Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thankfulness

I think it’s pretty awesome that most of us have a Holiday all about gratitude. I also think it’s unfortunate how crazy things can get for some people, so much so that often feeling thankful is the last thing being thought about. All the chaos of travel around the Holidays, being with family, or not being with family, etc. can often keep some of us from fully remembering to count our blessings or feel appreciative of the gifts in our life.

My family has a tradition where we hold hands and each say what we are thankful for before Thanksgiving dinner. It’s really the only time we do that and it’s rather lovely. I can’t remember when I stopped “saying grace” before a meal, but it’s not a general practice for me. Perhaps in part because it became a recitation of a prayer that had no real meaning.

I wonder how many people make appreciation and gratitude a part of their daily life. I confess I haven’t been one. As a matter of fact, when I was writing on retreat last month, I wrote a topic heading for Gratitude but then skipped to the next section without writing anything about it. I knew it was important enough to include, however I wasn’t in a feeling space to complete it.

I do remember a period of time where I was committed to keeping a daily gratitude journal. Each night before bed I would write a list of things in it. One night, as I was doing this exercise, I realized I was doing it out of some sense of duty and was no longer actually FEELING the sense of thankfulness. With this realization I recognized that the practice alone no longer had any meaning.

I know just speaking the words or writing them down doesn’t hold nearly as much power as the feeling so I stopped. However, I now question if even writing the words and keeping up with that practice was better than doing nothing at all. It was clear to me the most powerful thing is to do both.

I am aware of how often the blessings in my life are taken for granted. Simple things like my vision, my health, having a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in at night are often overlooked. Often it takes the absence of something to recognize what a gift it had been. If you’ve ever sprained an ankle or broken a bone to where you needed to walk with crutches, you quickly realize how the simple act of being able to walk is worthy of thankfulness.

As I reflect on this time of the year, I am remembering to pause long enough to stop and think about all the good around me. Yet thinking about it isn’t enough – I also want to make sure I remember to actually FEEL that deep down sense of gratitude. When I can combine both the mental with the physical, I know I am creating a vibration that will then attract more good things to me.

I challenge myself to stop before each meal and spend a little time in this feeling of giving thanks. Not just for the bounty I am about to receive, but for all the other big and little things in my life that often get overlooked. Perhaps by pairing this practice with something I do every day, it will be more likely to actually happen.

As we move into the day of Thanksgiving, I hope you too will challenge yourself to think about the blessings in your life. Feel the sense of gratitude and see if you can hold it at various times throughout the day. I am fairly certain as we look for things that for which to be thankful, more good things will come our way.

15 Seconds of Pure Thought

I started reading a few chapters of a book about debugging the mind last night and one of the first exercises he has readers do is to think of something from our past – something that makes us feel great whenever we think of it – and hold that thought/feeling for at least 15 seconds. He elaborates on both how difficult this is and how challenging it can be. Mostly he insists upon the importance of stopping everything you are doing until you can do this – hold this thought/feeling for at least 15 seconds.

Now, 15 seconds doesn’t seem like a very long time. But I challenge you to stop reading right now and see if you can do it. My biggest obstacle, however, has been finding something that isn’t also tainted with a subsequent sad or unhappy memory. How did I get to be 51 years old without having not one, but numerous, memories of times I felt absolutely wonderful? I was eager to do the exercise – and he convinced me of the importance – but I can’t seem to identify a really strong memory of feeling GREAT that I can use as a reference or spring board.

One might assume that I therefore have had a difficult or un-joyful life. This however, isn’t the case. I’ve had a pretty good life and I’ve been incredibly blessed in many, many ways. It’s just that when I remember one moment, then there is the a future memory of how that, say – new relationship – fell apart. So, I can’t hold onto just the good feeling of the beginning.

I spent most the night sifting through memories looking for something I can use for this exercise and I’ve felt pretty frustrated on not coming up with something. Surely there is has been at least one or two times in my life that I’ve felt unbridled joy that wasn’t related to a subsequent painful ending. And even remembering the joy of being on personal retreat and how good I have felt when I’ve been in the flow doesn’t seem to evoke that deeply happy joy that he is talking about.

So, one might wonder what that’s all about? Is this just my minds way of fighting back from me taking control? Because taking 15 seconds to focus on a positive memory or thought is taking back control of our minds. 15 seconds at a time. The author of the book goes on to say we should do this 15 second exercise several times throughout the day.

