Day 342

Know Thyself

Over the past couple weeks almost everything seems to be pointing to this very important truth. I cannot know what I truly want and what I am meant to be if I look outside of myself to find the answers. More importantly, in order to walk my path, I must be the authority on what to do, how to do it, and why. I must be the empress of my own world with no others above or below me. When it comes to my life, I am the expert. Period.

Reclaiming My Path

I am back on my path. I am all in. I write the rules without apology. I will go where ever my path leads me without regret. I take care of myself, put my needs where they belong no more or less important than those with whom I share this life. I listen to that steadfast confident voice that has always had my best interests at heart. I live my life with dignity, compassion, respect, and unconditional love.

Moving Forward

My life’s plan stretches before me brilliant in its simplicity. I will write and publish books about the things that I feel are important. I will create a forum in which people can connect and practice showing unconditional love, compassion, and validation.I will spread my message for as long and as much as I am granted the energy and the time to do so. I will help those who need me to find their own power so that they can realize their dreams and rediscover their life’s purpose. I will shed light in the dark places in my corner of the world. I will dedicate my life to fulfilling my life’s purpose.

When I Falter

Old habits die hard, but I will always move forward. I will remember that I am human and therefore flawed, and that flaws are beautiful and what allow us to shine and shimmer. I will forgive and move forward knowing I have the keys to meet any challenge put before me.

Compassion. Unconditional love. Validation

I will always show compassion. I will offer unconditional love to all for I recognize and appreciate that we are one and everything else is a grand illusion. I dedicate my life to connecting to all and aligning myself with what I know to be true-we are one.

Hoping all is well with you and yours.

Until next time.

Peace.

Day 331

Letting Go and Moving Forward

I’ve been grappling with bad habits the past few days. Mostly, I’ve been fighting the tendency to wallow in self-pity; something I am rather good at. It’s been a slow, clumsy process, and I am not quite to the other side of this yet. However, I am hopeful that with practice and a conscious effort to change my thoughts, I will be closer to achieving and sustaining a lighter state of mind.

The thought that has occupied most of my time is the thought that I am not good enough. It manifests in the form of the belief that I am inadequate, incompetent, and less intelligent than I think I am. It carries a lot of weight, and last Saturday and Sunday, I struggled under that weight unable to do more than just the bare minimum. It was not a very good place in which to be, and yet I had convinced myself that it was the only place in which I could be.

On Monday, obligations got me showered, dressed, and out of the house and incidentally out of the funk that I was in over the weekend. Once I got out of the house and into a space psychologically where I could observe my situation, I allowed my rational, clear minded self to weigh in on my current predicament. I started by asking questions. I asked myself, What if I am really stupid? What if all my fears are true? Well, facing my greatest fear didn’t turn out so bad; in fact, I began to ask myself other questions such as, How do I determine my self worth?; What is important to me?; What are my objectives and does being stupid stand in the way of my achieving my goals?; Had it stood in the way of my achieving my goals before? As I answered these questions, I felt myself getting lighter and lighter, and I felt that thought which sat on my heart like a giant anvil get smaller and smaller until it no longer mattered.

Last week, in my coach training, I learned about the difference between significance and lightness. I learned that significance and lightness are states of mind. They are as big or small as we choose them to be. Really, the negative thoughts that I have are merely as powerful as I allow them to be. It is easy to get ensnared in my  own beliefs. Thoughts to which I assign great power become beliefs and those beliefs become significant. They weigh heavily on my heart and mind. When those beliefs are beneficial to my life and they enrich and empower me, their significance is life affirming, but when those thoughts hold me back and keep me from moving forward they form the bars of the prisons that I construct for myself.

Escaping these prisons is not easy. Sometimes I think I’ve escaped a prison only to find myself back in there months or years later. It is at these times that I remind myself that this is a process, and that I can get myself out of those prisons with just a shift in my perspective.

Until recently, I had no idea how to maneuver my way out of my self-made prisons. I used to think that every thought I had was important, and that the ones that really stuck around were there to teach me something. I believed that if I spent time examining and experiencing the unpleasant emotions that these negative thoughts carried with them I would learn something profound about myself.

Last weekend, I learned that such behavior is counter productive. I realized that the way out is not to dig deeper into the emotion or thought trying to pry something good out of it, but rather to use the emotion as a point of departure from which will begin a quest toward the solution to the problem that the emotion signifies. In other words, it is not the emotion or thought on which I should focus, but rather the way forward to which the emotion points.

