Archives for December 2008

On the twelfth day of Christmas I gave to the world, all of me – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 30, 2008 1 Comment

The feelings of shame as a child are still written in my memory; though I can look at them now with a fond smile.   I was always told to tone down my energy; to be careful not to over-whelm others.   After many years of trying to tone things down, I started on the road to becoming an inspirational speaker.   The feedback was consistent.    “Teresa you need to ramp it up!   Be ten times bigger than you think you need to be!”   My inner child had a small temper tantrum at the feedback.  “You mean, just be myself…” the inner child thought back sarcastically.   My adult self smiled at the thought, feeling the relief of knowing I could now be myself.  I ramped up my energy to the level I had been so comfortable with as a child.   “Bigger still” my coaches said.  “Smile bigger, move bigger, be bigger!   Let your passion shine forth!   Let your love for a new world erupt with every word!”   I began to realize how it was that my heroes so inspired the world.   Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Deepak Chopra, Michael Bernard Beckwith – when they spoke, they did not speak to the room:   they spoke to the world!   They took every ounce of moral and spiritual power at their disposal and fed it back to the world for all to feel and know as truth.

The most important gift you can give to the world is to simply be all that you are!   Shed anything about you that is tentative and be everything you were ever born to be!   Here’s a final exercise for you to try.  Sit quietly for a few moments, taking deep inhalations and deep exhalations. Clear your mind of all busy thoughts.  Then ask yourself one question.  “How do I become the kind of person I most admire?”  Don’t analyze or over-think.   Just sit quietly and see what images arise for you.  Slowly come back to awareness and spend 2 minutes writing in a journal the answer to this question.  Write whatever comes, without judgment or analysis.  Then over the next few days, notice if your life has shifted at all.    To strengthen this exercise, continue it for a number of days, until you feel you no longer need it.

Wishing you a year filled with light, truth and passion!

Namaste!

On the eleventh day of Christmas I gave to the world, the gift of my dreams – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 29, 2008 2 Comments

It is said that the most important gift that Martin Luther King Senior ever gave to his son, was a mentor to teach him how to dream.   All the amazing things that man has ever created have started with someone first dreaming it.  Children naturally dream.  Ask a child to envision something grand and they can stretch their imagination in ways that will inspire and delight.   So where on the path between child and adulthood do some of us loose the ability to dream? How do we stop believing in the possibility of things that don’t yet exist?

As a child, by age six, I had learned of the concept of investment.   My bank account fascinated me every month as pennies were being deposited that I had not earned.   One day, I asked my older brother Marc “Why doesn’t somebody just put a lot of money in a bank account, and the interest it pays could send all the poor children to school?”   My brother used the opportunity to teach me what a scholarship trust was.   “People already do that,” he said.  “But most trusts are set up for students in the richer countries.  It is not so common for poor countries.”  I remember being disappointed at this thought.  My “Why doesn’t somebody just…” had sparked in my heart.  It was the beginning of my dream.   For years it smoldered, without flame, as a criticism of the world.  Then one night, several years ago, my “Why doesn’t somebody just…” sparked into flame.  It had been a challenging year:  in the space of a few months my business had failed, my marriage had fallen apart, my father had died and I had lost my health.  In my resolve to change my life, I had started meditating every night.   One ordinary night it happened.   In the quiet of my mind rose up my “Why doesn’t somebody just…”.  Clarity hit me like a cold splash as I realized  I was the somebody.   I had been waiting, critical of others, for someone else to do the dream in my heart.  So my resolve to be that somebody was born.

The realization of a dream is just a start. You must take action.  It is from the small steps we take every day that the world is shifted.  So live your dreams daily, one small shift at a time.

To align with your dreams this Christmas ask yourself if you have a “Why doesn’t somebody just…”? .   It can be big or small, local or global.   There is no right or wrong to this answer: all of our dreams are different. Therein lies the strength of the world.   Another way to look at this question is to ask “If I could create one miracle to help the world tomorrow, what would it be?”    When clarity comes, commit to doing one small thing every day that moves you toward that dream.

