patterns–in the form of metaphors. These metaphors have distinct qualities and characteristics including boundaries, textures, various climates and multiple dimensions–just as you would expect of any material landscape–but with some startling exceptions.

The metaphoric world exists within the universe of imagination–of mind. (Anyone thinking about that Twilight Zone music right now, raise your hand.) And, unlike the denser 3-D world of stuff, where pesky things like gravity and aerodynamics rule, in the universe of imagination such rules don’t exist.

Hence, anything is possible there.

The trick is to use your imagination to create a more useful metaphor wherein lies a solution that can be applied in the 3-dimensional world.

In other words, your imagination may be filled with magic carpets and flying automobiles, but unless it was built and tested for flight in this world–don’t go driving your car off a cliff. (*wink*)

Until next time, here’s a simple challenge: what would you say is the only thing powerful enough to change a belief? If you get this, you know more about the rules for change than most.

Want a hint? Recall what beliefs are made of…

(More mind de-boggling coming soon. Stay tuned.)

Hi. Welcome to my Universe.
If you enjoyed this, please Like, Share, Tweet, Comment, or everything to the left of this dot.

And thanks for being you. You’re the only you there will ever be. That makes you awesome.

Meanwhile, you can click here to discover more about the world of metaphor from Andrew T. Austin – an emerging Master of Metaphor.

In the Meanwhile–Percival MacDonagle’s Chalice

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I’m brand new to bloggering. I’ve never believed in it. It seemed to me a bit porlicious and transitorial ummm…a big waste of time.

But recently, I read an article on the potential usefulness of bloggering. It’s supposed to be good for you.

And I’m all about making belief changes that are good for you.

So, I’ve decided to change my blog belief and become a bloggerer after all.

But there’s so much for me to learn. For example, the article I read states that, as a new bloggerer, I must produce something each and every week–preferably on the same day. That’s a bloggering rule.

I picked Mondays.

So now, each Monday–without fail–I must produce. Or the whole world falls into ceaseless wailing, I guess.

A world wailing without cease. Yikes.

The Vatican would have to intercede, divinely smiting Mondays from the Vatican calendar for the misery of it all.

God’s own calendar. And me to blame for Mondays being smote.

It’s too much pressure.

They did something like that in the 1960s to a bunch of saints who had quit working miracles. Right after our shiny new catholic church was named for Saint Christopher, the Vatican fired him–stripped him of his saintly stature. So anything’s possible. I think he was the Patron Saint of Crummy Drivers.

Anyone who’s been on the road lately knows smiting him was a huge mistake.

Makes you wonder about your own job security though, doesn’t it? I mean, if they can fire the saints?

I always thought the saints worked for God.

Father Percival MacDonagle was our parish pastor. It was his very first parish. Everyone called him ‘Father’ except for me. I called him Percy because that’s what his parents named him. No one names their kid Father. It would confuse the other children.

Percy hated me.

You should have seen the look on old Percy MacDonagle’s face when the Vatican fired Chris a few weeks after the opening of his new church. He was blubbering and snorting like a volcano; his displeasure running off his face in viscid torrents, right into the sacred chalice–like a commoner weeping over his pint of bitters.

Naming it The Church of St. Christopher had been his idea.

And now, Percy was consigned to offering mass at what the disillusioned faithful were calling Christopher’s Place. It sounded more like an Irish pub than the House-Of-The-Most-High.

Father Percival MacDonagle–fated to serving wine and wafers at Christopher’s Place every Sunday.

He was inconsolable.

My brother Paul was altar boy that Sunday. He refused to drink from Percy MacDonagle’s chalice because of what he saw floating in it. No one else saw it though, and they all drank. My brother was mirth with laughter.

Percy was a mirth-less man.

When he saw Paul laughing, he invoked a pox upon his soul, directing him straight to hell complete with a letter of reference. And that was my brother’s last day as altar boy.

Anyway, my real article isn’t ready. So I wrote this in the meanwhile.

Hi. Welcome to my Universe.
If you enjoyed this, please Like, Share, Tweet, Comment, or everything to the left of this dot.

And thanks for being you. You’re the only you there will ever be. That makes you awesome.

A Fragile Fortress: A Princess’ Tale

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Let me tell of you castles
I’m well informed on the subject
After all, princesses know these things
First, it’s quite difficult to build one
It might take half a lifetime, maybe more
They require extraordinary faith
Though some say they’re worth it for the living in
So I built a castle on the shore
Of the master builder’s hand
With more sand than you would ever need
To build a million fragile castles strong
Every day a new challenge though
Sometimes the weather
Sometimes the complicated plans that fall into the sea
But somehow you never mind so much
Knowing castles are their own reward
Finally, one day you finish
And find the fairy tales are right
There is peace and prosperity
In your kingdom by the sea
And so your voice goes to the ocean
As you sing thanks everyday
Though all too soon you forget a bit
That the nature of the sea
Is governed by the rotation of things unseen
The cycle that gives must take back again
And that  a sandcastle is not an easy place to live
Perhaps a better place to dream
And dream you do
And slumbering
Fail to hear the hand of the ocean reach out
Rebuking your efforts into a dissolve
And again your voice goes to the ocean
Though now there’s no gladness in it
You curse, as once you praised, your choice
To live so close to creation’s embrace
Faith, once so easy a companion
Suddenly the hardest thing to find
Just when you need it the most
So you pray unceasingly for the return of the castle lost
For a mercy never granted
Or so it might seem to eyes
Which only seek a vision of past glories
Until one day, the wash around your feet
Tickling along the edge of your toes
Seems to hold a familiar faith
And reaching down, you fill your hands
And start for higher ground
For living in sandcastles is what we do
When peace is our reward.