Monday, March 31, 2014

Why Can’t I Make That Horse Drink!

Why Can’t I Make That Horse Drink!

On, off, in, out, over, under, to, for; prepositions are amazing. We place things with them, not only out in the world, but inside, too. Curiously, we often misuse them in our inner world, especially when it comes to responsibility.

We often take responsibility for things that aren’t ours to take, and then aren’t being responsible to the things we should.

To and For.

I am responsible for my well-being. I am responsible for my moods, my behavior, my choices, my actions. For.

I am responsible to you. If you are in my care, I am responsible to take good care of you. I am responsible to provide a decent, loving environment, to keep you safe to a reasonable degree, to provide shelter, wholesome food, medical care if you need it. I am not responsible for what you do with all of that.

We confuse responsibility to and responsibility for.

I can lead a horse to water (being responsible to) but I can’t make him drink (being responsible for.) Yes, I know, it’s kind of silly, but it’s amazing how many of us don’t get it, and think that we are responsible for the happiness or misery of others.

That’s the deep truth. Deep truth is that I am innocent, spirit is pure, and because it is divine, it is unstainable. Wow. What does that mean about guilt?

Well, it means that we acquire guilt as we go along. It serves a good purpose when we use it properly, but a lot of us don’t. And we end up feeling like we are bad, irredeemable. So then, because we are actually good, we feel awful, and drive ourselves crazy trying to compensate for how awful we are.

We might go a couple ways, with variations. We might say the heck with it, and just go to seed trying to prove that we are tainted, guilty, bad. We might say it’s a lie, and bend over backwards trying to prove that we are good, believing the whole while we are bad, and so feel like we are lying, and, well, there you go. If that’s not a double bind, I don’t know what is.
Sometimes we do both, chronic misbehaving, and chronic do-gooding. Man, that sounds exhausting just thinking about it, much less living it. And of course, I can’t sleep well because I am worried about getting caught, or anxious about what I can do to try to make up for how awful I am.

How could I be innocent? Why would I be pure? What makes me connect with my sacred self?

When I can take a little bit of time to slow down inside, to unclench my feelings, to unclench my body, to soften into my natural self, my natural life, I can find my innocence, my divine being, my pure core. I can let go of the guilt, make amends as I may need to, and let go some more.

I can surrender to my innocence.

How have I changed from living in the tight space of guilt to finding freedom in my innocence?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03312014

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Deeply Peaceful and Relaxed

Deeply Peaceful and Relaxed

Take a moment, and pull in a nice, deep, slow breath. Now let it out, slowly. Go inside and notice where you might be holding a little tension, and let it go. Breathe into it if you can. Soft, relaxed.

Notice your feelings, your emotions. Breathe in peaceful, breathe out worry, breathe in peaceful, breathe out fear, continue breathing in peaceful, breathing out stress until you feel soft and relaxed.

Notice your spirit. Breathe in engaged, breathe out isolated. Breathe in self-curiosity, breathe out self-ignorance. Breathe in infinite, breathe out small.

I love that exercise. Relaxing my body, mind, and spirit. Peaceful at my core, engaged, curious, light.

Why do I choose peaceful? How can I choose relaxed? What makes me serene?

I used to think that being calm meant being slow; dum..dum...dum..... with nothing much going on. How boring would that be.

How wrong was I.

When I feel serene at my core, I am my best me. I am sharp-witted, compassionate, fluid. I can do any task and enjoy it. I feel strong and beautiful and competent. Everything is fun.

I practice this a lot on the little stuff; my frustration when my computer pointer is jumping around; the fuel pump’s inability to read my card; the store being out of what I went there for; the driver in front of me going too slow. I got a lot of practice yesterday. And then I made the flip, and life is good.

Why can I choose peaceful? What makes me relax? How do I feel when I am serene?

I have to admit, I hadn’t considered the idea that I could relax my feelings until recently. I mean, I knew how to calm down, but I hadn’t made the connection about relaxing all the way through all my systems.

