(Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby, Part Four)

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Still, about three weeks into parenthood, it finally dawned on me: This problem wasn’t one to wait out. It wasn’t going to go away. It wasn’t going to fix itself. I’d have to find a way to get rid of it. So, I did what any other self-respecting self-help junkie would do: I started collecting advice.
I searched the Internet, of course, as well as the library. This was a lot harder than it sounds. Much of the advice online was generic—even bland. And the books I found didn’t seem to address parenting. What I need, I decided, is real stories, real experiences. I need to call a few friends.
My first choice: calm, collected mother of four, Marianne.
Marianne was one of the happiest people I knew, and for good reason: She had the whole Zen thing figured out. While my habit was and is to analyze a problem from every angle, suffocating it with my prolonged attention, Mare knew how to just finesse things away. She knew how to let things be until they weren’t—until they either died of boredom or left.
“Is this normal?” I asked after briefly explaining the situation. “Is this just the way new dads are?” What I really wanted to ask, though, was more personal, more probing: What had Marianne’s own husband been like when their kids were born? I didn’t dare.
“I don’t know if it’s normal,” Marianne replied. “But is that really the question you should be asking? Or should you just ask if it’s something you can live with? If you’re okay with what he’s doing, or if you’re not?”
Sensible advice, I thought, taking a deep breath. Balanced, like Marianne herself.
It’s possible I asked the wrong person.
“Yeah, sure, I get it. There are no right answers. But what would you do if you were me? Tell me the truth.”
“Okay, Rachel. I get it. You want advice. All I can say is, think it over. Take a long walk. Pray about it a little. I know you’re not religious, but try anyway. Then get really quiet—as quiet as you’ve ever been—and ask yourself what the answer is. Does that sound like something you can do?”
“I guess.”
“Okay. And let me know what happens.”
Yeah, I thought as I hung up the phone. I definitely asked the wrong person. I don’t need philosophy. What I need is help. I know. I’ll call Gen instead.
“I need to fix this,” I whispered to Genevieve later that evening after I’d moved out of the office and away from Matthew. “I’m hormonal, and I’m miserable, when I should be the happiest I’ve ever been. This sucks. There must be something I can do.”
“I know. There should be,” said Gen. “There’s got to be. It’s almost impossible that nothing you can do will make a difference.”
“Exactly,” Rachel said. “You get it. My fellow control freak. So, let’s come up with some ideas.”
“Have you read any marriage books?”
“Of course I have.”
“Of course you have. What did they say?”
“Meh. The usual stuff.”
“Maybe you read the wrong ones.”
“Maybe.”
“So first, make a list of books that people highly recommend.”
“Yes.”
“Then branch out a bit. Read some spirituality books—you know, the ones I’m always begging you to borrow from me? And get some other relationship books, too—stuff on parenting and friendship. And psychology—happiness research, that kind of thing.”
“Woah. Hold on there. You lost me at parenting books. I’m not going to have time for all that reading.”
“So skim it. Do what you can. I’ll give you my notes, too. Keep a journal of everything you learn that might help.”
“Hmmm. All right. That does make sense. If nothing else, it’ll make me feel like I’m doing something.”
“No, it’ll work. The answers are out there somewhere. You’re not the first person to have these problems.”
“No, I’m not. But that doesn’t mean they’re solvable.”
“Rachel. Snap out of it. Matthew is great. He’s not perfect, but he’s … basically normal. It’s hard to see it when you’re mad, but trust me. He’s fixable. If anybody is fixable, he is.”
“So what you’re saying is I should try to change my partner? Is that supposed to be the worst relationship advice ever?”
“They only bad advice is the advice that doesn’t work. And if you never try, you’ll never know.”
“That is true.”
When Rachel hung up, she was still upset, and to that feeling she added skepticism. But she at least had some ideas for feeling better. She put Poppy in her swing, then started making dinner and considered both her friends’ advice.
I love Gen’s practicality, she thought. But Marianne’s advice is easier. I think a long walk is in order.
After a short dinner, she told Matt she’d be back in an hour. She put Poppy in the stroller and headed to a well-lit park. As she walked, she spoke out loud about her feelings, about her anger, about each and every perceived relationship problem. Then she did as Marianne instructed: She got very quiet, and imagined her higher self giving her advice. It took just a few minutes for a small miracle to occur, for Rachel to hear her inner voice for the first time.
It was just a sentence—just a handful of words—and she heard it only in her thoughts, silently. But it came with a knowing, with a rightness, with a force. And the words were definitely not her own. They were: “Choose to see Matthew as perfect.”
What the hell was that? That was Rachel’s first reaction. It was followed by, Where did it come from?
Was it an angel, like Marianne said? Or did I make it up myself? Naw. That’s the last thing I’d come up with. Denial? Can’t be good. Especially about my marriage.
My subconscious is smarter than that.
My husband is a lot of things. He’s intelligent. He’s fun. But he sure as shit isn’t perfect.
Rachel took a deep breath. Then another, and another. “It’s time to head back,” she said to Poppy.
On the way home, though, something strange happened. The advice changed shape in her mind. Rachel found herself remembering the early days of her relationship with Matthew, when things were simple, easy. Rare were the times when she questioned Matthew’s character or motives, even when she disagreed with his choice. When he didn’t bring her flowers on her birthday, for instance, he just wasn’t into romantic displays. When he lost his temper over a tricky repair job, he was just tired or hungry.
Choose to see Matthew as perfect, she repeated to herself. Yeah, there is some truth there. Matthew isn’t without flaws. But he’s who he is. He’s doing the best he can.
Like all of us, he’s learning. He’s trying. And when I remember that, our disagreements don’t feel quite so horrible.
When Rachel got home, she gave Matthew the baby and started getting ready for bed. As she did, she noticed something: she felt better. Lighter. Less angry, more hopeful that things would work out.
So this is what all those religious people feel, she thought, adjusting her blankets.
She felt a little transformed.
“Choose to see your partner as perfect.” It just might work. But can I actually do it?

Before Poppy was born, the answer would’ve been an easy yes. [everything logistically uncomplicated]
But six years into their relationship, they still chatted late into the night. They still truly liked each other. They were still best friends.
They were among the lucky ones—and they knew it.
Maybe that’s why the challenges the couple experienced during their first several years of parenthood were so difficult for them to face.
They were just so unexpected.

Part of the reason for this was the couple’s relative maturity: They met at twenty-six, had kids at thirty. Plus, they weren’t angry by nature; in the old “lovers versus fighters” split, neither could claim any affiliation with the latter.
If anything, in the first four years of their relationship, they didn’t disagree enough. Before Poppy was born, chore distribution wasn’t a problem; Matthew worked full-time and Rachel cleaned and cooked. Meals were always on time and sleep was logistically uncomplicated.
As they entered parenthood, their conflict resolution skills were notably underdeveloped.
Before Poppy, their relationship hadn’t been truly tested.
When disagreements did arise, ,… Matthew was the lighthearted type—even jovial—while Rachel was serious and driven. He preferred to get things done, check them off the list, while Rachel always made sure to dot and cross.
Matthew procrastinated (which drove Rachel crazy) and was more easily annoyed by little stuff like traffic. Rachel usually kept her head over the small stuff, but let the big stuff weigh on her mind and pull her down.

