get out of your way

A few months ago I decided to offer growth-work classes around developing a peace practice. I had a great first showing, multiple people interested and several who expressed continued desire to pay for such inspiration. During the weeks that followed I observed how I unconsciously denied myself the joy of receiving that interest, money and continued creative expression. I sabotaged my intention to create additional income streams and offerings that helped people heal to peace. And even though I knew that I was doing this, I couldn’t seem to choose differently. I was running away from my own potential. I was avoiding doing the work. I created all kinds of other priorities to convince myself that I couldn’t possibly have the time to attend to my dream.

Self-Sabotage

It wasn’t until I observed the same behavior in a beloved whose creative genius feels light-years beyond my own, that I began to recognize what I was doing. The fears, negative self-talk, doubts and pain about truly trusting these creative gifts have such a strong-hold around us that its challenging to see beyond them. I know so many artists and entrepreneurs whose vast library of new ideas, products and services would heal the world in a moment, yet the self-critic continues to hold a monopoly on the loud speaker. And no matter how beautiful the art piece, stunning the melody, eloquent the sentence…it all will birth and die in the coffers of our minds unless we regain control of the microphone and declare a new possibility.

fear-creativity-courage-amyjalapeno

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a new experience. I’ve lived under the drones of fear long enough. I’ve listened to my self-critic for decades and it’s time for her to take a back-seat (if she’s not willing to bounce altogether). If you are serious about getting out of your way here are five things I suggest you do TODAY to open up to your worthiness and express the powerful Light that you are.

Gratitude

I write about gratitude a lot because I find that it is such a powerful mental tool to recondition our minds to harmony, abundance and peace. I start my day speaking out loud what I’m grateful for. Then when journaling I write out what I’m grateful this day will create for me to express. Throughout my day I am actively looking for things to appreciate. I’m asking others about what they are happy about more often than I listen to their complaints. At the end of the day I express gratitude for my life, simply for the exquisite opportunity of being alive.

mandala_033_gratitude_12x12_o

There are so many ways to practice gratitude. Just google gratitude practices and you’ll discover tons of new ideas. For artists in particular we can be pretty harsh on ourselves when the end product doesn’t materialize as we want it to. This is a particularly good time to practice gratitude. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Even in a challenging situation. Especially in a challenging situation. Begin to train your mind to focus on what is working more often and you will experience the abundance you seek.

Sun Soak or Earth Touch Boost

When I’m feeling frustrated or disappointed about my creative stagnation I often rediscover that simply being outside refreshes me a new set point. Think of it like a battery recharge. Humans need to touch the earth, to listen to birds, appreciate flowers, feel wind in their face and sun on their skin. Poets from all cultures write about this need from the beginning of our-story. It is required. Don’t imagine for a second that our technical revolutions have computerized this necessity out of us. Go on that hike. Take the dog on a walk. Make the effort to sit under the tree, walk on the beach or play in the snow. Soak in sunlight and delight in the rain again (like this little girl). Feel the abundance of this magnificent planet that has provided for your every need, every moment or every day. And while you’re outside, say Thank you.

Visualize

Another powerful tool for shifting out of our complaints-habits towards gratitude-discipline is to visualize that which you want. But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a daydream fest. None of that “wouldn’t it be nice” shit. This is powerful, dynamic, focused mental work! Here is an excellent guided visualization tool for manifesting abundance. And here is one for expressing creativity.

Creating the vision is only step one. After discovering clearly what you want, you must not allow the critic to talk you out of it. I like to use the scene from Lord of the Rings, of Gandolf declaring to the fire demon that: “You Shall Not Pass!” I imagine his staff Light protecting my dream from the snarls of dragon hell (which is just another word for my negative self-talk). Find whatever is useful for you. The point is to clarify the dream, protect it and feel worthy of its immediate manifestation.

Forgiveness/Letting Go

Forgiveness_2

Forgiveness isn’t often thought of as a prerequisite for creative abundance, but I think it’s critical. How can you express your creative genius if you continue to hold onto people or experiences in your past that did you wrong? Pause and read that question again. There is someone in your life right now that you need to release. You don’t need to communicate anything to them, simply decide right now that you are ready to let it go. It might even be that you need to forgive yourself. Recognize how it is blocking you from the good that you want to experience in your life. Why carry it any longer? How is that burden serving you? Is being right really that important?

forgiveness

I’ve spent a lot of time and effort on forgiving people from my past. It’s hard work and not something that comes easy to me. I also find that it has to be a continued commitment, because something will happen that will make me think about them and how much I used to hate them and how bad they made me feel about that thing they did or didn’t do and…and…and… You get the idea. What I know now about forgiveness is that it goes hand in hand with worthiness. As my sense of worthiness increases, my ability to forgive is enhanced. And the more I’m able to let go from my past the more I feel worthy of receiving good in the future.

Self-Kindness

There are so many influences that tell us to take care of others that most folks (especially those with creative passions) are terrible about self-care. I don’t mean the level of care in buying that salted dark chocolate bar because you had a bad day or splurging at the spa with your tax refund. I’m referring to a deeper level of deliberate acts of kindness and acceptance towards yourself. My best friend and I call these self-love practices.

