Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God Will Lead Us

I read something this morning that really spoke to me, "God will not drive us to do something, He will lead us." How many times do we try to drive something to happen only to be left mentally tired and disappointed in the end result? It's not above driving things to happen but rather connecting with God so we can be in the flow and allow Him to lead us to the desired and destined result.

The more I read, the more I'm coming to understand that this life is not about us taking control and making things happen. It's about connecting with our inner spirit and letting that lead us to a place of peace and prosperity. God wants nothing more than abundance for us. Think back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given pure abundance until they decided to move away from spirit and create their own desired results. It was only then that they became aware of their human nature. Prior to that, they were living in total peace and prosperity with God leading them.

It is not easy, especially in this day and age to step away from being driven. Society tells us we have to drive our results, take control and make things happen. That is all true to a certain extent in the sense that we need to be responsible for ourselves but more importantly we have to have God at the center. With God at the center, we are not doing those things alone. To drive is to exert a force and that is not God's way. God never forces anything upon us but rather He leads us to it if we keep our eyes and our heart open to His presence. The path is already there before us. It's kind of like that moving sidewalk at the airport. So often you'll see someone running through the crowds, bypassing the moving sidewalk, trying to get to their gate as fast as they can. The looked stressed as they push people aside trying to force their way to their destination. What I've noticed is that often times I end up arriving at the gate at about the same as they do however I took the moving sidewalk and just stayed the course. I literally went with the flow allowing that to carry me to my destination versus trying to force the outcome and I arrive at the destination without all the stress and exertion of extra energy to get there.

It's time to stop driving the results to happen and time to focus our energy and mindset on revealing that path God has set before us and allowing Him to lead the way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The True Path to Success

"Success is to work harder on yourself than you do on your job". I recently read this quote in the novel, The Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn and Chris Widener. There is so much wisdom shared in all but 100+ pages and this sentence was the first of many in this book that led to some big "aha's" for me.

As I read this sentence for the first time, I really had to stop and think about it. How much have I been focusing solely on developing my business? Have I set aside any quality time to really develop myself? So many times we do indeed work harder on jobs than we do on ourselves and this one sentence brought that powerful realization to me. I have been spending the majority of my time lately focused on developing my business and devoting a lot less time to developing myself. I'm reading books and writing daily in my journal but that's not enough. The biggest growth for me has always come when I spend much more time developing myself and connecting with my purpose. And interestingly enough, as I look back, those times have directly translated into growth and upleveling in my business. This journey is not about learning how to run a business; it's about discovering your passion and purpose, learning to connect with that each and every day and building our lives around that through what we do.

Nature seems to always provide a perfect example of how God intended for us to live. In some ways nature is blessed without having the gift of choice. The plants, the animals, the ocean – they all exist solely for their specific purpose and spend their days and nights doing nothing but developing themselves towards the realization of that divine purpose. An acorn knows it will grow into an oak tree and doesn't question its purpose or ability. It just exists. We on the other hand, have been given a choice. We can either live and fully develop in our purpose or we can choose not to. The choice is clearly ours to make. Look at the harmony and beauty that is created by nature existing to reach its full potential and purpose. That same harmony and beauty is there for us if we spend quality time developing ourselves in knowing and connecting with our true purpose. True success doesn't lie in being busy and getting things done. That success is fleeting. True success comes when we take the time to discover and develop into our divine purpose, becoming the person God intended for us to be from the very beginning. Just as in nature, the path to our purpose will be revealed and will naturally flow once we take the time to nurture it and develop ourselves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

I've been reading the follow up book to "The Secret" titled, "The Power" by Rhonda Byrne. It expands upon the basic principles taught in "The Secret" in what I've found to be a much more powerful and brilliant way. She made a connect for me the other day, and fitting given this time of year, that I perhaps always knew but never really was aware of. When we are grateful we are actually giving love. We are acknowledging the value and meaning around everything that comes into our life when we live from a place of gratitude which ultimately is a place of love. Every time we feel grateful we are giving love. Gratitude is probably one of the most sincere ways we can express our love. Whose heart doesn't warm up when someone takes the time to say "thank you" or "I appreciate you". The feeling that gratitude creates is the emotion of love. It brings forth an energy of joy, warmth and happiness and whatever energy you give out will return to you in abundance.

It seems fitting on this eve of Thanksgiving to really think about all that we have to be grateful for. The hectic pace of our lives and the negative presence of the media can very quickly move us away from a place of gratitude and thanksgiving. Take time this Thanksgiving to practice gratitude in everything you do, from having the ability to smell all the wonderful scents of Thanksgiving dinner to the warmth and fellowship of friends and loved ones. If you're stuck in traffic, take a deep breath and be thankful for the opportunity to have a car, for the amazing network of roads we have here in the States, for the ability to take off and go spend time with loved ones. If you find yourself alone this Thanksgiving, give thanks for your life and for this time to step back and quietly reflect. Be grateful for everything in your life – your past, your present and your future. Be grateful for the desires and passions of your heart for they are a glimpse into God's will for your life. Be grateful in everything you do!

