Category Archives for Reflections

The Message In The Buns

At the end of July I went to Kripalu in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to see author and world renowned life coach, Martha Beck. This was the first trip I planned all by myself since I was 26 and cashed in all my airline miles to fly out to Northern California and visit my uncle before he passed away. I think it's safe to say that I was overdue. The weekend was based mainly on her book Finding Your Way In A Wild New World and it was incredible!

On the last day Martha taught us a technique to interpret our dreams. In this technique you "become" an object in your dream and describe it, then ask what is it's message for you. I do not tend to be a big dream person, but it must have sunk into my brain because I have been having much more vivid dreams since I returned. A few nights ago a bag of delicious, fluffy hamburger buns appeared in my dream which was perfect since we had needed them at dinner the night before. So, the bag of hamburger buns were stuck in my mind and I decided to go all Martha on those buns. I imagined I was the buns. I imagined going deep into the bag of buns, "I am soft and deep. I am plentiful and perfect. I am abundant. I serve a purpose in a luxurious and enjoyable way." According to Martha I have actually been describing myself by becoming the buns. The idea is that what we see in others we have inside of ourselves, so I am recognizing in the buns all of these aspects of myself. Awesome!

What do I, the hamburger buns, have to tell Heather the dreamer of the buns? "You have everything you need and more and it is here for you not just to get by but to savor and enjoy!"

Excellent, right? While I was having this great epiphany I was driving into the crowded parking lot at the grocery store. "Everything I need is here for me" I repeat to myself. Yep, up front parking space opens just as I pull up. I go into the store and it is jammed. I am on sensory overload as I have just come out of this meditative wide open place into this congested busy one. I literally feel that I am being stalked by carriages and start to scurry down the aisle. I am crawling out of my skin with the feeling of this carriage chasing right behind me. Finally I turn to see who it could be. I start to laugh out loud because I am literally being chased by a carriage FULL OF HAMBURGER BUNS!

I let the grocery store employee pass me by with the buns and I follow them to the bakery. I needed to find the bread and this need was met in an enjoyable way. Thank you Hamburger Buns!

The Themes of Our Lives

how to tell a story

Lives have themes. Recurrent experiences that appear in one form or another throughout our existence. These themes weave themselves intricately into all parts of our existence and all phases of our lives. Who knows how and why we choose these themes for ourselves. Do we pick them before we come into the physical world as lessons we chose to learn, are they shaped by our family patterns, do we simply act as magnets attracting to us that which we are holding inside? Whatever the reason… there is a reason,  a deep gift of levity and magic that is ours when we accept our themes as constructs we have cobbled together. Our themes give us a framework of belief and help us organize our perceptions of the world, they also limit what we allow ourselves to experience by acting as blinders to the infinite universe of Possibilities.

We need do nothing more than notice. Notice how we have a refrain of self doubt or disgust, a refrain of self pity or outrage. Then allow ourselves the luxury of stopping for a moment and asking ourselves, “What would I rather have? What would I have room for in my life if all of my space wasn’t consumed with this?” All it takes is a moment to step out from under your story and allow the magic to drop into your life. What you do with whatever shows up is your business!

ask yourself

 

What If It Doesn’t Feel Right?

“If you want something in your life you’ve never had,

You’ll have to do something  you’ve never done.”

                                                                                              -JD Houston

Trying new things is most often an uncomfortable experience. Some brave, adventurous, and possibly kooky individuals have come to enjoy living in that uncomfortable place. It seems life would be adventurous and exciting if I was happy to live in that often uncomfortable place of the wild unknown. Alas, I am not. I am pretty big on comfortable, known, and expected outcomes. It suits me fine! Thank you very much.

Except, I now am building a career as a healer and teacher. Something I have not done before, and I can feel the uncertainty of it, A LOT! How do you know how to do what you have not done before? I do a lot of the expected, rational things like ask questions of people who have gone before me, read lots of books, try lots of ideas, and do my best to trust my gut. I rely on that last one a lot!  I put a lot of stock in how things sit with me, like how I feel when meeting a new person.

