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9 January 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?

Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?

Working with a spiritual teacher several decades ago, I remember getting really scared. I was thinking: “If I REALLY open my heart I will have to give everything to the poor and live like Mother Teresa.”

That was my concept about spirituality.

A dear client felt afraid to take her next step in personal and spiritual development. As we looked into this fear, she formulated its underpinning as something like this: “If I become perfect, I will have to give up getting angry, and therefore will have to do what my husband wants me to do and give up the control I feel through my resistance.”

Most of us fear transformation. Faced with the possibility of profound change, we often have an underlying, anxious construct like: “If I become like _____ I will have to _____, and therefore ______.”

Such constructs and resulting predicaments stem from unexamined assumptions, driven by fear. Either/or thinking often plays a part. The initial premise is usually an inaccurate assessment, which leads to an unrealistic extrapolation about a frightening and fictional future.

Noticing and investigating rhetoric or propaganda from our less-developed inner sectors is essential to successful personal and spiritual development.

Here is a line of inquiry for investigating fears and conflicts about inner growth:

  • What are you actually afraid of?
  • Is this fear warranted?
  • How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself?
  • What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction?
  • Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it?
  • What inner resources would serve you in doing so?

Let’s walk this through with the fear I began with:
What are you actually afraid of? I was afraid that I would be compelled to sacrifice myself entirely in order to have spiritual validity.IMG_0105

Is this fear warranted? No. In actual fact, my issue has been with over-giving; too much sacrifice. My spiritual path has actually helped me to give in healthier ways.

How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself? Part of me wants to give everything, while part of me is survival-oriented and selfish.

What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction? Balance and healthy adjustment are more important to me than either sacrifice or selfishness.

Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it? Yes, and I have been practicing. When I begin to feel too self-sacrificing or too selfish, I make adjustments.

What inner resources would serve you in doing so? I understand that very life time has different requirements for balance, and that the things that serve my soul bring about real happiness.

When we become fully loyal to our most comprehensive values, we resolve mental conflict and can use our values to navigate life challenges.

A few more thoughts about scaring ourselves with ideas about growth:

  • States of awareness that we move toward in the process of healthy development are rarely the way we imagine them from within our current limitations.
  • We usually enter new states having developed the foundations that support them.
  • A new state may require adjustment, but after adjusting we feel better than we did before.
  • We usually develop new stages of awareness gradually, and must work to stabilize them so we do not regress. This process is like adding drops into a bucket of a waterwheel, which begins to move slowly once its weight hits critical mass. If we do not keep adding water it may come to a stop.

Spiritual work consists largely of learning to be able to accept and tolerate WHAT IS. This includes ourselves! We are not attempting to transcend our humanity, but to integrate it within the Whole.

Do YOU ever scare yourself about doing the things that are most important to you?

If so, how do you construct or deconstruct your rhetoric about it?

26 December 2014 5 Comments

Frankenstein in the Manger Scene

Frankenstein in the Manger Scene

P1100904This year I found myself longing for traditional Christmas music. As I spent some time in stores, it struck me that all of the music was Santa and retail oriented—and almost painfully politically correct. I did not see one manger scene or image of Christ in yard displays during my neighborhood wanderings. I had never felt any attachment to them until they almost suddenly went missing.

Well, that’s not exactly true. . .  For several years I would seasonally think about adding a Frankenstein to manger scenes, in general. Cough. This began with my favorite Christmas card. One of the wise men is dragging Frankenstein through the desert at night. The other two wise men are yelling at him, saying, “We said bring FRANKINCENSE, you idiot!” 

 Typically, I took this to mean something more profound. I figure that most of us have so many family skeletons that rise from our closets during the Christmas holidays, which follows these days—in the stores anyway—right on the heels of Halloween. By the time people take down one set of decorations it’s practically time for the next.

Those of us who are well aware of it when issues arise, and prefer authenticity are likely to find the forced cheer that some put on for Christmas rather grating. A nice Halloween figure to represent the random element of darkness is a humorous nod to Holy Wholeness.