Jesus provided us with a beautiful example of living a life purely from gratitude and thanksgiving. Jesus always began his prayer by thanking our Heavenly Father and spoke words of thanksgiving before performing every miracle. Gratitude is at the center of almost all religious faiths be it Christianity, Islam or Hindu. For example, Mohammad the founder of Islam is quoted as saying, "Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue." An attitude of gratitude prepares our heart to receive the love and abundance that we are sending forth. Whatever we give, will be multiplied in its return to us. Probably no other verse in the Bible captures the principle of gratitude better than this:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

May this Thanksgiving holiday hold an abundance of gratitude and blessings for you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Learning to Let Go

You cannot trust without letting go. It sounds so logical but I never realized the strong bond that exists between trust and letting go. You cannot have one without the other. We can say we trust but if we are still harboring feelings of worry, fear, uncertainty or anxiety, we are not fully trusting. Trust requires us to move forward in a deeply rooted faith and completely let go of those feelings, emotions or actions that are holding us back. We have to let go of the circumstances as we understand them and fully trust in the process of a higher power to see us through and bring us to where we are truly meant to be.

Trust comes from your heart and is centered in spirit. Those things that stand in the way of our ability to trust are just created in our mind and therefore not real. They are just mechanisms our ego develops to keep us safe, comfortable and what we perceive to be secure. To trust means to give a smaller voice to ego and a larger voice to spirit. It means releasing the grip ego has on us and not allowing it to inhibit us from moving forward. Letting go and trusting allows God's spirit to flow in our lives with unmeasured energy and confidence. To trust means to live from your heart and not from your mind. When you live from your heart you are truly connecting with spirit and a spirit led life will lead you to fulfilling your life's purpose. Learning to trust also means learning to let go.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Truth Is Revealed In Our “Buts”

The excuse always seems to follow the "but". But is truly a powerful word because it points directly to what is holding us back. Think of how many times you think about doing something and then finish the thought with "but…". It literally shifts your mind from action to inaction. The thought before the "but" is your heartfelt desire but what follows the "but" typically shuts down that desire. But can almost be viewed as the transition from spirit-centered mindset to and ego-centered mindset. You begin in spirit but ego steps in to make sure you play it safe and stay in that place that is comfortable and predictable.

If you want to get clear on what's holding you back, start paying attention to the words you say after your "buts". For example if we say we want to do something and then finish the thought with "but it's too expensive" it very clearly calls out a lack mentality and that belief is probably showing up in many other decisions as well; decisions that could have a profound impact on your life and business. How you do anything is how you do everything so don't fool yourself by thinking the words you say after your buts are a one-time occurrence. Think about the "buts" in your life and become aware of how they are influencing your decisions. You might be surprised by what they reveal. Once you have an awareness around what's holding you back, you are that much stronger to confront the "buts" in your life head on and move through them. Our truth is most definitely revealed in our "buts"!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Resisting the Process

I've been feeling very tired lately and not sure why. Business has been very good and I've just been brushing it off to some long work days lately. But as my tiredness continued, I was forced to step back and look deeper. What I learned was truly amazing.

I love to journal and decided to write about my tiredness. I wrote down everything I was feeling and the frustration of not having the energy and focus I so needed to get everything done. The answer that came back as I jotted down my thoughts was that resistance was the source of my tiredness. I immediately knew to what – ironically enough, hiring a design assistant to help me in my business! What flowed next was a powerful lesson for me and one that I want to share with you all.

I very clearly heard God say to me "For you spend much energy moving away from My purpose for you. The fight is what is draining you. Step into the process and your energy will return." Resistance to anything is draining. It takes so much more energy for us to resist something than to go with the direction we feel we are being led. Resistance takes a toll on our mindset as well as our physical health. We are all scared when presented with ideas or thoughts that create a vision of something bigger than we think we are or not within the scope of where we think we should be. The "who am I to think" mindset sets in and we start resisting all the opportunities that are laid before us to grow and fulfill our divine purpose. We may think we are maintaining the status quo when we don't take action but there is nothing further from the truth. When we resist, we start moving backwards. There is no such thing as standing still – the world is constantly in motion down to the smallest particle on this earth and we are no different. We are either growing or shrinking from who we are meant to be. When we resist, we are moving away from that divine path God has intended for us. If God has clearly pointed the direction and provided the next step, it is ours to take in trust and faith that God will continue to show the way and He will. He will not overburden us and will enable us to do all that He desires for us. He very clearly told me that He cannot give me any more until I take this next step because it will overburden me and that is not His way. Those words touched me deeply and opened my eyes to how I was actually standing in my own way.

God has so much to give all of us. He sees many steps beyond where we are at right now and knows the great potential that lies within all of us. We just need to trust and have the courage to step forward in faith.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." – Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life Lessons from a Little Bird

My kids often tease me about how much I love birds; I find it so peaceful just sitting back and watching them. Well, I'm amused that God has chosen these little creatures to teach me yet again, another powerful life lesson. I guess He knows the connection I feel for them and knows I'll pay attention if the lesson comes through them. As I sipped my coffee this morning, I glanced out our kitchen window to watch the birds and noticed something didn't look right. My heart sunk because I saw a bird not moving on our bird feeder. I assumed the worst and went outside thinking "What a great start to my day, removing a dead bird". But to my surprise, he started fluttering all about as soon as I approached the feeder. His tiny little head was stuck inside and I could only imagine how he felt as he sat there trapped with all these other birds around him helpless to come to his rescue. I reached out to try and gently pull him out but each time, he fluttered around so much that any effort I did to rescue him was to no avail. In essence, he was standing in the way of his own success. I saw a very clear way to release him but he would have to relax and let me lead the way. I then opened the top of the feeder so his attention would be drawn upward and sure enough, he stopped fluttering and just quietly watched me. It was only then that I was able to free him. He popped out, definitely a little stunned and then flew away. I stood there with a big smile on face realizing the amazing message God had just given me through this little bird.

