Mar 21 2017

Power to Change

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How can I fix this problem? How can I make the issue (the pain) go away? Tell me what to do!

These are common questions I hear from clients who have identified something they want to change, such as bad habits, core patterns, or unconscious fears. “Now that I see it,” they ask, “how can I make it stop?”

There are two important powers required for personal change. They are:

The power to Notice
The power to Choose

First, you have to catch yourself in the act. To do that, you must be on the lookout – constantly. The power to change begins with your ability to notice. Then, once you notice, you must stop doing that thing. Easier said than done at first.

The more you practice noticing, the more you discover new options, new solutions, new thoughts, feelings, behaviors. That’s when the power to choose enters the picture. In order to cause change, you must make different choices.

**Transformation happens when you apply your awareness.**

As an example, let’s look at a common issue: Fear of Rejection.

Prepare: It’s a good idea to give yourself a list of things to look for. What are the symptoms and clues of your unconscious fear? Some options to consider:

  • People pleasing – if I’m nice enough, maybe you won’t reject me
  • Proving – if I’m good enough, smart enough, ________ enough …
  • Clinging – if I hold on tight enough …
  • Behaving – if I am perfect, if I “behave” (act right, talk right, dress right, etc.) …
  • Rejecting – if I reject you, then you can’t reject me

 

Notice: Be on the lookout for your identified symptoms/clues. When do they show up? How often? What triggers them? What do you do, feel, think when triggered? Are there others?

Explore: The deeper your understanding of the issue, the more authority you have over changing it. What is the fear telling you? What is there to know about it? Remembering that Pain is Medicine, how is this part of your growth? Our issues are the enemy of true power. At the same time, they are access to power as we learn to overcome them.

Options: Look for new solutions. Ask yourself, “If I could get beyond my usual reaction, how else would I handle this? What other options are there?” or “If I had self-certainty, how would I respond?” or “If I trusted that this person were not out to get me, then what would I do/say?” Come up with as many options as you can. Use your imagination. Get help when needed. 

Choose: Once you have determined appropriate options, start acting on them. Try them on to see what happens, what you learn, how you grow. Get support to help build the strength to do what might be difficult at first. For example, those with a fear of rejection often have a hard time setting boundaries – people-pleasing sets in and self-care goes away. External support can make new choices easier to act on.

There are a myriad of things we must address in order to grow into the full potential of our personal power. Examples:

Bad habits: complaining, codependence, perfectionism, taking things personally, awfulizing

Core patterns: guilt, shame, lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-certainty – all lead to emotional reactions. No power in that.

Unconscious fears: rejection, abandonment, failure, criticism, being unlovable

Every time we repeat old programming, we reinforce it. Many are ingrained, having been around for a long, long time. In order to change, we must train ourselves to choose differently. Training takes time and practice. The deeper the pattern, the more practice required. You will have good days and bad days. Keep going!

We live in a world that frowns on failure. This attitude thwarts growth. I give you permission to fail!! We don’t learn to walk without falling down a few times. In the process of change, passing and failing doesn’t matter. Intent does. Your determination, persistence, and whole-hearted intent to improve is your access to personal power, inner authority, joy, freedom.

Last point: It is possible to change. If you find yourself stuck, it is probably a matter of something you’re not seeing, or choices you haven’t defined yet or have not built the strength to act on. Keep looking, keep practicing, keep going, keep growing!

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Feb 13 2017

Heart

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With Valentine’s Day on the way, I thought it would be interesting to discuss matters of the heart. Valentine’s is traditionally about the celebration of romantic love, a wonderful human kind of love. Today, I wish to give this celebration new meaning by looking at it from a different angle, that of higher love, and by focusing on the source of that love, the heart.
 
From the human perspective, the heart is the wellspring of feelings. On the positive side, they are the warm and fuzzy kind: love, sympathy, happiness, and the like. On the negative, the heart feels fear, anger, hurt, and sadness, for example.
 
The spiritual heart has a life of its own, one that is beyond human feelings. Spiritual heart gives us direction, drive, strength, determination, maturity, and many other empowering principles if we listen, connect, and apply.
 
How to distinguish the two? Let’s look at some examples.
 
“I didn’t have the heart to tell him/her” is a common phrase. What does it mean? Did someone chicken out? Or did they sense something that led them to understand that speaking up wasn’t necessarily the right thing to do? Here, the heart either felt fear (human) or expressed wisdom (spirit). In either case, the heart provided an impetus for restraint.
 
