Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Spoken Word

  Last night my husband asked me if I had a headache (I must not have been looking very well) and my answer to him was, "I am just tired".  "You are now a master workman and your tools are your words.  Be sure you are building constructively."---Florence Scovel Shinn   Did I really want to define myself as "tired"?  

In the Life Skill of Cause and Effect (or the Law of Attraction) "words" play a big role.  Dr. Ranae Johnson writes, "Consider what a useful role your self-talk plays in your creative flow.  Developing an ear for self-defeating language can be a useful skill."   I am catching myself at times speaking negatively about myself; things such as, "I am so forgetful", "I'm so stupid", "I'll never figure it out,", etc... and even in a joking manner our words still create.  As I write these statements (of which I have been guilty of expressing) I am seeing how harmful they can be (and with awareness comes the ability to choose differently).  And would I tell a friend that they were stupid or that they would never figure it out?  (If I did, I don't think I'd be a very good friend!) 

In the Life Skills manual Dr. Johnson lists some common negative statements with their counterparts:

"I would like to welcome you here"(but..)  to  "Welcome!" (with feeling-without qualifiers)

"I'll try to (giving myself an instant excuse for failure) to "I will do it!" (with conviction and commitment)  Just this morning at Curves I announced that I "tried" to come in everyday!  I caught myself on that one.

"I am....negative feeling- like sick or angry or sad...(I AM is your highest statement about yourself.  Consider how this statement could limit you."   to  "I feel...(a description of feelings rather than of selfhood)

"I don't get angry anymore" (represents statements of negation and because you are giving energy to the negative behavior, it will grow)  to "I express peace in all my doings (a statement of fact yet to be experienced ---faith as in "faith" it til you make it"

"...but..." (negates or invalidates all that has been said before the word)  to  "...and..." (or rephrase to omit the word "but")   I have a friend who at Church, someone told her that her hair looked really put together that day. (there might as well have been a "but" in that statement because she negated her complement with the qualifying statement after the original complement!)

Dr. Johnson states, "Consider how powerful the spoken word is and how easily it can be changed.  Becoming aware of your language may put you on the path to cleaning up your life."  If we hear ourselves stating the negatives then maybe we'd better check our thoughts since that is where it all begins.  

Last night we were watching some children of a dear friend for a little while when I heard her twelve year old daughter say, "I'm so stupid."  We all caught that instantly and had her change her words (even my friend and husband recognized that those words were not helpful to her).

One of the February posts was titled, "Be Impeccable With Your Words."  It is one of the Four Agreements that will free us from our limitations.  The more we think and "speak" positively, the more positive and hopeful our lives will be.  From The Four Agreements: "Why your word?  Your word is the power that you have to create......Through the word you express your creative power.  It is through the word that you manifest everything.  Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word.  What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life."

Be aware of your words for they will show you your thoughts, and 'as a man thinketh, so is he.'

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A More Practical Approach

Yesterday afternoon I was reading some more from the book, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations by Stephen R. Covey (I think the new title is How To Succeed With People).  I came upon a chapter titled, The Daily Private Victory which reminded me of what I had blogged about yesterday!  I was so excited to see a different explanation for creating our day by using positive affirmations (and in my case energy circles along with them) or mind movies or vision boards.... ( I know that there are people who would "phooey" what I wrote yesterday and I thought this chapter was perfect for a more practical mind.)  I also look for the "practical" explanations.   

Mr. Covey writes about the opportunities we have of winning our private battles (including unrighteous aspirations, selfishness, perverse inclinations, touchiness, impatience, anger, impurities, procrastinating tendencies, sheer irresponsibility, lack of discipline) in our minds and in our hearts before we ever come to the public battles.  The public battles could include public trials, temptations, pressures and stresses, the storms that descend upon our lives....   "When we do this, staying in the presence of God our Father, we will have the strength from the light and life of the world-the Savior- to resist and to overcome.  Our spiritual roots will have grown out of Him naturally."

Winning such a private battle before going into the public battle is a form of spiritual creation or a preparation before situations arise.  By using prayer and positive affirmations we are creating our day (and life) spiritually to then manifest them physically!  The scriptures tell us that the Lord created the world spiritually before it was created temporally or physically.  "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground."----Genesis 2:5  (just as He created us spiritually first).

"In a sense we all do this in many activities in our lives.  For instance, in building a house, before we turn a shovel of earth we plan almost to the last detail the entire house in our  mind and this is reduced to a blueprint.  Why should we not also create each day or each week or each year in our minds before we live them?"----Stephen R. Covey  I am not saying that as we "create" our day with positive affirmations that all we will have show up for us is sunshine and roses, but we will have a new perception and I believe be more prepared to deal with new life experiences.

Stephen Covey goes on: "Someone inquired of a Hindu who had great serenity and peace about him, no matter what pressures were put upon him,  'How do you maintain that serenity and peace?'  His answer:  'I never leave my place of meditation.' Every morning he mediated for thirty minutes.  Then in his mind and heart he never left it---he maintained the spirit of that place all during his public life and pressures.....I suggest that every day of our lives you and I can go to our place of prayerful study and meditation where we can 'live out' the events that will transpire that day..." 

  I have found at times, almost instantly, the physical manifesting after I have focused with positive affirmations in preparation for my day or in writing Thought"full"ness.   I have, almost instantly after posting my blog, seen quotes from Positively Positive (a site on facebook) as well as the Mind Movies site about the very subjects I have written about.  It is very exciting for me to see results quickly; I know it doesn't always happen this way, but I love it when I see little glimpses of hope.

I am also noticing that as I have intentions of starting my day in a new and positive way that I am needing more time in the morning and need to get up a little earlier!  This is a great new challenge for me, and at times find myself running behind (new affirmation for my day "I am plenty of time in preparing for my day" which will give me more focus on giving myself more time in the mornings).  

So, I hope this new post today offers a little more help and explanation of using positive affirmations in creating our day (and week and life).  How are you creating your day?  I'd love to hear new methods; can you tell that I am rather open to new thoughts? 

