Thursday, December 17, 2015

Grateful to Great-Full


Oh, how I love the “Why am I grateful?” card. Learning to practice this concept changed my life. I hear some of you say, “That’s kind of overblown, doncha think, Pam?” Yeah, no.
I will say that I have a daily appreciations practice and that is different, for me, from gratitude.
Why am I grateful? What makes me appreciative? How am I thankful?
So here’s how I distinguish among these guys. Appreciation is how I live my life. What is the silver lining? How can I spin this into something good? Why would this be beautiful? How else could this be? What makes me change my judgment?
I first started getting this concept looking at the photographs of Joel-Peter Witkin. His stuff is amazing, very challenging, and some of it is stunningly beautiful to me. I found that it challenged not only my ideas of beauty, but also my ideas about my ideas. Ooh, deep!
Listening to others talk about what they like also change my thoughts. I tend to prefer sunny days, but one of my sisters is crazy for rainy days. Why would she like a rainy week? How could I value rainy days? What makes me find the gold in a gray day? Heh. Nice ways to mess with the mind!
Gratitude, on the other hand, is about the outside world impacting me. In days of yore, I searched for the yuck. I looked for ways I got shorted, or hurt, or abused. Then I would worry it and worry it until it festered into resentments. I was very good at that. As a child, I remember being asked a bazillion times to write thank-you notes. I hated doing that. I never felt that the gift I received made a big enough difference in the awfulness of my life to warrant a thank you. Poor little former self. Suffering is so judgmental and self-absorbed.
Gratitude, like appreciation, took me a lot of practice. I had to spend time every day thinking about whom I was grateful to, and why. That meant practice. Hmm. It also meant that I had to take note when something nice happened to me. I mean, I actually had to write stuff down because I didn’t have a Gratitude area in my brain, so stuff just bounced off. I am sad that I was so ungrateful for so long. I am happy that I have changed that.
Now, gratitude feels as easy as breath. Rare is the day that I am not aware of the kindness of most people I encounter; the smiles of strangers, a generous gesture, a kind word. It has changed my thinking about the world.
Now, I keep thank-you notes at my desk, at work, and at home. I write them a lot. I feel good expressing my gratitude to its source. I hear back that the recipients like to get them. Writing gratitude notes also helps me stay in touch with how much gratitude I have every day. You are such a big part of that just by reading this, by considering my ideas about stuff. I am so grateful to you for giving me a platform, and for being so patient with me as I have traveled this year through Wonderland addressing my health topics, my mis-learned beliefs about healing and cancer and attitude. Wowie kazow, have I learned a lot, let go of a lot.
How have I changed from feeling entitled and let down to living a life of gratitude?
(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 12152015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Owning My Own Self

Owning My Own Self

In the yore days, I was terrified most of the time. One of the things that frightened me the most was the fear that you would catch me out, that you would discover that I was a fraud. I would look at what seemed to be your perfect life, and look at my insides with all my insecurities and fears and failings and wonder how on earth I would ever make it through a day without being caught.

Why am I authentic? How do I know I am the real thing?

So many of us feel like phonies. For some of us, the more we achieve, the more fraudulent we feel. The more we know, it seems, the more we feel like we are pretending.

In the yore days, I didn’t know how to do a lot of stuff; I saw other people doing things that I needed to do. How to be a grownup was a total mystery. I didn’t know what to do, so I pretended I was someone else, usually Kate Hepburn.  If that got me what I wanted, like the job, then I would feel awful.

What if they found out that I wasn’t Kate Hepburn?

Answering this question eventually led me to invent the Secret Name (c) game. What I discovered was that calling myself by a different name made me feel different; it gave me access to confidence in abilities I discounted when I was “Pam.” Calling myself by a different name could make me feel more resourceful. Calling myself Kate Hepburn inside wasn’t being deceitful, it was helping me to realize my potential.

How am I resourceful? What makes me creative? Why am I a good problem-solver?

One of the ways we make ourselves miserable is by comparing our inside lives to what we see of others’ outside lives. We don’t consider the fact that we only see slivers of their lives, we don’t consider that we filter what we see through the filters of our experience and, perhaps, mislearning.

