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By Owen Waters
If at first you don’t succeed, there is a reason for it.
The ancient philosopher Lao Tse (“Lay-OTE-say”) gave teachings that were designed to confuse the conscious mind. The idea was that, when the conscious mind tires and gets out of the way, the seeker could discover the deeper truths within.
He is credited with the 2,500-year-old work, the Tao Te Ching, which is full of apparent contradictions or paradoxes. For example, he refers to the Tao (the “Dow”) as that which is everything and yet nothing. What he means is that the Tao—the Absolute, the Is-ness, or Infinite Being—is the transcendent consciousness behind all manifestation. It is not the active manifestation of the created universe, but the original consciousness behind it. It is that which, in silence and unchanging perfection, always was and always will be. And yet, so the paradox goes, all of manifestation came from it and therefore is it.
Similarly, he uses paradox to promote the philosophy of Wu Wei (“Woo Way”) as the way of “action without action.” Sounds impossible? That’s the point. He wanted people to give up making logical sense of the idea and, instead, go within to find the truth behind the paradox.
The principle of Wu Wei really means effortless action. The secret to achieving effortless action is to realize that there is a natural flow of influences at work in all parts of the universe. You sense the natural flow of the moment and act within that flow. If the moment is not right for a certain type of action, then the attuned person delays the task. When they sense that the right moment has arrived, then they act and easily accomplish the task.
It can also mean not forcing a situation to be what it isn’t. If a situation comes about which is beyond your control, then making the best of it is often the elegant solution.
The saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is attributed to the 14th century Scottish King Robert the Bruce. According to legend, he once took refuge in a cave, where he watched a spider trying to spin a web. It failed several times to make a connection from one area of the cave’s roof to another, but each time it started all over again until it finally succeeded. People today take that saying to mean that, if something doesn’t work, you need to be obstinate and keep trying harder until you overcome all obstacles and eventually make it happen by sheer force of will.
The Wu Wei approach to life is quite the opposite. It suggests that, if at first you don’t succeed, there is a reason for it. It means that you are not acting with the natural flow of energy within that place and time and it may also mean that you need to discover a more suitable solution.
First, take a deep breath, relax and step back from the situation. After that, you’ll be able to judge it objectively and in a state of balance. Then:
A) decide if you’re trying to force something into existence that shouldn’t be, or
B) look for a better solution to achieve your objective, and/or
C) wait for your innate sense of timing to feel right.
One of the benefits of the spiritual consciousness emerging in our New Reality is the ability to sense the natural flow of universal influences and know when the time is right for certain types of action.
Editor’s Note: To open the way to realizing more timeless truths, see Owen Waters’ book, Higher Consciousness: Finding Peace and Joy Above the Noise. https://www.infinitebeing.com/ebooks/higher.htm
Owen Water is a cofounder of the Spiritual Dynamics Academy and InfiniteBeing.com, where a where a free spiritual growth newsletter awaits you at https://www.InfiniteBeing.com. He is an international spiritual teacher who has helped hundreds of thousands of spiritual seekers to understand better the nature of their spiritual potential. Owen’s life has been focused upon gaining spiritual insights through extensive research and the development of his inner vision. He has written a spiritual metaphysics newsletter since 2004 which empowers people to discover their own new vistas of inspiration, love and creativity. Spiritual seekers enjoy his writings for their clarity and deep insights. Contact Owen via email News@InfiniteBeing.com.
By Rena Greenberg
The first step to losing weight is making a decision to love yourself and your body.
With all the volumes that have been written about how to lose weight and keep it off, and the varied opinions of the many “experts” in the field, it may seem like a task that is nearly impossible to achieve. One day we are told that eggs are to be avoided, and the next we’re encouraged to include eggs as a staple in our daily diet…There are scores of examples of this type of contradictory advice!
Despite all this outer confusion, the truth is that losing weight is extremely simple and obvious. Eat less and exercise more is the age-old wisdom and solution we know to be true. However, the fact that it’s not always easy to shed those pounds and make a permanent lifestyle change is a result of the habitual patterns around food that are ingrained in the subconscious mind.
The good news is that those habits can be changed!