                               "To put away aimlessness and weakness and to begin
                             to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of those strong
                             ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to
                        attainment.  Who make all conditions serve them and who think
                            strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully."
                                                                                                -----James Allen 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Starting at the Beginning

On Monday evenings, my husband and I meet with a group of older adults (I say "older" since we are the youngest ones there) for Family Home Evening.  Since none of us have children at home to share lessons and games with we gather to still enjoy learning; generally the meeting lasts no more than an hour and a half.  We only have to host about every 9 weeks and last night was not our turn(next week it's at our house because we have the big screen and the March Madness Finals are on! so no lesson next week!). Last night I felt "fine", just a little tired and wasn't sure I really wanted to go but went anyway. (I usually leave happy that I attended)

The host divided us into small groups and wanted each group to teach a short lesson (very short and mostly just thoughts and scriptures) on our assigned subjects.  Well, I wanted to leave!  I just was not in the mood and really was feeling a little put out and rebellious about this whole thing.  I don't usually like to be the one to "rock the boat" so I went along and as I was sitting there feeling a bit angry(I saw my little walls start to build), I was also wondering how I created this outcome for myself.  (I like to do things "backwards"; figure out the origination after I'm getting an undesired result!)

I know that my thoughts are the origination of my feelings but I hadn't remembered having a bad thought about this except that I wasn't sure I really wanted to go last night and I was tired. ( In truth,; although I don't like to be put on the spot,  I'd like to think that I could teach or talk about a subject at any moment so this was good practice.)  Last night before relaxing and watching a little television before going to sleep, I was pondering how to change or replace any negative thoughts or even more than that how to "originate" positive thoughts (and in my mind they would be Christ-like thoughts) so that I create positive life experiences.  The thought I had was "positive affirmations daily"!  And really, that would make a big difference in daily living to start each morning with what I want to "be" or even more, reminding myself of "who I am and have potential to become".

I believe that to think the kinds of thoughts that lead to wonderful life experiences begin with knowing "who we are".  I am a daughter of God, He is the Father of my spirit.  I hold within my spirit a little bit of heavenly DNA; do I think the kinds of thoughts that are in harmony with who I am?  This could be (and may be one day) a whole blog in itself, but in short,  I believe that living a life we love first entails us knowing and believing we have been created in God's image with potential to remember who we really are!  (how many teenagers, or adults for that matter!,if knowing and believing they were a "child of God" would choose to do things to their bodies ,and others' bodies, that were harmful?)

From Remembering Wholeness, "We are the creators of our reality and "I am" are the two most powerful words with which to create.  Christ refers to himself in Holy Scriptures as the "Great I Am."  He has said, ' I am that I am,' which means I am the creator.  We are also creators.  Use 'I am' statements to create more of what you want."   
       This morning I asked to know what the best affirmations for myself today would be and then I just began writing what came to my mind.  Today:  "I am forgiveness, I am new perceptions, I am positive thoughts, I am charity(that was the subject we were given last night to give our short lesson on!), I am 'answers flow easily', I am positive words, I am cheerful, I am love, I am connecting with my family(after I finished with my affirmations my son returned my phone call!), I am connecting with my grandchildren, I am in control of my body(I also should have added, 'in control of time' since I ran out of time to workout!), I am healthy, I am 'my body functions properly', I am faith in my Savior, I am prepared, I am 'happy thanks'(this came from a class I attended many years ago at a Women's Conference at Brigham Young University), I am 'positive thoughts replace negative thoughts easily'. 

After I wrote these affirmations on paper,  I used a process called an "energy circle"(this originated with Dr. Ranae Johnson where Carol Tuttle attended Rapid Eye training)  in which I drew an imaginary circle on the ground (you think I sound 'woo woo' and crazy about now but try this and you will know it is not crazy!) and standing outside the circle I said my affirmations 'out loud', mentally throwing them into the circle, using my hands, and after stating them all, I stepped into the circle (jumping into the circle is even better) and "patted" all of the energy I had created with my affirmations into my body (actually patted my legs, arms, torso and lastly, my head-isn't that where everything is?)  physically bringing them all into my heart using my hands and taking a deep breath,opening my arms and blowing them out from my hands as if casting seeds to start forming and manifesting into my life. (what I am really doing here is making myself aware and telling God that this is what "I am" intending to happen and "allowing".)    "I have witnessed many clients' lives shifting into a positive momentum by just taking a few minutes each day to go through this process.  Writing affirmations is also a powerful tool.  When we speak these affirmations and evoke positive feelings as we step into the energy of them, we are truly creating our ideal reality.  The important thing to remember is that your thoughts are always creating your reality.  It's up to you to be in charge of your thoughts, and consciously create a reality that is fulfilling.  The alternative is a reality that unconscious and haphazard.  It's always your choice."--Carol Tuttle

We can complement our affirmations with vision boards, "mind movies", and imagining our day (or "seeing" our day as we'd like it to be(asking God to bring us ideas of want we want, helping us be aware of our power(personal power; not power over others), of our importance(we are children of God) , to be in harmony with thoughts that are Christ-like and then seeing all of this come to fruition in our physical lives.  By asking for help, we will receive it.  You just need to use whatever method works for you; not everyone would want to use an energy circle (but try it first before discounting it).

So today, I am starting out in a more positive way; and I'll be more aware of the results  am getting. 
                                 "Man is the Master power that moulds and makes,
                                  And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
                                  The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
                                  Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:--
                                  He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass;
                                  Environment is but his looking glass."
                                                                     -----James Allen

Monday, March 28, 2011

Something to Think About

Today I want to focus on the fourth Life Skill used in the R.E.T.(Rapid Eye Technology) model which is Cause and Effect.  We live this law whether we know it or not; it's the Law of the Harvest, Karma, What goes around comes around, Whatever a man soweth so shall he reap, the Law of Attraction.  It has become more popularly believed with the popularity of the movie, The Secret (I know there's a book but I took the shortcut and watched the movie).    Simply put, is whatever we put our attention on in belief, thought, and feeling, will come into our life multiplied.