As I type this, my cat Mystic jumps up and insists on sitting on my lap – almost blocking my access to the keyboard. She is purring and looking up at me with a “give me your undivided attention” stare. “Those hands should be petting me and not on the keyboard!” So, I stop typing long enough to scratch her neck and chin and just allow the good feeling of loving her to be my exercise.

All of a sudden, 15 seconds seems like a long time. Being fully present with her for a few seconds is hard enough. Especially when I want to finish my thoughts here and get this blog posted. This seems to be a great example of how I rush from one thing to another and don’t stop to allow the pure bliss that is present right here, right now.

Maybe this is partly why I’ve been struggling to come up with a memory I can use to create my 15 seconds of vibrational joy … because I’ve spent so much of my life not being fully present in the moment that those experiences have slipped by unnoticed. However, I’m pretty sure that’s just an excuse my mind is using to keep me from taking back control. And, like a lot of things, it’s not really black or white as there is some truth to it as well.

By now if you’ve been following my blogs, you know that I believe our thoughts and words create our reality. And subsequently, this means I understand and believe in the Law of Attraction. Consequently, I believe if I can get myself to focus on a positive thought/feeling for 15 seconds many times a day (let’s say, a total of 15 minutes per day), then I will attract more of that good feeling into my life. So, I totally get how important this first exercise is to my creating a life I love.

I will continue to sift through my memories and find one that gives me this good feeling. Who knows, maybe it will be sitting with my cats as they are purring. Or, segmenting one of the memories I have that feels subsequently tainted. I’m curious for now, however, as to if anyone else has this issue of finding it difficult to identify an event or memory that you can use to tap into? And if you have one, are you able to hold it for 15 seconds?

I haven’t figured out how to allow comments on my site so unfortunately if you’re willing to give feedback I’ll need you to either email or comment on the Facebook site. I plan to spend some time improving my website soon so maybe in the future it won’t require the extra step. For now, however, send me an email at shannon@awakeninginlove.com or add a comment to the Facebook page.

Another New Beginning

I was thinking today about part of the reason I started this website and it was to share my journey as I discovered and built a life that I love. It’s now nearly four months later and it’s been an interesting journey. I know I haven’t been blogging much lately and when I remembered my purpose for starting the site, I was reminded I need to share more of what’s going on.

In the beginning, I felt full of confidence that I would be able to catapult myself into a successful career as an inspirational speaker and writer. My commitment in writing was to help those who also wanted to create a dream life discover how to do it by following along as I created mine. My thought was that perhaps by seeing how I was able to get off auto-pilot and build a new career others would be able to do the same.

I’m not so sure that those that have signed up to follow my blog are necessarily looking for that sort of answer. Some of you are friends who have supported me in my dreams, and a few of you are strangers who have either discovered me via Facebook or some other means. Whoever you are, thank you for being a part of this journey and your patience with me as I grow.

I know in my last blog I talked about my self-critic and how I felt I had gotten off the path – been distracted (again) by the day-to-day concerns of how to pay the bills or just spacing out on actually focusing or practicing those things that I want to teach. By that I mean learning and using tools to create a life we love and implementing/sharing all of the spiritual teachings I’ve read and studied over the years.

Ironically, during the past four months while I was working so hard to make some extra money, I didn’t really need to be since I was still drawing my severance pay. Now that has ended and I have 14 weeks of drawing less than half of that amount of money on unemployment. The part time job I had as a personal organizer ended today, and I’m trying hard not to freak out about not only learning to live on MUCH less, but also about what’s going to happen when unemployment runs out at the end of February.

However, what I discovered is that while I was working so hard to make extra money, I was not working very much at all on my own stuff. This is part of the reason why I haven’t really been looking for a “real” job … because I sensed if I went back to work in the corporate world I would fail to follow my dreams. So I fooled myself that by working as a personal assistant/organizer I could make money without sacrificing my goals. But then I didn’t pursue them very much because I was too busy working.

Perhaps all of this has happened to make me more fully understand what the audience I intended to write this blog for really feels like … since most people who have a dream of a different life can’t leave their known income source to follow their dream. And I discovered quickly that when one puts in a full day at work, there is little energy to come home and start working on developing a dream life.

