Sunday, September 28, 2014

Faith and Hope

Faith and Hope

This is another one of those rather controversial topics. That means it’s important, so let’s see what happens when we poke around in the topic of trust.

Why do I trust? How do I know the universe provides? Why am I peaceful?

A lot of us think that faith and hope are the same thing. They really aren’t.

Hope and wishing are pretty close, way closer than hope and faith. With wishing and hoping, we have to be thinking about the situation we want to leave to wish or hope that it will be better.

We say things to ourselves like, “I wish I had more money (than the little money I have now,) I hope I get more money.” “I hope I get better (than the sick that I am, or the addiction, or behavior I want to change) or I hope I get better.” The underlying thoughts are that I am poor or sick or that I am in a bad relationship, for example.

We say things to ourselves like, “I hope I get that job.” But both hoping and wishing kind of stop at the wish. They don’t tend to motivate us; they tend to stop us, like worry, in that hoping so hard, or wishing so hard, or fretting so much feels like we are doing something.

We aren’t.

When I trust, when I have faith, I am believing in something, and believing in me. Trust and faith create an environment where we are supporting our desire with action. The actions may be subtle, we might not notice that we are choosing toward what we trust will happen, but we are.

When we think about that trust as a Creative Question, we are setting our unconscious mind on the task of bringing our goal about. Why do I trust that money comes easily to me? Why do I trust in my own health?

Notice how different you feel between “I hope things work out.” and “I trust things will work out.” and “Why do things go my way?”

These are subtle differences, but the Creative Question is working deep inside, it doesn’t even need an answer to come to the surface to change the underlying beliefs.

Faith and trust lead us to making choices that can move mountains. I can sit around hoping for that new job, or I can trust that I will get it, and that makes me act. Action will bring about more of what we want than wishing, or hoping.

It’s asparagus. We can hope for asparagus when we plant it, and then be sad when we don’t have edible asparagus. We can wish we had asparagus, and then feel kind of despondent when we don’t get it. Or we can have faith that our asparagus patch will produce delicious asparagus, and when it doesn’t the first year, with faith, we may find ourselves talking to friends with asparagus who let us know it takes a few seasons to start producing. So we trust that tending our patch with loving care will make wonderful asparagus in it’s own time.

How have I changed from hoping to having faith?

(c)Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 09282014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finding Teachers

Finding Teachers

One of the things that blows me out of the water is how full our lives are of teachers. We have teachers who teach us in school or formal classes. They teach us knowledge-y things like math and languages and science stuff, and they often give us tests. Some of them teach us fun stuff like music and art and cooking, and the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes.

We have teachers who are parents or other adults we are close to who teach us useful skills to help us in life; how to express our feelings, how to iron, how to forgive, or wash dishes so they are clean, how to jury rig stuff, or take care of ourselves when we are sick, or how to be generous. Sometimes those teaching are really helpful, and sometimes they can really mess us up.

When we go to work we get new teachers who show us the ropes, sometimes they are our supervisors or bosses, sometimes they are co-workers. We sometimes find spiritual teachers at our places of worship, and sometimes we run into what I often refer to as our “best teachers” who drive us crazy but also give us the space we need to really grow into ourselves, to let go of being a victim, or to see our parents or other adults from our childhoods as just people, and not demigods.

When we are looking for a good teacher, the universe will usually provide us with someone. Thing is, we may not recognize them as a teacher.  Maybe they are a lot younger than we are. Maybe they are of a different lifestyle, or education, or something else that makes us think we can write them off. We miss a lot that way.

How am I supported? What makes me recognize a teacher? How do I open to learn something new?

Often we get ourselves in trouble by feeling like we are better than, that we know more than so and so, that there isn’t anything they can teach us. Sometimes we get ourselves in trouble by thinking that we we can’t learn, we can’t change, we are just stuck in this miserable mess we’ve created for ourselves.

We can always learn. We can always find something inside that we need to let go of; an old resentment, a mislearned belief, an attitude that doesn’t serve us. We occasionally know what these things are, but often we don’t, and a teacher will help us get there.

How do I know I can change for the better? What makes me courageous? Why am I strong? Why am I competent?

