Relating to the Future

Although the skeletons in your closet are all about the past, it is very important to consider how you relate to the future. As I talk about in the last chapter of Love Your Skeletons, finding a way to have hope is crucial.

Even if your past is a mess of mistakes, abuse, bad parents, crazy friends and terrible relationships, the future isn’t written yet. Life can be anything you make it. But you have to learn to leave the past behind and look forward with hope — make plans, imagine the best, think kind thoughts about yourself — in order to make a new future.

How can you actually do this? It’s not as hard as you think. Here are a few ideas:

-Think of someone who is successful, and imagine that she had a messed-up past too. She found a way to overcome whatever happened, love herself and allow her abundance and success to come in! Now imagine that you can do the same!

- Whenever you feel tempted to deny yourself something you enjoy, or punish yourself, take a deep breath and say “I am not going to be mean to myself. I am a good person. I deserve good things in my life.”

- Sit down in the morning with a hot cup of coffee or tea and watch the sun rise. As its rays lighten the sky and then break over the horizon, hopefulness comes naturally.


Photo by Mary Klassen

Connecting with the Essense of Appreciation

Gratitude is so important to focus on. It makes the difference between smelling the roses and just inhaling a different flavoured air.

Making a list of things to be grateful for is nothing new. Many people keep a gratitude journal to help them to remember all the things they have to be thankful for. I think we all know intuitively that this is a good practice, and that connecting with gratitude is the way to a more enlightened life. There is a little more to it than just scribbling in a book, however.

Mindlessly writing is mindlessly writing. It doesn’t matter what’s actually getting onto the page. When you are making a list of things to be thankful for, do so consciously. Pause and really picture what it is you appreciate about that thing. Connect with the wonder of it, the beauty or the specialness. This isn’t a “head-thing” — making a longer list, or adding more adjectives (details). It’s a “heart-thing.” Activate your imagination and feel the appreciation grow.

In fact, if you think about it, sometimes when you are thankful for something what’s actually active in your vibration is the very thing you don’t want. For example, you could be thankful for your health, but in your mind, you are thinking of this-or-that person who has the flu, and *whew* you haven’t caught it yet. If you continue down this road of thinking, you may end up with the flu after all, because of the Law of Attraction. You spent more time thinking about the flu than thinking about how healthy, energetic and spunky you feel! This may actually explain the increase in cancer we are seeing lately. Rather than focusing on being healthy, people everywhere are focusing on the illness, the symptoms, the treatments, and the deaths.

Shift your focus. Be sympathetic to those who are ill, but don’t forget what it means to be healthy. Be more grateful, but make sure that your focus is on the thing you love and the gratitude or appreciation itself. In fact, just changing your lingo from “gratitude” to appreciation can be enough to remind you that it’s all about the positive aspects, the light, and the beauty.

Note: You may like to join the Gratitude log — a place to post whatever you are grateful for!

The Cure for Worry

If you’ve read my book, you already know the cure for self-pity — thankfulness! Like a flash of lightning, it came to me today:

The cure for worry is trust.

The concept of trust came to me strongly about two years ago. I had decided to go on a seven-day solo kayak trip on the Peace River. I am an experienced kayaker, so a kayak trip was not outside my range of abilities, but to go for seven days all alone in the wilderness, that stretched me out of my comfort zone a little. I was nervous about the river I was on (even though it had no significant rapids). I was nervous about having difficulties disembarking in a current on a muddy shore, all by myself. I was a little worried about bears and wolves. I was extra careful in everything I did, because I didn’t want to injure myself.

It took me about three days to relax a little and feel comfortable being on my own. On the fourth day, I started developing some pain in my right shoulder, so all that day and the next, I had to paddle very carefully — consciously — to make sure I wouldn’t injure it further. I averaged about 50 km per day, which made for pretty long days. It was late on the fifth day as I was paddling toward my goal for the day that a message came to me directly from my intuition.

It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Three words just appeared in my thoughts. I had been very meditatively paddling for about an hour, and the river was glistening, the breeze blowing and the sun setting. I chalk it up to five days in the sunshine, wilderness, solitude and serenity. Source (or God), was finally able to get through all the clutter in my mind, and the message It felt most important to deliver was:

Trust and Enjoy.

My heart sang as I realized I had finally connected with my intuition! And the message was so wonderful and simple! I did it joyfully — I trusted that I was going to be fine. I stopped worrying about drowning in the river and trusted the river to carry me. I enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful peace of that moment.

Today, almost two years later, I was thinking about why worry is so destructive and unhelpful. Worrying about your problems seems to make them a hundred times worse, both in how they feel and in how they actually are. How can a person combat that tough bugger, worry? More easily this time, the word came to me: Trust.