On the tenth day of Christmas I gave to the world, the gift of my passion – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 25, 2008 Leave a Comment

Christina loves to fly.   When I think of the word passion, I think of her.   Ask her to describe what heaven is like, and she’ll talk about life at 10,000 feet!  Like many pilots struggling to gain the air time required to work as a pilot, she has given up every luxury in her life to pursue her passion.

When a mutual friend, John, founder of Books and Bikes for Africa came back from Kenya this fall, he was changed by what he had seen.   A care worker in Nairobi emailed him a few days later with a desperate plea.  One of the women’s centers was without food until the New Year.  They had micro-loans and a training program lined up for the women that would start in the New Year.  But the reality was that half the women would likely die of starvation before the aid arrived.   John put out a plea to those of us in Humanity Unites Brilliance an organization to which we all belong.   Christina was the first to speak up.   She offered an hour in the air for anyone who would make a contribution to John.   The ball was rolling and within a few days, others had made similar offers to raise over $1,800 for the women and children of Nairobi.

What are you doing when your life is just perfect?  It’s a powerful question.   The first time I was asked this question was by Janet Bray Attwood, author of The Passion Test (also by Chris Attwood).   It’s a question worth reflecting on this time of year.  Because the things we love are the things with which we should align our lives.   When we use our passions to give to others, we get back as much as we give – we are doing something that brings us joy while giving to help another.

To align with your passions this Christmas, think about what you’re doing when you’re happiest, or better yet, pick up a copy of The Passion Test and do the full test.   Then reflect on what gifts you could give of your passion.

On the ninth day of Christmas I gave to the world, the gift of my talent – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 24, 2008 Leave a Comment

When Madison was four years old, she and her mother were homeless.   As with many people, the challenges she faced early in life forged her spirit into something truly beautiful.   To meet Madison, is to know her spirit.  At the age of fourteen, she founded a national non-profit organization, Rags to Riches, which supports youth and adults who have been impacted by homelessness, domestic violence or extreme poverty.

It was minus 31 the morning Madison brought gift baskets to Inn From the Cold Society and the Drop In Centre, located in downtown Calgary.   It was a typical gesture of Madison to make it a warmer and brighter Christmas for twenty-nine Calgary families.   As an actress, model, dancer and activist, this “fashionista” brings her charisma, talent and drive to bear on everything she does.    She is now joining forces with 13 year-old Sasha, a clothing designer in LA.  Together, they are expanding their brilliance into clothing designs which are manufactured in Africa: supporting the local African people in creating self-sustainability.   When you view some of Madison’s garments you will understand the gift she brings to the world.   (www.madisonlindstrom.com)

To give the gift of your talent this Christmas, ask yourself “if I perform one miracle today, what would it be?”  Sit in silence and see what image comes up for you.   Then ask yourself “how can I bring my talents to create this miracle today?”   Spend a moment sitting silently and letting your thoughts drift away.   Focus only on this miracle and see what image comes up for you of how you can create this with your talent?   Make a commitment and dedicate some time today, to giving out a Christmas miracle.

On the eight day of Christmas I gave to the world, the gift of my time – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 23, 2008 Leave a Comment

Jack was feeling sad.  He knew you were suppose to be happy Christmas week, but the new skis his Dad had given him weren’t cheering him up.  They were top of the line.  His Dad was a Vice President in a Marketing Firm, so he could afford the best.  Jack was sitting at home wondering if his Dad would ever get off the phone and take him to the ski hill.  What good were things if you had no one you cared about to use them with?

It is interesting how easily we loose site of what a gift represents.  When you offer a gift, we are really offering someone we love an experience:  nicer cloths to wear, a game to play, a tool they can use.   So, if what we are really giving someone is an experience, why not offer one of the most precious gifts we can, our time?  As a parent, we often think we’re giving our kids considerable time as we work to maintain the household and provide a better lifestyle.  Yet the thing people often care about most is having someone they love simply spend time with them.