Besides, Matthew was nice. He held her when she cried, and respected her decisions, and when something was bothering her and she talked to him, he listened. And every evening when Matthew opened the front door, arriving home from work, Rachel was happy to see him.
Which is why one night during her pregnancy they had a conversation that went something like this:
“You know, they say having kids changes your relationship—that you start fighting more, getting angry,” Rachel said. “What do you think? Will that happen to us?”
They were lying in bed, Matthew on his back and Rachel on her side facing him. The light was off, and in order to see Matthew’s face better, Rachel readjusted her pillow.
“I don’t think it will,” Matthew said, staring at the ceiling.
“Really, Hon? That’s a nice thing to say.”
Matthew turned to face Rachel. “Well, what would we fight about?”
“I’m not sure,” Rachel said. “What is something that bothers you about me? They say that whatever it is, it’ll get worse.”
“Nothing comes to mind.”
“Really? You can’t think of even one thing?”
“Not really. Nothing important. Why? Can you?”
Rachel pulled her arm off of Matthew’s stomach and rolled onto her back. “No,” she said. “I can’t, either. But I do kinda wonder if we’ll remember this conversation later and laugh about how optimistic we were.”
“Maybe,” he said. And then he laughed.
Then their conversation shifted to more immediate concerns.
Incidentally, Rachel was right—they did laugh about the conversation later. Well, not laugh exactly. More like remark on with sarcasm.
The feeling of invincibility they shared was, of course, overconfident—maybe even just plain dumb. However, in the years to come, whenever Rachel recalled that moment she realized it was also pretty sweet. They believed in themselves, and in each other, that much.
Even belief, though, arguably the most powerful force in the Universe next to love and gravity, has its limitations.
It wasn’t enough to keep them from fighting.

Stay tuned for Part Four of Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Novel.

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So, I Admit It: My Kids Are Not Geniuses.

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Would a future particle physicist do any of these things?

  • Step directly in every single dirt pile I ever sweep up.
  • Bonk his head on the bathtub faucet twice in the same bath.
  • About three mornings per week, and several evenings, too, suddenly forget how to put on his shoes.
  • Sit on the couch with a bare bottom after pooping and before my checking his wiping job.
  • Scream in the baby’s ear while she’s napping.
  • Jump on my back and yell “piggy back ride!” without warning me beforehand.
  • Headbutt my closed fist.
  • Entirely forget how to say, “Can I have a turn, please?” instead of screaming for a toy. Every single time.
  • Bump my arm when I’m almost done with my drawing.
  • Fight over a pair of scissors.

And yet, I still hold out hope that my kids may become geniuses. That’s just what moms do, I guess.

I Just Wanted to Love My Mother (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Three)

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When I was in Junior High School, I had one of my first conscious experiences with what I now call the Divine, and predictably, it happened at a retreat. (Those places. They know what to do.) It was a Christian thing, one of those pray-all-day gatherings at a large conference campground featuring a cabin for every family and clean, hot showers.

Luxury, really. Luxury made to feel rustic.

We were there to hear God, so I shouldn’t’ve been surprised when I did. And yet, I most definitely was.

Prior to my moment of clarity, I’d been finding the experience rather . . . underwhelming. Lots of speeches and long, drawn-out meals with strangers. I distinctly remember participating in a friendly debate the evening of the meeting in question about the rapture. So far, it had been the highlight of the trip.

After dinner we gathered in the main conference room yet again, and about two hours into the service, it happened. I looked over at my mother and in the brief moment that followed I went directly from annoyed boredom to deep emotion–no transition.

It was her face. There was a look. It was sadness–real pain. Church has a way of helping our vulnerabilities rise to the surface–I guess that’s why we like it–and as I watched she started sobbing, then knelt down next to her chair. Immediately, my defenses collapsed; how could they not?

I really, really loved my mother.

I knelt down, too, and reached out for her. We held each other tightly for a long time. I said all the things I should’ve said so much more often: how much I loved her, how sorry I was for the times I’d hurt her. We cried.

Then the night ended, and it was over. And that’s when the interpretations began.

In the Christian circles we moved in at the time, it was popular to create tiers–levels of closeness to God. It was a game we played; after all, we were going to church multiple times a week. All that praying had to be getting us somewhere. For us, it wasn’t enough to say we felt a sudden realization of love; love is great, but anyone can feel that–even nonbelievers. No; what I experienced had to be, must be, religious in nature—something only Christians can experience. My mom even had a term for it, which she told me at breakfast the next morning. It was “the baptism of love.”

“Last night, you received the baptism of love,” she pronounced, but it didn’t make me feel special. There was a look in her eye that said, “You’re different now. I respect you more because you experienced this.”

I really didn’t like that look.

She went on. “This is the true salvation. It’s beyond the simple John 3:16 prayer. You were saved before. Now, you’ve been chosen.”

I nodded, understanding, but I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted her to forget it ever happened. I wanted to remember the experience my way: an innocent, loving moment without strings.

I just wanted to love my mother.

But I didn’t. I mean, I did–I did love my mother, and I trusted her opinion. I believed her when she told me I was meant to be “used by God,” and so, from that day on, I started my journey to discover what the hell that meant.

It was a very long journey.

I won’t go into the messy consequences of this self-aggrandizing belief. I’ll merely say that through the rest of my school-aged years, I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around. I had few friends and none that weren’t equally religious. And for good reason: I was a judgmental jerk.

And that’s the way it goes when we recall the experiences that shaped us, isn’t it? Nothing is as straightforward as we’d like. That night at the retreat I felt the most compassion I’d ever felt in my life. And the next day, it turned into pride.

The results of this spiritual experience weren’t all bad, of course. Most of them were pretty positive.

That summer on, through the end of high school, I tried as hard as I could to be a good person. I went to church twice a week. I devoted myself and my future (Christian writer? Missionary?) to the saving of souls. I learned about honesty, failings and forgiveness. Then there was my real talent, one perfectly suited to a spiritual type: when it came to self-improvement, I was relentless.

At the time, if pressed, I would’ve admitted that my faith sometimes made me a poor confidante. But I would’ve also said it made me a better person. Looking back, not much has changed; my brand of belief is different–I’m no longer a Christian–but I still think that spirituality is good.

Mostly.

“Spirituality is good.” It’s the longest-held and most fundamental tenet of my personal faith. But does it stand up to inquiry?

Before I delve into that central question, though, a bit of Byron Katie background seems appropriate.

Stay tuned for Part Four of My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning Everything I Believe.

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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #8: “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza

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Dear kids,

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Joe Dispenza discusses how your brain can be rewired in order to create a more positive life experience.

Yeah, we can rewire ourselves. We’re that good.