Despite my quirky humor, Christmas seemed rather hollow or even castrated without Christ. While I don’t want Christianity down my throat, it weaves important threads through our cultural tapestry.

I surprised myself on Christmas Eve, finding myself at a candle light mass at St. Mark’s church. I did not set out to go. I was planning to go on a walk with a friend. Through the way my guidance works with timing and directions, we found ourselves heading right into the church just as mass was beginning, greeted at the door by a priest in his robes. We were even handed candles for the candlelight ritual at the end.

I looked at the schedule. They were going to sing—along with the choir and a huge pipe organ—the most beautiful carols, my favorites. I wanted to sing. We stayed, and found the service unexpectedly satisfying.

The sermon was engaging. The priest talked about darkness being an important aspect of Christmas, and suggested remembering that it is a part of the occasion instead of forcing total brightness and happiness. He talked about the interplay between darkness and light, the way too much light can overwhelm, and the fact that the divine is present in darkness as well as light. I found it gratifying to hear him say this in a traditional context with six or seven hundred people present. It made me want to tell him about the Frankenstein, but I just shook his hand and thanked him on my way out.

IMG_0600My belief system is flexible. I have a sense of the deeper underlying unity of All, so it pleases me to participate on occasion in the rites of different religions. While I am not religious myself, I’ve found myself paying respect in Buddhist temples in Thailand, Hindu temples in India and Bali, a Catholic church in Slovenia, Mosques in Egypt and India, and several Quaker gatherings in Seattle. I’ve enjoyed songs and dances from a wide range of cultures and religions.

Religion is deep to a culture. Participating is a good way to penetrate to the heart of a culture and share in a meaningful way. In my experience, mental agreement is not important as long as one brings respect and love for the Divine. 

How did YOUR Christmas go?

What is your relationship with tradition?

24 October 2014 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 25: Strategies to Increase Regularity of Practice

Managing Your Energy, Part 25: Strategies to Increase Regularity of Practice

Getting regular with energy practice or spiritual practice may not seem like a sexy topic. Actually learning to make regular practice appealing is rewarding and alive as we begin to engage more and more completely, and reap results in our lives.

If you do not practice some form of energy work, Inner Work, meditation, inspirational reading, Qi Gong, or martial art, most of the same processes apply to any type of health practice or personal discipline. Practicing regularly helps to cultivate all forms of success.

Strategies to increase and enhance regular practice:

  • Start now. Start now. If you’re lousy at it, start with just a few seconds. You will build over time.
  • Pick a spot to practice where the energy and conditions support your desired focus. When possible, always practice in the same spot. Energy builds up here over time and assists you.
  • Practice at the same time of day when you can. You may soon find your body heading to your spot at that time.
  • Get clear about exactly what you are going to do during your practice time. Lack of clear intention dilutes results.
  • Do one set of practices over time until you get results. Consistency builds neurological circuitry and focus.
  • Dial in an energy connection to your sources of inspiration, whether these are people, teachers, places, deities, elements, Nature, or Spirit. Allow IMG_0275their energy to enhance your focus.
  • Shift “I have to . . .” to an attitude of loving invitation. Invite and allow without pushing yourself.
  • Shift from ‘I missed my time to do it’ or ‘I don’t have time,” to “Something is better than nothing,” “Even a minute builds momentum,” and “I will at least find small windows of opportunity throughout my day.”
  • Cultivate your own trust by following through on promises to yourself.
  • Don’t say “I should do more.” Either motivate yourself and DO more or stop aggravating yourself with this type of litany.
  • Reinforce motivation to practice by noticing results: at the time you practice, throughout your day, and cumulatively.
  • View this Work as a karma account or bucket of holy water that accumulates as you put in a drop of practice.
  • Understand that sometimes you may feel nothing as you practice, or for periods of time, and then suddenly find yourself in the energy of the practice when you aren’t focused on it. Notice when this happens.
  • Keep bringing the fundamentals of your practice into direct expression throughout your day.
  • Intentionally enjoy the good feelings you get from practice. Remind yourself you prefer feeling this way to the way you feel when you are resistive or negligent.
  • Identify and speak kindly to your points of resistance.
  • Notice the vague disappointment you feel when your practice is flat. Seek to recapture the next moments by coming fully into what you are doing. Keep coming back.
  • USE your practice time well: Avoid vain repetition, going through motions, or empty ritual. Bring yourself wholeheartedly to the moment.
  • Catch yourself practicing when it feels good and tell yourself, “I enjoy this and want more of it!”
  • Get past thinking that things are important just because they are urgent. Deadlines increase urgency but not importance. Practice is very important even if it lacks urgency or deadlines.
  • Increase your urgency to practice by remembering that you could die without its fruits.
  • Notice the difference between wholehearted engagement and doing something because you ‘should.’
  • Notice how practicing being wholehearted begins to impact other aspects of your life.
  • Notice how practice impacts your sense of life purpose.
  • Notice what it feels like to take a fully-aware breath.
  • Bring the fragrance of successful practice into your day, to make your day more enjoyable.
  • If you flake out, come back. No blame. No recriminations. Just come back. Keep returning, keep returning, keep returning. . .
  • Think of practice as watering a garden in which you are cultivating joy.
  • Use your relationship with practice as a venue for being kind to yourself.