How many times has God tried to help me and move me along in realizing the bigger vision He has for me but instead I flutter about just like this little bird? I don't stop long enough to acknowledge or accept His help. Instead, I stay focused on doing it my way. I'm no different than that bird, wanting to know the next steps but too busy fluttering about to see God clearly pointing the way. It's only when I seek out the calm and silence do I feel His presence and see the way He is leading me to go. I know God has such a bigger vision for us all and we are all often guilty of keeping ourselves so busy and not relying more on God to show us the way. My little interaction with this bird today was such amazing life lesson for me and one I know I needed to hear. This bird taught me the power that resides in just being still. Rescuing that little bird showed me how we often stand in the way of our own success, feeling trapped by our own perceived circumstances and not realizing the way is right there in front of us. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience God's word firsthand. He taught me how to just "be" today and quietly wait for His guidance. All the answers are truly right in front of us, we just need to open up and acknowledge His presence.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It’s Just a Matter of Time…

My ezine article this week is all about time and how we make the choice to either let time define us or let us define time. As I working out this morning, I realized time is more than just something that we can either define or let it define us. Our perception of time really resides in whatever we are doing at a given moment. This thought occurred to me as I was told to go "all out" on a treadmill for just a mere two minutes but those two minutes dragged on with such a heaviness. I'd look at the clock thinking surely I must be done only to realize 30 seconds had passed by. Take that same two minute interval and apply it to something you love to do and it will fly by in a blink of an eye. So I found myself asking, "What is time?" When we say we don't have enough time, what are we really saying?

As a society, we've become so focused on time, scheduling our lives around it, constantly feeling like it's something we can catch if we just run fast enough. The Bible repeatedly tells us to not worry about tomorrow or fret over yesterday but to focus on the now. The now or the present moment is truly all we have. Is time then just that, the present moment and we've gotten caught up in labeling it and assigning it more power than need be? Rather than getting absorbed in the passing of minutes on a clock, what if we were to totally absorb ourselves in the moment, focusing our energy on experiencing everything that moment has to offer us? What if we could block out the thoughts of what we need to do later or feelings or hurt and regret for something we did in the past? Where did your last big inspiration or dream come from? It was probably in a place where you relaxed and allowed yourself to be lost in the moment. You blocked out everything else and just allowed yourself to totally be at one with the moment. Eckhart Tolle talks about the power of now in his book titled the same, The Power of Now. He encourages us to experience life through all our senses focusing on the present moment for that is where you truly connect with the divine source. As he writes, "The present moment is inseparable from life, so you are really deciding what kind a relationship you want to have with life." I now know why the Bible contains so many verses about living in the moment. God knows this is not our nature and He wants nothing more than for us to "get it". For in His all-knowing wisdom, that is where we can find Him, connect with Him and experience true inner peace and fulfill our life's purpose.

"I acquaint myself with Him and I am at peace; by that good shall come to me."- Job 22:21

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Clarity of Your Thoughts

I recently read something that had such a profound impact on me that I just had to share it with you. So many times we're racing in so many different directions that our minds have gotten used to thinking this way as well. You start thinking about one thing and before you know it, your mind is wandering and you're thinking about something else or ego has stepped in and convinced you that your thought or desire is beyond your reach so you change your course. I never really paid much attention to this other than knowing the craziness of it all certainly didn't feel right.

Well, the other day I was reading a chapter from "A Happy Pocket Full of Money" by David Cameron Gikandi (also our recommended book of the month at Design For Your Success Now) and came across this statement that at first glance made sense, you know on that intellectual level but I didn't necessary feel a strong connection with it. But as I read further, my mind wouldn't let go of it. It was as if my mind was trying to say "Pay attention, you really need to hear this and understand what it means!" The statement simply said, "The clarity of your thoughts and desires determines your success." But it was what Gikandi offered up next to explain how powerful this concept is that truly captured my attention and allowed me to embrace this on a much deeper, meaningful level. He writes:

"Changing your mind all the time "confuses" the universe. Imagine walking into a travel agency and saying "I wish to travel." Then you look at the agent blankly. He or she would be ready to make your reservation, but they cannot until you tell them where you wish to go. Imagine you now say, "Well, I'd like to go to Moscow and Timbuktu, at the same time." Again, the travel agent cannot fulfill that request. Now imagine you say, "OK, then book me to Moscow. No wait, Timbuktu. No wait. Moscow. No wait; I am not sure if I can afford it. No, I can. No maybe I don't wish to go there and travel at all." This is how many people think all day."

I suddenly saw how my thought patterns were in essence, confusing my results and hindering my success. It's no wonder sometimes I felt like I was living in chaos and being pulled in twenty different directions. Imagine the traffic jam you create in the universe when you are not clear in your thoughts and constantly changing what you want. If I just took the time to stop and get clear on my thoughts and desires and then stay focused on them, the journey would be a lot more peaceful and I can truly see the connection that has with success now. When you can align your thoughts and desires with God's purpose, it just starts to flow and when you can continue to stay in that flow, the success just seems to come naturally. The struggles fade away and your dreams and desires become your reality. I'm just now starting to see that transform into my life and it truly is amazing. Take the time to get clear on your deepest desires, stay focused and believe in them and you'll find those very desires becoming your reality as well. God will provide when you know clearly want your desires are, you make those desires known to Him and are ready to receive His abundance. Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Tale of Two Birds

It's funny, sometimes the best lessons in life are found in the most unexpected places. I recently was sitting at the pool when I noticed some birds poking around and looking for any stray crumbs or dropped food. One bird in particular caught my eye because he had found the big prize, a complete french fry! He tried repeatedly to pick it up, would take a few steps only to drop it. Another bird was very aware of the situation and was following him like a hawk ready to swoop in and take full advantage of the situation. The first bird just continued on his way, oblivious to this other bird following so closely behind. He simply focused on the task in front of him, trying to pick up the fry and fly to place where he could eat it in peace. He didn't seem rushed or fearful; he just was being in the moment. Finally, the second bird made his move, swooped in and grabbed the fry right out from under him. I was so caught up in their interaction that I actually sat up and yelled "wait" as the second bird made his move, as if trying to warn the first bird to grab and run. But I learned that is not nature's way; it's our way or rather the ego's way.