Another key component that I find essential to success, beyond eating smaller portions and staying active, is remembering to stay away from trigger foods—always! That’s right, never diet, never deprive yourself, throw away your calorie and point counters, and just start listening to your body. It has a genius inside that can guide you. All “Truth” is simple, and it’s no different when it comes to staying healthy and at the right weight for your body. Here are three simple rules to help you get started:
Rule #1: Balance is the key. Give your body the nutritious food it needs to run in an optimal state. Eat only when you are physically hungry and, if you aren’t sure when you are hungry, start paying attention and ask your body to teach you when it needs to eat and what it needs to eat. Speak to your body in a loving, appreciative way.
Rule #2: If you’re confused about what foods are best for you and you’re overweight, most likely protein with vegetables and/or salad will balance your blood sugar. Remember that excess carbohydrates just won’t do the trick! You probably already know that from personal experience. Listen to your body!
Rule #3: Never eat for emotional reasons. You are strong, you are an adult, and you can contain your emotions. Remember what you would do if the weather becomes stormy: seek shelter and wait for the downpour to pass. Do the same with the “storms” of emotions that pass through your mind and body. No amount of food will change the downpour of negative thoughts and feelings that sometimes overwhelm you. Food only will distract and numb you. Ultimately, you still end up with all the same problems you had before, only now they are compounded by suffering over the hurtful choices you made with food, and the consequences that your mind and body are left to deal with.
When the emotional storms of life come barreling through our energy field, the wisdom of the ages reveals to us that all we need to do is enlarge the essence of our being. We can’t fight these emotions, think our way out of them, or eat our way around them. We usually can see from past experience that these attempts have only lead to increasing the negativity these emotions evoke within. There is only one place to find refuge, and that is within our Greater Self—within the heart and soul that loves us dearly and connects us to all of life. We connect here through intention, through breath, and by going inward daily with a practice such as self-hypnosis.
No matter how long you have struggled with the battle of the bulge, know that you have everything that you need to be successful. You don’t need to attend one more seminar discussing the perils of eating meat or the obvious benefits of eating raw, plant food. It’s not necessary to sit through dreaded weigh-ins and time-consuming meetings. Throw away the powdered drinks and packaged diet foods. Forget about counting every calorie you eat or buying expensive exercise equipment that will end up becoming a towel hanger. The key to success lies in changing the way you think about food subconsciously so that you naturally prefer the foods that are best for you and are turned off to the foods that are harmful. The first step to achieving this change is making a decision to love yourself and your body, including a commitment to honor and respect yourself.
Stay balanced, avoid triggers, and enjoy every bite you eat. Eat mindfully, consciously, and with awareness. Allow your emotions to move through you like the weather. Connect to the wisest place inside of yourself on a daily basis and inquire, “What do I need today? How will the food I eat make me feel?” “Will the food I am about to eat nourish and sustain me, or will it cause me to desire more harmful foods?”
Instead of berating and shaming yourself, ask: “In what direction am I headed?” “What can I do better today that will help me to create the kind of tomorrow that fulfills me?” “What foods do I enjoy that are healthy and life-building?”
Plan ahead, believe in yourself, and connect to your strongest motivation: Why do you want to live and what quality of life do you want to create for yourself? Remember that you are a creator, and you have the power to turn your health and your life around. You have all the resources you need inside yourself. Your subconscious mind is a powerhouse of creativity, strength, ingenuity, courage, and possibility.
Let go of all the forcing, pushing, complaining, and trying, and simply allow the infinite wisdom in your subconscious mind to guide you by turning toward it fully. Open to the guidance that is in your core—within your deep heart—the part of you that knows exactly what you need to succeed. You can do it!
Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at http://www.EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World, The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “Easy Willpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype.
By Arielle Giordano
How you approach food says a lot about your life and your relationships.
How you eat, what you eat, and why you eat is a reflection of how you view the world and engage in relationships with others. Are you just consuming food out of habit, or are you in your body aware and appreciating what is about to nourish your body? Do you rush through meals or take your time to savor the flavors and experience of eating?
If you “eat healthy” you might grow your own food and nurture the plants, or perhaps you carefully consider the source of what you buy from stores and how and where it was cultivated, such as from an organic farm that tends the soil, rotates its crops, and gives back to the Earth. You recognize the cycle of life and merge with it through your choices.