I love simple solutions! Isn’t this great?!? If you want to stop worrying, just trust. I won’t tell you what to trust in, just trust. Trust in God, if you like. Trust that the Universe is on your side. Trust that Source wants to bless you, not curse you. Donald Cooper, a successful businessman, says “trust the process.” That works as well as anything — trust that if you are doing your best, there is nothing to worry about. Trust the process. You are improving. You are growing. You are already amazing, and you’re getting even better!!

I don’t think it really matters what you trust in. Trust in yourself, trust in your family, trust in the laws of physics or the laws of the Universe. You cannot trust and worry at the same time. Whenever worry rears its very ugly head, take a deep breath and remind yourself to trust.

Pink sunset on the Peace River

Pink sunset on the Peace River

I’ll have to tell you the story of the time I sat out a thunderstorm on the shore of the river with no shelter or protection. That was life-changing too!

Changing Perspective

I tweet pretty often now (follow me at LoveYoSkeletons), and I saw a great one today by Deepak Chopra:

Every problem is open to a spiritual solution. It is found by expanding your awareness, moving beyond the limited vision of the problem.

How true. I thought that I might be able to help you with some ideas on how to move beyond your vision of the problem, or change your perspective.

When you are really struggling, really in the thick of things and perhaps even fighting depression, try these thought-starters:

- What might I think about this in 20 or 30 years? Will it seem like such an awful thing then?
- What might my mate or best friend have to say about this? What would his/her perspective be?
- Is this actually life threatening? (Often, we feel afraid like something is life threatening when it isn’t.)

To really make the shift Deepak is talking about, however, we should look into the non-physical realm. Sit quietly, take a few deep breaths and come back to the present moment. Ask yourself (pause after each question to see if an answer “bubbles forth” into your mind):

- What would my angels or spirit guides have to say about this?
- Sometimes there is a solution “out of left field.” It might even seem to be unrelated to the problem. What might that be?
- How could I take better care of myself?

That last one might seem a little “out of left field” too, but if you think about it, when we take better care of ourselves — love and appreciate ourselves — our energy flows more smoothly, our anxiety goes down and the spiritual solution becomes apparent or simply takes care of the problem. It is not complicated: you know how you may have been mistreating or not loving yourself. Connect with Spirit and connect with self-appreciation (and do something fun!) and most problems disappear in the wind.

Moving Up the Emotional Scale

It can be tough sometimes to overcome skeletons in your closet. Without meaning to, we can get stuck in certain patterns, and those patterns can often be summarized into an emotional state, such as disappointment, pessimism or anger.

It is not too hard to move up the emotional scale, by reaching for a better-feeling thought. Like climbing a flight of stairs, you just step up to the next one, you don’t try to jump all the way to the top. Read the emotional scale, originally from Ester and Jerry Hicks (or Abraham-Hicks) book Ask and It is Given. Where are you on the emotional scale today?


Joy! Empowerment! Love! Appreciation!
Passion
Enthusiasm, eagerness, happiness
Positive expectation/belief
Optimism
Hopefulness
Contentment
Boredom
Pessimism
Frustration, irritation, impatience
“Overwhelment”
Disappointment
Doubt
Worry
Blame
Discouragement
Anger
Revenge
Hatred/rage
Jealousy

So even though you might be feeling stuck at disappointment, perhaps you can reach for an overwhelming thought. Don’t stay there too long – try to reach for a frustrating thought. Even though this is not exactly enlightened thinking, it will be an improvement on overwhelment. If you can get yourself to pessimism, you are only two steps away from contentment!

You can do this process over the course of a single day, but also over several days. In fact, these levels are just shades of gray between the ultimate best-feeling and worst-feeling thoughts. Just reach for the best one you can find at any given moment in time! As you get higher and higher, even if it is just for a short time, “milk it” for all its worth and it will get easier and easier to reach those happy levels!

More about the emotional scale in chapter 19 of the book! Order a copy today! paperback | ebook

Happy 2012!

So, 2011 is officially over — what kind of year was it for you? Have you done a sort of personal “year in review?” If so, how does it look? Scary? Good? Not bad on the whole, but could be better?

How would you like 2012 to be? I think a lot of us were raised not to think of the future too much, not to hope for too much, and not to ask for much at all! But, if we want to expand into the happy, fulfilled people we are meant to be, thinking of the future in an optimistic, hopeful way is imperative. Take some time during this first week of January and dare to think about what you would like your life to be like.

