Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Easy Up Your LIfe

How to Easy Up Your Life

I love how often I get the “Why is it so easy?” card. Maybe it comes up more because over the years the very card has gotten thicker with all my handling. Maybe it’s because I need to be reminded more often that, as the song goes, “The livin’ is easy.”

So many things turn out to be simple in our daily lives. Got a bad habit? Stop doing it. Want new circumstances? Change ‘em. Want to have more fun? Do it. See? Simple.

So what happens to that simple? Simple! We have stuff around our stuff.

Why is it just so easy? How could it be smooth sailing? What makes my life a snap?

I think I should change my bad habit. Instead of just stopping running late, over-indulging, not exercising or exercising too much, choosing misery, being too messy or too clean, and fill in your faves here, I justify it. “I deserve X, I like X, I don’t have time to not X.” I have negative emotional judgments. I resist for reasons I may not even be aware of.

Next thing I do is beat myself up for continuing my bad habit. For many of us, we have a running internal dialog about how much we suck.

This is where Creative Questions change everything. When we start asking good Creative Questions, things will change. It’s automatic. They change things way deep down inside. All we have to do is use them. I like to pick one and kind of chant is as I am walking. I will often add the work, “else” as in “Why else is it just so easy?” I don’t need to try to come up with answers, I just let the Creative Question wash through my unconscious mind.

The “How have I changed” Creative Question makes transitions easier. How have I changed from believing that life is hard to living it easy?

We have to choose this. We have to muster up our courage to go inside, deep inside, to our place of peace and love. We have to decide that we can live easy, with joy and satisfaction in what we do. Once we make that choice, that commitment, life seemed easier. We start to feel the flow of life, and we find ourselves relaxing into our natural life effortlessly.

Choosing easy doesn’t mean that interesting things don’t happen. Life will unfold as it does, but we choose easy instead of going  to negative emotional judgments. If I don’t think of a thing as negative, it’s just a thing. That’s easy. I can deal with a neutral thing.

As I get used to choosing easy I find that I don’t need complain; I address the topic. I act. I find that I am answering the Creative Questions “Why am I strong? Why am I capable? Why am I competent?” automatically. I find that I am experiencing auto-mood-tuning. I unchoose  crabby, I unchoose victim, I unchoose scared. I go to gratitude and appreciation quickly and comfortably.

I find that I don’t need to respond to drama and false emergencies. I take better care of me and my loved ones because I have more energy, I’m not using it up on distractions, but on things that really matter to me, things that actually enrich my life. That’s nice.

How have I changed from buying into the myth of struggle to living a life of easy?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 04152015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Loving Me Loving You

Loving Me Loving You
“I am a realist, not a pessimist,” says a woman I know. She likes to talk about how awful the world is, how horrible people are, how rotten are her co-workers, and how crappy she feels all the time. Poor little lamb. The world she lives in is dark and terrifying with awful people doing awful things to each other. She is exhausted and sick a lot of the time.
I used to live there. I used to believed that people, all people, were awful to each other. I believed the news media. Do I need to say that I was terrified all the time? I felt responsible for suffering all over the world, and doubly guilty because what was I doing to help them? So I was terrified, but also uber-stressed and depressed. Imagine that.
Why do I like people? What makes me notice the good in others? How do I value your presence?
I had this idea that paying a lot of attention to the news was the responsible, adult thing to do. War, pestilence, murder, rape, greed, fire, famine --. Oh, la! Dose me up with misery in the papers, on the radio and tv. It justified my unhappiness. It justified my guilt. It justified my pain. It justified my sense of helplessness.I made friends with people who were as miserable as I. We could spend days telling each other how miserable we were. We did, actually. And it somehow absolved me of taking responsibility for my own well-being. Clearly, if there were so much misery in the world, it stood to reason that I would be miserable.
As I have grown up, I have come to realize that the media doesn’t monger news, they monger fear. And every time I shared bad news, every time I promoted the awful things that happened, I was mongering fear, too. I have come to realize that I am the only one responsible for my well-being. And I am not responsible for yours. I am responsible to you, and endeavor to create safe space for us all to thrive and grow. And I apologize to you for all the horrible things I told you about in the dark ages.
As I have grown up, I have come to realize that people are doing their best, For most of us, we are doing our best to be kind, good, and loving. What we have are issues, topics, mis-learnings and these dictate our behavior. In relatively normal situations, these are pretty mild, annoying perhaps, but not damaging. As the topics get bigger, the behavior gets worse; substance abuse, addictive behaviors, violence, and so on. When the topics get really big, at least inside the person, the behavior gets worse. You know what I mean.
And, as one of my dear friends says, “I am not my behavior.” Remembering this gives us an entree into compassion, and we may need to find that way in for ourselves as well as for others.
In fact, our attitude to others is often our attitude to ourselves. If I see the world as a terrifying place, chances are good that I don’t feel very safe inside me. If I see the world as full of bad people, I may be feeling like a bad person deep inside. It might even be unconscious. And if I see the world as full of kind and loving people doing what they can to make the world nicer, I most likely have a life full of kind and loving people who are doing what they can.
I prefer to live in a world of love. I prefer to look for the good in people, and I avoid the regular media’s take on things. I seek out good news about good works, powerful discoveries that help, individual kindnesses, gracious gestures. My favorite from yesterday was a restaurant owner who posted a notice that invited the person who was eating from her Dumpster to come in for a meal.
How have I changed from wallowing in the worst of humanity to reveling in our goodness?
(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 04122015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Wise Guys

