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Is Your Life Reflecting Your Values? — Richard’s Commentary

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary always asks these pointed and difficult questions! Yes, I know they are good for me to reflect on, to answer, truthfully, for myself. And I actually thought this one would be reasonably easy for me to reply to and write this commentary. Then I took a second look!

A couple of years ago I did an exercise to clarify my values, to align them with my thinking, my philosophy. I made a list and prioritized it. I took a deep dive into this analysis, writing at length about these values I had come up with, what they mean to me and how I live by them. At the end of much thought I distilled the set of values down to two key ones: Practice and Love. In fact I even drew a diagram, a schematic to relate these two primal values: Practice –> Love.

No, this doesn’t mean my practices lead to love and it doesn’t mean if I practice well enough I will learn love. Maybe these meanings are overlays here, but these are two distinct values for me. I truly value that I am able to practice my various approaches to live a conscious life. Meditation, yoga, qigong, pages, poetry, … and any other consciousness raising practice that comes along that has potential for me is a key value. And how much more can I say about Love? Self, family, friends, community, humanity, life, Planet Earth, Nature, food, wine, beer making, wow…so much to love in life! And, clearly there is a relationship between practice and love. I love my practices. My practices help me better understand this whole sense of Love. Love improves my practices. It is complex and I can’t say that I even fully understand it when I write, and I often do: Practice –> Love.

But Rosemary’s question goes deeper here. Yes, she asks us to review our values, but more importantly to review our lives as they reflect those values we reaffirm! This is the key analysis, the driving question.

And I’ve spent the last several days, as part of our retreat weekend, reviewing and refining my answer. My answer initially is “no.” Oh sure, I’m doing a lot of practice, and I’m pleased with this. I also love: I am partnered with the love of my life. I am part of a loving family. My kids really do love me (at least they’ve done an awesome job of showing it!). But there’s a deeper level here I am reaching toward.

My exploration begins with the word “unconditional.” This is the quality of Love I’m reaching to attain. And this would then truly be the goal of Practice –> Love, my core values. I am not practicing unconditional love at every opportunity and therefore, my life is not reflecting this value.

That said I am working on it. This is my new level of Practice I’m striving to achieve. I suspect it is a life-long pursuit! But I have begun. Last evening, after Rosemary and I had returned from our retreat, our daughter stated, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that she had been craving pancakes for breakfast and would I please get up to make her some next morning! Hmmm, on Wednesdays she leaves for work at 7:15; hey, I’m retired, and while I am working harder than ever before and enjoying it a whole lot more, my hours don’t include 7:15 am! I did not commit! But this morning I was awake at 6:30, wanting more sleep. I debated with myself for about 30 seconds, and then asked “what would I do if I held the value of unconditional love? Yeah, you guessed it; I got up and fixed daughter and two grandsons pancakes (two different kinds). And the surprise and smiles were well worth the few extra winks!

With this good experience as a launch point I have been challenging myself to come from unconditional love all day. I’ve failed multiple times! I had several errands to run which meant driving and encountering other drivers; always a stumbling block for me to keep my cool while driving, but at least I continued to pull myself back to my core value. I’m practicing!

How are you practicing your values this year?

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ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: Is Your Life Reflecting Your Values?

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty here and I hope you’ll seriously consider what’s in this article.  How do you decide which activities will receive your attention today?  What values are you using to allocate your precious hours today, the hours that you will never be able to recapture after they have been spent?

This is where living a conscious life meets living the hectic 21st Century busyness that seduces us all into thinking that things have to be the way they are.

You have 24 hours in each day.  Your human body requires 7-9 hours of sleep – good, peaceful, restful, restorative sleep.  The rest of your hours are yours to spend as you choose.

‘Wait!’ you say.  ‘I have to go to work, get the kids off to school, teach my class, meet with my clients, go to the grocery store, and ______________ [fill in the blank]!   I don’t have control over those hours!’

To which I answer, ‘Yes.  You do.’