“I had a change of heart” expresses a similar experience. However, don’t we usually change our mind? “My head says one thing but my heart says another.” Notice that there are times when your head can’t articulate the reason, but your heart knows. Intellectually, it may make no sense, but the heart impels us toward something.
 
On the human level, this is based on feelings, such as a need, desire, or want: “I want that cookie even though it will ruin my diet.” Or, more simply, “I need a relationship.” “I want a new job.” “I wish to travel.” Sometimes these things are in our best interest,  sometimes they are not.
 
From the spiritual level, the heart provides a similar impetus. It, too, is a driver of some kind of movement or action. Because it comes from a higher level, this impetus transcends feelings and intellect, and its resulting movement is always toward a higher purpose or greater good.

  • Have you ever had the urge to go somewhere or call someone that came to you unexpectedly but turned out to be the right thing at the right time?
  • Have you ever been in a conversation, thinking one thing in your head but hearing different words come out of your mouth, words that were exactly the right thing to say?
  • Have you been willing to forego something important for yourself because it was right for your relationship?

 

That’s spiritual heart.
 
These examples are meant show that the nature of the spiritual heart is not only beyond the traditional understanding of human love but also exists for the purpose of creating something greater. They show the experience of the spiritual level, where the heart’s wisdom is here to guide us.
 
Wisdom comes from qualities of the well-developed spiritual heart, some of which are:

  • Courage (from Latin cor, meaning heart)
  • Faith
  • Certainty
  • Devotion, reverence
  • Duty, honor
  • Acceptance, respect
  • Enthusiasm (from the Greek en- + theos meaning inspired, from god)
  • Striving, which is the love of labor and the labor of love

 

These are a few of many divine principles that the spiritual heart can teach us, principles we are meant to learn and develop through life experience.
 
Ultimately, the spiritual heart is the basis of the peace that passes understanding, the place of central stillness, the source of inner strength. Without it we are but a ship lost in the midst of a turbulent ocean, being knocked about by the winds and waves and whims of life as well as our feelings and thoughts about that life.
 
This Valentine’s day, I hope you will seek to express both kinds of heart, both human and spiritual, as the path to loving more deeply and living more powerfully.

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Nov 16 2016

BE The Change

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[[Warning! This is not a warm and fuzzy post. There will be some of you who don’t like what I have to say. I understand. For the rest of you, I hope to inspire. It’s time to get serious about ourselves.]]

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It is impossible to ignore the upheaval that is plaguing our country right now. To heal, we must each take responsibility for our role in the current state of affairs. Then, we must BE the change we wish to see in the world. There is no other way.

To paraphrase the words of Michael Jackson, “look at the man in the mirror and ask him to change his ways.”

Consider that both presidential candidates, as well as our current social, political, earthly, and economic conditions, are our mirrors. Can you see the changes we are asking ourselves to make? Instead of blaming others for the condition we are in, turn your outrage into an inward journey. Examine the issues that disturb you the most, and look to see how you, too, are doing the very same thing.

Then, BE The Change.

Below are criticisms lobbed at each of the presidential candidates, as examples to get you going and to make my point. They may not all apply to you, but all are important to explore. Warning: this may be hard to do.

Dishonesty – where are you not telling yourself the truth? This one is really tricky, because when we lie to ourselves it is usually done in unawareness.  But lie we do, so be on the lookout. Unawareness itself is a lie to our spirit. Time to open our eyes in new ways.

More examples: when was the last time you said “yes” when you meant “no” or “everything is fine” when it wasn’t? Is there something you have not communicated that needs to be said, such as a boundary you need to set or a mistake you need to make right? Withholding is deceitful, too. And last, obviously, are you 100% honest with other people? Even little white lies are problematic.

Corruption – unethical conduct, misuse of power – In what ways are you taking advantage of something or someone, or bending/breaking the rules, or manipulating the system to suit your purposes? Such as: speeding, texting while driving, taking office supplies from work for personal use, cutting in line, hoarding food at the buffet (not sharing), fudging on an expense report, asking others to live up to standards that you yourself are not willing to live.

Also, is there something you are so singly focused on that you hurt, neglect, or avoid your spirit, other people, or the Greater Good? Such as: your looks, health, hobbies, the next promotion, making money, or gaining approval? What untoward behaviors you are denying or rationalizing?

Remember, when there is one finger pointing out at another, there are always three pointing back at you.

Bigotry – How often do you criticize others for being different, without gaining an appreciation of their perspective? How often do you do that to yourself?