If you have “healthy relationships,” you foster connections, always bringing something to the table, and sharing with others. You merge with partners—whether family, friends or romantic mates—to cooperate rather than compete. In other words, you are not consuming them in any way or taking from them.
A wholesome life is about contributing to the world. When you are in this state of consciousness, you will receive abundantly without looking for reciprocity from others around you. You will give without expectations and, in return, the universe will nurture your body and soul.
Gently notice what you eat, how you eat ,and why you eat. Then, let the finest, most gentle being-ness in your heart occupy your consciousness. Through this process, you will learn new ways to improve your relationships, appreciate life and nurture you.
“Eating is not only nourishing for the body, but also for the mind.”―Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Eat
Transformational Life Coach Award-Winning Author & Speaker, Professional Dancer. Arielle’s Award-Winning book for Best Self-Help Award: Dancing With Your Story From The Inside is available on http://www.Amazon.com. Her professional career includes the Lead Faculty Area Chairperson and Professor for the College of Humanities, History and the Arts at the University of Phoenix. She is a published co-author of Transform Your Life Books 1 & 2 and author for Tampa Bay Wellness, Conscious Shift & Transformation magazine. She has published her 4th book, an Instructor’s Manual for Barlow Abnormal Psychology 4th ed. and authored Psychology, A Journey 3rd.ed. Study Guide published by Nelson Education, Toronto, ON. She has also studied philosophy at the College of Integrated Philosophy with John DeRuiter for twenty years. Arielle has been a featured guest on radio and television, in newspapers, and the media across the US and Canada. She is a certified Essentrics Stretch and Dance Instructor. Arielle offers coaching sessions, classes and workshops and a free 30-minute Consultation. Websites: http://www.dancingfromtheinsideout.com,
http://www.ariellegiordano.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gregg Sanderson
To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.—Ken Keyes
“I love you. I need you,” say countless songs and novels to convey that romantic thought to unsuspecting innocents.
“You can’t expect one person to fill all my needs,” say rationalizing philanderers.
“You aren’t meeting each others’ needs,” say hordes of counselors whose relationships also don’t work.
A need is anything you must have in order to be happy. It’s an expression of lack. Every time you say “I need…” you reinforce the unconscious attitude of “I don’t have…” Brandishing need is the same as celebrating poverty—physical, emotional, and spiritual. You’re just going to get more of it.
Of course, there are the physical needs to keep the body going, it’s the mental needs that screw us up. Here are some ways to recognize when a need interferes with your happiness:
- You lose peace of mind as you focus on what’s missing.
- You view the world through the lens of lack.
- You view people as potential satisfiers or obstacles.
- You seek to get, and when you get, you worry about losing.
- When you focus on what you lack, you can’t enjoy what you have.
- Nothing changes. Patterns repeat. Satisfaction is short-lived.
Needs come in three flavors—security, sensation, and power.
Security needs are deepest and most ingrained, and the dominant emotion is fear. You know you’re centered in security when you’re afraid—very afraid.
Sensation needs are exemplified by sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Food, too. Anything that stimulates the senses. You know you’re centered there when you are run by a craving. Frustration is a good indicator of a sensation need, although it also points to the next flavor…
Power needs: control, prestige, authority. The reaction from the power center is usually anger or some variety thereof.
In other words, NEED IS THE ONLY CAUSE OF SUFFERING, and “suffering” is any emotion that rejects what is here and now.
- When you feel good about the way things are, your emotional reaction is positive.
- When life doesn’t fit your pictures of how it should be, negative emotions rule.
- You can change those unconscious pictures to include things as they are.
- When you do, you feel positive more often and everything works better.
Points 1, 2, and 4 are obvious. Simple observation. But what about point 3? How in the world can you change those unconscious pictures? If I knew what they were, they wouldn’t be unconscious.
There are several ways, and they all work. My choice is Living Love—The Science of Happiness, which presents 12 “Pathways to Higher Consciousness.” It was created by Ken Keyes Jr. in 1972, when he published the Handbook to Higher Consciousness. Whenever I suffer, it’s because my “pictures” or “programming” is out of line with one or more of the Pathways.