Every moment of every day we are at choice as to how we will spend that moment.  You choose to work at that particular job.  The kids might be able to get themselves off to school or a nanny could do it.  You scheduled your class or your clients.  Groceries can be delivered or a personal assistant or a spouse can do the shopping.  And so the choices go.  You might think that you can’t afford things but you can afford certain things because you choose them.

I’m not being simplistic here.  We all make choices and ‘I can’t afford it’ really translates to ‘I choose to spend my money elsewhere’ or, even, ‘I CHOSE to spend my money elsewhere and now I have to pay the bills.’  Still, it is all based on choice.

So knowing that you choose how to spend your time, how can you make sure that you are choosing according to your values?

First, you must know what your values are and you must know them in priority order.  I frequently see a client who feels conflicted and the answer to clarity lies in examining the values that are bumping into each other.  Here are two questions to ask yourself:

Who do I really want to spend time with today?

AND  What is the most fulfilling activity that I can put on my calendar today?

If the answers match the schedule, good for you!  And if not, then ask yourself, Why not?

You have the power to make choices about how you spend the precious hours you have each day.  Are you LIVING your life or are you SPENDING your life?

Choose to schedule your day based on what is important to you, what really matters.  Don’t let anyone else control your schedule.  If your boss wants you to be in a meeting at a certain time, then, by all means, attend the meeting.  But instead of spending emotional capital resenting it, accept that you choose to remain in this job [even if it feels as if you have no choice to remain in this job.  You could choose to quit and maybe live on the street so you might be making the right choice for the moment!]  If your family is making a demand on your time that causes you to resent saying ‘yes’ then say ‘no.’  And release feeling guilty about it!

Notice how often you make choices that don’t feel right to you.  Making the choice to take an injured kid to the ER feels right, doesn’t it?  Making the choice to escape into TV when there might be something else you could do might be escaping your life instead of living it.  AND watching TV might be your active choice to relax and rest your mind for a bit, so release the feeling of guilt about making that choice!

CHOOSE.  Match your schedule to your values.  Raise your consciousness about your moments and you’ll feel happier!

INSPIRATION FROM ROSEMARY: What Are Your Values for 2013?

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s Rosemary’s video for the week: What Are Your Values for 2013?

Monday’s Poem: Retreat Time (Renewal)

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary and I are away for a long weekend retreat. We are assessing values, making plans, adjusting and transforming. In anticipation of this activity I wrote this:

Retreat Time
(Renewal)

Deep Winter, cold:
Withdraw, pull in,
Retain, restrain;
Inside is warm.

Quiet time, ease:
Relax, go in,
Let go, let god;
Practice presence.

Retreat time, now:
Visions flow in,
Hear, smell, taste, touch.
New Mind, new you!

©2013 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Mind over Matter

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary attended a LiveStream event with Joe Dispenza last week. She was very impressed and is now committed to Breaking The Habit of Being Herself: How to Lose Her Mind and Create a New One to paraphrase the title of his latest book. This is something right up her alley if you have been following The Scientific Mystic for any length of time. She loves the new brain science that is emerging and meshing so excitingly with quantum science. Of course she has been evolving her brain for as long as I have known her! We are both explorers and open to the unfolding wonderment of discoveries and advancements on our paths together.

In her excitement about Dr. Dispenza’s presentation her natural response is to order books! Yes, we already have both of them (we are unrepentant collectors of books!). And as is my response I immediately absconded with his first book: Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (she already got this material through the webinar, right?). And now I’m plowing right through it; I do have to keep pace with Rosemary to be sure I still love this new person she is becoming! Oh, and while I’m at it I had better “create a new mind” for myself so that there’s a better chance she’ll love me back!

Seriously this is all good stuff and right in line with what Rosemary has been writing about and what I’ve been responding to after crossing the threshold of 2012 and into the new territory of the Transformation of 2013. For some of you Dispenza may not offer a lot of new material in his books, but it is presented in a very accessible way and backed up with wonderful stories.

The essence of this work is, in fact, Mind over Matter (Mom) – and yes, my Mom did say this to me a lot. In yesterday’s post I quoted Mike Dooley: “Thought becomes things” and other authors, including Rosemary: “Thoughts are things.” We certainly can all agree that thoughts are energy, and Einstein clearly knew energy and matter are tightly bound. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful energy sources. And just as energy is preserved, never lost, so too our thoughts have lasting effect, both on ourselves and others who may be the recipients of our projected thoughts!

