When I was much younger, I hoped that the intensity of my love would fix things
When I was much younger, I hoped that the intensity of my love would fix things
It’s that time of year again – February, with its own special holiday to celebrate love. And whether or not you have a certain someone in your life who is your Valentine, let me suggest something a little different. This year, vow to be your own Valentine. Decide that no one is more deserving of your respect, kindness and enthusiastic support than you, and get creative about cultivating and expressing those qualities toward yourself.
In other words…love yourself. Completely, courageously and unconditionally.
For some it is sooner rather than later, for others it comes as a shock. Some experience it in great waves and others seem more surprised that is it is happening to them. Regardless of your gender, color or ethnicity, we all experience it. It is a part of life.
Forget about new year resolutions, only 1 in 10 will succeed. They fail because we simply just don’t care enough by about getting them. Cold hard truth. If you want change, true change that is lasting we must change who we are. We try too hard to change the what we do without changing what or who is doing it. Change occurs from the inside out, not outside in. We try to change from the outside in because it seems easier and logical. We think if we do this or don’t do that we will become what we desire, yet very often we fall back to being comfortable and what is familiar. We do what are.
I turned the music up. Maybe the extra volume would supply me with the Christmas spirit I seemed to be lacking and jumpstart my enthusiasm for putting up decorations. Pausing in a roomful of opened boxes and tattered bags stuffed to the brim with memories, I waited for the music to work its magic. Nothing. I sat down and closed my eyes, giving myself full permission to halt the decorating process and, instead, simply invite my favorite Christmas music to infuse me with its exuberant energy.
She said, “Joe, I mastered the art of not getting what I want in my life.”
She went on to share examples of a failed marriage, an uninspiring career, and an uncertain future. She told me how she was on the verge of giving up hope; that the waves kept knocking her down. She felt she was running out of options and running thin on hope.
I remember the look in her weathered eyes when she asked me, “Is there any hope for me?”
Life can be tough. We all know that; and it is easy to get caught up in trying to make a living, paying the bills, raising kids, eating right, and so on. The next thing we know, that birthday with a “0” or a “5” is coming up, reminding us just exactly how far we have NOT come.
I smiled and said, “What you need isn’t hope. What you need is YOU. And that is something you have always had within you. You must access that part of you... the part of you that recognizes the truth: You are more than you’ve allowed yourself to become. Just because you have not stepped up in the past doesn’t mean that you can’t make a new choice right now. Your past does not equal your future. The question is: Will you let go of the familiar and comfortable for what you truly desire?
There are two worlds in which we can live. The world of comfort and the world of growth. Comfort is addictive and seductive, but there is no fulfillment in comfort. We are wired to grow. Yes it is uncertain, but it is part of who we are at our core. When we step out into the unknown, we grow and become more. As we become more, we then have more to share with ourselves and others. Through growth and contribution is where we feel fulfillment. It is not always easy, but it is the path we must all take.
She looked at me me with a nervous smile and said, “It has been so long since I really let go and embraced changed. I know I can do it, but my fear is: what if I fail?” I chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, you WILL fail, and you will learn how to get back up stronger, with more resolve than before.” Her face lit up and for once I saw her first real smile as she said, “I think I would really like that. I’ve lived in comfort and fear long enough. I am tired of waiting, tired of trying, it is time to break free!”
We all have the resources within us to create the life we want. Sometimes all we need is the courage to let go of comfort and embrace who we are and what we can achieve, accomplish, and become. In the case of my client, with a little coaching and guidance, she now lives in growth; unafraid and ready to achieve her dreams.
"I left for the Biggest Loser Resort with an initial weight of 326 pounds and I am happy to say that I left part of myself in California, actually 60 pounds of myself."
Before I start to tell you guys how my life has changed, I think that I need to do a “previously on” for those of you who are new to the life of Sean.
Previously on the “Life of Sean”
About six years ago I was crossing the street in New York City when suddenly I was hit by a BMW SUV going 40 miles per hour. Fast forward 3 years and it is discovered that I have four herniated discs in my back, they fixed one of them, and left the other ones to fend for themselves. About a year later I go to the doctor with what I thought was a cold, but instead I’m diagnosed with heart failure.