If you work on nothing else for the next while, work on this. When I am relaxed all the way through, I am less likely to go to my bad habits for comfort, because I am already comfortable. I will sleep better because my body and mind are relaxed. I will find bliss more easily because my spirit is relaxed.

Now I will let you in on a secret, because I love to tell my secrets. I get a lot of practice in because I use odd moments. I stopped listening to the radio in the car, and now use it to practice feeling peaceful because I have many opportunities to leave peaceful. I practice in the restroom at work, or in the elevator, or running an errand down the hall. Waiting for the bus is another nice place to run my Creative Questions, to soften my tense muscles, to breathe in deep, slow, and to breathe out slowly. In, slowly, deeply. Out, slowly, fully. Soften, relax.

How have I changed from feeling tight and clenched to choosing peaceful all the way through?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03302014

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nurturing Greatness

Just imagine how the world would be if we all were alive in our own greatness. Working on purpose, living in love and goodness, waking in the morning refreshed, joyful, eager to start our day full of health and happiness. Imagine spending your time doing things you love to do, with people you love to be around; learning, teaching, creating, enjoying.

And did you notice I said “greatness”? Not pretty-good-ness, or okay-ness, but greatness.

It’s one of the scariest things, the contemplation of our own potential greatness. Isn’t that strange? You’d think that we’d be champing at the bit to get there, but here we are instead, struggling to push the envelope of our okay-ness, or not-too-sucky-ness.

How do I know I am good enough? What makes me shine? How could I be great?

It’s so scary, we often can’t even imagine what it might look like. It’s so scary, we can barely figure out what we like, what we want.  Linus, in the Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz put it nicely, “There is no heavier burden than a great potential.”

Well, we have Creative Questions. That makes a huge difference. We can start by asking “Why am I good enough?” and then we can ask “How am I amazing? What makes me live on purpose?” And then we can ask, “How could I be great? Why would I be great? What makes me so great?”

How do you feel, asking those questions? Excited? Neutral? Bad?

When we remember that our emotions are our GPS pointing us to our path, we know what our Questions will be. If I feel neutral or even bad when I ponder my greatness, I may want to start asking some good Questions, reprogramming my unconscious mind with supportive, empowering questions.

I may want to ask Questions like, “How do I feel when I am great? What makes me great? How do I know what I want?”

Oh, yeah. How do I know what I want?  That is a question we start out asking. As infants, we know what we want, we just can’t articulate it very well. For many of us, as we get older, we learn to ignore what we want beyond material stuff. We may be told we are ridiculous for wanting that, or that we would only fail at it. Some of us decide we will show them, some of us give up, some of us decide to clean that stuff up, and just get on with growing up.

Sometimes, when we ask Questions like these, we find big resistance. We may get mad, or frustrated, and act that out by being dramatic. We may get depressed, and shut down, taking it out on ourselves. Sometimes we feel stuck or helpless, and that directs us to our power questions, Why am I strong? Why am I competent? What makes me capable?

I had the experience when I was young of being punished for being successful, so that’s one I have to be aware of. It’s much less strong now, and I like to think about it disappearing altogether. We often have stuff like that, hidden back in our youth. Resolving it will make stuff so much easier.

How have I changed from fearing my potential to nurturing my greatness?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03292014

What did you like in today's contemplation? The idea of letting your greatness grow? Yeah, I like that, too. Would you be so kind as to + or share this? Thanks. Why are you amazing?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tell Me More About You

Tell Me More About You

You are so interesting. You know that, right? The very fact of your existence, your own experiences, your thoughts, your talents, makes you special. Do you let others know how interesting you are? Do you have certain people with whom you share who you are?

We exist because we are important.

Now, I didn’t always know that. I use to think that I was a waste of air, and I really wanted to you think I wasn’t, so I tried to make myself invaluable to you. Poor me.

Why could I feel special? How would I know I matter? Why am I interesting?

We exist because what we are meant to do is important.

