What’s in your Closet? a.k.a. Beliefs Around Money, Habits, and Dreams

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I have been loving the activity on my last post about Contemplative Writing! Funny thing is… I got distracted this morning as I was about to write my 750 Words i.e. my brain dump for the day. I reached over to grab a book to raise my laptop a little higher and I began reading it instead. It was a book my Mom gave me some time ago called Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I love “dropping into it” and re-reading some of the simple and logical ways that he explains things about money, debt, savings and living. He really makes things clear and stirs the excitement about the topic of money. Another book about money that I have enjoyed reading this past year is called The Money Keys by Karen Russo. She uses spiritual principles and tools that unlock some of the mysteries around money, beliefs and freedom. One of the things she teaches is that we need to be aware of the old beliefs that may be holding us back from obtaining our goals, even if that goal is to get out of debt and have a savings account. I took her workshop and would advise anyone to at least visit her website at www.themoneykeys.com. She offers a Money Keys Starter Kit. Both Karen’s and Dave’s books contain essential, sound instructions for financial healing and wholeness.

My distraction was not really a distraction, but the leading of my higher Self to write and share about this topic. Money doesn’t get talked about enough in this light. Our thinking around it, our beliefs about it, and the swirling feelings that get stirred need to be looked at, explored, and taken out of the closet to allow healing to occur. Anything is possible once we start taking steps towards our goals and everything is possible when we take action. Sometimes, I take a look back to where I was 12 years ago and I pause to give thanks for the many, many things that happened. I was in a lot of debt, working two jobs, a relationship was ending and I chose to claim bankruptcy. I was pretty down on myself during that period of my life. I realized that was the time to start making some changes. These changes took place in all areas of my life, not just one or two. I began with buying only what I could pay for at the time I bought it. I created a budget and consulted it often. I began reading books that helped me with my beliefs about life, about myself and provided inspiration to take new actions. I began going to the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa where I was able to surround myself with loving people who accepted me just the way I was and just the way I wasn’t. I heard the message that I can change my life by simply choosing to change my mind. I started taking workshops and classes at the Center and through them I met people who became friends and part of my support system. Then, 7 years later, I became a Licensed Prayer Practitioner! How cool is that?

It is never too late to start a new path. It is never too late to reset one’s goals and dreams! Life is full and the journey is a fabulous one! The Universe conspires on our behalf every day to do what we believe can happen. I am so grateful that I learned that I could stay out of debt, change my habits, and live a more fulfilled and abundant life. I love sharing this story and I am available to talk with anyone who would like support in manifesting desired dreams.

The Closet is Open,

Sue

Why Taking out the Trash Clears Your Mind – The Art of Contemplative Writing

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When I was young, one of the chores I did daily was to take the house trash out to the garbage can behind the garage. Mom would change out the trash liner in the house and toss the bag just outside the back door before I came home. I would walk into the back yard after school and It was always there, waiting for me each day. I could rely on it. So when I arrived, I would grab the bag and throw it in the garbage can. Sometimes, as a child, I would be so excited to be home that I would not see the garbage. I would knock on the door and let mom know I was home. She would open the door and remind me to toss the trash before I did anything else. Through this, I learned that I should not wait to be reminded, but to do the task first and thus, the entry into our home would be clear.

I have been a writer of my thoughts for a long, long time. I would write in journals and notebooks. I wrote stories, poems and songs. I would go to the grocery store with my mom, and then later on to the office supply store, and get excited about new school supplies, pens and paper. I would write notes and letters to friends about anything on my mind. In high school, I wrote in the school’s creative writing booklet that was published annually. What I didn’t know then, but became aware of later, was that my writing provided insights to my feelings, my thoughts, beliefs and it became my confidant as somewhere I could go to get my thoughts out. It was like private therapy where my higher Self became my guide.