If you want to align with this gift this Christmas, try and create more space in your life for those you love.  For a few hours every evening, stop all the running around and just spend time with your loved ones.   If your loved ones are far away, make a phone call.   Then at bedtime, keep a short journal of the experience and what it meant to you.   At the end of the holiday season, look back on your journal and reflect on what this shifted in your life.

On the seventh day of Christmas I gave to the world, the gift of compassion, – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 22, 2008 Leave a Comment

It had been a tough year for me, my father died and my marriage fell apart.  So my thoughts were often turned inward at my own anguish.  I remember standing frozen in the check-out line. The woman in front of me was paying with food stamps and didn’t have enough.  The cashier was looking stressed and impatient, gazing back at the long lineup of worn out Christmas shoppers, their grocery carts brimming.  The woman pulled a large ham out of the order and asked the girl to remove it from her bill, looking quite angry that she was being treated so disrespectfully.  Her two children were squirming in the front of her cart.   I stood paralyzed.  I wanted to offer to put the ham on my bill but I was afraid I would insult her or make her angry.    She left, head down, replying abruptly to her children’s questions of why they weren’t buying the ham.   I stood for a moment in shame wondering what I should have done.

Then clarity came to me.  I had promised myself that my new year’s resolution would be to put aside fear and start acting more on my desire for a better life.   I quickly asked the girl to put the ham on my bill.   Money was tight, but I was not buying food with stamps.  I could afford an extra ham.   I hastily threw my groceries in my cart without bagging them, desperate to get out of the store and try and catch the woman in the parking lot.   I pushed my cart toward the exit hastily, willing to bear the disapproving stares; my shame at my own inaction was too great.

Suddenly there she was, standing at a payphone, calling someone for a ride.   I froze, wondering if she’d be angry, then handed her the ham.   “Don’t be angry with me” I said.   “It’s Christmas!”   my voice shook from nervousness.   She laughed and thanked me for the ham and wished me a Merry Christmas.  Her smile was filled with gratitude and relief.

I cried all the way home, in shock that it had taken so little to make someone else’s Christmas.   I cried at my own shame in almost missing the opportunity because of my fear.  Through my tears, came clarity.  I had been so turned inward in my thoughts that I had been blind to those around me.   I will never know what I did for that woman at Christmas, but I will treasure forever, that she put me back in touch with my own compassion.

Want to reconnect with your own compassion this Christmas, make it your goal today to only look outward.  Every time you catch yourself focusing on a personal worry or frustration, stop yourself.   Look outward instead and find someone who needs you in some way.   It can be big or small, a momentary gesture or a commitment to volunteer.  When the day is done, sit in stillness and notice what this day has done for your heart.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the gift of clarity – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 21, 2008 Leave a Comment

Mary had worked so hard to get everyone’s Christmas presents, she felt totally exhausted and frustrated.  She also knew she didn’t have enough money to get everything on her children’s lists.  She felt guilty for not being able to give her kids the things they really wanted.  With her energy depleted and her frustration running high, she started snapping at her family.  Christmas was supposed to be a time of joy and happiness and yet she felt totally drained.

Sound familiar in any way?   It’s easy to loose site of what Christmas is really about.   Regardless of your beliefs, the fundamental teaching of Christ has meaning for most people, “love your neighbor as yourself”.  So the true spirit of Christmas celebrates this philosophy regardless of your belief.   The teaching “Love your neighbor as yourself” has meanings on many levels.   The beauty of this statement is that you only love your neighbor to the extent that you love yourself.  So loving yourself is paramount.  I am not talking about egotistical love, but rather knowing that you are a miraculous creation and part of this amazing world.  And when you can see yourself this way, turn your gaze outward and see every other living thing in this same light.  At the same time this teaching has an even deeper meaning.  We are all connected in this world.  So loving your neighbor as yourself also recognizes that whatever energy you give out to the world, you get back.   To get love, you must give it.

If you want to shed the “busy-ness” of Christmas,  spend some time in silence today, stilling your thoughts.  As thoughts come up, let them drift away in a bubble until you can completely still your mind.   Take long slow inhales and long slow exhales.  Commit to doing this for 10 minutes every night.   When you can still the busy thoughts of your mind, clarity will come forth.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the gift of honesty.

