What you talk about builds the house you live in.
Having said that, we are just talking about a belief, and a belief, no matter how complex or practiced it is, is no more than a lie that is not made true just because lots of people agree with it.  We can challenge these beliefs and on the show I talk about how that doesn't need to be a long, difficult process either. (Good news, for us 'strivers'!)

Books that will help you challenge your stories that I read from on the show on January 27  are:
Steve Chandler, The Story of You (and how to create a new one)
Howard Falco, I AM (due out in 2010, Penguin) in the interim you can find Howard on Facebook in the Group Master Your Reality
Debbie Ford, readings from The Secret of The Shadow

and extracted from her same book,
The healing action steps:

1. Take a journal and go somewhere quiet
2. Write your response to
Who would I be without my story?
What I am afraid I will lose if I give up my story?
3. Write down the ways you've tried to fix, or get rid of your story
4. Look at the behaviors and beliefs you hold that prevent you from accepting what is
5. List the ways you hope to avoid dealing with reality.
What changes would you make if there were no hope of a miracle happening to change things?
 
 
"If you think you can, or if you think you can't, either way, you're right." Henry Ford
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We all experience the world, not as it is, but through the filter of our thoughts about it. No matter how you think of yourself, or how you have judged yourself - good news. 

Not everything you tell yourself is true.

We can stop because we started it
On the show today, It Is What You Say It is, (Jan 27) I talked about what builds the house you live in. Ever catch yourself saying "Oh, I'm not good at that"? Our opinions and beliefs build our limiting walls. I've had many clients tell me they can't manage this or that based on having never really tried it. We bust right through those to incredible new places. How? Because they are just lies.

They are lies that we install not just as our walls but also as the windows in our house. Through these lies we view the world outside: a limited place of ever decreasing possibility. It doesn't have to be this way. No matter how long ago you started, or how well practiced you are, or how scary the lie.

Luckily, you can't make a lie true, just by believing it for a long time

Love is one of the big, big areas where we make a lot of decisions about how limited our lives - and our chances! - are: there are only so many single people, only so many healthy single people, only so many not-entirely-insane single people.

Oh, we have so many fixed ideas!

But love isn't limited at all. Love is who you are and it doesn't arrive when your life partner does, or when your child hugs you, or when you complete a successful project. It is always there for you to have and depends on nothing at all. (see the show Jan 29 All You Need Is Love when I talk to John Welshons, author of One Soul, One Love, One Heart )

Greg Baer illustrated this so well in his Master Class with SuperCoach Academy this week. This is roughly the story:

So there you are sitting by the pool, enjoying the sun on your dream vacation. And someone from the pool is splashing you and splashing you, and you are getting wetter and wetter and angrier and angrier.

Then you finally move enough to look into the pool and give this person a piece of your mind, when you realize they are drowning. What would have to "happen" for you to lose you anger and get in touch with caring about them?

Nothing. Your anger is just gone in a poof, you become instantly overcome with a deep desire to help.

Love is just there, in every moment. It's a decision.

Love is just there in every moment. OK, I just said that. But...

Does that sound possible? Does that sound true? Why would you even care?
I'm reminded of an extraordinary day, a day when everyone in New York - and then around the world - suddenly became aware of the presence, the importance and the interconnectedness of us all. We were deeply moved by the preciousness of life.

What I notice when I think about 9/11 is, that day people made a choice to love, to care, to feel connected. You didn't have to. You just did. That choice is available always. Why is it important to know this? 

So you can.

Listen to the show here

 
 
There is something about saying "Go For Your Dream" that just bugs.  I think it's my project experience clashing with my woo-woo side.  Or maybe it's just there's so much about 'just going for it' that just doesn't work.  My dilemma? Dreams are really important things, important enough to do and not just talk about.  At the same time, a dream without any action is just a nice fantasy escape - a vacation in your mind. 

To take them from thought to animated life form you have to start the engine, act, move and sometimes that involves failing.  Ah.  That's risky.   So dreams are delicate balances of visioning and doing.  Too much doing and it's exhausting and frustrating, too much dreaming and it disappointing and saddening,  which is why I imagine most dreams end up untested, much less unfulfilled.

What makes dreams both important and amazing is not just 'getting them' but being involved in their gestation, having fun, watching something get born. And who you become in the process of their birth. Now that is beautiful. Something comes to life that never existed before except in your mind.  That is truly awesome.

