Conscious Living

Mental Spring Cleaning

This year, more than any other year I can recall, I am really eager for spring to arrive.  It’s been a very long and snowy winter here in the Mid-Atlantic.  There are still some dirty snow piles left from the back-to- back blizzards we had the beginning of February.  So when I saw the first crocuses on my walk the other morning, I felt a seemingly disproportionate amount of joy – I can’t ever remember being this happy to see a little yellow flower emerge from the ground!

Spring is a time of new beginnings, of renewal.  Nature renews itself, at first slowly, like those first spring flowers peeking out from underneath the dull winter grass, and eventually bursting into full bloom as the days become longer and warmer.  Spring can also be a time for mental and spiritual renewal, and for this, we can take our clues from nature.  It’s time to emerge from the darkness of winter, time to open windows and doors to let the spring breezes in, both physically and in a larger sense.  

For many people, this is also traditionally a time for spring cleaning – there is something very satisfying about airing out rooms that were closed up for most of the winter months, clearing cobwebs out of forgotten corners, and getting the dust bunnies out from under the bed.  Clearing the clutter and getting organized for the new season on a physical level can also help clear your mental and psychic energy.  Cluttered environments drain our energy.  Just think about the last time you organized your desk or cleaned out a closet – remember how you not only felt a sense of accomplishment, but how you also felt somehow lighter? 

So why not do some mental and spiritual cleaning this spring?  The following suggestions can help you with this:

  • Clear out old beliefs that no longer serve you.  A belief is only a thought you keep thinking, and you have the power to change your thoughts.  Replace old beliefs that hold you back with new ones that are in alignment with what you want for yourself and your life.
  • Let go of limiting self-talk.  Frequently, we’re not even aware that we’re putting ourselves down, since it’s often done jokingly, but just like old beliefs, these little jokes can be insiduous and get stuck in your energy field.  Start becoming aware when you put yourself down, or talk about why you can’t do something, and redirect your thoughts.
  • Get rid of a pattern of negative thinking.  Do you like to complain, or participate in conversations with others who are complaining about how bad things are?  Do you tend to focus on what’s going wrong rather than on what’s going well?  Thought patterns can be deeply ingrained, and it takes time to become aware of them.  Focusing on what’s not working keeps you stuck in negative energy.  Once you realize that this is your pattern, you can begin to turn your thoughts into a more positive direction.

Just like nature, spring is your opportunity to grow and blossom into a life filled with light, color and joy.  Mental spring cleaning is a great way to start this process.

Amber says she doesn’t understand why humans hang on to all of this mental clutter.  She thinks that humans could learn a lot from cats – they live in the moment and don’t waste time thinking about the past or worrying about the future.

New Year’s Intentions

 New Year's Resolutions

 
Another New Year, another round of New Year’s resolutions.  Lose weight, eat healthier, begin a fitness program, spend more time with family and friends, enjoy life more — these are probably some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions on most peoples’ lists.  They’re also the resolutions most likely to be broken by the end of January.  Maybe it’s time for a shift in consciousness when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.  Instead of making resolutions this year, why not set New Year’s Intentions?
 
The definition of intention, according to Merriam Webster, is “a determination to act in a certain way”, whereas the definition of resolution is “the act of determining.”  There’s a subtle difference, but one (intention) implies that we are actually determined to do something differently, whereas the other (resolution) simply states that we’ve decided to change something.   The difference from a vibrational perspective is far greater than these definitions suggest.  Our thoughts create our reality.  Law of Attraction teaches us that like attracts like, so when we focus our thoughts on what we would like to create in our lives, we attract it to us.  Setting an intention is nothing more than focusing our thoughts on a desired outcome.
 