What works for YOU?

How do you feel when your resistance ‘wins’?

17 February 2012 3 Comments

Life Guidance Series Part 11: Increasing Your Range of Guidance

Life Guidance Series Part 11: Increasing Your Range of Guidance

Let’s look into approaches and intentions that support us to develop Guidance skills.

There are two basic approaches to any type of self-development:

  • Work to strengthen your weaknesses
  • Work to strengthen your strengths

Education is often focused on strengthening weaknesses. This is not always the best path to mastery. Building from what we are already capable of brings satisfaction more quickly and can build from a foundation of strength.

The best path may not be to either strengthen weaknesses or strengths but to create an intelligent hybrid approach. You can strengthen skills that come naturally and use these skills while gently rounding yourself out by developing weak functions. Some big marketers say to stick with the strengths. Let someone else do the things you’re weak at. This can work in business. From a personal development and brain function standpoint, working with weaknesses has far-reaching advantages. I believe Guidance to sense which approach is best in any given moment.

My mode of perceiving has always been considerably more kinesthetic (sensory, feeling and movement) and auditory, and less visual. First I strengthened my ability to recognize and access intuition through sensation. Strengthening this strength made me highly effective in clinical practice, especially with body therapies, intuitive coaching, and matching nutrients to client’s individual requirements via body reflexes and changes in energy.

Then I took up the photography as a hobby in order to develop visual perception and the related parts of my brain. Strengthening this weakness has increased my ability to pick up images intuitively, and makes me feel more balanced and whole. I am certain that strengthening visual skills makes my brain work better.

When it comes to increasing intuition I always want to know the motivation. Intuition and Guidance can only go as far as we are able to trust ourselves. I have observed that as we develop and grow in self-trust, our range of Guidance grows organically. Those who manage to develop skills without self-trust and emotional balance tend to get into problems. Developing integrity, wisdom and clarity naturally evoke Guidance skills.

Giving yourself good cause to trust yourself and cultivating sincerity prove in the long run to be of greater value than intuitive skills alone. Self-trust and sincerity support effective service.

The above being said, this entire post series is full of countless recommendations and exercises that will increase your range of guidance if you practice them. To get the most from this series let descriptions of experiences you do not relate to roll over you and work with strengths unless you are fairly experienced. I am speaking to a whole range of guidance skills. Whether you are just learning or rounding out your experience,consider the following:

  • Allow your skills to grow gradually, within your comfort level
  • Latch onto suggestions that resonate with you and put them into practice
  • Remember that simple things done consistently are of much greater value in the long run than becoming overextended
  • Do not try to get yourself to believe anything that doesn’t sit well with you
  • Respect but do not take your lack of belief in things very seriously
  • Let your beliefs change in response to direct experience
  • Rely neither on belief nor disbelief but relax your opinions and stay open to experience
  • Remember that being open to getting something wrong allows you the space and grace to learn real accuracy
  • Do things your own way–but not from ego
  • Do not manipulate yourself or others; invite instead
  • Never criticize the level you are at now
  • Cultivate honesty and value your authenticity
  • Seek to remain sincere in your efforts
  • Always verify or confirm intuition with factual means or alterations in sensation and experience

Remember that skill with guidance is an art. It is cultivated in the soil of your values. This art depends on your personal level of integration. Every time you successfully confront internal conflict by choosing your Highest Option or support yourself kindly in the face of a frightening emotion or work with your own energy you are developing your capacity for insight and guidance.