OK, so maybe it's not so 'awesome' to you if it's an IP network installation.  But it would be if it were something that mattered to you.  It would be if it were something you could see for yourself in your mind and you liked the look of  (and that IP network matters to someone too...)

I've been involved in the "30-days to Create the Impossible" program with Michael Neill in the month of January, coaching those in the program, and I'm so in the center of this topic, I can't tell you how moving it is to watch dreams be born (more about the program on http://geniuscatalyst.com, though, it's closed now).  We are just finishing the second program and again, it's incredible the beauty, the relief, the joy of finally experiencing what's actually possible to create.   To witness dreams grow their wings in front of your eyes.

Of course that's nothing compared to what the person feels as it's happening.  They get reborn too.

What I keep thinking about as this particular program comes to a close, is that for some, 30 days won't be quite enough to complete a big project.

What to do when you have "that thing you can see in you mind" but it's a big goal and requires a bit of sticking power?

In longer term projects, how do you keep up the commitment?

I was in Project Management for 10 years, so I have some notions about this. What surprised me, when I left the corporate world, was to discover that just because it's a pet project and life dream, doesn't mean people achieve it! They drop their dreams into the toilet all the time.  This sounds crazy, but it's not impossible to imagine when you think what little we really know about making our dreams come true.

Our preferred methods are:
  1. lottery
  2. rich partner
  3. inheritance
  4. luck
Any or all of the above.

Apart from these, the only other recipe out there seems to be EFFORT.  But it's rubbish to think you can "g-up" every day and expect to keep doing that over months and months. There are days when you're in a crappy mood.  Then it feels like the wind has gone flat.  If you've ever given up on something you wanted, you'll know what I mean.  And you will perhaps have been looking for the answer too.

But the only way I know to take a pipe dream and create a living thing is inspired action.  To enjoy the genesis. 

How do you get that?  You blend a bit of dream making and a bit of project management, but you are careful with the doses.

Like I said, too much dream and it's star gazing... too much action and it's burn-out city.

So you do both and mix it up.

That is why Michael's 30-days to Create The Impossible is so brilliant and works so well.  (Keep an eye out for when he runs it next time and get on board).  Until then, I'd use his book, "You Can Have What You Want" as a great guide to sustained release success.

In my next post I'll continue with this and talk about ways to keep going in big projects.  If you have a big project and you want to chat about it, feel free to contact me.

Meanwhile, if you want to start up something and join me for a year in my ProjectDream group, I do have some spaces.  Here's more info.
 
 
Have you noticed lately that lots of things we never thought could possibly happen, have happened?  Did you know bionic research is in the process of creating the 'Million Dollar Man'?  (OK, actually she's a woman and she has a bionic arm she can attach where her physical arm used to be.    See last months' National Geographic if you think I make this stuff up). More to the point, guess how you control a bionic arm? You use your mind.  Not the conscious mind, the one that takes effort - the other one, the one that just simply 'moves the arm'.

The mind truly amazing and too wonderful a thing to waste. I believe it is not confined to a brain, but just as we supposedly activate only a small portion of the brain,  we waste the true power of our mind every day.

What does this have to do with the limits of the impossible?  Basically, our minds have a lot of say over what we believe is possible.  Ever tried to outwit your own mind when it says - I can't?  Now when I suggest we waste the capacity of the mind, I'm not talking about creative day-dreaming.  I'm talking about going unconscious.  For example, you might go to exercise after a hard day, let's say, taking a long run in nature but as the body oxygenates, you use your mind to replay the stress of something that happened earlier, over and over again.  I'm talking about going for a massage and lying there thinking about all your faults and all the ways you hate your body.  That kind of thing.

How many times have you had a wonderful idea and then stomped it out with all the reasons why it is not possible? If dreams were socks, somewhere there are drawers and drawers full of all the lost socks waiting to be found again and paired up with their owners.

Although we may be more accustomed to choking off our dreams, by labeling them 'Impossible' the good news is that we can use the same imagination either to argue for our limitations, or to find creative ways to dance our way to our target.  What I'm saying is essentially, it's possible to change the film running in your head from today's matinee of fear and limitation to tomorrow's long running smash hit called your life.  And while I don't think that's accomplished by "positive thinking" alone, I do think our creative resources are easier to access from a mindset of openness rather than shut-down-ness.