When I want to stop suffering, I just have to change the program—like a computer. Instead of: “There’s an app for that,”I know “There’s a Pathway for that.”
Of course, I need to be willing to change. The First Pathway is a good start. It goes: “I am freeing myself from security, sensation, and power needs that make me try to forcefully control situations in my life and thus destroy my serenity and keep me from loving myself and others.”
“I am freeing myself...” It’s only me, nobody can do it for me.
“…that make me try....” I only try, never succeed at controlling things. Do you?
“...destroy my serenity...” and how! It’s called “stress.”
“…keep me from loving myself and others.”
The bottom line. Love is where it’s at, and we have eleven more pathways to get there. Tune in next month.
Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.
By Linda Commito
“We don’t laugh because we’re happy—we’re happy because we laugh”.—Dr. Madan Kataria
Who doesn’t need a good laugh these days? It seems like such a rarity for many of us, especially with this global challenge, but not for Hannah Bellaff, who created Facebook/laughteradaykeepsthedoctoraway. She believes what new research indicates: “laughing with friends releases feel good brain chemicals, which also relieves pain.” Within a week of creating her Facebook page, it had a life of its own, and now has more than 1,000 members and growing. Hannah feels, “I’ve done something good here”. No politics or sex bashing . . . just pure fun for everyone to enjoy.
During a small community gathering, I drew the Just Ask 1 2 3 question: What is a funny thing that happened to you? I shared my laughable mishap and called it: “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” :
I’d just started a new job as a manufacturer’s gift rep and was ready, in my finest dress, for a big day at the Denver Merchandise Mart, meeting and writing orders for customers. At some point, I decided to take a quick trip to the restroom. As I was rushing back towards the showroom, through the atrium, I heard a loud “OOOOOPS!” just as the caterer carrying the huge tureen of vegetable soup for the cafeteria stopped too short as he tried to avoid me. With vegetables flying through the air, I soon I found myself covered in soup! He told me to come to the kitchen where he handed me an oversized kitchen smock.
Luckily, I kept my sense of humor. Imagine the surprised looks and mouths agape as I faced my boss and customers wearing my white smock, with potatoes in my shoes and carrots in my hair! I was laughing so hard I couldn’t say anything except, “I have to go home, but I’ll be back.” When I arrived home, my roommate’s dog could hardly contain itself . . . a sensory feast had arrived! A quick shower and a fresh outfit and I was soon back to business. But that cafeteria worker would never come near me again, backing off especially if I dared to order soup. (For Seinfeld fans, it reminded me of the scene: No Soup for You!)
While I have never been quick at getting jokes, I will admit that I can crack myself up over crazy things that I’ve said or done and hoped that no one witnessed. But it is often those silly things that offer the greatest opportunity to laugh at our human foibles. Ok. I’ll share one (if you will): Today I looked down at my hand and noticed a sliver. (If you knew me, you’d know that I hate needles and used to run down the street as a kid whenever I sensed that I would be getting a shot.) But my partner, Francesco, said he’d help and we got out the tweezers and hydrogen peroxide. I closed my eyes and turned my head so as not to look, as he tried a couple of times to no avail. I said, “I’m going to put my glasses on so I can see it better.” And then I burst out laughing. It wasn’t a sliver after all, but an ink line that was easily rubbed out! LOL! (Ok…no “getting old” comments please!)
It may be harder to find things to laugh at these days, but we need it more than ever. The staff at the Mayo Clinic says: “When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Whether you’re guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.”
How can we help each other and ourselves by focusing on things that make us laugh . . . cartoons, funny movies, quotes and sharing those things that lighten up our moods and perspective on life?
I’m finding that the more I can see the humor in a situation, the easier it is to deal with, and the more I can have a good laugh over something, the better I feel about it. We can all use a little laughter in our lives these days and a little vacation from our much too serious selves.
Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.
By Terez Hartmann
It’s time to trade the box for wheels and get rolling!
Even if we have never met, I already know something about YOU.
YOU are a dynamic, ever-changing, ever-evolving being. YOU are not—nor have you ever been—a static thing that is meant to be labeled, contained, or placed on a shelf.
