Friday, July 30, 2010
I was just going about my day, when a little voice in the back of my head said, “Turn on the television.”
“What?” I argued with myself. “I don’t watch TV during the day. Sure, at night when I’m winding down my day, but daytime hours are for being productive.”
Regardless of my logical argument, the little voice persisted, so I turned on the television to a math program, and I was compelled to leave it on that particular show. What made this peculiar is that I’m no math whiz, and a math program is the last thing I would be interested in watching. Yet, there I was glued to the TV watching an instructor teaching his students about math.
I don’t remember what kind of math they were doing, but there was a moment on that show that influenced my perspective about intuition and its influence remains with me still.
The instructor asked his students to estimate their answer to a specific mathematical question. He explained that their responses were intuitive and then described intuition as facts that are not yet proven.
“Now,” he said, “we will prove your intuitive knowledge.” Then they set their minds to the mathematical principles that would lead them to a demonstrable solution.
There I was intuitively drawn to watch a program I would not generally elect to watch, receiving a life-changing insight about intuition—a topic I was exploring in my life at the time. The program itself was my verifiable proof that intuition was working quite effectively in me that day.
For more fascinating stories about intuitive choices where results are later understood visit: http://occultview.com/tag/premonitions/
(Don’t let the word “occult” in the web-page name throw you. Occult basically means “hidden knowledge.”)
That seems to be the way it is with intuition. You don’t get your proof up front. You get it on the back end, after you have acknowledged the intuitive insight you have received.
And in some cases, you don’t get confirmation at all. If you are going to utilize intuitive wisdom, you have to trust that you made the right choice based upon your gut feelings and inclination in the moment. These two factors—getting your proof on the back end or getting no proof at all—may be the most significant reasons many of us find it difficult to trust our intuition, even when we know we are receiving intuitive insight.
When you do get confirmation that your intuitive hunch was on target, it instills a great sense of confidence in this little understood human ability. When you get verification regularly, it can strengthen your resolve to use and trust your intuitive insights as a matter of course.
The key lies in acknowledging and following the intuitive guidance when you experience it. You can argue with yourself like I did or you can get right to it and create an opportunity for the gift of intuition to lead you to some yet-to-be-discovered facts.
If you are interested in intuition and how it applies to healing visit: http://misahopkins.com/self-healingsecrets/?p=636
Friday, July 23, 2010
When I was a Communications Consultant, I spent a fair amount of time in medical and dental clinics, where a good number of the employees were women. When we women are at our best, we are productive and fun to be with. At our worst, we tend to complain and gossip. We can become so busy trying to fix everyone else around us that we forget it is more important to tend to our own issues than it is to attempt to change others. It is in our desire to complain or fix others that gossip mode happens.
What I’ve learned about gossip is that what we gossip about is frequently based on inaccurate information and assumptions that can have more to do with a wish to express an opinion about a topic than it really has to do with an accurate picture of another’s life.
Consider the gossip columns. Writers are reflecting on someone else’s life by pulling out a few, meager pieces of information, sometimes out of context and too often without complete perspective, and then conjecturing about what those fragments of information must mean. In the grocery store line, you can see rows of gossip magazines all waiting to tell us about the lives of people the writers haven’t even necessarily met.
When I did a web search on “gossip,” I pulled up eleven pages of gossip sites, before I found an article that discussed the nature of gossip: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-science-of-gossip. Gossip has been raised to a level of acceptable norm. I’m not willing to catalogue gossip as being strictly bad for us; however, with so much gossip being negative or based in misinformation, I’ve taken the concept of gossip into my spiritual practice.
When I hear myself gossiping about someone else, I’ve gotten into a place now where I ask myself, “Who is this helping?” If I am concerned about the choice a friend is making, for example, I think it is wise to ask myself, “Why don’t I just talk directly and compassionately to my friend?” Certainly, a lot more can be accomplished in a candid conversations with the person I care about than can be accomplished talking about them.
There are times when I need to get some perspective of my own before I embark in that candid conversation. Say, I’m frustrated with my husband and I can’t tell if some old issue of mine is being triggered again or I really do need to bring something to his attention. A conversation with a trusted friend can be very helpful, if my focus is on personal discernment and not gossiping by simply complaining about him.
There is one exception I have found to the detrimental nature of gossip. Since we tend to experience gossip as being a negative portrayal of others, I call this reverse gossip. When you engage in reverse gossip, you talk about the strengths and accomplishments of others. You discuss their achievements and what you like about them, along with personal interactions in which you witnessed thoughtful, courageous and loving traits.
Reverse gossip is a great way to bring a little light into your own day and that of others, because it just feels great to speak positively about others. The next time you are in the break room at work, sharing a ride with a co-worker, or on the phone with a colleague, you might want to give reverse gossip a try. You might particularly note that it has a dramatic effect when one person begins to complain about another, and you offer a compassionate and caring perspective about the person in question.
If you find yourself getting ready to gossip about someone else, may I suggest you pause, take a breath, and say a few words of reverse gossip first. Stay with the reverse gossip until you are having good feelings about this person. Then see if you really still have anything negative to say at all.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Some of the most significant feelings we have that can keep us trapped in our pain include, regret, guilt, and shame. Many of us have an easier time forgiving someone else than we do ourselves.
I wrote about this same topic a few weeks ago, because if we don’t transform these feelings they easily lead to depression and even serious illnesses. (When You Can’t Quite See Far Enough: http://su.pr/2esv4K.) This article shares what I learned in regard to addressing regrets that arose because I developed greater perspective about my choices in retrospect.
It is easy to have regrets when you look back in time with more developed insights from the present. From that new perspective, I was building a case for regrets. For me, it was helpful to reframe my case for having regrets in order to set myself free from the shackles of my regret.