Verifying or confirming intuitive hits with actual fact is an excellent way to give yourself cause for self-trust. We will cover confirmation of Guidance after first looking into sincerity–which proves to be foundational and to offer surprising practical utility!

How do YOU feel about your current range of guidance?
Why do you want to extend this range?
What do you think it will do for you?
How do these motivations feel in your body?

25 November 2011 4 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 14: Ways to Contribute

Life Purpose, Part 14: Ways to Contribute

Here is a wide range of examples of meaningful ways to contribute. Mix and match:

Does your vision of making a difference include political impact?

  • Canvass for a congressperson or someone running for office
  • Get signatures for an initiative
  • Volunteer at a caucus

Are you passionate about world welfare?

  • Join the Peace Corps
  • Help with Doctors Without Borders
  • Raise awareness about important issues

Do you want to help the Earth?

  • Support an environmental cause
  • Set up a living will that supports old growth forests
  • Send healing energy to problem areas
  • Give up using plastic bottles

Do you want to help people?

  • Support your neighbors with earthquake or emergency planning
  • Volunteer at a hospital, food bank, or crisis line
  • Serve in a soup kitchen
  • Get involved with Kiva, for microloans to those in need in other countries
  • Read to the people or play music at a senior center
  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
  • Learn conflict mediation

Do you love animals?

  • Volunteer or get a job at an animal shelter
  • Take care of strays or find homes for them
  • Adopt Greyhounds that used to race

Do you want to develop your energy, or support others through energy?

  • Learn and practice Qi Gong or other techniques to balance, tune, and strengthen your energy
  • Learn energy medicine or go to practitioners who use it
  • Send the energy of love and support to people and nations under duress

Are you inspired to develop your own or other people’s ability to experience peace and states of grace?

  • Meditate
  • Practice watching your breath
  • Practice random acts of kindness
  • Express your love

Are you in a partnership?

  • Ask your partner what you can do to improve your relationship
  • Offer to take a chore off your partner’s plate when s/he is overwhelmed
  • Spend half a day a month doing anything you have avoided that your partner wants you to do

Do you read this blog?

  • Work intentionally with the questions.
  • Please pass my posts to people who will benefit from them. They take about 7 hours each, and I’d like to see them serving lives!

Here is a loving conversation that occurred between two friends:

Becky told Karen, “I get the impression you have something important to do in the world.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m just a piano teacher,” Becky said. Her tone implied that she could not be important or make a large contribution in this role.

“Stop!,” said Karen. “It’s not about ego; it’s about Path. Don’t minimize who you are and what you do! You are awake and aware. You are touching all the people you work with. Your purpose is just as big as mine—it’s your energy and love. That’s the gift. For all you know you could be teaching the next Beethoven!”

Karen went on to say, “I used to think I would Save the World. I now understand that we can help the world, improve and impact the world. That’s heart. SAVE the world? That’s bravado. No one person can save the world. We can only save ourselves, and help impact those who appear on our path. –And you’re doing it.”

Dive heart first into life! (Comment credit to Evelyn Roberts.)

What are YOUR favorite ways to help, improve, or impact your world?

What do you get out of it?

Great Christmas Gift idea! Simple but potent tools effectively clear out unpleasant energy & promote higher awareness.

18 November 2011 3 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 13: Making a Difference with Energy

Life Purpose, Part 13: Making a Difference with Energy

We each impact the world at every moment. Life Purpose is about being intentional about this impact.