Admittedly, this isn’t the only book on the subject–not by a very long shot. But I included it on my list because it takes a look at neuroscientific research from a spiritual perspective.

My notes and highlights:

The author cities a study showing that when people use both emotion and conscious intention, they are able to change not just their brains, but their very DNA.

He also relates the story of his daughter, who manifested her dream trip to Italy exactly as she wanted it to be through visualization.

All this change doesn’t come easily, though. Emotions are nothing more than a particular pattern of activity in the brain. With exercise, these pathways become stronger. When the cells in these patterns aren’t fed as often as usual, they protest. They send out signals that they aren’t getting the “right” ligands—the proteins that fit them that allow them to create their particular thought/emotion. The hypothalamus signals the brain to think the very thought that feeds this group of cells.

The habit of an emotion can be broken, though. Visualization, prayer, meditation and conscious intending helps us “unmemorize” old patterns.

The author also notes that in Sanskrit, the word “meditate” means “to cultivate self,” and in the Tibetan language it means “to become familiar with.

To get the book, go to:

Love,
Mom

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #7: “The Wisdom of No Escape And the Path of Loving-Kindness” by Pema Chodron

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Dear kids,

So many great quotes in The Wisdom of No Escape And the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron. The whole book, practically, is just one big quotable quote. The essential message, though, is simple: suffering is part of life. Don’t fight it, or you’ll just make it worse.

Sometimes, I hate this message, and I hate books like this. What about making the effort to, you know, improve ourselves? But eventually I come around, and seek out books by Chodron in order to find peace in the midst of chaos.

Here is just a sampling of her amazing writing:

  • THERE’S A COMMON misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable . . . A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.
  • I was quite miserable because everybody else seemed to be having all kinds of visualizations and doing very well. He said, “I’m always suspicious of the ones who say everything’s going well. If you think that things are going well, then it’s usually some kind of arrogance. If it’s too easy for you, you just relax. You don’t make a real effort, and therefore you never find out what it is to be fully human.”
  • There isn’t any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life.
  • When you want to say no to the situation you’re in, it’s fine to say no, but when you build up a big case to the point where you’re so convinced that you would draw your sword and cut off someone’s head, that kind of resistance to life is hell.
  • The first noble truth says simply that it’s part of being human to feel discomfort. We don’t even have to call it suffering anymore, we don’t even have to call it discomfort. It’s simply coming to know the fieriness of fire, the wildness of wind, the turbulence of water, the upheaval of earth, as well as the warmth of fire, the coolness and smoothness of water, the gentleness of the breezes, and the goodness, solidness, and dependability of the earth.
  • Nothing in its essence is one way or the other.
  • The second noble truth says that this resistance is the fundamental operating mechanism of what we call ego, that resisting life causes suffering.

To find our more about this book, see:

Love,
Mom

Alone and Together: A Very Short Primer on Happiness

“When you can read a book, read a poem, take walks together, that is love.”

That is what my dad told me one time.

“When you can be alone together,” he said, “That is love.”

He was right.

My dad is a pretty cool guy.

Alone and Together is a  serial I wrote in 2012, three years after meeting my husband, David. It tells the story of our meeting and of my realization that being married isn’t all that terrible.

I can be married, and still be me.

Here is the full list of installments.

Part One: Alone

Part Two: Together

Part Three: Alone and Together

Law of Attraction Success Story: “My Top Five Law of Attraction Techniques,” Part Two

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Contributor: Ralph Dorr, author of the recently published book Law of Manifestation: How to Manifest Anything with The Power of Your Mind.

As someone who has tried nearly two hundred law of attraction methods and read over fifty-seven books on the subject, to say I was frustrated when my life was the same is the understatement of the year. That is, until I did a “self-audit” and realized that 99 percent of the positive change that was happening in my life was coming from only a few super simple techniques I’d almost stopped doing. Mollie was kind enough to let me write a couple of articles about how I got out of this slump and manifested my dream life to share with all of you amazing people.

Here’s how I discovered the final three of my top five law of attraction techniques and used them to change my life.. (You can read about the others right here.)

Technique 3: Act As If You’ve Already Done It

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” – Henry Ford

This was tough for me to overcome because it was a confidence issue with me. I knew the advice, keep your back straight, walk tall, don’t let people get the better of you but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Or so I thought. It can be clumsy or awkward at first but I promise it will make you smile from ear to ear once you try it. When I was feeling lost just a few years ago I gave it a shot. I thought to myself, “If I were a successful author, how would I behave?” So I changed. Instead of being slumped in my chair when writing, I got up, stretched myself out, took some deep breaths, and resumed writing, only this time tried to look confident. And you know what? It worked! I managed to brainstorm numerous ideas for my books and even got started on the one I recently published.

Take a moment and picture a successful person in your mind. What is their body language like? Are they smiling? What actions and activities are they doing? Now, ask the same questions again, only picture someone who is depressed or unsatisfied with their life. I bet you’ll start to see a difference.

That’s the trick! Having a fulfilling life really just boils down to how you act. Recent studies confirmed this by determining that “. . . the way you walk and move your body and posture affects your mood.” For instance, if you’re not happy with the amount of money you have in the bank nothing is stopping you from acting like you’re already at the goal you wish you were at. Walk with confidence, smile more, live better and the Universe will notice. Go ahead, act it out!

Technique 4: Love What You Do

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost

Most of us have experienced going with the crowd rather than paving our own path. Early in my journey I was taking tests online all day trying to figure out my personality, passions and strengths. It wasn’t until I pushed my laptop to the side and starting spending some quality time with myself that I realized what I truly love, which is writing. It can be tough to sit down and have a mental “talk” with yourself. It took me hours to figure out what my heart has been trying to tell me all along. But guess what? When I figured out what my soul wanted me to pursue, I got an instant energy rush which touched every inch of my being. I had found my passion. No other feeling can relate to how spectacular it felt. Since it was my true passion I love every second I spend doing it and my life has become so much better since I found it.

This right here is where success and happiness are intertwined. Have you ever noticed that people who have it all (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.) never stop working? They have enough money and success to last multiple lifetimes but many people like that work harder than when they were young. Here’s the secret: they love what they do!

I love writing, improving myself, and connecting with others so I make it my mission each day to do at least one of those three things. If you love taking photos, take them every day, share them with who you can, and enjoy the process. There has never been a better time to cash in on your passion. Or if you don’t want any financial success from it, do it because it makes your soul feel good and alive!

I spoke about this in my book Power Mindset Mastery, as follows:

“If you do not discover yourself, and know exactly what you want from life, you have no idea what you are living for.

“A step to self-discovery is identifying your needs. Most people are clueless of what they want. To identify your needs, you first need to take a step back and think thoroughly. Then, when you are in a relaxed state of mind, meditate and focus on your thoughts. Ask yourself questions like what makes you happy, what makes you sad and so on. Along with the question of what, also ask why it makes you feel certain emotions. Seek a deep and strong reason behind it, not a common or general answer.

