Joy Is My Mantra

Years ago my children accused me of not knowing how to have fun.  They were right, much as it pains me to admit it.  I wasn’t taught how to have fun, to enjoy life.  My early life wasn’t fun; there was little joy in my home. I knew how to work, how to study, how to hide from my mother (Sometimes.  Often I wasn’t successful!)  But how to have fun…no.

I discovered the personal growth field and that became my way of life.  I wanted to “be the best I could be”  whatever that meant and whatever it took.  I read that we humans use only about 10 percent of our minds and I wondered why, and if so, how did I learn to use 100 percent of my mind?  I discovered psychology, and majored in it at college, thinking this was the avenue.

One day I heard a speaker say that if growth was our goal, then we’d always encounter ways to grow (oh, yeah, I knew that well by then!).  But if joy was our goal, then we’d have a life of joy…and still grow.  I set the intention then to find ways of being joyful, of learning how to have a joy-filled life.

Dr.  William Kent, creator of the Emotional Gym (a method to learn to be joyful, peaceful, and full of love by repeating the words, peace, love, joy, hope and gratitude until we begin to feel the emotions) admonishes us to be a “collector of joy”.  As with other collections, he says, when we begin to collect joy, we will attract joy.  Have you noticed, when you focus on something, you see more and more of that something?  For example, I decided I wanted a convertible, now, every time I go out, I see convertibles.  I decided I wanted a certain make of car for my convertible.  Yesterday, I saw at least three of that make in about fifteen minutes!  In a county where the majority of people are supposed to be below the poverty line!

When we become collectors, of anything, we begin to have more of that thing.  It’s the Law of Attraction at work:  what we pay attention to, what we focus on, we see more of.

Focus is the key word.  Jeffrey Schwartz, a research psychiatrist and one of the world’s leading experts in neuroplasticity, began to study the philosophy of conscious awareness many years ago. Working with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients, he discovered that the mind can control the brain’s chemistry. With the premise that the mind, and thus the brain, can be trained, his work has enabled many people to overcome OCD.
Schwartz’s method utilizes four steps to re-train the mind. Those steps are:
1) Relabel: Identify deceptive brain messages as they occur;
2) Reframe: Change perceptions about the importances of those thoughts;
3) Refocus: Learn techniques for shifting attention to something positive;
4) Revalue: Learn the importance of understanding and believing that deceptive brain messages are not real and have no value. (Jeffrey Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding, M.D., You Are Not Your Brain)

Schwartz’ work demonstrates that by re-focusing our mind, we can make changes in our habits, thus changing our lives.

What we focus on, we see.  I’ve renewed my intention to be a collector of joy.  I want joy to be the tapestry of my life.  I want to be remembered as a person full of joy!

Tackle Your Life Like a Pro

Two years ago I didn’t know a gridiron from a waffle iron – well, I did know what a waffle iron was. Today, though I don’t know everything about football, I’ve become a fan, even if by default.  I live in a house with two men who like the game – my husband and my son.  Even before that,  I had become a Saints’ fan, when they won the Superbowl.  Even further back, when I watched the movie, Invictus, I was fascinated by the way Nelson Mandela used the game of rugby and its players to bring a divided nation into a state of cohesiveness.

