Thursday, July 31, 2014

Divine? Is That You?

Divine? Is That You?

Who am I? Why am I here? How do I fit in? Why is there suffering in the world? Why is there inequality? Is there something more than this? What is faith? What i

Do you ever wonder about stuff like that? How do you feel when you think about those questions?

We have beliefs that cover myriad topics, from whether to drink tea to whether God exists. We like to think they are our own beliefs, and we certainly own them, but so many of them have to do with how we were raised, and even who raised us.

As small children we look to our adults for guidance. We pay a lot of attention to what they do, not so much to what they say, at least to us. We tend to adopt their beliefs around politics and religion. Sometime we rebel against those, but there is always an influence one way or another.

Why am I spiritual? What makes me look at my life? How do I choose?

Sometimes we feel an emptiness inside. For me, some of that went away when I connected with myself. I call that emptiness “lonely.” When I am lonesome, I can go to a coffee shop or other public place, have a chat, and the lonesome goes away. When I am lonely, I need to pay some kind attention to me.

Sometimes that emptiness is a spiritual hunger. Some of us find food for that hunger in religion. Even just being in a religious structure like a temple or church will feed us. Or the music or art, or the prayers. Some of us find the opposite to be true, and we feel emptier in those places, in those activities.

We may try to force it. I know I sure did. Those things just didn’t work for me. AA came closer. I liked the idea of an undefined Higher Power, one that was personal to me. I knew a man who considered his Higher Power to be the knob on his front door, which led him either to the bar and misery or to people who understood him and helped him find comfort and sanity.

Some of the people I knew thought of others as their Higher Powers. Some considered museums as their place to connect within, to find their answers.

For me, the connection comes with nature. Even my little bit of urban jungle will do that. Watering my plants at the office, examining a bug up close, or a lovely stone. My spiritual life is about connecting with aliveness. Making music with friends does it for me, too, music of many different kinds. Intimate conversations, certain kinds of encounters with strangers, time with my cats, or pet snails, or creatures outside. Creating stuff does it, too, food, art, socks.

I connect with the sacred in many aspects of my daily life. I do that by relaxing, taking a moment to get present, to be aware, to really breathe up good air deep into my lungs and to let it out and do it again. When I relax, I connect with my aliveness.

Over and over we have the experience that relaxing about stuff is a huge part of living a nice life. Practicing in little bits where we can during the day makes it easier and easier to relax when we are doing other stuff. Remembering to take nice deep breaths, remembering to uncurl our toes, unclench our butts or bellies, soften our shoulders, stretch our jaws, let our thoughts wander to a place of tranquility. These little exercises help us integrate a feeling of relaxation that makes it so much easier to get to when we need it.

How have I changed from feeling lost to connecting with my spirituality?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07302014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Heal Me

Heal Me

We people are so passionate, even when we think we aren’t all that invested in anything. I love how vehemently we believe our beliefs, even when those beliefs make us suffer. These are ideas we are even willing to die for. Many of us have them, and we tend to think of religion and politics as the two biggies, but there are others to which we are so committed.

Health, diet, and exercise are the trifecta.

Why am I healthy? Why does all I consume nourish me? Why am I alive?

I believed, because of a doctor’s casual comment, that I would be dead by the time I was twenty-three. I was working nights at the time, and waiting for midnight was pretty tense. I actually was scared that I would drop dead before the stroke of midnight.

I didn’t.

You might guess that I was almost obsessed with my health, but I was actually more obsessed with illness. My focus was on sick. I had the chronic. Chronic headaches, chronic back pain, stomach issues, joint issues, vision problems, chronic colds and flu. I could always find some symptom in my body to fret about. So I slept poorly. I was so clenched that I ended up at the Mayo Clinic to find out why I couldn’t move my neck or shoulders.

I was obsessed with my diet. I starved me, I overfed me, I went on health-food kicks that left me feeling weak and feeble. I took dozens of supplements at a high cost every month. I was sure that there was a miracle food I could find that would solve all my problems.