I recently returned from a spiritual camp in which we used breath, intention, movement, music, and concentration to bring about a very real experience of being safe, loved, and connected with the entire group and with life itself. This had nothing to do with doctrine or belief–just direct experience.

If you have had direct energy experiences of unity with others you will fully understand what I am saying. I am not talking abstraction, theory or concept. I am talking about FEELING a sense of Unity–personally and palpably. When this happens in a group we can discuss the experience with the people who were there and discover that they felt exactly the same thing that we did. If you have not experienced this, remain open and motivated.

Even when we are in distress we are one with the world. We just don’t have our attention focused in a way that allows us to notice.

Personal issues block our access to feeling Unity. We feel isolated, alone, needy, or estranged when we are out of touch with our essential unity with others. Our influence becomes less positive when we are entangled in our issues. Learning to love yourself is service to others.

If you have not done so please read the post on Inner Work as Universal Service.

Working out issues that keep us from loving ourselves IS contribution to the world:

  • It strengthens our energy connections with others by making us more available and clear.
  • It allows us to effectively support others with issues we have already healed.
  • Our impact on everyone we come in contact with is more positive, and their added ease spreads to their contacts as well.
  • It makes your energy better as we begin to broadcast happiness and love instead of distress.

What if loving yourself is the one thing you can do that makes the most difference in the world?

Accepting and being larger than our issues is a spiritual act of healing. I have seen advanced spiritual teachers fall from their state of realization and harm their followers due to unresolved inner wounds, and motivated people who were once broken blossom into loving Life Purpose.

In addition to dealing with issues that block our ability to love, we can change the world just by breathing with awareness. Any way that you get good energy flowing you impact everyone who comes in contact with you, and everyone who comes in contact with them. What you do with your energy, at home alone, matters.

Working intentionally with energy strengthens our influence, and we can learn to direct this influence. I have seen masters of energy who can clearly and powerfully impact the state and experience of a roomful of people through the qualities, frequencies, intentions, and awareness they place on their breath. Their prayers pack a wallop. They did not develop these skills by wanting to change people. They developed themselves.

The most important way we make a difference is through Presence, full attention, and our love. BEing in the moment has intrinsic value. When we bring ourselves fully into the current moment in a spirit of contribution the question of Purpose dissolves into direct, internal, moment-to-moment guidance.

Sense of Purpose is a form of internal guidance. Being in touch with your inner sense of purpose from moment to moment–let alone Life Purpose–rests on the same skills necessary to receive all other types of inner guidance.

The next blog series will be about Guidance.

What does it mean to YOU to make a difference in the world?

What have you done that has helped to develop your Sense of Guidance?

11 November 2011 3 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 12: Getting On with It

Life Purpose, Part 12: Getting On with It

This post speaks to additional challenges with Purpose.

The problem with “needing to know” is that intense focus on the mind and on outcome block the processes of feeling and intuition—the channels through which the information you long for might otherwise come.

So many people want to “know” what their Purpose IS. Beyond presupposing that Purpose is like a job, and that it doesn’t change, this prevailing attitude implies that we are equipped to live out Purpose without needing to be in touch from moment to moment.

Life paths are like labyrinths. They twist and wind, and we often cannot tell whether we are getting closer or farther away from our goal of returning to the center. The answer of one moment may not suffice in the next. Each challenge along the way calls for the discernment to commit more deeply, or to establish a new direction.

Being whole-hearted whenever we possibly can is one of the best investments we can make. Even if we make mistakes with more vigor, we then learn quickly and do not repeat them.

I have been deeply touched and honored to be present as clients discover Life Purpose. At times Purpose pops up quickly and clearly, like a revelation or an insight. When this occurs we are communing together in a state of grace, perceiving together.

If someone else tells you what your supposed Purpose is and you cannot feel it for yourself this can cause intense and painful confusion. That person has no way to assume responsibility for their effects on your life if they mislead you.

A healer once told me I had a strong and abiding connection with and should be following a certain Master, she with whom she was connected. After checking in and finding I felt no internal connection with this man I felt kind of slimed. Fortunately I was intuitive enough to sort this out easily for myself.

