The Lonely Invitation

It’s a big revelation when you discover that you are the only one who can make you happy.

It takes more than another person to satisfy loneliness.  In fact, being with others can make you feel even more lonely.  Other people may  just provide a distraction from the need that your loneliness is communicating to you.

Loneliness is an invitation to deepen the relationship with yourself.

What part of yourself is calling out for understanding?  Listen quietly.  Explore your wants and needs, and challenge yourself to find your inspiration.

At a conscious level, you might begin to explore your own interests and preferences, trying something new – a new book, a class, a new project. Try something you haven’t done before.  Revisit the process of self-discovery – what you like, what you don’t like, what you want, what you don’t want.

Use the past – the images and memories of the way it was – to be more clear in your desire  Use past pain to fuel clarity.  Knowing what you don’t want helps you design a clear picture about what you do want.  Once you’ve identified what you do want, once you’ve come to that conclusion, you put your attention and focus on what you do want, how you want it to be now.

When you have new insights and conclusions, write them down.  It will help you to remember them.  We call them “bright spots,” those “ah-hah!” moments. They’re your treasures of clarity and realization.

As you deepen the relationship with yourself, it expands your consciousness. You begin to see life from a broader perspective, that keeps life interesting.

You raise your awareness by releasing resistance, relieving the pressure that you have on yourself.

What would relieve that pressure?  Trying new activities is fun.  But don’t be trapped by the action.  It’s not the hobby that satisfies you.  It’s not the cooking or the craft or the travel.  It’s not more people, or other people.

It’s the inspiration that satisfies you.  It’s the meaning that satisfies you.

Exploration is not a push.  It’s a pull.  The meaning pulls you to explore.

The meaning creates the motivation or drive for what you desire.  It’s not enough to DO something to satisfy loneliness.  It’s not enough to look for new people.

You don’t need more relationships.  You’re just seeking a feeling.  The feeling of Oneness.

There is depth to quiet.  Be a witness – without doing anything, without being busy. Be a witness to yourself,  with kindness.  There’s a part of us that is constantly giving us information about what action to take.  The question is whether we are fighting with that aspect of ourselves, that’s trying to provide us with feedback about the situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in, or whether we are listening and allowing that feeling that’s trying to get across a message, to communicate to us in a way that is effective.

Learn to listen to the part of you that has the answers. Listen to the part of you that knows how to respond to whatever situation – we can call it the curriculum – that you find yourself in.

Connect with your own being, without running, without distraction.  It’s safe to be still.

A meaning, a purpose, a thought will come to you, pulled by your desire.  And it will satisfy something deep within you.

Once you make that connection to yourself, you won’t feel so lonely.  And you can expand your deep inner connection to others.

Photo by Mikefats on Flickr Creative Commons

Five Minute Centering Meditation

Five Minute Centering Meditation

Remember to breathe.
Just feel the movement of Life through your body.  Inhale and then Aaahh…Inhale…
Life Energy moving through the body as we connect as a community.
This is the coming together of community.  The joining of hands.
The coming into harmony with each other in the moment.
As we reach out to each other, we reach out to aspects of our Self.
We open our mind.  We open our heart.  To the beauty of this moment.
Everyone breathe deeply.  Inhale. And then Aaahh…
Let’s get past the illusion – the illusion of separateness.
Inhale. And then exhale.
Energy moving through the system.
Inhale. And then Aaahh…
Feel that connection of Life Energy, of Chi.
The environment responds to us as we relax – into the environment of love, of compassion, of unity.
Everyone Inhale.  And then exhale, Aaahh…
Feel Life moving all around you.  Celebrating Life.
The connection with each other – with deeper aspects of ourself.
Everyone breathe deeply.
Feel that movement of Life through your body, through your mind.  Inhale…Exhale.
Energy moving through the system.
Coming into your Center, into your Core. Pushing out.
Inhale.  Take a deep breath in, pulling that breath deep into your Center.
Feel the movement of Life, the movement of Chi.
Connecting with your Center, as we create a good balance between our Self and the world around us.
Inhale…and then Exhale.
This is holding Center as the world goes round.
Holding Center as the world goes round.
Staying in our Center as the Earth spins. Staying in our Peace as the Earth spins.
Everyone Inhale, and then Exhale. Staying in our Center as the world turns around.
Now coming into your Center, take a deep breath.  Inhale. And then Aaahh…
Releasing all resistance, all struggle, all fear, all doubt, all worry. Just let it go.
Inhale.  And Exhale.
Now bring it into your Core, into your Center.
Take a deep breath. Inhale…And then Aaaahh…
Energy going in.
Reaching out, and let’s rise that Energy up…
and then bring it back down.
You’re going to feel the Energy moving through your body as you breathe.
And then let’s hear those Exhales.  Aaahhh…
Keep relaxing into it.
And then Aaahhh…
Keep releasing resistance.
Just relax.
Coming into your Center, into your heart Center.
Take a deep breath and then Aaahhh…
Just relaxing into a quiet place inside yourself, inside your heart.
Take a deep breath in again. And then Aaahhh….