I expected the dentist to bring me terrible pain, and was never disappointed. I was sure I would suffer the day or two after a big workout. I was exhausted and lethargic much of the time, even though I was running all day long. And  I knew that by the time I reached middle age I would be crippled.

I’m not.

Why do I enjoy radiant health? What makes me feel my vitality? Why am I energetic?

By processing through our old emo-stuff, we let go. As we let go, specific parts of our body also unclench allowing our life-force to flow there, bring health back to those parts. Our bodies make symptoms in the places that correspond to our idea. When the middle finger is sore, for example, we are often having a “f*ck you” thing going on that is just out of awareness. I had a very experience-y toe joint when I was refusing to “toe the line.” I know it sounds goofy as all get out, but more and more we are finding that the correlation between mind and body can be very specific.

As I have come to soften my hold on my beliefs, I am willing to let go of ideas that make me suffer, like focusing on being sick. When I focus on what feels great, I can often let go of discomfort. If it is very insistent, I will attend to it, and do what I can to uncover my very personal message. I find that relaxing, breathing deeply, and asking good Creative Questions about my health and wellness will often do as much for me as taking a pill ever did in the past, without nasty side effects.

Because I know my body and how it feels so well, I know when I need to address a topic with healers, and when I can just let it run its course.

How have I changed from believing I am sick to noticing how I feel healthy?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07292014

Monday, July 28, 2014

In Me I Trust

In Me I Trust

I have mentioned our superpowers before. I like the concept. It goes like this.

We all have characteristics as part of our personalities. In and of themselves, they are neutral, that is, they are neither good or bad things, they just are.

Our experience of them changes depending on how well we utilize them as tools to support us.

Empathy is a good example. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are quite empathic, that is, they pick up on and feel what someone else, or a group is feeling. When they don’t know they are empathic, it can make them feel crazy. They start to feel angry when they were calm, they are suddenly anxious when nothing seems to have changed. Or really sad when they haven’t had a loss.

When they come to understand their gift, they can use it to help whoever is feeling those feelings, or to read a group. They can acknowledge that they are feeling something from someone else, identify it, let it go, and get back to their own feelings. Then they can choose to help the other person, clarify what is going in in their group, or if the circumstances are such that it might not be a good idea, they can move on. By taking responsibility for their power, they claim it and it becomes a superpower.

Why am I powerful? What makes me take responsibility for my gifts? How am I competent?

Creativity is another potential superpower. We may feel like our creativity is hit or miss, that sometimes we feel creative, and other times, we feel dry. When we own that we are creative, practice our creativity every day, it’s like grading a cow path into a road. It is easy to get there, easy to reach our creative source, and easy to draw from it whenever we wish. Creativity becomes a superpower.

How do I know I am creative? What makes me ingenious? Why am I capable?

Trust is a potential superpower many of us have some issues with. We may have a history of trusting untrustworthy people. We may have a history of assuming that things don’t go our way. We may feel unlucky, or doomed, or helpless.

Why would things go my way? How do I feel present and safe? Why can I trust?

My biggest challenge was learning to trust myself. I often trusted abusive people because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. Seriously. As I learned to trust my instincts, my wisdom, my senses, I felt more in charge of my trust. I didn’t have to give it to anyone who asked for it any more than I had to give cash to anyone who asked. As I owned my feelings, I didn’t worry so much about hurting yours. I came to understand that I couldn’t make you feel hurt. You, just like I, have choices about how you want to feel.

As I have come to trust the Universe to bring me the opportunities I need to grow, my life has gotten way easier, way more fun. I no longer fear that a string of good things means that something bad is going to happen. I understand that the stuff that happens in my life is neutral until I judge it. I trust that I can cope well, that I have resources, that I can accept, and enjoy at least in some way, whatever comes to me.