Using the example of wanting to lose weight, rather than making a resolution to loose weight, which focuses on the extra weight we’re trying to get rid of, it makes more sense from a vibrational perspective to set the intention that we’re going to have a healthy, slender body that feels good.  The universe doesn’t distinguish between thoughts about what we want or don’t want, it will attract what we think about.  So if we continue to think about how we don’t want to be overweight or how we need to drop those extra pounds, we’re only going to attract more of what we don’t want into our lives — which, in this case, is extra weight!  If, however, we think about how great it will feel to have a healthy, slender body that feels good and moves well, we’re well on our way to achieving our goal.
 
Now that’s not to say we don’t still have to exercise more and eat right, but by setting the intention and focusing our thoughts on the desired outcome, we will naturally want to make the choices that are in alignment with our desire.  Our choices become “inspired action” — the action of eating better and exercising more will feel like the next logical step rather than a battle or a chore.
 
We all have the power to choose our thoughts.  This New Year’s, why not choose to set intentions that will put you on the road to success, rather than making resolutions that are doomed to fail?

All You Need Is Love

tabby road

Guest Post by Cheryl Harris

In 1967 the Beatles were asked to write and perform a new song for an international television broadcast called “One World”.  The song would be broadcast in 17 countries around the world.   Because love is a word that is understood in every language, John Lennon wrote “All You Need Is Love”. 

While the song is a fun and lighthearted walk down memory lane, it also communicates many great aspects of conscious creation.  Some of my favorite lyrics are:

There is nothing you can do that can’t be done.
There is nothing you can know that can’t be known.
There is nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.
All you need is love.

Love is one of the highest resonating energies in the universe.  By focusing your energy on being a loving person and seeing the love in everyone and every situation, the Law of Attraction will cause you to receive more love in return.   When you are aligned with the energy of love, you are aligned with the Universal energy of God.  That means:

  • You can do anything.
  • You have access to all knowledge.
  • You are shown the way.
  • You will be in the right place at the right time.
  • It’s easy.
  • All you need is love.

The best way to maximize your success and reach your highest potential is to bring the energy of love into every aspect of your life.  Surround yourself with people and environments that support you and radiate the uplifting energy of love.

When you approach any aspect of your life with an energy that is not based in love, pretend to be someone you aren’t, worry, struggle, regret, blame, etc., it changes your vibration, which changes what you see and therefore what you receive.   While you shift your energy to being more loving in every aspect of your life, remember to also be gentle and loving with yourself.  Courage, forgiveness, and acceptance are emotions that do not resonate as high as love but are still worthy of your acknowledgement, celebration, and gratitude when the emotions are associated with changing old patterns that move you closer to the energy of love.

Cheryl Harris is CEO of Conscious Creations Inc.  She is best known for her Conscious Creation Coaching Programs that use proven strategies to leverage the Law of Attraction in your favor.  Her international client base includes entrepreneurs, celebrities, and a top Fortune 100 company.  Nick named “Little Buddha” and “The Idea Generator”, clients call her a master at providing support and describe shifting from fear to celebration as they move into the fullness of life.  You can learn more about Cheryl and her programs at http://consciouscreationsinc.com/.

The Transformative Power of Taking Risks

BraveCat

I recently wrote about why making big decisions can be such a challenge for so many of us (Making Decisions and Thinking Big), and about the power of choice when it comes to making decisions that are for our highest good.  One element that the article didn’t address, but that can often play a big role in making decisions, is our individual tolerance for or aversion to risk.

I’ve had to make a few really big decisions recently that were taking me out of my comfort zone, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time pondering this topic.  In the past, I avoided risk as much as I could, always playing it safe, always weighing all the pros and cons before making any decision.  Once I made the conscious choice to live a big life, I realized that I had to change the way I made decisions and especially change how I viewed risk.  As is so often the case when we embrace conscious change in our lives, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  In this case, it happened to be a sales call for an event hosted by Ali Brown, one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her generation.  The information presented on the topic of knowing when to take risks really resonated with me, so I’m sharing it here. 

There are five steps that can help you decide when to take risks, and be comfortable with your decision. 