In short, we create our world, or rather co-create with God (I cannot leave God out).  Although, when we believe that we are responsible for the good results in our world then we must also be responsible for the "not so good: results in our world.  Several years ago we bought a new/used Pacifica and I remembered thinking that I just knew I was going to get into a car accident(that fear was on my mind quite a bit).  One evening on the way home from a committee meeting at Church I had a car accident!  There were several situations in play: it was dark ( the mini van that hit me was navy blue so I didn't see it coming), I was tired from working about 18 hours, I had my mind on other things; the truth was that I was responsible ( I literally was since I was the one who pulled out in front of the mini van) and I had drawn that situation to me with so much focus on that fear.  (everyone was fine; it was just an unpleasant experience that I am not going to create again!)  However, with the knowledge that I drew that situation to me, I was then free to create the opposite! 

From the book, Remembering Wholeness authored by Carol Tuttle: "Before the Law of Gravity was identified, nobody knew it existed, and yet everyone was still affected by it.  Such is the case with the Law of Attraction; most people are unaware of the mechanics of how it works and yet everyone is still affected by it.  You don't need to know the mechanics of how the Law of Gravity works to keep yourself from floating off into space.  You also do not need to know how the mechanics of how the Law of Attraction works for it to function in your life.  You will want to know so you can create a life of more well-being and harmony.  You can actually be in deliberate control of your life experience, knowing what you want and manifesting it in abundance in your life.  Or, you can continue to believe that life is a series of random events that you must learn to overcome, put up with, ignore, protect yourself from, or on occasion, enjoy a reprieve and experience some joy and happiness." 

Our life will mirror back to us what we "give out"; all we need to do is look to see who and what we have going on in our lives to become aware of what we are creating.  If we think alot about what we don't want, we'll get alot of that; if we have a need to worry and complain we'll attract alot of people and experiences to worry and complain about; if we have alot of fear we'll attract life events to support our fear.   If we see hard, burdening work, then that is what will come back to us multiplied and the opposite will come back to us if we change our thoughts and feelings to "work is fun".  

"The Soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires, ---and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own." ---As A Man Thinketh written by James Allen.

I expressed the depression (I don't want to use the word "my" as in depression since I do not want to make it mine anymore) that I suffered with (and my family suffered right along I'm sure) for so many years.  I had the belief that it was something that maybe was my "trial" in life to deal with until I read the book, Remembering Wholeness, which opened my mind to new thoughts which led me to believing that maybe I could be "done" with the depression and move on to a different life lesson!  That was so eye-opening for me! (of course I did have a wonderful Spiritual experience that I asked for and felt the burden of the depression taken away)  This does not mean that I never have to deal with the "need" to go back into my closet, but the idea that I could co-create (with God) a life of joy freed me from believing I "had" to suffer.  Our minds are so much more powerful than we actually sometimes give them credit for. (disclaimor: I am not urging anyone with depression to go off of their medication;  my experience does not need to be anyone else's unless they feel it is right for them)  The point of me talking about this is that I wished I had known that I had more control over my circumstances; however, the good that has come from those circumstances (now) is that now I understand what it does feel like along with everything else learned from that long, life experience.

A while back, I wrote about my vision board which focuses on living the Gospel daily (I think it's too high on my shelf; it needs to be eye-level so I can see the whole thing).  I think it's time for a new vision board (and since I have "put it out there" I'll be putting one together this week!) to help keep me focused on what I want to "create" in my life.   About a week ago I got an e-mail (I'm subscribe to lots of different sites) about "Mind Movies" which is a slide show with music that "funnels" my focus for 3 minutes on positive messages and photographs (I chose the one on Spirituality but there were several different choices).   If you're interested in checking these out you can go to

"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." ---2 Cor. 9:6

And a quote by Elder Levi Young, First Council of Seventy, "for as we give to God in thought and deed, the gift comes back to us ten-fold, yea, one hundred fold.  So it is in all life."
                                                                          (Conference Report, Oct. 1931, p.59)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Musings

I really missed "blogging" yesterday because I did have lots of thoughts, but it was such a busy day and not being able to blog was the result of me not getting up earlier and setting my priorities straight.  Yesterday I helped a dear friend (well, she's the age of my kids so I also think of her as "another daughter") and her family move from our small town to an even smaller town.  It's about a 20 minute drive from here and I made 3 separate trips back & forth taking small items that would fit in my car.  Last night her daughter, who is 12, spent the night with us and I drove her back late morning.

Walla Walla is a farming community (among the vineyards) and although there are things I dislike about it, during the Springtime the farmland is beautiful.  The wheat on the hills is green and with clouds in the blue sky it is breathtaking!  I had been getting a little "panicky" this morning not knowing what I needed to be Thought"full" about today until I was making the drive home through the green winding hills.

I chose the word "musings" today because the scenery that I passed through on my way home this morning was my muse for today.   The one thought going through my mind as I was driving (and taking photos ) was "gratitude".    We have been so blessed with this beautiful earth and everything on it; how can anyone look around and not notice his or her surroundings?  Even in the city, beauty can be seen. 

My thoughts now turn to, "what am I doing to show my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all that I have?"  This morning I was doing a little reading in the book, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations written by Stephen R. Covey.  It is a wonderful book and when my children were all at home I remember reading this book daily (the blue and yellow highlightings on the pages remind me that I loved this book).  Anyway there was a chapter (I can't find it now to give you the name of the chapter) where Mr. Covey was talking about wasting time watching television and watching others' lives when we could be living our own.  The more I am trying to find parts of me to give up, to willingly have my heart changed by my Savior, Jesus Christ, the more I am seeing more "blocks" of my days as wasted.  How is that showing gratitude for my life?  

Last night we watched a small part of a movie titled, Switch,  and there was a scene in which the female character shared a quote she had gotten off a self-help infomercial, "Life is in session."  (I love finding truth almost everywhere!)  That is so true; everyday is our life; it isn't waiting to start; it's been happening since we were born!  The trick, at least for me, is each morning seeing what I will do with it that very day.  And even in my life that I love to live "spontaneously" there has to be some semblance of planning or else I will miss out on some of the things I want and need to experience in order for real growth to occur.  