Argue for your limitations and quite simply, you'll have them.  Unless you have a great friend (or a great coach) who will risk being honest enough to challenge you, I don't think many people will bother to take the opposite view.  In fact, most people are happy for you to keep your limitations and live happily ever after with your long list of These Are The Things That Are Quite Impossible For Me, Thank You Very Much.  Because they are doing exactly the same.

If this sounds horrid, it's because it is.

Challenging your 'Impossibles' is one of the most liberating experiences you can ever have.  I saw it in Michael Neill's "30 Days to Creating the Impossible" and I've talked about it plenty on the show.  Most recently with 'Who Says The Impossible is Impossible" (aired January 20, 2010)

To challenge your 'impossibles' I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Michael's next program.  Until then, here are some things you can do/read:

Gay Hendricks' book, The Big Leap
Get past your Upper Limit Syndrome, by expanding your tolerance for things going well in your life

Barbara Sher's books Wishcraft and I Could Do Anything, If Only I Knew What It Was  (I highly recommend her Twitter IdeaParties on Thursdays for getting past dream blockages!)

And you can:
  • Create a powerful mantra that is true and makes you feel good (use it to replace the "I can't" dialogues you've got running).  "I am open to more good that I have ever experienced before" is a great one!
  • Create a self-care routine that puts you in touch everyday with the well of good feeling in you
  • Get a buddy or coach or guidance from a spiritual teacher to challenge your limiting beliefs and fears and let them go
  • make room in your life for new ideas by mindfulness and openness practices - especially forgiveness - which is the best mental de-clutter I know of
If you know you have a dream and you want to start getting it out of the sock drawer, talk to me about my ProjectDream Mastermind group where you can learn to get creative, take action, enjoy the process and build something you've always wanted.  This is a small group of very focused people, so you'll need to talk to me to see if there's room and if it's right for you.  You can write me at  elese.coit@earthlink.net 
 
 
I just love this video!  If you are not familiar with Byron Katie and how to do the work, drop me a line (info@elesecoit.com) or see Katie's site www.thework.com for all the information you need plus more videos.

If you are interested in money in particular, here is an entire page on it!



 
 
When I got Lynne Klippel's book, Overcomers Inc., in the post, I have to say my initial reaction was I liked the book, hated the word.  Overcomers.  I don't want to be an overcomer.  I want to sail effortlessly through life and have everything be easy.  Overcoming is such a dull, pedestrian task.  Maybe, "Go Climb That Mountain!" just make you tingle with inspiration, but it makes me want to climb back into bed. 

I read the book and the true life stories in it, and although I still don't like to think of myself as an overcomer, I have to admit that I am.  We all are.  If you got through asking someone on a first date, or wearing really high heels for the first time, you are one too. 

And that's not a dull thing at all.

In fact, there are some pretty hefty qualities that we need to be able to call on when the going gets tough.  Here's what I think those are:

Taking responsibility
Surrendering
Trust
Willingness

In every real life experience in that book, as well as in my own life and the lives of people I coach, these are the core of creating a new life - whether you are creating on the rubble of an old life, or you are just ready to move to the next square on the board.

Taking Responsibility
OK, swallow hard now, this is the painful part.  Yes.  We all have to take on the fact that we live in our bodies, and that what we chose is what makes our life a heaven or a hell-hole.  Until we do, even if it's just saying, "I'm really the only one who can get me out of this mess", no change can begin.  As Debbie Ford used to say in our training, over and over again, "No one is coming to save you."  Ouch.

Surrender
This is a bit sucky too.  When you are very used to being the project manager of the universe, or at the very least queen in your own teacup, surrendering to the idea that you just don't know how to fix it is, well, let's just say, not fun.  Surrendering doesn't mean giving up, it just means giving way.  You have to get your own ideas out of the way in order for new ones to come in.  In my life, this often mean surrendering some idea of who I am, in order to get a glimpse of a bigger me.

Trust
We place our trust in many things, including the universe, our pets, our friends, and our lovers.  Maybe you trust that things will 'all work out for good' or some other spiritual principle.  Whatever you chose to trust is up to you, the one thing I know you can trust, always?  Your own inner guidance.  When that channel is clear it is never leading you astray. It might take you in a direction you don't like, but that's another matter!

Willingness
Oh, you have to be willing to change, to move, to be different, to let go of what you thought would be.  Willingness is the oil that greases all the wheels.  Willingness to try the new, to step when you can't see forward very far, and willingness to fail - help you take it all less personally. And that's a good thing.