Life has a not so funny way of throwing a wrench in your plans. The ability to adapt and overcome is a required skill. I am here to tell you that I got hit by one of life’s biggest wrenches. My cardiologist described my life in the most blunt and concise way, “You have had a shitty half a decade”. Since April 2006 my life has been in a free fall, but in that time I have discovered that I can survive anything.
This is the third of three articles featuring highlights of my recent interview with Anita Moorjani, best-selling author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing. Anita was healed of stage 4 terminal cancer through a consciousness-expanding near death experience that opened her to the realization of who she is, and who we all are: magnificent beings whose very essence is love. Not only did that profound realization heal the cancer, it awakened her to a deep knowing of the joy-filled purpose of our lives, which is to express our unique magnificence. In this article I’ll share more of her insights – and an amazing story that isn’t in the book! Enjoy…
Soon after my inspiring interview with Anita Moorjani, whose clarion call to us is to remember our magnificence, I realized we had covered so much ground that I had the material for at least three articles, though I had planned to write only one. Talk about an abundant universe! Reviewing my notes, I made little symbols beside the main points to indicate topics I felt went well together and could form the basis of an article. I drew stars next to the notes I’d taken when she talked about self-love – there was the first article! – and hearts next to the comments related to manifesting our desires – there was the second article!
This is the second of three articles featuring highlights of my recent interview with Anita Moorjani, best-selling author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing. Anita was healed of stage 4 terminal cancer through a consciousness-expanding near death experience that opened her to the realization of who she is, and who we all are: magnificent beings whose very essence is love. Not only did that profound realization heal the cancer, it awakened her to a deep knowing of the joy-filled purpose of our lives, which is to express our unique magnificence. In this article I’ll share Anita’s perspective on manifesting our desires.
“Find your joy! Listen to your emotions and do what makes you happy.”
— Anita Moorjani
Author “Dying to be Me: My journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing
In the March issue of Living.Well Magazine I wrote briefly about an amazing book I’d recently read titled, “Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani. In the book Anita shares her story of having miraculously healed from stage 4 terminal cancer through a consciousness-expanding near-death experience that awakened her to the truth of who she really is – and who we all are.
So one day a man was stuck in a hole and could not get out. A priest walked by and the man yelled up, “Hey Father, could you help me get out?” The priest nodded, said a few prayers and left. Later a doctor walked by and the man yelled up, “Hey Doc, could you help me get out?” The doctor nodded, wrote a prescription and threw it to the man and left. Later a friend of the man walked by and the man yelled up, “Hey buddy, could you help me get out?” The friend nodded and jumped down into the hole. The man in the hole was upset and said, “Why did you do something so foolish? Now we are both stuck in the hole.”
My mother would say it means to say what you mean and mean what you say, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
She had it right… but not complete.
I have also found that living an authentic life is also about being true to ourselves in how we share ourselves in the world. And, I’m not just talking about sharing our opinions. If we never share our talents, reveal our creations—that painting, that poem, that song, that idea—are we being authentic?
For many of us, the new year will begin with a promise—a promise that this year we will accomplish that which has eluded us. Often it’s the everyday things that prove most difficult—managing your schedule, treating people the way you ought to, and keeping things in perspective when chaos is at hand. The sad truth is that nearly 80% of us will fall off the resolution bandwagon by Super Bowl Sunday; and by this time next year, a mere 5% of us will have succeeded in reaching our goals.
There are two reasons why we’re so bad at reaching our resolutions. The first is that we bite off more than we can chew. It may seem reasonable to pick up three or four new skills to add to your repertoire, but that’s an expectation the mind can’t execute. When we try to develop too many new skills at once, they become competing priorities that leave us distracted, discouraged, and overwhelmed. The second reason most self-improvement efforts are doomed to fail is that our emotions have a nasty habit of hijacking our behavior. Without a strong ability to recognize and manage our emotions as they occur, old habits are sure to die hard.
