Posts Tagged ‘change’

Yesterday’s News

Friday, April 11th, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image691204The story of our Now is eventually Yesterday’s News.

If we enacted even half of our mental patterns—the stuff we do in our heads—out in the real world, we would immediately see a kind of insanity taking place. Here’s one example of what I mean.

Imagine you’ve decided to get a ticket for a highly rated show. You go to considerable lengths to ensure your future experience. You camp out in line for hours, endure freezing weather, and then pay a small fortune for your ticket.

You’ve waited weeks for the big day to arrive, and finally it’s here!

Now, you drive through a snow storm, wait in another long line to get into the event, and endure the occasional rude person before finding your seat. You sit eagerly anticipating a wonderful show, only to discover it’s the worst experience you’ve ever had. Baahhh!

Okay, so you’re hugely disappointed—maybe even a little sad, betrayed, or angry—that THIS PRESENT MOMENT EXPERIENCE is not all that you want it to be. But eventually, not soon enough for you, the show ends. You leave the venue a little older, a little disappointed, but none the worse for wear.

I have a question. Would you—after all of this—eagerly buy a ticket to attend the same event again the next day? I’m imagining your answer is, “Of course not! Why would I go back? That would be almost masochistic!

That’s because no one in their right mind would willingly purchase a ticket to re-experience an unhappy event. And your old ticket will soon wind up in the trash—and out it will go—along with yesterday’s news.

But here’s where it get’s interesting.

Why then, upon leaving the event, do some of us feel immediately compelled to call or text our friends to tell them what a terrible experience we just had? Metaphorically speaking, buying a mental ticket to an unhappy event we only moments ago said we wouldn’t re-purchase a physical ticket to experience again? Clearly, we’re psychically reliving our misery, aren’t we?

And for some of us, for the next few days—maybe even months—we’ll repeatedly re-purchase a ticket by narrating the story of our unhappy experience.

It was the worst night ever! I can’t believe I wasted my time and money! I’ll never go to another show by that group again!

Blame it on GrayBall, The Brain. Our ongoing complaint is GrayBall’s desperate—and totally ineffective—attempt  to make right our past (this should never have happened to me) or defend our future (I’ll never let it happen again).

It fools us into believing that the solution to our unhappiness can be achieved in regurgitating our past—that somehow we can right the wrongs and avoid future failure. So, it takes yesterday’s news and writes today’s, and sometimes next week’s, headline with it.

You see, Brain likes to make up rules that the world should live by. That way it can know what’s going to happen next; it’s a survival thing. Unfortunately, Brain’s version of “how things should be” often conflict with the reality of “how things really are.”

Here’s GrayBall’s logic: “I had a rule for how this was supposed to be. It wasn’t fair that this should have happened to me. Therefore, I need to complain and get people to agree with my point of view. This way I can feel triumphant—as in, I win”—when someone agrees with my self-generated unhappiness. And, I need to reinforce my unhappiness so that I can avoid future unhappiness. After all, if  it happened once, it can happen again; and I wouldn’t like that one bit! Making myself unhappy is my way of reminding myself that I don’t want to be unhappy again.

Poor GrayBall! It can get so confused at times. It believes the only way it can feel “okay,” is to try to correct the past and/or make safe the future.

This is why, when we’ve had a bad experience, GrayBall encourages us to replay it over and over again in our mind. So, we repeat unhappy stories to ourselves and to anyone willing to listen. GrayBall’s reading yesterday’s news as though it were today.

GrayBall’s tricked us into believing that we can make ourselves feel better now and in the future with this crazy strategy. We keep on repurchasing tickets to bad memory shows we would never physically choose to attend again. Because we don’t question this mental habit, we never uncover the truth about how crazy it actually is.

Is this beginning to sound familar? It should. We all do it. We don’t realize we’re buying a mental ticket to unhappiness. By remembering and reciting an unhappy history, we’re reliving it. And GrayBall makes it all too easy to get caught up in our own stories. But nothing changes when you’re reliving it. It’s just the same old, same old—yesterday’s news.