As I watched the weekly games, my husband and son giving me instruction about the various plays, I began to have an appreciation for the game itself and the discipline of the players.  Over the past three football seasons, aided by a little research, I’ve learned a lot about strategy, teamwork and discipline – and how all these grow a team from mediocre to great – to championship.
The same strategies, teamwork, and discipline can work in an individual’s life to take her from a life of mediocrity to one that she loves so much she can hardly wait to get out of bed every morning to get started.  These principles of a champion football player can also take a business to greatness.
Besides watching the players, I listen to the announcers.  Many sports announcers have been players and/or coaches, so they know what they’re talking about.  They know the game; they know its rules and regulations.  That’s another thing – two years ago I didn’t know there were so many rules.  There’s more to a touchdown than getting the ball across the line.  Listening to the announcers I’ve learned that.  I’ve also learned about face mask penalties, as well as other personal fouls and how they affect the game.
Football is like a ballet in many ways – an intricate dance between the quarterback, the rest of the team and the coaches.
Aside from the rules of the game, there are principles to the game.  Every player has a job to do, certain responsibilities.  He has to know what that job is, and do it well.  The quarterback’s job, of course, is to get rid of the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible.  He has to know how to throw, but just as importantly, to whom to throw it.  Drew Brees is known for his ability to know where his receivers are – he’s always looking, never blinks, keeping his eyes on the field, surveying the field, looking for an open receiver.  And his receivers have to be ready.  Here is the dance:  the players are in sync with each other.  If not, the ball doesn’t make it downfield.  Every player has a job and his teammates are counting on him to do it well.
Successful players learn the rules and know their jobs.  But there’s more to being a champion.   There is a mindset to being a champion, one that doesn’t happen overnight. Just as there are strategies for the game, there are strategies to develop the mind to play and play it well.
A champion mindset includes the mindset of winning and winning is a habit.  The way to a winning habit mindset is to believe in yourself, your abilities and the abilities of your teammates.  More games are lost when a team had a mindset of not believing in themselves.
Beliefs come from thoughts.  If you think you can, you can.  Yes, one team is always going to win, but more than likely the team that didn’t win, waivered in their belief in themselves as a team.  Pay attention to your thoughts.
Without belief in yourself, hang it up.
Commitment to the game, to your teammates, and to yourself is very important.  If a player is only committed to be a player, or a star, or to making money, he isn’t committed to the game or the team.  And you’ve got to have commitment to yourself – to be the best you can be, to do your best.  If you’re only in it for the money, hang it up.  To be a champion, you’ve got to have the commitment.
To dedicate oneself to something is to devote yourself completely. A football player, and a coach, must dedicate, devote, himself completely to the game, to practice, to continually strive to improve. As with commitment, it’s a way of life, but with commitment, a person may be obligated, through a contract, to play; when a person is dedicated he is devoted wholly.  Dedication implies a feeling, a love, for the game itself, not just winning or losing, getting to the Superbowl, but the game, and the team, itself.  If you have a business, just to make money, chances are you aren’t dedicated.  If you love what you do, then more than likely you’re dedicated.
More games – and businesses – are lost for lack of perseverance. Many times I’ve watched a game turned around in the last minute and half.  I watched as the Saints lost the play-off game in the last minute of the game.  We all thought they had won, but the 49ers persevered and took the game away.  Perseverance can make a champ – or beat him.  Don’t give up in the fourth quarter just because your team is behind.  Don’t stop until the game clock runs out!
A big ego is probably necessary for a football player.  If you don’t have some ego, you’d never step out on the field. But you have to let go of ego, and ‘it’s all about me’, and be a team player.  You have to be selfless.  Winning a football game is a team effort.  Aaron Rogers may decide to run the ball instead of handing it off to a teammate, but only when he can’t find an open player.  He doesn’t run because he thinks he’s the only one who can.  Let go your ego and be a team player and watch your losses diminish.
It goes without saying that a football player disciplines his body; without workouts his body won’t have the strength to last through the game.  He also has to discipline his eating habits.  A constant diet of junk food will wreck his body and his mind and a player needs both.  Football players have a bad rap about their intelligence, but it takes a sharp mind to remember all those plays.  And they have to know the other team’s plays, as well.  Discipling body through exercise, nutrition and rest, and practice, practice, practice – this is the way a player becomes a champion.
Champions have a vision; they see themselves as winners.  They don’t lose sight of their vision, even when they lose.  They have courage and strength of heart.  They pick themselves up when they’re down and get back in the game.  They have a will and intention to play their best and win.
In football, the golden ring is the Superbowl, but there are many weeks and many games to play and win to get to the Superbowl.  Every year the teams work and practice these principles so that they’ll be the team that wins.  Every week from August to January they’re on the field, displaying their skills and their love of the game.  Some win, some lose, but all are winners, when they keep their minds on the game and forgive themselves when they fumble.  Focus and forgiveness, both are important principles to remember.  We don’t equate forgiveness with football, or business, but it is important.  Being able to forgive oneself for making a mistake, missing the ball, fumbling, getting sacked, enables a player to get back in the game.  Shake off the mistake and get back in the game!  Focus on the next play, forget the one that you missed. Focus and forgive.
You can use these same principles to develop and grow your business.  To sum up, the principles are:
Know your job and do it.  The team is counting on you.
Learn the rules and regulations.  Every game – even business, your life – has rules.  Learn them; abide by   them!
Belief – In yourself, your abilities, in your teammates, in your work.  Winning is a habit and habits are fueled by beliefs.
Commitment – Are you committed to your business, to its growth?  Are you committed to having the best life you possibly can?  I know a company whose owner is committed to his own pleasures and his company shows it.
Dedication – Are you willing to dedicate your time, your money, and your talents to making your business grow?
Perseverance – Do you throw up your hands, ready to quit when things get rough, when it looks like you’re to going to lose?  Champions don’t stop until the game clock runs out.
Selflessness – Are you a team player?  Do you want to be a superstar?  Think you do it by yourself?  Every person, whether a football player, a business owner, or a person wanting to see their life get better, has a team around them.  In your life, your team is your family and friends.  They may not be concerned with your vision, but they are concerned about you.  Let them be your support system.
Discipline – Football players exercise their bodies and their minds, and practice every day.  They are dedicated and disciplined.  Are you?
Vision – Do you have a vision for your life, your business?  Do you let that vision guide you, pull you toward it?
Strength of heart and courage – It isn’t easy to be in business.  Sometimes things happen in your life that make you wonder what you’re doing.  Do you have the courage and strength of heart to carry you toward your vision?
Will and intention.  Two of the strongest forces in the universe.  Without them, hang it up.
Focus – Keep your mind on the game – on your goal.
Forgiveness – Forgive yourself for mistakes.  Shake them off and get back in the game.