Occasionally I meet someone who cannot seem to keep alight the fire of inspiration or make anything matter enough to fully engage themselves. We’ve probably all had days when nothing trumps anything else. We stir around wishing we wanted something enough to feel connected with a goal or take purposeful action. This feels worse than being really hungry and not being able to find anything you feel like eating, and can go on and on for weeks, months and perhaps years.

Remember the time between high school and college when grownups always asked, “Are you working or are you in school?” Without purpose or plan you may feel useless and flat yet intensely frustrated, tied up with too many choices you don’t relate to, looking ahead at the daunting task of making a critically important choice, without information or inspiration. Where to start eating that elephant?

Lack or loss of goals and dreams can be devastating. I have wished I could do their work for them, but even when I have found and lit a spark, they themselves need to keep the fire going.

If you still have trouble developing a relationship to Purpose, here are some serious suggestions:

  • Rule out physical causes such as clinical depression, low thyroid, adrenal hypofunction, low testosterone, neurotransmitter imbalances, blood sugar and chronic occult (hidden) viral issues.
  • Then address feelings, beliefs, and the intersection of the two, as discussed in Post #2. Do this with a proficient therapist or healer.
  • Answer the questions that have come up through this series.
  • Read the Inner Work series. [link]
  • Get help to clear out energy that does not belong with you, that you may be carrying from a parent or other source.
  • Find ways to increase your physical and spiritual energy.
  • If it works for you ask the Universe or pray for Life Purpose, remember to stay in humility, openness, and surrender.

Remember: Purpose is a sense. Hence: Sense of Purpose.

Use sense about your purposes.

When you heal yourself you can attract and sustain what is best for you. If you do not, you are likely to undermine what you want.

Remember: We need to be in partnership with life, not control it.

Like any other type of sense, Sense of Purpose is a skill to nurture and develop.

Sense of Purpose and ultimately Sense of Guidance are developed by making a daily habit out of paying attention to what we really feel and need and what life is currently inviting, making choices that support our best interests.

What do YOU do to get in touch with your feelings, senses, or intuition?

What is your worst fear about being in touch with your intuition?

4 November 2011 0 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 11: Misconceptions About Life Purpose, Part 2

Life Purpose, Part 11: Misconceptions About Life Purpose, Part 2

Continuing our tour through common misconceptions . . .

What you do for meaning should provide money and security:

Some people’s purposes in life have nothing to do with their profession or pocketbook. Others are intimately related. If you hold Purpose hostage to what you are trying to GET from life you may miss what you need to BECOME or CONTRIBUTE to be happy.

While some are busy trying to get rich or engaging their fears of the future they are neglecting their actual Life Purpose.

When your inner values and spirit inform your external life you are more likely to be happy than you will be if you allow external goals to become your entire life.

Getting what you want leads to happiness:

Haven’t you ever gotten exactly what you thought you wanted only to discover that the worm in the apple weighed almost as much as the apple itself? Learn from this. Square peg, round hole. Square peg, round hole. . .

Your desires got you into involved in the schoolyard of life. Now use your intuition to enhance your choices.

Success Story: I can never forget the rich man I met once in a workshop. He had his “ideal job, dream home with swimming pool and tennis court, trophy wife, and 1.5 kids”. He woke up one morning and realized all this wasn’t who he was. He hardly knew his wife and kids beyond the roles they played with one another, and he wasn’t happy. His wife was wedded to the things and images he was now considering giving up to discover his true Self.

One of the keys to a meaningful life is learning to listen to deep desires of your heart, which create positive momentum in life, while relaxing superficial desires that drain or distract.

Life Purpose requires a time line and a plan:

Life Purpose lives in the realm of heart and soul. Some people enact their Life Purpose without ever knowing–intellectually–what it is. We may actualize goals that express meaning and purpose without intentionally creating a structure.

Goals and dreams that motivate and inspire us may or may not belong on our to-do lists. Whether or not we accomplish them is less important than having a positive reason to get out of bed in the morning.