The simple act of picking up a pen and paper, or typing out my words, allows the flow of thought to pour from my mind without distraction. Some prefer to only use pen and paper as it slows down their thoughts. I have done it both ways and I enjoy both. Yet, I now type my words on my laptop each morning and I use a site that keeps me accountable. It is www.750words.com. It is free for the first 30 days and is completely private. I can review my trends of thoughts and emotions. After 30 days, there is a fee of $5 a month to continue. No one will lose any of their entries if they choose not to continue. Everything is still there for us when we log in with our user name and password. I continue to use this site as it does keep me responsible and they are doing good work by helping thousands through the act of daily writing.

Julia Cameron, the author of the Artist’s Way, also teaches about writing every day through what she calls “Morning Pages.” http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ She also is a strong proponent of writing with pen and paper and to do the writing in the morning. Both, Julia and 750Words, teach that we are not to over think what we are writing nor are we to pay attention to spelling or punctuation. That, in itself, is a lesson in releasing control!!! Yet, if we concentrate on making it perfect, we stop the flow of what is really important. The goal is to let our thoughts come out. Our hearts will tell us what to write about. Many times, I sit down to start my writing with an idea and the topic will shift just by the act of beginning.

Sometimes what I write is absolute junk (or what I call “Taking out the Trash”) or it can be a clarifying stream of conscious dialog with myself that gives me insight to something I have been challenged with during the last few days. If you don’t know what to write, just begin with that… “I don’t know what to write today. Sitting here makes me feel….” and you will be on your way. The length of our writing doesn’t have to be long. Julia says to write 3 journal pages while the other site I shared mentions 750 words. I think the point is to write just long enough so that there is a shift.

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As you can see from the title, I call this process “Taking out the Trash.” This is one of the benefits of contemplative writing. I think of it as a brain dump. Anything that is floating aimlessly in my mind becomes purged. And, as I continue putting words to paper, the path begins to clear and allows other thoughts to become dislodged and evaluated and considered for examination. These are the good ones! These may be the thoughts and beliefs I have not been aware about, the ones that have been running the show behind the more benign, everyday activities. This is can be our “Ah-Ha” moment where our questions begin to be answered and awareness begins to grow regarding a concern or a situation or maybe we gain some direction we have needed. Clearing the path is very important as our mind does get full.

So I encourage the practice of contemplative writing. Try it a few times a week and watch what it does. You may find that you become eager and protective of that time between you and your confidant… your higher Self.

Clearing the mind,

Sue

Hard Time

The conversations our mind entertains can seem so real and cause emotional reactions within the body just as if what you are thinking really did happen. Your body and mind go through the pain and punishing effects from these beliefs and releasing them or going through the healing process takes just as much work if not more than if it really did happen.

I remember an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine which Chief Miles O’Brien was accused of espionage on the planet of Argrathi. Yet on this planet, they don’t have an elaborate prison system. Instead, they sentence their criminals by placing cycles (or years) of memories in their minds as if they did spend hard time in prison. The memories are geared specifically to the personality of the accused; to have the greatest effect or punishment. Undergoing the process of implanting the memories of prison only took a few hours. But upon waking, the accused is just as affected and tormented because the thoughts and memories they now have seem so real.

In this episode called Hard Time, Chief O’Brien was sentenced to 20 cycles of prison memories. They include tortures, beating, hunger, imaginations, and conditions of depravation and disease. And in just a few hours of “real time” O’Brien is returned to DS9 to go back to his family, to his job and all his friends with the experiences of being separated from them for 20 years. They didn’t lose 20 years, but he did due to the reprogramming of his consciousness.

http://www.startrek.com/watch_episode/uAAbg0N49q7o

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Miles O’Brien tries to fit back in, but the residual effects of what he believes to have happened to him, that which he believes to be true, pushes those that love him the most away and he nearly hits is young daughter out of rage. Miles refuses help and runs into the cargo bay on DS9, thrashing everything in his way only to stumble upon a weapons locker. He remembers the code, opens the locker and takes a phaser gun into his hand and changes the setting to maximum.  Dr. Bashir finds O’Brien and talks him through the fact that he is a good man for he didn’t hit his daughter and the fact that he does feel guilt is a sign that he is not hardened. The doctor works with O’Brien, gets him the help he needs to be on the road to recovery and healing.

