What Can a Grasshopper Teach You About Life?


Moving through a milestone birthday sparks introspection, analysis and hopefully, forgiveness of yourself and others. The stories you created about past events and the people involved shaped your idea of self. These are the stories through which you filter reality.

When you step back and look at these shaping stories from a different perspective, you suddenly realize that they are no longer true. You have grown past the limiting stories from your childhood or young adulthood, and you didn’t even realize it!

That is the wonder of a milestone birthday. You assess the past to curate the present to create a different future.

What About the Grasshopper?

tobias-knauer-739430-unsplashYou may be wondering when I am going to explain the title of this article. Stay with me and it will become crystal clear.

One way I continue to experience the growth of my self is to read inspirational stories, books or poems in the morning. A poem by Mary Oliver that landed in my inbox this morning is what prompted me to write this post:Grasshopper

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

What a great question to ask at any age, but especially when moving through a milestone birthday!  My answer: to stay awake and aware of the wonder and majesty of everything around me, to allow God’s love to flow through me into the world, and to grab hold of inspired action and see where it takes me.

What’s your answer to that question??? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

Time Travel


Time has always fascinated me. Although time seems to be real and can be measured, why do we experience it differently?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater watching a movie. You are totally immersed in the drama playing on the big screen. You are entranced, oblivious to anything that is going on around you.

When your friend nudges you to let you know that she is going to the bathroom, it takes you a minute to connect with what she is saying. You don’t even notice when she returns!

Afterward, you can’t stop talking about the movie. The action, the tension, the action. Your friend can’t believe that you loved it that much. She was totally bored, tired of the noise and couldn’t wait to leave.

You each experienced the same event in completely different ways. And those differences affected how time felt as you moved through your experience.

For you,  time was suspended because you experienced the movie as if you were part of it. For your friend, time was a snail, slowing dragging its way across hot concrete, leaving a slimy trail of inevitability.

You Can Control Time

Time begins and ends with you. As your thoughts and moods shift and change, time is stretched or shortened to match your internal state. It’s almost as if time is Saran Wrap, encasing you as you move through the moments of your life.

Try this experiment. Before you leave for your next appointment, errand or delivery, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you feel your body calm, tell yourself that “I have all the time in the world.” Repeat this phrase several times and then go on about your day. When you feel anxious about not having enough time, use the phrase while taking deep breaths. Then notice if your experience of time changes.

Time is Your Friend or Your Enemy

As you begin to see that it is your decision about how you are going to experience time that molds it, you can get more creative. Deciding that time is your friend and it supports you will produce a much different experience than deciding that time is your enemy and is out to destroy you.

It always come back to you. And your choice.

old people and love

Experiment with these concepts and become an observer of your experiences. When you begin to see this process, you can change those steps that no longer support you.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Mindful Focus – For Students in School and Students of Life


Mindful FocusMeditation

It’s the time of year when the specter of final exams is close enough to create a cloud of visceral fear that trails behind students. Test anxiety can grip the most dedicated scholar and ruin the end result of their month-long efforts.

When I was studying for the bar exam, I hit a wall of fear. I graduated from law school with respectable grades, had a great job at the firm I wanted and was ready to start my career. I had climbed the mountain and was ready to begin my next adventure.

But one thing stood in my way.

The Bar Exam. Just typing those words still causes my heart to race a tiny bit. It is a cruel joke on aspiring lawyers. Endure 3 years of law school, and you’re still not done. Graduate and receive your J.D. degree.

And you’re still not a lawyer.

The Bar Exam is the final hurdle. The last summit to conquer before you can practice law. You have a bit over two months to study (at least in my state), and you don’t know if you passed until four months later. You have already started your legal career, and your future career depends on passing. The first time.

To say that law graduates studying for the bar are under a bit of pressure is such an understatement I won’t even try to come up with an appropriate analogy.

Taking exams and staying calm under stress is an art and a science. When I was studying for the bar exam, I didn’t know how to stay centered, mindful and focused. I somehow managed to pass (Thank God).