How have I changed from doubting me to trusting myself and my circumstances?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07282014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Getting Free

Getting Free

We talk about this one from time to time, but I think it is worth remembering, and addressing. The card I pulled is “Why do I forgive?” Oo, powerful. This is a mighty let-go question, good for serious clearing, making serious room for nice things to come into our lives.

There is a lovely practice called Ho’oponopono. In the ultra simplified version we say, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” There is a formal practice with it, and trainings are available, and you can just start using the phrases right now.

We all make negative moral judgments about a lot of stuff. We make them about each other, about people we don’t know, about corporations and governments and nations, even about humanity in general.

The ability to make moral judgments is necessary for us to live well. It’s how we structure our code of ethics; this right and this is wrong. Useful for getting on with stuff, staying out of bad trouble, not hurting others for the fun of it.

One way we do make trouble for ourselves is by judging ourselves too harshly. We judge our behavior, our appearance, our intelligence, our habits, our possessions, our home, our circumstances. We find them not meeting our standards, and we punish ourselves, often in ways we would never punish someone else, Often in ways that we are barely aware of. Oh, poor little we.

Why do I forgive? How am I kind to myself? What makes me let go? Why do I trust? Why can I choose?

There is a big difference between blaming ourselves and taking responsibility for our circumstances. We all have circumstances. Sometimes we bring them about, sometimes they just seem to show up. It’s how we cope with them that determines how we feel about them.

I can spend my energy fighting them, hating them, beating myself up for being in them. I can blame, I can “should” myself to pieces, I can keep myself up nights stewing about them. If psychic energy, and physical energy, were dollars, how much would you be spending on all this re-feeling about stuff?

I can grant myself clemency. I can ask myself useful questions. How could this benefit me? What might I want to change? How do I accept my current circumstances, and thrive within them? Why am I strong? How am I competent? What makes me capable? Why am I worthy?

Choosing to forgive myself, to let go, is a power-choice. When I choose to accept my current circumstances as perfect for me at this time I am choosing to be free. Free from my “shoulds” as in I should be doing something else, I should have different circumstances, I should be a different way.

When I wake up stressed or anxious in the middle of the night. I am should-ing. I should have done my taxes/laundry/homework/job-hunt/exercises/project. I can use the Ho’oponopono phrases to myself, as a chant, to forgive me for my shortcomings, my omissions, my mistakes in judgment. I can do a body-scan to get me out of my head, or pay attention to my breathing. I don’t have to feed the bad feelings. I can forgive me.

How have I changed from judging my behavior harshly to freeing myself with forgiveness?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07272014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Being able to get to my peaceful place has been such a gift in my life. That sense of calm, of respite, of soft. I love to take a deep breath, and center into that space, letting things go. It’s like hitting a reset button.

I know so many of us don’t get there very often. Some of us think, “I can’t, it’s too hard.” Some of us think, “Peace is denied me for some reason.” Some of us think, “I just don’t know how.”

One of my favorite quotes, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein said that. I first encountered it in high school, and have thought about it a lot since then. It seems to dovetail nicely with the Henry Ford quote, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

So many of us have taken the notion that we just are the way we are, kind of miserable a lot of the time, but not so awful that we feel compelled to do something about it. Like having a low-grade infection that keeps our energy down, or a mild skin irritation that keeps us feeling itchy a lot, but not enough to drive us nuts most of the time. Just kinda down. Just kinda low. Just kinda blah.

Why would I choose peaceful? How am I in charge of me? What makes me decide?

That mild negativity is insidious, depleting our juice one drop, one drop, one more drop at a time until we wonder what’s the point.

Language. The language we use all the time has a powerful impact on our experience, more than any other thing.

When I am using vaguely negative language to describe my life, to you, or to myself, that’s how I feel, meh. I pay more attention to the ick than the nice, I notice more what’s off than what’s on, I feel dissatisfied.