December 20, 2008 1 Comment

Everyone cringed when Tom was coming near. They worried they’d be trapped. He’d talk on about everything happening in his life or ask advice about his problems. He seldom showed any interest in others. Sound familiar? I was giving a talk one day about strengthening relationships and Tom approached me after to tell me my suggestions had never worked for him. He spoke for a moment or two about how people just don’t care about what’s going on for him. My intuition told me it was a time for direct honesty. I asked John how he demonstrated that he cared about others when he was having a conversation with them? The question stopped him in his tracks. He had never thought about it. So I asked him again, “Tom, do you think you might be getting back, what you’re giving out?” Again he was silent. I could see several people snickering under their breath close by. They had never seen him speechless before. I wanted it to be a supportive environment for Tom, so I suggested that he practice the art of being interested, rather than interesting. It took him a moment or two to get it, but he left with a commitment to try. The next time I spoke at an event with Tom in the audience, he approached me again and thanked me. No one had ever pointed that out to him before. He than asked me several questions about how I was, something he’d never done before. The looks from bystanders were shock and appreciation.

The reality is that compassionate honesty is a gift we give, both to ourselves and to others. Want more honesty in your relationships? For one day, commit to compassionate honesty. Start with yourself. Write down three things you are fantastic at, and one thing you want to improve. Than as you go through your day, give positive feedback at every opportunity you see. Finally, if you see someone who is struggling with something, be honest with them, in a kind way, about what you’re seeing. The easiest way to give compassionate feedback is to ask the person questions that force them to think about it. For example “what kind of a response were you hoping to get with that action? Do you think it worked? Why?” Keep your motive to be helpful and watch what happens!

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the gift of empowering thoughts – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 19, 2008 Leave a Comment

The biggest challenge for me this year has been mastery over my own thoughts.   When I first decided that my dream was to raise money, in trust for schools in developing countries, I first conceptualized it as something I would do “someday” when I retired.   But as I let myself sink deeper into trust for the Universe I realized the opposite was true:   when I started following my dream, I would retire.   So it has been a year of practicing letting go of the safety net of a well paying job.   I have learned to trust that when I follow my passion, all will fall into place.

How often in life do we defeat ourselves with our own thoughts?   More still, how often do we defeat those we love?   Elisabeth Fayt has written a brilliant book on the practice of controlling your thoughts called “Paving it Forward”.    Want to shift your life? Your words are a great indicator of your thoughts and beliefs so spend today noticing your thoughts and statements. If you are worried about something pre-pave it in a positive way.  For example “My appointment this morning, will exceed my expectations!”  Or, “My family will forgive me for being late”.   Begin to catch yourself whenever you hear yourself saying something that would predict failure and re-pave it into something positive.  Change “I’m always late” to “I routinely arrive on time”.  Change “I always hit red lights” to “I mostly hit green lights.”   Watch what making this small shift in your language and thoughts does for your life!

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, belief in myself – a law of attraction primer on moving from materialism to spiritualism

December 18, 2008 Leave a Comment

It is interesting how often in life we have trouble believing in those we most love.  Familiarity can lead to indifference.   Then, when we look at our reflection in  those closest to us, we see indifference.  Yet what if the opposite is true?  What if we are all, in fact, exceptional?   What if all we need is belief in ourselves in order to step into the role of who we truly are?

Have you ever been stung by the indifference of someone you love?   Close your eyes for a moment and see in your minds eye, the faces of those you love.   Do you know what their passions are?   What are they doing when they’re most happy?   Now ask yourself,  “who’s dreams have I become indifferent to?   My family?  My friends?  My own?”     Sit quietly with this question for a moment or two and see what thoughts come up for you.

Want to shift your life?   Make three commitments right:
1.    What one thing you will stop doing, that undermines your belief in yourself and your belief in others?
2.    What one thing you will do more of, to increase your belief in yourself and your belief in others; and
3.    What one thing you will start doing to increase your belief in yourself and your belief in others.