If you ever watched “The Matrix” you may recall that in giving up the notion that he was “The One,” the main character experienced things that led to him realizing he ACTUALLY WAS “The One.” Sometimes the purpose of plans, events, and lesser purposes is to position us for greater Purposes than the ones we are consciously planning. Life does not conform to static forms but morphs and shifts, especially when we transform.

Being good at something means you are supposed to do it:

Advice abounds to the effect that if you’re good at something or have the equipment you should aim to make a living at it. Got long fingers? Play the piano or guitar. Sometimes it’s true–but it is certainly not a cosmic rule.

I would have made a great lawyer—and been miserable. It’s not all about money and talent. When I started there was no name for what I do, but I ended up here. I am not sure this would have occurred if I had determinedly imagined I was “supposed to” do something else.

Avoid jumping at something just because you can do it well. And as for this “supposing” thing. Take responsibility for being the one doing the supposing!

Sometimes skills and talent represent traits and qualities that are already fully developed. You might find more purpose in developing new skills, and stretching into undiscovered talents in pursuit of wholeness and expression.

Your Purpose means living up to your full potential:

The point of pursuing your potential is motivation, self-discovery, expression of values, living with full engagement, meaningful contribution, and overcoming imaginary limitations. The point is not to exploit every possible asset.

One of the five biggest regrets at the end of life is:

“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Let’s be realistic. Given human potential, there isn’t remotely enough time in a life to live out your full potential. You possess so many potential skills, talents, and capacities that full potential is not possible. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to become something. Be who you ARE and find out what gives you a sense of purpose, meaning, and pleasure. Pick that.

You are worth just as much even if you live an ordinary life–if such a thing exists.

What do YOU do to make a difference?

How does doing it make you feel or impact your life?

28 October 2011 4 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 10: Misconceptions About Life Purpose, Part 1

Life Purpose, Part 10: Misconceptions About Life Purpose, Part 1

Let’s take a tour through common misconceptions about Life Purpose. Part of this is summary and review, heading into fresh insights about the things we’ve covered. We will also break new ground:

  • Success and Life Purpose are the same thing
  • Life Purpose refers to your entire life
  • You will be known and seen in the world by doing your Life Purpose
  • The status and magnitude of your activities reflects your worth
  • Your purpose has to be something in the outer world
  • You need a particular job or role to serve others
  • The status and magnitude of your activities reflects your worth
  • What you do for meaning should provide money and security
  • Getting what you want leads to happiness
  • Life Purpose comes with a time line and a plan
  • Being good at something means you are supposed to do it
  • Your purpose means living up to your full potential

We’ll pick through these misconceptions one by one.

Success and Life Purpose are the same thing:

What is the difference between success and Life Purpose?

Success is generally defined against the backdrop of superficial, societal values. You are comparing yourself to other people, or to an external standard of accomplishment.

Life Purpose (also known as Soul Purpose) is that which actualizes not the brightest, best, and most recognized potential, but the elements of heart and character that invite authenticity, joy, balance, and expression of core values.

Life Purpose is that which gives your life meaning and value—to YOU. We are social creatures in an energy web of oneness, so our experience of meaning and value is not separate from our contributions and relationships with others. Since Purpose is personal, when it is lived in the outer world, authenticity is required.

Life Purpose refers to your entire life:

Motivations, values, and attitudes transform during the course of life. Even when you commit “your life” to something, what you are committing is your life energy, full participation, will, and intention. You are not placing the years your body will live in a trust for that commitment. You cannot count on having years. Your life is your life force, not your years.

Life Purpose does not refer to one thing you have to do or else you have failed. It refers to the way you bring yourself to what you choose to do. There are many different ways this can play out, according to the unique requirements of an individual life.

Purpose can change. You may have many purposes.

You will be known and seen in the world by doing your Life Purpose:

Being in public view does not measure either success or Life Purpose, just as money is no indication of our worth as individuals. If money equaled worth, Mother Teresa had no worth. We know this is not true.

The status and magnitude of your activities reflects your worth:

Gandhi used to require all of his followers to take shifts cleaning the latrines. Humility and willingness to do whatever is needed has always been the mark of the truly great.