Yes, you have your specialties. Yes, you have your preferences. Yes, you have your unique personality. And yes, you came into this world with certain challenges, but rather than let yourself be defined by seeming limitations or by unimaginative people with fixed ideas about what a human can or cannot be, I’d like to encourage you to trade the box for a wheel…
Life inside the box:
àBoxes contain and limit inanimate objects.
àBoxes are made up of flat surfaces and sharp edges.
àBoxes provide only so many angles with which to view life.
àBoxes have no power—they can only be moved by someone or something else.
Box life is limited, lifeless, flat, offers minimal perspectives, and is powerless = yuck.
Life as a wheel:
àWheels are based around a circle and have curves of infinite possibility.
àDepending where you are on the wheel, you get to have multiple vantage points/perspectives.
àWheels allow for a variety of speeds based on choice.
àWheels are made to MOVE.
Wheel life means infinite possibilities, multiple perspectives, lots of choices and options, and movement = awesome!
In other words, boxes = STOP. Wheels = GO!
Yes, boxes are a great option to store and categorize INANIMATE things, but if YOU want to be an ANIMATE being who continues to move forward in your precious life, take your sweet SELF out of the box and get rolling! Give these ideas a spin:
Box Life: Operation Breakout! Though it is NOT always required, for many, identifying the aspects that keep a part of your life limited or stuck can be a helpful first step to finding your way OUT of the box. If this process resonates with you (or for coaches, if you feel this process would be helpful for your client, have them), take a moment to answer these questions:
1. Beliefs Ready for UN-BOXING: What limiting beliefs, ideas, or attitudes am I OPEN and WILLING to change/upgrade to allow for more forward motion?
Use these life areas as a jumping-off point. Write down at least one “in the box” belief in each area or focus in on one life area for now. Allow these ideas to flow naturally.
àBelief/s about where and how I live:
àBelief/s about my body and mind and/or my capacity for well-being:
àBelief/s about my relationships:
àBelief/s about my career and life flow:
àBelief/s about money/abundance:
2. Beliefs OUTSIDE the Box: Your “Wheel Life Target”: What NEW beliefs, ideas, or attitudes could help me break out of the box and are more conducive to allowing continued forward motion?
Use these life areas as a jumping-off point. Write down at least one NEW belief in each area or focus in on one life area for now.
àNEW Belief/s about where and how I live:
àNEW Belief/s about my body and mind and/or my capacity for well-being:
àNEW Belief/s about my relationships:
àNEW Belief/s about my career & life flow:
àNEW Belief/s about money/abundance:
Wheel Life: This is How You ROLL!
Rather than focus on labels or aspects that limit you or your life, use these questions to open yourself to life’s infinite possibilities and get rolling!
1. Motion-Ready Beliefs and Ideas: What beliefs do you currently hold that CAN propel you forward?
àList at least five existing beliefs.
2. Motion-Ready Qualities and Skills: Which of your current qualities and skills can help you move forward NOW?
àList at least five existing qualities and skills.
3. MOVE: Based on your “Motion-Ready” answers above, choose at least ONE action that you CAN take NOW to roll Onward, Upward & Forward* toward embracing a powerful NEW “Wheel Life Target.”
The Bottom Line: Move Forward With “Wheel Life”
YOU are and always have been far more than any moment in time. You are more than your history, more than any role or “identity” that has been assigned to you—or that you have assigned to yourself. Just like every thriving thing in the universe—whether you look inward to your cells or outward to unfathomable spiraling galaxies—I believe that YOU were also made to MOVE beyond and boldly GO for the benefit of Life, the Universe and EVERYTHING. What if “real life” can actually be “wheel life?”
Here’s to putting boxes in their proper place, rolling Onward, Upward & Forward*, and living a “wheel life” on FIRE!
“I am as big as the sky
As bright as the stars
Fuller than the ocean
With all the love in my heart
Free like the wind
Strong like a mountain
~from “More” TTRH © (p) 2010
*For more “Wheel Life” ideas and tools to help you move Onward, Upward & Forward, visit https://store.transformationacademy.com/products/onward-upward-and-forward for my new “Onward, Upward & Forward!” online course.
