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?

 

Zero Judgement, All Love

Zero Judgement

Shit happens. Unexpected upsets occur. People let you down.

React or respond.

Shut down or share your truth.

One truth is, you always have a choice.

Those moments of challenge life hands us are opportunities to grow. Even when they suck.

Some days the urge is strong to shut down, protect myself, and say, fuck it, I’ve had enough.

Those are the moments that shake me to the core, and remind me that I get to choose how I want to live my life.

No one else has a say, including people who love me.

I do not want to live a shut down life.

I will not trade my passion and self-expression for safety and security.

It is the cause of dis-ease, which I’m sure given enough time becomes disease of a more common kind.

I choose to live consciously, as awake and open as I can.

My choice to live the way I want requires no approval.

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” 

Emile Zola’s words resonate, squeeze my heart, and remind me of something I’ve known for a very long time.

I am here to live out loud.

Unapologetically, free to choose, moment by moment.

Today choose love.

Love the upset. Love the people. And most of all, love yourself more.

Zero judgement, all love.

Imagine the possibilities.

 

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.

 

 

 

Lessons from the Birth Canal

As I wrote this post, Deva Premal chanted in the background; a prayer to Ganesh, remover of obstacles. This chant has been my constant companion the past month as I prepared for the business of birthing.

Creating. Launching. Birthing.

And exhausting – for it feels like I have given birth, and been birthed at the same time.

Yes, I love a good paradox.

ges·ta·tion  n.

1. The period of development in the uterus from conception until birth.
2. The conception and development of a plan or an idea in the mind.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Continue reading

Hello Desire Map, I Love You

 

At this time of year I start to look forward , and while I’m no fan of resolutions, I do love creating the future. This year, I’m feeling anticipation more than usual.

This feeling has a lot to do with the my journey the past couple of years, which has been an opportunity to embrace more of what I love and want in life.

And what’s leading me there with a new-found intensity is my deep dive into Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map.

Reading the Desire Map is a soulful endeavour that wreaks havoc (in a good way) on my psyche, and makes room for new thoughts and feelings to emerge.

red rose of desire, the Desire Map process

desire

: early 13th century Latin, desiderare – “long for, wish for,” original sense – “await what the stars will bring”

Await what the stars will bring…

So I willingly immersed myself in the desire mapping process which led to feeling good in all areas of my life.

Now I’m not new to the Desire Map having gone through the process last year, but this time I gave myself fully to the experience.

My motivation came from a longing to create this year in a new way, but also to deepen my own relationship to desire.

I’ve had plenty of experience wanting something and not getting it, and wondered how desire could transform that sense of striving. I also committed to leading two Desire Map groups, and public declaration is a powerful motivator.

I settled in to explore my desires, and what showed up were these core desired feelings:

Cherished
Free
Delight
Spacious
Wonder

While doing the work my guy came home, and after a short while, he asked what I was doing. I casually responded, “Getting clear how I want to feel this year.”

Silence, and then…“Can I do it too?”

We sat side by side, me asking the questions out loud, both of us writing in notebooks. No idle chat, just silence and the sound of pen on paper, accompanied by the warm light of the fire.

What happened next surprised me, and was a direct hit of delight.

When I asked him to share one of his feelings ‘joyfully connected’ came out of his mouth, along with a simple statement that it’s how he wants to feel in relationships, and specifically with me in our marriage.

Hello Desire Map, I love you.

This process works.

It guides you past the same old stuff that comes up every January and takes you deep into what’s important.

For me it was,

Feeling joyfully connected vs. “let’s set up another date night”

Feeling cherished and delighted vs. driven by my goals

When you allow your feelings to guide you,

“…you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be.”  – Danielle LaPorte

 

 

A Simple Relaxation Technique to Connect Your Heart & Mind

 

Family visits are usually a roller coast ride of emotions, and my recent three-week visit home definitely qualifies.

There was the sweet nostalgia of spending time with my ninety-one year old grandfather, the indescribable feeling of being there for my parents, and then the sadness of saying goodbye.

This visit was a great reminder of how important it is to slow down, take more deep breaths, and be present.

Because life keeps doing its thing, throwing out unexpected curveballs, and life is just so damn busy.

Your brain has to deal with millions of bits of information each day. It’s exhausting.

We get worn down by it, becoming more and more unresourceful as time passes.

While home, I researched relaxation techniques to help my Dad with his hypertension, which led to discovering the Institute of HeartMath, which then led to a couple of hours absorbing the art and science of connecting hearts and minds.

Connect

And even though I’ve been involved with personal development for many years, the impact of practices like meditation and breath-work on physical conditions still surprised me.

I fell in love with the following exercise because of its simplicity; it’s short, easy to follow, and you’ll feel the difference immediately.

Continue reading

The Delicious Ambiguity of Endings (and how they lead to freedom)

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” – Gilda Radner

Kits Beach sunset, Vancouver, BC: photo credit - Mark Faviell

We want so much to know what’s going to happen, as if knowing will make the endings less difficult, less painful.

It doesn’t.

Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a business, or a relationship, knowing the end is near makes very little difference.

Emotions will come up (they are relentless, in case you hadn’t noticed), often slowing down the healing process if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel and integrate them fully.

Therein lies the greater challenge of endings.

It’s also where ambiguity lives.

am·bi·gu·i·ty

:: doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention

We wrongly believe that feeling emotions (especially ones perceived as negative) leads to deeper pain, and we’ll do anything to avoid them.

Move on. Be positive. Count your blessings.

The platitudes we speak to avoid feeling the depth of our emotional world.

We do anything to avoid going deep, blind to the fact that the opposite is the path to freedom.

It’s said resistance is futile, and when it comes to emotions that’s true.

What you resist will persist somewhere in your mind, body, spirit.

Problems and circumstances come and go in life, but your unexpressed feelings become trapped as emotional charge, or negative energy.

It’s not a conscious action, but rather a protective instinct that does more harm than good.

In avoiding what’s perceived as negative or ending, you keep yourself stuck there, paralyzed by the unknown.

The truth I’ve discovered as I do more and more work with people in the Freedom Sessions is that acknowledging and feeling your emotions fully is what gets you through the pain and struggle with greater ease.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know.

Here’s how it works:

That emotional charge is made up of four elements:

  • Images – pictures you see in your mind
  • Thoughts – internal dialogue, negative chatter, the broken record of self-recrimination
  • Feelings – emotions we try to suppress that return over and over
  • Body sensations – physical ailments or conditions that show up as a response to the suppression

What’s the impact of all that stuck energy?

What’s the cost to your vitality and well-being in life? 

For most of us it’s huge.

I recently shared my personal experience of this cost and how I found my way back to freedom.

So what to do with all these stuck and suppressed emotions?

Of course I invite you to work through the Freedom Sessions with me; until then, here are a few tips to help you begin the process on your own.

How to Clear Your Stuck Energy

1. Start with Your Body

Take a moment and notice where the stuckness shows up in your body. As soon as you tune out the external distractions and focus on your body, you will feel where it lives in most strongly within. Let yourself feel it.

2. Acknowledge Its Presence

The emotional charge you feel in your body is there for a reason. Put all your attention on it; be with it without judgement. It’s been suppressed and ignored for so long, take a moment to acknowledge its presence.

3. Magnify It

Sounds a bit crazy, but imagine feeling the pain of the emotion and then exaggerating it. Imagine you could zoom in to the very core of its existence, and then be with the initial discomfort.

THIS is the gateway to relief, and freedom.

This works so well because we go right to the root of the negative energy, that emotional charge that’s been stuck for so long, and you bypass the overactive mind that’s done its best to protect you. This results in dissolving the energetic residue in the body.

It’s not rocket science, and it’s not magic – there be no unicorns here.

It is however, simple and profound.

The good news is it’s by far the most effective work I’ve done with clients in over a decade, helping people move from stuck to free and empowered.

The bad news is you have to acknowledge you now have a choice, and you’re not a victim of circumstance. For some, that’s the biggest hurdle.

“I loved the session where I figured out why I’m here and all the false crap that triggers maladaptive or reactive behavior.  It’s probably the most important chunk of information I’ve ever learned about myself because I understand myself so much better instead of simply labeling myself as wrong or bad. So much support in an atmosphere of non-judgement.” – Ellen Berg

More good news – you don’t have to do this alone.

Contact me directly if you want to explore if this is right for you.

Over to You:

Over to You:

Which of the steps feels the most challenging to you?

Cracking the Happy Code

 

Happy. Not happy. Happy. Not happy. Unhappy?

A client likened it to a personal Morse code tapping its way through her brain.

typewriter message reads, "Happy. Not happy."

We burst into laughter when she said it out loud. It was the laughter of recognition.

Questioning life. Questioning decisions. Questioning. . .everything. And yeah, I love asking questions and challenging and going deep.

Until I don’t.

Until the day comes when I just don’t want to explore another damn thing.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

But did he mean for us to examine ad infinitum?

Continue reading

Leaning Into Discomfort

 

Welcome to the discomfort zone.

A place you visit infrequently for all too short periods of time.

Today however, we’re going to get comfortable with discomfort.

Is that even possible?

It absolutely is when you lean into discomfort instead of resisting.

palm trees, Kihei, Maui

It takes leaning into it intentionally because mostly, we’ll do anything to avoid discomfort.

“Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.” – Seth Godin

 Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

I say discomfort is a result of doing something new.

Every time you say yes to something new, discomfort arises. 

And resistance is never far behind.

Your resistance will look like reasons:

  • why you shouldn’t move forward
  • why it was a bad idea in the first place
  • why you should go back to what you were doing before.

So many reasons lulling you to sleep and inaction.

Your lizard brain is like that; it will say anything to get you to stop.

Except, you keep having these thoughts and dreams. . .

Dreams so wondrous they make your heart race.

Trust those dreams, and yourself to take the next step.

Continue reading