I didn’t get enough sleep/downtime/attention/work done/fill in the blank. Now I am setting myself in a little hole of discontent, and I can dig it deeper quite easily. Or I can choose to reframe my experience into something that feels good.

How do I choose? Why do I accept my now? How am I present?

Discontent is often just a little clench, but a clench nonetheless. It is based on expectations of how something should go, and shoulds often get us in trouble. I used to think that I should get a certain amount of sleep in a certain way, and if I didn’t I would spend the next day feeling wiped out. Instead, I can let it go, and know that I can have a good day anyway. I used to think that relaxing was for the end of the day, and then the end of the day would come and I would be so cranked up I couldn’t relax.

Taking a relaxation break during the day to take a few deep breaths, to soften clenched muscles, to soften our thoughts, makes relaxing easier in general. I have two little patterns I use a lot. When I hear someone say “breathe” I take a few deep breaths. Easy. And when I want a little relaxation break, I sit down, put my hands flat on my thighs, and soften. Those two things are called “anchors” and they help us establish new habits.

How have I changed from feeling like I don’t get to have peace to claiming peaceful for my own?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07262014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Accentuate the Positive

Accentuate the Positive

I think there is a lot of confusion about positivism. I see so many articles that poo-poo it or even suggest that it is a bad thing. They suggest that being positive isn’t being realistic. I’m serious.

I have worked with people who say, “I’m just naturally pessimistic. I can’t be happy.” And after a while they see the light. Or they leave. They get to choose.

Why am I positive? What makes me choose? How do I know I can decide?

Here’s what I think. I used to be wonderful at finding the dark side. I lived at Bleak House. If there was a flaw, I spotted it, and then worried it, often into something awful.

Nothing was ever just nice. I always had to find the ick in it. At the very least if I couldn’t find anything to complain about, I would decide that “it” just wasn’t good enough. There wasn’t ever something so nice I couldn’t find the flaw. I was always disappointed. Can you imagine? Well, don’t, really, it wasn’t very fun.

The articles suggest that being positive avoids looking at the way things are. There isn’t a “way things are.” There is only the way things seem to be, and that is all based on how we look at it.

This is a very simple concept. I filter my world in order to chunk it down to something manageable. Without this ability to filter, I would be completely overwhelmed with sensory data, and not able to discern anything. By filtering, I am making maps of the world in my mind, but they are not the world any more than a photograph of a puppy is a puppy. “The map is not the territory,” said Alfred Korzybski.

I can use sunny filters or poopy filters, and they are both just filters. It is just a choice, and it’s not about denying “the reality.” I have to choose a filter, so why not pick one that makes me feel strong?

What makes me choose? How do I know I am competent? What makes me strong?

Depression, struggle, suffering, misery, hopelessness are not places of strength. It takes strength to choose to see the good, for most of us it isn’t automatic. We mislearn to look for stuff to complain about. And we can learn to look for stuff to take joy in.

I know there is war, and poverty, and sickness, and torture, slavery and so on. I know that. I do what I can to make a difference in the things that matter to me, pray about them, let it go, and get back to living. Dwelling on those things that trouble me is borrowing trouble. They are not the only “reality.”

I have stuff in my life, too, that isn’t always great. I do what I can, and let that go, too. My challenges are not the only “reality.” I accept and move on. And look for beauty, and find joy, and appreciate the good, and have fun. I value enjoyment. If I can find a way to enjoy, I can do almost anything.

Choosing to look for the good changes our moods. Finding the positive releases lovely neurochemicals and hormones into our bodies that help us feel good. They give us energy. They help us feel light. Doing the doom and gloom trip drops stress hormones and neurochems, and they make us feel dark and tired.

How have I changed from living in the dark to stepping into the sunshine?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07252014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Daily Appreciations

I also publish a little daily appreciation to begin my morning. I publish them on my FB  page and send 'em out on my email list.

Would you like me to publish them here, too?