In the recent Spring Manifestations class we spent a lot of time getting in touch with what we feel like internally and using that internal state as a guide to what we want to manifest in our lives.  We spoke about what happens when what we think we want brings up a fearful reaction in our bodies. How spending some time feeling that fear can help us begin to tease apart anticipatory or unfamiliar feelings of fear vs. a flashing red beacon from the Universe to turn around and look for another path. We also realized how many of us were facing those grown up decisions where there is no “right” answer. The decisions you kind of wish someone else would make for you. How do you know what to choose when everything feels scary or not quite right?

I saw a film called “The Thought Exchange” which so thoroughly examines this dilemma. First of all, a distinction between feelings and sensations is made. Feelings such as happy, sad, or mad are labels we attach to sensations we experience in our bodies. Uncomfortable or painful sensations are so unpleasant that we most often exchange the thoughts that brought them up for ones that make us feel more familiar or comfortable. These uncomfortable sensations almost always show up when we envision for ourselves attaining or creating something new in our lives. For example, “I am creating a financially successful business doing work that I love,” becomes “I will never create a financially successful business doing work that I love.” Why would we make a switch like that? How could it ever feel better to believe this negative thought? Well, if the idea of creating a financially successful business feels new and challenging and scary, maybe even impossible. Then the thought, “I will never create a financially successful business” feels much safer and less overwhelming. In this way we unconsciously sell ourselves down the river. Foregoing what we truly desire so we can feel comfortable, even when what feels comfortable doesn’t feel good.

If we can, moment by moment, feel the sensations and do it anyway, that is how we cross the bridge from where we are to where we want to be. Sit with the uncomfortable sensations without needing to attach labels or thoughts to them. If you absolutely have to you can make up new labels that serve you better. Instead of sick with anxiety, how about giddy with anticipation?

There is a cute example of an exercise people try at the Thought Exchange workshops. Someone pretends to be working behind the counter at the Thought Exchange Department Store.  Another participant is encouraged to approach the counter and exchange a thought.  In this example, the customer comes up to the counter and says, “Hello, I would like to exchange the thought,  ‘I’m a piece of crap’.” The woman behind the counter says, “Yes, okay and what would you like to exchange it for?”  The customer says, “I would like to try ‘I am an amazing person with limitless potential’.”  The woman behind the counter says, “Yes, no problem. Here you are” and pretends to take one box away and replace it with another. The customer walks out with the thought, “I am an amazing person with limitless potential.” I encourage you to play with this exercise next time you are thinking that something is impossible or never going to happen. Sit with a different thought for a moment and see if the sensations you experience in your body change. This has been a fun way for me to begin noticing the difference between something that truly “Doesn’t feel right” and something that just feels uncomfortable or intimidating because I haven’t done it before.

dont give up

Mantra

Are we this far into May and I haven’t posted my alphabetical inspiration yet? Yup, that’s right. Forgot all about it.

mantra machine

I am gonna fly by the seat of my pants here and go with Mantra. I am not going to attempt to educate you on the use of Mantra in meditation, prayer, healing, etc. Many of you probably know much more than me. I will tell you I have devised a few of my own that help move me out of  yucky emotional spaces or when I find myself stuck in repetitive negative thoughts.  My most recent is super embarrassing but really hit the spot when I realized that I had been pretty mean to myself all morning with the same worrisome messages over and over. Imagine this sung to the tune of Frere Jacque,

I am awesome, I am awesome

Yes indeed, Yes indeed

I really really love me, I really really love me

Yes indeed, Yes indeed

Did I feel like a complete wackado in my kitchen humming to myself? You betcha. But after a few minutes that little tune started to drown out the other stuff and I could happily get on with my day. Zero calories, free, and it makes you feel good. What’s not to love?

Click here for Deva Premal and enjoy Mantra in a much more melodious form.