Your purpose has to be something in the outer world:

Life Purpose may be as simple (not easy) as:

  • Learning to love yourself as you are
  • Mastering a tendency to project blame onto others
  • Becoming able to maintain body awareness instead of getting spacey
  • Discovering how to feel safe inside yourself
  • Becoming able to trust yourself
  • Standing in love or peace no matter what happens
  • Bringing to the planet a specific, necessary energy; being a connecting point for that energy, broadcasting or receiving it

I believe in the possibility that people exist who have influence the workings of the entire planet through their profound mastery of energy. Can you say that such a person has no purpose because no one sees it?

You need a particular job or role to serve others:

Balanced, powerful people penetrate and permeate the energy of those we touch or engage with, whether professionally or in the line at the bank. You may impact players on the world stage, set the stage, or influence how the audience receives the play in the course of your normal life.

Cynthia felt no meaning in her job answering emails for an insurance agency. I suggested she send, from her heart, a specific and personal blessing with each email, invisibly. She began to love her job.

We’ll finish the other misconceptions in Part 2 . . .

21 October 2011 2 Comments

Life Purpose, Part 9: The Work of Another

Life Purpose, Part 9: The Work of Another

Here is the complete quote with which we began the series:
“Your work in this life is to find your work, and to give yourself to it with your whole heart. And not to do the work of another no matter how great their need.Buddha

Inspired contribution to the Greater Whole is meaningful and fulfilling. Giving, without respect for the context can interfere or distract, making it all about you instead of helping out. The word “giving” does not imply what happens with the receiver. “Contribution” implies that we are
participating in something larger than our own efforts; making a difference.

‘Sensing into’ the situations we seek to enhance improves our assessment of when and what to contribute, so that giving may be fully of benefit. This skill complements being in touch with what and when it works for us to give.

The skill consists of paying attention to the potential results of our participation, and aiming to maximize the outcome for others. Without this sensibility we may give what is not needed while overlooking something absolutely necessary, like shipping in crates of Coke when the people need a new well.

Aim to sustain your vital forces and enhance your ability to give by honing discernment.

Contributing to the world by participating in loving service is the most meaningful thing we can do. Love or service cannot be forced as acts of self-assertion. We do not need to be in any way perfect before we set out to help. By involving ourselves we learn who we are and what to develop in order to actualize our values.

Pure service includes exercising wisdom to consider the results of receiving a gift or service. When we do for others things they are able to do and need to do for themselves we weaken them or interfere.

We cannot exercise, eat or eliminate for someone else, and we cannot do their Inner Work. We cannot open another person’s heart, motivate them, or give them insight without their willing participation.

The old maxim about teaching a man to fish instead of fishing for him comes to mind.

I was in a relationship in which I attempted to get the other person to take care of himself better, and to develop greater insight and inspiration. That failed. Of course, it ended in resentment on his part and exhaustion on mine.

When someone wants to learn to fish they motivate themselves. You can show them and give them tips, but they need to be pulling for it, and to take up readily what they are able to do themselves.

When we attempt to do the work of another, it’s like being a mother who wakes her child up for school every day, never passing along this responsibility as the child grows. As an adult, this person lacks the wherewithal to get to work on time.

Buddhists and several other spiritual groups customarily offer the results of spiritual practice for the benefit of all beings, everywhere. Is this doing their work?

It is not.

Generating positive energy and making it available to those who need it is constructive (except specifically for those who habitually feed off of others). So is praying for others. As long as you are not attached to how or whether specific people take it up you are okay. When you want or need someone to respond in a particular manner it is time to question your motivations. That is not love.

How do YOU FEEL when you are trying to do the work of another?

What if the things you do to try and make a difference interfere with experiences others require to develop strength and compassion?

What if getting your energy strong and balanced by taking care of yourself with respect and compassion helps the world, not only through everyone you encounter but by bringing helpful energy into the world through the portal that is YOU?

What if your love and self-acceptance empower your prayers and positive intentions to enhance the energy-pool we all share?