A Mantra for Love

How good can you feel

mantra:

from Sanskrit – “sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel,” literally “instrument of thought”

A couple of weeks ago I started saying “Zero judgement, all love.”

It never occurred to me that I’d created a mantra. It was simply a tool to help me focus.

For some time, it had been my intention to focus on self-love, first inspired by my core desired feeling cherished, and then by the Self-Love Evolution, the current round of the 100 Day Promise online program I’m teaching.

Zero judgement, all love – a lovely thought, isn’t it?

The truth is, it’s more than a thought – it’s a practice worth developing, because there are times when life repeatedly reminds us that it’s not always easy to choose it.

For it is a choice, and a way of living.

Zero judgement doesn’t mean I never feel judgement, but the mantra helped me notice and let go of my judgement with more ease.

The mantra has helped me slow down, step back, and notice how judgement feels in my body. Tight, and closed off, with a side of injustice brewing beneath the surface.

Tight and closed off are about as opposite from my core desired feelings as I can get.

Make your way back to love.

It’s not easy when I feel reactive, but step by step, I make my way back to feeling good, and feeling good eventually leads back to love. From love, I can choose consciously.

The choice is clear: react in the moment, or step back and respond.

Zero judgement, all love.

The key is to stop the judgement when we catch ourselves judging others, otherwise we create an endless loop of righteousness.

The mantra helps to shift your energy back to a vibration that feels good.

It’s a sacred tool to focus your attention, and whether you use a universal sound like om, a Sanskrit mantra, or a phrase you’ve made up, what’s most important is that it has meaning for you.

And isn’t that true for anything?

 

Freedom Always Follows Truth

Freedom always follows truth

Today, like most days, I pulled two cards to start my day.

My go-to deck of Truthbombs reminded me of something I’ve forgotten in the busyness of the past few months.

Freedom always follows truth.

And then, because it seemed I needed a second reminder, truth-telling came up in an interview, and I heard myself say how vital it is to my life and work.

Dear Universe, I got the message, loud and clear.

In that moment, I realized it was time to come clean, to tell the truth about what I want – now, at this moment in my life.

Not last year, not even six months ago. Now.

What I want might take a little ruthless compassion focused on the woman in the mirror. And it might take making changes to my schedule, stretching me out of my comfort zone yet again.

That’s the truth that’s been niggling at me, and also what I’ve avoided.

Because really, do I have to keep growing and expanding myself?

Yes, I do. I am clear that’s part of my work in this lifetime.

How do I know this is true? Because I suffer when I stop growing. I suffer when things become stagnant, routine, and draining.

And more importantly, I thrive when I’m challenged to grow.

It’s not that difficult to tell the truth.

Telling the truth feels so damn good. Have you noticed?

It’s the feeling of sweet relief; a kind of grace that washes over me, a balm to my soul.

If it feels so good, why don’t we do it more often?

Because no one wants to look bad.

“Hey there, let me tell you how I lied to myself and got through it.” – Said no one ever.

Sometimes, lying looks like not telling the whole truth, and then we rationalize it away because it’s not like we actually lied.

Except we did.

To ourselves, and holy fuck, there’s a wake-up call.

Wake up to the truth.

In that interview I spoke of forgiveness, and how it relates to self-compassion. It’s easy to get caught up in self-recrimination when we slip from our commitments, and veer away from the truth.

But what if instead we simply acknowledge what’s there?

No judgement, all love.

The truth is I want writing to be where I turn to work things out and create; not a sometime event linked to a looming deadline.

The truth is I want my business to reach more people; and I want that more than I want to believe the old stories about how it’s not possible.

And the truth is I love the busyness that sometimes gets in the way.

I love having my time and energy focused on projects and goals that will, in some way, change the world.

But that truth felt too big, too audacious, too fucking huge for me to admit.

The truth is I want all of this, and more.

 

And suddenly… sweet relief, and freedom.

No judgement, all love.

 

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 next 100 Day Promise begins January 1, 2016 with the theme of Living Abundance.

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 1, 2016 with the theme Living Abundance.

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. 

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.  

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.

 

On Devotion & Walking the Path

de·vo·tion 

(n) profound dedication; consecration; dedicate by a vow, promise solemnly

Visakha Bucha (Vesak) 4, Siam Square, Bangkok, Bangkok

What are you devoted to?

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Mitch Albom

Devotion has been on my mind and in my heart as I lead the 100 Day Promise.

Devotion as a Way of Living & Loving

I love the idea of devotion, but as a way of life it seems altruistic and out of reach.

Women are generally conditioned to take care of others, but it often comes with a feeling of obligation or responsibility.

What might happen if we shifted from taking care of others to being devoted?

Mother Meera comes to mind; a woman believed to be the embodiment of the Divine Mother on earth.

And I wonder,

From her site,

“Mother Meera has no interest in conversion or in changing anyone’s faith or creed. This is simply irrelevant for her.  She is simply a Divine Mother for everyone who turns to Her. “

Insight: The difference between being devoted to something and giving up your life is perspective. Create a context that’s worth showing up for every day and you’ll give up nothing.

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Devotion as the Foundation of Community

When we come from the heart life is simple; come from the head and things get complicated.

It’s easy to fixate on the minutiae and complexity of daily life, but devotion can’t exist in that space.

Devotion demands getting out of your head.

The best communities I’ve experienced thrive in simplicity and clarity of focus. Usually that’s because they’re devoted to an empowering mission. They may not use the language of devotion, but they are single-minded about their vision and what they’re here for.

