Just a short post today to recommend an amazing book.
Danielle LaPorte’s “The Desire Map” has made its way into my hands. Already I’m feeling some shifts happening, though I haven’t started the workbook portion yet.
Gonna get back to it!
Sunday has rolled around again, which means it’s time for a post. I was planning to post this long article I had written, but then I realized that it used the word ‘might’ 16 times. 16!!! I’m laughing about it. So I need to give that one some more edits before it becomes palatable. My excuse is that I’m still pretty new to blogging and first drafts are often not so great.
In the meantime, I want to share something with you that brought me a lot of clarity. Do you ever feel uncomfortable or guilty when someone asks you for money or help? Do you ever feel uncomfortable or guilty when you ask for money or help from someone?
If so, this article is for you. It’s Byron Katie doing The Work with actress Jane Lynch, about Jane’s discomfort when a friend asked her for money. Everyone can benefit from reading this conversation, because we’ve all been there – either as the asker, or the person being asked. This doesn’t just apply to money, either. Help of any kind could be applicable. Nor does it apply to just friends; it also applies to strangers asking for money or help.
In this conversation, Byron Katie is not only helping Jane work through her feelings of discomfort; she is helping her be assertive about her choices. She is helping Jane say yes to herself, even if she says no to her friend.
Here’s a quick tip, if you’re not doing it already:
Taking the time to educate yourself about science, particularly psychology, personalities, the brain, and the human body, is good for you emotionally. Learning how other people’s brains function differently than your brain, for instance, will naturally make you more compassionate and less likely to assume that someone is acting like a jerk on purpose. Not only that, you’ll feel better about yourself when you have a vaster understanding of how your own body operates. In short, learning the science behind human bodies is very empowering.
I’ve been educating myself on these subjects for a number of years. With each book I read or video I watch (there are plenty of TED talks on these subjects), I gain a lot of understanding. Right now I’m reading The Naked Brain by Dr. Richard Restak. It is really well-written. I am grateful for books that make it easy for non-scientists such as myself to grasp scientific information.
Expect more science-related articles in the future, because understanding the body is a key component to emotional wellness.
I’m very optimistic in life, and I’ll tell you why. It comes down to trust and a basic understanding of how my mind and body actually work. It’s because I trust myself now, more than ever before. I also trust the world around me.
I trust my ability to make friends, provide for myself, and have exactly what I need. I know that if I don’t have something, I don’t need it in that moment. I tend to find silver linings in every seemingly ‘bad’ situation, knowing that ‘bad’ is merely a believed word. I trust that whatever life throws at me, I will be able to deal with emotionally the moment it happens, or shortly thereafter. I trust life’s timing, and that people are entering and leaving my life at exactly the right moments. So I don’t worry about it too often. The only time I worry is when I’m out of touch with reality. Sometimes I’ll really want something to happen, and because of circumstances beyond my control, it doesn’t happen. I might be upset for a little while, but after some time passes I think “Hmmm. It must not have needed to happen then, or now, or yet, or ever.” And I move on. The time gap between the upset and the “hmmm…” is always getting smaller, and sometimes it happens instantaneously. I even trust that everyone dies at exactly the right moment, because to think otherwise would be to argue with reality.
I trust life because I’ve been doing the things that would cause me to trust life. Learning to trust is a skill just like any other. If you practice it enough, it will start to feel very natural. It will become second nature.
I’m 30 now, and I wasn’t always an optimist and I certainly didn’t feel very powerful. Before I discovered some amazing teachers such as Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo, Wayne Dyer, Orna Ross, Gabrielle Bernstein, Morty and Shelly Lefkoe, Barbara Sher, Steve Pavlina, Brad Yates, Oprah Winfrey, Byron Katie, Elizabeth Gilbert, and countless others (way too many to list), I felt quite powerless to change my circumstances or to be consistently happy. Allowing myself to be influenced by empowered, conscious people has really made (and continues to make) a huge difference in my life.
I’ve noticed that many highly conscious people tend to quote other people’s words pretty often and are voracious readers and learners. If I were to gather all of these people into a room and ask, “Who in here considers yourself a student of life?”, a sea of hands would probably shoot into the air. They are humanitarians who enjoy giving back to the world; they help people and feel pulled to do so. That’s how my own life is unfolding as well. A big part of why I write this blog is because it feels wrong not to, as if it’s my duty to help people in this specific way. In that sense, it feels like a calling.
Getting to the core of why you feel unhappy and powerless is the realization that you are not the sum of your thoughts and beliefs; you are simply a consciousness residing in a body. The consciousness happens to have certain beliefs and assumptions about the world based on interpretations of past experiences.* Byron Katie, Morty Lefkoe, and others are expressing a similar sentiment. The idea is that you are a bigger, more creative consciousness than just the thoughts and beliefs you have. You are more powerful than you believe. If you are introspective, challenge your belief systems, and allow the internal process to happen, you will not only know intellectually that this is true, but will experience this as true.