Trust The Process

I noticed something interesting about how people create at our Messy and Grateful class where we created Gratitude Boxes. At the beginning of class we mingled around and picked out our supplies. It became evident fairly quickly that everyone had a little bit different process. Some people were more hesitant and asked questions before they began. Some people picked out a few supplies and quietly and methodically began constructing their box. Others were up and down rummaging through the supplies and creating on the fly. As I looked around the room it made perfect sense.

Strategy                           painter

tiny businesswoman

The way we create matches our personality, and is a mirror for how we approach life.

“As we do one, so we do all.”

-Jennifer Longmore

It got me thinking about what my style of creating life looks like. I am definitely a jump all the way in before you have a chance to over think it. Assume it will all be smooth sailing, and if it isn’t then discover you have no idea what you are actually doing.

This is where I always begin to beat myself up and lose confidence. Why am I not more organized like so and so. Why didn’t I get more support before I started. This would never happen if I was more…

But now I have a new perspective. I see this is just my process. I can actually see a fun and beautiful pattern to all of my fumbling and creating and success and failure. This is me and it’s how I live and learn and create. When I look at it from this angle I am pretty darn proud of myself.

How do you do what you do? 

 

January Inspiration

Hello again everybody. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from writing the last few months, mainly because I couldn’t decide what to write. As soon as an idea would come to me and start to form it was gone like a wisp of smoke before I had the chance to nail it down. I have consciously chosen to allow this process to unfold as it fits perfectly with the course of my life at the moment. Nothing overly dramatic but enough to throw me a bit off balance. Let me explain.

I found out in the beginning of October that my job would be changing and I might be out of work within months. My first reaction was pretty much panic, but thankfully my husband remained strong and positive and anchored me back down. Since then it seems seems that I will remain employed but what that will look like exactly is still completely unknown. Will I be working from home, an office, part time, full time, who knows. The beauty of these last few months is that I HATE uncertainty. I would never allow this to happen by choice in any way but here I am, in limbo. This also comes at a time when many other areas of my life have recently changed or are in the process of changing. (I am not trying to be vague just keep this to short story length rather than novel.)

Why would I choose the word beauty to describe these waves of change and upheaval? The reason is that in order to not completely lose my marbles through this process, I have begun to learn to drop into my heart. I can  hang out in the clarity I find there and escape from the endless firestorm of doubt and fear that swirls in my mind. When I drop into my heart my energy becomes that of gratitude and trust. There is room for Joy and compassion and plenty of time. When I return to my usual habit of trying to reason my way through my life there is never enough time for anything really, there is doubt and recrimination for who I am and where I am. And, surprise, I am not very happy. Yuck! Yuck! Eeewww!

I am grateful for this gift of indecision, unknowing, and uncertainty as it has given rise to a new clarity in me. A new confidence that I can roll with the punches and be just fine. For right now, I still work from home and have the freedom to put my feet up and enjoy the delicious lemonade I have squeezed out of this handful of lemons.

That brings me to this blog and where I want it to go. I was thinking a little mix of structure and uncertainty suited me just fine. So this is my idea. This year I am dividing the blog up into the months and will choose a word of the month based on the first letter of the month. The uncertainty is (and this is a little under dramatic) that I haven’t decided what each month will be. I am just gonna make it up when I get there. So, for January it is Joy, my favorite! I will try and write about experiences big or small on this theme for the month.