But, take heart. Time doesn’t exist in the way GrayBall would have us believe. It’s simply a strategy that helps us measure the Great Unfolding of Life—in other words, change. There’s no Big Ben in the Universe’s Living Room ticking off the hours. The reality is that we’re carving up the Infinite Is-ness to accommodate our sense of personal history within it.

And—then again—even within our personal history, the past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. All we have is Now. And paradoxically, The Now is an eternal constant that is constantly changing. We are in fact on the edge of Creation. This moment—right now—has never in the history of Creation existed before. That is, of course, unless you get caught up in GrayBall’s version of Now, and imagine it’s still  yesterday!

So here’s an interesting perspective shift to consider.

Your What Is will soon become your What Was—a history you can’t change. And once it’s gone, you can only report from it, like yesterday’s news.

Try instead to learn from it. Your past experiences can become an opportunity to make new choices, develop new skills, assume new perspectives, and create new responses. Essentially, you get to rewrite the news of yesterday with a new story line. And that can give you a different kind of history that actually might be worth repeating.

So the next time you find yourself complaining about your past experiences, stop for a moment. Put down that paper and check the date. This moment is the only moment in time there actually is. Otherwise it’s yesterday’s news!

 

 

 

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.

 

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?

Wrong.

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 I

Monday, November 28th, 2011

 “You live your life according to what you believe to be true of yourself and of the world–even if what you believe to be true isn’t real.” (jc)

Everything we think, feel and do in any given context is dictated by our beliefs. For those of us looking for change, knowing that could be important.

The human brain is said to be the most complex organism in the Universe. Of course, that’s a belief the brain has about itself. But with millions of miles of neurons packed into a single human cranium, with an estimated 1000 trillion connections, it could easily be true–and discussing how it works would get complicated.

And I don’t like complicated things. I like everything to be as simple as possible.

So, rather than discuss how beliefs are created, for now let’s agree that “A belief is information neurologically encoded in such a way that it becomes a statement about reality that you think or feel is true.”

That’s simple enough to play with.

Beliefs are your database of reality statements. They give rise to your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

That’s how you know how to think, feel and ‘be’ within any given context.

Your life experience is the cumulative effect of your beliefs; the meanings that you project outward onto things and events. It’s not The Realty–it’s Your reality.

Your belief-experience becomes Your Story. And there’s no other story in the world exactly like it.

But your story of reality may not be true for me. I have one of my own. It’s called My Story. And it’s very different from yours.

Your beliefs prove themselves right by shaping reality to fit the mold that your beliefs create. They force you to experience the world their way–not as it IS. And they easily make it seem like everyone who believes as you do is right–and anyone who believes otherwise is wrong.

It’s a very convincing illusion.

All across the world, beliefs unify individuals from various backgrounds into groups aligned toward a common cause or–as opposing beliefs often do–create conflicts resulting in a world at war.

But what happens when conflicting beliefs reside within the same brain–and your brain is at war with itself, creating lots of unhappiness in your life?

Ever catch yourself saying something like “Part of me wants this, but another part of me wants that,” or “I feel like I’m constantly fighting with myself,” or maybe “I love it and I hate it at the same time”? That’s a sure sign of conflicting beliefs.

Listen for statements like these coming from yourself and others over the next week or so. You may begin thinking about language and its meaning in a whole new way.

Do you like to think you have ‘freedom-of-choice’? If so, get ready for a surprising twist in my next post.

 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.

Stuck, Stuck – Goose!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Why Being Stuck Is No Reason To Become Unglued

You teach best what you most need to learn.” ~ Richard David Bach

Just about every client we meet these days, at some point during our intake session, admits rather ashamedly that they’re hopelessly stuck. 

Although this is often offered up with more than just a hint of “you just don’t understand,” they soon discover that we most certainly do.

Because we get it.  The fact is: being a client can be rather like going to the doctor.

The vulnerability of ‘dressing down’ to let someone else take a peak can be pretty overwhelming at first.