Rosemary’s admonitions, “be careful what you think” and “think new thoughts for 2013” are certainly worth attention. And this attention comes from the meta-mind I wrote about in yesterday’s post. Go meta; monitor your thoughts; just practice this awareness as a first step. There is no judgment required here, only assessment, conscious observance of the thoughts that run through your mind and conscious recall that these thoughts are energy and become things!

When we get a firm grasp on the characteristics of our thoughts and this practiced ability to monitor them with our meta-mind, we can then begin to consider their value, whether they are supporting the life we want to live, whether they are helping us, if they are helping others, and, in general, if they tend to be positive or negative (here I might rather say “yin or yang” to keep the judgment out of the evaluation.)

And when we have a good grasp on our thoughts we can then begin to make choices on how we want to think. And this is where MoM (Mind over Matter) comes in. Our higher intelligence as humans gives us the freedom of choice. And through the highest form of that intelligence, our higher or meta-mind, we can sift through all the possible choices open to us and decide consciously which thoughts manifest the life we want for ourselves. And this is not to deny obstacles, other matter (even other people’s thoughts!) out in our pathway, that may disrupt our journey. These are lessons; they are opportunities to refine the choices, or even change them if necessary to learn what we are here to learn. And this is when mind over matter becomes most powerful. Not only are we free to choose, we are free to continue in that choice, despite all odds and obstacles, or we are free to re-choose and refine the very vector of our life-story!

Rosemary and I are constantly refining our stories. It’s an exciting trip! And we know we can always trust that our minds are powerful enough to overcome all matter.

And so is yours!

Thanks, MoM!

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“Think New Thoughts for 2013” – Richard’s Commentary

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

“Thoughts become things” according to Mike Dooley. They are things according to many current authors linking quantum fields and our brains (or should I say “minds”?).  Our thoughts are certainly energy that is detectable, measurable and effective! The so called “new age” construct that we create our own reality through how we think and act, imagine and project our thoughts, ideas, visions into the world is becoming main stream science for those who are open and willing to explore these not-necessarily-self-evident concepts.

Then whether we believe this approach or not would seem not to matter; it’s not a matter of faith but a matter of science. We don’t believe in gravity; it’s a fact that objects near the earth respond to a force by falling to the earth. “Thoughts are things” is not a belief system but as real as gravity. There’s a lot of empirical evidence to back this up.

Therefore we really do have to be very aware of our thoughts, to monitor them, to assess and characterize them and to channel them in the direction we choose if we want to live a certain way. And this is particularly true if we want to change, improve the way we are living – evolve!

The way I look at this we need to be of “two minds.” We need our “active mind” to get us through the day. Part of this mind keeps us alive, running our physical bodies and responding to external stimulations as they pop up. And part of this mind is making decisions on a myriad of inputs; some decisions are almost automatic, based on habits and some are actual choices we are motivated to make based on priorities and plans. Then there is the second mind, the observer mind that assesses our life from another level. This could be called the “meta-mind” because it operates at the meta-level lifting out of the routine operations to passively monitor how we are doing. This could also be called the “mindful mind.”

Another common expression these days is “change your mind and change your life.” This could be the corollary to “thoughts become things.” These are easily expressed phrases, quickly becoming platitudes. But underlying their seemingly obvious simplicity things get a bit dicey. How many of you are sticking to your resolutions for 2013? That mind that runs on autopilot and habit consumes a huge percentage of our waking mental activity. It is not until we begin to assess how we are spending this “mind time” that we realize how much thought-energy is wasted. Don’t feel bad if you are already falling short on those resolutions. The routines you were living through in 2012, while not “hard-wired” into your brain, are a set of well worn pathways through neural networks laid down years ago. They are difficult to rewire!

The endless loops that play and replay in our minds are wasted energy. The knee-jerk emotional energy we expend on all the little, and sometimes big, annoyances in our lives is pretty much wasted – this emotional energy seldom accomplishes anything!