Misogyny – Women: every time you loathe yourself or your body, you are the misogynist. Every time you become catty, antagonistic, or hurtfully competitive with another woman, you are the misogynist. Men: when you suppress your feminine side (feelings, receptivity, compassion, for example), and whenever you take advantage of, dismiss, or demean a woman, you are the misogynist. True, there are degrees, but as with all of these examples, we must look for subtle patterns that get us in trouble with our spiritual integrity, that accumulate into a much bigger issue in the collective.

Bullying – You know that critical voice in your head that reminds you how bad, ugly, unlovable, not good enough, stupid, or ________ you are? Stop it!! Begin the anti-bullying campaign right now by learning to be good to yourself, to stop beating yourself up. Then, quit thinking bad thoughts about other people, even the guy who cuts you off in traffic. Not easy, but necessary. Every time we think bad thoughts and feel bad feelings about ourselves and others, we feed the collective anger and make it stronger.

As you can imagine, this unfortunate and ugly list could be longer and deeper. Much. We must keep In mind that life is a reflection of who we are, both individually and collectively. That includes the people we elect as our officials, and that includes the state of the union itself.

Until we are willing to take a good, hard, searching and fearless and brutally honest personal inventory of the ways in which we hurt ourselves and each other, we cannot make America great again, and we cannot be stronger together.

The global transformation we are crying out for will only happen when we each take personal responsibility for creating Heaven on Earth. It is my hope that we rise to this challenge.

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Want to be part of the solution? Ready to make a change? Join me for my next Serenity, Power, and Freedom class starting Wednesday, January 11 at 7:00pm. http://theawarenessstudio.com/courses/spf/

 

 

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Sep 30 2016

Beyond Illusion, a Vedic Perspective

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Analogy: A guy is walking down a dark street at night. He spies an object in the middle of the road. He screams, “snake!” and runs away. Another person comes along behind him with a flashlight. He shines a light on the object and sees that it is just a piece of rope.
 
Moral: In our unawareness (darkness) we see snakes when there is only rope. This is called projection, or superimposition. We do this everywhere: at work, with friends and family, and especially in our love relationships. And we do this in two ways: we either see snakes where there are none, or we attract snakes and snake-like experiences.
 
One main purpose in life is to shine the light (awareness) to discover the truth. Problems occur when we see others as snakes (things we are afraid of facing) instead of rope (a reflection of aspects we need to heal). Remember, we are meant to be Bazooka-Proof, so we will attract what we fear until we don’t fear it anymore.
 
From a Vedic perspective, Maya relates to things that are temporary/illusory, such as experiences, thoughts, and feelings. It can show up as the “snake,” a change of behavior but not of mind, or a change from one superimposition to another. Whatever the form, you can tell it is Maya because things may look different but still stay pretty much the same. A good example of this is ending one bad relationship only to enter another. The face and the name have changed, but the experience is the same.
 
Brahman (God), on the other hand, is permanent, and it is the essence of our spirit being. We connect with this by coming to know the reality of our Higher Self, and by seeing our projections and striving to move beyond them. This develops within us an inner strength that is immutable. Once internal transformation has occurred, external life then alters to match that change.
 
Some see Maya as something bad. Not true. Maya is a form of Brahman, an emanation of Brahman, an inherent quality of Brahman. However, if we always/only look at the form, we will always/only see fragments and our experiences will reinforce that fragmentation. This causes us to see things as a duality – right/wrong, good/bad, me/you – and it separates us from ourselves. When we have forgotten Brahman, we have broken from our truest reality. We then live life “begging for pennies on the streets” when the real treasure is inside of us.
 
Even though Maya is not bad, it is antagonistic to the knowing of reality, truth, Brahman. Maya exists as superimposition, known in psychology as projection. It has three aspects, or powers:

  1. Projection
  2. Concealment
  3. Revealing

 

Projection is illusion – we behave, act, react, based on a superimposition, which is often in error.
Concealment is delusion – rational thinking and search for truth stops because of the superimposition.
Revealing is balanced action and thinking – it arises from the wisdom within that is developed through meditation, contemplation, curiosity, and the sincere search for truth.
 
For example

  1. Projection is false identification: “It is a snake!”
  2. Concealment is denial: I’m not aware of the true identity (rope), or that I’m projecting a false identity (snake)
  3. Revealing is connecting with inner wisdom/strength, allowing one to face the unawareness and to learn and grow from each experience, therefore increasing wisdom and strength in never-ending cycles: I don’t know what it is, but I will check it out and see what I learn.