Now, I certainly didn’t always know that. It was another place where I wanted you to think well of me, so I worked my butt off to be indispensable. Boy, did I hate that kind of desperate feeling. Now for the most part, I work to please me. Even the boring work at work. I learned that if I found a reason to enjoy it, I could enjoy it. Isn’t that interesting.

What makes me feel useful? How could I know I matter? Why else am I interesting?

Part of feeling important for me has to do with feeling productive. I have a lot of interests, so I have a bunch of opportunities for feeling productive in a day. That’s nice.

How am I productive? What makes me feel accomplished? Why would I feel satisfied?

Part of feeling important for me is having loved ones whom I feel close to, I wondered about that for a long time; whether I had the capacity for intimacy. Now, I have very dear friends who mean the world to me. Some of them have been in my life for decades, others are relative new-comers, but have come to our friendship with open hearts and open minds. Being intimate with my friends, disclosing my important stuff, makes me feel important, and the fact that they listen to me, and disclose to me, well, that makes them important to me.

Part of feeling interesting for me is doing what I love. I love to meet people. I love to do stuff. I love to go places. When I do those things, I engage. When I engage, I have fun. I think that what I do is interesting, and sometimes you do, too, which is a nice bonus.

And the most important part of feeling important, you ask? I think, and this is just me, I think that my attitude is going to be the game changer.

When I feel strong, and competent, and capable, I also feel important, regardless of what is going on in my outside life.

Choosing to support myself is a dynamic and powerful thing. By deciding to ask myself these kinds of good questions whenever I think about, I am reprogramming my brain, unchoosing my old, bad questions, setting up an unconscious mind-set that supports me in every way.

How have I changed from thinking smack about myself to asking my powerful, good Creative Questions?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03282014

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Respecting My Free Time

Respecting My Free Time

Aren’t routines great? We can get stuff done in an efficient and effective manner, almost without thought. Some of our routines are wonderful. They keep us healthy, clean, organized, social.

Some of our routines are not so wonderful. They park us in front of the TV or computer for hours, or start us on mood-altering consumables, or keep us running complaints.

Routines help us manage our time well. So how can we get ourselves set up to use them wisely, to support and enrich our lives?

Why can I choose? Why is it all just so easy? Why do I like what I do?

What are my routines that I like? My getting up’n’attem routine for starting my day? Am I efficient? Is it enjoyable? Can I make it nicer, or better so I feel good first thing? How are my other favorite routines? What can I do to make those more streamlined, or more fun?

What are my routines that don’t serve me? Do I have routines for wasting time? Do I have routines for procrastination? Do I have routines for self-abuse?

When we want to change these routines or habits, we need to notice some stuff. Some people are really good at just stopping. For me, it depends on the habit.

Noticing that I have that routine or habit is critical. So often, with this sort of thing, we are blind to it because it’s automatic. Our first task, then, is to notice that we have a pattern of behavior that we want to change. I can often do that by noticing I don’t feel good.

I used to have a horrible feeling of procrastination certain days when I got home from work. Once I noticed that feeling I didn’t like, I was able to start paying a little attention to it, and realized that the feeling was “procrastinating.” Step one was complete.

The next piece is to see when the pattern actually starts. This can be tricky, because it often involves unconscious thinking.

I looked at what I did on those days when I felt procrastinate-y. My end result was watching TV all evening. I keep my TV upstairs, so climbing those stairs seemed like the start of it.

One of my great routines is spending some time on my porch after being out, and taking off my emotional shoes, so to speak, before I go into the house. I use the time to think about stuff that needs thinking on. So I thought about that habit. I recognized that I decided to go upstairs to watch TV instead of doing stuff that felt productive often before I even got in the house. Sometimes when I was miles away. It wasn’t a conscious word-type thought, it was a feeling. The feeling was kind of a comfort-relief-avoidance thing, totally familiar once I got it.

Recognizing the very beginning of the pattern we want to change means that we can change it much more easily, since we have Creative Questions. How have I changed from procrastinating with the TV to really enjoying doing my tasks first? Why can I choose? Why is it just so easy?