“When you have identified what makes you happy and sad, you can focus on the things that make you happy and stay away from moments that make you sad.”

Technique 5: Accept Who You Are

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” – Mark Twain

This can be tough for many of us because often times we shove our true thoughts or feelings to the side for quite some time. I was in a nasty habit of doing that for most my life. I would keep my mouth shut when I had something to say. Or I would keep myself from saying how I really felt when I was given the chance to speak. At first I thought I was doing good by not upsetting anyone and that I was attracting good people in my life because of it. However, I was battling myself on the inside to stop wearing so many different masks. The people I was attracting into my life didn’t share my vision or passion which made it tough to be around them. Much like the other techniques, I decided one morning that I would start to speak my mind and be honest with myself. I started slow but eventually got to the point where I was speaking my mind and telling the truth every time I opened my mouth. It was an incredibly freeing feeling and one that still hits me to this day. The result? I began attracting wonderful people into my life who shared my passion for writing and helping. It is a completely different feeling when you are surrounded by people who genuinely know you and care for that part of you that you tried so hard to push away.

As we age, our ambitions tend to fade. Do you still love doing the activities you were doing as a child? If you so happen to write a book, what subject would you write on? Questions like these can help bring perspective to where you are at in your life and what you value.

You’ll always have people tell you what you are doing Is wrong, weird, or too different. Caring about what others think of you is a HUGE distraction. What does it keep you from? Yourself.

Deep inside you know yourself. We all do. Some of us just need an extra nudge to get it out. For me, I always tried to hide the fact that I love the self-help genre from my friends and family. I remember I was terrified to get caught listening to Tony Robbins on my computer as a kid so I would close the tab when my parents walked by. I was scared of what they would think. Unfortunately the only person that was affecting was myself because I was stopping myself from exploring what my soul was telling me to do.

When I became open about how much I appreciate things like the law of attraction or meditation I was met with questions and laughter from the people that were close to me. However, I also gained respect from them because we naturally respect those who are brave enough to let go and be true to themselves, it is freeing. Be honest with who you are. Identify the areas in your life that you feel you aren’t being true to yourself in and make a change.

That wraps up my explanation of the five law of attraction techniques that changed my life. It felt great writing these out. If they help even just one person then it will have been worth sharing.

As a final note, don’t overthink it. When it comes to living the life of your dreams or attracting success into your life, focus on finding yourself first. Practice self-love and gratitude and your journey will align more and more with where the universe wants you.

Ralph Dorr

P.S. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or concerns. I love talking to anyone I can meet! It would make my year if you could check out my book, Law of Manifestation: How to Manifest Anything with The Power of Your Mind and leave an honest review.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #6: "The Work of Byron Katie: An Introduction" by Byron Katie

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Dear kids,

I first read this free ebook, The Work of Byron Katie: An Introduction maybe two years ago or so. I had heard her ideas were awesome, and I knew one day I would get around to examining my painful beliefs as a way to deal with my depression. But at the time, The Work, as she calls her process of self-inquiry, seemed too much like . . . well, work. And of course, I was right: it is work. Hard work. But isn’t everything that’s worth it?

Then one day, either sufficiently convinced or sufficiently desperate–not sure which–I did try it. And soon thereafter I felt kinda dumb for dragging my bleeding heels for so long.

Byron Katie is the best. Really, kids–the absolute best. By the time you read this, she will likely be no longer with us, and I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do without her.

You missed out.

(Can you ask some of your friends to consider taking her place, please?)

In any case. Even as I recommend this short introduction to her amazing method as highly as any book I’ve ever read, I do so with one caveat: it really is just an introduction. It gives you the basics of her method for overcoming and even eradicating your stressful, neurotic thoughts, but it does not scratch the surface of the power of the process. For that, read any of her other books. I particularly like Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life and I Need Your Love – Is That True?

The potential of The Work isn’t immediately apparent in its overview; it’s the examples that really convince you to try it. And those examples are in her other books.

To learn more or to get the free ebook, see:

Love,
Mom

***

This post is part of my serial, Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday. You can subscribe here.

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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #5: "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence

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Dear kids,

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is one of those books that holds a special place in my heart, like a friend. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a journal kept by Brother Lawrence, a Catholic monk, about his humble life as a cook in a monastery. It follows his attempt to pray without ceasing. And, oh yeah: it’s free on Project Gutenberg.

Its message is awesome: Humans are capable of more closeness with the Divine than many of us settle for. We can strive to feel the presence of God every moment. We’ll likely fail–Brother Lawrence did–but in the attempt, we’ll surprise ourselves.

Try it sometime. I did.

To learn more or to buy the book, see:

Love,
Mom

***

This post is part of my serial, Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday. You can subscribe here.

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Law of Attraction Success Story: “My Top Five Law of Attraction Techniques,” Part One

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Image from the law of attraction book list featuring all major law of attraction authors at lawofattractionproject.com

Contributor: Ralph Dorr, author of the recently published book Law of Manifestation: How to Manifest Anything with the Power of Your Mind.

As someone who has tried nearly two hundred law of attraction methods and read over fifty-seven books on the subject, to say I was frustrated when my life was the same is the understatement of the year. That is, until I did a “self-audit” and realized that 99 percent of the positive change that was happening in my life was coming from only a few super simple techniques I’d almost stopped doing. Mollie was kind enough to let me write a couple of articles about how I got out of this slump and manifested my dream life to share with all of you amazing people.

Here’s how I discovered the first two of my top five law of attraction techniques and used them to change my life.

Technique 1: Be Thankful

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark

For the longest time I was going through life without being thankful for all that I had. I thought the world was somehow conspiring against me to bring me pain and suffering so I felt no need to thank it. That all changed back in May of 2015 when I found a YouTube channel called Infinite Waters. Here was a man who was telling me all that I could be grateful for. Everyday something beautiful would happen to me and I never gave the Universe even a “thanks” in return. I had a wonderful house, a family who loved me, and nature to appreciate but I never gave any of it attention or gratitude; I only focused on the negative. I felt ashamed and I needed to change. I decided that I would never leave my room in the morning without recounting all that I am grateful for. It began empowering me. When you open your heart and start being grateful, amazing feelings start to flow in. My life changed forever when I started doing that. Instead of only seeing the bad in the world, I saw everything that was good and all that could become good with some changes.

The simple act of recounting all the blessings you’ve been given in your life feels powerful. It can give you purpose to achieve more and pay it back. Don’t just take my word for it, though; Oprah Winfrey, Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson and countless others practice gratitude every day.

The best time I’ve found to practice gratitude is right when I wake up and right before I go to bed. Try writing in a gratitude journal or simply run through three things you’re grateful for in your head. For example, when I wake up I tell myself, “I am so thankful for the amazing family I’ve been blessed with, the comfort my room provides me, and the access to food I am able to enjoy every day.” It always gives me some much needed perspective on how much I truly have. Although we all have our problems, everyone has been blessed with so much that often times we forget to turn around and tell the Universe, “Thank you.”