Moving to Easy Street

Moving to Easy Street

Here’s a little “try this” for you. Clench your fists tight, so you feel it up your arms. Hold it, hold it... Now let the clench go.


I don’t know about you, but I have a bunch of places where I still seem to run into the clench. Places, situations, circumstances where I seem to make it harder again and again. I still respond to the idea of certain people with a clench. There are even places in my personality that make me clench. When I notice I am doing that, I let go as best I can, and relax. I start asking Creative Questions on the topic.

Wellness appointments can be clench-y for many of us, especially if it involves treatments. I used to have a lot of challenging feelings about them. Now I start asking good Creative Questions several days ahead: Why is my appointment comfortable, easy, and fun? What makes my appointment a good experience? How do I allow and accept my procedure? Why do I release my tooth? Okay, that last one is really specific, but it meant that my extractions were easy, and healed fast with no discomfort. Amazing.


I like to be on time for stuff, and I hate rushing, and so one of the Creative Questions I use a lot is, “Why is my timing perfect?” I don’t always arrive on time, as I prefer, but it seems like when I am tardy, it works out.

I have also composed some Creative Questions songs that I sing a lot. I think singing Creative Questions is amazing. They get into different part of our minds, activate different things. Singing them is a powerful act. Try it!

Why is it just so easy? Why can I trust? How do things go my way? (Did you sing those Creative Questions?)

Integrating easy wants practice. I love practicing easy on small things. If I am having clenchies about something coming up, I will ask my regular CQ with would or could in the question. I will imagine different ways the upcoming event could work out fantastic for me. Fantastic. It often does. Then, to continue integrating the experience, I will make sure I take time to appreciate that the experience was good. This is why we should always celebrate even our small successes, our tiny achievements. Practicing feeling good is necessary to get to our core. We often blow past this step. Please stop doing that and feel appreciation for things working out, for being so smart as to imagine the good rather than anticipating awful.

If I am doing a little house task, or work task and getting frustrated, I will stop, take a few deep calming breaths and ask my easy questions. Usually when I get back to the task, I find that the jar opens, the gunge come up, I can reach the item, I find the thing, I suddenly figure out a better way to do it.

The other thing I like to practice is relaxing all the way through. If I am in stressful times, practicing relaxing all the way really helps. I use meditation, qi gong, Unlimited Breath to help me get to soft. Regular practice means that when something big comes up I have resources. I like resources.

How have I changed from believing in hard to trusting in easy?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07232014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Back in the olden days I really wanted to be popular. I didn’t have a very clear notion of what that meant, just a vague idea about being included by the people that everyone seemed to notice. I had the idea that if I got invited to stuff, I wouldn’t feel alone. I thought that if I got invited to stuff, I wouldn’t feel like such a weirdo, or feel rejected.

Things shifted around, and I started getting invited to stuff; parties, bonfires, sleep-overs. I went, and somehow still felt like a rejected weirdo, and often spent my time off by myself, alone. It took me a long time to figure out that it was I causing my bad feelings and not you. You did your best to include me and I appreciate all the effort you put forth on my account, and I do apologize for not being a good guest.

I didn’t value me, so the idea that you might value me never entered my mind. I understood that you were somehow a part of how I would feel happy in the world, but I just couldn’t figure out how that would work. I figured if you said nice stuff to me, I would feel better. I figured if you included me, I would feel included. I figured if you liked me, I would stop feeling like a weirdo. It never works like that.  So I bent over backwards to get you to like me, even though you already did, and succeeded pretty much in just making you uncomfortable, and me feeling ashamed.

How do I feel wanted? Why am I welcome? What makes me feel valuable?

Oh, valuable. How do I feel valuable? Why am I a gift? What makes me own my worth?

Little by little I came to realize that you could say to me a million wonderful things about me. You could praise me to the skies, and bring me everywhere. I would feel an emo-high for a little while, and still I would go back to feeling rejected, and alone, and a weirdo. Amazing. Nothing you could do would make me value myself. The only way I was going to feel like a worthwhile person was to feel like a worthwhile person. I had to choose, I had to decide.

