The Problem with Change

Change is what most of us want, and whether or not we admit it, we’ve got a list of things we’d like to change about ourselves.

The problem isn’t that we want to change. Change is natural and inevitable.

“Every single thing changes and is changing always in this world.” – Saigyo

The problem with change is that we beat ourselves up when we fail to change in the way we want, and we do it so often it becomes a cycle that creates the future; an endless loop of disappointment and self-recrimination.

When we really want to make a change, but feel defeated before we begin, is it possible to succeed?

It’s unlikely, as the vicious cycle is too ingrained and the negative feelings too strong. This is in spite of the fact that you may still have a strong desire to change.

Desire is the important first step in the process.

Think of all the times you tried to change, and the promises you’ve made to yourself.

How many of those promises did you keep? How many were successful?

Instead of judging ourselves harshly for failing to change, let’s take a look at some common beliefs about change.

Fact or Fiction?

Fiction: It takes 21 days to change a habit.
Fact: It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, with the average length of time to successfully form a habit coming in at 66 days.

Fiction: All you need is a desire to change.
Fact: A desire to change is essential, but it’s only one of the steps in the process. It has to be accompanied by readiness, and a willingness to act.

Fiction: Once we act, change should be quick and long-lasting.
Fact: Change is a process, not a one-time event. The most effective coaching or therapy takes this into consideration, and encourages the development of a sustainable practice.

Fiction: If it hasn’t worked, you don’t really want to change.
Fact: Successful change includes slipping back into old behaviors as part of the process. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow every time.

So many limiting beliefs that keep us from the change we so desire.

When we’re inspired to change and make a promise to ourselves, that promise comes from a real and true intention.

Another obvious but often overlooked truth is that to change a behavior, we first need to catch ourselves doing it.

The problem is that if we do catch it, we judge ourselves for doing it, and get caught up in our thoughts, and limiting beliefs from the past.

Do the Work

The world of personal development offers solutions for any problem. Like you, I’ve read the books, taken the programs and workshops, and still been disappointed by the outcomes.

Those solutions often fall short.

And what happens after you’ve read the book, or come home from a weekend workshop?

That workshop high usually disappears within days, and we’re left once again to our own devices, which almost certainly lead back to past behaviors.

What’s missing is implementation.

implement – verb

: to carry out; put into action; from 17th century Latin, implementum: to complete, satisfy, fulfill

How often do you follow through, take action, and keep your promise?

Desire must be followed by action. #100daypromise

Desire must be followed by action.

We mistakenly place the responsibility for change with the book or workshop leader. Or we believe that working with a coach or therapist is the solution, as if the magic happens in the sessions.

We give up our power, forgetting that transformation – true change – happens in between sessions, when we’re doing the work of implementation and taking a promise or commitment to completion.

The work of implementation is ongoing, and can seem boring, or repetitive. Instead of resisting, or using it as an excuse to quit, it’s important to develop personal practices.

When we’re connected to spirit or devotional energy, the work of implementation can lead to profound state changes.

When our fears are stripped away and we see clearly what we want for ourselves and why, we’re better able to make and keep our promises. We become more willing to do the work that’s involved, and that paves the way to ‘get there from here’.

In my experience, it’s more effective to do this work in community where we see ourselves in others. The compassion we generously give to others is reflected back to us, and that glimpse of our humanity helps us stay true to what we want.

When that happens, ‘getting there’ becomes less important than the experience, and the journey takes on a level of ease and flow that leads to greater success.

The 100 Day Promise: Well-Being from the Inside Out begins today, with registration open until January 18, 2014.

Click to join us here.

 

On Expectations (and the promise of 2015)

expectation (noun)

: 1530s, from Middle French expectation or directly from Latin “anticipation, an awaiting”

It’s a shame that having expectations is so often perceived as negative.

Imagine shifting to the original meaning, “anticipation and awaiting”.

It reminds me of when a woman is pregnant and expecting. There’s a certainty that at the end of nine months she will give birth.

What if you brought that same sense of expecting to your life?

What would you give birth to this year?

“Promise yourself… To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.” – Christian D. Larson

For me, 2015 is truly a year where many of the expectations I’ve had are coming to life.

