Empty Your Cup

In the programs that I coach we talk a lot about condition-based thinking, and decision making verses vision-based thinking; and it reminds me of a Zen parable. It is about a learned man, a professor, who went to visit a famous and very wise Zen Master. While the wise Zen Master quietly served tea, the professor talked and talked and talked about Zen. The Master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in, you are pouring it onto me!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the wise Zen Master replied, “How can I teach you anything, unless you first empty your mind.”

How we move forward in our lives is often a guided by our thinking about a past situation, condition or experience… a full cup! I recently heard someone say, “I’ve been to something like this before and I didn’t like it.” Sadly, they had made up their mind that this new learning opportunity had nothing to offer them.

What if we could approach each day and each new situation with an open mind, an “empty cup.” What if there were someone, some learning in this day or situation that could touch your soul, and offer you an experience that could be transformative? Do you feel the difference and the expansiveness of this mindset?

Within our amazing brainstem is the Reticular Activating System. It is like a giant search engine that brings into our awareness what we place our attention on. When we approach people, situations and our lives with a closed mind, we live a very small life and limit our good. The Results Formula affirms that the results we experience in our lives always begins with a THOUGHT…which produces a FEELING…which causes us to take ACTION or NO ACTION, which always yields a RESULT. If you don’t like the results you are experiencing in any area of your life…health, relationships, career, creative expression or the amount of time and money freedom you enjoy, it’s time to change your mindset. When we think thoughts of internal judgment or prejudge people and new opportunities, we are saying to the universe, my cup is full, I am not open. The Power breathing you, this benevolent loving energy, LIFE, wants to fill your cup and bless you abundantly; and it is only your thinking that stops the flow. What thoughts and habitual ways of being are you ready to transform? Are you ready to be pulled a vision? Keep asking the question “What would I love?” Look at your longings and discontent, and listen…What, in you life would you like to be different? What would you love to experience that, up until now you haven’t? Your still small voice…your soul, is always speaking to you, and it is as loud as your willingness to listen.

Here’s to listening, and to living a life that you love,

Blessings, Lynne

Why a Parade…so you can BE you!

Do you remember standing on the sidewalk with family and friends to watch the parade in celebration of Canada Day? Lawn chairs, snacks and small excited children in tow… I sure do. In June, we now celebrate sexual diversity with gay parades across the country. We’re making huge strides in our willingness to accept the differences of others in our country. This is one of the many reasons I love living in Canada.

I recently heard my friend, Belinda Betker, share her new poem in a book launch on YouTube. Belinda wrote a beautiful and poignant poem called “Why a parade?” Her words, captured the internal angst, that for many years people have struggled with- keeping their true sexual identity hidden.

Transformation, really living into your authentic life requires coming out of a “closet” too. It takes courage, and requires a making a decision. Do we continue to conform or do we choose to transform? The word transform means going beyond our current reality. The new reality is a shift in our thinking about who we really are, and what we are capable of. This requires moving beyond familiar habits of thinking and being, and it takes rigor. It can feel easier to default and make a contract with mediocrity. In relationships and friendships, the message we sometimes give one another is, “I won’t change if you don’t change.” There’s fear that if we do live into the full expression of who we are, we might rock the boat… we might make waves…and we might outshine another. So, we tell ourselves it’s just easier to blend in and accept the status quo, but is it? A line in Belinda’s poem speaks of the 70-year-old man standing vigil at the hospital bed of his dying, secret lover. Imagine the effort to keep that kind of love from pouring out into the world…and for how many decades?
Everything you are looking for is within you, waiting to be fully expressed. You are more resourced and powerful then you know. Why not live into your possibility? The caterpillar must end its life, for the butterfly to emerge… but the butterfly has always been there, waiting.
To paraphrase Belinda’s conclusion, she writes; For all the people who don’t fit the stereotypes and the norms, who are still discovering themselves…who are brave enough to embrace the TRUTH of who they are, of who YOU are…That’s WHY A PARADE! Why not choose to create the life you would really love to live, and live it?
Blessings for a Happy July,

Lynne

The Power of Decision

Are you someone who makes decisions quickly or do you tend to sit on the fence, and get …chaffing?