Today, I had a simple moment of Joy after picking up my Father-In-Law from his doctors appointment. He is such a sweet and simple man. Never wants for anything my husband likes to say. He has had some health issues in the last few months and recently his car conked out. All of us have been taking turns helping him get to appointments and the grocery store. All of this must be so hard for him as he is a very independent person who would much rather walk or take the bus than inconvenience anyone. Regardless, I was driving him home and telling him a story about how I had introduced myself to a woman at a party recently and been completely snubbed. I told him how she would have been happier to kiss a toad than make small talk with me. He came back with a few funny choice remarks I could have shared with her. I saw in a flash the amazing loyalty I love so much in my husband. It touched me so deeply to see the loyalty and the humor they both  share. It gave me a new insight to my husband to see how that part of him came straight from his Dad. I had always assumed it was his Mom who was the more outspoken one of the pair. How lucky I am to  have these two wonderful men in my life!

very-inspirational-blogger (1)

Lastly, I want to thank   Space For Lasam for nominating me for an Inspiring Blogger award.  As part of accepting the award I am supposed to write 7 things about myself that you might not know. I think if you read this blog that would probably be a bit redundant… but I can tell you that as a child we lived in the country and had an assortment of animals. Most of them were very ill tempered. We had one large black goat named Billy who was especially mean. My father said this was  because we (kids) would tease him. I didn’t really remember teasing him, but I usually assume blame first and ask questions later.

I took it upon myself to straighten things out between the two of us.  Billy was tied out, munching on some bushes. I brought over some of his favorite acorns and proceeded to have a deep heart to heart talk, apologizing for any cruel deeds I may have done. Billy came over to eat all the acorns I had brought which I took to be a sign of reconciliation. Next, Billy proceeded to beat the crap out of me. He knocked the wind out of me with a head butt to the stomach and continued whacking me with his rock hard noggin as I crawled out of range. Ouch! Looking back now it’s pretty obvious we were not on the same page with what we wanted out of the relationship. I was looking for a furry friend to hang with. He was looking for some acorns and a Tae Bo work out.

Next, I am supposed to nominate 15 blogs that inspire me. Here’s my problem.  I hate this. I feel like there are some blogs I should nominate, some I’m obligated to nominate and so many others that have already been nominated…  It is not a joyful experience. In my new effort to pursue things that bring me joy, I am bailing on this list. I love lots of blogs and enjoy laughing, crying, learning and sharing with all of you. If you are interested in some recommendations let me know what you like and I’ll see what I can come up with.

All my best for a Happy New Year!!!!

Behind the Mask

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are

when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved

and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed

and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world

but to unglove ourselves so that the door knob feels cold

and the car handle feels wet

and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being

soft and unrepeatable.”

                                                            –Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening

I heard this beautiful quote this morning on a podcast from Tara Brach. I promise you if you are feeling out of sorts for any reason just listening to her voice will make you feel better. If you focus on what she is actually saying… forget about it!

She says, “The less we’re identified with the hard ego coverings the more we can be touched by life.”

This is so fitting for what is happening for myself and so many people around me right now. As we think about giving up long-held beliefs about who we are or secrets we believe define us, it feels raw and scary. Like we are exposing ourselves to unnecessary pain and ridicule. The potential pay off is so huge. We grow stronger, not weaker by exposing our true selves.  Feeling loved and connected to others is the most basic of human needs and recognizing those flashes when you really feel it and express it, are the first step to figuring out how to live there.  I encourage you to find ways every day to be a little more real, a little more from the heart. Trust in the wisdom of the universe to take care of the rest.

I want to remind you of my offer for 2 free months of Life Script Editing with me. I have a few amazing “clients” who have signed up and would like to start a few more people in the beginning of November. Just in time for the Holidays- get ready to imagine less drama this year! Please email me at: heather@lifeandfriendship.com if you would like to sign up or get more information.

Stop Thinking and Try Doing

Avoiding danger is no safer

in the long run 

than outright exposure.

The fearful are caught 

as often as the bold.

-Helen Keller

First of all, you have to tell yourself if Helen Keller can believe this,  there is really no reason you can’t too. Second, who cares if you don’t make it to where you think you need to be. If you reach past your fears you are really living. You can figure out the details on the way!

Take a big deep breath, let it out. Repeat as needed. Go for it.

Reading the Signs

Look at the problems in your life. Ask yourself, “What kind of thoughts am I having that create this?” -Louise Hay

I have been working on a new theory and wasn’t going to write about it until I really had it nailed. Then I realized that is my fall back avoidance technique so I am just throwing it out there now and hoping to get feedback from all of you!