"It is good to have an end to journey towards-but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
                                                                                      -----Ursula K. Leguin

                   Some of the beautiful scenery that I drove through this late morning:

Friday, March 25, 2011

So, What are You Doing these Days?

The other day when I was talking to one of my sons on the telephone, he asked me, "So what are you doing these days?"  Quite frankly, the question stumped me a bit (I had become happy at "being");  I stumbled through my answer a little, "trying to de-clutter the house a bit, the same ole same ole, thinking about going back to school, and of course, I'm now blogging daily."  That question still "haunts" me.  So, what am I doing with my life?
It was easier when all the kids were home; my life was filled with their lives which let me off the hook in thinking too much about what I was going to do once they left home.  And now that they are all gone I am forced to face my own life.  At first this process was difficult; I struggled with only having myself and my husband at home and quite frankly, did not enjoy it much.  After a few months of getting adjusted to that fact and seeing my children all moving on with their lives( and happily, I might add), I came to some kind of "peace" about what I was "doing".  

At first, I thought I needed to get a job (my problem is that I need flexibility since my family lives so far away and I love to visit them), then I thought I could sell lia sophia jewelry again (I did a great job with that for almost 2 years but it was something I didn't love doing) ;then I thought I might like to go back to school and I loved the idea of becoming a counselor since I love working with people and helping others see different perspectives of things, but did not like the idea of about 6 years of schooling.(am I sounding a little scattered?  I was certainly feeling that way!)   I was so afraid of making a wrong choice because I believed that I'd be stuck with that choice(there are always results that come with our choices). "If we dislike the end result of a choice, we can simply forgive ourselves and choose again, thus providing a new result (one of peace)."--Dr. Ranae Johnson

Then one day while at lunch with a dear friend, the simply obvious choice was to check out an interior design 2 year degree from the Community College in town.  I felt quite at peace with that choice(I haven't talked with a counselor yet, but it is my intention!*S*), and as long as I feel peace with that choice I will pursue it(well, after and in between visiting my children and grandchildren).

I do appreciate my son's question; it is always good to think about my choices.  Dr. Ranae Johnson states, "Awareness of your choices can assist you in focusing on what you want in your life.  Being aware of what you really want will create a space for more choices that are compatible with your focus.  This is why it is vital to use your choice, your free will, to create an enlightened (aware) purpose for your life." 

And, honestly, before the question was posed to me I felt like I was on my "path" as it were, in creating a life that I loved; however, I do need to "know" what my priorities are; I do have "practical" things in my life, I still have a home to take care of with a husband that occupies it alongside me! (I do make lists occasionally to keep me on track)  

I do appreciate the fact that we do not have choices about some things if we want to be responsible adults (or teenagers for that matter); sometimes there are things that just "need" to be done, but we can choose our attitude in performing the tasks at hand.  

I am still giving thought to the question, "So what are you doing these days?"  These days I am having wonderfully creative ideas along with doing the same ole, same ole and planning visits to see family out of state.  In days to come, I will be more serious and  love to have a flexible career that is still helping people feel good(interior design does that, right?*S*), and in doing all of this, hopefully I am being true to who I am because in the end it is our choices that we will be held accountable for. 

Once again from Rapid Eye Life Skills developed by Dr. Ranae Johnson, "Choose light and enlightenment; it is joy beyond your wildest dreams.  Choose to feel loved, capable, and abundant.  Start today with, 'I am what I believe I am.'....You can take charge of your life by becoming aware of your Choice and Accountability process."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coming out of the Closet

About 7 years ago I read a book titled, Remembering Wholeness written by Carol Tuttle.  At the time, it was exactly what I needed in my life.  Since I had struggled with depression for most of my adult life (up to that time) the book "spoke" to me; it was as if light came out of that book when I opened it!  I opened the book again the other evening looking for something new and it did not resonate with me like it had before except for one part:  "As you come to a remembrance and knowledge of your true essence, your god-self, it will not feel familiar and you will go back to the old way of being for a time.  It is as if you have been living in a dark closet banging around.  Clearing the limitations and old energy patterns will let you out of the closet.  You will feel free and it may frighten you, so you will go back in the closet and continue to come out occasionally until you feel more and more comfortable  At some point you will close the door behind you and lock it, never to go in again, yet you will turn around and bang your head against the door just because it feels familiar."

I blogged about "patterns" yesterday and a few that I have had.  The truth is that I have been in my "closet"(which has been a pattern for me) for a few days.  I managed(about 7 years ago), after reading Remembering Wholeness and with alot of prayer, to "leave" most of my depression behind (it's a long story and one which I do not think would be appropriate to write here, at least right now ; I'll just say it was a miracle in my life), but every once in a while I just feel that need, I guess, to go back in my dark closet where it feels (or I think it's going to feel ) so comfortable! (that "need" is usually "triggered" and I think this time it was when Rob left which left me with a feeling of sadness being so far from my kids and grandkids.)   The trick is coming out (changing my thoughts and actions) because once I go back in because it is a real feeling of being "stuck". 

Yesterday,while in my "closet, I watched a whole season of America's Next Top Model.  There was an episode that one of the contestants were "blaming" a poorly executed challenge and even her photo shoot on someone else; Nigel Barker(one of the judges) told her that she could not blame anyone else; that it was her responsibliity to get it right(interesting where we find all kinds of truths, huh?).  My little "lightbulb" turned on because he was speaking truth.   Whatever our circumstance or situation we are still in control (or out of control depending on which we give "choice" to) of our thoughts which lead to feelings and then actions (or inactions) and really does us no good in "blaming" or even in "whining" (doing that will only lead to more blaming and whining).

This morning, while on my knees, I realized that it was my choice as to how I can feel.  I was listing a few reasons for not wanting or being afraid to do something and the thought occurred to me: "changing that thought will erase that fear", and I have to say how "freeing" that felt!