  1. Is this something you want with your heart?  I believe that following your heart is the key ingredient for living a joyful and fulfilling life.  Everything else will fall into place if you make following your heart a priority.  Another way to look at this is how making a decision feels.  If it feels good, it’s usually the right decision for you.
  2. Is this something you want with your head?  While following your heart is most important, your decision still needs to make sense for you.  Can you justify this decision to yourself?  Be careful here that you don’t give too much airtime to input from others, or at the very least, choose carefully who you consult with.  When you make the decision to live a big life, there will inevitably be people in your life who will try to convince you that it’s too risky, that you can’t possibly be successful, that this is not for you.  Don’t listen to them.  Only listen to your own inner guidance.
  3. Is this part of my journey?  This question requires that you’ve done your homework and spent some time getting clear on what your path is.  Making decisions becomes much easier once you’ve identified your life’s purpose.
  4. Does this excite you, even if it’s a little scary?  We don’t really progress on our path unless we stretch beyond our, often self-imposed, limits.  If it feels exciting and joyful, it’s right for you.  That’s not to say that you may not feel some apprehension.  Anytime you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone, you will feel a combination of enthusiasm and doubt.  Joyful anticipation should outweigh trepidation on this one.
  5. Are you making this decision from faith and not fear?  I think that’s the most important of the five steps.  Your decision should come from inspiration, not desperation.  I always remind myself that truth and fear cannot coexist.  If my decision is fear-based, it will not be for my highest good.  There’s a reason for the catch phrase “leap of faith.”

Once you allow yourself to approach taking risks from the perspective of making a conscious choice to step into your power, you will come to embrace its transformative power.  You will find that your big decision will yield equal if not greater rewards from the universe.

How do you approach taking risks?  How do you make big decisions?

From Fear to Hope and Love

fear to hope and love

We live in challenging times.  The economy, while showing signs of recovery, is still causing many people to live in a state of fear, which is exacerbated by the media’s message of lack, scarcity, gloom and doom.  Apparently, good news and positive topics don’t sell and don’t generate ratings.  Stories of disasters, financial and otherwise, abound.  While there is much that’s happening in the world today that gives us reason to fear the future, we need to be mindful to not let fear take over our lives.

According to the Law of Attraction, what we focus our thoughts and energy on is what we attract into our lives.  If we constantly worry about the future, we are keeping ourselves in those low vibrations, and as a result, we attract the very things we fear into our experience.  Not only that, we’re also going to be pretty unhappy in the process.  So why not allow hope to transform all that negative energy into something lighter and more positive, and ultimately, into love, which is the highest vibration of all?

More and more people are realizing that what the media presents as reality is far from the truth.  What is truth?  Truth is the same energy as love.  Love is a vibration that is aligned with universal consciousness, the Divine, Spirit, Source, God – whatever you choose to call it.   An easy way to gauge for yourself whether something is true or not is to check in with yourself about how you feel.  If you feel fear and worry, it’s not truth.  Truth and love cannot coexist with fear.  They’re energetically too far apart. 

Find your own, inner truth, and follow your own guidance.  Look for the good news, look for things that give you hope.  Once you have hope, it’s only a small leap to love.

How do you accomplish this in a world seemingly filled with so much bad news, and so much fear?  Here are some simple steps that can help you change your vibration from one of fear and worry to one of hope and love:

–  Make a conscious decision each day to look for things that make you feel good.  Look for things to appreciate.  Look for the positive aspects in the people you interact with.  By focusing on what’s good in your world, you activate a vibration that will bring more of that into your experience.

–  Go on a news diet.  I wrote about this previously here.  At the very least, stop watching the news first thing in the morning, and last thing before you go to bed at night.  What you see first thing in the morning will stay in your consciousness throughout the day.  What you see just before you go to sleep will make its way into your dreams and spoil a good night’s rest for you.  Consider foregoing the news altogether.  If you feel you must be informed, be judicious about where you get your news.  There are ways to get the news without the hype.