While reframing can be most beneficial, at other times, it is helpful to receive the wisdom and gift (that’s right—gift) that can come from regret. And that is what I would like to explore with you now. Regret or guilt is an internal remorse for a choice we have made. The remorse we are feeling is an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, and even more importantly it is an opportunity to become more familiar with our essential truth and live from that place of awareness.
Have you ever had the experience of apologizing to someone for something you did or said that had been nagging at you, only to discover that they didn’t even remember the event? I did that a few times until I finally realized I was receiving the message that I’m a lot harder on myself than most people. I understood that if they had not taken it personally or had already let it roll off their back, maybe I needed to do the same thing.
There have been other times I was feeling regret and guilt over something and apologized to someone who responded with relief that I realized I had done something hurtful. My sincere apology created space for them to provide me with some insights about how my choice affected them. It also created space for us to connect in greater depth, honesty and compassion about what we were feeling and experiencing.
Regret and guilt have been powerful teachers when I have been willing to embrace the lesson. Whether I was being hard on myself or needing to take responsibility for a choice I made that I knew would hurt another, this question has typically helped me claim my lesson, “Why was I feeling guilt or regret?”
In some way, my choice—what I said or did—wasn’t in alignment with my clearer, more awakened self. Regret became a touchstone for greater honesty, calling me to be more present with the truth of each moment, rather than in reaction to my perceptions and assumptions.
Here is an example of that calling. The other day, my husband said something to me in what I interpreted as a rude tone of voice. I responded to him with a crackling, indignant and angry retort. He immediately saw what was happening, and apologized. He was feeling a great deal of stress and it was bubbling up in frustration.
I immediately felt regret for the way I had responded, because I assumed he was being disrespectful. I felt guilt because instead of recognizing his rudeness wasn’t about me and choosing to hold space for him to get to the truth of his apparent frustration, I reacted with a greater dose of rudeness.
We could have both just continued to spin around in regret and guilt (like we used to do in relationships), but we didn’t. We sat down together and I listened while he talked about what was frustrating him. I listened until I saw peace and awareness settle into his shoulders. We kissed and went on about our day.
Here is what I discovered in the process. I have the equivalent of a masters degree in guilt. Actually, I have several of those kind of masters degrees. For example, I’ve mastered impatience, knowing everything, being right, and more. Because I intimately know the feelings of guilt and regret, I believe I’m entitled to master other qualities, like compassion, patience, not knowing, and even being wrong. It is very freeing to give myself permission to claim my mastery and move on.
Some very special people helped me gain this mastery. My husband is one of them. He has been there many times when I said or did something I later regretted. He has been my mirror, allowing me to see my own reflection. There have been family members and friends that have also been that mirror for me.
Consciously or subconsciously, they were the ones that were there as I learned about how I really wanted to be in the world, and that included some decisions reflecting how I did not want to be. Now, when the regrets come up, I thank them and bless them. I thank the spirits of the people that have been there for me while I was learning. I thank them for their willingness to help me see myself so that I could discover the beautiful part of me that most wants to express itself in the world.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Have you ever said a prayer and then wondered why you weren’t getting an answer?
Have you heard someone tell you that sometimes the answer is, “No?”
Me too. And then I discovered that sometimes the answer is, “Yes,” but it comes with some qualifications and preparation I may or may not want to do. I’m laughing at myself right now because that is exactly the message I received at SpiritQuest this year.
Many of us, including me, brought our prayers to the Sacred Fire. We prayed for many people in need of healing, financial support, good relationships, guidance and gentle crossings to the other side. We also prayed for our own well-being and we received a collective answer for our dedicated group (in addition to our personal insights), though I expect it may be challenging for many of us to fully incorporate the guidance into our lives.
We were encouraged through our dreams and interactions with each other to let go of old, familiar roads to our goals that are not likely to work any more. We were called to surrender our preconceived ideas, seek help, and find new roads if we wish to make it to our intended destinations and the fulfillment of our purposes. That sounded good until we realized we needed to put the insight into practice.
Most of us already know that the changes we need to make to truly live in the fulfillment of our desires require we abandon well-trod, but non-productive paths. We know it, but we don’t always know what new path to take. So we pray for guidance, and guidance tells us to surrender the old ways and open to unknown, new paths. We get scared, remain frozen, and nothing changes. Does this sound familiar to you?
It has certainly been a pattern in my life. However, true to the nature of life’s evolution, the minute I give up the old ways and surrender with abandon to the adventure of the unknown, I am reborn. In order to sustain the new path that then naturally opens to me, I am typically required to adopt new thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviors and habits. I must plunge into the risk with complete trust that I can become and live-out a reality better and greater than what I currently experience!
If you were at all connected to us through the Sacred Fire of these ceremonies, you too might be feeling this same call to surrender and new action. And it can be a wonderful challenge to consider your life in terms of taking a new road. It can also be scary. As I’m sure you already know, the scary part occurs when you think about surrendering to the unknown.
A friend of mine once defined fear as an audible inhale, that stops at the top of the breath. He defined excitement as that same inhale, followed by an audible exhale of exhilaration. The difference between the kind of fear that can leave you frozen in your tracks and the kind of exhilaration that has you engaged in the adventure of life occurs within the cycle of a complete breath.
In other words, physically and metaphorically, you transform fear by continuing to breath through it, focusing on the adventure of the moment (relief, joy, completion, fulfillment or whatever flavor adventure is to you). You engage the risk of living fully.
For a great inspirational video about the lives of famous people about Life=Risk, visit: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?board=27.0
Sometimes the answer to your prayer demands something from you—the grand and wonderful risk of change. Has the Sacred Fire been calling to you? What are you being called to change?