What happened next really taught me a valuable lesson. The first bird did not react in any way to what I perceived as an obvious injustice. He just simply moved on. He didn't get stuck, not even for a moment, in the emotion of what had just happened. He continued his journey, continuing to look for another stray fry. It was at that moment that I realized how many times I've allowed myself to get stuck in a moment because of anger, jealousy or any number of emotions that our ego brings forth. To truly be in spirit and focused on purpose, you need to go beyond the roadblocks our emotions can present. We just need to do what that little bird did, accept what is and simply move on. Those two birds will forever be imprinted on my mind and I'm thankful to have been given such a vivid example to help me understand that true success comes when we learn to just "be".

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stillness Speaks

It seems like the message of "being still and silent" keeps showing up in my life so obviously it is a message I need to hear. It's been the primary message in the two books I'm reading right now and the focus of the last two homilies at church. Clearly, God is working on me and wants me to understand and practice the act of being still and silent. It is the one practice that truly allows you to connect to that inner spirit and be present and open to divine guidance. It is a place free of stress and anxiety. Being silent and still allows you to disengage from the constraints of time and space and just simply "be". I'm learning to discover that it is in that place of just "being" that the true essence of who we are can be found and heard.

In being completely still and silent, we disconnect from the endless mind chatter that seems to rule our thoughts every minute of the day and connect with the divine presence that is in each and every one of us. We can go searching everywhere outside for answers but the real answers lie within and we need to recognize that the inner-reflection and space we make to be silent will allow those answers to be heard. The answers don't lie in the past or in the future, they lie right here, right now in the present moment. When we go outside the present moment to seek the answer, we immediately disconnect from that divine presence and allow external thoughts and forces to guide us and it is in that moment that stress and anxiety enter into the process of finding the answer. God just "is"; He is not bounded by a past or a future, He just "is" as stated in Exodus, 3:14, "I AM THAT I AM" and we're reminded again in Revelation 22:13, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." God is purely present and for us to connect with Him, we need to be purely present as well. The act of being purely present lies in the stillness of our hearts and minds as we are reminded again in Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." To know God is to be still and listen.

God knows the desires of our heart and is eagerly waiting to lead us to them. "For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also" – Luke 12:34. Our ego will not lead us to that treasure, we have to tap into our inner spirit and that happens when we become still and silent. I am awed by the realization of this and know it is a message worth spreading!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A new view on the “problems” in our life

I just finished the chapter in Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" that really stretched my thinking and radically shifted my concept of what a "problem" really is. Tolle initially makes a statement that "all problems are the illusions of the mind" which immediately took me aback and actually made me a little angry. My first thoughts where "Why would anyone want to create problems in their life?", "They are anything but an illusion!" and "Aren't problems a natural course of living and it is our role to learn how effectively find a solution"? But as I read further, I really began to understand where he was coming from in making this statement and it really shifted how I view problems now.

Problems simply exist when we are unwilling to take action. We live in indecision and as such are not living in the "NOW". What really helped me best understand this was his analogy about being in a life or death emergency situation. If you've ever been in that situation, you'll understand the concept that you're mind didn't have time to process it as "a problem". Your adrenalin is pumping and you are completely present in that moment. You are not weighing your options, you are taking immediate action. You not allowing past conditioning of your mind to play into your actions at that moment. You are totally aware and present and tapping into your intuitive response to that situation. For example, if a loved one was in a car crash and you had to quickly get them out of that vehicle, you would not sit there and postpone taking action to evaluate your options. You'd be fully present in that moment and immediately do whatever it takes to get that person out of the car. You'd trust that inner voice with complete faith and take immediate action based on its' guidance. I then understand what Tolle was referring to when he said problems exist when we're not willing to take action. "Problems really are just situations that need to be dealt with or accepted", as he puts it. When we add the element of time to that situation, our mind takes that situation and creates it into what we perceive to be "a problem". It means we have decided to not take action on that situation now and allow that situation to survive and take on an identity within our lives. And once we do this, we take on the burdens that come with carrying problems around – guilt, resentment, fear, anxiety just to name a few. I can now see the truth in his statement, "When we you are full of problems, there is no room for anything new to enter, no room for a solution."