So I am back out of the closet and am once again "practicing" all of these wonderful tools that I have been taught.   I am hoping next time the closet door opens for me to enter that I can just "see" it and close it shut because in reality, I know it's too dark in there for me to actually "see" anything.

" Be cheerful in all that you do. Live joyfully. Live happily. Live enthusiastically, knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love."  Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Last night I attended the Relief Society (women's organization in my Church) Birthday dinner; they have one every year to commemorate the founding of the organization in 1842.  The theme was "hats off to Relief Society" (or something like that) and everyone was supposed to wear a hat.  I own one hat (hangs on a bedpost for decoration) and found another golfing cap hanging in the entryway for decoration(looks like I have a theme going for hats!).  I had forgotten about the hat theme until later in the afternoon and chosen (after trying on both of my "decorative" hats) not to wear a hat(I don't like being told what to do anyway).  In truth, I was attending the dinner because I had been asked to sing with a group of women during the dinner; otherwise knowing myself, I probably would not have gone.  (I am seeing myself "set" myself up for what's to come next)  I was sitting in the parking lot waiting to go in and saw women carrying in food that they had signed up to bring and then remembered that I may have signed up to bring rolls but totally forgot!  So my next thought was, "I'd like to leave!"  (I had already set myself up for that thought with my bad attitude).  Since I had agreed to sing with the ladies, I made myself go in and in fact, after putting on an extra hat that was sitting on the table in front of me, felt like I belonged and was happy to be there.

This is a pattern with me, and we all have patterns. (My 5 cent problem was also a pattern that I have had some success in breaking, so it is possible to change our patterns)   We have situations arise and most of the time "react" to them in the same manner which gives us the same results.  Last night I chose to "break" my pattern and stay which led to me feeling good that I was there among such nice (and fun) women.  I have in the past, chosen to leave or stayed but with a bad attitude, which only resulted in feelings of sadness.  

We learn and grow in our patterns when we pause instead of reacting so quickly and choose a different thought which leads to a different "response" which leads to "growth".  This is part of  "Choice and Accountability".  We are the same no matter where we go; I have at times, wanted to move away from places I've lived maybe because I didn't feel like I belonged or just didn't like it there, but the truth is that no matter where I would have moved (and we never moved because I wanted to!) I may have re-created the same experience for myself. 
           "Everywhere I go, there I am again."----- Pogo

 The trick is to stop and take a minute (or hours) and "see" our patterns; are we reacting or are we pausing and responding as the situation arises.  I am struggling with this and would love feedback as to how to progress in this area; how to keep my thoughts "on track", how to "pause" instead of just "reacting".    I am the one accountable for being "stagnant" in my life so what is holding me back?

 I have a book titled, "How to Be Happy, Dammit!" which I love!  First of all, it's is orange which is such a "happy" color!  And secondly, it is full of life lessons and written with lots of humor and cynicism.  I've been reading through it (it's written by Karen Salmansohn using lots of illustrations by zinzell,  and I love pictures!*S*)  The author states, "All to often fear stops you from going where you need to go."  Then gives a great fable titled,  Dope On a Rope "This criminal had committed a crime.  (Because hey, that's what criminals do.  That's their job.)  Anyway, he was sent to the king for his punishment.  The king told him he had a choice.  He could be hung by a rope or take the punishment behind the big dark scary steel door.  The criminal quickly decided on the rope.  As the noose was being slipped on him, he asked.  'out of curiosity, what's behind that door?'  The king laughed and said, 'You know, it's funny.  I offer all you guys the same choice, and nearly all of you pick the rope.'  "So,' said the criminal, 'what's behind the door?  Obviously, I won't tell anyone, 'he said, pointing to the noose round his neck.  The king paused then answered, 'Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope." 

In seeing and then changing our patterns (which involves changing our thoughts -or I like "replacing" our thoughts at the onset of a situation) we need to figure out a way to overcome our fears. (sometimes we need help in doing this; whether it be Rapid Eye Technology, talk therapy,or other numerous modalities)   Whether they be fears of people, fear of the unknown, or fear of being happy; we will never know unless we start the process.  Pres. Spencer W. Kimball used to say "do it" and Nike says, "Just do it".  After all, no one will make us; we are the only ones accountable for our situations.

Dr. Ranae Johnson states, "When we accept responsibility for choosing our response to life, we are empowered.  We experience a enw sense of freedom, growth and energy.  We move out of our comfort zone and begin stretching.  We begin making a positive difference in our life."

"If you keep doing what you've always been doing, then you'll keep getting what you've always been getting.  You must courageously break the habit of your habits (patterns), or every year you will be doomed to live out: 'Same stuff, Different Outfit.'  The style of your clothes may change, but the style of your circumstances won't."----Karen Salmansohn

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taking Charge

Last night I did some more reading on the Life Skill (Dr. Ranae Johnson) of Choice and Accountability.  I have to admit that I have never studied these fully; I am using 'Thought"full"ness' as my teacher so I may make a few mistakes along the way.  I realized that yesterday when I wrote about being accountable, I used the analogies of action leading to consequence, but as I read last night and thought about what I was reading, I realized something different about "accountability".  

"Accountability involves claiming your own power and using your own wisdom to create even better results in life.  Accountability enables you to take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions regardless of the actions of others."----Dr. Ranae Johnson (I hadn't been giving Ranae the honor of her degree before and she earned that.)  So in relating the story yesterday of the twins who were separated because of an abusive homelife and were reunited to find that they had each made different choices in their lives to give them different outcomes, showing that they were products of their choices rather than their circumstances.  They were each accountable for their outcomes. 

I am accountable for my thoughts, feelings and actions no matter what is going on around me.  Remember the old saying, "the devil made me do it"?  Well, the devil may tempt me, but he cannot make me do anything; I am in charge of my actions; we all are.  And as Dr. Johnson said, we need to "claim our own power" ; it is ours ; not our children's when they won't mind us, or our husband's when we disagree with him, or even someone else who might have insulted us.  No one can take our power; we give it away freely.  