I don’t feel like a bamboozler anymore. It sort of crept up on me. One of the big helps were my wonderful teachers who talked about feeling like fakes themselves, and how that feeling would show up after big accomplishments. And how, as they learned to own their successes, that sense diminished. In fact, the more I talked about feeling like a phony, the more I heard from other people that they felt the same. And I heard wonderful stories about how they changed it.

In the before times, doing new stuff scared the heck out of me. I would feel sick, and often get sick. I would be totally self-conscious about everything, sure that the people I was going to be with would mark every flaw. Now, when I need to do something I haven’t done before, where I used to fake my way through and feel awful, I fake my way through and feel accomplished. It’s a change in POV. I assume that I will get along fine, that I will be seen as at least good enough, that I will do well enough. What a relief!

Feeling authentic is one of the joys of living our natural life. As we let go of feeling fake, as we own who we are with all our attendant stuff, we find ourselves effortlessly feeling authentic, able to step up to new activities, new accomplishments, new successes with a sense of excitement and fun instead of rank terror.

How have I changed from feeling like a fraud to owning my authentic self?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 10132015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

My Trusty Choice

My Trusty Choice

One of the most powerful decisions I have made in my life was the decision to trust. On the one hand, it’s a huge leap from living in fear to living in trust. On the other hand, at our core, it’s how we really are.

I will freely admit that making this choice was a challenge. I will freely admit that it took a lot of regular practice. I will gladly admit that it was so beyond worth it.

Why do I trust? How do I choose trust? What makes me want to trust?

A dear friend uses the phrase, “faith or fear.” I like that. The point is, simply, that fear is a choice.

I know that it doesn’t feel like that. Believe me. I spend years with terror as my emotional underpinning. It was hellish. And I was living in a bad situation, so it was also reasonable. There wasn’t much I could do as a kid, but as an adult, I have choices. One of those choices is to assess my circumstances and make some decisions. If I am in a bad situation, I can choose to change it. If I am not, but going to fear from habit, I can change the habit.

When I live in fear, I am often exhausted. When I live in fear, I don’t feel well much of the time. My muscles hurt, as do my joints. I often have digestive issues. I may be plagued with nightmares and poor sleep in general. I may feel depressed and not even know it. All sorts of stress-related maladies can plague me. I see the world as a grim and wicked place, I see you as something of a menace even if I love you. I believe that this is the way the world is.

Oy.

Choosing trust is, as the saying goes, a leap of faith. It is coming to recognize that the idea of reality being fixed is a mislearning. Nothing is “just the way it is.” Giving up the notion that I am “just the way I am” means that I can let go of the things that hurt me, the behaviors that hold me back, the relationships that eat my soul.

Choosing trust means that I can start taking responsibility for myself. Wow. I can take responsibility for being in my circumstances and so I can start modifying them to bring me deeper into my natural life. I  take responsibility for my happiness, my state of mind, in general, and that gives me the power to choose how I feel, to choose my thoughts, to choose my beliefs.

When I choose trust, I trust that I will find the resources  I need, that the circumstances that come up for me will be useful and bring me a deeper understanding of myself and of you. I discover that this deeper understanding brings peace with it.

When I choose trust, I stop feeling like everything is personal. I understand that you treat me the way you feel about yourself, I remember that you can only see me through your filters, that I can only see you through mine. I remember that filters are not Truth.

When I choose trust, I am choosing my natural life. My natural life is joyful. It is peaceful and playful, creative, productive, and purposeful. My life feels meaningful. Bliss is normal. I see beauty and kindness.

How have I changed from living in fear to choosing to trust?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 10052015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Leading the Followers

Leading the Followers


How´s your vision these days? I'm not talking about your eyesight. I´m talking about the vision for your life.


In the days of yore, I avoided thinking about it. Instead of thinking about how I wanted my life to go, I spent time thinking about all the things I was afraid would happen. I am serious. I made up the craziest, scariest scenarios. I was particularly brilliant at composing my personal horror stories late at night, stomach-roiling, nail-biting tales of terror. I made myself sick with fear and fretting. Tension headaches that hurt all the way down my back. Leg, knee, and foot pain plagued me. I felt so awful I ended up at Mayo; acute, chronic nervous tension! I did it to myself.