While it will take me awhile to fully grasp this concept and consistently apply it in my life, I feel he's provided the seeds that will help nurture that process. I will forever be more aware and present anytime I perceive a problem to exist and try to separate it from the element of time by taking action on it right away.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Change the way you look at things

Wayne Dyer, who is the author of this month's Design For Your Success NOW book recommendation, "This Shift" often says "Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change". The first time I read this statement, it was instantly committed to memory. I remember thinking how odd that was. Typically I have to read something over and over again before it even begins to connect with my memory but my connection to this phrase was so strong that it was immediately memorized and available for instant recall. This phrase so completely resonated with me and as time goes by, I now understand why. Mindset has probably been one of my biggest challenges in starting and growing my business. It's amazing how much we can stand in the way of our own success! You'd think finding clients and figuring out all the paperwork would be the biggest challenge but for me, it was changing a mindset that questioned my abilities to be a designer and run my own business. Rather than focusing on what I needed to do to be successful, I was focused on what I lacked to be successful. I think God knew that phrase would play an important role in changing my mindset and serve as a powerful resource for me when I felt compelled to follow the negative self-talk. And that phrase has done just that. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed or as Wayne Dyer puts it, "moving away from source" I now hear that phrase being whispered ever so quietly in the background of my mind. It's as if God is saying, "Here is the answer but you have to quiet yourself to hear it". And when I do make that choice to quiet myself and listen, that phrase is ever so powerful in changing the situation and allowing me to focus on the good and opportunities before me.

In my ezine article this week, I talk about paying attention to what your self-talk is saying and if what you hear yourself repeating is not supportive and moving you forward in confidence than it's time to "change the way the you look at things". It's the old adage of the glass half full or half empty. We all know this adage well but we often get trapped in a mindset with the glass half empty and don't even realize it. Your thoughts do indeed become your words become your actions! Pay attention to those words or phrases that you randomly repeat in your head because they are creating your mindset. When you approach something that makes you feel anxious or fearful, what thoughts or words immediately come to your mind? Are those thoughts centered on a real threat or are they based on perceived negative outcome? When we're under pressure or not feeling confident, our thoughts and eventually our talk will start with the words "I can't". Replace the words "I can't" with "How can I make this happen" and you will immediately change the way you look at things and the things you look at WILL change as a result.

The next time you find yourself in a situation that is less than desirable, practice "changing the way you look at things". Find the opportunity that exists in that situation because it is always there. I'm not saying there will not be struggles but what I am saying is that when those struggles do arise, whether real or perceived, they will not define you and you will have the confidence and strength to move through them and not let them stand in the way of your success!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The silence between the notes

"It's the silence between the notes that makes the music" – Zen proverb

I'm reading The Design For Your Success NOW book recommendation for this month, "The Shift" by Wayne Dyer, right along with you all. Dyer references this ancient Zen proverb at the very beginning of the book and it really captured my attention. I had to first think about what that proverb really means and then recognized as almost a big "aha" moment the beauty and truth that is contained in such few words. Dyer comments that without the silence to interrupt the sounds, we would have no music. I never thought of music in this light and how that translates to everything we do in life. We need those silent moments to create the music in our lives as well. That music is the purest reflection of our passion. Without those silent moments, our passion cannot be fully expressed. As Dyer writes, "Without the silence to interrupt the sounds – it would be only one long, continuous tone." How many times in our life do we feel like our passion is getting buried and before we know it, our days evolve into one continuous tone of monotony and frustration? We are more or less just going through the motions. Are we talking the time to create that silence and letting that speak to us so we can then create the music? So many times, God will speak to us in those silent moments but we have to be willing to create that silence in our lives and then be open to His guidance and direction. I truly believe that our biggest inspirations and answers come to us not when we're looking for them but when we surrender to being open and letting them flow into our lives. With that openness, we see things in a different light and rather than pushing for something to happen or come to us, we allow it to. There is a big distinction in that that is very powerful and fulfilling. There is as much potential for greatness in the silence as there is in the notes. Embrace that silence and allow it to connect the notes that ultimately will create the fullest expression of your passion which will be music to those around you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Cat’s Tale

I was just listening to a talk by motivational speaker Wayne Dyer where he was explaining how our thoughts and our imaginations create our success and happiness. He shared a wonderful parable that really spoke to how success and happiness naturally follow us when we start imagining the life we feel called to live and move confidently towards that. The story begins:

There was a little kitten and an alley cat. They're out in the alley and the little kitten is chasing his tail round and round. The old alley cat comes up to him and says, "What are you doing?" The little kitten replies, "I've just returned from cat philosophy school and I learned two things; that the most important thing in a world for a cat is happiness and that it's located in my tail. And what I'm doing is chasing and chasing my tail and as soon as I get a hold of it, I will have a lock on eternal happiness."

The old alley cat looks at him and says, "You know, I didn't have the same benefits you did. I have been out in the alley always scratching for my food for thirteen years but it's funny, I've learned the same thing you did in school. I've learned that happiness is the most important thing in the world for a cat and indeed that it is located in my tail. "But", he said, "the only difference between you and I is that I've found that if I go about my business and live my life the way I want to, it follows after me where ever I go".


How true! We need to stop chasing after success and happiness and realize that when we focus on the life we feel called to lead, they will indeed follow.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

God does not create our lives on a budget

I heard someone say this recently and it felt like a big "aha" moment for me – it truly changed my mindset on how I approach living my purpose. We so often live our lives from a place of lack – lack of skills, lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of time, but we fail to recognize that our Creator is about abundance and not lack. He created us with the idea that we should lack for nothing. I truly believe we are part of a bigger divine purpose and once we understand what our unique purpose is within the context of a greater purpose, we can make a significant contribution that is not only fulfilling for us personally but allows that greater divine purpose to shine more fully.