I wish I knew then what I know now.

How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help You Focus

According to Jon Kabat-Zin, generally considered to be the “father” of mindfulness in the West,

Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as nonreactively, as non-judgmentally and open heartedly as possible.

When you practice being in the moment, then the next, and the next, your experience of the moment is at its peak. The past no longer exists, and the future has not yet arrived. All that is important is the here and now, which you experience without judgment.

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live? Research studies have proven the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of mindfulness. Peace, calm, and compassion as just a few of the many ways that practicing mindfulness can change your life.

As a student, being mindful while you study can help you understand and remember the information. Setting the intention of focus, awareness, and memory before you study is the key. And the best way to do that is to listen to a guided meditation.

Meditation is one way to achieve mindfulness. By slowing down and watching your breath, you focus your attention on what is happening at this moment. Stress and anxiety cannot exist in this space. Your mind is clear, and when the meditation is over, that clarity will help you focus on the information you are learning.

It’s using your mind to improve your mind.

The Mindful Focus Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Your back should be straight but loose. This meditation is less than 25 minutes, so give yourself about 30 minutes for the entire process. No interruptions (cell phones on mute, computer on mute) and no distractions.

Listen to this meditation in the morning as soon as you wake up. It will help you stay focused in class or when you are studying. If you listen again during the day or at night, it will ease anxiety and increase confidence in your ability to understand, remember and retain the information.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Fake News


Dear Fake Forgiveness Human:

Fake news has become quite the topic of conversation. It has entered the conversation and tends to stir up strong and passionate feelings.

Did you know that there is also “fake forgiveness”? It’s been around a lot longer than fake news and is just as destructive.

Fake forgiveness is all about you – it circles back on itself. It never releases the hurt or upset; it only ties it up with a big bow so you can pull it out and show your friends.

Real forgiveness is also about you, but it springs from a yearning to learn from the experience, grow and expand into something bigger. It comes from a heartfelt desire to heal as quickly as possible.

Take a moment and look at this chart that shows the differences between fake forgiveness and real forgiveness.

33-Fake vs Real Forgiveness

Consider the times in your life where you thought you forgave the other person, but the hurt and resentment were still there. Can you see now that you were not really forgiving? Tomorrow I will share the secrets that dogs learn at the foot of their mothers.

Tail wagging furiously,

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P.S. Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Call Me Forgiveness


Dear Has-To-Be-Right Human:

Have you ever thought about the cost you incur when you insist that your position or story is the right one, without any regard to the pain it may cause someone else?

No, I didn’t think so. Otherwise, why would you insist that you are right, even when it’s hurting the other person?

Because you have made being right more important than seeing with love.

The need to be right is what prevents you from forgiving in the moment. Dogs do this instinctively; humans…not so much.

Over my many lifetimes, I have collected a list of questions that will help you make a different choice. When you are in an argument or situation, and you know that you are pushing the “have-to-be-right” envelope, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I feeling right now? It is love or fear?
  • If I am feeling fear (or any of its cousins, anger, sarcasm, arrogance, etc.), why am I afraid?
  • What if I chose to love in this situation instead?

Your natural state is love. You knew this as a baby. Babies don’t hold grudges or fail to fall back in love once their immediate needs are met. Babies don’t have a need to be right (dogs don’t either). Then why do most adult humans forget how to fall back in love?

Because of their need to be right. It’s ego-based and separates you from everyone. Think about it – then use the questions to drop back in love.

Your dog can show you how.

In these days leading up to your big Heart day, I asked some friends of mine to help me remind you that you came from love, you are love, and you are seen.

Call me_Forgiveness._

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Hang in there,

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P.S. Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.


Dear Amazing Human:

We are now on Day 7 of this 14 Days of Doggie Love – half-way through. Of course, if you have made it this far, you must either have a close relationship with your dog or remember a time when that was true.