Terez “Firewoman” Hartmann is a Visionary Creative & top-rated instructor, Law of Attraction & Allowing YOUR Success specialist, published author, speaker, singer-songwriter, recording & performing artist & composer, “Catalyst for Fab-YOU-lous” and true Renaissance Woman who has already helped over 10,000 students in over 130 countries allow success and live life on FIRE. She is deeply passionate about helping other Powerful Creatives and Leading-Edge Thinkers live unique, empowered lives on their terms by cultivating the courage to dream, to express themselves boldly & authentically, and to focus Onward, Upward and Forward into new possibilities. http://www.terezfirewoman.com
By Mark Pitstick, MA, DC
Listening to your intuitive knowing is one of the most powerful paradigm shifts you can make.
One key to heightened awareness is getting in touch with your innate intelligence. Since you are one with the One, this can be the same as listening to your inner self and guides. Listening to your gut and following your hunches are other ways of describing this phenomenon. No one knows you like you know yourself. Yes, there’s a time to consult loved ones, but also trust your own instincts. Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
In the late 1990s, I followed the advice of several popular wealth management teachers and had all of my savings in tech stocks. In early 2000, they said to “buy and hold” despite concerns about a major correction in the market. While reviewing my stock charts, a knife-like pain occurred in my solar plexus area. My inner voice said to get out, but I listened to “the experts.” The tech bubble burst and I lost much of my life’s savings.
That one decision altered my life in many ways. It’s all good and there have been many blessings that wouldn’t have occurred had that loss not happened. However, that financial setback caused many difficulties that could have been avoided had I listened to my inner wisdom.
Trusting yourself is a giant step toward achieving total success. In addition to your educated mind, you have a remarkable inner wisdom—your transcendent source of consciousness. Deciding what makes the most sense for you is an important part of developing a greater awareness.
Trust your feelings. Your inner voice will speak clearly if you pay attention and follow its urgings. As the musician Sting says, “Let your soul be your pilot, let your soul guide you, it’ll guide you well.”
It guides you via emotions, much like the old “Hide the Button” game we played when I was a kid. Someone hides a button in one room while “the seeker” is in another room. The seeker then looks for the button while the person who hid it says: “You’re getting warmer” or “You’re getting colder.” As the seeker gets closer, he or she is told “You’re getting very hot,” and “You’re scalding,” until the button is found.
In much the same way, your feelings indicate whether you’re getting closer or further from the life of your dreams. In Ask and It Is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks teach this “Law of Attraction” concept very well. Simply put, your emotional guidance system tells you when your thoughts, words, and deeds are aligned with Source Energy (you feel happy, positive, and energized.) If your life is out of sync with your highest vision, you will feel sad, negative, or tired.
In this bustling material world, some people aren’t in touch with their inner knowing. They tune out their soul’s pleading for creativity, play, space, peace, and growth. Some virtually imprison themselves in an unhappy life void of the essentials for harmony and health.
Years ago, I spoke with an acquaintance who was the president of a large company. I hadn’t seen him for a year, during which many company difficulties had occurred. He looked 10 years older and had developed white hair and wrinkles. When I asked how he was coping with a very trying year, he said the right things: “I don’t take it personally. It’s part of the job.” But his body and posture said otherwise.
The business world and society in general often make life-choking demands that make it difficult to know and trust yourself. Layers of denial eventually create enough interference so that even extreme unhappiness, fatigue, poor relationships, and frequent illness don’t register that something is wrong. Excessive alcohol, drugs, TV viewing, eating, sexual addiction, and other lower-energy pursuits complete the formula for being unconsciously miserable.
There’s a better way. Your wise mind will help you along your optimal path. Trust that inner guidance to cultivate greater awareness about what is best for you.
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, master’s clinical psychologist, holistic chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and webinar/workshop facilitator. He directs The SoulPhone Foundation and founded Greater Reality Living Groups. Dr. Pitstick can help you know and show—no matter what is happening to or around you—that your earthly experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit http://www.SoulProof.com for free articles, newsletters and radio interviews with top consciousness experts.