God has a very special and unique plan for each and every one of us that is interwoven into the lives of those who we directly and indirectly touch. I knew God would support us in fulfilling that plan but my actions and inner beliefs showed I didn't fully embrace that belief. When presented with an opportunity that I sensed was being given to me for a very special purpose but yet made me feel very uncomfortable, I'd question my ability to do what I sensed I was being asked to do or hold back financially, wanting that reassurance and confirmation of the how and the why before proceeding. That one statement, "God does not create our lives on a budget" almost instantly brought an awareness of how my actions were not aligning with beliefs. I suddenly recognized that I was allowing a mindset of lack overshadow my decisions and that in order to truly step out in His purpose for me, I had to embrace on a much deeper level that God truly does not operate from a position of lack. He will provide all we need at exactly the right time to manifest His ultimate plan and purpose for our life. He wants nothing more than to see that purpose come to life and be fulfilled. With that in mind, why would He hold anything from us?

If we sense we're making decisions from a position of lack, we need to look inward and examine where that lack is coming from. Are we living outside of our purpose and that sense of lack might be God nudging us to realign with our purpose or are we not trusting in Him to provide what we need? He would not provide us with an opportunity to move forward in our purpose and then hold back on what we need to make it happen. More times than not, I've discovered that God works through providing us with opportunities. For example, we may be provided with an opportunity that requires us to make a financial investment that feels uncomfortable given our current finances but it you are truly living in your purpose, I can promise you God will present you with another opportunity that will more than make up for that investment. You first must step out in faith in accepting that initial opportunity to get to and reap the benefit of the second opportunity. Whether or not we take that opportunity purely rests on our shoulders. We just need to be in tune and aware enough to recognize when those opportunities are presented to us and then have a willingness to step forward in complete faith and trust that this is the next step we are required to take without get caught up in the how or why. Once we can fully embrace that, the lack goes away and we can begin truly living a life fulfilling His purpose and experiencing the abundance He has for us all.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Enthusiasm Leads to Greatness

"Nothing great in life has ever been achieved without enthusiasm" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just read this quote in a book I'm reading, "A New Earth" by Eckart Tolle and it really resonated with me. While I know how great it feels to be enthusiastic about something, I never tied it to greatness. But, as I sit here and think about all those people who have achieved greatness throughout history, it is evident that enthusiasm is at the center of what they do. Winston Churchill for some reason comes to my mind. He was faced with the heavy weight of some incredible challenges, more than any of us will hopefully ever have to endure, but he approached each on of these challenges with a strong belief in his core values and with a sense of enthusiasm that what he was doing was ultimately for a higher purpose.

How often do we check in with ourselves to see if we're approaching our actions with enthusiasm? A great idea will initially excite us and the thoughts of how to bring that great idea to life just seem to flow. That is because we are operating from a place at that moment that is directly connected to the divine source and His vision and purpose for us are just flowing into our lives. When we live a life from a sense of purpose, you cannot help but be enthusiastic. You are riding on the current or energy of life. At that moment of inspiration, we are given a glimpse of the greatness we are each capable of and the guidance on how we can get there. We are of course open to that guidance at that time and allow those thoughts to flow freely. But all too quickly, our ego steps in and before you know it, the potential we saw and all the energy and enthusiasm that accompanied that is now replaced with doubt and uncertainty. "Who am I to think such things" creeps into our mind. Before we know it, we've stepped out of that flow from which inspiration and enthusiasm are born and allowed that inner critic to take over and direct our thoughts and actions. Once we give into that, the enthusiasm is gone. What once inspired us now feels unachievable and more like a burden. Rather than stepping into our greatness, we shrink from it and settle for something far less.

So how do we sustain that flow of inspiration and enthusiasm? First, know when that inner critic has taken over, stare it directly in the face and say "Who am I not to be great!". Embrace the dreams and ideas that are born from inspiration and recognize they were divinely given to you for a very specific reason because your purpose is meant to shine through them. Don't look for all the pieces to be in place before you take action but rather step out in faith without always having all the answers in front of you. Find some quiet time each day to connect to your dreams and ideas. Get lost in the possibilities of what could be. And finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. All too often we feel as though we have to go it alone. We're afraid to ask for help for fear it will allow others to see a perceived weakness or inadequacy within us. Learn to ask "who can help me" versus feeling like it has to be a personal struggle. God did not intend for any of us to go it alone and as such, the path to achieving our purpose will not be reached on our own. He endowed each and every one of us with a unique ability and when embraced and applied towards a much bigger whole, the results can be incredible. Inviting others in magnifies the potential for greatness that lies within us all and allows us to step into our purpose with energy and enthusiasm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Change Your Reality

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not" – Anonymous

I included this quote in my ezine this week where I talked about how the tendency towards perfectionism can really be a disguise for feeling inadequate. But the issue of feeling inadequate goes much deeper. I think man has struggled since the beginning of time with believing in themselves. Why is this such a difficult concept for us to grasp? When we believe in ourselves, we feel good, energized and things just somehow start to fall in place. We get a taste of that inner peace we know about and hear people talk of and everything in our lives for just that moment feels right. But rather than living a life totally believing in ourselves and sharing our unique gifts with others, we tend to fall back into our habit of living in a reality that centers on lack and questioning our abilities. No one is immune to this struggle. Even the greatest athletes and actors who have clearly accomplished so much still confront this in their daily lives. I remember once listening to an interview with Meryl Streep and she said still questions her ability to be a good actress. I found that absolutely shocking how someone who has clearly accomplished so much in her career could even begin to question if she is good enough. 