When we become aware of our "excuses" to give our power away, we will have "aha" moments (I love lightbulb moments!)  These are a few "excuses" we give for not being accountable for our choices - these may occur consciously or unconsciously (taken out of the Life Skills manual):
"I HAD NO CHOICE" (we always have a choice even though we may not like its consequence)
"I HAD NO CONTROL" (good example of this; a couple in the middle of a heated arguement, harsh words flying and the phone rings: it's the pastor(or could be anyone).  Notice how the voice tone changes as the partner calmly and pleasantly chats on the phone.  When the phone conversation ends, the screaming resumes and they're again 'out of control' But really out of control?  This behavior commands control and uses anger as a power tool.)
"I'LL TRY" (this is a non-accountable response.  It creates confusion and tension in relationships and discounts the credibility of the speaker.  It is a lie.)
                    I love Yoda's saying,  "There is no try, there is only do."
"IF....., THEN...."  (places conditions between us and our goals.  example: we say, "if you do this, then I will trust you." We set up hoops for people to jump through and after they do this then do we trust them?  
"IT'S NOT MY FAULT" (when we blame others we prevent ourselves from learning)
"I DON'T HAVE TIME" (of course you have time, in fact, each of us has exactly the same 24 hours in a day.  How we choose to spend our time is the issue.)

It's time for me to really look at my life and see which of these (and there were a few others) that I use in my everyday life.  If we do not really look and "see" then we will stay the same, and do I like the life that I am creating?

"Are you placing the responsibility on others to create your life's experience?  You may be setting yourself up for a series of disappointments.  In the grand scheme of things, not many people will commit to fulfilling your needs over theirs.  Seldom do you exceed your self-expectations.  When you take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, life becomes an adventure in learning." 
                                                                                                          ---Dr. Ranae Johnson

                        (FROM THE BOOK, HOW TO BE HAPPY, dammit written by Karen Salmansohn )
                                                                            ! WARNING
                                                  You think about 60,000
                                                  thoughts a day.  It's up to you
                                                  to make sure that you don't
                                                  use up 59,999 of them with
                                                  negative, cynical thinking.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Choice and Accountability

It's a new week and I would like to start a new "Life Skill" (created by Ranae Johnson, Rapid Eye Technology).  I have written about "Thought" and "Perception" and it is time to move to the third which is "Choice and Accountability".   

I have learned about choice and accountability my whole life; when we are young we learn that when we touch something hot we get burned, when we go too fast in the car we are subject to a speeding ticket, and there are other numerous "action to reaction" laws in play.   "Every new moment and every situation provides a new choice, an opportunity to do things differently and produce even better results."---Ranae Johnson
There is a story of two twin brothers reared in an abusive alcholic home.  The boys were removed by  Child Services and placed in separate foster homes, and did not meet again until 30 years later.  One of the brothers was a shabbily dressed, alcoholic, street person, begging for handouts.  The other brother was an attorney.
     The alcoholic brother defended his position in life by saying "How could you expect me to be any different?  Our parents were alcoholics and they treated us like dirt.  We were unwanted and I learned early to drink and steal to survive.  Life has been tough; I am what they made me."
     The lawyer brother had a different perspective (life skill #2!).  He said, "I chose early on that I was going to do things differently.  I wanted a good life so I stayed away from drinking.  I also learned to approach relationships differently.  I went to school and therapy.  I still have work to do, but life is going quite well.
      Twin brothers coming from the same heredity and environment obviously made different choices.  One settled for survival and was a "victim" of life.  The other chose "life" and took responsiblity for his choices.  'It's not the hand you are dealt, it's how you play the cards that makes the difference.'

 "The thing about 'choice' is that we are always 'at choice' to choose again!  The word 'choose' in the Webster's dictionary means 'the power of choice, to select, make choice.'  The word 'choice' means 'The act of choosing, selecting....that which is preferred, the right of power of choosing.' With choice there is power." ----Ed Cook Jr.   He also tells us that there are 344 references in all of the Standard Works of the word choose, chosen and choice!  While, when using the word "decide"(from the latin root 'to cut off' and 'to separate' and 'to pass judgement' and from the dictionary: to bring to and end.) we are "ending" our choices.  Think of the words that end in "cide": suicide, genocide, homicide.(very definite endings).  

      "Never place a period where God has placed a comma."   (Gracie Allen)
We have been given agency or the right to choose from the beginning!  In the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 12:27 it states, "And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil."   
 I love that I can choose again, it is kind of like hitting my "undo" button!  I may lose time (there are consequences for our choices), but I can choose a different thought to move me forward in creating a day that I prefer over one that I may have started.  

This morning I woke up to rain and an empty house; I chose to sleep a little longer and was really tempted to sleep the day away because there is no one home for me to be accountable to, but since I have started my blog,  Thought"full"ness, I feel a responsibility to post every day(unless I am sick, of course, and even then I think about it).  So even though this day is now into the afternoon, I can and will choose to make the best of it.   The best may be in catching up on a little housework(does it ever end?  NO!) and maybe even starting a new book.  What will your choices be today?
                    "Everything can be taken from man except the last of the human freedoms,
                    his ability to choose his own attitude in any given set of circumstances-
                    to choose his own way."    ------Victor Frankl

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not Winnable?

   It being Sunday, I enjoy thinking of more "Sunday-like" topics.  I started this article or talk (or whatever it is *S*)  almost six months ago and finally finished it this morning after my youngest son left to head back to school with Spring Break over.  I was sad and still am sad that I live so far from my children, but I needed to focus on positive things.  I hope you enjoy and I would appreciate any feedback:

Today while listening to General Conference, I was also playing Solitaire on my husband’s ipad (i am a great multi-tasker).   I had played for a while and then  suddenly noticed a little warning in red at the top which read, “not winnable”.  I automatically ended that game and then went on to another one because, of course, I wanted to win.  Who doesn’t want to win?  Each time I saw a small red, “not winnable” at the top I immediately ended that session and started a new game.  The computer is obviously programmed to know the outcome of my game before I do, which can be a little maddening except that it will save me wasting time on something that I cannot win.
 My thought process then began to turn toward my life as in comparison with the solitaire game.  If I was to know the outcome of my actions beforehand, if someone were to tell me in advance that my thoughts and actions were “not winnable” I would stop what I was doing and change my game plan. 