When I listen to me and hear things like, “I always, I never, I can’t, that’s just how I am, this is just how it is” chances are good I have some stuff there that I can let go of. If I choose to believe that I am meant to be happy, healthy, wise, and wealthy, there is a lot of room for me to grow. It may just be a matter of changing my point of view. It may be a matter of counting things differently, or reframing an old idea into a fresh belief.

By keeping my eyes peeled for my teachers, wherever I may find them, I open my heart to being my best self. I am not grateful for the tumor, but I am grateful for what I am learning from the healing of my body. I am not grateful for the discomfort, but I appreciate the skills I am acquiring without drama, the flood of good will and kindness, and my willingness to change my ideas about my experience from things that bring me down to things that uplift me and leave me lighthearted. I will take them where I find them.

How have I changed from feeling stuck to opening to a world full of good teachers?

  1. Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 09252014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Look! On the Porch! It’s Creativity Woman!

Look! On the Porch! It’s Creativity Woman!

Creativity is a wonderful superpower when we harness it. It really helps when we remember that we choose how to use it.

Sometimes we are unaware that we are being creative. We disregard the fact that we are creating our reality by the filters we use. When I look for things to be miserable about, I find them. Likewise, when I seek out things to enjoy and be happy about, I find them.

We often feel like we are being productive when we worry about stuff. I recently saw a quote that said something about worrying being the same thing as praying for bad stuff to happen. All I know is that I have X amount of energy, or NRG as I am calling these days, and I would rather spend it on nice stuff.

When we are miserable, we like company in it, like Aesop’s tailless fox who tried to convince the other foxes how great it was. (He failed. They were clever as foxes.)

You can see this in scoldings, or blamings, or shamings. There are always ways to phrase stuff so it is kind or confrontive, gentle or abrasive, supportive or informative or shaming. Which would you rather hear?

Why do I choose? How do I know I am creative? Why do I claim my superpowers?

We do this to ourselves, it’s not just other people who shame and blame and scold us. When I feel like I am always wrong, I am being creative to make fine decisions seem like bad ones, to look at me with disgust or contempt when I am just fine, to decide that, even though I am at least 50% well, I am sick and miserable.

The more aware we become of our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, the easier it is to see where we are doing this. A lot of being miserable is being unaware of how we support and maintain it, not remembering that, simply because we live around people, we have an impact on others, and that we choose.

Creative choice.

Another quote I really liked when I was transitioning from miserable depress-o girl to happy me was this: Sometimes you have to tear out your heart to save your soul. A poet by the name of Jane Something said it, and if you know who she is, please drop me a note.

I had a job I was used to. Low pay, few bennies, a lot of abusive talk, but I was familiar with it. I also had a boyfriend I was used to. Lots of drama, lots of blaming and shaming and put-downs, but it was familiar. Notice I didn’t say comfortable. Neither one was comfortable, but so, so very familiar. Leaving them was a huge deal, a big challenge, and it took me a while to work through my feelings, but, boy howdy, did my life get nicer. I put my heart back in my chest, and saved my soul.
I am not happy all the time, just most of the time. I am not kind all the time, or full of compassion, but a lot of the time. I am not self-aware all the time, but a good chunk of the time. I am better for taking those few moments I need to ask, “Where am I? How am I doing? Anything need a tweak?” And then I become Creativity Woman and come up with answers and tweaks, and plans, not outcomes.

How have I changed from being mindlessly tossed around in misery to enjoying wielding my superpower of creativity?

  1. Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 09202014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pacifying the Drama

Pacifying the Drama

I drew the “Why am I peaceful?” card today and, as usual, it got me thinking. I cannot be peaceful, which I really like, if I am being dramatic. As I have been going through all the chemo stuff, I have been pretty peaceful, and drama has not shown up much, but it shows up when I let me go to miserable. I can’t be peaceful and miserable at the same time.

When I choose to be miserable, because I am annoyed, or tired, or want to be doing something else, I am looking inward at my expectations. When I do that, I clench.

In my qi gong practice, we spend time with the idea or intention of being upright and relaxed. When I am upright and relaxed, it often has less to do with my physical being than with my emotional and spiritual self. I can feel upright and relaxed lying down and curled up.

So often, I find that my expectations of how this moment should be, rather than how it is, can lead me to clenched. I may have expectations of entitlement, or different circumstances, or that I should be feeling something else.

The Truth is, and notice the capital T which means true for everyone, this moment is perfect for me. Perfect. For. Me.