For more on this topic listen to the radio show from January 15th with Lynne Klippel
 
 
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Times are uncertain. There are no easy solutions. Our inner beliefs are being tested by circumstances that seem beyond our control.

Whether the future will be the same as the past, or bring an entirely new paradigm, remains to be seen.

Whatever the future holds, the present uncertainty is both an opportunity and an incentive to build inner strength. Now is the time to develop those attitudes and habits that will enable us to face, with calm acceptance and joy, whatever comes.

Here are five tips to stay balanced:


Relax Upward: Don’t think only in terms of “down time.” Think also of “up time.” There are two ways to relax. One is to shut down awareness with things like television, beer, or excessive sleep. The other way to rejuvenate is by expanding awareness. Build into your daily or weekly schedule spiritually centering activities. Learn to meditate. Read uplifting books. Attend classes on life-enhancing subjects. Listen to calm, inspiring music. Be out in nature. Get to know yourself in solitude and silence.

Be Original: To be original does not mean doing something that has never been done before. It means to act from your own point of origin. Don’t allow yourself to become a dull reflection of the world around. Think deeply. Act consciously. Be sincere in everything that you do. If circumstances require you to accommodate yourself to the needs and demands of others, concentrate on inner freedom. See yourself as a single thread in the vast, unfolding tapestry of life. Through love, compassion, and generosity of heart, make yourself into a thread of gold.

Be Creative: The secret of prosperity is creativity. This will become especially important if times get hard. Whether you define success as all the things that money can buy or all the things that money can’t buy, a creative person never accepts failure or limitation as the final decree of fate. If one approach didn’t work, then go after the same goal from another angle. See every day, every situation as a fresh opportunity to discover some yet unknown possibility. Be on the lookout for new and improved ways of doing even oft-repeated tasks. Be mentally active. If your work leaves your mind free, then sing, pray for yourself and others, memorize and repeat poetry. Creativity in itself brings joy. And sooner or later, the positive magnetism of your creative attitude will bring you whatever you seek.

You Are What You Eat: Think in terms of life force. Fresh, natural food is filled with vitality. Devitalized food makes, not only a heavy body, but also a heavy mind. In these uncertain times, you can’t afford the extra burden. There is so much life force in an apple, for example, that, if you bury it in the ground, the seeds can sprout, and one apple becomes an apple tree. Bury a “Big Mac,” and nothing more will come of it!  The net result of consuming too much over-processed foods is less than zero. It takes more energy to digest such foods than they can ever give back to you in life force. Trying to right the balance with more caffeine is not the solution! You don’t have to be a fanatic and change your diet overnight. Just gradually begin eating more foods in their natural state or close to it, and your own experience will be your guide.

Strength in Numbers: You have to walk the path yourself, but you don’t have to walk it alone. In times of stress especially, the presence of like-minded companions can make all the difference in whether you keep going or give up in despair. If you don’t have supportive friends, then go out and find them!  Group spiritual practices are especially beneficial, giving you the experience and power you need to go deeper on your own as well. Visit meditation centers, churches, and spiritual groups of all kinds until you find those people and practices that resonate with your own inner self.

Listen to the show with Asha here


Asha Praver is a lecturer, teacher, counselor, Spiritual Co-Director of the Ananda Palo Alto Community, and author of Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him.  Asha has been trained in yoga, meditation, and spiritual living by Swami Kriyananda, who was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.  Since 1969 Asha has been a disciple, a meditator, and an intentional community member.  Contact Asha at www.ashapraver.com.
 
 
Roman Krznaric is the first person I've heard talking about the radicalism of empathy. You are right to think of empathy as caring and compassion, of course, but  Roman expands that definition in only 60 seconds, asking us to widen our perspectives on the world at large and other people by becoming radical empathists journeying not only to other countries and cultures but into the lives of others with whom we share this turf.

He says, "
Empathising is an avant-garde form of travel in which you step into the shoes of another person and see the world from their perspective.  It is the ultimate adventure holiday – far more challenging than a bungee jump off Victoria Falls or trekking solo across the Gobi desert."

More on Roman on his blog Outrospection.org.  See also, Alain de Botton and The School of Life
 
 
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This year I did something I’ve never done before. I spent New Year on my own.  Alone. No parties, no champagne, no midnight kiss.   Crazy, I know.  And amazing.