Technique 2: Build a Dream Board

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

When I first heard about constructing a dream board, my first thought was, “What? I suck at arts and crafts.” Due to that limiting belief I shrugged it off and didn’t consider trying to build one for almost a year. Well, one cloudy morning back in 2016 I was thinking to myself, “What am I attracting into my life and what am I focusing on?” I had found my problem. I had no clue what I was focusing on and my life was becoming chaotic because of that. I remembered hearing about building a dream board and how it can help keep you on a focused path towards your dreams. I spent a few sleepless nights building my very own dream board, filling every possible space with an image or word that directed me towards where I wanted to go. Now, I look at it every day on my bedroom door and beautiful thoughts of my dreams rush into my head. It’s an exhilarating feeling and one that I would recommend to everyone!

This is one of my favorite techniques and has helped me change my life in so many ways. A dream board is something physical that showcases your desires in life, like a poster or even a sheet of paper (the bigger the better). It usually has images and words posted on it that align with your goals and vision. It can be a cutout picture of a new car or house from a magazine. Non-material items also work just as well; if one of your goals is to reduce stress, for example, then think about what that would look like. Would you be relaxing on a beach? Going for a bike ride? Think hard and visualize how that picture looks in your mind and put it on your dream board.

The dream board doesn’t have to just be limited to images. Write out how your dreams feel to you. For instance, one of my dreams (which I have not yet achieved) was to write a book. I wrote it out as if I was already living it, saying something like, “I spent all day replying to people’s emails about how much my book meant to them and I loved every second.”

I am hoping you are seeing a pattern by now. When you continue to write out positive phrases or look at images your focus will shift towards that instead of negative distractions. That is the core of this belief and if you are able to do it then you’ll be well on your way to success!

Remember to keep your dream board in a place where you will see it every day. I am a big fan of putting it in spots I can’t avoid like the refrigerator, my bed stand, or even my bedroom door. Add looking at your dream board to your daily morning ritual and think about it often.

Three more techniques to come.

Ralph Dorr

P.S. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or concerns. I love talking to anyone I can meet! It would make my year if you could check out my book, Law of Manifestation: How to Manifest Anything with The Power of Your Mind and leave an honest review.

I Really Like My Rock Collection (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Two)

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Everyone just leave my boobs alone, Goddamnit! That was the thought I was having several times a day. Of course, when I sat down to confront my problem, Byron Katie-style, I wrote something a bit more restrained.

I hate breastfeeding, I wrote. I’m sick of it. It bugs me. I hate the boredom, the discomfort. The whining for “boo-boo,” “boo-boo.”

It was June, and I’d recently given birth, and my barely-turned two-year-old nursed, too. At the time, breastfeeding was–no exaggeration–a part-time job. More than thirty hours a week I was spending with a person (sometimes people) fully attached, often doing nothing but waiting to be done.

Which is why after discovering The Work it was one of the first thoughts I brought to the method; it seemed like a pretty good test. CBT couldn’t touch it. At least that’s what I believed. And I doubted The Work could, either. But I’d just read another book of Katie’s, my third, I Need Your Love – Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, and cover to cover, it was super inspiring. So one afternoon I got my pen and paper, and after writing down my negative feelings on the subject, I answered the four requisite questions.

Is it true? Yes. Obviously. Duh.

Can you be absolutely sure it’s true? Uh, I guess not.

How do you feel when you think this thought? Terrible. Trapped. On the verge of a scream.

How would you feel if you couldn’t think the thought? Well, I guess I’d feel … fine?

And then I turned the statement around to the opposite and found examples to confirm.

I love breastfeeding, I wrote. I don’t hate it at all. Look at all the benefits it provides my kids. Not to mention the benefits to me–all those burned calories while just lying on my side, doing nothing. And when the baby cries, it always makes her feel better, which of course makes me feel better, too. Plus, what other activity in my life will I ever do that is this easy and yet this important? It’s, like, the best-ever excuse to be lazy.

Then, as Katie does in several examples in her book, I returned to the first question: Is it true?

Well, no. I mean, not entirely.

Hmmm. That’s interesting.

Later that day, I thought about the exercise and checked in, asking myself if anything felt different. It didn’t, I concluded. I felt just the same. But then something strange happened: nothing.

The following morning when Jack, the two-year-old, woke me while groping for my breast, I didn’t feel the extreme annoyance I usually felt.

In fact, I didn’t feel much at all.

Holy crap. I smiled. Holy crap. I think it worked. I didn’t think it’d really work. But it did.

After this experience, my interest in The Work quickly increased, and soon I found myself substituting my CBT practice with the new method. Every few days or so, I’d jot down the thoughts that came to mind, then select the most troublesome to move with through the process. Here are just some of the feelings and ideas I successfully distanced myself from during that first incredible month:

  • I’m bloated.
  • I should go on a diet.
  • David should have [fill in the blank].
  • My friend should not have [fill in the blank].
  • I can’t sleep.
  • Caring for a baby is too hard.
  • All parenting is too hard.

To say the least, dealing effectively with these thoughts rather than letting them run amok was an improvement. So it wasn’t very far into July before I started hatching a plan.

That plan: this book. This serial. This story. About doing The Work for a year. Not much more to it than that–no detailed list of rules. Just dedicating myself to the practice and seeing where it takes me. Along the way, I’ll question my underlying life philosophy, too, since without that intention I’d likely focus only on the day-to-day stuff. I want to see big changes, big shifts, major differences in perspective.

I want The Work to be the game-changer I’ve been seeking.

As part of this goal, I’ll take a look at my most basic spiritual beliefs—seven in all—and reevaluate whether or not I still need them. These are those beliefs:

  • Spirituality is good.
  • Life is a game. There are no rules.
  • People are holy.
  • Absolutes are fine. Certainty is not.
  • We have power.
  • Happiness is the truth.
  • God is reality—nothing more.

I know. Scary, right? This is good stuff here. I like every single one of these. I’ve come to each of them like a child comes to a rock lying on the beach: I pick it up, turn it around in my hand. I notice the color, the uniqueness, even the flaws–but they don’t seem like flaws to me. After a moment of inspection, I might throw it back, but more often than not, I don’t. I put it in my rock bag and refuse to leave it behind, though on the car ride home it already seems out of place.

Beliefs are interesting. They’re important. They stabilize us. They help us relate to other people. We like our rock collections. We really, really like them. We carry them wherever we go. Sometimes, when we find other people whose rocks look a lot like ours, we even meet every Sunday for a while to describe them.

Rock collecting is a wonderful hobby. Spirituality is a noble practice. But do we have to take it quite so seriously?

Do our beliefs have to be so darn firm?

Which brings me to the first Byron Katie quote of the series–one that I’ll probably revisit later on.

“God is everything, God is good … Ultimately, of course, even this isn’t true … All so-called truths eventually fall away. Every truth is a distortion of what is. If we investigate, we lose even the last truth. And that state, beyond all truths, is true intimacy. That is God-realization. And welcome to the reentry. It’s always a beginning.”