Several things can help me to do this.  First, the Holy Ghost can be my guide in knowing when I’m not going in the right direction.  I won’t necessarily hear him tell me that my life is “not winnable” because that is not the truth; however, he can show me in articles, in conference talks, in the scriptures and by thoughts & feelings that I need to make corrections; that if I do stay on this path and continue with my actions which aren’t ultimately producing joy in my life that it’s TIME to change.
The most important “help” I have in my “not winnable” game is the Savior and his atonement.  In the real game of solitaire, there’s a button at the bottom of the screen that lets you go back and “undo” your last move.  I love that I get many chances to make the game “winnable”.  And in my life the “undo” button is repentance.  And I get LOTS of chances to hit the “undo” button and repent and start over again.   2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”    Longsuffering, here is the key, I believe; we cannot understand in our lifetime the quality of  “longsuffering” that Christ has. 
In the footnotes for this scripture it says ‘forbearance’ which then lists forgiveness and patience as well as longsuffering.  Many of us have seen the painting of the Savior with his arms outstretched toward us; I do not believe that He ever takes them away.  It is we, who do not take advantage of this wonderful gift; do we not really believe Him?  It is easy to believe in Him, but do we actually “believe” what he says?  To “believe” Him, I believe we have to make an effort to “know” Him. 

As I was reading through scriptures I was amazed at how wonderful they are; wishing I could remember all of them.  I may not be able to memorize all of the scriptures, but I can remember the feeling I get while reading them which is one of hope and love.  That is what the Savior offers us in repentance; a feeling of hope and love.  "When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed." -----Pres. Ezra Taft Benson
 So back to the title, “not winnable”.  I am so grateful that this life is so ‘winnable’!   Jesus Christ will not ever give up on us; let’s not give up on ourselves either. 
   In the Book of Mormon:  2 Nephi Chapter 32: vs 19-21
      “And now, my beloved brethren after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
    Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward feasting up on the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life. 
   And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God....”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Used To....

 There is a store in Walla Walla, called Real Deals, and it is only open on Thursdays and Saturdays(it's a great little store); they sell inexpensive home decorative items and I like to go look around every once in a while.  A while back I bought a small sign that sits in my kitchen window sill that reads, "I Used to Have a Handle on Life But It Broke Off!"  I love having humor around me and it really summed up the way I had been feeling.   

This could be perceived as a negative attitude but I do not look at it that way.  It is rather funny to even think that I had any control over life in the first place!  If nothing else, my children taught me that I only have control over what I think and do.  As a parent we teach our children right from wrong, try to teach them manners, how to be nice to people, that they are children of our Heavenly Father and that we want them to be happy,etc...;  hopefully when they grow up they will retain some of it!  

What are we learning as adults?  Our children teach us patience, perserverence, to set good examples (or at least try), and hopefully in there somewhere we are learning that life is joyful; however, the one thing they" took" from me was my control.  I don't mean "control" as in when they are young and I allowed them to do dangerous things.  The control I am writing about is the kind of control that takes away their thinking and choices at the appropriate age, of course. (on the other hand, I had to learn that my thoughts and moods were not to be controlled by their choices and moods either.) 

We do not have to be parents to learn that we are not in control either; there are many ways we learn this; even with children gone from home now other people and "things" teach me the same thing.  Just look around at the people and "things" in your life, and I will bet there are plenty of opportunities to learn this lesson. (my computer teaches me this daily!) 

I used to make cakes from scratch, bottle fruit and other food items, cook dinner every night, care more about what other people thought about me, want to be model skinny, etc....  Now I look for shortcuts that allow me to be more in control of my thoughts and choices.  

The few things I have learned are that I can be in control of my thoughts and choices and that God knows everything.   And when you think about it, who really wants to use all of your energy trying to keep that handle from breaking off? 


Friday, March 18, 2011

My 5 Cent Problem

A few years ago while at Rapid Eye Certification, I was asked to participate in what is called the "Creation Walk" to demonstrate how it works.  The "Creation Walk" takes one from where they are in a situation and can move them to a new perspective of where they are now choosing to be.     There are actually "squares" of paper with wording laid out on the floor in a circle that begin with your "thought" (or situation) and end with your "connection to God".    You "see" as you step on each square new ideas and perspectives as well as "feeling" your choices and experiences.  (It's very interesting and eye-opening)
So, I was told by the instructor to pick a 5 cent problem (meaning one that was easy and quick to get through just to demonstrate the process).  Well I thought I had picked a 5 cent problem until we started around the circle and I was re-creating it all.  I was surprised at the emotion that it brought up!
My "problem" was that "when I was driving, I would get really annoyed with people who pulled out right in front of me."  That seemed simple enough; I thought!  I soon discovered that it was not so simple and that eventually it caused me to lose my connection to God.  It soon became very real to me and felt very real to me.  I saw very quickly that I needed to change those thoughts from anger to understanding because I know that I need to feel God's presence in my life and I would like to think (and try to do) that the things I do are pleasing to God. 

My perception was that people were so rude and inconsiderate (it all seemed to revolve around me).  On the way to the top of the circle I was in my negative behavior and feelings, but on the way around to my "connection with God" I was creating what I wanted to "be".  It is eye-opening to see what you want to "be" rather than what your actions are at the moment.  So I chose to see those who were pulling out in front of me in different ways (this sounds so trite just stating this but in reality, it was very powerful):  in a hurry to pick up a child, having so many things on their mind that they weren't paying attention and that they could have waited when nothing was coming behind me, upset and having difficulties in their lives, etc.....

I am not always perfect at this, but I am better and I know that to judge others because I may  be inconvenienced a little and have to slow my car down to accommodate them will send me to a place of "disconnectedness" and I need that connection.  

