Rising Above the Struggle

Admittedly, I’ve been struggling lately. Not a horrible heaving, treading water and having difficulty keeping afloat kind of struggle, thank goodness. But, more like a tug and pull here and there and some blocks in moving forward kind of struggle. Our general view on these struggles tends to be a nonchalant, “this sucks,” and a little negative mental chatter towards ourselves and the situation we may find ourselves in.

When these little bumps on our road come along and we find ourselves stalled or slightly rattled, the most important thing we can do is to see the value in those experiences. When I was younger and was experiencing a lot of the “difficulty staying afloat” kind of struggles, I turned to the practice of mindfulness to help me. It got me to a higher place so that I could accept my present situation as oftentimes the way to “fix” the issues were not obvious nor easy. What I found in that process was that not only was I better able to cope with very challenging situations (I’m talking physical, mental and emotional crises), but insight poured into me as to why I was going through such experiences. It opened a door to growth and learning.

The thing is, saying, “this sucks” to any trial small or big, not only distorts the reality of the situation with no particularly positive aim, but it also closes a very precious door to gaining valuable insight as to what your soul needs to learn at this time. The same goes for saying things like, “because I’m not able to do this, it must mean that I’m just not capable or talented enough to do so,” or, “I hate how I feel,” and  so on. There are reasons we experience things in life that are not what we’d consider ideal. If we were quick to label such experiences as things that suck, we’d be unnecessarily casting a negative light (at least to some degree) on some of the greatest catalysts for our growth to a better and more aware life.

What is mindfulness? In my own words it’s simply coming into the moment with full awareness and acceptance. Things are as they are. Yes, things can change, that is one of the constants in life that change is the only constant. But, in the moment, this is your reality. It’s important to look deeply into it to see it from a more objective point of view, knowing that you can grow from the experience and knowing that it will eventually change.

This isn’t about artificially imposing a positive outlook on life. It’s about being honest with yourself and looking deeply within. It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, that you’re suffering and that life is not easy for you at a given moment. But, is it helpful to colour that experience with language that isn’t helping you see the reasons why you’re experiencing something and that isn’t helping you accept your present situation? I don’t think so. We shift out of difficulties (even if they may return to us from time to time) by taking a route that empowers us to see that there is value in our struggle. Struggle makes us stronger, not weaker. Much like lifting weights helps us to build muscle, struggle in our lives helps us to build our spirit and our inner strength.

There is a very real reason we have to be careful with what we say and think, even those things we say lightly or don’t really mean. When I say to myself: “Well I can’t do this, I guess I’m just not good enough or talented enough to pull it off,” the subconscious registers: “Not good enough, not talented enough and I can’t do this.” The subconscious mind is very suggestible and very vulnerable to whatever you feed it, whether you are joking and saying things lightly or if you really mean the words and thoughts. And, when your subconscious is being fed the wrong diet so to speak, that can have repercussions. It’s these subtle, repeated messages that accumulated over time can make you truly believe that some aspect of your life sucks or that you are incapable or that you are doomed and so on.This is why when we aren’t feeling great about something, we must remind ourselves to step into mindfulness and pay attention to those thoughts and make a conscious effort to shift them by using more empowering language and by being objective about our situation. We must be strict with ourselves or else… Take a look at this excerpt from one of my favourite books, The Little Prince:

the little prince

This is what’s going on when we plant these not so positive seeds into our subconscious… we go around in a circle. E.g. Why so glum? I’m a failing and I can’t do it, this sucks. Why can’t you do it? Because I’m not [fill in whatever it is that you feel you lack be it time, health, talent, etc.] therefore I can’t do it and so this sucks. Seriously now, was there even an opening to shift this I can’t do it-I suck cycle? Why not try instead: I’m struggling through this. Why are you struggling? Because [insert mindfulness here which may enlighten you as to what is truly going on in your life and what needs to be done to shift out of this place].

I think even if we’re not in a place where we need to turn to mindfulness to live through a situation, it’s still a very valuable tool and way of life that can help us through any situation. We should consider the awareness that we’ve received a gentle nudge, rather than a forceful strike, a blessing and take heed. When things in life aren’t running smoothly, these are merely signs of it being time to go within and do the work. I’m not implying in any way that the challenging things in your life were cultivated by a wrong outlook or approach to life. This may be the case in some circumstances. But, when we truly step into a higher perspective we may see that our struggle is simply the soul’s yearning to really catalyze its growth and learning.

So, sure, I’m struggling a bit right now. But, it doesn’t suck and it doesn’t mean that I’m not capable or valuable. Not that any of you would necessarily place those judgments upon me or anyone else… but how quick are we to do it to ourselves on a daily basis? It means that I have been given a small signal that it’s time to go within and remove the barriers that aren’t allowing the most magnificent version of myself to shine out. And, we can all do this.

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Virtually Create Your Real World

Ok, so I’ve recently been thinking about creating virtual vision boards.  I’ve had some success with the traditional, tangible, cut and paste collage creations in the past to help manifest what I wanted into my life.   But, now I’d love to create one with exactly what I’d like to bring into my world.