The music is Locked on the Inside by Celtic Chill on

Have yourself a breakthrough

“It’s not what’s coming at you.
It’s what’s coming from you.”


I had a breakthrough this week, and things have been running very smoothly since.  Even when things are breaking down, they’re getting back on track easily and quickly – which is just giving me more evidence of how the universe responds when we change our own thoughts and beliefs.

I mentioned that we had a bit of shock a few weeks back when we found out about a “clerical error with financial consequences.”  Here’s the amazing part:  we’re getting our check back.

But there’s even more to this turn around than bucks!  The money was just the proof.

Let me preface this story by saying we believe that anything is possible.  We’ve also learned over the years that the thoughts we have when we’re in the midst of a powerful emotion put hooks in us.  We believe them – unquestionably.   We live from them.  But we don’t even see them.

We know those thoughts become beliefs that can be limiting or useful – it’s our choice.  It’s all in the thoughts we think, the meanings we make.  And how intensely we feel it.  The more intensely we feel it – the more charge it has for us – the more Energy it attracts.

When we got a certified letter three weeks ago from a state government agency we worked with several years ago, saying that we were overpaid and they wanted their money back (or else…)  You can believe we had some strong emotions!  Throughout all of the phone calls that followed – all of the run around trying to understand what they thought was overpaid, and all of conflicting instructions we received about how to go about making the repayment within the 15 days they allowed – we were making declarations about what we want and deserve to have in our lives.

I silently screamed at the Universe, with intense clarity and focus (pain has a way of doing that) – “We deserve good things!”  I screamed it again and again in my mind.

And then I sat and listened.  I sat in neutral and watched the rushing sensation of emotions coursing through my body, in my blood.  I told the Universe, “I’m willing to listen.”

And an insight came.  I realized that – until now – I’d been looking for something outside me to tell me what I am worth or deserve – some kind of universal seal of approval.

And what I saw – what I heard the Universe respond – was:  We decide our worth.  We decide!

The Universe just responds to our decision.

We don’t have to prove or justify or cause our worth.  We’ve already been deemed worthy by Life.    We all deserve good things in our lives – not because we are good, and definitely not because we are better – but because we have the power to decide.  Our worth is the worth of Life Energy.  Our worth is our birthright.

“We deserve good things!” was my way of saying to the Universe:  I’m done with thinking myself unworthy, undeserving, with doubting my worth and living in fear of things that I thought could hurt me.  I’m done with expecting bad things to happen.  I’m done with thinking someone else, anyone else, determines my worth.  I can feel the power in my gut – the power we all share – that point where we are connected to everything, connected to the power that is bigger than us – the power that is beyond the mind and comes just from being alive.

And I literally wrote , in detail, all the good things we deserve – because we’ve decided to have them in our lives.

What we want, what we declare – It’s done!

What is closed, what we are ready to put behind us – It’s done!

We’re ready now!