By taking time to know ourselves, we make our lives that much richer. We will always be the one person who can be there for us regardless of our situation.

How have I changed from wasting my time to treating my free time with respect?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03262014

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Deflating Abuse

Deflating Abuse

One of my teachers used to say, “If you are feeling fat, ugly, and/or stupid, someone is abusing you.” It might be someone out there, it might be our own selves, but there is abuse there, and we are buying into it.

There are elements to that feeling, that fat-ugly-stupid feeling that go beyond the obvious. The big one is that I’ve decided you can make me feel something. I may have decided that a very long time ago. Maybe that’s some we all mislearn, and then have to unlearn, but there you go.

Fundament one -- I decide how I feel. Why do I trust my emotions? Why can I choose?

Fundament two -- I choose the present moment. Why am I aware? What makes me mindful?

Fundament three -- In this moment, I am perfection. How do I know I am a manifestation of the divine?

Ok, those are three big’uns. Let’s get in a little deeper. We’ve been talking about this a lot lately, how I decide how I feel. My feelings come from my thoughts, and, while I can’t control what thoughts flow through my mind, I can control what thoughts I will think on. In order to do that, I need to be aware of myself, my space and placement in the world, my thoughts, my beliefs, my emotions and feelings, and that is huge. What makes me mindful? Why am I aware?

I choose the present moment. That is the closest thing to real that we get. When I am worrying, I am living in the future. When I feel depressed, I’m living in the past. Over-simplified, but the point is that our purpose in life is to be happy. That means, I need to clean up my crap. When I choose to be present, I can stay afloat. It’s the worry and fear, the blame and guilt, anger and grief that weigh me down. In the 12 step programs, they talk about acting as if, as if we are happy, as if we feel secure, as if we are confident. The trick is, to be working on that while we are acting as if, and Creative Questions will go a long way to helping with that.

Why am I happy? Why do I feel secure? What makes me confident?

In this moment, I am perfect. I am the perfect manifestation of me right now. This doesn’t mean I don’t have plans and goals. I need plans and goals to shape my choices. We are all in process. When I don’t make plans or set goals for myself, I am sort of aimlessly drifting. The opposite of setting goals is complaining, feeling sorry for ourselves.

Sometimes I feel like I have the right, I am entitled, to feel crappy, like the toddler who enjoys throwing a tantrum to the point where the reason for it is lost. When I feel like that, sometimes it’s good for me to wallow in it for a while. Savor feeling rotten, in whatever guise it might be in. It often is a kind of pity party, where somehow I am feeling sorry for myself. What I’ve discovered is that, when I really give in to it, I’m only good for about 15 minutes before I get sick of it and want to go back to feeling good.

When I decide you can’t make me feel stuff, that I am not in competition, that my life is for me to live, a lot of nice things happen, including me feeling more attractive, more lovable, more desirable. I own my power, my wisdom, my creativity. I love for the sake of love, and keep my love for you and me in balance. I take care of me easily, and of you willingly.

How have I changed from feeling unlovable to feeling like a manifestation of divine purpose and being?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03252014

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Singin' the Emo Blues

Singin’ the Emo Blues

I’d feel fine if I didn’t feel so bad.

Sounds like the chorus of an old blues song, doesn’t it. Oh, the blues. Oh, dark nights, lonesome days, feeling bleak or doomed or useless or invisible.

How can I accept my experiences? How do my emotions support me? Why would I enjoy and respect my emotions?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we have emotions?

Mine were so painful in the olden days that I figured they were just to torture me. A romantic notion, lots of drama, but so not accurate.

We think a thought in that meat-machine of a brain. That thought causes a lot of things to happen; synapses fire, releasing particular neuro-chemicals, which in turn cause certain hormones to flow. Every thought does that. This is the fundamental meaning of thoughts become things.

Now, have you ever had the experience of an adrenalin rush? Maybe you got startled, or missed a stair. You get a sudden flush of heat, your heart pounds, maybe your hands shake a bit. That’s one kind of hormonal flow. We have lots of different hormones and they have different impacts on how we feel; stressed, pain, appetite; the list goes on.