The anticipation has been building and I hardly have words for what this feels like.

On the one hand it’s overwhelming because really, why do all the seeds I’ve planted the past year have to sprout ALL AT THE SAME TIME?

On the other hand, I am so freakin’ grateful I can hardly breathe.

This is what happens when you do the work. When you show up day after day, even and especially when you don’t feel like it.

The practice of showing up for your life in this way always makes a difference. It can’t not do so.

This work of growing and living a life you love isn’t easy, but it IS the catalyst for growth.

It is what fuels the imaginal cells to complete the transformation, making the pain of change worthwhile.

Maya Angelou said, “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”

On that note, here’s what you can expect from me in 2015:

More Desire

: My passion for helping you reclaim your experience of freedom in life is fed by my work with values and core desired feelings. It has been a privilege to lead the Desire Map revolution with Danielle LaPorte and her amazing team.

The coming year is paved for more collaborations and in-person retreats beginning with two retreats in April in the UK. Desire and embodiment are at the heart of these workshops.

More Writing

: With almost twenty years of experience and active participation in the world of personal development, I’ve got a lot to share and the time has come. I’ll be revamping my blog, getting more clear on specific topics and how I can be of service to you.

I’ve also begun work on a book that will bring together what I’ve learned about creating sustainable, effective change. Spring 2015 is about publishing!

More Promise

: The ability to change effectively and sustainably over time is essential to the work of personal growth. If we don’t make this a priority we’ll keep spending time and money on books and programs that ultimately make no difference.

It’s that simple. And that essential.

The next 100 Day Promise begins January 12, with a focus on Well-Being from the Inside Out.

Commit Heart

Register Now

 

Last but not least…

More Love

I love this work with my heart and soul. I love how it connects me to you.

It’s easy and habitual to succumb to our fears. This year let’s practice choosing love together.

 

Thank you for being here.

Sandi Amorim signature

 

You Have to Say Yes When You’re Called

Truth: It doesn’t matter what you want more of.

It matters that you want it and you’re now aware of discomfort.

Something has to change in order to get what you want.

It’s uncomfortable because this awareness can either spur you to action, or hold you in a state of suffering.

The contrast between how you feel in the present, and how you want to feel in the future can be vast – think Grand Canyon vast – and this realization can leave you spinning in doubt and resignation.

Your task in this moment isn’t to leap across the Grand Canyon.

Your task is to decide how you want to feel, because feeling even just a little bit better helps you see more opportunities and make better choices.

It’s not as complicated as we make it.

You have to keep at it, choosing how you want to feel and taking action to feel that way more often and more consistently. Until one day you find yourself on the other side of the Canyon wondering how the hell you got there.

I’ll tell you how you got there…

One step, one feeling at a time.

“Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have.” – Danielle LaPorte

Your dreams can feel like the Grand Canyon – huge and out of reach.

Say Yes

You need to bring them closer; hold them intimately instead of seeing them out there, a distant someday vision.

Too often you put your dreams on hold, but at what cost?

Your dreams can’t wait for someday. They can’t wait for you to get over your fear.

Being fearless isn’t the point.

Fear doesn’t give a fuck how you feel.

Fear is only focused on keeping you safe, stopping you in any way it can.

It whispers seductively…

Do it when you have the money.
Say yes when you’ve lost the weight.
Put yourself out there when your life is more manageable.

It prods you to set aside your dream – just for now it says – but now turns into forever as you wait for the right time.

Truth: That may never happen. It may never be the right time or the right conditions. 

We wait for the right guy, the job, the baby. We wait for the perfect moment that never comes. And we miss out.

We have to stop waiting, and start listening to our longings and desires.

We have to say yes when we’re called.

Because the truth is you may never feel ready, and your fear feeds on that. 

How to Transform Your Inner Critic

Some things can’t be explained, and a little mystery is a good thing.

That’s what I love about working with Jill Prescott.

Disclaimer: Jill is a good friend and I love her madly.

That’s not why I’m writing this.

I want you to know about Jill because working with her is life-changing. I’ve worked with many coaches, healers, and mentors over the years, and very few have had the impact I’ve experienced with this woman.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer

I’m writing this because Jill is one such human being, and I know what awaits those who register for her new program, Embrace Your Humanity.