This is where the second, meta-mind comes in. We cannot change our minds, change our habits, change our responses unless we monitor, assess and evaluate the rightness and usefulness of those responses in the first place, when they occur.

A perfect example happened to me today. I was practicing qigong. My meta-mind should have been in high-gear, right? I was present, mindful, deeply into the practice. There were some people in the neighbor’s backyard talking and I could ignore them. Then our Lhasa Apso, Tara, came on the scene. At first she was attentive but quiet. Then as she detected the outside disturbance she let out a piercing bark. I almost jumped out of my skin! Then I scolded her for disrupting my practice. It took me several moments to re-collect myself and get back in my rhythm. Later as I was reviewing this I realized my reaction was not only out of habit but also unfair. Tara’s breed is from Tibet where Lhasas were raised as temple watchdogs. Their job was to alert meditating monks and masters if there was an intrusion into the monastery! Well, Tara was doing exactly what she was bred and raised to do! And she doesn’t have a meta-mind (at least as far as I can tell) so I had no right or reason to scold her! I’m the one with the meta-mind but it didn’t wake up until after my unfairness.

Exercising this meta-mind is no easy thing. This is why it is called “practice.” And it is through this practice that we can begin to “think new thoughts.”

How’s your 2013 practice coming along?

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ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: Think New Thoughts for 2013

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

It seems important for us to look at the state of the world and the way that humans are treating humans today.

This is not about politics although the politics of each country reflect what is happening in the psyches of the inhabitants.  What are you projecting from your psyche?

Since thoughts are energetic projects and have an effect on the environment we must take responsibility for the thoughts that we hold in our energy fields.  Ask yourself about the thoughts you projected today.  Did they come from a place within you that is sourced in Love?  Were your thoughts uplifting ones that, if written down and shared with others, they would make someone smile and feel good about themselves?  Or were you angry or upset and projecting that energy outward?

Think about the effect on a city when anger and hatred are stirred up and people are focused on disenfranchising others or hating and separating others.  Think about what could happen in a place where the people are fearful or wanting to kill others or angry at their neighbors.

Now think about the effect on a city when the inhabitants come together around a common cause to support each other.  Think about a community where kids can play safely because neighbors look out for neighbors.  Think about the energy in a place where neighbors spend the evening sitting together outside sharing chitchat and watching kids play together.

What do you feel as you imagine these scenarios?  Can you picture the column of energy that rises up from a place when the energy is what you pictured?  Which energy column would you rather sit next to?

This is what we each have a responsibility to create and to monitor.  Your energy is magnified when attached to the energy of others.  What do you chat about with your friends? Your co-workers?  Are you spinning each other up with thoughts of hatred and anger and separation?  Or are you finding common ground in which to discuss ways that you are similar and can agree?  When you spout off do you move the conversation to solutions or do you stay in the emotion of the problems?  Are you more comfortable discussing issues than seeking strategies for moving beyond the problems?

Each of us has responsibility for the thought energies we project.  When we gather with others, we intensify the energy of the ideas expressed and discussed.  Conversations do not have to be confrontational.  There can be real, honest agreements to disagree, but there must be respect for the person even if the ideas expressed cannot be embraced.

Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that we are all connected.  We are all members of the human race.  We have differing perspectives based on what we have been taught or what we have experienced or what we have embraced as our values.  Yet each person is on Planet Earth to learn lessons, to grow, to advance human consciousness, whether or not they have embraced that responsibility.

Accept that you cannot control the thoughts of others, but you can control your own.  Catch yourself building a column of energy that doesn’t feel supporting and light and stop it.  Shift your thinking to thoughts of Light and Hope and Community. Make sure you are projecting energy that you wouldn’t mind having projected onto you!

And surround yourself with people who are willing co-creators of columns of Light rather than anger and hatred.  We will all thank you!

PS: To guide your thoughts for 2013 with incredible inspiration from The Divine Feminine you can get the 8 recordings Rosemary made at the end of 2012 during her Wisdom of the Week (WOW) calls. Get them here.