I have to say, I fought that idea, that I was doing it to me, with tooth and the proverbial nail. Back then, I believed that anxious, miserable, frightened girl was just the way I was. After all, my life was horrible, so I should feel horrible.


On the one hand, I was committed to misery. On the other hand, I really wanted to be happy. In those days, I didn't have a clue how to make that happen. I spent a lot of time wishing I were happy. I didn't understand that wishing for stuff reinforces me staying stuck. I have to think about being where I am to wish to be somewhere else. It’s how our minds work.


I inadvertently happened on a good Creative Question. Usually we use bad creative questions like, “Why can’t I get ahead?” Or, “Why am I so miserable?” Or, one of my old favorites, “What’s wrong with me?” What I started asking was, “How can I be happy?”


When we find our vision of how we want our lives to be, when we find our passions, when we feel our purpose, things change. We start to feel focus, we feel more authentic. We are, perhaps, born with our vision.


I was clueless about mine for a long time. On the one hand, I was always a thoughtful kid who loved to write. I had mystical visions as a matter of course. I loved to teach. On the other hand, because that was “just how I was” I tended to discount those things as my purpose while searching with a feeling of almost desperation for my “true” purpose.


Why am I a leader? What makes me happy to do what it takes? Why am I willing to be seen?


As I came to accept my vision, my purpose, I found that I relaxed. As I began to do this work, I felt more joyful in my everyday life. As I allowed myself to know what I know, I felt more confident in sharing that knowledge. Allowing my natural leadership to emerge made my life better in so many ways.


We are all natural leaders. We each have special talents, talents that the world can use to make lives better, to help humanity grow. We may have gifts that impact millions, we may have gifts that impact just a few, but living in our own truth, realizing our own vision, brings us into an alignment that we often fight.  


When we step into our natural alignment, life gets easier, more satisfying. When we allow that we are natural leaders, we find that we have good opportunities to lead. It may be by example, it may be by teaching, it may be through inspiration, but it will be.


How have I changed from fearing or fighting my leadership to relaxing into my natural role?


(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 09252015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Fascination of You


The Fascination of You
One of the many tasks I have worked on over the years is learning how to chat. I still don’t feel comfortable with small talk. Frankly, I'm not even sure what that means. I want to connect with you, feel shy and a bit insecure, yet there are so many circumstances where I am at an event and need to make some kind of conversation with strangers.
Why do I like people? How are you interesting? What makes me feel warm towards you?
I used to ask, ¨what you do for a living?¨ That turned out not to be a very good conversation starter. People often have complicated feelings about how they make a living. I found it much more fun to ask, ¨ what do you do for fun?¨ Or ¨what makes your heart sing?¨ Or ¨where do you find joy?¨
They are fun questions for several reasons. One reason is that I hear about what gives someone joy. They tend to light up when they tell me about their passions. Reading, horseback riding, music, cooking, gardening! So much love and happiness! Another reason is that sometimes they look at me blankly and say, ¨I have kids.¨ or ¨I work full-time and go to school.¨ Those responses give a nice entrĂ© into more questions about their family or their schooling.
People are so interesting. It is so often worth digging a bit to find out why.
When I ask you about you then listen to your answer, I learn stuff. I learn about activities I didn’t know people did for fun, like ironworking. I find out about books I haven’t read or music I haven’t listened to. Somehow, wherever I go, I meet really interesting people.
In the dark ages, I was afraid of you. I feared that you would hurt me; crush me with cruel words, cut me with sarcasm, or snark, mock me, ignore me. I saw my world as a terrifying place filled with danger. It wasn't true, but it certainly was what I filtered for.
Most people I encountered treated me kindly, respectfully. I didn't notice. At the end of the day, I rehearsed the wrongs that had been done me. Once in a blue moon, I would recall a kind gesture, and marvel at how rare they were.
I was filtering for rotten behavior.
As I worked with my teacher, I learned to look for the niceties, the kind gestures, the smiles. I would pause and take a moment to let that good stuff sink in. I would think about the nice things that happened as I finished my day. I stopped rehearsing the crummy stuff, I stopped paying attention to it, I stopped letting it in.
The more I filtered for love in the world instead of hate, the more love I found in the world.
The more love I found, the less frightening you seemed, the more fascinating you became. The more compelling I found you, the easier it was to set aside my shyness in favor of my curiosity and interest. The more I did that, the nicer my world got. I like having people in my world.
How have I changed from hiding and avoiding people to enjoying connecting with you?
(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 09112015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Choosing the Choose

Choosing the Choose

I pulled the ¨Why do I choose?¨ card this morning. I just pulled it recently, so I tucked it back into the deck and tried again, and got it again, and a third time! I know when I’m licked, so here we go!