A few days later, the state agency called me and said they’d made a mistake.  They said the original certified letter they sent us was an error and they wanted us to stop payment on the check we sent them – which is a miracle in itself.  Have you ever heard of a government agency admitting they made a mistake?  And refusing to take your money?!

But the real thrill – beyond getting our money back and being reassured that we had not done anything wrong – was the evidence of how the universe responds to our intentions – the proof that we really are powerful creators!  We decide!

Any time you have a strong emotion you can choose to use that feeling to take a new stand.  It’s an opportunity to make a powerful declaration about how you want things to be and what you believe. It’s a moment of acute focus and exquisite clarity.  A moment of intense power.   You can either resist that power or you can direct it.  Don’t be afraid of the intensity of your emotions – That’s where your power lies.  Be a witness to the feeling.  Ride it.  Focus it. Direct it.

The strength you will feel in your belly – the certainty you will feel – when you make a clear declaration to the Universe with intense emotion, is the strength that flows from your decision.  Any threat you feel at that point makes your determination stronger, your desire stronger, your certainty and clarity firmer.

So the next time you’re feeling anxious or frightened or angry or frustrated or lonely or bored or ecstatic, make a powerful declaration to the Universe about what you want and deserve.  Then listen for the answer.  Listen to what needs to shift.  Listen for the thought that’s been holding you back, and be ready to make use of that insight – to make a powerful decision, a new belief.  That’s your breakthrough!   Then watch how the Universe responds!

Breakthrough photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann at Flickr Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0

What dose are you taking?

When Shanti was little, we tried to train ourselves:  Scold in a whisper (much easier for Charles than for me), and celebrate her successes like we were partying on New Years Eve.   How often we praised her and recognized what she was doing right was important, but just as important was how big a dose we delivered.

It wasn’t just about the frequency of our interactions, it was about the intensity.

If we were scared – if that parental panic inside was flagging us down like the robot in Lost in Space screaming “Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!” – we’d let out a yelp that made everyone within earshot freeze and stop breathing for a minute.  That’s a big dose.   Alright, so you’re thinking it’s a pretty good thing to stop danger in its tracks.  But what about the other kinds of fears and anxieties we communicate to our kids? And, what about our anger?  When it’s anger you’re delivering, even a little dose goes a really long way.  Are the doses of the healthy stuff big enough to outweigh it?

This week something jangled me.  Took me out of my nice comfort zone and had me sweating and a bit tremulous actually.  Let’s just say an old clerical error that I didn’t even know about, but with financial consequences, came back to haunt me.  Not exactly the IRS, but just as bad.  Coughing up the payment was painful but brief.   What jangled me was the worry, the fear of the unknown.  “If I didn’t know about this, what else is lurking out there?”  Several hours of the “what if’s” later,  and after trying – and failing – to find relief with a bunch of my usual centering techniques, I finally asked myself:   “How big a dose of this fear am I willing to take?”

And after careful consideration, I decided that I’d already had a sufficient dose, thank you very much, and it was time to get on with life as I enjoy it.  In this case, the dose was self-administered and I’d had enough.

So I thought I’d share my experience, maybe inspire you to consider – not only about what emotions you’re dosing yourself with –  Fear?  Anger?   Joy?  Love?  Appreciation? – but also how big a dose you’re taking.   When it’s self-administered you’re the only one who can decide.   I think some thoughts should come with warning labels.


How to treat the Back of your Mind

I work with many people who have  chronic back pain and we talk a lot about avoiding pain triggers – no twisting, no heavy lifting, use good body mechanics.  Recently, one of my clients told me that he had to avoid triggers of his mind.  He was talking about how he avoids depression and stays clean despite his physical pain.  And he’s been very successful.

So how do you avoid triggers of your mind?  You can take a few lessons from your back.

  • Don’t reach while you’re standing on a ladder. Always start where you are, and pick the fruit that’s within reach.  Don’t try to stretch to the inaccessible just because you see something you want over there.  Move the ladder if you have to – meaning you find a new approach.  Or find a new tree.  But don’t overreach.  If you do, you’ll either get frustrated or have a fall.
  • Wear good shoes. I talk to so many people who’ve gone for all kinds of back care – physical therapy, massage, trigger point injections, you name it – only to discover that the problem wasn’t really in their back.  They were walking funny, and the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone and the ankle bone’s connected to the knee bone and the knee bone’s connected to the hip bone and the….well, you get the idea.  A little foot problem can throw the whole shebang out of whack.  When it comes to your mind, it’s a matter of checking out what you are standing on – What’s important to you?  What meaning have you found?  In other words – what’s your foundation?  Does it keep you in a healthy alignment?  Or do you need a new pair of shoes?
  • Pay attention to what you’re doing. Some of the biggest acute pain episodes I see happen when people just do things without thinking. They’re off in their minds somewhere while their body is doing something else until – WHAM!  You can’t avoid triggers if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.  You have to be present.  You have to be bring your awareness to the present moment and make choices about what you can and can’t do.   You have to define some healthy boundaries.
  • Intervene when the pain is small. Another good reason to be fully present.  You’ve got to be paying attention to how you feel to be able to notice pain when it’s still small.  Then, you’ve got to be willing to interrupt what you’re doing and make some changes before the pain gets so bad that whatever it is you’re doing screeches to an abrupt halt and puts you into spasms.  And it’s much easier to change direction when the momentum is small.
  • Get distracted. It’s a paradox, I know, but getting distracted and paying attention can work together.  It’s called focus.  Getting distracted isn’t the same as ignoring pain or pretending it’s not there.  And it’s not numbness.  Getting distracted is making a conscious choice about where you want to put your attention.  You choose to focus on what feels better.  One of the most effective strategies for coping with pain – in your back or in your head – is to put your attention on something else.
  • Don’t push through the pain. There are teachers and coaches who will tell you to “push through the wall”.   We know some of them. We’ve studied with some of them.  But we don’t agree with them.  Pain is a signal.  Your body (or mind) is flashing a red light, yelling “STOP!”  If you try to push through back pain, you make it worse – much worse.  You do more damage.  It’s no different with your mind.  If your mind is screaming “PAIN!” don’t keep pushing yourself down that same line of thinking.  You don’t undo pain by causing yourself more pain.  And if your mind is screaming “FEAR!” maybe it’s because you’re not ready to do whatever it is you fear.  It doesn’t mean you should stop there, immobilized.  But we don’t believe it means you should just “push through the wall.”  Fear can signal two things – REAL DANGER! or the need for more preparation.  Listen to which of these it is.
  • Pace yourself. This goes a long with “don’t push through the pain.”  Don’t keep pushing when what you need to do is pull.  Have a balance in your life.  Make sure you’re having some fun.  Take time for relaxation.  It really puts things into perspective – Let’s you step back from whatever is troubling you and just give it a rest.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t allow yourself enough time to sleep – or if you’re not sleeping well – your pain will seem worse than it really is because you’re more sensitive to it.   So skip the midnight snack.  Quit falling asleep in front of the TV and just go to bed.
  • Don’t go there. Ever see those wide black elastic belts for back support?  They actually have long vertical “spines” in them, called “bones,” that poke you in the ribs if you try to bend too far.  If a thought hurts, don’t let your mind go there.
  • Use support. Those elastic belts also give support where your muscles may be lacking.  To avoid triggers of the mind, it helps to have support.  Somebody to remind you (and maybe even give you a gentle poke) if you’re going too far in the wrong direction and give you a little extra strength until you  build up your muscles.

Anyone who has lived in chronic pain knows – you either find a way to live with it and manage it, or it controls your life.   It’s a choice that has to be made every day.  You may have to exercise self-management moment by moment, but when you do, the pain yields.

And when all the strategies you use to cope become habits that serve you without any conscious effort on your part, you’ve begun to adapt – to learn a new way of living.  The pain may still be there, but it’s not who you are.   It has no power over you.  It may even disappear.