Many philosophers over the ages have provided us insightful quotes in an effort to share their wisdom and help us overcome this struggle. They have all deeply felt the pain and complexity of the struggle that lies within ourselves and hinders us for experiencing true peace. We all are familiar with, "I think, therefore I am" from 17th century philosopher René Descartes who did his best to deny the existence of a divine source and searched for the meaning of man's presence. But his quote, which is just as relevant today as it was back in the 1500's, demonstrates this struggle is not bounded by time or place. I find it interesting that Descartes in all his efforts to find a meaning to man's existence came to the same conclusion that has already been provided for us in the Bible. Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he". The reality of life most definitely resides in our thoughts and what we embrace as truth in our hearts. If we believe we are not good enough or can't do something, then that is our reality and unfortunately that is a reality too many of us have painted for ourselves and have grown accustomed to. But consider for a moment if you were to paint a different reality. Change those thoughts of not being good enough into positive affirmations that you are good enough and you can do whatever you put your mind to. Exercise those thoughts on a daily basis just as you would exercise a muscle and allow yourself to embrace a new reality of peace, abundance and success. Don't give into the struggle to go back to your old reality but rather press forward to overcome that struggle stay focused until you find yourself living in a new reality that provides you with deeper fulfillment and a sense of inner peace. We have been told since the beginning of time that that reality does exist and all we need to do is make the conscious decision to embrace it. God has a given each and every one of us a unique gift or talent to share with this world and our role is to uncover what that is for us and then live our lives in the reality of moving forward fulfilling that purpose. In God's eyes, you are more than good enough to fulfill that purpose, you were uniquely created just for that very reason!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where Competition Doesn’t Exist

When you are connected and in the flow of your purpose, competition does not exist. Competition stems from a mindset of lack. You are buying into a belief system that there is limited supply or resources and you need to compete to win your share or position. In God's eyes, there is nothing further from the truth. God has a unique purpose or calling for each one of us and he will provide all the resources we need to achieve that purpose and more times than not, provide whatever we need in abundance. If you feel the urge to compete for something, question where that is coming from. Competition moves us away from living a life on purpose and trusting God for the desired outcome. We become centered on ourselves and our relationships to others rather than looking inward and focusing our attention on our relationship with God and his desires for us. When you are truly living your life from a place of purpose and connection with God, you will find peace in trusting that all you need will be provided for at exactly that right moment.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Lessons of Spring

Spring has always been my favorite season but this year I look at it with a renewed sense of awe and purpose. I always enjoyed the beauty in the flowers and trees that Mother Nature unfolds for us each year but never really stopped to think about the process. It always just seems to happen without any fanfare or special preparation. But gazing out the window recently it really hit me what a miracle this process is and how it holds so many lessons for us to follow. It's like God has provided us a glorious example of how we are supposed to live right before our eyes. Each year, the nature that surrounds us moves from dull and lifeless and blooms into an incredible array of colors and textures. Think of all the energy it takes to make that happen, an energy that already exists within each plant. This energy is completely channeled to fulfilling its ultimate purpose. This energy trusts that the resources it needs to grow and survive will be provided at the appropriate time. It doesn't fear there may not be enough rain or the winds may be too strong. It fully and completely trusts in the process and each year, that process yields an abundance of beauty. Life in its purest form exists as we watch a flower grow or a tree blossom. We are no different. God has provided each and every one of us with a unique ability and purpose. It is our lack of trust and faith in the process that interferes in this divine process. We have been given the gift to think and analyze but this ability can also be our downfall. Rather than trusting the process, we question it. Rather than looking inward, we seek the advice of others. Imagine if a rose questioned its existence as a rose and wondered if would be better suited as a tulip? That divine energy that is channeled into making it a precious beautiful rose would be diluted and it would be something less than what it otherwise could have been. When we overanalyze and question, the result is the same. We sense our direction or purpose but allow externals to dictate our direction and we end up less than what we otherwise can be. Our instincts connect us to our ultimate purpose, we just need to be willing to trust in the process and follow that divine guidance. That same energy that exists in nature also exists in us. It is the energy of life that moves everything forward towards its ultimate purpose. We need to connect with that energy or spirit and allow it to guide us in our lives. God has provided us with a wonderful example of what is possible when we do. We too can truly blossom by trusting and moving forward in faith.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.

David Neagle shared this quote recently and it really resonated with me. I've heard it before but like so many things we hear, we need to be in the right mindset to connect with it and really understand its true meaning. We often think life should be about getting comfortable but in reality, life is about doing just the opposite. It's about growing and to grow, we need to get "comfortable" with being uncomfortable. If we're not pushing ourselves to reach outside our comfort zone or go the extra distance, we're not just standing still, we're losing ground. With risk comes reward but being open to taking those risks is where the challenge lies. I found tremendous strength recently in learning how to step out and take those risks. It comes down to faith. It's not about worrying what others will think or do, it's trusting your instincts and moving forward despite your fears. All the answers truly do lie within us but we're programmed to always look outside of ourselves for the answer. Learning how to quiet ourselves and seek out the divine guidance that is within each of us will move us to reach our true potential and realize the success that has always been within our reach. Take the time to nurture your soul and learn how to connect with that inner voice and recognize its guidance. Once you learn to look within, you'll discover a new world of opportunities open to you. These opportunities may at first seem overwhelming or scary but moving forward in complete trust and faith allows you to really grow and realize the amazing abundance God has provided for us all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Magic of Snow

It's no secret that the mid-Atlantic has gotten their fair share of snow this year. This past storm dropped just over 32" of snow on us. That's more than I can ever remember seeing in one storm in my life! Being from the northeast, I've always loved snow. That eager anticipation we all feel as a child hearing about the next big storm never left me. I still get excited every time I hear snow is in the forecast. It's like it has some magical quality that perks me up and just makes me feel happy.