In "wrapping" up my few days of concentrating on "perception" I am learning to be aware of my "perceptions" or "judgements" about situations and people.  What are we giving focus to that is keeping us "disconnected" from God or from being positive? 

"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change."
(I know I used this already, but it is so true)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Having New Eyes

There's a story told of a philosopher who stood at the gate of an ancient city greeting travelers as they entered.  One of them questioned him: "What kind of people live in your city?"  The philosopher met the question with a question:  "What kind of people lived in the city where you are from?"  "Oh, they were very bad people", answered the traveler, "cruel, deceitful, and devil-worshipping."  "That's the kind of people who live in this city", declared the philosopher.  Another traveler came by and asked the same question, to which the philosopher replied:  "What kind of people lived in the city where you came from?"  "Oh, they were very good people, "answered the second traveler, "kind, and truthful, and God-loving."  The philosopher replied, "That's the kind of people who live in this city."

To continue on with the subject of Perception, it is "in a nutshell, our beliefs based on our experience.  The way we perceive our present-day world is based on how our world has been perceived in the past, and the meanings we put on those experiences are based on that perception."-Ranae Johnson 

I am not saying that because we have had negative experiences  in our lives that we have to be stuck in seeing life through those same eyes.  I am saying that we have choices in how we want to perceive the world and our surroundings because aren't we here to learn and grow?    

Through the first 10 or so years of our marriage, we moved quite a bit with my husband's job to mostly smaller towns, and I classify myself as a "city" girl.  I was a "complainer" and my husband would say to me, "It's not "where" you live but "how" you live that matters."  And I'd say , "sure, sure" (alot of sarcasm in those words), but in truth, his statement was absolutely correct.  We lived in a VERY small town, Castledale, Utah, for four and a half years (longer than we had intended, but how often do things go as planned?*S*).  We made some great friends and lived in a great tiny neighborhood where my kids had friends and had room to play.  When we finally got a job (to another small place but larger than Castledale) and were moving, I realized how sad I was to leave my friends.  Isn't it the truth, (or my perception, at least!) that alot of times we don't appreciate what we have until we lose it?   

"Instruction in perception will help you realize that there is always another way to look at any situation. "----Ranae Johnson

So when I relate the story above about the philosopher telling the travelers that the city is just as they perceive it to be, that has been a real experience in my life.  I have been lucky; however, to find great friends and continue to live my life in a way that I've wanted to live and somehow still see positive in those experiences.  I wish I could claim that I was positive and saw things in a better light all of the time, but I have not.  (I still struggle with living in a smaller place that does not have all the opportunites that one can find in living in a bigger city), but I am working on it.  This is still my journey and hopefully in reading and writing about this subject, my eyes will be open a little more to an awareness of a new desire to see everything around me in a more positive light.  

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
                                                                               -----Marcel Proust

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DIgging A Little Deeper

Last night I started reading a book titled, The Holy Secret, authored by James Ferrell, (excellent book) in which it can help the reader (if the reader chooses *S*) to see the blocks keeping us from loving "holy" things (such as scriptures, the Temple, and the Sabbath Day and all aspects involved with those subjects)  In reading as well as in creating the blog, Thought"full"ness, I am starting to see things in me that may not be as good as I had thought.  One of them being, my perception of others.

Perceiving others is just a nice way of saying, judging others.  I really do try to see the best in people, but I find myself having judgemental thoughts about others (even strangers) that may not be so nice after all.  We have opportunities all around us to change those thoughts; just driving down the street this morning on the way to Curves gave me ample opportunity to think good things about people that I did not know.  

In living in a smaller town, I have opportunities to see all kinds of people and see the same ones more frequently.  We have a group home here for "mentally challenged" people.  Every once in a while I see a few of them out and about.  There are a several I'd like to highlight:
       A few times when I've been eating lunch downtown, a girl (or lady; not sure how old she is) has approached me (as well as everyone in the restaurant) to buy some of her "art".  These drawings look very child-like and it is obvious that she is not an artist and one's first thought could be "please don't approach me" and avoid her; as well as, I will not pay money for something that I will throw in the garbage.   So the first perception of her might not be very favorable; however digging a little deeper, she is to be admired for having her own kind of work ethic; for putting herself out there to earn her own money and to be her own kind of independent.  I am thinking that her perception of herself is positive so I am hoping that is what she sees in others.  
      When I was working the day shift in Subway (about 18 years ago!) a group of people who lived in the group home would come in around 2:00 or 3:00pm.  There was one guy that amazed me; he must have been some kind of "souvant" because his ability to see coins and know so quickly how much it was in an instant was so interesting (and he was also particular about the "newness" of change he was getting back).  Just by looking on the outward appearance of this man would lend my perception or judgement in negative thoughts, but actually "seeing" him was a different story.  
     One last highlight:  I have not seen this guy around in a while, but one day I was driving down the street and saw a guy riding a bicycle (which was absolutely normal) until I passed him and saw that he was carrying a doll.  On that particular day my first thought was, "whatever it takes to make you happy is great!" and then I just became a little saddened that he was that way (that's a negative judgement in itself, huh?)   My daughter and her family were visiting a few years ago and we went into Rite-Aid.  As we were in the toy aisle,  he was there with his doll, and my granddaughter (who was probably around 3 years old) was fascinated with him.  I wonder what her perception of him was?  

One last story:  (and I cannot remember who related this story but I heard it at a Church meeting):  There was a man on a plane with children who were very obnoxious, and the man seemed to not care or try to quiet his children to the detriment of the passengers around them.  In delving a little deeper in the situation, someone found out that this man's wife had recently died.  How wrong would it have been to trust our perception of that situation and judge him harshly! 

I guess my point in all of this rambling is that as we all dig a little deeper we may find more areas in ourselves that need some work and improvement.  One of them being how we perceive others, and honestly, the only people we can "fix" are ourselves.  It is our thoughts, words and actions that matter.

"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life.  But we can decide what happens in us, how we take it, what we do with it---and that is what really counts in the end.
                                                                                     -----Joseph Fort Newton