Practice simple acts of kindness.  This is a fun and easy way to take the focus off yourself and any fear and worry you might experience.  Yield to the car in front of you trying to merge into your lane.  Smile at the harried clerk at the store.  Take an unexpected small gift to someone in your office.  Trying to make someone else feel better feels good.

Pet your cat or dog!  Being with your animals is one of the best ways I know to instantly shift your vibration from negative to positive.  It’s impossible to be fearful and worried when you have a happy dog licking your face or a purring cat in your lap.

There are plenty of signs around us that the tide is starting to turn – all we have to do is look for them.  Just like winter eventually yields to spring, and dark days yield to light, fear, if not given permission to run free, will yield to hope and eventually love.  All it takes is a willingness to shift your thoughts towards something that feels better, and make choices that are based in love rather than fear.

A Man, His Kitten, and Paying It Forward

If you’ve been online at all in the last few days, you’ve probably come across the  Mean Kitty Song video on YouTube – it has gotten close to 25 million views since creator Cory Williams put it up on his channel. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qit3ALTelOo&feature=channel

Clearly, he uses the word “mean” in the most loving possible way, as this guy is obviously in love with his little kitten.  I became intrigued, and poked around YouTube a bit more, and found the video that tells The Mean Kitty’s Story:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDJNuypavq8

As Cory talks about Sparta’s story and the impact the video may have had on people, it got me thinking about how wonderful it is that something so small can have such an impact on so many people, which in turn made me think back to the 2000 movie Pay it Forward about a 12-year-old boy who believes in the goodness of human nature and is determined to change the world for the better.  We all have the ability to affect others in everything we do and say, no matter how small, and frequently we’re not even aware of it.  By becoming conscious of the impact our actions and our words have on others each and every day and acting in ways that are in alignment with our true nature, we not only feel good ourselves, we make the world around us a better place.  Think about this as you go through your day today – how have you impacted someone else’s life?  How has someone else’s kindness impacted you?  And how can you pay it forward? 

And on a side note, I was happy to hear that, despite the fact that this rambunctious and playful little kitten has clearly done some damage with his claws, Cory speaks out against declawing.  He is using SoftPaws Nail Caps, a humane alternative to declawing.

Making Decisions and Thinking Big

poor decision

Have you ever had to make a really big decision and found yourself paralyzed by fear?  Maybe you were trying to decide whether to leave your job.  Maybe a relationship had gone sour and you were thinking about leaving.  Maybe you were trying to decide about moving to a new city.  But you found yourself unable to make a decision.  Why do we get stuck when it comes to making big decisions, and how can we overcome this?

One of the main reasons why we often find it hard to make decisions is that we think of the outcome being right or wrong.  Contrary to the funny picture at the top of this post, there really are no wrong decisions (although the kitten in the photo might disagree!), there are only different choices.  Once you truly believe that, it becomes easier to make decisions.   Additionally, very few decisions are irreversible.  We always have the power to make a different choice.

Another reason why making a decision can be difficult is fear.  Fear of the outcome, fear of how a “wrong” decision may impact our lives and the lives of those around us, fear of taking some risks.  A fear-based decision is never a good decision.  Fear limits.  If we live in fear, we will never be able to realize our full potential.  Fear is never truth.  If you feel fear, remember to connect with your spiritual core and remind yourself that there is no room for fear when you are connected to your true self.

So how do we go about making decisions without getting caught up in worry, fear and limitations?  One of the best pieces of advice I got from one of my mentors was to make decisions from the place I want to be, not from the place I’m in.  This means that if I’m thinking and dreaming big, I need to be ready to make decisions that support that kind of thinking.  I can’t decide from a place of fear and scarcity if I want to live a big life that fully reflects who I really am. 

Amber doesn’t understand why  humans have such a difficult time making decisions.  She says all decisions are ultimately only about two things:  does it feel good?  Or does it feel bad?  Make the decision that feels good, and it will always serve you.