Bit by bit I started to recognize my value. I started to notice my contributions. I began to appreciate the care you gave me, to feel loved by you.

Inch by inch, I began to feel included when you included me. I notice that I felt wanted, I noticed that you showed me that you liked having me around, and I could let that in.

The more that happened, the more I could feel wanted, the deeper I could let it in. Amazingly, I also found that I felt included more often. And that even when I went home and was by myself, I still felt like I was a part of something, a community, a group, a family, even family with people I wasn’t related to.

Why do I belong? How am I a part of? What makes me feel connected?

Choosing to notice things I like about me, and then liking them, choosing to notice how you love me, and then feeling loved, choosing to notice my contributions and feeling like I belong; these are things I had to practice. Practice let me integrate the feelings. Feeling wanted is now normal. I assume that I will be included. I assume I am connected, I don’t feel lonely anymore because I feel wanted and loved by myself.

How have I changed from being rejected to feeling wanted?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07222014

Monday, July 21, 2014



Growing up is exciting. It’s messy, it’s interesting. The opportunities that we get to learn stuff, to practice stuff, to stretch our edges, are unpredictable and fascinating. Each step we take brings us benefits, treats, and treasure for the taking. Everyone of us has stuff to learn, stuff to let go of, stuff to accept. Each of us has our own unique set of thos things, and each of us goes at our own pace.

Why do I like to engage? What makes me want to connect? How do I choose to be curious?

Growing up can be challenging. We encounter experiences inside us that feel like an impenetrable wall, or a huge block, or situations where we feel like we sabotage ourselves every time it comes up. Those walls will come down, the blocks will melt away, the sabotage will cease when we address them in certain ways, and there are many ways, but address them we must if we want to be free. Sometimes we can deal with those things ourselves, but it is often of greater benefit to us to find a good teacher to help us.

Why would I choose to evolve? What makes me want to grow? How do I expand my life?

When I choose to engage with you, things happen. You shake up my existance. You have a different way of seeing stuff, even if we are very much alike. When I choose to engage with a community, my neighborhood, or religious group, there are that many more different ways to see things, that many more opportunities to see things a new way. You may introduce me to new activities, new foods, new adventures. This will shake me up. Sometimes it will make me uncomfortable, sometimes it will change my life for the better. Sometimes it will do both. I won’t know until I try it.

Before I chose to connect with you, I stayed to myself. My life felt safe and predictable. Turned out that safe felt kind of like hiding, predictable was actually kind of boring. As I reached out, I felt different. I felt like I came up into the sunshine. For years I had activities I used to distract myself, or to make the time pass, but when I started to engage, I started to have fun. You taught me how to do new stuff, you brought me to activities I had never tried.

The way I best engage is when I relax in my body, my feelings, and thoughts. Engaging is a natural result of living my natural life, and I get there by letting go, by relaxing, by choosing easy.

Engaging with you also opens me up to receiving, to asking for help. When I engage, this becomes a bit of an equation, that is, being part of a community or relationship means that I will both give and receive, and if I have trouble with one or the other of those, I will have ample opportunities to learn how to do it better.

It also gives me opportunities for helping you. When I help you, as a parent, partner, or friend, or as a volunteer for my community or in some other way, my life gets that much bigger. I can practice compassion, empathy, and opening my heart. Perhaps it is a way for me to practice being generous with my time, or resources, knowledge, or spirit. Perhaps it is a way for me to appreciate my own life. Perhaps I feel like I am giving back.

How have I changed from feeling disconnected to engaging with life?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserves 07212014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lightening the Load

Lightening the Load

How do you feel playful? How do you feel light? What makes you have fun?

