Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Power of Choice

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Since my teenage years, I’ve been aware of my amazing powers of choice.  When I made a decision to do something, I did it.  When I decided to move out of my parent’s house at 17, even though I didn’t have a job, I did it.  I had to sell everything I owned to make rent, but it still counts.  When I decided to move to Europe at 18, everyone said I would never be able to do it.  After all, I had no money.  I got a live-in nanny job so I didn’t have to pay rent, saved my money and moved to France.  At 23 when I decided to get clean and sober, once again, most everyone I told didn’t believe it would last very long, that I lacked the discipline.  It’s been over 21 years now and I haven’t touched alcohol or drugs.  When I decided to move in with my boyfriend of 3 months, a lot of people doubted my choice.  “I give it a year, max!”  is what I heard.  I later married that boyfriend and we’re coming up on our 16th wedding anniversary. When I decided to go back to school and get a Bachelor of Science degree, at first I told myself I was crazy.  I was a total science dummy.  It was always my weakest subject at school.  But, I shook off the self-doubt and became determined to finish.  I not only got my diploma, but I graduated with highest honours.  When I decided to quit smoking, for the hundredth time, I was filled with dread for I had been conditioned by society’s belief and my own experience that it would be a nightmare, filled with intense cravings, grouchiness, weight gain, and all the other fun “truths” about nicotine withdrawal.  Then I learned that none of these truths were fact.  They were simply true because I believed them to be.  What if I chose not to have any of those unpleasant symptoms?  What if I believed it would be easy?  I chose that belief and, guess what?  It was easy.  It’s been 3 years and I haven’t had a single craving for a cigarette, I didn’t gain any weight, and didn’t feel a moment’s deprivation.  That’s when it was really driven home that I possessed an incredible power to choose my reality.

I mention all this, not to brag, or to convince anyone that I’m unique, but as a reminder to myself that I can do or have anything I choose.  It’s important that I use this power in a positive way.  It’s so easy to make decisions about myself or my life that are self-defeating.  It’s taken me years and years of practise to gain the confidence I now have in my powers of choice.  I know now, without a shred of doubt, that I choose my reality.  Everything in my life is here because of a choice I made somewhere along the way, either consciously or unconsciously, in this or previous lives.  “But what about the starving children in Africa or the victims of genocide and war?  They didn’t choose that!”, my little voice of self-doubt tells me.  Well, I can’t speak to that as it’s not my current reality.  I was blessed to be born into a life free from these horrors.  However, I do know that by using these stories of world events or the stories of my own personal tragedies in order to gather evidence to support the idea that I am a victim of my circumstances, serves no one.  It doesn’t help me, nor does it put me in a position to help others.

You’ve probably heard the old expression, “Be careful what you wish for…for it will surely happen.”  Well, it’s true.  I create my own story, my own reality.  If I put my energy toward a goal…something I want, it will absolutely manifest in my life.  This is fact.  I’ve proven it time and again to myself.  If I put my energy and thoughts toward doubt, fear, anger or lack, I will produce more of this in my life….manifest destiny.  What I focus on will increase exponentially.  If I place my focus on all the rational, legitimate reasons why I can’t have or do something, then this will be my reality.

What I find curious, is the clinging to negativity we seem to be constantly engaged in.  I clung so tightly to the many negative beliefs I had about myself and I spent a lot of time looking for validation of these truths… and I was proven right every time.  Why was I so determined to reinforce these negative ideas?  It just goes to show how powerful our thoughts can be.  The rationale behind affirmations and mantras is to program your thoughts and energy toward something positive.  I tried this with very little success.  The essential piece, I later found out I was missing, was generating the feeling as if it were already true.  When I recite an affirmation or mantra, but the little seed of doubt is hiding in the shadows, it simply doesn’t work.  If I can imagine what it would feel like if what I wanted to believe or create was already a reality, and intensify that feeling until my vibration matches my imagination, then it does manifest.  I no longer need faith in the power of this practice because I’ve already proven it to myself to be fact.

Today, I choose to spend my energy focusing only on the incredible abundance in my life, and I continue to be astonished as I watch it grow by leaps and bounds.  My wish is for everyone to experience this acute awareness of their own powers of choice and tap into this magnificent energy that will change their lives and, thus, change the world.


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There is no word for guilt in Tibetan.   The closest translation is “intelligent regret that decides to do things differently”.