The quote is from the second book I read of Katie’s, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. It was co-written by her husband, Stephen Mitchell. The sentiment is puzzling, yet it rings true to me, especially since it echoes the Buddhist view of ultimate truth. I start with it this year for several reasons.

The first is that if Byron Katie is known for one thing, she is known for eradicating belief. To her, belief is dangerous. Undesirable. Scary. Belief is the root of all suffering, of every problem we have. Which is why her four questions encourage us to question our thoughts so relentlessly.

If you’re not familiar with this teacher, the above probably sounds a bit strange. Don’t worry. Hang in there. We’ll get to your questions. For now, let’s move on to the second reason.

The second reason the quote is so appropriate here at the starting line is that it makes me wonder what my time with The Work is going to bring. If nothing is true, really and ultimately true, where will that leave me by year’s end? Will inquiry excise my favorite, most comforting beliefs–steal my precious rock collection like a school bully? Or will my spiritual beliefs hold up, at least for now, and continue to help me get through this earthly adventure?

The final reason I chose this quote first is that it’s Katie’s direct answer to the first of my seven beliefs, namely, spirituality (God) is good.

Sure, she says. Sure, you can think that. But ultimately, no–spirituality isn’t good.

Like everything else, spirituality is nothing.

Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Ms. Byron Katie.

All this said, I don’t regret—not for one moment, not for one second—any of the years I spent as true believer.

It was the start of everything to come.

Stay tuned for Part Three of My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning Everything I Believe.

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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #4: "Ten Percent Happier" by Dan Harris

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new-thought-meditation-1

Dear kids,

Anyone can meditate–even an agnostic. Even an atheist. Even a famous atheist with a drug problem. Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris convinces us that meditation is for the people.

Dan Harris is a well-known news anchor, an atheist (agnostic?) and a workaholic. Ten Percent Happier is the result of his personal quest for self-improvement through meditation. He starts by relating the turbulent life journey that caused him to seek out this form of therapy, which included drugs and an extremely high stress work environment.

He describes his basic meditation technique: Choose a place to focus on along with your breath—your mouth, your chest or your belly—and gently, non-judgmentally bring your attention back to it whenever your mind wanders. (You can also say “in” and “out” silently if it helps.)

He also describes his “pro” technique: First, ground yourself by focusing on the breath. Then start “noting”—noticing and labeling—each and every thought or dominant feeling you become aware of, without judgment. He calls this “choiceless awareness,” and it’s the technique that led to a great breakthrough that he describes in the book. As you get better at this, you can do it with extreme rapidity. It keeps you very focused and in the moment, almost completely unable to identify with the mind.

Harris also stresses the importance of not worrying about how you feel when you’re meditating (whether or not you feel relaxed, spiritually aware, etc.). If you’re redirecting your attention to your breath every time your mind wanders, your time of meditation was successful. “That’s the whole game.”

The point of meditation isn’t to feel something; instead, it is merely to try. With each session, you build your meditation muscle, like you do when practicing piano or a sport.

At one point, he discusses his interviews with famous meditators and gurus, including Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.

He also describes the experience of going on a ten-day meditation retreat. Most of the time, he was miserable. Finally he realized the reason: He was trying too hard. When he decided to just “be with” whatever was happening, he broke through the misery and had a tearful awareness of love.

Harris also briefly discusses various studies of the brain-changing effects of meditation, including some that later convince him the state of enlightenment is real.

Harris’ conclusion: Meditation helps you become about ten percent happier. He says he went from being a jerk at work to hearing colleagues calling him one of the “easy” news correspondents.

For more information, see:

Love,
Mom

***

Stay tuned for more of my serial, Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.

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Sometimes, You Get Way Too Excited (My Byron Katie Detox, Part One)

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A lot of times, when you discover something great, you overestimate its greatness just a bit. Well, okay, sometimes more than a bit.

Sometimes you get way too excited.

Every once in a while, though, your excitement proves justified. And when that happens, you cross the line. Before you were a fan, a follower, an advocate.

Now, you’re a believer.

Granted, when I discovered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, my hopes were high for good reason. According to articles by the National Institute for Mental Health, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and, of course, Wikipedia, CBT is the most-practiced evidence-based therapy for tons of emotional and personality disorders.

More important, when I tried it, it worked.

Unfortunately, I was late to the party; I’ve had depression my whole life, but didn’t learn about CBT till age thirty-eight. Yikes, right? I often wonder what I was thinking, not looking up popular depression therapies sooner. Then I remember exactly what I was thinking.

I was thinking spirituality was the answer.

Ouch.

I mean, spirituality is great. Spirituality works. But sometimes, other stuff works better. And every once in a while, you hit the proverbial jackpot, and you find a regular therapy that’s spiritual, too.

Which is where Byron Katie comes in.

Soon after discovering CBT, I found this teacher, and when I did, the above process repeated itself. Excitement. Enthusiasm. Fandom. Advocacy.

Then, full-on belief.

Here’s how that happened.

***

It was one of Those Moments. You know the kind. They feel normal at first, then later earn an unexpected spot on your greatest-hits playlist. It was evening, and I was depressedmuch more so than usual. Worse, earlier that day I’d taken a three-mile walk and even that, my go-to strategy, hadn’t helped. I didn’t get an endorphin high. I didn’t clear my mind.

I felt just as bad after as before.

If you struggle with a mood disorder I don’t have to tell you what a frightening realization this was. Will I have to starting walk more than three miles now? I wondered. Has my body acclimated to this level of exercise? Heavily pregnant, with two other children in tow, I couldn’t imagine putting more time and effort into walking than I already did. And so, after dinner, after my husband had taken our two boys to the mall, I decided to try something different. Desperate, I went to my office to scan the titles on my bookshelf, looking for anything that might help.

I didn’t actually believe I’d find something.

But I did. I found The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns.

One year prior, I’d bought the Handbook on the advice of my doctor and then, after a brief review, dismissed it. Platitudes, I thought. Nothing new here. Nothing I haven’t heard a million times before. I had no idea it was a psychotherapy classic. (Why hadn’t the doctor told me that? Sheesh.)

That day, thoughthat greatest-hits dayI sat on the couch and for the first time, gave the method a chance. After reading a few chapters, I took its suggestion and started writing down every negative thought in my head. When I couldn’t think of any more, I stopped writing and counted the pages.

I’d filled seven pieces of paper on both sides.

Okay, I thought. Maybe the book is right. Maybe my depression really is caused by my thoughts.

Prior to that time, I knew negativity played a role in depression. But I had no idea how big that role was. I’m a positive person, I thought. I’m hopeful about the future. It’s a chemical imbalance that’s to blame.

And I still believe that. I’ve been moody my whole lifenever lighthearted, even as a kid. But maybe, just maybe, there’s more to the story. Maybe part of the problem is solvable.