In my clenched state, I say, “What the heck does that mean? This moment sucks.”

Every moment is full of information for us about what we are doing, and how we are doing it. If I can soften up enough, I can notice the bad creative questions I am asking that are getting me the results I am being dramatic about.

Why am I so miserable? A bad creative question that will get answers like, nothing goes my way. I hate my life, I should have more money, friends, fun things to do, productive work, health, joy, contentment, a car, more ease, a better home. Look for your shoulds. They are a great way to beat ourselves up. A transitional creative question can be, “What stops me from having more joy, etcetera?” Or “What gets in my way?” If I am putting that on someone else, I can wonder why I have someone so obstructive in my life, or why I allow them to block me.

That moment can give us information about our blocking beliefs. One of my favorites is that if I have less stuff I will be bored. Really. I just noticed it this morning, thinking about being at my grandmother’s house with room after room of less stuff, and what we did on Sunday mornings was sit around having to be quiet while the adults read the paper, played solitaire, chatted quietly, or even napped. Napped! In the morning. Good grief. I, on the other hand, can stress out about how messy my house is, how the dishes and stuff need washing, and surrender to my sense of overwhelmed and watch old movies while feeling guilty. Huh. Insight.

Why am I peaceful? What makes me take care of myself? Why am I supportive?

Oh, supportive. Supportive of me staying away from the drama, which the preceding belief engenders. Why would I support myself? Why would I care for my environment? Why would I unchoose drama?

The more I practice feeling peaceful, the better the pathway to get there in my brain. When I get peaceful, I get more stuff that I want to finish finished. I make better choices about how to spend my time. It’s easier for me to say no, and I say yes with more clarity.

How have I changed from choosing drama to choosing peace?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 09142014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Faking it

Faking it

One of the topics that comes up for a lot of us is feeling like a fraud. We feel fake, like we are wearing a mask, hiding our true selves from everyone.

It’s not a nice feeling, that feeling of being a fake. What is it? Mislearning.

When we are little, we are like knowledge sponges, sucking up information at an astounding rate. A lot of it is very useful and helps us function in the world. Some of it is wrong, and doesn’t make much difference. Some of it is wrong and really hurts us. That’s the mislearning we have to notice, and unchoose.

Sometimes we feel like a fraud because we are playing a role, acting in a way that isn’t how we truly fee. Sometimes we feel like a fraud because we are trying to hide our real selves. We think we don’t measure up to some arbitrary standard some authority figure set for us when we were little.

We got the idea that we had to be perfect to be lovable, but what constituted perfection was never clearly defined beyond “better than we are.” We learned that we had to be the best, somehow, even though there is always someone who might be better. We strove for best-ness, and maybe even won stuff for it, but it never got in, never made us feel good about ourselves, or accomplished, only like we had to try harder. Gah! How exhausting!

Sometimes we feel like frauds because our feelings don’t seem to match the way other people seem to feel. We think there is something wrong with us because we don’t buy into the idea that life sucks. When we are surrounded by whiny, complaining media, critical, down-putting grimsters, it’s challenging to trust our feelings, our inclination to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining, the brass ring. When people talk about our attitude of positivity, they often sound like they are talking about a rare disease. No wonder we feel weird.

Why am I right? How am I authentic? What makes me positive? How do I choose?

One of the milestones of becoming a grownup is relying more on our internal perception of ourselves than on the outside data we get. Now, there is an old saw I like, “If one person tells you that you have a tail, ignore him. If five people tell you that you have a tail, you might wanna turn around and look.” In Chinese astrology, I am a fire monkey, and I love to be silly and play, so I kind of like the idea of having a tail, but I think you get the point. If I hear the same thing over and over about my behavior, I might wanna take a look. On the other hand, it may be that I am right.

Sometimes we feel like a fraud because we are denying our current reality. We do a lot to create our realities, we have old habits, we have old beliefs and ideas about how the world goes, but all we need to do is think of a time when our life turned upside down to get a sense of how fragile that idea of reality is.

Why am I creative? What makes me decide? Why do I support me? How do I choose?

Sometimes being positive is about being vulnerable, maybe having some challenging feelings. We need to be aware of falling into those feelings, letting them take over, but letting them flow through will leave us feeling cleaned out, clearer.

How have I changed from feeling like a fraud to knowing I am my own, authentic self?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2014 all rights reserved 09092014