Follow these principles and see your life take off in the direction of your dreams!

Good Vibrations

“All life is motion, or at least manifest life is in a state of vibration…” Ernest Holmes

Your vibration is the most important factor in judging how you feel and for predicting long-standing happiness – the well-lived life. The higher your vibration, the higher you will be on the UpSpiral* (a method of tracking how you want to feel.  It’s a subjective determination using a number between 50 and 100.  The higher the number, the better you feel!) and the more likely you will attract what you want, achieve your goals. Your vibration is your guide to how positive you are. Your vibration is your inner magnet; the higher your vibration, the more you will “magnetize” or attract what you want.
You can transform energy to heal and change your body…or anything you want to change.

Setting a framework, setting a deadline and using scientific-style experimentation is important to growing a positive mind and attaining your goals.

There is an invisible energy force or field of infinite possibilities…that you can use to be happy, to attain the life you want. The Emotional Guidance System** will help you know what your vibration is, what your Emotional Score is. Remember, the US and ES are subjective. Whatever your vibration is, whatever your ES is, you can move higher. Use the Emotional Gym to move up the scale. The Emotional Gym was created by Dr. William Larkin to subjectively determine how you actually feel at any given moment. On a scale of 1 – 100, you decide how you are feeling right this moment.  The UpSpiral Scale determines how you want to feel.  If you calculate both each morning, you can actually determine how you are feeling at any time, and you can choose to feel better.  Repeat the words – gratitude, peace, love, joy, and hope, even if you don’t feel them, until you begin to feel their vibration. Keep repeating and pulsing the words until you begin to feel yourself moving up the scale. You can do it!

An important tool to move up the spiral, to attaining the life you want, and to be consistently happy, is focus. Where attention goes, energy flows. When you feel yourself moving into a down spiral, move your attention away from your negative thoughts; refocus. Think about something that makes you feel happy, or imagine yourself experiencing life the way you want it to be. Changing your focus from negativity to something positive raises your vibration, therefore, it raises your emotional scale. You and your brain will be happier, you’ll feel better.

The Emotional Guidance System is below.  Use it to determine how you are feeling.  For example, if you are feeling Fear/Grief/Depression/Powerlessness, first, let yourself feel the emotion.  It helps to journal about how you are feeling.  Write until you are written out!  Then, if possible, let the emotion go and feel your way up to the next level.  Use the Emotional Gym to move up each level.  Keep going until you are where you want to be!  And don’t be discouraged if you don’t move as fast as you want.  It takes time to establish new habits, which is what you’re doing.  Some say it takes 28 days to change a habit.  Be easy on yourself.  Just do it!

Remember, too, that a happier person is a healthier person! The happier you are, the less likely you’ll suffer a heart attack or a stroke, or any number of debilitating diseases.