Because, it turned out, I wasn’t the optimist I thought I was. I was actually sort of the opposite, but in a different way. The kind of thoughts I wrote down that day had nothing to do with my faith in God or my many dreams of success. They weren’t about my overall health, or my financial or familial satisfaction.

They were about the little annoyances of life.

They were about the way my clothes fit, the kids’ morning moods, the tyranny of my family’s need to eat. Only a few of my troubles even mattered long-term. And yet, when I emptied the contents of my head, these silly little details were what I found. Obviously, my pessimism wasn’t as much about the significance of my negative thoughts as it was about the sheer number of them.

I had accumulated a bunch of mental crap.

And so, that night I began the process of excavation. And I haven’t stopped since.

Even after that first writing session, I noticed a changea lifting, even a slight high. I felt the way I feel after a thirty-minute jog, or a long talk with a friend, or an especially enjoyable night out.

Holy crap, I realized. It worked.

And it did so when I was at my very worst.

And so, like I said before, after discovering CBT, my hopes were ridiculously high. Somehow, I knew that this was my game-changer, my next major level up.

Somehow, I knew it would be epic.

The cool thing is that I was right. During the month that followed the discovery, I was the most hopeful I’d been in my life regarding my ability to deal effectively withmaybe even overcomemy depression. Then, a shocking twist: I found another strategy, a variation of CBT. And for me, it was even more powerful. You probably already know what that method was. It was Byron Katie’s process of self-inquiry called The Work.

Byron Katie is a spiritual teacher, someone you may have heard of before. I had, too; the previous fall I’d even read her free ebook, The Work of Byron Katie: An Introduction. At that time, though, her ideas didn’t particularly appeal to me.

Truth be told, I wasn’t desperate enough to try it.

But after practicing CBT for a while, her name came up again, and I thought back on what I’d read. Wait a sec, I realized, Now that I think about it, The Work is a lot like CBT.

I decided to look into it again.

More about Byron Katie’s method later, and how it compares with CBT. Suffice it to say here that it’s a way to look objectively at your favorite (or not-so-favorite) thoughts. It gives you four questions to ask yourself that help you realize, deep down, what is true and what is, well, a bit crazy.

And as with CBT, my first experience with The Work didn’t disappoint.

Stay tuned for Part Two of My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning Everything I Believe.

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Three Kids, No Car: One Year of Living Authentically, Even Though I Can Afford Not To

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Image from the law of attraction book list featuring all major law of attraction authors at lawofattractionproject.com

When I was single, I didn’t have a car. I walked everywhere, and loved it. Now I’m a suburban mom, and I’m doing the same thing.

It’s a bit different this time around.

Follow my serial, Three Kids, No Car: One Year of Living Authentically, Even Though I Can Afford Not To by email.

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This serial is scheduled to begin soon. When it does, all new posts will be listed here.

Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Novel

Image from the law of attraction book list featuring all major law of attraction authors at lawofattractionproject.com

After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They fought about feeling unloved.

They even fought about the lawn mower.

And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

Chronicling their greatest hits, from the Muffin Incident to the Great Birth Control Debate to the Divorce Joke Showdown, Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby is a post-partem story with hope. It offers relatable experiences, nitty-gritty advice and, most important, a nuanced understanding of what it takes to be married with children.

This serial is starting soon. You can follow it using the button below.

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My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning Everything I Believe

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Image from the law of attraction book list featuring all major law of attraction authors at lawofattractionproject.com

Once upon a time, I thought I was a positive person. Wow. How delusion was that? Then one day, I decided to actually write my thoughts on paper.

To say my results were surprising would be an understatement.

Soon after that, I discovered Byron Katie, and, well, I’m really glad I did.

Byron Katie is a guru. Let’s get that out of the way. She’s a spiritual teacher, one I admire the heck out of.

Which is why recently, I decided to devote a year of my life to her.

Okay, well–not to her, exactly. But to the spiritual practice she teaches. It’s called The Work (funny name, but accurate), and it’s a way to question and change your negative internal beliefs.

And it’s powerful. Explosive. I don’t want to say “mind-blowing,” but I will. It’s similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the most well-researched and effective depression therapy, and combines it with spirituality.

I know.

To read about what I learn during this great adventure, follow my serial, My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning Everything I Believe by email.

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Also, catch up on what you missed right here:

Past Installments of My Byron Katie Detox:

Part One: Sometimes, You Get Way Too Excited

Part Two: I Really Like My Rock Collection

Part Three: I Just Wanted to Love My Mother

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #3: "Zero Limits" by Joe Vitale and Hew Len

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Dear kids,

As legend has it, a man named Hew Len once cured an entire ward of mental patients using a new healing practice that was based on a traditional Hawaiian one (but which, admittedly, had been changed a lot). He simply repeated four phrases out loud and in his mind while viewing their medical files and “cleaning” their “programming”–technically, the programming in Hew Len’s own mind which brought them into his reality. And that’s it. Nothing else.

Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More by Joe Vitale and Hew Len is a memoir of Vitale’s meeting and, later, being mentored by, this interesting man.

 

Len practices being in a state of mind he calls “zero limits.”

“In short, Zero Limits is about returning to the zero state, where nothing exists but anything possible. In the zero state there are no thoughts, words, deeds, memories, programs, beliefs, or anything else. Just nothing.”

From the zero state Len is able to heal maladies of all sorts, even very serious ones. This is because he takes full responsibility for all the reality he experiences, and sends love to that reality. He calls this “cleaning.”

“There is no such thing as out there. Everything exists as thoughts in my mind.” Therefore: “I am 100 percent responsible for creating my physical universe the way it is . . . If my thoughts are perfect, they create a physical reality brimming with love.”

When asked how he healed a whole mental hospital full of hopeless cases, Hew Len said, “I was simply cleaning the part of me that I shared with them.”

Though there are a variety of ways to “clean,” the book talks about only one, namely, repeating four statements over and over nonstop to the Divine. The statements are: “I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you.”

Concluding advice: Clean in everything. If you do, your whole life will slowly change, doing absolutely nothing else. After cleaning, follow your inspiration—do what your intuition tells you to do.

Here, a few good quotes:

  • “Dr. Hew Len repeatedly stressed that there are 15 bits available to conscious mind but 15 million bits happening in any one moment. We don’t have a chance of understanding all the elements at play in our lives. We must let go. We must trust.”
  • People share programs with each other, which explains why our physical realities often are similar.
  • When Vitale uses this technique, his results are good. For example, one day, when upset about something business related, rather than addressing it head on, “I kept silently saying I’m sorry’ and I love you.’ I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evolving the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating or attracting the outer circumstance.” Within an hour he got a very unexpected apology from person who upset him.
  • Hew Len speaks to objects, since he says they have feelings, too. One quote: “This room says its name is Sheila.” Sheila felt tired and unloved, so he prayed for her.

To find out more, see:

Love,
Mom

***

Stay tuned for more of my serial, Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.