I looked at the year ahead and I thought: "Do I want a year that looks like a hard walk uphill, or a nice path to somewhere I actually want to go?  What could I do to make my goals fun and my path nicer to walk whether I got to the 'goals' or not?

I had this idea to take 4 days in personal retreat, on my own, in Baja, to just think it through. And on Wednesday, off I drove...

What would I do when I got there?  There were a few things I knew I wanted to do. One was, I had the idea I could just make the year a bit easier and more 'successful' for me with some conscious planning. ('Conscious' not 'strenuous'). I wanted to really close out the last year and somehow milk the lessons from it, in a real way.  I wanted to launch the New Year with a feeling of a clean slate, with some direction and focus.  I wanted to spend some time giving thanks and acknowledging those who’ve helped me.  And then there were the things I just wanted to leave behind in 2009 and simply say goodbye and good riddance to.

But the real reason I went on my self-imposed personal retreat is that I just had this very strong feeling. Something inside that I couldn’t ignore just said ‘do this’.  Now, that to me is amazing: not the experience of knowing something, but the fact I actually listened to it.  I talk a lot about listening to inner guidance, but if I’m honest I can look back on my life and see many, many times I have not.

In fact, there have been so many moments when I knew not to say yes to that second date with someone, when I realized that what was about to come out of my mouth was going to get me in big trouble, or when I withheld support from someone or judged a passerby and knew I could be less cruel.  I realize, much to my horror that I know what is right for me and what is not – but that I also have an ‘override’ button.  In fact, I am much more practiced at overriding my gut direction than I am at following it.

So I am particularly grateful to be able to say that 2009 was a year of paying attention to my inner compass, and learning to follow the pointy arrow.

As for my retreat, that was also a success.  I reviewed the old and said farewell.  I welcomed the new and created space for it.  I came to my desk this morning with an invigorated sense of possibility and some new commitments.   I don’t have the year mapped out, and there are no ‘shoulds’ or ‘to do’ lists.  But I have created a map for 2010 that will be fun to explore. 

It won’t be news to anyone to know that if I intend to explore new territory, I’ll need not just my new map, but also a few new tools.  For me, that means some new habits (creating more, writing more) and some renewed commitments (making the radio show more meaningful and more helpful in serving people).     It involves planned giving for the first time. This is probably where the whole exercise of going on a retreat has been most useful, because I was able to spend 4 days not only thinking “What would I like to create next year?” but also to look at “…and how would that look; what would I need to change if I were to do that?” It was an exercise in imagination that I would not have engaged in quite the same way if I’d stayed home.

Four days alone over New Year proved to be one of the best things I’ve ever done and there were a couple additional keys to this being so fruitful for me.  Here’s what I took with me:

  1.  Jacob Glass’s “2010 Miraculous booklet”.  A complete spiritual review of your year and setting a plan for the next.  Available to download for free on his site www.jacobglass.com
  2. Jinny Ditzler’s Best Year Yet  - build your12-month personal plan online at www.bestyearyet.com.  A fantastic review tool!
  3. Barbara Sher's book, I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was. In case I ran out of ideas on what to do.  This proved invaluable!  www.barbarasher.com
  4. A Course in Miracles (on Kindle for iPhone) To continue the daily practice of the workbook.
  5. Debbie Ford’s powerful questions from her newsletter 2010: Destination of Your Dreams from The Light & The Dark weekly newsletter (You will find more in her book Best Year of Your Life).  Here's the link those questions, also published in her article in the Huffington Post
  6. Three years of notes from my coaching and apprenticeship with Michael Neill.  What can I say? Simply, OMG.  www.geniuscatalyst.com 
  7. One stuffed-to-the-gills notebook with all my life learning and notes from my training in What One Person Can Do (see my coaching site www.newmindsetcoaching.com for more on One Person)
  8. All the notes from my radio shows
And on top of this, I packed a ‘self-coaching’ attitude (which for me meant asking myself key questions, observing my responses and creative journaling), a box of colored pens and a huge Post It sticky pad.   Then I mixed and stirred into the recipe, one bottle of wine, PG Tips Tea, fresh pesto, organic salad, lots of fish tacos from the local dive, the Matrix Trilogy, my ipod and four absolutely stunning sunsets.

Not invited were:  email inbox, Facebook, Twitter.  My iPhone was for Kindle only  (Is now a good time to apologize for being AWOL all last week?)

End result: Wow.



Baja sunset
One of my sunsets