It’s about acknowledging and transforming your inner critic.

Yes, we all have at least one, and too often it can feel like it’s living your life instead of YOU living your life.

Self-help advice like ‘love yourself’ and ‘don’t listen to that voice in your head’ is useless when you’re caught up in the inner critic’s world of judgment and negativity.

That’s where Jill comes in, and if you let her, she’ll guide you from that place of judgment to a new reality called self-love.

Here’s her story.

You've been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. - Louise Hay

How to Transform Your Inner Critic (and embrace your humanity)

 I’m interested in people falling in love with themselves.

I’m convinced if that happened the world would change dramatically and instead of being surrounded by fear, self hate, anger and regret we would embody peace, love, grace and joy.

Sounds like utopia right?

Well what if you simply started with you?

By now, we all are aware that we must start with ourselves if we have any hope of transforming the world around us.

Through much personal growth, and downright determination I’ve come to realize that the very first step on that journey is to find out what’s really going on inside your own head.

You may be surprised if you slow down and just listen for a minute. When I did what I heard was “well that was dumb” and “idiot” and “DO NOT leave. This is as good as it’s gonna get for you”.

Turns out I was dealing with an Inner Critic. Several, actually. And as I began to dig deeper into this topic I realized it’s an epidemic.

You can find 2,419 books by typing Inner Critic into the search engine on Amazon alone! Two thousand, four hundred and nineteen books. Wow.

So I bought about half of them and started reading. (a slight exaggeration.)

Symptoms of the Inner Critic:

  1. Sleeplessness
  2. Can’t make decisions
  3. Afraid to leave a job/relationship/group of friends that you know isn’t working for you anymore
  4. Stress and anxiety

How many can you relate to?

There are a lot more, and I put a check mark beside about 90% of them.

I lost my shit for a while when I got the full impact of what was going on. It was scary as hell.

For those that don’t know me, I’m not quite 5 feet tall and under a C-note in weight. I don’t fall over too easily, and when I do, you can bet I won’t stay down for long.

I rallied and got to work. It started while I was in a program Sandi offered a few years ago, and while the inner critic conversation was a small part of the overall program, the impact it had on me was profound.

It had such a massive impact that I started teaching my clients how to work with it, turning it from inner critic to inner guide.

The shifts people experienced were nothing short of miraculous, and it started by being willing to listen to and face what I had been telling myself all those years. I had continued suffering long after the initial trauma as over.

Through this work, I took back my life.

I started saying “no” to the things and people who were not right for me.

I saw my value and stopped being dominated by the nonsense going on in my head.

Did it end the negative self talk completely?

No, but that’s normal, and a part of being human.

“A destructive thought process exists within all of us, and we are plagued to varying degrees by an internal dialogue that is harmful, restrictive, and at its ultimate extreme, self-destructive.” – Lisa Firestone

What’s unusual is how quickly I now catch it. I can look at where it came from, and decide if it’s something I can use to my benefit or simply let it go.

That’s what I want for you.

 

* Jill has generously offered a spot to one of my readers. To qualify, please visit this post on Facebook and tell us how you think this program would help you.

 

We Must Move Into Love

“To transcend fear we must move somewhere else emotionally; we must move into love.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We must move into love, and in doing so we make it an active choice rather than an intellectual one.

We’ve heard the call to choose love over fear.

Has it worked for you? Because I’ll admit I’m starting to get that choosing isn’t enough.

And so I did, mostly because I pride myself on walking my talk, but also because I reached out and asked for help.

Some time ago, I began thinking about shooting video, but every time I thought of it my entire being clenched, gripped by the fear of putting myself out there in a new way.

It felt dangerous and vulnerable.

I let myself feel the fear, and I even began to question it, examining it from various angles.

One day I found myself reaching out and asking a friend for support. He was brilliant in that he didn’t just give me advice on how to make videos.  He showed up on my doorstep with his equipment and proceeded to record our conversation for two hours.

Two hours of facing my fear, and moving into love.

Two hours of talking about love and fear and freedom, and other topics I’m passionate about.