So many of us have gotten away from having fun. We pile things on to our todo lists, we stay up late making it perfect, we get up early to do the same. We go go go all the time, and barely know what we are feeling, much less whether we are having fun.

Our lives flow with continuous experiences, and within those experiences is so much potential for joy. We can’t feel joy when we are heavy with responsibility. We can’t feel joy when we are burdened with seriousness. Gravitas and play tend not to go hand-in-mitten.

We often get the idea that if we are responsible, if we are important, we need to be serious. We have learned that play is for fools and we don’t want to be seen as a fool, especially if the person seeing us that way is ourselves.

We want to feel like we matter, that the things we do make a difference, that we count. We learn that important people are serious, they work hard, they are diligent and dedicated, and don’t take things lightly. We learn that if we want to be taken seriously we have to be serious. We abandon the play we enjoy.

We know we feel good when we move our bodies, and so we get serious about exercising. We set about improving our health with grim determination. We strip out the things that bring us joy, and approach our movement as though it were a matter of life or death. We do the same thing with food, cutting out the food that we think is fun, and substitute all manner of things that we don’t enjoy, but that we know are good for us.

There is a big difference between being serious, and taking things seriously.

Why do I play? How do I know I matter? What makes me enjoy being alive?

What we find as we start to relax into being grownups is that we want to play. We take playing seriously, and dump being serious. We notice that we feel important, we feel how we matter.  We see how we make a difference, and we take joy in that. We let go of the gravitas, we lighten up.

We discover that we enjoy our work, we enjoy our movement, we enjoy eating, and we enjoy radiant and abundant health. It may not be all the time, it may not be for every task, it may not all be cake and ice cream, but we satisfied, we feel content. At the end of the day we are grateful, and appreciative of what we have accomplished.

When I am taking things seriously, I do what my teachers tell me to do. I meet my commitments. I take responsibility for my promises. I treat myself with respect, and practice self-care automatically. I don’t take a bad mood seriously. I look at what I can change, change it, and let it go. Often that is just my attitude. I don’t take things personally. I trust more.

When I feel how I matter, to me, to you, to my communities, I take that seriously. I recognize that my behavior and attitudes have an impact on the world. I see that bringing a light heart to my day makes everything easier, and I find the resources I need, I find compassion, and I open my heart to all my life brings me.

How have I changed from being serious to feeling light?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07202014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The River of Happiness

The River of Happiness

There is something in us that gives us life. When it is not in us, our bodies die. There are a lot of words for it. Life force will do for us for now. We also call it happiness.

Wait, what?

Yes, you heard me, happiness is one way we experience life force. It’s why practicing something like qi gong feels so good as we strengthen our life force.

I am not speaking about the kind of happy we feel when we get something we’ve wanted, or other nice things from outside. I am speaking of that feeling that bubbles up from deep inside us.

Why am I happy? What makes me feel alive? How do I choose my natural life?

In the olden days, I tried to be happy. I tried hard. I didn’t get very far trying. I tried looking at the bright side. I tried counting my blessings. It was work. Eventually I let go.

That was the difference that did it. When I let go, I relaxed. When I relaxed, it was easier to go with the flow. Instead of seeking the good in my life, I noticed it. Way easier. Instead of counting my blessings, I felt grateful and appreciative. Way easier. Instead of trying, I let it come up from inside. Way easier. I like easy.

I have a number of things I do that help my life force flow. Shaolin qi gong is one. Unlimited Breath work is another. Meditation does it, too. Dancing, a good walk; there are a lot of things I do to reap the flow. Relaxing in my daily life keeps it flowing. Then, I automatically look at the world with joyful filters, and it takes no effort to experience my life as wonder-filled. I like effortless.

Why is it just so easy? Why can it be effortless? How do I relax? Why do I choose?