This is my favorite card, my favorite Creative Question. I think that it is the beginning of a most amazing, dynamic, powerful life.

When I decide to start consciously choosing, a lot of good stuff happens. I start paying attention to what I am doing. Wow. Just that single choice can make a world of difference in my life. As I pay attention to what I’m doing, I start to notice what I am thinking. Isn’t that interesting! Wow! As I start to pay attention to my thoughts, I begin to bring up my unconscious thoughts. That is amazing. Now I have the opportunity to make some compelling changes in my thinking, in my ideas about stuff, in my beliefs. Wow!

Why can I choose? What makes me decide? Why would I pay attention? How do I know I can change?

When I decide to choose, I am choosing freedom. I am choosing to own my own power, choosing to respect myself. When I decide to choose, I am deciding what I want rather than being buffeting by whatever is coming along.

When I decide to choose, I decide what I want. Knowing what I want makes life so much easier. How do I like to spend my time? Who do I like to spend time with? What do I enjoy? How do I want to live? How do I feel productive? What do I want to achieve? Where is my passion? What do I want to learn? What kind of an example do I wish to be?

As I practice choosing, I find more and more things are actually in my control. Wow. So many of us feel powerless deep inside, and so act in controlling ways to the people in our lives as though that will give us a sense of power where we need it. It never does, so we get more and more rigid, more demanding, more damaging to our relationships.

As I practice choosing, I notice my behavior more, I notice how my behavior impacts the people around me. And I find that I can choose to change my behavior. That’s power. When I cease to feel like my behavior is ¨just the way I am¨ and realize that it is the result of my thoughts and beliefs, I can choose to change those thoughts and beliefs to ones that are aligned with what I want, what I choose.

How am I powerful? What makes me strong? How do I know I am competent? How do I know I am capable?

When I decide to choose, I may find that I want to choose a teacher to help facilitate my transitions. It has been my experience that often just the act of deciding I want a good teacher will bring that teacher to my awareness.
When I find my good teacher, I do what they tell me to the best of my ability. I have had a lot of trust issues, and learning to trust a good teacher was a wonderful way to start choosing trust.

How have I changed from feeling I can’t decide to enjoying the freedom to choose?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08302015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Closing the Harbor of Resentments

Closing the Harbor of Resentments

I am continually amazed by how much unhappiness, misery, and suffering I can bring down on my own head. All by myself. It’s easy. I just have to think certain thoughts, believe certain things, act certain ways and I can suffer to my heart’s content. Isn’t that weird?

One beautiful example of this is resentments. Holding a grudge is a great way to feel crummy. Self-righteous, but crummy. The dynamic is really simple; it’s right in the word, ¨resent.¨ The word literally means to feel again, and that’s exactly what we have to do to harbor a resentment; feel it and feel it and feel it again. Oy!

Scientists say that most of our thoughts are both unconscious and routine. That is, we mostly think the same stuff over and over again and don’t even know we are doing it. I don’t know about you, but that freaked me out a little. I mean, I like to think that I know what I’m thinking.

We can get a pretty good idea of what we are unconsciously thinking by looking at our lives. We are living the results of those thoughts. Am I living a life I like? Or is the life I am living hard, or crummy, or full of misery and pain?

I get to choose what kind of a life I want, regardless of my circumstances. I start by paying attention to my thoughts and bringing those unsupportive, unconscious thoughts up to my conscious mind.

If I feel like I deserve justice for a hurt and that justice will make me feel better, chances are good that I am harboring a resentment. This keeps me stuck in the past. It makes enjoying my days more challenging. Feeling that hurt, re-feeling that hurt, takes a lot of energy.

Why do I forgive? How do I feel when I forgive? How do I naturally let go?

One of the super cool things about Creative Questions is that they work on our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind loves to find answers to things, and Creative Questions are very dynamic things.