At some point I realized I’d almost forgotten about the cameras I was so into our conversation.

I realized that love and fear can’t coexist.

We can never feel them at the same time. It’s impossible.

I realized that choosing love is only the first step.

Moving into love must follow, an ongoing practice that breathes life into us when we most need it.

In saying yes to doing the video, I chose love over fear.

In sharing it here with you, I move into love once again.

Because to keep this to myself goes against how I want to live my life.

I want you to get, just like I did, that I’m OK exactly the way I am.

If I want to help others reclaim their freedom, I have to make the move into love, over and over and over again.

It’s not a one-time thing.

And I am reminded of Marianne Williamson’s prayer,

Dear God,

Help me today to choose love over fear, that I might work miracles for myself and others. Where I am tempted to attack or defend, please guide my mind to a gentler place.

Amen.  

Don’t Give Up

 

It’s darkest before the dawn.

It’s a cliché, but it’s also the truth, and similarly breakdowns usually precede the greatest breakthroughs.

breakdown, [noun]
a breaking down, wearing out, or sudden loss of ability to function efficiently.

We resist the breakdown, seeing it as failure, a judgment of who we are and what we’re capable of.

But maybe you’re just worn out. Maybe seeing it from this perspective would help you be more loving, more compassionate with yourself.

When the breakdown happens we feel desperate, lost, afraid, and one more action, one more try feels Herculean.

This is the moment that tests us beyond what we think is possible, because in this moment it seems the only path is to stop, quit, let go of the dream.

This is the moment to face your fear – the one that crowds everything else out of your mind, body, and spirit.

Don’t give up.

You’re not beaten yet.

“I wanted to teach myself some life lessons at the age of 60 and one of them was that you don’t give up.” – Diana Nyad

Let the turmoil within you stoke the fire of your emotions to fuel your next step, even if it feels small.

Do what you have to do to feel good, even if only for moments at a time.

Your dreams and desires deserve this effort.

Don’t give up.

Ask for what you want.

Ask for support.

Ask again.

Just don’t give up.

 

* it takes strength to be gentle and kind: photo credit – Nicole (Briant) Melton

Feeling Joy, Finding Ananda

 

In grade 2, my best friend was Barb, a girl of Scottish descent who loved books, reading, creativity, and play.

We were devoted to each other, and spent most of our free time together.

Picture two pigtailed girls, devouring books, dreaming dreams, and writing stories together.

I loved her with all of my 7-year-old heart, and was shattered when her family moved away.

We promised to keep in touch, and for a couple of years we did but it was hard. Her new neighbourhood seemed so far away, much too far to navigate by bike or by bus on our own.

But for those years we lived one street apart?

Our friendship consisted of total devotion to each other, and joy at our shared interests.

It was bliss.

Which got me thinking about happiness.

Ananda Hum doodle with pen, ink, and Pixlr

Deepak Chopra (and many wisdom traditions) say that happiness is our true nature.

I knew that as a child; I think we all do.

As an adult however, my skeptical brain sometimes gets in the way of this truth, and I question the joy that was once so natural and normal.

“Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling.” ― Tony DeLiso

As I begin another round of meditation with the Chopra Center, I’m thinking of joy and happiness and how elusive they can sometimes be. 

And I wonder…

What would it take to return to that state of joy?

For me it would take embracing happiness as a way of being.

No striving or earning necessary.

People don’t talk about bliss. I think we worry that it seems selfish.

Who am I to want bliss when so much of the world is at war, and suffering?

But wanting to feel happiness is not selfish; it is a human desire to return to the essence of our true nature.

Joy

Bliss

Happiness

Happiness is our true nature; all I have to do is think back to those days with my best friend Barb to remember.

I also think it takes a commitment, for in the busyness of life, we forget – I know I do.

 

 

Choose love, and have it be that simple.

Crush your fear.

Become fearless.

An inspiring rallying cry in the personal development world.

Or is it?

Does it really motivate you to hear “be fearless,” when time after time your dreams and desires are shut down by fear? Or does the call to fearlessness leave you in doubt that you could ever be that bold?

Just because we hear something a lot doesn’t make it right or true, or even helpful. That it is believed and widespread doesn’t make it useful or effective in the reality of day-to-day living.