If I were to use the analogy of driving on the freeway, my thoughts and emotions would be the signs providing information about possible destinations. When I’m driving on the freeway, I don’t stop my car, get out and examine the road signs. I don’t contemplate the material out of which they are made, or the hands or machines that painted them. The very idea is absurd.

So why do I do that with certain emotions and thoughts? I think it because I had no idea what the purpose of emotions and negative thoughts were. I believed they were some kind of mysterious, magical beasts carrying with them a riddle that when solved would reveal some spectacular truth about myself. Once I realized that that is not at all what they are, and that it is not the thought or emotion that matters but the message that it carries with it, I was able to develop a strategy with which to handle negative thoughts and unpleasant emotions.

Whenever thoughts of inadequacy and worthlessness arise, I will take a deep breath, and maybe smile. Then I will ask myself the following questions: “What if this were true?”; “What if this were completely false?” “What are my objectives?” “What does this mean to my achieving my objectives?” “What do I want to do now to move forward?” After answering these questions, I will move forward leaving those thoughts behind knowing that if others like them should arise that I have the tools I need to continue to move forward.

I feel fantastic right now. I feel like I have everything I need to face any challenges I might face. I believe that I have the answers to all my problems, and since I started coach training, I realize that now all I need is the right questions.

May you find all the right questions to your answers.

Until next time.

Peace.

 

Days 326 and 327

 

I really struggled with the decision to write this post because it is somewhat political and I don’t like talking about politics because people get too emotional about them, myself included. However, it has been on my mind for a while now, and to not address it seems inauthentic. I care very much about what is happening in the States and in Europe and in Canada. It seems like the world is gearing up for a huge conflict, and I’m wondering what my role in all of this should be.

On one level, I believe no real change happens externally, and that the only change I can really influence is the change I make within myself. However, as I watched and read the news about the riots in Berkley, and the Women’s March, and the fierce opposition that some representatives and congress people have shown to the Trump administration, and the violent acts of the Antifa movement and the BLM movement, I feel compelled to say something or to do something. I am worried about the threats to Americans’ freedom of speech, and I feel that if I don’t take action, or do something, those freedoms will be lost.

More importantly, when I see opposing groups attacking each other physically, and where people are making personal attacks rather than addressing ideas and ideologies, I feel that we’ve reached a point where we are no longer debating and we have begun fighting. People don’t seem interested in listening to each other.

Even in my place of work, people have opinions about BREXIT, of Trump’s travel ban, or Trump’s presidency, but they don’t seem at all open to exploring the truth through debate or in hearing opinions that are different from their because people who hold different opinions are “stupid,” “racist,” or “Islamophobic”. They know how things are and they don’t need to know anything else. It’s disheartening. I feel like compassion, understanding, and the concern for truth is in short supply, and I want to share that opinion with others.

When these thoughts race through my head and I talk with my husband about what we are witnessing from afar through the vloggers that we follow on YouTube, I am torn between my belief that change comes from within and my desire to be an activist. I believe that we are all connected so if I change my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions, they will affect the people around me, and some of those people might be inspired or influenced to change their thoughts and their beliefs and actions thereby affecting their sphere of influence and so on until the ripples are felt throughout the greater human population. At the same time, having been raised by a mother who always takes action and who built a state of the art preschool and after-school program from the ground up, I feel like it is not enough to just focus on myself. So what’s a girl to do?

Do I continue on my path, focusing on myself, working towards getting certified to be a life coach, writing and publishing books, and reaching the people within my sphere of influence; or do I utilize my dormant YouTube channel, and start sharing my thoughts on the situation? Can I do both? Should I do both? These are the thoughts with which I have been grappling since I started this journey. I realize that I have an activist spirit, but I am unclear as to what kind of an activist I am. This is my dilemma.

I may not find the answer yet, and I feel that this is something not to be rushed. It is a decision that requires much thought and deliberation. The world will go on turning whether or not I add my voice to the millions that are already out there. I cannot change the world from the outside. I must change it from the inside out. So, just as with accountability, I have the what, now I just need the how, and maybe I also need the why as well.

Why do I need to change the world? What do I have to offer that is different from any of the myriad voices and opinions and activists out there? Perhaps the better question is why do I feel compelled to change the world?

I have yet to answer that question with a satisfactory answer. It is not enough to want to change the world. I need to understand my purpose otherwise I will just be fumbling around aimlessly in the dark.

Those are my thoughts. I have no answers as of yet, but the quest to find them promises to be enlightening.