91408-87649

This can look like many things:

  • drinking a green smoothie
  • going on a run outside
  • calling that great listener friend about the issue that’s been nagging you for days
  • taking a long hot soak in the tub after de-cluttering your closet
  • pulling out those dusty chalks and a sheet of paper and drawing for the pure joy of it!

It’s less about the actual activity and more about how you’re feeling during it. Directing kindness towards your body, mind and spirit will produce feelings of relief, ease and refreshment. We need to practice self-acceptence before we can experience it fully from others. You have the best insight on what creates joy for you. So stop giving your power away and take your bliss into your own hands!

Gratitude ~ Forgiveness ~ Sun/Earth Boost ~ Self Kindness ~ Visualization

None of these should take more than 20 minutes of your day (except for forgiveness – if you’re choosing the right people and it’s your first attempt to let them go). Follow your gut as you experience these activities and gift yourself the freedom to really deeply feel each and every one. I welcome comments and additional links that you’ve found helpful in getting out of your way to simply allow creativity to flow.

Advertisements

Living for Quality

I’m often amazed how much my life has transformed since I began to focus my attention on qualities I wanted to experience, rather than things I wanted to have. This is the shift I describe in my chapter of The Thought that Change My Life Forever, a collection of the pivotal moments of life-shifting thought from 52 authors around the world. book chapter

Now that the books are available and I’m sharing the story with others in new ways, the wisdom of this lesson is floating back to my awareness, infusing itself into my analytical deliberations and whispering new options. I’m beginning to recognize new outcomes that are a direct result of my new attentiveness to ease, grace, joy, abundance and love. I literally wake up every morning wondering how wealth will show up for me today, curious of the ways appreciation will be exchanged and excited to discover new levels of trust, courage and happiness.

Oh, sure I still catch myself being stressed about work projects, or bill payments or my upcoming move…but then I recognize that being stressed isn’t helpful toward what I’m wanting: ease in insuring workshop participants have all they need to learn, exchange of money for a warm home, food, electricity and internet; and a graceful transition to a new home and a new state.

This transition, or perhaps addition, has helped me to distinguish the difference between happiness from a new Ipod vs. happiness from deep intimacy vs. happiness from meditation. There are some who may argue that those states of happiness are the same. But for me the means and the ends are noticeably different now. And being involved in this book project, I am discovering more and more people who would agree that the human race can no longer afford to limit itself to Ipod-level happiness or even sex-based happiness. Both of which have created such disastrous addictions. A deeper level of joy IS possible. If you are reading these words, there is a voice within you that already knows this.

One teacher I’ve been reading lately is Malidome Some. In a really beautiful interview he shares that:

…the individual can no longer afford to live by values such as the systematic accumulation of material goods as the yardstick by which to measure happiness. The spiritual thirst that is latent in everybody can never come to a place of fulfillment unless people begin to think of each other as potential brothers and sisters. Otherwise, they can never reach on the inside the same level of wealth that they’ve reached outside.

No matter the amount of time you are currently spending to reach for outward things or experiences to make you happy, you can begin right now to identify what joy is present in your life. You can begin right now, to focus on the last time you deeply laughed until your sides hurt. You can begin to recall, right now, the unconditional love someone expressed to you for even a single moment.

Try it.

I DARE you!

You might be pleasantly surprised how peace reveals itself.

Shifting from Competition to Collaboration

I work for a company that designs and delivers strengths-based leadership development programs. What that often results in feedback from clients is a description of how our curriculum encouraged them to examine what was working in their management/leadership style and how they can utilize their strengths in new ways to improve ongoing challenges. I think one of the most powerful elements of the program is that we present a paradigm shift. A new way of thinking about their perception of the world based on what can be appreciated rather than focusing primarily on what is going wrong.

I was given a similar gift last weekend attending a seminar by Micheal and Ricki Beckwith. I’ve written about these powerful teachers before and am continually inspired by them. And although I’ve been listening to them for 15 years (!) I still find such depth and surprises in their soulful messages of song and word. One such message was around my paradigm of competition. I often find myself stuck in my desire for good in anything: love, money, gifted employment, creativity…and how that limits my belief that there is good left for others. Or, if others already have such wonderful experiences of some quality, it means there is less for me.

Take for example the recent realization that about 80% of my friends are partnered. Not all married, but nearly all are in serious long-term relationships. As I turned 30 just a few days ago, I reflected on how I was going to let this impact my desire for more love in my life, especially as I move towards single-hood again. After attending a recent party with my son as my date, I observed all the loving couples and frowned. I realized it bothered it more than I thought AND that my focusing on the absence of a partner made me more irritated that the partner was not yet here. But I SAY I don’t believe that a room full of loving couples means there is less likelihood of finding love for myself, but my reaction was one of competition: wanting to be one of those in the room as half of a loving couple!  I wish now I had heard Rev. Micheal’s words:

“Release the idea of competition, that the presence of good with someone else means less good for you. Goodness is omnipresent.”

The paradigm shift in that moment would have been to recognize the presence of appreciation, abundance, joy, peace, harmony swimming in the room. I could have considered how to deepen my display of parent-child love or friend-to-friend love which was also present in that moment.

Love was there waiting for me and I ignored it because I wanted it to look a certain way. But if I believe in the idea that goodness is everywhere-present, then I must also believe that it’s available in my life right now in more ways than I can imagine.

That’s what re-imagining peace is all about.