Mostly I’ve discovered I am completely undisciplined and lead a pretty unstructured life. I’ve confirmed that the motivation to do things coming from a “should” place means those things simply don’t get done. Given the option of sitting down and writing a blog, listening to a webinar on marketing my business, or even sitting in meditation … versus playing a computer game (my favorite happens to be Texas Hold Em) or binge watching an old television show on Netflix … well, I’ve been making the choices to do the later. A lot.

After all, when one is exhausted from working a full day, who wants to sit down and work some more? Even if it is on something that would eventually get us out of the daily grind?

So, I could say I’ve been making the “wrong” choice. Assuming I believed in right and wrong. Which my inner critic most certainly DOES. But the problem then is that the driving force to make a different decision comes from that old sense of “should.” I “should” meditate every day. I “should” make better use of my time, etc.

And – like most people – I don’t like being told what I should do. Even when that is coming from myself. So, I’ve set myself up in a vicious cycle of continuing to do things that aren’t in my “best interests” and continuing to feel unhappy and unsatisfied by my choices.

Boy am I familiar with that old tread mill. Often when I’ve talked about “awakening”, what that has meant for me is to start making different choices. So, I spend a little time remembering to make choices that support my dreams, and then I “slumber” – which is to say I slip back into old patterns. And so it goes.

Above all, what I intend to do the rest of this month and next is to get back in alignment with what I am wanting, so that my choices can come from a place of WANT and not SHOULD. Although I am concerned about paying my bills etc., I am going to relax about it all and trust that I will be supported and things will work out. After all, if I am going to teach about reframing things and trusting the Universe then the best way I can do that is by starting here … now.

If you haven’t joined my email list, please consider adding your email in the space to the right that says “subscribe to updates via email.” You’ll get my blog as an email and if you don’t have time to read it, just delete and come back to the website when you can.

Blessings and love to you all – those I know … and those I’ve yet to know!

Self-Judgement and the Inner Critic

Slumbering and awakening could be called “Stuck” and “Unstuck”, or “Off-Track”/”On-Track”, “Off the Path”/”On the Path” … but underneath it there is the assumption that there is a path or a way that I “should” be. There is an underlying judgment of myself.

So, I return again to the question of how to completely love and accept myself while simultaneously growing. I’ve been feeling off-track and have found it difficult to turn my attention around. When I get so bogged down that I’m up to my neck in muck – and all I can see is a reality that is far from what I want to create – how can I turn that around? How do I make changes without self-judgment?

The inner critic rails and my sense is that any changes I try to make based on that energy will not be lasting – at least that has been my experience thus far. So, how can I make changes from self-love? How can I make changes – not from the “should” – but from the want, the desire, the choice?

I understand it is all about choices. And when I feel I’ve made a string of choices that I’m not happy about, how do I start making different choices without it coming from the inner critic?

I haven’t written anything in awhile and it feels as if I have been off-track – caught up in a reality of worry and fear, doubt, insecurity. It’s hard to be and feel inspired from that energy. And I’m finding it’s difficult to pull myself out of it.

It’s been 3 1/2 months since I was laid off from my job and it feels as if the time has flown. I haven’t accomplished nearly what I wanted to by now and I have been having trouble not beating myself up about it all. By now I had hoped to figure things out and be well on my way towards a successful new self-employment career as a spiritual speaker, writer, and author. Instead I feel as if I am lost – even further back than where I started when I came back from personal retreat with a passion, a mission and a calling.

I understand personal growth and awareness is not linear. However, intellectual understanding and feelings aren’t always in alignment. I can read back on my own advice and know all I need to do is step back into the stream. And yet, when one is neck deep in muck, that is easier said than done.

I find the cycles of my “on track/off track” interesting and at least now I am a little better about not getting TOO down on myself when I feel as if I’ve gone off course. A part of me doesn’t believe there can ever really even be an OFF course – but another part of me certainly has some firm ideas on what is in alignment with my purpose and what is not. So, I’ve been a bit down on myself … and realizing how hard I am on myself is probably connected in some way to healing I need to do.

So, one small step. I’m here sharing what I’m going through, which is what I promised to do when I began this website. I am thankful that I am aware of the choices I’ve made that don’t feel in alignment with where I want to go, so that I might make new ones. Mostly, I am trusting – on some deep level – that all of this is a part of what I am needing to experience for my growth.

Thanks for sharing the journey and to all of you who have given me such wonderful support!