The problem is that while magazines often have general words and pictures, they don’t tend to have exactly what we’d like to manifest.  I have very specific ideas about what I’d like to bring into my life, and finding these in magazines has been a challenge.  It also doesn’t seem reasonable for me to purchase specialty magazines to cut up some pictures.  And, my guess is that I’m not the only individual on the planet who has more than general desires.

Why not just print off some pictures from the internet?  We could do that, but why waste the paper?   I mean, as we’re becoming more and more conscious beings, does it really make sense to print pictures off the internet to attract more stuff into our lives? Admittedly, vision boards are not just about manifesting material wealth into our lives, and also include attracting changes in lifestyle, emotions, sense of well being, health, and so on.  But, the point still stands that the waste of paper is not an ideal scenario.

So, I’m sure it’s all been said and done before, but I’ve thought about the possibilities with virtual vision boards.  My mind went to Pinterest and the microblogging platform Tumblr and other visually based internet social platforms.  And, in the midst of my thinking… it just happened.  My parents recently came to visit me and before they came, for whatever reason I felt an attraction to yellow tulips and made the background image of my laptop an image of yellow tulips.  And, bingo, on the last day of their visit, I found yellow tulips in my apartment.  Isn’t that cool? Yes, vision boards can work!

I’m going to call this a little virtual vision board success.  I know it isn’t a vision board per se, but I have real, tangible, yellow tulips on my dining table that I did not purchase nor ask for, but simply had a picture of up on my computer and I suppose I was energetically aligned to receive them.  (Hmm, in retrospect I’m thinking I should have made the wallpaper on my laptop a picture of cut tulips in a large vase… as it’s clear that a large enough vase for the tulips failed to manifest!)

I know some people look at vision boards and this idea that we can potentially manifest what we would like through pictures with a degree of skepticism.  This is particularly evident in those that have tried making them and did not seem to get any results.  A few hints as to why they may not have worked:

1) What you think you want is not in alignment with your soul’s purpose.  Things that aren’t in alignment with your higher purpose, will not be in energetic alignment for you to attract them.  And, if you’re thinking that you’ve attracted a lot of negative or unpleasant things into your life and can’t understand how that can possibly be related to your higher purpose, consider that life is a school and we are here to grow.  Sometimes this may entail undergoing some unpleasant experiences to push us beyond our current boundaries.

 2)  You’ve got some blocks that inhibit your ability to attract and manifest what it is that you’ve put on your board.  This is one of the most common issues.  Energetic blocks affect people on so many levels.   And, when it comes to vision boards, it’s all about energy.  This isn’t superstition or magic, it’s energy (albeit, it does feel kind of magical!).  When you put up a picture of what you’d like to manifest, you are programming your subconscious and thus your energetic field to attract it to you.  If you’ve got a blockage at a subconscious level, then chances are that the pathway to attract certain things into your life won’t flow as well and you may not be able to manifest what you’ve put on your vision board.

3) It could be on its way in a form and way that you aren’t expecting. To be honest, they almost always come in slightly different packages and come to us in unexpected ways, at unexpected times- keep that in mind!

So, if you’re interested to explore the possibilities with virtual vision boards, I encourage you to do so, especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer.  One of the keys to vision boards is that your subconscious tunes into the images, so if you aren’t on the computer much, then this might not work well for you.

Also remember, vision boards in whatever form they take are not just little, fun art projects.  They are so much more, which is why it is important to do the work beforehand to discover your soul’s desires by going within and getting in touch with the deepest parts of yourself and then setting your intentions.

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Instant Happiness is a Click Away

Want to change your life and experience happiness on cue? I hope you’re not actually thinking about this question!  Don’t we all want to raise the happiness vibration of the planet?  Or at least of ourselves…?

Your best bet is to cue your subconscious to happiness.  There are a whole lot of ways you can do this.  Here’s how (be sure to watch the video below, it offers a stellar technique to do this):

  1. You can write positive affirmations and stick them all over your place, your car and your cubicle and well you know, everywhere basically.
  2. Or, you can say these same positive affirmations in the mirror with all the positive emotion you can muster (in an upcoming blog post I will teach you the dos and and don’ts on how to create these properly so that your subconscious will actually respond and explain why many affirmations fail).
  3.  Or, if you really want to bring yourself to the happy place, you might want to make use of being in a very suggestible state and suggest your way there.  By that, I mean you could self hypnotize, though that takes a bit of practice and a bit of know how (I highly recommend going to a workshop to learn how to do this.  It’s well worth it and is a tool that can last a lifetime).
  4. Or, you can do what this guy suggests:
YouTube Preview Image

By using a bodily cue, you are associating your subconscious mind to the emotions you’ve programmed to respond to that cue.  This is called anchoring. Which in this case, our Aussie friend suggests snapping (or as he calls it clicking) the fingers as the cue to elicit happiness, joy, laughter, and all that good stuff!  He is absolutely right in recommending to do this practice first thing in the morning, because you are so suggestible upon awakening that there is no better time to access and program the subconscious (well, actually, as you’re falling asleep is equally as good, though doing this in the morning sets you up for a nice day).   And, there you have it!  Try it (come on… it’s just 5 minutes per day).  Do it for at least 21 consecutive days to really cement it as a habit and you will see, you will be able to experience happiness on cue!  Watch the whole 5 minutes of the video, even if you think you get the point, there’s a reason why he’s being repetitive 😉


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