So let me stand naked before you and tell you right up front, “Any problem you can do, I used to do better!” (more…)

Overwhelmed and Stressed

Monday, November 14th, 2011

A Case For Never Picking Up Strangers

If we only get one body, then why do I sometimes feel like I’m walking around with two heads?

Of course I’m now at an age where I get to blame it on hormones.

But perhaps that’s just a convenient excuse for explaining why I keep forgetting where I left my keys only to realize minutes later where they are.  Which just happens to be after I’ve already locked myself out of the house.

But if I’m really being honest, it’s because the busier I become, the behind-er I get.  My mind is one step ahead of where I’m trying to go and I’m . . .

Overwhelmed and Stressed

Overwhelmed and her evil twin sister, Stressed, seductively lure you in.

One minute you’re going down life’s highway minding your own business.  The next?

There they are – with their thumbs out asking for a free ride.  There’s a reason Mom warns you to never pick up strangers.

Because just like some strange hitchhikers you’ve picked up and forgotten to drop off along the way, pretty soon you’re driving them around and they haven’t even paid a nickle for the gas.

Not only that, but the longer they hang around, the more entitled they feel to shout directions – in stereo – from the back seat, “Do this, do that, go here, go there – now, now, now!”

 Suddenly “too much” meets “not enough.”

And, surprise:  the “not enough” has nothing to do with time.  You always have all the time there is.  There’s nothing you can do to change “clock” time.

What I’m talking about is too much information and not enough “sorting criteria.”  And this inevitably forces you onto the road where Sisters Overwhelm and Stressed are waiting to be picked up.

This is how it happens.

Let’s say you start out with a few things you need to get done.  Each of them is important in its own way.  So you put up a mental remember to do list.

Which is fine, if you only had a few things up there.  But as life gets increasingly busier and busier?

Pretty soon your mental checklist is greater than your capacity to easily recall . . . which, in case you were curious, is around 5 to 9 “bits” of information at any one time.

So let’s say you’ve got about 20 To Dos on your list and 5 of them are about to go nuclear.

At this point, it’s no longer a remember to do list, it’s now become a remember to worry about this list.  Your mind now tries to keep you on track by unconsciously bringing all those To Do’s  to your attention (even if only for a millisecond in between other tasks).

The Proper Way to Eat an Elephant?

What started out as a simple remember to do list now occupies your mental airspace with ever increasing demands on you to not forget to do.  Sisters Overwhelmed and Stressed have just jumped on board.

Because you’re focused on not forgetting, your mind becomes busy at trying to remember everything.  Now by the time you think of the last remember to do, you’re already mentally circling back to the first.  You’re suddenly in a roundabout.

You’re caught in an infinite loop, a Wheel of Worry, where the end of one thought is simply the beginning of another.

What’s even weirder?  Once things start going round and round, you haven’t any way to prioritize your to dos, or to distinguish the big from the small.   Everything is equally important and equally challenging.  Cleaning crumbs out of the cutlery drawer is lumped together with finishing a client presentation.

You might try to ignore Sisters Overwhelm and Stress who are suddenly along for the ride on this Wheel of Worry, but they’re pretty much a case of the “elephant in the room.”

They’re loud, they smell, they take up too much room, and they’re hell to feed (not to mention the constant clean up).

Well Done and Always One Bite At a Time

But there’s a way to get out of this roundabout and drop the Sisters off at the nearest intersection.

First, you need to do a mental purge.

Here’s an easy way how.

Breaking all your “to dos” into smaller, individual, bite size tasks gives you a way to create sorting criteria.  You’ll be able to evaluate and prioritize your way out of your mental roundabout in no time at all.

Simply grab a bunch of different colored index cards.  Choose a color for each category (i.e., green for household, blue for business, etc.)

Now write each to do onto its own separate index card by category.  Keep writing until you exhaust your supply of mental to dos.  Don’t stop until you’ve mentally purged each and every one onto a card.

No matter how many to dos you have, eventually you’ll reach the end of your list.  It’s no longer infinite.

Now take your cards and sort them according to category.  Once you have your categories, each card within your category can be evaluated.