To those of you seeking your answers, I wish you clarity of mind and spirit.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 325

Accountability

I have always had a strong sense of responsibility. I even feel compelled to do things that are not necessarily my responsibility. This is especially true when it comes to helping people. When I see someone that I think is in need, I am called to do something. When I go back to the States for a visit, this happens when I see homeless people on the street holding signs asking for money or food. I cannot go past them without giving them something-a few dollars or some food. It drives my husband crazy; he says, “We need to think about ourselves first. We can’t help everyone.” Intellectually, I know this to be true, but if I see someone in need and it is within my power to do something to help them, I do it. I do this because I feel blessed with so much and I want to share my blessings with others as much as I can.

This accountability is also true when it comes to commitments. My sense of responsibility is strongest when I enter into any verbal, written (in the form of contracts), or understood agreement with someone. I am keenly aware of my responsibilities, and I have a deep sense of shame and disappointment when I fail to make good on a promise I have made, and it hangs over me for years until I either forgive myself or have a chance to apologize to the person concerned. I take commitment very seriously, and I try to do what I say and say what I mean whenever possible. So, it is ironic that I don’t extend the same consideration to myself.

Follow through is my greatest weakness when it comes to taking care of myself and keeping promises that I make to myself. Case in point-weight loss. I have struggled with my weight since puberty. I have fat times and not so fat times, but I have never been able to maintain and sustain a healthy weight. I’ve never been under weight, but I’ve often been over weight. The heaviest I’ve ever been was after my first pregnancy. I was almost 200 pounds which is around 90 kilos. I’ve never gotten that big again, and I vowed that I would never be 90 kilos, and for about seven years that has been the case; however, I still hover around 80 kilos, and last spring when I got down to 75 kilos, I promised myself I would never see 80 kilos again, and towards the end of last year, I got up to 85 kilos! I am now back down to 78 kilos, but nevertheless, I’m not doing to well at keeping a steady weight.

This has mostly to do with my diet and exercise. When I’m stressed or anxious, I binge eat sweets, and when I am not working or running errands, I stay in and I rarely get any exercise. In the past, I’ve been able to reduce my sugar intake and exercise regularly, but I have been unable to change the behavior into a habit and usually after a few weeks or a month, I revert back to my old habits. If you follow this blog, you know I went on a sugar fast for two weeks, and that for a while I felt good about my relationship with sugar; I believed I had a handle on it; well, it turns out two weeks is just not enough time to change a thirty plus year relationship with sugar. I know this, and yet I have done very little to make good on my promise to be healthy and free myself of my sugar addiction.

Another area of my life in which I have rarely made good on my promises is concerning my finances. I’m not very mature about money. I’m neither a big spender, nor am I penny pincher, but my philosophy on money is “Money comes and money goes.” It’s magical thinking. I do not feel that I have control of my money, and I do not act as if I can change my financial situation.

My relationship with money is no different from a baby’s relationship with mother’s milk; it feels hungry, it cries, and magically it gets fed. That’s how I feel about money. I need money, I get a job, and magically I have money in the bank. Now granted, I am aware that I have money because I have a job, so I am slightly more aware than an infant, but the feeling is analogous. If an infant were deprived of milk, then she would cry and cry until she received the milk. She would not be capable of going out and finding another source of milk, and no one would expect her to. Likewise, if I were deprived of money, I would seek out a job, but if there were no jobs out there, like the baby, I would be at loss as to what to do because a job is the only source of money from my perspective.

When I have a job, which thankfully, has been pretty much my entire adult life, I have money, and when that money runs low, I slow down my spending, and wait anxiously for my next pay check. Last year, I decided to start being mature about money and to start being proactive about bringing more money into my life. So, last fall I started taking on side jobs. They don’t pay much, but it’s more money coming in, and it was my way of increasing my income. It felt great to make more money, and I felt a boost in my self confidence, but I knew that my concept of money and how to make it had not changed.

In fact, this was made apparent when I failed to get a handle on our bills. I was putting off paying some of the bills, and it got to the point where I paid I few of my bills late, and at one point, forgetting to pay one of my bills cost us a day without Internet, which was really difficult for my husband.

Getting our Internet connection cut off was a wake up call. I needed to be better about paying bills, and I needed to get all of my bills that were not already on auto debit on auto debit. That was a month ago, and I have yet to take action. I have yet to follow through.

So, what’s the disconnect? What allows me to take responsibility for my actions regarding other people, but prevents or keeps me from honoring my commitments to myself? What does this ultimately mean about me? Well, if you follow this blog, and you’ve been with me on this journey for a while, you know that I am learning to love myself and put my own needs first. A year ago, I would have seen these short comings as demonstrative of a deep personal flaw one that was indicative of the fact that I was irreparably broken. However, I don’t see it that way now. I see it as indicative of the fact that I’m human, and I am a work in progress with the promise of brilliance.