 

Another example

  1. Projection (false identification): “He’s cute. I’m in love (even though I just met him and don’t really know him).”
  2. Concealment (denial): I am not able to see that I don’t know him and that I’m projecting my fantasy onto him.
  3. Revealing (wisdom, learning, growth): I don’t know him but he seems interesting. I’ll check it out and see what I learn.

 

Snakes can be

  1. Work: the boss is just like your controlling mother
  2. Friends: you hear criticism when there is none
  3. Marriage: your spouse is “making you feel” unloved, unlovable
  4. Everywhere: fear of rejection, abandonment, disappointment, etc.

 

Life experiences provide for soul growth (the development inner authority and self-certainty), and that growth requires a shift in perception. In each perception there is a primary cause and a secondary cause. To grow, we must move beyond the primary. Removing the secondary but not the primary will simply produce other secondaries. And, the primary is always some form of fear. Not knowing the truth of oneself generates fear and attracts things to fear. Fear comes from superimposition and causes superimposition.
 
The only way to grow is to change. Two types:

  1. Temporary: water to ice is a change in form. It can go back from one to the other with no change in nature.
  2. Permanent: milk to yogurt is a change in nature. It can’t revert because the essence of being has been altered

 

We can change our behavior, words, thoughts. But if we don’t alter our inner being and achieve dominion over our fears, results will only be temporary. To move beyond our illusions, we must name the snake for what it is, a projection, and begin to understand the rope, the opportunity to heal.

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Aug 17 2016

Thought for the Day

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Thought for the day, aka Patty’s Perspective About The Planet:

I met with a client yesterday who has been working with me for almost seven years. Being with her reminded me of the importance of PERSISTENCE and DETERMINATION.

When she first came to see me, she had low self-esteem, her marriage was falling apart, and she was facing a number of other difficult problems. Today, she has a great job, a relationship that’s fun and fulfilling, and she feels good about herself and her life. There were times when it looked like this would never happen, that she would not be able to get to this great place. But she stuck with it and worked as hard as she could on her issues. It took time for things to turn around, and now she’s living a whole new life.

MORAL of the story: What is is, what ain’t ain’t, the only way through it is through it, and it takes as long as it takes.

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Aug 8 2016

Be With Me

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We teach others how to be with us. Our behaviors and words are cues as to how we want to be treated and what we are willing to put up with. We communicate energetically as well. Whether behavioral, verbal, or energetic, our unconscious patterns attract certain treatment without our consciously asking for it. When those patterns are unhealthy or distorted in some way, what we are teaching others is usually not what we intend or want.

If you find this happening to you, here are some areas to explore.

Boundaries – Much has been written on the importance of setting boundaries. This is one of the first and most essential ways you teach others how to be with you. When you don’t say “no” to unwanted or inappropriate behavior, when you don’t say “ouch” when something hurts, you are covertly saying yes and implying that it’s ok to treat you that way. Another way to look at it: if you are not standing up to the bully, you are complicit. Finding and using your voice is a key aspect of personal power. If you have trouble speaking up, there is work to do.

Needs – It is a huge mistake to expect others to know what you need. Doing this is a set-up for disappointment and a surefire way to sabotage relationships and jobs. Others might guess, but no one can truly know without your making specific and responsible requests. Identify core needs and be intentional about getting them met so that they do not run your life and relationships. Be sure to cover all three levels – physical, emotional, spiritual – or else you will always be left wanting.

Neediness – Not to be confused with needs, neediness is related to codependence. Neediness, codependence, looks for an exchange of dependency with another person – “I am not fulfilled, therefore I need something in you to fulfill me. You are not fulfilled, therefore you need something in me that fulfills you. But because neither of us is fulfilled, we both still end up empty.” Obviously, this is also a set-up for trouble. Healthy people are not attracted to unhealthy behavior. If you want a great life and great relationships, you have to deal with whatever vestiges of codependence you embody, and most of us have it to some degree.

Values – Everyone has intrinsic values that they must express in order to be their best Self. Needs are the “food you eat” in order to be able to function. Values are who you are; principles and standards you are compelled to be or become. If you are not living them, you will be out of sorts and you will invite others into your life who are out of sorts as well. This usually causes problems. Examples of values are: beauty, contribution, discovery, and compassion. Like attracts like. Live your values and watch what shows up.

Bottom line: If others aren’t treating you well, then *you’re* not treating you well. It all boils down to self-awareness, self-certainty, self-respect, and self-care. When you don’t know who you are, you will send mixed signals at best, and the wrong ones at worst. Self discovery is first step toward lasting change.

 

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