By Mary Boutieller
“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love and so on—have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear—what remains? Nature remains…the trees, fields, the change of seasons, the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.”—Walt Whitman
Nature, in all its beauty and grandeur, always remains…to light our imaginations, to pique our interests, to stir our souls’ longings and desires. The poet Mary Oliver wandered ceaselessly through the woods finding inspiration for her writings. It can be as simple as the weedy dandelion, as tall as the mighty oak—each plant intricate and unique.
Staying indoors doesn’t do what fresh air and a good sweat does for our physical and mental well-being. When we move our bodies and breathe, we flush out more than toxins. We flush out old ideas, worn out phrases, hurt feelings and stuck emotions. We move with the Earth instead of against it, and we find ourselves opening up to new growth. A walk in the woods heals all kinds of things.
So, whether it’s the Indian summer heat, reaching a difficult goal or letting go of something, growth can be scary. And scary is just that—scary. Yet if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, soon we are on the other side of scary, looking forward as we brush the dust off our shoulders.
As it happens, I have a pretty active imagination, one that conjures up all kinds of “scary” things that might happen if…! I call it my “drama queen.” She has a hat and a moo moo dress and dangly earrings. I even wrote a poem about her! When I really start going off the deep end worrying about the what-ifs, I just picture my friend, the drama queen, and ask her to settle down. I also inquire if what I’m feeling is real or imagined, and whether or not I can move forward.
Abraham Maslow said, “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
Life is meant to be lived. It is meant to be felt and experienced and known. It is meant to give us goose bumps and sorrow and undeniable joy.
Dolores LaChapelle, who climbed all the original 52 Colorado Fourteeners by the time she was 21, said, “If we’re going to rediscover a viable relationship with nature, it will not be through more ideas but through experiences where you know you are a part of nature, with no questions asked. When you’ve had these experiences, you know what you want and you can’t be pushed around.”
This quote reminds me that, through my own trials and errors, by getting messy and sweaty through life’s harder experiences, I might come to understand what is real for me, and maybe be less influenced by others’ ideas or expectations.
Life is our greatest teacher, and being a little bit uncomfortable in the heat of the summer, the cold of winter or a new job interview is just the training ground for other life challenges. You just have to take the first step. Give yourself permission to go outside and watch the light change in the evening sky. Marvel at a flower growing through the cracks of a sidewalk, and take nothing you see for granted.
Yoga scholar Richard Miller said, “If we can let go of our preconceptions and dive into the level of pure, experienced sensation, we can begin to experience the world as it truly is: an unlimited expanse of vibration; a contraction of the awareness in which it lives.”
When all is said and done, we only have this one precious life to live. As far as we know, this is not a practice run, and we don’t get do-overs. Take one step at a time, try something new, move your body and heal your soul!
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.
By Jowanna Daley
How to turn your calling and mission into a successful company.
Life coaching is a calling, and it’s so easy to look past the fact that you are starting a business and get caught up in giving people a solution that worked for you. So, you excitedly set up a website and social media only to hear the deafening sounds of crickets!
Building a business requires more work than a social media page and an “open for business” sign. Life coaches must add heart, skill, and strategy to develop a sound organization.
Here are the 10 steps to help you turn your mission into a viable business. Though you may initially go through these steps in the sequence set forth in this article, they do not always happen sequentially. This business model applies to any coaching business, whether you are well-established or not.
1. Connect with your heart. Yes, it is essential to know your why. It helps you through the startup journey and is the foundation for a sound and authentic business model. Connecting with your heart also involves clarifying your values. As you build your business, you want to identify those values you share with ideal clients and create a connection through those shared values. It also helps you identify gaps between your values and your business values (yes, your business is its own entity).
Phase one also involves identifying a set of ideal clients and selecting the one you will focus on first. Get to know this ideal client by walking in their shoes.Do not assume you know your ideal client’s thoughts, feelings, and words. Even if you’ve been through something similar to your target population, don’t judge things from your experience. Gather as much information as you can from their perspective. Use the skills you learned in your professional life coach certification course.
As a solo startup, you may not have a big business budget, but there are creative ways to get information. Talk with people you know would make ideal clients. You can gain insights from someone’s journey through a similar situation (on YouTube). You can also find a movie where the main character is an ideal client. Document what they say, do and feel.