After recognizing the need for help and accepting it, Chief O’Brien walks back to his quarters and is greeted by his daughter saying to him with excitement, “Daddy’s Home, Daddy’s Home” and Miles says yes… “Daddy is home.”

There are more details in this story than I have shared. It is a very well done and shows how our thoughts, even though they are not real, can seem so real that they disrupt our life in the present moment. Sometimes we need help to navigate through all of our thoughts and beliefs. O’Brien was told, “The things you think you experienced, what you think you remembered never happened. It wasn’t real.” Miles replied, “Well they’re real to me.” And because of the belief he had, that what he had in his mind was real, he started projecting feelings onto those he loved, as if they were a continuation of what occurred in prison.

What kind of “Hard Time” are you putting yourself through by holding onto old beliefs and thoughts? Holding on to them and believing something is true about you when it is not is just as damaging as if they were actually real. Someone may have said something harsh to you, or they allowed hurt to occur in your past, or just were inconsiderate and you have allowed it to take ahold of your self-esteem into a downward spiral of anger, rage and self-punishing activities.  We are to question what we think and the stories we have implanted in our minds – whether they be fairy tale stories or more like doomsday dramas. We come up with conclusions in our minds so quickly because we need to have answers to what is unknown. “Why isn’t so-in-so responding to me?” or “How come my manager hasn’t replied to my emails?” or how about, “Why doesn’t my boyfriend seem more excited to see me?” And we begin to imagine and from those imaginations we make assumptions and those assumptions, if held onto, become our “artificial reality” and that which never really occurred has now become our prison.

Proverbs 23:7 states it so well – “As a man thinketh so is he”. Henry Ford wisely said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” And Byron Katie, the creator of The Work, says “When I believe my thoughts, I am sleep. I have traded the state of grace for a dream.” She also teaches us to notice and examine our thoughts and asks us “What would you be or how would you feel if you no longer believed the thought you are having?” She also teaches in The Work to ask the question “Is it true?” One of my favorite Byron Katie quotes is, “An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering.”

So just like the thoughts of Chief Miles O’Brien, on the science fiction TV show Star Trek Deep Space Nine, we too can move through what we thought was true about ourselves and begin to heal the damaging affects by excepting help, by allowing others to remind us of our true nature, to remind us what we are here on this planet to do, stopping the inner torment and come home to peace.

Namaste

~ Sue

Journey to Freedom

Ever wonder why it takes longer to grasp a concept or learn a lesson? Have you ever been frustrated that you haven’t “gotten it” and keep struggling with the same old issue over and over; feeling stuck in an old story instead of moving forward in life? This is because each person has their own journey to freedom and each of us must discover what we need to do or learn in order to move out of undesirable cycles and into our natural greatness. It is in the conscious navigation of our own journey that we learn, grow and break the molds that have kept us from attaining our highest good. I say “break the molds” because of the universal law of reciprocity. Our thoughts and beliefs create the mold for Life to fill it with the same because for every visible form there is an invisible counterpart. It is when we become aware of this law, also known as the law of cause and effect, that we become responsible for our journey. If we blame others or circumstances outside of ourselves for holding us back, we will continue that same experience. But if we see that no one else is to blame or responsible except ourselves, then we gain the freedom we need to get out of our stuckness.

Sometimes our beliefs, known and unknown, can keep us stuck and becoming aware of a belief that is no longer true opens the door of awareness and change. Spiritual counseling provides a space for beliefs (past or current) to be reviewed and released if they no longer serve the person. Spiritual counseling provides a safe and confidential place for sharing concerns and issues so the cycle of stuckness can be dissolved and freedom can begin. If this is something you would like to experience, click on the “About Spiritual Counseling” tab to make an appointment.

Believing in Your Freedom,

Sue