Like electricity, the Light is everywhere, but one must know how to activate it. I have come for that.” – Mother Meera

Insight: When you devote yourself to a cause, make a vow or promise, you make space for clear actions that come from the heart.

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Devotion as the Path to Purpose & Meaning 

This is what life is about. Creating something out of nothing, leaving a piece of yourself in the process; a legacy that lives beyond your existence.

Where does purpose and meaning come from?

It’s not out there somewhere waiting to be found. True purpose comes from within.

Insight: If you make a promise to yourself to live the way you want to live, devoted to a purpose of your creation, your reasons and circumstances for why you can’t do what you want disappear.

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Devotion as an Act of Creation

My own 100 Day Promise began as a practice of writing every day, but it became clear very quickly that I needed more than a commitment.

When I began to see my writing practice as a devotion to the act of creating, my resistance fell away, and I was left with space. In that space my writing flourished, words and ideas flew from my mind to my fingertips in abundance.

Insight: The context you create makes a dramatic difference to how you show up. Giving my writing the context of devotion changed it from something I told myself I should do every day to a practice that has ignited my creativity.

“Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.” – Nicholas Sparks

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Devotion as Ritual

Even tasks of our choosing become repetitive if we’re not present and mindful. 

But when we bring ritual to the doing, the energy of the act changes to one of ceremony.

What might devotion as ritual look like?

When I began experimenting with this, I found that auditory rituals were important to me and I found myself drawn to chanting and mantras. I love how Sanskrit mantras sound and how they make me feel, connecting me more deeply to how I want to feel in my life – cherished, sacred, free. 

My initial curiousity became a daily practice, a way of starting each day intimately connected to myself.

Insight: When you find the right practices – the ones that resonate with your soul – routine becomes ritual, and  repetition turns into devotion.

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Devotion as a way of living.

This path is one of integrating what I love and what I’m devoted to with my everyday life and ordinary activities.

Because everything offers an opportunity for devotion.

 

 

Your Resistance is a Sign

Resistance comes up when you decide to change something about yourself.

You create a goal, or make a promise bigger than you know yourself to be, and resistance comes up because in that moment your identity is threatened.

A part of you must die in order for the new part – the change – to come to life.

This is the journey of resistance.

Don’t try to fix it, or change it. Let it be, and let it move through you.

It can’t stay with you unless you feed it.

“Your resistance is a sign that your system is reconfiguring itself toward success.” – Todd Herman

Notice it, yes, because it’s there. Then turn your attention to what you want.

Commit each day to one action in service to your desire, and do what you need to do to feel how you want the outcome to feel.

Deep in the work of creating a new program, I’ve developed practices to fuel my promise, and ease my resistance.

Because that’s all there is to do.

Day by day, resistance lessens and my promise deepens, filling in areas of my being I didn’t know existed.

“When you surrender, the problem ceases to exist. Try to solve it, or conquer it, and you only set up more resistance.” – Henry Miller

It’s a tricky dance: surrender to it without trying to fight or change it.

It takes practice.

Like true mastery always does.

 

 

The Myth of the Overnight Success

Transformations and overnight successes are common, especially in the online world. We see them all the time: blueprints, roadmaps, and quick-fixes to success.

We forget that there’s no one-size-fits-all path.

We live in a world of over-promising that has a negative impact on our confidence and ability to pursue what’s important to us in life.

The problem with stories of overnight success is that is we don’t often hear about what had to happen to get there, and we almost never hear about the effort involved to reach the successes.

We only see the result, which if you’ve tried and failed in previous attempts to change, only serves to trigger self-recrimination and judgment.

So how do we get there from here?

When you make a promise to yourself, it always comes from a desire to change.

The truth is that change is what most of us want, but we deny that we want it.

Maybe you think you should be more accepting of what is instead of focused on what is not, i.e. your desired outcome.

But change is natural and to resist it is…well, kind of crazy.

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

Always in flux, nature is the greatest example of change.

A few years ago we had a violent storm in Vancouver that included howling winds, power outages, and massive damage to our beloved park in the heart of the city. About a week after the storm, we drove through the park and I cried at the loss of so many trees. Yet, driving through the park now, I can hardly tell that anything had happened, and what was once chaos is again beautiful.

Change. From something that was, to something that different, and new.

At the time however, the media focused on the destruction and judgment of what had happened. That judgment was human and had nothing to do with what had actually occurred in nature.

The same thing happens in our minds when we desire to change, and make a promise to ourselves to do so.

The problem isn’t that we want change; the problem is that we judge ourselves harshly when we fail to change the way we want.

This judgment creates a vicious cycle; an endless loop of disappointment and self-recrimination that colours any future attempt to change, sabotaging our promises in an instant.

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

How Does Change Work?

Change is too often thought of as a dramatic shift, i.e. from unhealthy to healthy, from debt to riches.

We’re led to believe that if we’re given the right kind of training, information or education, change will be quick and inevitable.

Except if this belief were true, many industries (weight loss for example) would cease to exist, and sadly that’s not the case.

In Changing for Good, Dr. James Prochaska found (after working with thousands of patients) that there are natural steps we all go through when making changes in our lives.

Since a promise is creating a change in the future, this is a good place to begin. 

cycle_of_change_prochascka, Changing for Good

It doesn’t matter what area of life you choose, we go through these stages every time we declare a desire to change, every time you make a promise to yourself.

Unless you understand how it goes, the cycle will keep undermining your ability to keep your promise.

This points to the fundamental truth that the process of change is seldom a straight path.

That’s why the 100 Day Promise is effective.

You’ll walk that path armed with tools and strategies, in a loving and supportive community.

Join us.