TAG | behavior change
While replacing a family photo in one of the little plastic frames that stick on my refrigerator, I found the original item I had displayed in that frame many years ago. It was a yellowed newspaper clipping of the “Ten Secrets That Can Transform Your Life”. I love it when you find an opportunity to compare yourself now to who you were in the past, and to celebrate how far you have grown. As I read down the list, I was smiling broadly, and so pleased to know that all of these “secrets” are now how I am living my life. I’m not saying I live by them all the time and never slip up, but that they represent my core beliefs and the results of years of conscious spiritual study, practice, and growth. They show me the current depth of my inner peace. They connect me with my joy.
So, here is the list for your review. As you read each secret, be honest with yourself. How much have you embraced this belief? How is it showing up in your life? What ones can you celebrate? Where are the opportunities to transform your life even more? Where is the most important place to start?
- Everything you need to be happy is INSIDE of you.
- The purpose of life is for you to GROW into the best human being you can be.
- Change is inevitable, so stop resisting and SURRENDER to life’s flow.
- All obstacles are lessons in disguise – HONOR them and learn from them.
- Your mind creates your EXPERIENCE of reality, so make your mind your friend.
- Fear will steal your aliveness – make your COURAGE bigger than your fear.
- You must love YOURSELF before you can give or receive love from anyone else.
- All relationships are your mirrors and all people are your TEACHERS.
- True FREEDOM comes from how you respond to life and not what life does to you.
- Whatever the question, LOVE is the answer.
I hope this wonderful list has inspired you on your life path. Maybe you want to cut it out and hang in on your frig…
With so much joy and gratitude,
“Change says, ‘I am not, and I must become.’ Transformation says, “I am and I am yielding to a process.”
The weather here on the coast of Massachusetts has been unseasonably Spring-like for several days now. I have made a point of spending some time outside each day and enjoying it while I can, because I know Winter is not quite finished with us hearty New Englanders, yet. I was walking down a path in a wonderful park by the ocean, when an older couple was walking towards me. I always enjoy connecting with people on my walks, so I looked up at them both and greeted them with “Beautiful day!” The woman replied “Isn’t it?” And the man replied “It is.” I was struck by the different sound and feeling of the two responses. With her voice going up at the end, “Isn’t it?” sounded questioning and felt tentative. With his voice going down at the end, “It is.” sounded declarative and felt like solid truth. “Isn’t it?” missed the moment of truly experiencing a heartfelt connection to “Beautiful day!” with its suggestion of doubt. “It is.” was in the moment, connected, knowing, with no doubt at all.
So if we believe that “thoughts are things” and in the importance of choosing our words carefully, we know that these seemingly small distinctions can be important. It is especially important when thinking and speaking about ourselves. Notice the difference between “I am not.” and “I am.” Notice how different it feels in your body when you say these words out loud. How much of the time are you focused on what you are not? Do you have a list of all the things you have to fix about yourself? What would happen if you turned that around? What would happen if you had faith in who you are in this moment?
Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Grow Rich,” says this about faith. “When faith is blended with the “vibration of thought,” the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.” He goes on to say we can develop faith through repeating affirmations to our subconscious mind. So let’s try an exercise. Get out a piece of paper and write “I AM” at the top. Now spend some time writing all of the positive things that you are right now; all of your strengths, all of your talents, all of your gifts, all that you like about yourself. If you find this difficult to do, try asking someone you love and trust to tell you what they see as your strengths.
Once you have your list, go back and circle all the things that you wrote that have an emotional question mark at the end; the ones you are tentative of, the ones where there is some lingering doubt about this being true. An example for me is “I am lovable.” I know in my mind that I have many people who love me, but there is this small area in my heart that still holds on to “I am not that.” These are the ones you want to practice as affirmations until you can feel and know them as solid truths about who you are. Try practicing 3 affirmations twice a day for a week, and then, if you feel ready, pick three new ones. Keep this up until you can read your whole list with belief in everything you wrote, with the transformation of faith that connects you to the divine being you truly are. I am. So it is.
To Your Magnificence,
P.S. For the creative types out there, check out “Write an I Am Poem” http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/iampoem.htm.
Recently, I was asked “How did you quit smoking?” In answering this question, I realized it was an important topic to share. The information below applies to many addictions in our lives; cigarettes, caffeine, food, sex, gambling, shopping.
I stopped smoking 13 year ago, after watching my parents, who were both heavy smokers, die from cancer (they had the same cancer at the same time, and died within 6 weeks of each other). When I was holding a cigarette up to my mother’s mouth because she could no longer hold it but still wanted to smoke, something clicked inside of me. This insane, deadly addiction is not going to own me like this! I just stopped cold turkey after that.
My recommendation to someone who wants to quit smoking, or another addiction, but doesn’t have a powerful, motivating image as I did, is to examine what smoking does for them. “What do I get out of smoking? What does the act of smoking give me? Aside from the physical addiction, what keeps me smoking?” Make a list of whatever comes to your mind without judgment or censoring. Review your list and note any themes and/or similar items.
Once you are clear on the “benefits” you get from smoking, you can determine which ones are important for you to keep and what new, healthy habits you could consider substituting. Start by sorting your original list. “What benefits from smoking serve me? What benefits no longer/don’t serve me?” For the ones that serve you, write down as many answers you can think of to the following question; “What could I do to get similar results that would be good for my body, mind and/or spirit?” As an example, if you decided a benefit that serves you is “taking a break and reflecting on what’s happening,” you could consider taking a break with a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea and spending a few moments in reflection. For the ones that don’t serve you, write down as many answers you can think of to the following question; “What could I do to let go of these and start a new habit that would be good for my body, mind and/or spirit?” An example of what doesn’t serve you might be “stuffing my feelings when I’m upset.” As an alternative, you could consider going for a walk to calm down, talking to someone about what you are feeling, or writing about your feelings in a journal.
From here it’s all about choice. How do you want to orchestrate your life going forward? What commitments do you want to make to yourself? What actions will you take? The Dalai Lama, in his book The Art of Happiness writes:
“One begins identifying those factors which lead to happiness and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one then sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way.”
Remember, we are co-creators of our lives with God, and together anything is possible…
Special thanks to Joya for asking the question and inspiring this week’s newsletter! As always, I’m here to support you in your journey, and would enjoy knowing how you’re doing and any feedback you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With Love and Gratitude,