As we accrue habitual thoughts, we get into the habit of habitual feelings. We often don’t even recognize our emotions because they are so familiar. And when they are uncomfortable, it may seem easier to shove them under a rug.

How can I trust my emotions? What makes me accept my experiences?

When I have stuff happen that I don’t like, that I ignore or fight, I am effectively saying “no” to my life, I’m pushing away the very occurrences that could change everything. When I accept my experiences as mine, I stay soft, I stay relaxed. Saying no to life is a clench, and clenching hurts.

Accepting my experience isn’t the same thing as giving up. Surrender, letting go, is, in part, trusting that what is happening is exactly what I need to become my best me. One of my big lessons, one that shows up over and over for me, is owning my power. Why am I strong, capable, and competent? For you, it may be feeling lovable, or worthwhile, or right, or helpful.

Our biggest lesson, the fundamental one, will return again and again, as we learn our smaller lessons. I have emotions to let me know where I am. Am I on my right path? How do I feel? I will feel good on my right path, even if nasty crap is happening. I will feel bad on my dark path, even if lots of nice stuff is going on. Point of view, attitude, negative moral judgments, will all color my experience of the world. As I find ways to accept my experiences, to stop fighting, to stop complaining, to stop refusing, things will lighted and loosen, and I will be freer.

How have I changed from fighting my life to living it all the way?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03242017

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parasite Control

Parasite Control

Vengeance, retribution, settling the score, revenge, tit for tat, an eye for an eye, retaliation, maybe even justice.

What do you think about getting even?

Me, I don’t believe it’s possible.

Sometimes we do things that hurt each other. Sometimes we do it by accident, sometimes we do it on purpose. Sometimes it’s a small thing, sometimes it’s a really big thing. Sometimes we don’t even know we’ve done anything at all.

When I decide that you can make me feel stuff, I’m in trouble. I throw away my free will, and end up as helpless as a toddler in her playpen. Now, I am subject to the whims of people who may have no idea of the power I’ve given them. I perceive that I’m being hurt, or done wrong, and I lash out, looking to feel better, but it doesn’t happen.

After venting, I may feel relief. and I may think that relief feels better, but I still have that wrong you did me festering inside, and I will need to find relief from that over and over.

Since the hurt is inside me, I may find that I pull it out and rehearse it, nourishing it, fostering it, until it grows. Thing is, my resentments feed on me, parasites who consume my well-being for their survival.

In our society, in our communities, in our families, we have agreed on consequences for certain actions. In general, positive actions garner positive consequences, while negative actions result in negative consequences. When I trust that “what goes around comes around,” or that the Universe will provide, I can let go. I can release my resentments, and reclaim my power.

Why do I let go? How am I free? What makes me trust?

It’s kind of like resentments take up space in our psyches where we could hold resources, solutions, support, and love. When I let go of my resentments, I can let go of my story, too. It’s kind of surprising that I keep my resentments in my story, my story about how bad my life has been.

Why am I strong? What makes me competent? How am I capable?

When I nurture my resentments, I am coming from a place of fear, anger, guilt, blame, and worry. When I decide you have the power to make me crazy, or angry, or scared, or helpless, I give up my personal power. I am not saying that we should be reckless in dangerous situations, I am saying that we can choose to reclaim our power by attending to our good Creative Questions.

In every situation, we have a minimum of three choices. We can accept that this is how things are, let go into the flow of life, and find the lesson we are meant to learn. We can change the situation, by changing our thoughts, our behaviors. We can leave the situation and notice if we find ourselves in the same place again, a pattern for us. Sometimes one or two of those choices seems impossible, and we choose to respect our judgment, or, if we aren’t sure that our judgment is sound, then we go to our trustworthy advisors and check in with them.

How have I changed from feeding the parasite of resentment to choosing to own my power?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 03232014

If you like what you find here, please + or share. Thanks. What makes you great?