Because the truth I’ve learned is that becoming fearless isn’t the point; nor is mastering your fear.

That’s just ego talking, doing it’s best to stop you.

Fear has its uses – survival for one – and it keeps us from doing stupid things, but the thing we don’t often hear is that fear can even lead you to a positive outcome.

What if leaning into your fear is what sets you free? 

Hard to believe? Challenging your beliefs? Stay with me.

When I launched my business almost 15 years ago, I was afraid.

When I got married after heartbreak in my first relationship, I was terrified.

When I learned how to scuba dive, I was so scared I could hardly breathe.

When I faced a video camera for the first time? Heart-racing, deer-in-headlights fear.

I was wracked with fear every single time.

I certainly didn’t ‘crush it’ or eliminate fear from my life. Instead, I tested it, leaning in to see where it would lead me.

That video recording I mentioned?

Yeah, that happened recently, and I can still hardly believe I did it.

For some time, I’ve thought of doing video, every time coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me.

I’m not a video person.
I don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera.
I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.

A few my logical reasons for saying no.

Then I asked myself what was choosing to say no – love or fear?

Fear – deep and dark – a fear of being seen in a new way. Exposed. Vulnerable. I wanted to run and hide, get away from my discomfort.

So I did the opposite, leaning into it as far as I could. And the most amazing thing happened.

Love showed up and said yes.

Choose Love: photo credit - Sandi Amorim

Love for my work, and connecting to people.

Love for the friend who offered to record my first video, and help me face my fear.

Love for myself, and my desire to keep growing and stretching beyond what I think is possible.

I chose love, and it said yes.

Two hours flew by while we talked about life, and vulnerability, and why the general advice to be fearless is fucked. I talked about how scared I was to do this with him.

Two hours of recording that showed me that being afraid and being filmed (or being afraid while being filmed) was something I could lean into rather than avoid.

Instead of crushing fear, I chose love.

Can it be that simple?

Yes.

Simple, and not always easy, but I’m willing to practice.

Choose love, and have it be that simple.

 

p.s. Video to come, so stay tuned.

 

Get Off the Stage (a lesson in change)

The more I work with the process of change, the more I think we all need to lighten up.

We’ve just crossed the mythical 21 day marker in the 100 Day Promise and things are getting interesting.

Two important things have become clear:

  • Consistency helps you focus on what’s important.
  • Devotion keeps your heart fully engaged.

Because the process of change is a bit more maze than labyrinth.

It’s easy to slip, take a wrong turn, and find yourself back at the beginning.

That’s when we most want to give up.

We forget that a slip is just a slip unless we give it meaning.

Give up the meaning, and take another step forward, and another…until suddenly you’ve created a pattern of consistency.

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviour, and our behaviour can change our outcomes.” – Amy Cuddy

You can change your outcomes.

Instead of getting pulled in by the emotions and drama of a slip, notice them as an observer.

Take in all the details, nod your head in sympathy and say, “Isn’t that interesting…”

Laugh at yourself. Let go of significance.

Lighten the fuck up.

You don’t always have to have the starring role in the drama of your life.

You can choose to walk off the stage.

Kinepolis cinema hall: photo credit - Anna

 

 

The Art of Defining Negative Space

In art school I was taught to look at negative space as simply the space between the objects I wanted to draw or paint.

No judgement. No right or wrong.

Just space – the area in between objects or parts of an object, for example, the area between the zebra’s legs. It’s also the space between an object and the edges of the canvas, i.e. the space surrounding the zebra. 

Zebra Legs Red

Negative space is simply the area not occupied by the object.

Which got me thinking about negative space in life.

What if we took the view that it’s space not yet occupied by our desires?

We are hardwired for negativity, so this shift may be a challenge.

Eckhart Tolle said, “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” 

It takes letting go of the judgment you have of the negative that shows up in your life.

Curse if you must, then move on.

Choose to see the negative as space.

“What does one do with experience? Do we react negatively, or do we (pro)create from the space of positivity?” – T.F. Hodge

Choose to take back your power and reclaim your freedom.

Choose to acknowledge the energy between you and the things you want.

It’s there. It happened.

Now choose.