Open your eyes to the possibilities and avoid assumptions. Avoid talking to other “experts” at this point. They are not your clients. Gather data without trying to make conclusions about them (that comes later).
2. Identify the challenge. Now that you’ve gathered data about your ideal client use phase two to organize the data to uncover their challenge. What is this person’s problem (from their perspective)? I recommend building a buyer’s journey map for your ideal client. If you do not know how to create one, you can hire someone to develop one for you.
The beauty of following an empathy-based model is that, at this point, you’ve solved many of your marketing woes. You also have the information to identify your client satisfaction measurements (what?!). Now, don’t you feel like a savvy business owner?
3. Configure your package. Luckily Transformation Academy has done-for-you packages that you can use to assemble to your clients’ needs. I have over 30 years of business experience, yet I started with Transformation Academy’s blueprint. I eventually had a signature package by configuring it to my clients’ needs. As you create your solution and design your clients’ experiences, identify other possible requirements. Your clients will also help you to expand your service or adjust your package through feedback.
Simplicity is key. Some people mistake creativity for complexity. Back in the late 90s, I was a programmer/analyst. My fellow counterparts would laugh at my solutions, but the customers loved them. My colleagues would use the latest technology and build these complex systems that showed off their skills. The problem—it did not solve the clients’ problems. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple
stupid silly) baby!
4. Critical analysis. During the critical analysis phase, you look at trends, competitors, and the environment around you. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses. Use the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats (SWOT) tool to start laying out your strategy as a company. There are technical steps to a SWOT analysis that takes the difficulty out of doing a thorough assessment.
5. Communicate your message. In this phase, you craft your marketing message. You’ve already done the challenging part of knowing whom you are talking to and understanding your target audience’s needs and language. If you contract an outside marketing agency, you can confidently present whom you are targeting, their pain points, and the benefits of using your service. Translate these messages to your website, Facebook Page, or whatever mechanism you are using to let people know you are in business.
6. Capitalize. At a minimum, you create a revenue forecast. Consider your income desires, the competition, and what you are offering. Your revenue statement also considers your expenses, direct costs, and taxes. Again, you can follow steps to take the fear out of creating a forecast (called pro forma if you’re fancy) statement.
7. Commit. The commit phase is another phase where you’ve gathered all the information you need to create a strategic plan of action. You review your company’s brand, mission, goals, and values and ensure your plans match align with it.
8. Campaign. Part of the commit phase includes laying out your goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Your campaign plan aligns with one of the tactics, making it easy to plan and execute your campaign. Your campaign includes metrics, content plan, and feedback processes.
9. Control. Your clients, your company, and the external environment are constantly evolving. All the previous phases allow you to implement changes based on performance, client feedback, and environmental changes. By building what I call “empathy” into your model, you evolve with your clients’ needs.
10. Cultivate your leadership skills. I purposely saved this for last. First of all, self-development happens throughout your journey and, as a life coach, that should not come as a surprise. Assess where you can grow as a leader. Do you value others? Can they tell? Why would a customer buy from your company? Why will employees work for you? Everyone needs ongoing leadership development. Identify the emotional, functional, and technical skills required to run your business effectively.
The Bottom Line
Starting a business is easy, but building a successful business takes work. Have fun with your journey and enjoy the feeling of empowerment as you see your plan unfold to reality.
Give up the notion that you have to be a fully evolved human being to start your business. Use your tools.
Building a business takes action. Yes, use your tools. Those same tools that you use on your clients work for you as well. However, remember you continue to evolve.
Starting a business takes strategic action and does not require you to be perfect (whatever that means). Know that your journey is not as straightforward as these steps. There is work in each step, but I promise it pays. There are chaos coordinators (like me) that enjoy helping people who help people (like you) succeed one step at a time. Persevere, fellow coaches. The world needs you.
Jowanna is a business and personal coach, consultant, freelance blogger, and personal brand photographer. Jowanna uses her 20-plus years of business, information technology, business analysis, and project management experience to serve solopreneurs, microbusinesses, and professionals through consulting, coaching, training, and workshops. She is also a freelance blogger who serves corporate and non-corporate clients. Visit her website at https://www.jowannadaley.com/about/.