Allow me to share from my book, Drop the Leash:

Dogs live in the space of gratitude and love. It’s who we are. Humans can also live in the same space, but you complicate your life by telling stories about your experience, instead of being the experience. It is precisely that ability to assign meaning to events, people and relationships that humans have to forgive before they can live in gratitude and love.

When you forgive your past, you see your present moment more clearly.

Dogs live in a cycle of love and don’t need to forgive. Humans forget to live inside this cycle. Instead, they think, speak and act from their egos, not their hearts. Ego-speak also creates separation. Love-speak always creates unity.

The love cycle looks like this. Stay in love, and it will return to you multiplied.  When you forget, go spend time with your dog 😊.

In these days leading up to your big Heart day, I asked some friends of mine to help me remind you that you came from love, you are love, and you are seen.

I am living in the love cycle.

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Love you lots,

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P.S.  Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Fact v. Interpretation – Does it Matter?


little-girl-759x675What was your first thought when you saw this photo? Did you feel a tug on your heart because the girl seems sad or lonely? Did the scene remind you of something in your childhood? Or did you decide that the girl is expecting someone to arrive and she is patiently waiting?

Whatever your first thought, the fact remains that this is merely a photograph of a young girl staring out a window. Nothing more, nothing less.

In the absence of data, we create meaning.  – Brene Brown

In the absence of data, our minds are wired to jump in and create a story about what is in front of us. It’s the way we protect ourselves, by injecting meaning into data that would otherwise be without context.

The meaning we attach to data is heavily influenced by our past, our beliefs and our current emotional state. These layers of perspective can ebb and flow from moment to moment, causing confusion and disrupting our focus and our relationships.

We interpret neutral facts to fit our worldview.

Has the following ever happened to you?

One morning, when I opened my work emails, I felt a surge of anger as I started reading a message from a colleague. I was in charge of an important project, and she was offering her unsolicited advice while copying my boss. We had been at odds before since we were on the same level in the company and we were both ambitious and competitive.

To say that I was not happy is an understatement.

Instead of taking a moment to calm myself and allow the strong emotion to pass through me (studies show that it takes up to 90 seconds for an emotion to run its course), I stormed down the hall to her office. I was ready for a confrontation and adrenaline was pumping through my body. My breathing was shallow, my muscles were tense, and my brain was in fight mode.

Bring it on sister!

Fortunately for me, I was stopped by another colleague who was a bit older and who knew me well enough to see the signs of an impending confrontation. He pulled me into his office and made me sit down. Without saying a word, he sat behind his desk and took several deep breaths.

I was not about to lose my mojo. I got up to leave, but he motioned for me to sit. As I looked at him, I found myself mimicking his breathing and felt the charge leave my body. After several seconds, he raised an eyebrow and invited me to share what was going on.

I learned a lot that day about myself and the dangers of interpretation. I avoided a harmful confrontation that would have had potentially drastic consequences on my career. I also discovered that just because I felt something strongly does not mean that the feeling was accurate. Interrupting the flow of emotions long enough to calmly evaluate the situation saved me from an embarrassing incident.

There is always thought before the emotion. Emotions do not rise by themselves. They rise because a thought, belief or interpretation has triggered the emotion.

Let’s put all of this together.

We know that in the absence of data, we create our own meaning, based on our worldview (remember the story you created about the little girl in the photograph?). We also know that there is always thought before emotion.

So what happens when we misinterpret the situation, motive or event and then act on the resulting feeling? It never ends well. The other person does not share our worldview and probably will not understand the depth of emotion we display. Animosity, mistrust, and conflict are possible results.

Unless we learn to recognize when we have entered the zone of emotional reaction, which causes your body to tense and our brain to scream, “I can’t take this anymore!” Become aware of your own sequence, interrupt it with mindfulness techniques and then reassess the situation before acting.

To learn more about these techniques that you can use immediately, please schedule a 15 minute appointment with me: Click HERE. I offer personalized meditations and coaching, as well as in-person training (in the Dallas/Fort Worth area).

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!