Wise Guys
I have been privy to a very curious phenomenon recently. I talk to a lot of people over the course of a day, and many of them are reporting variations on doubting themselves. Riffing on notions is fun, but I don’t think self-doubt is on that list.
The thing is, we are wise. Effortlessly. We accrue wisdom by just living our lives, experiencing our experiences. Sadly, for many of us, we listen to people who tell us we aren’t wise. They may even tell us we are stupid. Depending on who they are, what our mis-learnings are, we buy into that idea and believe we are dumb.
Poor we!
How do I know I am wise? How do I feel when I own my wisdom? What makes me trust my smarts?
In the dark ages, I was in so much pain. I bought into the idea that I didn’t know anything about living, but a tiny part of me trusted my wisdom. That wisdom told me to find a good teacher. My first brilliant teacher whom I found on my own was a shrink named Dan. He helped me to begin to see that my emotional pain was based on past events I was holding on to, and by habits that kept me stuck.
I trusted my wisdom more because of my time with him and started to clear out the negative, abusive people in my life. I made some big changes.
I sought out more teachers. I found good ones, sometimes they were there to teach me one lesson, sometimes more. I found a wonderful teacher who worked with me for many years. She created a space for me to find my way, my wisdom, my self.
We all need teachers at different times in our lives. They always show up when we need them. Our job is to trust our wisdom enough to spot them, and then to trust them, and ourselves enough to learn the lessons they are meant to give us. Sometimes we have a topic that is a bit treacherous, and we need to address it with more than one teacher.
Our Personal Doubt is that kind of lesson.
Our Personal Doubt is our first mis-learning. We mis-learn it very early in our lives, and we buy into it wholeheartedly. For some of us, it’s that we are wrong. Or that we hurt people. Or that we are bad. Or that we are unlovable. There are many others. It’s that bad feeling that has been with you for your whole life. We may not even be aware of it.
My Personal Doubt is that I am garbage. It informed many of my choices for many years. I have worked on releasing that belief for a long time, and bit by bit it has gotten much less powerful. Like all our really important stuff, no one else can fix this for us. Like happiness, the truth behind our personal doubt will come from inside us.
The more we practice trusting our wisdom, the easier our lives will get, the less our Personal Doubt can flatten us. The wonderful teacher I mentioned above, Vi, would say, “You do know.” Oh, I hated that phrase! But she was always right. When I relaxed and calmed down, I always knew what I needed to do.
How have I changed from denying my wisdom to believing that I do know?
(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 04112015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Captain Commitment

Captain Commitment

I am fascinated by all the stuff we do, we think, we feel, that we are unaware of. I am serious. I couldn’t believe that when I first encountered the concept. How could I be living my life and so clueless at the same time? It’s why they call it the unconscious mind.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be clueless. I don’t want to be ignorant of what I’m up to. I want to be the boss of me,

There is a whole bunch of new age-y terms for it, mindfulness being the one that seems to be bandied around the most. All that means; pay attention. Pay attention to your thoughts, notice what you are thinking when you are thinking it. If you practice doing that, you will be amazed at what’s going on in your head.

Why can I choose? What makes me aware? Why do I commit?

So the next step is to look at my life. I found it somewhat horrifying, and still do, that we see what we are committed to by looking at our lives. I want to be committed to a peaceful life. Do I see peace or is my life full of chaos? I want to be committed to flowing with life. Do I see flow or do I see drama and resistance? I want to be committed to warm, loving, respectful relationships. Do I see those relationships, or are my relationships full of strife? Are you getting the idea?

I live what I am committed to.

If there is a disconnect between what I want to be committed to and what I am living, chances are really good that the block is unconscious. When we are stuck we often beat ourselves up and say rotten things to ourselves. That’s so not useful. Creative Questions help us change those patterns.

I like to think of this particular Creative Question as a transitional question. It starts making way for us to change; moving the boulders out of the way, surveying the line of sight, grading the pathway and paving the new road to our desired outcome. (Can I write corn, or what!)

How have I changed from living in chaos to living in peace? How have I changed from resisting life to going with the flow? How have I changed from stressful relationships to loving and feeling loved? For example.

One of the bennies of choosing my commitments instead of my mysterious unconscious choosing for me is that I can stop bitchin’ about what’s going on in my life. I can feel like I’m steering my life a bit more. I mean, unexpected stuff happens, but my conscious commitments give me direction.

Taking action is the piece that makes our commitments dynamic. I know it’s a big “duh” but it’s often a piece we miss, and it’s why we are still living the old way. If I want my good parking spot at work that someone has been parking in this week, praying for it to St Dot of the Parking Spot is one thing, but leaving a few minutes earlier is another. So I did both and got my spot. For example.

I want to make sure that my action is going to move me forward to my goal. Sometimes that means I need to get some help. I love the old saw, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” That’s great for playing a musical instrument, but kind of not so great for making fresh changes.

How have I changed from feeling stuck to creating dynamic commitments?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 04102015

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Easy is as Easy Does

Easy is as Easy Does

The other day I saw my onco doc. First thing he said to me was, “No more chemo.” Yay! As I was celebrating that night with my sifu and TCM doc, I heard myself say, “All things considered, that was pretty easy.”


Why is it just so easy? What makes me flow with life? What makes me relax?

What would you do if your life were easy? How would you fill your time if you chose to stop worrying? What would you replace stress with? What would change if you stopped choosing misery?  I don’t mean these questions to sound dorky, they are quite serious. They are also quite possible.

I sure didn’t believe that in the days of yore. I really believed that life is hard. I really believed that we had to just suffer through it. I believed that misery was the watchword for the world. Poor former me. I believed that my beliefs were the Truth.

I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I was wrong.

How could it be easy? What would make it simple? Why could I relax?

My attitude doesn’t change what happens to me, but it most certainly changes how I think about it, how I feel. When I decide that it is easy, I loosen my hold on my commitment to negative emotional judgments about stuff. It’s just stuff.

Negative emotional judgment. Let that concept sink in.

I make the judgment that stuff is bad. I may go there because I see others going there, I may choose it because I’ve chosen it since I was a little kid; “X is bad!” I may choose it because I think I may lose something I have or not get something I want, and am having big feelings about that possible change of state.

When I stop making negative emotional judgments, situations are neutral. That neutrality makes for flow, it squelches drama, it maintains equilibrium, and that, baby, that means peace at my core.

I trust me to handle what comes my way, I’ve handled some pretty intense stuff. It may take me a bit to catch my breath, but I mostly don’t flap these days.

I am not saying that, for example, the loss of a loved one is not to be grieved. We need to feel our feelings as they come up. And let them flow through and out and done for now. And then we are back to the questions we started with.

What would you do if your life were easy? How would you fill your time if you chose to stop worrying? What would you replace stress with? What would change if you stopped choosing misery?

I have time to meditate since I don’t worry. I have time to really relax since I’m not so stressed. I have inside room for enjoyment since it’s all just so easy. I have more room for you in my life since I’m not all obsessed with how awful everything is.

How have I changed from believing life is hard to knowing it’s all just so easy?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 04062015

Sunday, April 05, 2015

In the Flesh

In The Flesh

I love my body. I love to dance it, to qi gong and yoga it. I love walking around in it, I love to sleep in it. I love to feed it, and pamper it, and dress it. I think it’s pretty cute. I like living here in it.

It sure didn’t used to be like that. Used to be I hated living in it. I saw my body as the source of a lot of my misery, pain, and suffering. I hurt it a lot, intentionally, and unintentionally. I blamed it for a lot of my woes. I demonized it. I sickened it with wretched thoughts, and ugly behavior.

I have been making up to it for a long time.

Why do I love my body? How does my body support me? What makes my body perfect?

You might find this attitude strange, especially with my recent adventures through the C. But here’s what I will tell you. I think about how most of my body has been doing it’s best to bring me back to full-on radiant health. I fully believe that radiant, abundant, lavish health is where we are meant to be, so I focus on that.

One of my most favorite sayings from 12 step groups is, “Misery is optional.” It reminds me that I choose the filters through which I see my life, through which I experience my body. I choose. I may be choosing unconsciously, but I am still choosing. I like to think that part of my job as a human being is to unchoose misery, to find other ways to filter my life experiences than through the misery filter. I’m getting pretty good at it. It is a much shorter path to joy from not-miserable, or happy, as I like to call it.

I like to think that one of our jobs as humans is to relieve suffering. Fundamental for me is to unchoose my own sense of suffering, and often my first source of suffering seems to be my body. By learning that I can unchoose my personal physical misery, I start to see that I can effect other change in my own life, I can impact my personal environment, and that makes ripples.

Bottom line is this. We have amazing power. We often don’t learn as children to harness our own superpowers, Unchoosing physical misery isn’t moving into denial. All it means is allowing the physical experience to be a part of our experience, not the whole show. The more I focus on my shoulder, or queasiness, or wacky foot sensations, the more I notice them until a relatively small part of my body is taking up most of my attention.

When I start paying more attention to my activities, my relationships, my enjoyments, than I do to my discomfort, things shift, my internal priorities change, my time seems more satisfying. I can do my qi gong practice to change my perspective, I can meditate, or practice yoga. Sometimes, I make a phone call and chat with one of my fascinating friends or family members. Sometimes, I read or knit or draw. And, sometimes I lie in it, and squishy it up between my toes, and wallow in feeling rotten. Yes, I do.

How do I enjoy my body? What makes my body just right? Why do I love being in my body?

I think it’s a fascinating thing that many of us don’t spend time in our bodies. Do you think of yourself as accident prone? That’s about being in your head. The word “mindfulness” gets tossed around a lot these days, It simply means being in your body. I had to learn how; Where are my feet? Where is my butt? How do I feel in my body?”

How have I changed from living in my head to loving my body?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 03302015