I think I mentioned a while back about the idea that feeling bad or guilty is a replacement for action. I heard this idea in the Design Your Life class I took. The discussion was about being in or keeping your integrity. If you do what you say you will do, you have integrity. If you don’t do what you said you will do, you are out of integrity. Now comes a choice. You can either take action to remedy the situation. This can be tough because it probably involves telling the truth about why you didn’t do whatever “it” was. Option B is that you can feel bad about not doing “it” and make up for it through self-flagellation. For example, “I was 30 minutes late for the appointment because I couldn’t be bothered to get ready on time, but I feel really badly about it,” or “I know I said I would go to the party and I stayed home on the couch instead, but I feel reeeaaallly guilty.” This one is a classic, “I know I promised I would get more exercise and I haven’t done shit, but I feel really crappy about myself. Does that make up for it?”

You get the idea. This concept totally made sense to me and I could see how much less time I could spend feeling badly if I simply said what I meant and did what I said. Well, simply might be a stretch… it’s a learning curve really.

The more time I have spent slowing down, meditating, and listening to how I am feeling, the more I have started to think that feeling bad is really a guide in all areas of my life. Feeling guilty, sad, angry, disappointed or frustrated is really a spiritual nudge to get my butt back on track. When I realize I am driving around white knuckled or grinding my teeth down to nubs I start to run down the list of what could be causing it. Is there something I need to tell somebody? Did I not handle a situation in a positive way? Is there something I am avoiding?Whatever it is I can decide if I want to go back to fix it or just take a few minutes to learn from that FEELING. I have found a pattern for myself and I am guessing all of us have our own “feeling code” we can learn.  I know when I am feeling restless, irritable and just put out in general it is usually because I am not moving forward towards my goals. Allowing fear to hold me back does not seem to agree with me!

I am thinking too about feelings in your body. Could physical pain or illness be signs too that we are “out of alignment”? I shy away from committing to this idea because I feel an element of blame. I would never want someone dealing with illness or pain to feel somehow judged or at fault. On the other hand I think of what a wonderful thing it would be if we could all learn how to understand messages our body was sending us. “My back is acting up again. I really have to stop bad mouthing my neighbor.” I just ordered a book from Louise Hay. I am curious to see how she explains these concepts. What do you think? Have you had any experiences with this yourself?

Go Ahead, Jump

We spent a little time in Tahoe on our recent trip out west. Man is it gorgeous out there! We all fell in love and started dreaming of going back for a whole week next summer. That is until we felt the water temperature- Yikes! I am on something of a mission lately to jump on every chance I get for adventure, but one dunk of my toes and I knew there was no way I was going in.  Down the beach was a little pier and a few brave kids were jumping off the end.

My son was fascinated and decided he was going to jump too. So, after we had lunch we strolled down. As we got towards the end of the pier his anxiety started to spike. When he tried to climb up on the railing he was truly terrified but still so determined to jump. He was down in the dumps that he had chickened out. Why? We all do this to ourselves, we make up some imaginary bar and then beat ourselves up if we don’t reach it. I get it that setting goals is awesome and totally moves you to a whole new place, but not reaching your goals is a valid part of the process too. Maybe it gives you more determination for the next time, teaches you something about the limits you have set for yourself, or maybe you just need more than one crack at it.

I spoke to him for a minute about fear being an evolutionary device programmed into your body to protect you against danger. I told him you can choose to ignore the warning and go for it. Twenty seconds of courage, right? He went down to a lower area where my daughter was working up her courage and with a little support from my husband, in they went. Twice. I was so proud of them. They had made up their minds that it was going to happen and they did it!

My son was bummed out as he hadn’t jumped from the highest point. I am working on him, though. He jumped right into his fear and swam all the way to shore.  I am positive that when we go back he will take that high dive. He just needs one more chance.

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