A Change of Pace, a Shift in Energy

central-park-new-york-wallpaper

No matter how much you love your life, your environment, and your routine (and I do), sometimes, it’s good to have a  change of pace and a change of scenery.  Following the same routine day after day can lead to stale energy, and a quick and easy way to shake things up a bit is to get out of your normal environment.  So last weekend I went to visit a friend in New York City – my favorite city in the whole world.  What’s not to love?  In addition to being able to walk everywhere you want to go, there are so many great restaurants on every block, there’s Central Park, and there’s the incredible energy of a city of millions of people.  And I hadn’t seen my friend in two years, so it was long past time for a visit.

I had a fabulous weekend, and the trip reminded me how important a change of pace and scenery and an opportunity to get out of one’s normal routine can be.  Instead of my usual routine I spent the weekend walking around the city with my friend.  We caught up on each others’ lives, ate at wonderful restaurants, went to a comedy club (celebrity sighting:  Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock!), and hung out with my friend’s cats.  I came home feeling relaxed and recharged.

Even if you can’t get away for a weekend, there are simple ways to incorporate a change of pace into your day.  You’ll be surprised how even small changes can shift your energy, and as a result, free up creativity, open your mind to new and different possibilities, and make you feel great.

Some suggestions for a simple change of pace:

  • Take a different route to work.  Instead of going the quickest way, go the scenic route one day.  If you work from home, find a different place in the house to work from.
  • Make small changes in your daily routine.  Do you always follow the same sequence when you first get up in the morning?  Shake things up a bit.
  • Try a new food you’ve never had before.  Is there an ethnic cuisine you’ve  never head but always wanted to try? 
  • Rent a movie that’s different from your usual fare.  Do you usually watch dramas?  Try a comedy. 

You’ll be surprised how these seemingly small changes of pace can shift your energy.

The Psychology of Gratitude – Five Things I’m Grateful for Today

gratitude kritters

Gratitude is a wonderful way to raise your vibration and shift your energy to a better feeling place.  The vibration of gratitude is a powerful force.  It can shift your mood and your thoughts from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance.   Research by Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis into the psychology of gratitude has shown that people who practice gratitude are 25% happier.  They are more optimistic about the future and feel better about their lives. 

Practicing gratitude is also a great way to start and end each day.  Think about five things you’re grateful for before you get out of bed each morning, and again before you go to sleep each night.  This practice will shift your vibration.  Do this for a few days and you will notice how the shift in your energy will transform your life.

My five for today are:

1.  Amber’s gentle, loving and peaceful presence in my life.

2.  Doing work I love, getting paid for it, and being in charge of my time.

3.  My wonderful friends.

4.  The unlimited possibilities life holds.

5.  Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

What five things are you grateful for today?

 

 

Image for sale at http://www.zazzle.com/cartoon_animals_talking_tree_nature_poster-228754069543042099

Five Habits to Expand Your Thinking

 kittenlion

Our thoughts create our reality, so it makes sense that by thinking big, you’ll create a big life for yourself on all levels – spiritual, emotional, and physical.  The five habits below will help you expand your thinking, and as a result, expand your life. 

1.  Your choices create your outcomes.

In order to create something for yourself, you have to decide that what you want is yours now, not a week from now, a month from now, five years from now.  Get into the feeling place of what it feels like to have or be what you want, and then make the necessary changes in your life to create it.  This may be uncomfortable at times and you may be stepping outside of your comfort zone, but by keeping the vision of what you want in mind, you get clearer, and you make your decisions based on your vision.   Think about making your decisions from a place of already having what you want, not from where you are now.  Decide to keep stepping into your “yes.”

2.  Your habits create your outcomes.

If you want to be a marathon runner, develop the habits of a marathon runner.  If you want to be a millionaire, develop the habits of a millionaire.  If you want to be healthy, develop the habits of someone who is healthy.  Think and act from the place of where you want to be.  Your physical and personal habits need to be in alignment with your vision.