Try this for fun: project twelve months ahead and tell yourself a story about how it will be. It could be something like “next December, I’ll be so happy! I’ll be more relaxed than I was this year, and my issues at work will be resolved. My money situation will be much better, and I’ll be surrounded by friends for the holidays…” Think about whatever you’d like. Address issues you are working on, or areas you wish were different — really get fantasizing! Try and focus on this positive dream of the future for a full minute, or longer if you can. The more you can do it, the more likely it is to come true.

I know lots of us are susceptible to apocalypsing (imagining the worst in full, HD colour!), so doing some optimistic day dreaming will help to counteract the apocalypsing, especially if you nip it in the bud.

It’s going to be a great year (as long as the Mayans weren’t right about the end of the world…)!

Where You’re Hurting

Nobody likes pain. We don’t like physical pain and we don’t like emotional pain. When we feel it, we want it to stop, and we’ll sometimes go to great measures to do so.
But pain is not all bad. Sometimes when I’m in pain, I have to tell myself “this hurts, but it will not kill me. I am not going to die.” This helps me not to panic, and it might be helpful to tell yourself that too.
Let’s talk about physical pain for a moment and then make some comparisons to emotional pain. The following is taken from this website, which is about how pain works, and how our mental state affects how we feel pain and how we heal. Read on, and don’t worry if there are parts you don’t understand. The most important part is the last sentence:

“Pain can be defined as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional (conscious) experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.’ Although unpleasant, experiencing pain is important for a variety of reasons: in the first instance it acts as a warning of harm, but it will also give rise to a number of physiological responses. The best known of these is axon flare (activated through the axon reflex), which causes vasodilation, reddening and increased sensitivity of the skin surrounding an injured area (triple response). This immediate physical response to injury and pain is important in initiating the processes necessary for repair.”

So without pain, your body would not know it’s hurt and would not start the physical responses that we know as “healing.” Pain has an important part in our healing process. Where you’re hurting is where you’re healing.
Think about this with respect to emotional pain now. If you are hurting from a particular situation, for example, a broken relationship, you also have the most potential for healing in the areas of relationships at that time. If you never hurt — if you were a heartless, nasty person — you have no capacity for healing or growth. Once you are over the pain, the potential for healing and growth in this area decreases. This makes sense if you think about it; when you have healed emotionally from a situation and you are back to your normal routine, you aren’t as inclined to grow. You’re cruising along on the growth you have already accomplished, and that’s a good and necessary stage to go through too!

So, what area are you hurting in? If you did some journaling, do you think you might realize exactly what areas you are growing in? Can you imagine what you would look like having healed from this particular hurt? Spend some time in thick self-appreciation imagining yourself “all healed up” and know that this is the road you are on.

More Encouragement | News

We’re All Okay

We all get bogged down in our skeletons sometimes, or even just in the stressers of daily life. Do you ever just want to just feel good again? Or just want it to be over, whatever “it” is?
We all do! We all feel frustrated with our situation or with ourselves at times. Being mad at yourself, or disappointed in yourself, is the toughest place to be. Sometimes we are frustrated because we know we can or should handle things better, and sometimes it’s just because we feel like we aren’t living up to our expectations or goals. And this can really take your self-esteem and self-appreciation down a few notches. Plus, you can’t get away from yourself, although many have tried with the overuse of alcohol and drugs.
We all want to feel that we’re okay. We all doubt, at times, if we’re normal, or if we are a “bad person,” or if we are worthy of anything good in our lives. When things are really pressing on you hard, it’s okay to seek relief, just to want to feel okay. It’s absolutely 100% okay to just wish things were different for a while. It’s absolutely 100% okay to want to just do something for fun, to take your mind off your troubles and help you feel okay. It’s 100% okay to distract yourself sometimes, just to get your mind out of the hole it’s been in. Sometimes that’s the only way to get out of a “funk” — a bad mood that you woke up with or developed over the day that you just can’t seem to shake.
If there is something you enjoy doing strictly for fun, and it isn’t hurtful to you or anyone else, go and do it! If you have a hobby that makes you happy — golfing, knitting, painting, gardening, whatever — make some time today to go and do it for a little while. The world will not fall apart if you stop working for 20 minutes and have fun. You will feel entirely better for taking time out for fun, and it will help you “to feel okay.” You are whole, you just forget it sometimes when you get the blinders on, working with your nose to the grindstone, or spend too much time thinking critically about yourself. You are awesome, you just forget sometimes.

Pussy Willows

Why do pussy willows exist,
except to tell us that
spring is coming,
and it is soft and delicate and
beautiful.
Winter is drawing to an end,
and the sun is warming the world.
Life that has been smothered
erupts from the tiniest twigs.
In precious, furry bundles,
it renews our hope.