Can a bigger task be broken down into smaller steps?

If so, create individual cards that represent those smaller steps and clip them in a sequence to the back of your larger to do.

Once you’ve done this, organize your cards by:

Category and/or subject and

Priority (using a numbering system 1 through 10, ten being most important).

Make sure you’ve noted on each one:

The steps needed to accomplish each task, and

How much time you need to accomplish it.

From these, calendar the necessary time based on priority.

When I do this I find that I do indeed have enough time.  I can get everything done . . . just not all at once.

I’ve soon left the Evil Sisters Overwhelm and Stress at the curb and I’m headed down the road again.

Cleaning crumbs out of the cutlery drawer doesn’t seem nearly as important or herculean an effort as it used to be.  And my presentation is calendared into smaller, more manageable steps that I can easily finish in time.

Simply by breaking things down to their smallest elements, I suddenly find I have all the time I need to get everything I need to get done.

And since I’ve written it all down, I can relax.   I can let my cards hold onto the information while my mind is free to focus on the task at hand.

Mom was right, never pick up strangers!

Your Life’s Purpose: The Right Thing, Right Now

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

With all the talk of finding your life’s purpose these days, it seems heretical to propose that perhaps it would be better to  simply let our purpose find us.

But I’m holding this out to you,  because all the while we’re waiting to discover what we are meant to do, life isn’t waiting for us to discover it.

In fact, life’s moving along rather nicely without any help from us, thank you very much.

Perhaps, we should just move along too.

Instead of waiting for the perfect clarity to know where we are going, it might be a better idea to do the right thing, right now.

Sometimes when the path isn’t clear, perhaps we need to trust and move forward anyway.

It’s been over twenty years ago that I first discovered my true passion and calling. I’d like to say it was driven by an inspiration.

Truth is, it was more like a desperation.  Because in the beginning, I honestly had no idea where I was going. I just knew that I didn’t want to stay where I was.

So rather than following any plan,  I simply started to take a series of steps based on doing what seemed to be “the right thing, right now.”

It wasn’t long after that, that my path found me.  In simply moving forward doing the right thing, right now I somehow – somewhat miraculously – had created a path behind me.  For where I’d been and the choices I’d made along the way suddenly looked like the “Plan” I had been waiting to discover.

It had been nipping at my heels my entire lifetime, I just hadn’t noticed it before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a Parent to Change

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I once heard the comedienne Joan Rivers quip that giving birth to her daughter was “a lot like trying to push a baby grand piano through a transom window.”

Birthing anything is challenging: particularly when it comes to change.

Which leads me to wonder: if we already know it’s going to be this difficult, why do any of us sign up for it in the first place?

Because the moment you decide—often with an equal mixture of terror and excitement—to invite the new to enter into your life, you already know it’s inevitably going to change everything.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

So how is it that most of us inevitably end up feeling totally unprepared for the entire messy, yet rewarding process itself?

At first you want the change, you need the change, you can’t wait for the change to happen.

And then . . . once the decision has been made and things start moving in that direction?

At some point, there comes a sudden shock of realization—things are actually going to change.  A kind of, “well, this changes everything, doesn’t it?” sort of moment when you realize there’s no turning back.

Be Careful What You Ask For ~ Cause You Just Might Get It

Incredulous, suddenly, you’re walking around asking yourself, “What was I thinking when I said I wanted this?”

Because birthing a change into your life is complicated. A lot needs to happen before your decision is going to become a reality. But if the soil is fertile and the time is right, things start happening.

Not unlike an embryo, an idea can grow increasingly and alarmingly large in a very short period of time. Whether or not you are truly ready, it pushes your physical, mental and emotional boundaries to the breaking point.

No matter how prepared you thought you were, the effects are often more than you bargained for. Just ask any woman who can’t see her feet anymore.

And all too soon, you find yourself struggling with the impatience of having to wait for things to fully mature.  You are longing to be on the other side of this process. You’re thinking,”ready or not . . . now would be nice.”

But, no matter. Everything takes the time that it takes. A baby takes nine months—no matter how many women you put on the job.