Need help?  Email me:  raythea@comcast.net  We can work together!
“Power goes into our word according to the feeling and faith behind it.”  Joseph Murphy

*UpSpiral Scale was created by Dr. William K. Larkin.  You can learn more from his book, Growing a Positive Mind, available at http://www.amazon.com

**Emotional Guidance System was created by Abraham-Hicks to teach how to know what you are feeling, and how to move into a higher emotion. Emotions for both the UpSpiral and DownSpiral  are listed below:

Your Emotional Guidance System*

UpSpiral 50 – 100

Joy, feeling of empowerment, freedom, love, appreciation
Passion
Enthusiasm, happiness, eagerness
Positive Expectation/Belief
Optimism
Hopefulness
Contentment
DownSpiral 49 – 1

Boredom
Pessimism
Frustration/Irritation/Impotence
Feeling Overwhelmed
Disappointment
Doubt
Worry
Blame
Discouragement
Anger
Feeling a Need to Get Revenge
Hatred/Rage
Jealousy
Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
Fear/Grief/Depression/Powerlessness

Train Your Mind, Change Your Life!

“I don’t have an off button in my mind – I can’t stop thinking about it!”  The young man was clearly agitated, angry even, at me when I suggested he stop think about his problem, which was literally making him sick.  
     The truth is:  we do have an off button; we can stop thinking about our problems, we can stop making ourselves sick!  But it isn’t easy for some of us.  We have trained our brains – and our minds – to go to the negative.  Like a throbbing toothache we keep poking our tongues at the tooth, thinking that will stop the pain, when, in fact, it just makes it worse.  The same is true of a problem – the more we pay attention to it, the worse we feel, and the problem just gets worse.

What is the off button?  Training your mind to be positive, to think of something that makes you feel good.  If you immediately think I’m being pollyannaish, there’s a new science that backs up what I’m saying.  Neuroscience tells us our brains, our minds, want to feel good!  The brain works better when we’re happy.  The easiest, simplest way to stop worrying is to think of something that brings you joy.  For some of us, so entrenched in our problem it’s difficult to remember what brings us joy, there’s another way.

Train your mind to feel good.

     Here’s how.
     Your life is a reflection of your beliefs and most of those beliefs are about yourself – your capabilities.  Your life is a reflection of your self-esteem, which arises from your beliefs – or what you’ve been taught to believe about yourself.  And for many, that self-esteem is a lie.  To be accurate, it isn’t self-esteem if it isn’t positive.  By definition, self-esteem means you hold yourself in esteem; you think well of yourself.

There are three keys to training your mind, thereby changing your life.  Those three keys are:
     1)  What do you believe about yourself?  Is what you believe the truth, or what you’ve been taught?  Do you have hidden beliefs that are false?  The first key requires you to get real with yourself; to ask yourself:  what do  I believe about myself?  And when you know what you believe, is it the truth?  If not, your work is to decide what is the truth and exchange the old belief with the new, true belief.
     2)  Accept – What do you accept as your truth?  I adhere to a teaching called New Thought/Science of Mind, which teaches that we can have, do, and be whatever we desire, as long as we do no harm.  What I’ve discovered is that many of us have difficulty with accepting that we are worthy of having our desires.  This is a hidden belief that many of us have that needs to be changed.  Being able to accept our worth is an important step in training our minds.
    3)  Receive – When you’ve unearthed the belief that holds you back; when you’ve done the work that enables you to accept all your desires, then you’re ready to receive.  Like the receiver of a football team, you’ve practiced catching so that when the ball comes toward you, you’re ready and able to reach out and grab it.

There’s more to training your mind.  Like a well-trained athlete there are things you need to do to train your mind.  An athlete trains his mind and his body and there are certain things he must do.  First, he must know the rules – how to play the game.  There are certain rules for every game, just as there are techniques or rules for an artist or musician.  Before a pianist can play the piano, she has to learn the keys, the notes, the chords.  The first is to know the rules.  Then she must practice.  Without practice, an athlete or a pianist goes nowhere, fast!  Then, the third thing is, take proper care of your body – get enough rest and good nutrition.  Without those, a body can’t function.  And last, but not least, keep your mind on the game.  If, when the ball is coming toward you, your mind wanders to your girlfriend, you’re probably not going to catch the ball!

Just as an athlete trains his mind and body, you can train your mind and in doing so, you’ll change your life!  To train your mind, and change your beliefs, therefore your life:
     1)  Uncover the beliefs that keep you locked in to a life you don’t want.
     2)  Examine the belief:  is it the truth, or a hanger-on from your past?
     3)  What is the truth – what do you believe right now – about yourself, about life?
     4)  Claim the truth – make it your own!
     5)  Practice your new belief.
     6)  Watch your life change!

The Mike Dooley Spiderman Theory of Relativity

Mike Dooley, author of Leveraging the Universe, and other books, has condensed the Truth of Being into one Truth:  There’s only God.  This is my belief.  I believe in God as the only Power.  Some people are not comfortable with the word God, but for me it’s like shorthand.  Some people prefer the word Universe.  Some like Being.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s all the same, and it’s all One.

Mike Dooley further condensed the concept of God as the only Truth to:  there’s only thought.  Then, if there’s only God, and there’s only thought (scientists are calling the universe the mind of God, and some even have the audacity to say that the universe is the thought of God!).  There’s really only God, only One, then God is the thought, and God is the Thinker.  And…here’s the mindblower:  If there’s only God, there’s only One…where do you come in?  Ah…you and God are one and the same!  You, therefore, are the Thinker!

Here comes the fun part!  Spiderman shoots webs from his hands, then he swings around Manhattan, from building to building by that web.  I remember the first time I watched a Spiderman movie, watching him swing from building to building.  I thought, “What fun!  I’d like to do that!”

We’re like Spiderman.  No, we don’t swing from building to building (why not, I wonder!) by shooting out webs.  But we shoot out our words, our thoughts, to the universe.  Studies show that we shoot out more than 50,000 thoughts every day.  Can you imagine a spiderweb of 50,000 threads?  That’s what our thoughts look like, daily.  Mike Dooley says, God is thoughts, God is the Thinker.  So, every time we’re shooting out a thought, we’re shooting out God into the world around us.  Think about that, the next time you have a thought, which is just about now!  With your thoughts you’re shooting out God.

We don’t realize the power of our thoughts, our words.  We just open our mouths and out comes whatever is on our mind at the moment.  Or, we let the thoughts going on in our minds lead us around by the nose or our tastebuds.  Late last night I remembered I had bought some apple fritters.  Oh, that sounded so good.  So I ate one.  First, a thought, then a thought of how good it would taste.  Then, the thought, that wasn’t so good after all!  The power of the thought of the apple fritter…leading me around by my tastebuds!

The power of our thoughts…our thoughts, consistent and with passion…become the reality that we live.  How, you ask?   Whatever thoughts we consistently dwell on, with passion…that’s where our focus is…and where we put our focus, we see.

With our thoughts, we are shooting God; just like Spiderman shoots out the web from his hands, we shoot out God with our thoughts.  We shoot out God into the realm of space and time.  It is a Law that our thoughts become the things and events of our lives.

Though all our thoughts are powerful, it is those that we entertain consistently, with passion, that become the fabric of our lives.  Here’s the good news:  we have an inherent inclination toward prosperity and health.  Because of that inherent propensity toward wellness, we are more likely to experience more good than bad.  If you’re looking at your life right now and it isn’t what you want, you might argue with that.  But in the long run, looking back, you’ll probably see the truth in this.

The Truth of Being…Mike Dooley has reduced this to One:  thoughts become things.  If thoughts become things (and I believe they do, because I’ve experienced this, daily) and if I’m, in Mike Dooley’s terminology, shooting out God with every thought, then I want to guard my thoughts.  I want to pay attention to what I’m thinking.  I want to shape my thoughts so that my experiences are only those that I want.

For those who argue that their experiences are not the result of what they’ve been thinking, I add this caveat:  we live in an entangled world.  Every experience we have is entangled with the thoughts of every other person on this planet.  We are influenced by what other people think, whether we want to be or not.  Therefore it is even more imperative to be careful of what we watch, read, and listen to, lest the thoughts of every other person influence us unduly.  Like a tangled ball of yarn, we have to take care to untangle the ball carefully, extricating only what we want to experience.

Thoughts become things!  Choose the good ones!  Speak the ones which you want to see in your life!