It’s a wonderful sentiment. It is one that is self affirming and positive, but it doesn’t do much to help me find a way to change my financial situation and more importantly, my beliefs about money. It doesn’t help me find a way to sustain a healthy weight and to become a more active person. I had the what. I needed a how. How was I going to be more mature about my finances? How was I going to honor my commitment to be healthier?

Fortunately, I found the answer. Yesterday I took a class on Accountability, and in the discussion, I received so many answers to the question: “How can I honor my commitments to myself?” There were several strategies for achieving long term goals, but the two that resonated most with me were to be kind to myself when I slip or don’t get the results I had hoped for, and to give myself very small goals that will help me get to my larger goals. It was a life changing class for me because it came at a time when I was open for solutions. I now know what I need to do to move forward.

May you also find the solutions to the problems you are facing.

More to come.

Peace.

Days 323 and 324

Moments of Clarity

I’ve had two wonderful days that have served as reminders of my own brilliance. By brilliance I mean that part of me, which I believe all beings on Earth possess, that is connected to Source energy and that manifests as the steady, calm, confident voice of my true Self. She spoke often over the past couple days, and I listened, and I feel as if I am getting closer to believing her.

Yesterday was day two of the two-day English camp at which I taught. On that day, the students interviewed us teachers. The students were separated into groups of seven or eight, and each teacher was assigned to a different group. The students took turns asking the teachers questions about themselves and their countries. One of the students in my group asked me, “Do you have a dream?”, and it was as if a switch turned on in my head. With absolutely conviction I said, “I want to write lots of books that help people achieve their dreams, and I want to travel around the world teaching people how to make their lives better.” It felt as if it was completely out of the blue, I hadn’t fully articulated my dream before that moment, but when I spoke I knew it was exactly what I was meant to do. All of my soul searching had led me to that point of crystal clarity which allowed me to answer the question, “Do you have a dream?”

I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity that moment gave me to articulate exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was filled with a sense of purpose and unwavering confidence that I was on the right track. I felt excited and determined, and uplifted. I felt like I was in total alignment with my life’s purpose, and it felt fantastic.

I know it was my true Self speaking when I answered the student’s question, and I wanted to have that feeling of clarity and self-assurance a little longer. However, I haven’t gotten there yet. Luckily,I experienced it again during a coaching session I had this evening. She spoke again with clarity and conviction reminding me of who I am and of my purpose. Again, I reiterated my desire to write and to tour the world spreading my message of unconditional love, compassion, and validation. When I declared my life’s purpose again, I felt empowered and certain that I could make my dream a reality, or rather it was the knowledge that my dream was not a dream but a glimpse of who I am, and the promise of coming to terms with that, accepting that, and owning that.

So, who am I? I’m L’Shawn-a work in progress with the promise of brilliance.

May you find that brilliance and hold on to it.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 322

Today’s lesson

Nothing really remarkable to report about today. It was my first day teaching a two-day English Camp for junior high school girls. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather inadequate as a teacher. I often compare myself to my ambitious colleagues and find myself lacking. I’m not doing enough research, or publishing enough articles, or attending enough conferences. I don’t have a teaching niche in which I can claim to be an expert. So I have a low opinion of my quality of teaching.

However, today stepping out of my routine and seeing myself in different teaching context, I felt differently. I was reminded that if I really look at myself and my abilities without comparing myself to others, I feel good about my teaching. I feel competent and comfortable in my element. So, today’s lesson is to stop comparing myself to others and recognize and appreciate where I am now. I will do my best to carry that throughout my journey and make it into a core belief.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 321

Can I really be more than I am right now?

This post is going to be short, as I have a long day tomorrow and it’s after midnight here. I’ll just touch on a fear that has been occupying my thoughts since I made the commitment to start coach training. It is the fear of not being good enough. It’s the fear that I’ve peaked and it’s all down hill from here. I’m just fooling myself that I could ever be more than I am right now. It’s actually a rather new fear; one I haven’t been up against before.

I’ve always gone after my dreams with complete faith in a successful outcome, so to pursue this dream and to be met with self-doubt is quite off putting. I know I have the tools to delve deep and get to the source of this fear. However, I’m afraid to investigate too deeply because I don’t know if I’ll like where the journey takes me. Nevertheless, I am compelled to go forward even though what might be lurking in the shadows could reveal a truth I am not prepared to face. What compels me, you might ask? Well, it’s the promise of progress and moving forward because right now I’m just standing still, and that isn’t where I want to be. And so, although my legs are shaking and my breath is caught in my throat, I take the first step back into the shadows.

More to come.

Peace.