Every moment of every day, we make decisions. Sometimes our decisions seem small and inconsequential, and sometimes the decisions we make will change the course of our lives. In the end, though, the outcome of our day, our year, and our lives are defined by the decisions we make and the actions we take to serve them.

For over 25 years, Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich” studied the most successful people of his time and what he consistently found was these individuals had the habit of reaching decisions promptly and changing these decisions slowly. When you make a decision quickly, you leave no room for doubt, worry, and confusion. Instead of wasting time worrying about all of the possibilities and trying to endlessly analyze every potential outcome, making a quick decision enables you to immediately begin devoting your efforts to following through on that decision.

So…why is it that almost all of us suffer from decision paralysis at some point in time, and how do we change this?

Oftentimes we make decisions that are based on our current situation; Successful people make decisions based on where they want to be. “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” (Earl Nightingale) Sadly, most people spend more time planning a vacation then they do to creating a vision for a life they would love to live. They look at the conditions of their current situations and feel stuck…and where their attention goes, energy flows.

To transform our lives, we must have a clear vision of where we are going and what we’d really love; “A Stanford study showed that those who saw a photo of their future self made smarter financial decisions.” A.J. Jacobs)

The second principle of transformation requires that we make a decision for our vision, without knowing “how” it will come about. When we are pulled by the expansive energy of our vision, we live in alignment with the Power breathing us, and this is where and when the magic happens. “When someone makes a decision, they are really diving into a strong current that will carry them to places they had never dreamed of when they first made the decision.” Paulo Coelho

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one, that would never otherwise have occurred… A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamt would have come their way.” William Murray

The rigor of the work of transformation, is holding fast to our decisions when we don’t immediately see results. This is when it is so important to NOT second guess and give up on ourselves.

Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons, and some luck. The only thing that’s for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they’d just had the courage to leap.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take and the decisions we waited to make. What decision are you going to make today? Just make it…. and then take action. Put it on the calendar and commit to it, commit to yourself, to moving forward, to living a life you’d love.

Test Negative, Stay Postive

Here we are going into a third wave of Covid. I certainly didn’t see this coming, did you? This is not what any of us would have chosen, and has turned life upside down for many. If we could wave a magic wand, I am sure most of us would want to eliminate this virus right now….and we can’t. There is a global consciousness going on right now, and we can either accept the global “thought-mosphere,” of “I can’t do anything because of Covid,” or we can lean into the question right now, and ask ourselves, what would I love to create.” 

Unfortunately, that is not how most of us have been trained to think. We are taught to look at conditions and to make decisions based on “what looks possible,” by what we can see with our “physical senses,” what we can hold in our hands, or see in our bank account, or on the news. We accept this as “evidence” because it is tangible.

From vision-based living we recognize that we are powered by a Life Force far greater than any circumstance or condition that we may be facing. We live in a universe governed by invisible laws and principles. This is science. We don’t see electricity or gravity but we know they exist. We believe that if we wire our homes properly, we can turn on a switch and light up a room. When we live from the expansive energy of our dreams, we are aligning ourselves with Universal Energy. When we live into the question “what I would love” and stay the course with intention, attention and expectation…magic happens.

There are people who have thought “outside of the box” and flourished during the pandemic… they have made it work. Rather than wait until Covid is over to dream, they’ve lived into the question, what would I loveand you can too. Start by writing the “what” down, and putting the “how” on hold. Then ask the question “what can I do, from where I am, with what I have, to serve my dream today? There is an Invisible Power breathing you, and “something” that is keeping the planets in alignment. So let go of the need to know “how,” it really isn’t up to you.

“Instead of telling God about your big problems, tell your problems about your BIG GOD.” Michael Beckwith

 

Gleaning the Gifts

I have heard it said that “the content of our lives is the curriculum for our soul’s evolution,” a call to grow. Oftentimes the curriculum is not easy, but if we choose to glean the gifts, our “dark night” experiences can bring transformation; they can help us to access our inner sanctuary, to create new beginnings, and move forward to live a life we love.

Change can happen slowly or in a moment. My journey of deeper transformation began December 4, 1997, with a phone call from my Doctor. He had the biopsy results, and the diagnosis was breast cancer. I was blindsided. The day before the phone call, my picture-perfect life looked like this: I was fit and seemingly healthy. I was “happily” married with three beautiful young sons. I loved being a mom and my husband and I were business partners in a successful training and consulting business. Six month later, the life I had known came apart at the seams. My marriage ended, as did our business partnership. By July of 1998, I was a cancer survivor, a single parent and unemployed.

When I began rebuilding my life, I realize I was an “unconsciously and somewhat competent” DreamBuilder. I had a vision for what I did want (the first principle of transformation). I wanted to heal on every level. I had a burning desire to see my young sons grow into men. I wanted to grow spiritually. I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I wanted to have some amazing travel adventures. In 1999, I had another go with cancer. I wasn’t sure if my health would cooperate, but I made a firm decision, (the second principle of transformation). I wanted so much out of life. I wanted, as expressed by Henry David Thoreau, to suck the marrow out of whatever amount of time I would be gifted with. Where I fell short in the scheme of DreamBuilding, was befriending my “fear.” Hindsight is a great teacher. I know now, that fear will always be a player when we are on our growing edge… I didn’t know it back then, and what I lacked was solid mentorship and a system of support to navigate all the change. I couldn’t see my subconscious blocks and the belief systems that caused me to collapse back to habitual thinking patterns and ways of being when I felt fear. As a result, I took many unnecessary detours in those early years… and I am here to tell you that you don’t have to.

Why did I share this, and why does it matter?  Because I want you to know that you are far more capable and resourced than you can imagine. The power breathing you is greater than any circumstance, situation or condition you may be facing today. It is important to traverse and process our dark nights. As we do this, we can “glean the gifts” that the tough stuff teaches us about ourselves. If I can live into the life of my dreams, you can too. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anybody, but I would wish where it took me on everybody. It is with a sense of deep gratitude that I can tell you today, I have realized all my earlier dreams… and I am now pulled by new ones.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my oldest son was 11 years old. He is now 35. Next September, I’ve been invited to officiate his wedding ceremony. Something I had not even imagined. These are what I call “bonus dreams”!

The Choice

An Elder Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. He said to the boy, “A fight is going on inside me, and it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This is a valuable teaching that reminds us of the power we have to choose our thoughts, emotions, actions and ultimately how we experience our lives.

When times (pandemic) and situations challenge us (change, loss, other people), it is easy to default to habitual patterns and ways of being. When we get caught up in looking outside of ourselves to make sense of what is going on inside. It is a known way of coping and gives us a false sense of feeling in control when life feels uncontrollable. The downfall is that it actually creates the opposite result. It strips us of our sense of personal power and freedom to choose. It keeps us stuck in a cycle that does not serve us, or our ability to grow.

Transformation begins with a clear vision of the life you would love to live. When you decide for transformation, (which means to go beyond your current form) you will hear both of the voices. There is a part of you that really wants to move forward, that is excited to grow, that knows you are capable of so much more life. Yet there is another part of you, me, and all of us that really doesn’t want to see change. It wants to keep us right where we are, it’s what is known, it’s safe, and although it limits us and can keep us from living into our potential…it’s comfortable. This is the voice that causes us to sabotage our growth and success.

An important brave thinking tool is to “notice what you are noticing”. Becoming aware of what is going on within you. When you hear from the voice that wants to hold you back, when you are feeling stressed, this tool can help you to “push pause” and make a different choice; a choice to “feed” the voice that wants your vision to win. Think of the acronym S-T-O-P. The (S) reminds us to stop; (T) take three deep breaths and smile into every part of your body, this takes us out of our thinking mind; (O) Observe your body sensations…Where and what are you feeling? (P) Proceed with a choice, an action that is loving and compassionate.

Sometimes life is hard and tough stuff happens. You need to acknowledge this, and make an “appointment with disappointment.” Feel your feelings…journal, exercise, talk to a friend, your coach or mentor, and know you are not alone. Extend the same compassion and kindness to yourself as you would to a friend; and then recommit to your vision.

Leaving familiar ways of being behind is the work of transformation, and this is where a system of support is invaluable. Top athletes, business owners and successful executives know this. Working with my own coach, I know this. Why? Because we cannot see our own subconscious blocks. It is hard to see the picture when we are in the frame. As Maxwell Maltz said, “you cannot never outperform your self image but you can change it.”

In each and every moment we are creating our life, we create either by design or by default. Which voice will you feed?