(The Firewalk Transformation Seminar is a 6-hour seminar that culminates in participants walking barefoot over hot coals.) The answer to the question is easy: you walk for whatever reason compels you. For some, it is to overcome fears and limiting beliefs. For others, it is the metaphor of what is standing in the way of the life that they want. Some see it as pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and others see it as a spiritual journey. Regardless of why someone walks, the Firewalk Transformation is UNFORGETTABLE.
After previously discussing a foundation for communication in relationships, it’s time to go deeper into understanding physically intimate relationships. I love the work of David Deida and how he describes the role of masculine and feminine energies in relationships.
Listening is the most important component in communication. “Seek first to understand before being understood.” After 15 years of experience as an educator, psychotherapist, and everyday human being, I can share with you that this is easier said than done. Listening is an art and requires us to get out of our own way and our need to be right. That being said, there are tools we can learn that significantly increase our listening presence. Last month I laid out the seven feedback suggestions for creating an unwavering foundation for authentic communication. This month I am going to go into more detail about how to mirror and listen more effectively.
Authentic respectful communication is the cornerstone in all relationships. This includes family, friends, partners, lovers, people at work, etc. The more open and vulnerable we are in relationships, the deeper the connection, and the safer it is for the other to open up and share on a real and authentic level.
Maddie was my childhood chum, best friends forever. From children to adults, we shared our funniest moments, our darkest secrets, the angst of aging mothers, and stories about men. Enter Jack.
The Barbara Brennan School of Healing, Class of 1999, spoke these words - out loud and to each other - during our final, sacred ceremony. It was the evening before graduation, and we came together in joy and remembrance and deep gratitude for the journey we had completed and the one we were just beginning. These lovely words penetrated and awakened my very soul that day, and whenever I read or recall them I feel their incredible sweetness. To me they speak of longing.
“This little light of mine,
"What is the Meaning of Life?"
I remember a day in high school. when my teacher asked the proverbial question.
The teacher was hoping to stimulate thought and debate. After 45 minutes of discussions and disagreements we were no closer to the truth.
In April we celebrated Earth Day, an occasion that generates renewed focus on the great need to be mindful and loving stewards of this planet that sustains all life. Much of the focus translates into myriad initiatives to clean up our polluted environment, and those initiatives are noble, worthy and essential. There are countless programs and activities that need our attention and support, and we are called to step up and provide them.
Shamanism, where does it come from? What does it mean, and is it effective? All questions roused by the appearance this ancient form of healing is making in western culture. Archaeological evidence estimates shamanism to be about 30,000 years old or more.
The initial stage is falling in love and idealized romance in which we project onto our beloved our own images of hoped for perfection; in order to feel whole and complete with our significant other. As this begins to wear thin and we recognize the other as human, neither the Goddess nor Prince Charming, we will often attempt to ‘seduce’ the other into living the fantasy. When they (and I) continue to fall short, remaining a flawed human, the anger stage of relationship will often arise
For most of us, judging ourselves and others is so ingrained in our constitution that we are not even aware that we do it. It’s just a way of life.
We gossip about other people. We assign value to individuals before we even speak to them, determining if they are worthy of our time. We make assumptions about people by virtue of their skin color or the work that they do. We complain about our coworkers, colleagues, relatives, lovers and even friends! We are critical of the way people do things, what they think, how they talk, who they hang out with and what decisions they make in their lives.
One of the truly great blessings of adulthood is that Valentine’s Day is no longer a thinly veiled popularity contest, a day when everyone drops cheap cards and candy hearts for their intended into a big box, and then waits with bated breath to see how many of those hopeful offerings have their name on them. I can remember glancing furtively around me every Valentine’s Day during my elementary school years as the cards were handed out, hoping upon hope that I didn’t have the smallest pile.
Darkness falls early now. With each passing day I find myself surprised anew at how quickly the sunlight fades this time of year. I never seem to get used to it, even after decades of repeated exposure to the changing seasons! I long for light even as my body instinctively welcomes the darkness, wanting nothing more than to slow down and rest. It seems, at first glance, to be an uncomfortable opposition of forces, this longing for light and darkness at the same time.