As I look back on this winter so far, the snow days are my most memorable days. It's allowed us all to stop and just enjoy each other's company. I've rediscovered how the simplest things can be the most satisfying, a lesson my grandparents I know tried to impart on me a long time ago. A snowstorm magically gives us that precious gift of time to just talk to each other, play board games, and make incredible meals – activities that have almost become a luxury in today's society. We get so caught up in the future and what we need to be doing, we rarely take the time to just enjoy the present. A good snow day forces you to abandon your plans and give in to enjoying the present. It actually does more than just give you the gift time, it nourishes your soul. When all is said and done, it's the memories of how we spent our time that will remain with us. We need to remember that and make sure we spend time creating lasting memories of joy. I will forever hold onto the memory of the snowball fight we had walking our dog in the wake of this most recent snowstorm. The laughter and fun we had is priceless.

As I look out on to the year ahead, I've made a personal commitment to create "snow days" year round. To make sure I take the time to enjoy the present and just being together as a family; really nourish that bond that is like no other. I've often felt like I needed a vacation to get away and create those special moments but the snowstorms this year have truly taught me that like anything else in our lives, creating those special moments can happen anytime and anywhere. It has to start with us making the decision to make those times a priority. Doing so in a society today that almost seems to embrace stress and rushing around is not easy but I've realized this winter the benefits of doing so far outweigh the pressures of not doing so.

There's snow in our forecast again for Tuesday and even with 32" already on the ground, I'm eagerly awaiting it. I know that I will forever embrace the magic of snow!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amazing Things Will Happen

I couldn’t help but take notice of the drama that has unfolded these past couple of weeks between two unlikely people, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Who would ever think these two comedians would be at the center of such controversy! I haven’t followed it too closely, only catching brief clips from their late night monologues which have been hilarious. I heard someone comment that some of their best jokes ever have come out of all us and I have to agree.
I watched Conan O’Brien’s farewell signoff yesterday and was deeply touched by his words. Hosting the Tonight Show is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for him and I can only imagine how painful it must be to step down. He has handled this whole ordeal with such integrity and grace. If anyone has a right to complain, be cynical or angry he certainly does. But he has chosen not to go that route, knowing as we all should remind ourselves, nothing good ever comes of it.
His closing words really spoke to who he is and I think the qualities and mindset that have allowed him to be so successful. He spoke with complete conviction, directing his parting words at the younger views but I think his words are something we all need reminding of, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get but if you can work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you amazing things WILL happen.”
The one thing we can guarantee in life is that it will throw us the unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected is just a bend in the road and other times it’s a sharp curve we didn’t see coming, like in Conan’s case. It’s how we react to the unexpected that separates the winners from everyone else. We all have a purpose and I truly believe that when the unexpected comes up, it’s because in God’s plan, it’s time to move on. In essence, our work is done there and new opportunities await us. As they say, when one door closes, another one opens. We have a choice when the unexpected happens. We can stall out, get caught up in self-pity and allow it to divert us from our true purpose or we can choose to move forward in faith knowing something better is out there. It’s those sharp bends in the road that truly test our faith. We need to have enough faith to be still, place ourselves in God’s hands and allow Him to be the driver because when you do, as Conan says, “amazing things will happen”.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star

This past week, we took a family vacation to Disney World. It was very cold but we still really enjoyed our time together and of course, visiting with Mickey and the gang. Disney truly is a magical place filled with the energy of dreams and possibilities. To think it all started with a mouse.

That thought keep going through my mind as we visited each of the parks. I've been to Disney before but it never struck me until now what an incredible individual Walt Disney truly was. Perhaps it was having older children now and not having to strategize for the next character greeting that allowed me to relax and really take in what Disney is all about.

Walt Disney had a dream and that dream did begin with a little character named Mickey Mouse but that dream didn't end there. He had a vision for so much more and lived everyday to make that vision come to life. When you look back on his life, it was by no means absent of criticism or judgment. What would stop many of us in our tracks he found the courage to press through. He never let fear stand in his way. He embraced his dreams with an enormous amount of energy and spirit that we should all aspire to and lived his life remaining true to his passion. Imagine if he surrendered his dreams to the person who told him a cartoon about a rodent would never make it, his animated feature film, "Snow White" had no place in the movies or gave into the critics when he bought swamp land in Florida to build a theme park. In fact, Snow White was dubbed "Disney's Folly" because the movie studios were certain it would be a failure.

He always moved forward despite what others thought, trusting his instincts and believing in his dreams to the fullest. He saw possibilities where others didn't. That was the secret to his success and I am awed by what he accomplished in his lifetime taking a no excuses approach to realize his vision. Disney showed us how believing in yourself and your dreams with an unwavering faith can accomplish what others deem impossible. I left Disney World this time with something more precious that I could have found in any of their gift shops. I left with a renewed appreciation of what living your passion is really all about.

In creating Disney World, I think Walt Disney wanted to give us glimpse into his world. How he thought and the magic and energy he saw in the world around him. He envisioned a place where people could be inspired to dream, believe in fairytales and make wishes come true. I wonder if he hoped we would take a bit of that magic home with us and carry it forward into our own lives. If that was part of his dream, he did succeed with me. Disney left a legacy that is magical and I'm truly grateful for that.