3.  Your environments create your outcomes.

Do you love where you live and work?  Create an environment that supports you and your vision.  An environment that is in alignment with your vision frees you to focus your energy on achieving your dream.  How about your emotional environment?  Are the people around you supportive of your vision and your dreams?  The environment that created the you that you are now may not be the environment that is going to create the you that you want to be. What about your intellectual environment?  Pay attention to how the people around you think.  Be around people who think positive and who think big as much as you can.  If you’re around people who worry and fear, remember that fear and worry are not truth, and try to limit interactions with negative people.  Set up a support system that works for you.

4.  Continually raise your abundance thermometer. 

We live in an abundant universe and there is enough of everything for everyone.  Everything we could possibly need or want is available to us, if only we allow it into our experience.  You can’t manifest abundance with a scarcity mindset.  Expect abundance in your life and allow yourself to receive it on all levels – spiritual, emotional and physical. 

5.  Focus on the “why.”

Why do you want what you want?  Tap into your life’s purpose and your passion.  Once you’ve identified what your passion and purpose are, it becomes easier to line up with living authentically to let your life reflect that purpose in all aspects.  When you consider why you want something, your vibration usually shifts toward your desire.  Whenever you consider how it will happen, or when, or who will bring it to you, your vibration usually shifts back toward the problem and all the reasons why you can’t have it.

By implementing all of these habits in your life, you will find your energy shifting.  If implementing all of them at once feels too overwhelming, start with one new habit at a time.  People will ask you what you’re doing differently, what your “secret” is.  Your life will expand.

Lance Armstrong and the Power of Belief

lance_armstrong

Lance Armstrong is probably one of the most amazing examples of how the power of belief and focusing on what you want can create miracles in your life. Cancer survivor, seven time Tour de France winner, inspiration to countless athletes as well as people dealing with cancer or other challenges in their lives, Armstrong is currently in the middle of yet another Tour de France.

I feel a strong personal affinity with Lance – he was the inspiration that helped my then 78-year-old father conquer his battle with prostate cancer. My dad was always a fan of cycling, and the Tour de France in particular, and he was fascinated with Lance Armstrong. When my dad told me about his diagnosis and that he had to undergo six weeks of radiation treatments, one of the first things he said was “I’m going to beat this. If Lance Armstrong can beat cancer and win the Tour de France, I can go through this and get better, too!” And he did, and enjoyed two more happy and relatively healthy years until he passed in 2004. While my dad was going through his treatments, I wrote to Lance’s Foundation, I thought they’d enjoy hearing the story of an old man in Germany being inspired by Lance Armstrong. They responded by sending a lovely package to my dad – a photo autographed by Lance, a Live Strong t-shirt, and several informational pamphlets. My dad was touched and thrilled, as was I.

As Lance cycles towards what could be his 8th tour victory, cheered on by millions around the world, I can’t help but reflect on how important the power of belief is in consciously creating our lives.

Scientific evidence reveals that heart-based belief affects everything from healing our bodies to physical matter. Cutting edge research by scientists such as cell biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D, shows that we can control even the cells in our bodies by energetic signals emanating from our thoughts. We have the power to reverse disease, create abundance, and even change reality itself. If we can make even simple shifts in belief, we can affect change that we didn’t think was possible – in our own lives, and by extension, in the world.

A belief is only a thought we keep thinking. Change the thought, and eventually, the belief will change. It really can be that simple.

And Lance Armstrong is a perfect example of how the power of belief makes the seemingly impossible happen. Nobody would ever have imagined a 38-year-old man riding in the Tour de France – except Lance. He believed that he could do it, and he’s doing it. Whether he wins or not is almost irrelevant – but I’ll be cheering him on. And whether he wins the Tour or not, to me, he’ll always be a winner.

Suggested reading about the power of belief: