Monthly Archives: July 2013

On The End Being The Beginning or A Tale of Regaining My Confidence

My self-confidence is shot.  Why is that you ask?  I’ve been unemployed for well over a year now and it’s really shaken my belief in who and what I am.  I’ve lost faith in myself. This period of unemployment has even upset my spiritual beliefs.  There are days I really wonder who I am and what happened.  Where did I make that wrong turn? I know I AM intelligent, well spoken, talented and more and yet, my self-confidence is shot and I find that I have given up on myself.

I believe you can get to where you want to be if you believe it.  More importantly, your belief in yourself is the key to that success.  Our personal beliefs play a huge role in how we view our own life. Your estimation of your successes and failures will depend entirely on the framework of your personal beliefs.

You must believe in yourself before anyone else will take you seriously.  In other words, if you don’t believe in your product (yourself), service or your dream, why would anyone else?

Don’t give up on your dreams, goals, aspirations or yourself for you never know how right they truly are until you put them into action.

How Beliefs Work

In order to build a positive and empowering belief in yourself, it helps to understand how our beliefs are formed.  We behave and take actions based on what we believe to be the reality of what we can do, not in accordance of what we are actually capable of.  Everything we see, experience, think and feel is adjusted to fit in with our belief system.  So our version of reality is a creation of our beliefs.  Once we decide we believe something it is accepted by us as fact and rarely subject to scrutiny.  Change your thoughts and you change your reality.

Our assumptions of what is real become our “personal operating system.” Much like the operating system on your computer, our beliefs control how we sort and file data.  We develop our personal beliefs about reality based on how we interpret the world around us according to our observations and experiences.

Many of our beliefs were formed in childhood and aren’t valid for us anymore.  Others we got from situations or circumstances that have taken place in our life and are no longer relevant.  Imagine trying to run your current software on Windows 1.0, or some other obsolete operating system.  The same could be said of obsolete belief systems that are still influencing how we evaluate everything in our lives.  It is important to understand “your past is not your future.”  Many people are afraid to go for the life they truly desire because of their past results (or lack of results).  Remember, it was most likely circumstances beyond your control that created your limiting beliefs in the first place. But that was then and this is now.

It’s All About Confidence

Your self-confidence is tied to your personal beliefs about who you are, and what you are capable of.  These beliefs are influenced by your self-esteem, and reinforced by the results you have produced in previous experiences.

Having an empowering belief system gives us the energy to pursue our dreams, and the power to overcome obstacles. It gives us a sense of certainty in our ability to bring about a favorable outcome.  With an empowering belief system you take on new challenges anticipating a successful outcome therefore your level of commitment is also be greater.  These factors will combine to create another successful outcome, which will continue to fuel your level of confidence.  This will allow you to bolster your self-esteem, further increase your level of commitment, and produce your intended outcome. As a result, your self-confidence will grow.

When you carry yourself with confidence, people will naturally be attracted to that quality.  When you have confidence in yourself, others tend to feel that way also.  When you speak and act with conviction, it changes the way the world responds to you.

Developing An Empowering Belief System

The key to creating empowering beliefs is to have some measure of control over the outcome of your goal and in order to control the outcome you will want to start small.  Starting small allows us to generate some momentum.  Start by setting a reachable goal and then take action towards attaining that goal.

I have two main goals I’m working on right now.  One is to be fully employed by October 31.  The other is to lose 20 pounds by August 31.  When I hit these goals I will feel great.  When you hit your goals you will feel great!

When you experience success, set another reachable goal in that same direction and follow through with more action.  Continue this pattern until you become comfortable with your ability to produce your intended outcome. There is no straight line to success. You will zig-zag and hit obstacles. Just keep going and remember to celebrate your wins.

As your feelings of confidence grow, allow yourself to identify with your success. Learn to view yourself as a successful person and attach feelings of approval to your positive experiences.  Developing and displaying self-confidence will change your life on almost every level.

Confidence is like a powerful magnet that will attract into your life whatever opportunities, resources, or people are needed to facilitate your ability to create the life you desire.

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!

On Growing Juicy Golden Apples In The Playground Of My Mind or A Tale of My Adventures With Goal Setting

Recently my friend Tommy posted an excellent video blog for his kids on setting goals. (By-the-way, if don’t know who Tommy is you should.  Tommy is an inspiration to everyone who knows him and has become a valued and trusted friend to me since I moved back to Wisconsin.)  Tommy’s blog reminded me of the importance of goals and that I needed to reevaluate and update my current goals.  I’m a different person now than when I first set those goals.  Goals need to be fluid and transform as the person who made them transforms.  I want to share with you my theory and techniques when practicing goal setting.

I have a list of 5 to 10 goals that range from Health to Relationships to Career to Life. I review and read over these goals every night before bed and every morning when I awaken. Once I complete the 20-minute process of reviewing my goals, I go to sleep and let my subconscious mind absorb my last thoughts (goals) so that it permeates through my brain. With luck, the goals will take over and I’ll visualize and dream of them as they turn into reality. (This of course this all goes for naught if I end up making an 11:00 PM Taco Bell run.) If all works out, I awaken, having had a great night’s sleep with dreams of where I want to see myself in the future. When I wake up, I read my goals all over again.

So what are goals? Goals are ideas I’m fascinated by and want to invite into my life. I find that a lot of the inspiration for my goals comes from reading books. I was first introduced to the concept of goals as an adult when I picked up “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  “Think and Grow Rich” is credited to creating more of the world’s most successful people than any other book published in history.

Anthony Robbins, the great Motivational Speaker, likes to compare goals to an airplane traveling from New York to Los Angeles. When a pilot programs an airplane to a computer, the goal is to land at a specific location in Los Angeles; the aircraft will fly off course 95% of the way. The programmed destination in the computer corrects the aircraft every time to keep it on track.

Other books I find helpful in terms of setting goals are “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and “Goals” by Brian Tracy. Byrne describes goals as your thoughts that float into The Universe and then becomes a part of a vibration or frequency that ultimately turns into reality. Tracy’s speaks to how to accomplish your goals faster than you thought possible. The first book that introduced goal setting to most of us is “The Little Engine That Could” by Waty Pipper with the famous line “I think I can, I think I can!” This classic book teaches how to achieve goals from the very basic, yet not an easy task, of setting your mentality to reach the top.

The significance of goal setting is valued more than people think; that’s why books about goal setting are written to target people of all ages. Goals need a great amount of preparation time to take root and much cultivation while they germinate. Once you understand and embrace the concept of goals, you will see, hear an feel it all around you and notice that goal setting is one of the most common exercises of all successful people.

Some Random Thoughts On Goals

  1. Are you conscious about your goals? Are you in control of them? Do you craft them to maximize the outcome?
  2. What is goal setting exactly? Goal setting is like a motto, a hook, or a phrase that’s always on your mind, just like a jingle you’d remember from a commercial. The things you do, say or hear in your everyday life will subconsciously trigger you to act out your goals and move closer to the desired target.
  3. A lot of mental work goes into goal setting, but once you get the hang of it, it will come to you naturally.
  4. Because goals follow you everywhere, and because they are infused in your mind, you need to remain alert about what kind of “goals” you’re feeding yourself. Unfortunately, if you are not aware of it, you can be setting goals that are detrimental to you. Yes, detrimental goals do exist; they just aren’t commonly identified as “goals.” 
  5. The subconscious mind has no filter and it cannot differentiate what is beneficial or detrimental to your life. So if you keep saying to yourself that you “will not succeed” or that you’ll “never find a good paying job“, you are indirectly setting a goal towards failure.
  6. By merely thinking this, a person will sooner or later turn the statement to reality. When it happens and everything seems to be going wrong in life, that person will not realize the reason for this is due to the negative mindset they created that made them receive exactly what they concentrated on; it was their GOAL!
  7. Needless to say, detrimental goals do not have to be set solely from you. You can be a parent setting them on your child, a mate setting them on your wife or husband, or an employer positioning detrimental values to your employees. If the recipients are young, naive, or weak enough, then all they will hear from you is disconcerting; they can also suffer the consequences.

And now back to positive goal setting.

Your goals need to be measurable. Tommy’s goal of taking his wife on a date twice a month is a measurable goal; my goal in regards to losing weight is a measurable goal. I need to know how I’m going to get there.  I need to acknowledge what my motivations are for my goal and why. I then set a date or dates so that I can see the end of the tunnel in order to keep going. Seemingly, this is a lot of information to remember, especially when life throws unexpected things at you here and there. So what do you do? You write it all down.

Write everything down to keep yourself on track:

  1. List 5-8 specific goals you want to accomplish.
  2. Write down the steps you will take to make the accomplishment; envision it; do it.
  3. Keep note of all the benefits that will result out of your goals.
  4. Set the date for when you’d like to accomplishment your goal by.
  5. Review your goals first thing in the morning upon awakening for 20 minutes.
  6. Review your goals again for 20 minutes before going to bed .
  7. When setting goals, set them in a way that everything is worded in a positive way; always look towards success.
  8. Visualize your goals as often as you can during the day.

And there you have it, my formula for goals. I told you at the onset of my starting this blog that wondrous things would be revealed here.  Goals are wondrous things.

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!

My Weekend With Heavenly Creatures or A Tale of Be-ing In The Bhav

The subtitle of my blog is Wondrous Things Will Be Revealed Here.  This will be a post where something wondrous will be revealed.

I often speak to my friends or post to twitter or Facebook about being in the BHAV.  They scratch their heads and ping me asking “What is this BHAV you are always going on about; what planet are you on now???” Well my friends, the BHAV comes from the Bhakti tradition of Yoga.  It is the fruit of devotion or in Christian terms the fruits of  the Spirit.  Being in the Bhav is a mood; it’s a devotional state of mind.  The Bhav is becoming.  For me it’s being in the rapture — becoming one with the rapture.  I’ve been in the Bhav for several straight days as I was at Bhakti Fest Midwest and have had a soul opening experience.

This picture of my friends Deb & Deann (sisters by-the-way who have their own Kirtan group, Brilliant Bliss Kirtan) best shows what it’s like to be in the Bhav.

In the Bhav

In the Bhav

I took this picture at a Kirtan at Inner Sun Yoga in Oshkosh.  It is during a Kirtan (chanting to God) that I most often enter the Bhav.  I also enter thru mediation, prayer and yoga.  Others enter thru exercise (runner’s high), or thru a hobby (my mom enters this state while knitting); some enter thru service projects and others thru their daily devotions.  The point I’m trying to make is there are many paths to entering the Bhav.  Or as the saying goes in Vedanta:  “Paths are many.  Truth is one.”

As I said, I enter this state mostly thru chanting, or Kirtan.  I chant (sing my prayers) daily.  This is the best part of my day.

I was introduced to Kirtan by my beloved teacher Janet Stone many years ago in San Francisco (if you ever find yourself with 100 miles of Janet seek her out.  She is an amazing yoga teacher).  Chanting with Janet and the hundreds of people in her classes was an amazing third eye opening experience for me.  Soon I found myself chanting a couple of times a week with David Lurey (another amazing yoga teacher who just released a great Kirtan CD, Global Bhakti), Jai Uttal and David Newman.  Once I started chanting I felt like I found the missing piece to my spiritual practice. I chanted so much at home my roommates said that when in my room it felt like being in a church.  I was a chanting fool.

So why do I chant?  I chant because it’s awesome.

I believe that the vibration of a Mantra can bring one closer to God. In the recitation of Mantras the sound is very important, for it can bring transformation in you while leading you to power and grace.

It’s well documented that different sounds have different effects on human psyche. If a soft sound of wind rustling through leaves soothes our nerves, the musical note of running stream enchants our heart, thunder may cause awe and fear.

The chanting of Mantras provide us with the power to attain our goals and lift ourselves from the ordinary to the divine. They give us the power to enter into an exalted state of communion and for attaining blissful state and attain liberation.

Good — I haven’t lost you.

I chant to keep in touch with that great big peace deep inside. I chant to keep the path between us clear. I chant to clear out the clutter that covers up my heart — you know the stuff that trips us all up. I chant to get unstuck and clear out all the old junk I’ve been working for years to get rid of and keeps sticking around for a variety of reasons. I chant to let it go bit by bit.  Yes, chanting makes my heart clear.

I chant to remember who I AM. When the dust of life settles over everything, and I start to believe I’m stuck and struggle with what I’m experiencing, I chant. As I do, it’s like a big wind blows by and carries away the dust and debris.  And then the light bulb comes on and I experience that A HA moment:  “That’s who I AM!”

I can spend a couple of hours going round and round, where absolutely nothing gets done. Then I chant for ten or fifteen minutes, and the gears shift and the road opens and whatever I’m doing flows like water. So now I’m trying to remember to turn to chant sooner to remove obstacles – JAI Ganesha.

I also chant to give thanks. Some days are amazing from start to finish. So I chant to celebrate, to give thanks to the Universe. So days are not so amazing.  So I chant to celebrate, to give thanks to the Universe.

I chant to be closer to God. When I chant I feel the presence of something bigger than me and yet I also know I AM part of that bigness. Being part of that bigness helps keep everything else in my life in perspective.

We all know a happy life requires good health. Proper diet, adequate exercise, and sufficient rest are necessary to keep our bodies strong and fit

More important, but less well known, is the inner self’s need for spiritual nourishment and attention. If we ignore our spiritual health requirements, we become overwhelmed by negative material tendencies like anxiety, hatred, loneliness, prejudice, greed, boredom, envy, and anger.

I chant in order to counteract and prevent these infections of the self.  Yes, this is why I chant.

Welcome to the Bhav …

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!

 

 

 

 

On Forbidden Entrances & Angelic Messengers or A Tale of Relearning to Forgive

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain

I AM a firm believer in forgiveness.  I believe that forgiveness is the key for each and everyone of us in working out our personal salvation and soul’s growth. It is one of the greatest gifts we have received from God.  For me the problem with forgiveness is not in forgiving a fellow traveler upon the path, but that I have to keep relearning this lesson over and over and over again.  Why is this such a hard lesson to master?  Why can’t I get it right?  Why do I struggle to forgive at times, when other times it is so easy?

Recently I watched DR. Maya Angelou on Super Soul Sunday.  I love DR. Angelou and consider her to be one of my greatest teachers.  During the interview Oprah asked DR. Angelou what is one of greatest  lessons she has learned and Dr. Angelou responded, her mother told her to forgive. To which Dr. Angelou further added “I forgive it. I don’t anoint it with anything. I just forgive it.” Oprah then asked Dr Angelou when you forgive someone,  does not mean you invite them into your house after that? To which Dr. Angelou responded, “No not at all. When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away. Not go away and harm someone else. I do so because I have to protect myself.” To which Oprah said, ” I have to be willing to take care of me first then I have enough to take care of myself first.”

This was an AHA moment for me.  “When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.” There is so much more to this statement than meets the eyes.  This is not just a statement to be taken literally.  No, not literally, there is much to ponder here.  For me it meant I AM done with this lesson.  It is learned. I will not repeat this again.

I choose to write on forgiveness this evening due to two recent events that took place in my family during the past two weeks that left me deeply hurt, angered and depressed. Two weeks ago one of my cousins’ son graduated from high school.  They hosted a large party for him and the entire family was invited — well not quite the entire family.  I was not invited.  I was the only family member not to receive an invitation.  Upon seeing the pictures posted online and hearing others talk about the good time had by all I was deeply hurt by the exclusion.  To make matters worse, another cousin, the brother of the cousin I referred to previously, has a son who was married yesterday.  You guessed it; the entire family was invited except for me.  This exclusion was was like a knife being twisted in my guts.  I experienced two Cinderella moments and they hurt badly.  Again I saw the pictures and again I experienced a deep pain.

Earlier I referred to DR. Angelou and her approach to forgiveness.  She mentioned she does not “anoint” the situation.  My error this weekend was in anointing the situation.  I put too much time, energy and thought into the pain and hurt I was feeling.  My emotions spiraled out of control, leaving me feeling tired and drained and off kilter.  Thankfully through pray and silence I gained some insight and control.

So at this moment, I choose forgiveness.  I move past this hurt.  It doesn’t mean I approve of what’s happened. I’m not giving them a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD.  No, I’m giving myself that card.  Rather, I AM moving on with my life. This is the choice I make.

This isn’t to say the pain will miraculously disappear, The pain may never completely disappear, But I can let go of the anger.  I’m not going to invest in resentment anymore

I am a person who works to forgive. I try to see things from all sides. Often when we are being attacked, the attack is not about you or me but rather about the person who is attacking. This is easy to understand when the person attacking is not someone who was very special to us.

But when the hurt comes from someone that was very close to us, it is very hard to just turn our feelings off. It is very hard to just close the door without feeling some pain and hurt having to make that decision. It is on those occasions that we have to dig deep and go through the pain and hurt and separation in order to accept as DR Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.”

Again, this is where it all clicked for me. “When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.” Like so many others I felt forgiveness means that I open the door again when in fact it does not. Forgiveness means I hold no spite to the person or people who have hurt me.  It does not mean I have to open my heart again to allow them in. I simply know it’s time to move on and let go. And that is exactly what I choose to do.

It is up to us to decide if we can invite those who have trespassed against us back in and if we can’t we forgive their transgression with love and let them go.

And so to my two cousins and your wives I say I forgive you.  I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!