As I have lived my most recent year, I have from time to time found myself resenting the bad things that have shown up in my body. I blame my body for making them. And then I don’t treat it well. Interesting how that works, isn’t it. When I notice that I am not eating, or taking my supps, or doing my loving movement, I know that I am re-feeling that blame. I change my bad creative questions for good Creative Questions.

Why am I interested in what I am learning about me? Why is this moment perfect for me? What makes me love being alive? Why would I embrace my circumstances?  How do I take care of myself?

By asking myself Creative Questions like these, I am giving my unconscious something else to do besides re-feeling that old hurt. This is a very effective way to let go. Catch the thought, change the thought. Feel good about taking care of you and your mind!

How have I changed from harboring resentments to choosing to be free?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08282015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ties That Bind

Ties That Bind

I am a gregarious introvert. I have taught myself to be sociable and love it. At the same time, I still recharge alone. In the olden days, I believed that engagement with you was exhausting. I believed that engaging with you was dangerous. In fact, I had this very icky split inside of desperately wanting attention, and being terrified of being noticed for fear of being raged on. Heh. Not very comfy, I must say.

Why do I like to engage? What makes me choose to connect? How do I feel included?

As I began to get some help, to find some good teachers, I found that I could better determine if connecting with you was a good idea for me. I found that it became easier and easier, and it was nicer and nicer. For one thing, I stopped feeling lonely.

Now, I have made a distinction for myself between lonely and lonesome. When I feel lonesome, I can fix that by going where there are people and having some interactions, like at a coffee shop. When I am lonely, I need to reconnect with me. This distinction was life-changing for me. I thought that the black-hole feeling of lonely inside was somehow your fault, that if you loved me correctly the hole would disappear. Hoo, boy. I was so wrong. I am the only one who can close that hole, and I have to do it by engaging with me, by caring about me, by loving and valuing me my own self.

As I get better at connecting with myself, caring about me, I get better at connecting with you. I worry less about you paying attention to me and enjoy paying attention to you. I enjoy collaborating with you more, I enjoy working as a team more.

As I get better at connecting with myself, my curiosity is engaged. I find myself interested in what I think, what I believe of the world, how I perceive stuff, and how I could change those things to make my life nicer. I get curious about how I feel about stuff. About how I make things harder for myself, and how I make things easier for me.

My curiosity about you grows, too. How do you see things? I am fascinated by how differently we may process stuff even when we are so close. It helps me to remember that my way isn’t the only way. By really listening to you, I learn so much. I become more compassionate. I find it easier to love! How fun is that! And by loving more easily, it is easier for me to feel it come back to me. Well. That is delightful.

As I get better at connecting, other cool things happen. I start to feel like I am involved, I feel a sense of belonging. Oh, my. That was almost overwhelming, as that feeling in me grew. Feeling disenfranchised was so sad. And when I feel involved, I feel like my contributions are worthwhile, and I feel satisfied! Holy buckets!

Here’s the really nice thing. Our natural lives are available to us all the time. Living my natural life is effortless because I go with the flow. I am peaceful because I trust that I can manage, that things go my way, that I am capable, competent and strong. I am productive because I am choosing well for myself. I feel connected and engaged naturally and with an open heart. Compassion for you and me is just there. I am satisfied even while I am finding ways to make my life more fun.

How have I changed from shunning connection to embracing engagement?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08272015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just the Way I am

Just the Way I am

We all want to live lives we love. We want to feel satisfied at the end of the day, we want to feel accomplished, productive. We want to feel loved and loving, to belong somewhere. We want to feel good about being ourselves, about being in our bodies, about who we are.

A lot of us don’t. We have a lot of reasons explaining why we aren’t living that life. ¨It’s just the way I am¨ is one. Breaks my heart every time I hear it. ¨Life is just hard¨ is another one. Things never go my way, I only have bad luck, I’m doomed. The reasons go on, and we buy into them from a very young age.

How could it just be so easy? Why would my life be easy? What makes it all so easy?

I have had an unusual  year. Four surgeries, two with complications. A ferocious round of chemo, and more coming up. Radiation! Steroids! Fatigue! Well, you get the idea.

I’ve made some choices. I decided to choose health. I don’t identify with ¨sick¨ or the ¨c¨ word. I am always a bit shocked when someone says to me, ¨you have cancer.” It’s a label that is filled with fear, and anger, and expense, and death. Screw that! What is right in my life? Why do I choose alive? What makes me vital? Yeah! That’s the way to go, daddy-o!

I decided to choose grateful. I publish my appreciations every day on Facebook. I write them, for the most part, first thing every morning while I am drinking my first cup of hot beverage. I think about the previous day and what made me smile, what made me feel light, what gave pleasure. I have been practicing this for a few days short of two years and it makes everything easier. I spend more time noticing nice stuff, I actively seek nice stuff. I smile more because I find so much beauty, so much kindness, so much that is gentle and good and powerful in the course of a day.

I have chosen easy. Easy gets a bad rap. We are told from the time we are tiny that life is hard. Great. When I reframe that to ¨life is challenging¨ stuff shifts. Why do I enjoy challenges? How do I value my challenges? What makes me rise to a new challenge? ¨Life is hard¨ is like dropping a rock in the sand. Thunk. Everything stops. Rising to a challenge is dynamic; I change, I grow, I evolve.

I have chosen easy. This means that I recognize stressors as neutral events that I put judgments on. The more I do this, the more I can flow with my life as it unfolds, waxes and wanes. I do put judgments on events; I am aware that I am doing so, and will consider those judgments.

A nice example of this messes with the thought that ¨nothing ever goes my way.¨ Ick. I remember feeling like that, my sense of entitlement betrayed. When I shift that into a good Creative Question, ¨How do things go my way?¨ everything changes. I start seeing the benefit to me in a wide range of circumstances. I become more open to opportunities I would have missed in days of yore. I feel more good at the end of the day. I like that.

Things start to feel easier. If I allow my life to flow, I release the drama and things feel easier. I know that’s a biggie for many of us. We love the drama. It makes us feel important. It makes us feel engaged. It pumps things up into technicolor events so we are more excited about stuff. It’s only a paper moon, as the song goes, grease paint, sets and props. It’s not real, it just seems like it because it is so big. As we can let go of our love of drama, everything gets easier.

How have I changed from loving the ¨just the way it is, hard drama to embracing the deep bliss of easy?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08252015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Taking the Conn

Taking the Conn

There are universal truths. They way you know you have found one is that it is true for everyone everywhere. People breathe to live. That is a universal truth, but did you know that there are scientifically documented cases of people who never eat or drink and are perfectly healthy? Amazing.

I believe that choice is a universal truth. I believe that we all can choose. I do think that many of us choose not to choose, and brother, does that make trouble for us!

In the course of a day, we make a thousand tiny choices. Each one of those choices points us in a direction. Is it a direction we want to travel in? Am I choosing activities and thoughts that support me or harm me? Am I choosing activities and thoughts that promote my goals and solidify my dreams, or hamper my progress? Do I even know what I want?

How do I know what I want?

I think it is remarkable how many of us don’t spend time thinking about what we want beyond, perhaps, very general things like good health, more money, nice relationships. If I don’t know what I want, chances are good I will be disappointed regularly, that sort of vague sense of dissatisfaction.

What stops us from deciding what we want? It can be a sense of resignation; I never get what I want anyway. We may have a feeling of not deserving, or of wanting too much. The thing is, we get what we put our energy into. If I spend time thinking about how I never have enough money, that is the ¨vibration¨ I put out and what I get back is not enough money. If I often think about how unhappy I am, I get back more of that feeling. If I am focused on not feeling well, I get more sick. We can call it the Law of Attraction, or we can think of it as just filtering our reality.

What happens if those thoughts are out of our consciousness? Creative Questions to the rescue! Because they are dynamic questions, they go to work on our unconscious minds. We can look at our results to see what the bad creative questions are that we are asking. We can then set up our new Creative Questions to get the results we want, but we do have to know what we want.

When I think about how I want more money, I could find a penny and that would count, but it’s not really what I mean. If I think, I want my income doubled, we have a measurable goal. That is something I can make a Creative Question from. I need to put the actual dollar amount in the Question. If I am making forty thousand dollars a year, I can start asking: Why am I making eighty thousand dollars a year? How am I making eighty thousand dollars a year? What makes me have an income of eighty thousand dollars a year.

If I am spending my time focusing on my aches and pains, that is what I am filtering for. The more attention I give them, the bigger they get. That’s how filtering works. I could use a Creative Question like, Why do I feel great? but that might not get me far enough away from attending to my discomfort. Asking a Question like, Why do I live a joyful and vibrant life? can get me deeper into living, helping me to focus on the activities that bring me joy. When I bump into objections, I will put the words would or could into the Question, Why would I be happy today? How could I feel joy today?

By paying attention to what we are choosing as we move through our daily lives, we can take charge of our thinking, and steer it into the directions we want to go. By spending a little time thinking about what we actually want, we can make those corrections much more easily.

How have I changed from drifting in dissatisfaction to directing my life as I choose?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08232015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Finding the Soft Spot

Finding the Soft Spot

You know I like easy. You know I like simple. There are so many ways I incorporated those values into my daily life. One of the perhaps unexpected ways is in being vulnerable.

This is such a huge change in my life. In my days of yore, I would do anything to feel protected. I was always fine. I did spend a lot of time talking about my misery, but it was never what I was really miserable about. I was so well-defended that I had that truth hidden even from myself. It took years of the gentle ministrations of a wonderful teacher to help me get at my own truth. I had to learn to identify what I was feeling as an adult. Wow.

Why am I intimate? What makes me feel close? How am I safe to be vulnerable?

Many of us get the idea in our head that to be vulnerable is to be weak. We think that asking for help makes us less than. We think that feeling our feelings, letting them flow through and out, is childish. Oh, we are so wrong. This is such a big and common mislearning.

Our feelings, like our physical symptoms, let us know when something is happening in our thoughts. We may be aware of that something, but as often as not, it may well be unconscious. When I feel healthy and happy, chances are good that my thoughts are wholesome and supportive. When I feel unhappy and unhealthy, chances are good that my thoughts are dark and unsupportive.

A lot of nice things happen when we open up. We feel more integrity. When we say, ¨Fine,¨ when we aren’t fine, we feel dishonest. As we change our answers to match our insides, we feel more congruent within ourselves. My new favorite response for many days has been, ¨Good enough.¨ I like it because it reminds me that I have a lot of latitude in how I can feel light and peaceful.

When I tell you that I am feeling scared or angry, ashamed, or guilty, you may choose to respond to me. I have good friends who will often repeat back to me what I am saying and it sounds ridiculous out in the world, while in my head, well, it can be enough to make me sick!

When I choose to be vulnerable, to be open, I am choosing simple. I am choosing easy. I don’t have to censor, or edit. I can just say. When I do this, I consistently feel more love, more support, more compassion both coming and going.

Sometimes we think we are being vulnerable by ¨telling it like it is¨ but we are wielding our vulnerability like a bludgeon, almost daring others to challenge us. Perhaps we are feeling victimized by our feelings or physical stuff, and so we lash out with our truth to punish the world for our discomfort. Usually, we have something buried in our unconscious memory that is influencing this behavior. Getting help to find out what this is, addressing it and finishing it up will allow us to release the topic and enjoy feeling vulnerable instead of being afraid.

Sometimes we think we are being vulnerable when what we are doing is saying the same thing over and over, rehearsing our misery almost by rote, like playing a recording again and again. We do our recitation but feel no compassion coming back to us, no love, no support.

If I think I am being vulnerable, but I am not feeling more connected, more engaged, more love, and so on, there is a good chance that I have something else going on. It’s a good time for some self-inspection.

How have I changed from feeling closed off to feeling open and soft?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08202015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Deporting the Demons

Deporting the Demons

How do you wake up in the morning? Do you drag yourself out of bed, feeling duty bound to get the day going, to get to work or to do your routine? Do you feel overwhelmed before it has even started?

Or do you wake up with a smile, excited to see what the day will bring, eager to engage with your life, feeling light-hearted and joyful?

Sometimes we have a problem, an issue, a topic that comes up in our lives and it seems overwhelming. Our inclination may be to try to push it away, to avoid it, to deny it. We start asking, often in our unconscious mind, How can I avoid my problem? And we start answering with answers like I can leave, I can shut down, I can be sick, I can die.

Wow.

These aren’t little topics. These are great big hairy topics. Sometimes we know what that topic is, but sometimes it is deep in our subconscious mind. Sometimes we are willing to address our topic, but often we step into denial about it, preferring to expend our life-force holding it down rather than deal with it and live fully and joyfully.

Ouch.

Why am I alive? How do I feel my life-force? What makes me enjoy living?

We know we have a topic like this when we are sick, or emotionally shut down, when we are depressed, when we want to leave. When we want to die.

We all have stuff. It is our birthright. I believe that part of our job of living, part of the meaning of life, is to address our stuff, to work through it, to clean out our emo basements so that we can be our best selves.

There are things in our way. We may be afraid to look at our topics, afraid of what that examination might do to our relationships, to our beliefs, to our daily lives. Sometimes we are angry and resentful and we want to stay there, seething in our own sense of self-righteousness. Sometimes we are sad and get locked into the habit of grief.

What do I want? Do I want to live my own life, clean and full of joy, a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of purpose? Or do I want to nurture and provide safe harbor for old hurts and traumas, using my precious life-force and spirit to keep me back, to hold me fast to old traumas, old hurts, bad beliefs, and mislearnings?

Why would I choose to live fully?

This choice is one of the most powerful we can make. Choosing to let go of the past, to complete our painful experiences so that we can release them, choosing to face our darkest topics will only bring us more life, more room to experience joy and peace. Taking this leap of faith may be the only way to achieve true peace at our very core.

How have I changed from protecting my demons to exorcising them in favor of being fully alive?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 08172015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Doubt Into Trust

Doubt Into Trust

When most of us think about trusting we are thinking about trusting other people. We hardly ever think about trusting ourselves.

What happens when we doubt ourselves? For some of us, we doubt our ability to be loved. We have mislearned that we are unlovable, that we are so fatally flawed that no decent person could love us, even if they really do, and we often find ourselves choosing people who treat us poorly, reinforcing our mislearned ideas of being lovable.

For some of us, we doubt our gifts, talents, and skills. Each of us has them but when we doubt them, we often forego opportunities to hone them, to refine and improve them. Perhaps we hide them at home, secretly indulging in our art or music or intellect or cooking or other wonderful things. We avoid taking chances that might make our skills and talents stronger. We fear that we aren’t actually very good at X, or we know we are, but fear not being good enough. Perhaps we fear being mocked or ridiculed. Perhaps we doubt that we have the internal resources we need to handle the attendant stuff, like acclaim, or responsibility, or money, or attention if we were to let our light shine.

Why can I trust? How do I know I can trust me? What makes me choose to believe in my own self?

As I go through my day, I choose to be aware. I choose to notice what I am doing, how I am doing it. I look for ways that I am sabotaging myself. When I spot one, I correct as best I can.

Our personal doubt is our first chunk of mislearning. We all have one; the worst thing we believe about ourselves. Mine is that I am garbage. As I have worked on this one, I have cycled through many Creative Questions. My current faves are, “Why am I strong? Why am I capable? Why am I competent?” Oh, yeah! Working on our personal doubt can bring up all sorts of interesting stuff; damaging beliefs, toxic thoughts, negative behaviors, and other ickies. Trusting ourselves, choosing to believe that we are worth the effort, that we are capable of doing what we need to do, that we can find good teachers to coach us in our endeavors, these are things that make our lives a million times nicer.

As I come to trust myself, I will change. We all change, even when we like to think we don’t. As I come to trust myself, I will make better decisions, ones that support me better. Some of the people in our lives may not like what we are doing, and may choose to leave. Since part of my personal doubt involved feeling like a victim, I am happy to see victimizers leave, even if I grieve the end of the relationship. As we clean up our act, the people whose damage dovetails with ours have to leave or change. Our relationships are like a big mobile; when one piece gets lighter, everything else has to adjust.

One of the benefits of trusting myself more is that my judgment gets better. I find that I am not only trusting me more, but I am trusting the people who want to hurt me less, and the people who want to support me more. I feel safer, I feel more connected, I feel softer, I feel stronger. I am happier. The more I trust me, the more trustworthy I become.

How have I changed from dissing myself to honoring myself with my own trust?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 07122015