We all try so hard. We strive to make a nice life for ourselves, our loved ones. We struggle to make ends meet. We pull our expectations in tight and hold them there. We believe we can only have a life that is so big, and no bigger. Sometimes, we feel like it’s all for nothing, and we resort to addictive behaviors to mask our feelings. As we let go of struggle, as we relax our grip on our expectations, as we change our beliefs about how our life can be, it all gets easier and softer.

Why am I wealthy? Why do good things happen for me? How do I enjoy my life?

Sometimes we have one of those days. Usually, if I stop and look at it, it’s not that the whole day was awful, but that a few parts were. Or were annoying, or frustrating, or sad. My choice is to hang onto those things and let them color the whole day, or week, or month. Or I can choose to let each thing go, and start fresh. It took me some practice, but like so many things, it was worth it.

Somedays, it is just one thing after another. When I am choosing to let each thing go, I can usually chalk it up to wonky energy on my part, and laugh at it. I know that this too shall pass, and that a wonky day is one of the ways I appreciate my normal days.

How have I changed from trying to make myself happy to letting my happiness flow?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07192014

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Do You Spell Success?

How Do You Spell Success?

By now you know how much I enjoy playing with language, with the meanings of words, and what we do with them. Things got a lot easier for me when I recognized that patience and tolerance were some serious shortcomings for me in certain situations. I put up with way too much nonsense. It got me started thinking about other words that make my life harder.

“Chores” was one such word. I had a lot of baggage attached to that word. Chores were meted out as punishment sometimes, or paying jobs. It was confusing, and I grew to hate them. As I grew up, I changed the word to “blessings” and it transformed the way I felt about those tasks. I would much rather bless my little house than do chores.

“Failure” was another word like that. It kind of went hand in hand with “mistakes.” I felt wrong as a person, and used those two words to beat myself up. I took mistakes and failures as indications that I was somehow less than everyone else. I saw failures as indications that I wasn’t good enough, and that I could never measure up to some mysterious standard.

Why am I a winner? What makes me successful? How am I accomplished?

By changing my beliefs about what failure meant, I released a lot of icky stuff. I didn’t get there all at once, I kind of chipped away at it. I saw myself as a failure, a loser, I felt like a mistake. I needed to separate myself from that personalization. I had to practice noticing that I made mistakes, it wasn’t something I was. I had failures. And life isn’t a race, so feeling like a loser usually meant that I felt like I didn’t meet an arbitrary standard I had imposed on me.

I often fail at stuff. I try something new, and get it wrong. Instead of going to hopeless, I choose to learn. I get curious. Curiosity is a powerful tool in our cache of resources. I can ask questions like, “What did I miss? How can I better understand this? Do I need a new skill? Does this just need more practice?”

Failure then turns into an opportunity, or several opportunities. I get to have compassion for me. I get to experiment, and be creative. I get to add information to my list of what doesn’t work for me. I can choose to feel optimistic about what I will try next. I get to decide if whatever I am trying to do is worth it to me, so I practice deciding and choosing for myself. That empowers me.

Because I am creating a new relationship with the word, I am also giving myself permission to try new things, to have new experiences, to meet new people. When I felt like a failure, I avoided letting people get to know me. I didn’t want them to see past the facade I put up. I didn’t want them to see that I was a phony fake. I wasn’t sure what I was being phony about, but I sure had the feeling. Parties were torture. Any kind of social gathering was fine, if I was working as a hostess, or server, but to just be a guest? I would find a place to sit, and try to go invisible.

How do I connect? What makes me engage? Why am I interested in you?

By letting go of feeling like a failure, I had more energy for intimacy. Because I was developing my curiosity, I got curious about you. I wanted to know you better, and I wanted to let you know me better. I was able to let down my shield of impenetrability and feel vulnerable. It got easier to trust.

Now, I will often review my successes at the end of a day. Sometimes they are big, like making a big decision that can change my life. Sometimes they are tiny, like choosing to leave the treat in the freezer, or vacuuming the stairs. I count ‘em all.

How have I changed from being a miserable failure to reveling in my success?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 07182014