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.

 

Thinking Out Loud

Thinking Out Loud is a collection of thoughts, notes to myself, and inspirations from the first quarter of 2015.

Desire Map Workshop Level 2-39

Give your desires attention; follow up with action.

If it doesn’t feel good why do it?

You have to think and act differently if you want to create sustainable change.

Today is always a good day to start.

Breathe in calm. Breathe out angst.

Start where you are.

People change when they’re ready, and not a moment before.

Every thought you think changes your brain in some way.

Going after what you want takes a willingness to be brave.

Multitasking is not the answer. Ever.

There’s nowhere to get to, there’s only the day by day evolution.

When you know your values and core desired feelings, it’s easier to live in integrity.

It takes courage to work through the shit that weighs you down.

Do your thing, and ignore the rest.

Finding your way with ruthless compassion is an ongoing process.

In the practice you will find your way.

Change is natural and inevitable.

Desire must be followed by action.

When you discover the right practices, routine becomes ritual, and ritual becomes devotion.

It takes guts to tell the truth, and heart to show self-compassion.

We’re in this together, but we’re all walking our own path.

Trust yourself. Trust your answers.

Choosing love is a practice. Don’t take the choice for granted.

Surrender is not a one time event.

Your dreams are not wishful thinking when they’re fueled by your values and core desired feelings.

Knowing isn’t enough. You must do the work of integration if you want to see profound change.

Treat yourself the way you treat the ones you love the most.

Give yourself compassion without reservation.

No matter what kind of change you’re working on, if you focus on it consistently you’ll get results.

Less angst. More calm.

Progress trumps perfection. Every time.

Magic happens when women gather.

Light and dark. Equal power on the path to freedom.

Slow down.

There’s only NOW.

Love yourself the way you love kids and dogs.

Stay fierce.

The path to change is seldom a straight one.

When the discomfort of where you are becomes greater than the discomfort of change, you’re ready to get started.

Go gently towards the new.

Own your life experiences. Good, bad, unwanted or deeply desired. Own them all.

Normal is overrated.

All change begins with your thoughts.

More truth. Less fluff.

Surrender and trust.

Today and always choose to love more.

Surrender. Release. Evolve.

Mind your thoughts.

Every word creates your future.

The heart wants what it wants. Accept that.

The voice in your head is not your conscience.

Layer by layer, we get closer to our desires and what we want the most.

Sometimes you just have to say WTF…and let it go as you exhale fully.

Less striving. More surrender.

Make creating your day a priority.

You can’t do everything. Stop trying.

The practice of choosing how you want to feel every day is simple, but damn, it’s not always easy.

You can have things planned to a T, and still have them go wildly wrong. It’s what you do then that matters.

Do more of what feels good.

Less comparison. More self-expression.

Tell your limiting beliefs to fuck off.

Assume the best.

Be relentless like the sea.

 

 

The Practice of Ruthless Compassion

I used to be all about making things happen.

It worked for a long time, until it stopped and I felt the inner exhaustion that followed. I did it so long it became my default way of getting through the challenges of life.

I tried to change but the alternative felt too soft, like I was letting myself off the hook.

“True compassion has nothing to do with being nice and everything to do with doing the right thing for ourselves and others.” – Dr. Marcia Sirota

Doing the right thing for others was usually easier than doing the right thing for myself, and of course, it felt so very virtuous.

Ruthless Compassion #truthbomb, rose quartz

Cue Ruthless Compassion

RUTHLESS: unrelenting, adamant, relentless

Ruthless is kind of a brutal honesty that doesn’t back down. It’s also the starting point when we get real.

Can you be ruthless about:

  • what’s working
  • what’s not working
  • what you want
  • what you desire

In the Desire Map workshops I’ve led recently what shows up is a discomfort with acknowledging these truths. And even though we may not be happy with the current reality, it’s familiar and safe.

It takes guts to tell the truth.

THIS is when it calls for being ruthless with ourselves; relentless for our soul’s deepest desires.

COMPASSION: commiseration, mercy, tenderness, heart

You probably have this in abundance – for others. How about for yourself?

Can you have compassion when you:

  • you slip up
  • forget what you promised
  • turn away from your inner knowing
  • ignore your heart’s longing

It takes heart to show self-compassion.

We are so fucking hard on ourselves and it makes me ache with a sadness that has no words. I know this sadness much too well.

“When a human being has thoroughly experienced his or her own basic rawness, there is no room to manipulate the situation. We just go forward and present the truth quite fearlessly. We can be what we are, in a very straightforward and basic way.” – Atalwin Pilon

What if you could be relentless with heart?

Undaunting with tenderness?

Unrelenting with kindness?

Finding your way with ruthless compassion is an ongoing process.

For me it is a practice of honouring my word to myself and allowing my core desired feelings to guide me.

It’s not easy, and some days I just want to get shit done, get it over with, and do ALL THE THINGS myself.

The cost of this way of being is no longer acceptable.

So I practice. Shifting from ruthless to compassionate and back to centre.

In the practice we find our way.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 pig-tailed 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.

 

 

Take What You Need

Take What You eed

“What do your words, your heart and art, need?” she asked.

When you ask questions for a living as I do, it’s easy to forget to ask yourself and like the cobbler’s children I sometimes go without.

In taking care of others, we ignore or suppress what we ourselves need so very much.

What do you need? 

For me, there are essential ingredients to this recipe of need. They are simple, and yet often just beyond my reach in the busyness of life.

time

silence

depth

touch

laughter

Because I need them, I expect them to be there naturally, auto-magically. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.

My need calls for devotion, but that’s only part of it for as Isabel Abbott reminds me,

Devotion is not the answer, or any answer. It is orientation, a way of being in the world, of giving ourselves over to belonging to life, and letting life love us. It is a way of being here.

Here, where we might take our legion hearts and choose this life, again and again and again.

Again and again and again.

Ahh, sweet life, you bring me back to choice once more.

Taking care of our needs is a choice, but it’s not a one-time thing.

It’s the daily act of checking in with heart and soul, while giving the head a break.

Because it’s easy to ask what the head needs, and it’s quick to give a reply, an opinion, a judgment, usually focused on some aspect of survival.

Which is good except for this one important truth…

Your survival is rarely at stake.

Even during the most challenging, wrenching times of your life, your survival was rarely an issue.

Telling the truth about that will lead you back to your heart where your deepest needs are waiting.

“What do your words, your heart and art, need?” she asked.

My words need time and space.

My heart needs love, always love.

My art needs to remember.

Telling the truth changes everything.

 

*Inspired by Isabel Abbott’s: heat – 27 days of creative burn

 

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.

 

 

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.