The most inspiring thing about these highly conscious people? A lot of them used to feel absolutely miserable. Many of them (including Steve Pavlina, Morty Lefkoe, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Byron Katie) have publicly told their stories of misery, and how they previously operated in the world. Something inside them shifted; they came to realizations. With their help, so have I.
When I was younger, I felt talented yet was plagued by low self esteem. I knew I had certain gifts, such as music, dancing, drawing, making people laugh, and writing. Exercising my talent felt good on the surface. That didn’t matter, however, when it came to my emotional ups and downs. I had tremendous anxiety. Often I felt paralyzed and shut down. I would often express myself through angry or aggressive behavior.
I thought I was at the mercy of my wildly changing emotions, not realizing the extent to which I could actually keep them in check. I did not understand this higher consciousness thing, but experienced it when I was being creative. So I associated it with a certain type of creativity, like making music, but never with my sense of self. It felt like I would be stuck at that same level of consciousness forever, because it never occurred to me that a different level existed. My mind had latched onto a perceived identity based on my relationships with other people, and how I thought I was supposed to be.
Which is not to say I don’t still have my moments where I’m out of touch with reality. I do. But they have steadily become fewer and shorter. Life gets better and better. At times, astoundingly better in very short periods of time, because I know what I need to be doing to make it happen. Honestly, writing this blog has been one of the things that’s helping me the most.
* Paraphrased from Morty Lefkoe’s “Who Am I Really?” process
I was listening to a really interesting podcast today, in which pastor Rob Bell was interviewing two guys known as The Minimalists. (This was linked to on author Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page… a page I am pretty much obsessed with at this point, as her many wise posts have now essentially become my life coach. Haha.) Anyway, it was great to listen to while I was clearing clutter in my bedroom and bathroom, and I now have 3 more people to add to my ‘people who have inspired me’ list.
I love the idea of minimalism. I don’t like to own a lot of stuff, unless I am actively using the stuff. I read a ton of books, but most of them are library copies or on my Kindle (or both). I live in a smallish one-bedroom apartment and have one pet, just enough plates and silverware to only do dishes once a day, one bathroom, one set of sheets (i wash them, dry them, and put them right back on the bed). I tend to buy things as I need them and don’t stockpile unless there’s an exceptionally good deal on something I buy a lot of.
In other words, I live a fairly simple life when it comes to possessions – I do it in a way that works for me. Some people own more than me, some people own less than me, and it’s all okay. The point is that I’ve found a way to have a home that I enjoy.
I also like decluttering my mind, and assisting others in decluttering their minds.
Imagine that your mind is like a living room. To be stuck on a persistent, unpleasant thought, belief, or fear is kind of like having a giant, broken, ugly piece of furniture right snack dab in the middle of your living room. It’s not useful to you, it’s heavy, it’s clunky, it’s hideous, it’s distracting, and you don’t want it there. You just want to remove it so you can use the space to your liking. But you don’t know how to get rid of it.
Sure, you could learn to live with it. But you have to walk around it every single time, and that gets annoying. It’s also blocking your ability to see other parts of your home. It’s just IN THE WAY. Sometimes for a very long time, even years.
I want to help you gain the skills to remove that ugly-ass piece of furniture and take it outside of your home, where it belongs. If it’s in the way and not doing a thing for you, then you don’t need it anymore, and will be happier without it. Removing it will absolutely transform the living room that is your mind.
What’s left when the useless stuff is gone? Space. Breathing room. Freedom. Creative possibility. The living room is now fully accessible.
Your mind can become as infinite as you want it to be, if you use the proper techniques to make it so.
I’ve been filling out a few Judge Your Neighbor worksheets, and then going through the 4 questions (Is it true? Do I absolutely know it’s true? How do I react when I believe that thought? Who would I be without the thought?), and doing the turnarounds. For those who haven’t been reading the blog yet, I’m referring to The Work of Byron Katie, which can be found at thework.com.
And I have to say… this is an extremely powerful tool for emotional wellness. One of the most effective I’ve discovered yet. Typically it doesn’t take me long to fill out a worksheet – maybe 5 minutes. The inquiry portion of the worksheets, or the undoing of the thoughts, has been taking me about 40 minutes per sheet. Because I really sit with everything and allow it to change my perceptions.
Recently I was experiencing an emotional upset, as there has been a change and a loss in my life as of yesterday. Part of my grieving process has been talking to friends and doing worksheets about what’s happened. I did one last night and it helped tremendously.
If you’re interested in trying this method, you can find the worksheets here.