Today, I’ve made the decision to move away from shame and guilt and allow only for intelligent regret.  This enables me to do things differently and more purposefully.  The following are three of my deepest regrets and the commitments I’m making to live a more joyful and beneficial life…

1. I regret wasting my energy on judgement and resentment instead of cultivating compassion.  I have been angry for so much of my life, I didn’t even notice the severity of it until I began to move away from it.  I was angry as a child, which continued throughout my teenage years and well into my early 40’s.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I made the decision to look at my anger, dive into its source and pull it out by the roots.  I discovered that most of it came from shame and guilt for things I’ve done or should have done, said or should have said, and stuff I allowed to cling to me, even though it wasn’t mine.  I know I never set out to intentionally hurt anyone. I do the best I can with what I have to work with at any given moment in time.  As I learn and acquire better tools, I become more adept at expressing myself honestly and productively, with less collateral damage. When I’m wrong, I accept responsibility and endeavour to right that wrong.  Denying my culpability only wastes enormous amounts of energy.  Holding onto the lies necessary to keep denial alive keeps me frozen in place.  I cannot move forward and enact change in my life if I’m not accountable for everything in my life.  I am the sole creator of my life experience.  It’s not always easy to see what my part is.  It takes skill and rigorous honesty to unravel the knot and discover what’s mine and then real mastery not to wallow in shame and guilt over it, which is another waste of energy.  This investigative process leads me to a much deeper understanding of myself and others.  I know that if I’m being harsh with myself, that harshness will seep into all my relationships and even my interactions with strangers.  With this realisation, I commit to being more patient and compassionate with myself and all beings.

2. I regret not allowing others into my heart.  I don’t know when or why I closed off my heart and, honestly, I didn’t even realise it was closed until a few years ago.  When I first began to notice this, I made a few excuses…..  “I can’t handle the input that comes through an open heart.”; “If I remain open, I’ll get hurt.”; “Some people are unsafe and if I’m open, they’ll get in and wreak all kinds of havoc!”.  I’m slowly learning that all these excuses, which sound quite reasonable, are simply untrue.  There is a way to keep an open heart in the presence of negativity by recognising that it’s simply a cover for suffering.  Showing our suffering makes us feel vulnerable. I don’t handle feeling vulnerable well.  In fact, I go to great lengths to hide it, even from myself.  This is why I started this blog.  I made a decision to open my heart and allow my vulnerability to come through.  This is the path toward joy and being of greater benefit to others.  I will only be hurt if I allow others’ negativity to imprint on me.  If I accept what is not mine and what is not true, take personally what is not about me, then I will suffer.  If I come from a place of negativity, I will only add more negative energy to the dynamic, which is unproductive.  I commit to remaining open-hearted and affirming positive intentions even in the face of overwhelming suffering.

3. I regret spending so much of my life running…. Running from love, running from connection, truth, responsibility and just being present in the moment.  I have a fear of being trapped.  The technical term is Cleithrophobia.  I only know this because my colleagues and I were goofing off at work one day looking up phobias for fun.  This particular phobia caught my eye because it describes me perfectly.  My husband and I have an inside joke about me mentally packing my bags whenever we have a disagreement or any kind of discord.  It used to worry him, but after 17 plus years together he’s learned to trust that I won’t actually leave.  I always do a runner in my head as it fills some need in me that has to feel free to go, free to be free.  The moment I feel tethered or restrained, my fight or flight response is activated and I go through the mental exercise of packing my bags into my car and speeding away, leaving skid marks on my driveway.  Over the years, with a lot of determination and training, I’ve managed to slow down the reflex to fight or run and simply be in the moment.  I allow for the mental process instead of denying it.  I find that resisting the feelings by labelling them “bad” and trying to banish them only makes them stronger.  I’ve learned that there are no bad feelings….there are just feelings.  I have a practice of finding a safe place (for me it’s writing in a notebook) and allowing all my feelings to pour out, unedited and unrestrained, onto the pages.  I take them as far as I can into the realm of pure ridiculousness until they have no power anymore.  It’s quite funny sometimes, reading it later.  Humour somehow takes all the potency out of even the strongest of emotions.  So, I commit to continuing this practice of staying, remaining like a log, as they say, being present in the moment and allowing all my feelings to have a voice.

These commitments might seem hard and even downright impossible to some.  But I know from personal experience that they are possible to achieve.  I may not maintain them perfectly, all of the time, and that’s ok.  By renewing my intentions every morning, and even moment-by-moment when I catch myself wobbling, I reinforce and continue the momentum of positive energy being put forth.  What comes back to me is pure bliss.

Om mani padme hum.