Eventually, you’re at a point of no return. It’s as though this new life has a mind of its own and you’re just along for a very strange ride indeed.

Change Will Have It’s Way

The moment arrives. This is the day. And there is no going back. This new thing wants to burst forth. And it’s going to be a whole lot harder to hold it back than to just let nature take its course.

Even though fear can indeed stop labor for a while, there’s a force far greater called Life.

Inevitably, after much pushing—no choice here—often accompanied by some groaning, screaming and cursing . . . you have given birth.

A change has occurred. Beautiful and new. You’re besotted with the result and immediately forgetful about the process.

Why else would anyone sign up again? No matter what came before, this new life is beautiful to you.

You show it off. You coo over it. You proclaim to everyone that it was absolutely the best decision you ever made.

New Ideas: Feed Well and Change Often

But don’t get too comfortable. Your job still isn’t over.

Because just like babies, ideas will get you up at 3am in the morning screaming to be fed. And sooner or later, it will be asking when you’re going to give it a sibling.

Welcome to the joys of parenthood!

Looking for Answers? Why Sometimes the Question IS the Answer.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Do you have a “Change Agent” in your life?

You know. The kind of person who spurs you on past challenges, encourages you to take chances, and forces you to get real with yourself?

The really good ones manage to do it by getting you to believe it was all your own idea in the first place.

Throughout my life, I’ve had several of them. Some I’ve had to pay for the privilege.  But with some, its part of the privilege of their friendship. My friend’s name is Ray Justice.

Some Change Agents get you going by placing a ‘big boot’ up your lazy fanny.  These are the kind that end up telling you what you didn’t necessarily want – but absolutely needed – to hear.  You find yourself catapulted into things you never dreamed of doing before.

Other Change Agents soothe you along, offering tea and sympathy.  They’ll help you pick up the scattered pieces to make something new out of the old –  and end up convincing you that it looks much better that way anyway.

In Ray’s case, it’s neither. You see, Ray’s particular gift of provocation is as charming as it is disarming. He simply asks great questions.* Not only does Ray ask great questions, he asks them with such a genuine and innocent curiosity that there is no point in trying to wriggle out of answering them.

Frequently leading with, “Now, you don’t have to answer me, but I’m just curious . . .”   he follows up with some ridiculously simple question. Like, “Have you ever (considered, thought about, asked yourself) what you are not paying attention to in this situation?”  And then, he just shuts up, raises his eyebrows and looks at you.

OMG! Of course, I hadn’t ever considered (“what did he just ask me?”) before.

But I sure am now.  In fact, I’m positively, compulsively considering, thinking about, and asking myself  “whatever?” And sometimes I’ll go on thinking about it for days . . . often with the worst case of mental indigestion imaginable. It’s like trying to riddle out a Zen koan, for God’s sake!

Now the reason I bring this up? A few years ago, his question to me ended with, “What you could teach me?”

My short answer to this was, in fact, not so short. It turned out to be a pretty inexhaustible list. Because it depends on what you want to know, I guess.

Which brought me to my own questions, “Why would anyone want to learn that? What’s in it for them?”

I mean, just because you could teach me how to crochet a Nativity Scene doesn’t mean I’ll be rushing onto E-Bay in search of a yarn sale anytime soon.

So the drift between what I can teach – I make a mean pot roast, by the way – and what you might want to learn from me might be an important thought to consider.

And so in launching our blog, Jim and I both spent a lot of time considering what our collective answer to that question might be.

So this is our answer and it begins with a question . . .

Now, and you don’t have to answer us, but we’re  just curious . . . have you ever considered  . . . or  thought about . . . or asked yourself . . . what would you like to learn?

Okay, I’ll just shut up now and look at you – and yes, that’s expectation you see on my face! Because your question is our answer to what we can teach you.

And if you’re not quite sure yet . . . please, check back frequently because you might just get the answer to the questions you didn’t know you had.

*Several years ago Ray created a wonderful website, Discovery Questions– a free creative self-discovery tool based entirely upon questions. Make sure to check it out!