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Spiritual Practice Success Story: “Love Is Stronger Than Anger, Fear or Hate”

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Contributor: Gary Leigh. Gary offers energy cleansing, past life therapy, Bach Flower Remedies and more. Visit him over at psychicsupport.net.

When I was around nine years old, I began to hear thoughts in my mind that were talking independently. I would have conversations with them and eventually they got to the point where they would talk full-time. I don’t recall what was said now, but I do remember there were a lot of them and that they all became overwhelming.

As you can imagine, I assumed I was making this all up and it was just in my imagination.

Then around age eleven, I started to feel what I can only describe as a clawing sensation in my mind. It’s a very difficult thing to put into words, but it was highly unpleasant. It felt like something was trying to take me over. Not so much possess me, but eradicate my being.

Every day this would grow stronger until I was constantly engaged in my own hidden, private battle. As I could not really explain what was going on, I never told anyone around me until one night, when I was thirteen, I was staying with my mother at a friend’s place. I told her what was going on and instead of dismissing it as rubbish, she took it seriously. She had no answers, though.

But a month later, we went to visit these people who also happened to be Jehovah Witnesses. One night, she told them what I had told her, and the next day, they sat me down and told me that Satan was trying to get my soul and I needed to ask God for help.

So I began to do that and the attacks would stop for a short while, only to return a little stronger. So many times a day, I would say, “God help me, Satan be gone.”

In the meantime, I would carry on with my life as normal, and no one ever knew what I was battling. Over the years, I started to become weary and at the same time, more persistent with fighting Satan and attacking him back as best I could.

It was an ever-perpetuating circle and I was losing. Eventually, at age twenty, I had an epiphany that if fighting Satan with hate made him stronger, then maybe love would have the opposite effect. So I said to him in my mind, “You can join me, but only in love.” Then I sent him thoughts of love, compassion and peace.

The change was instant. The attacks stopped immediately, never to return–something I had never imagined was possible. At first I was cautious, just in case they returned, but instead of my old mantra of “God help me and Satan be gone,” my new one was a constant “Love and peace, love and peace.”

And that’s when my spiritual journey really started to take off.

Incidentally, this is a perfect example of the saying “What you resist, persists and what you look at and make your own disappears.”

What began after that was years of spiritual study and pursuit. I read everything I could find for answers to how the Universe worked, but true information was limited back in the 80s. Still, I slowly began to piece it all together. It took decades before I finally started to really remember who I was and why I was here and most importantly, why those attacks had happened.

Today, I practice sending love out daily. It’s a state of being now. It’s a message I’ve been trying to get out there for a long time. Especially for those so called spiritual warriors who believe that attacking and destroying the darkness is the answer. It’s not. You’re just feeding them a feast.

But love is only one part of the solution, which is why it doesn’t always produce the serenity that you desire. You also have to heal from past traumas and shift your perspectives.

True love is unconditional. It’s not judging others. It’s being there for all regardless of who they are. It’s compassion, healing and caring. But that does not mean you allow others to use, abuse or attack you. It’s standing in your own power and healing the lines that cause the attacks to begin with.

In light and love,

Gary Leigh

P.S. I can often do in a session or two what others tell me they have not been able to achieve in years of therapy. I heal the soul rather than treating the symptoms. If you would like to learn more about my services, visit psychicsupport.net. For full details of my journey and experiences, visit thephoenixarchives.com.

The Mathematics of Coats

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Best Nonfiction Book - Instead of Education

This is my first winter with three children, and here is what I’ve learned about the mathematics of coats.

To find the total square footage of your home that you will need to devote solely to winter wear, use the following equation.

  • For each child in the family, add two lightweight jackets or sweatshirts, one point five heavy coats, one snowsuit, one rain suit, plus gloves, boots and hats.
  • For each adult in the family, add five to ten lightweight jackets or sweatshirts, one fancy coat, one rain jacket, one heavy coat, plus gloves, boots and hats.
  • For each adult bicyclist, motorcyclist, skier, scuba diver or other athletic type, add one pair of specialty pants and one point five specialty coat per sport. Because the volume of each of these items is almost double the average volume of other items, multiply this number by two.

Thus, if your family has five members (as mine does), you will need approximately eight thousand items of winter wear in your collective wardrobe.

After determining the total number of items, measure the square footage needed per item. This will vary depending on how much space between items you require to access them. Now multiply this number by your number of items.

If you did the math right, you will likely come up with a figure that will make it necessary to buy a second home. Or at least a Pod.

Seriously, though. Our coats take up two entire closets right now. And my kids are still tiny.

Summer, please come back soon.

(I’m off to buy a Pod.)

***

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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #2: "Molecules of Emotion" by Candace Pert

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new-thought-body-11

Dear kids,

Candace Pert is the neuroscientist who discovered that emotions are a real, physical, chemical part of the body. That’s right: total badass. Much of her book, Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, describes her journey of discovery and what happened afterward. The rest of the book discusses the science behind the discovery.

I wish she’d done a bit more editing–maybe another draft or two–but the ideas in the book are fascinating and important, and since she’s primarily a scientist, not a writer, who cares?

My notes and highlights:

The science, briefly: Every cell in the body is studded with receptors that receive signals that direct cell division, metabolism and every other cell activity. “Signal[s] come from other cells and [are] carried by juices . . . providing an infra for the ‘conversation’ going on throughout the bodymind. You know these juices as how neurotransmitters and together called peptides.” 98 percent of data transfer occurs through these, while only 2 percent occurs between cells.

Receptors and signals together are the “molecules of emotion”. There is a ligand for each individual emotion, each individual perception, each different kind of awareness, including bliss, hunger, satiety, anger, etc.

The ligand isn’t only active part of equation. Receptors wiggle and send vibrations to attract the proper ligand, like a lock and key coming together. These vibrations and constant responses form a continuous electrical current throughout your body.

Your body, then, is your subconscious mind. The molecules in the brain aren’t the cause of your emotions; they are your emotions.

Other notable quotes:

  • “God is a neuropeptide.”
  • “Less than 2 percent of neuronal communication actually occurs at the synapse.” Ligands, transmitters, peptides, hormones, factors make up the rest, where they bind to receptors.
  • Robert Bottesman: “. . . Information transcends time and space, placing beyond the confining limits of matter and energy, a cow grazing in a meadow of a botanical strolling through the same meadow will perceive meadow (grass differently So: info depends on the observer “. . . including the observer in the equation admits a new level of intelligence to the system.” . . . “It’s the difference that makes a difference.”
  • Uses the term “information theory” to discuss how information processing in the brain is linked to quantum theory and the rest of the physical world.
  • Information exists outside realm of matter and energy. “And since information in the form of biochemicals of emotion is running every system of the body then our emotions must also come from some realm beyond the physical. . . the mind, the consciousness, consisting of information, exists first, prior to the physical realm, which is secondary merely an outpicturing of consciousness.”
  • The human body is a metaphor, “. . . just a way of referring to an experience we all have in common.”

To learn more or to purchase the book, see:

Love,
Mom

***

Stay tuned for more of my serial, Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.

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