I Tell My Body What to Do Part 2

As a reminder, Part 1 of this article talked about our ability to control our feelings.  No one can make you feel a certain way; it is your thoughts about whatever the person did that causes your feelings.  Since we have control of our thoughts, if we change our thoughts, we change our feelings.  But what if you feel a physical pain in your body because you are sick or because you, say, twisted your ankle?  Can you control how you feel then?

My thinking is that if, indeed, I am connected to the source of all that exists and the source of infinite knowledge, then I should be able to tap into this source at will.  I had started doing an affirmation:  “I am in perfect health ‘cuz I tell my body what to do.”  I loved doing this affirmation because it helped me to remember that there is a ME that is more than just the physical form that I see in the mirror everyday.  It helped me to believe that I didn’t have to let my body dictate how I was going to feel on any given day; I have the power to tell my body how to feel.  However, I failed to be consistent and allowed this affirmation to fall by the wayside.

Later in the year, I decided to train for a 100 mile biking event.  Because I only had a couple of months to train, I focused on increasing my mileage each week, but I did not focus on my speed at all.  All of my rides were slow, easy rides.  But on the day of the event, I was peddling the bike faster than I ever had before.

And, by mile 55, my quadriceps were on fire, heavy, and I knew there would be no way I could go on another 45 miles.  What was I thinking?  Why was I riding so fast?  I mentally kicked myself over and over again.  I knew I was going to have to bail out of the event at the next rest stop—mile 63.  I had let myself down.  I hanged my head in shame and I barely had the energy to continue to pedal.

But, wait!  What was that affirmation that I used to do?  “I am in perfect health.  I tell my body what to do!”  I repeated that affirmation aloud over and over again as I pedaled to the rhythm of the words.  My thoughts started changing, my mood started changing, and before I knew what happened, I was crossing the finish line, stronger and faster than I ever thought possible!

So, there you have it.  I was able to control the way I felt.  I remembered to try that technique again once when I felt overcome with stomach pain, dizziness, and headache.  It worked!  Now, my task is to remember that technique with whatever ails me.  I believe with the right mindset, I can control not just my emotions, but also my feelings.  I believe we all can!

I Tell My Body What to Do

Back in 2002, I remember a gentleman coming to speak to me for a moment during his break from the Narcotics Anonymous meeting that was taking place at our school.  He said, “They try to tell you that you have control over your feelings, but when your stomach feels like it’s going to drop out and you are doubled over in pain, how are you going to control that?  That is a feeling and it is real, I don’t care what anybody says.”

His words have replayed in my mind over and over again in all the years since then.  I am a true believer in our ability to control our feelings.  Often, we will say things like, “She made me mad.”  But most of us know that if we slow the process down a bit, we would realize that it wasn’t what “she” said or did that made you mad, it was whatever thought that YOU had about what she said or did that made you mad.  So, getting in the habit of being present with our thoughts, helps us to be in the driver’s seat because we can choose a thought that suits us better.

In addition, through the power of imagination, we are able to manufacture whatever emotion that we want at anytime.  If I were to ask you to feel proud right now, most of you would know how to tap immediately into that feeling.  The same is true with asking you to feel courage in your body or to feel sadness.  Most people don’t have to really put too much work in causing themselves to feel the different emotions and can switch from one emotion to another from one second to the next.

Some emotions may take a little more imagination.  But, if you imagine that happy place, you can be instantly transported there.  Or if you remember a time when you were sad, then it is easy to recreate those feelings in your body right now.

But, this guy was talking about physical pain.  His interpretation of whatever they were talking about in his group was a novel way of looking at feelings for me.  I kept thinking is that the kind of feeling that we have the power to control?  Is a physical feeling the same thing as an emotional feeling?  On the one hand, I would say NO.  Slamming your finger in the door is a very different thing from your feelings being hurt.  But on the other hand, you do feel emotion in your body.  So, doesn’t that make emotion a physical sensation? And, if emotion is, indeed, a physical sensation, then hadn’t this guy just identified a loophole in the argument that we have the power to control our feelings?

Yet, haven’t I controlled these more physical pains before?  Haven’t I felt a wave of nausea coming on that I willed to go away because, well, that wouldn’t be a good look on me now?  And hadn’t I held off that impending cold until the day after the party?  And why had I never dropped from pure exhaustion until after I completed everything that needed to be done?

Surely, though, if you get hit by a MAC truck, you can’t expect to be able to control how your body feels, can you?  My initial thinking was NO.  But then I know of a person who fell off a two-story building while sleep-walking who did not get hurt.  While I won’t try to advance any explanations for how he managed to not get hurt, it does open the door for possibilities…

So, you know I walked right through the door!  I will tell you how in Part 2 of this article.

The Biggest Lesson I Learned Last Year Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about how a dream is different than a goal.  A goal is something you want to obtain and you can pretty much list the necessary steps towards completing the goal.  A dream is something you would love to obtain but it is beyond your current knowledge as to how to bring it into existence.

I also mentioned that because I believed that I could figure out a way to make anything happen, I believed that I was incapable of having a dream.  However, I came to realize that I had a blind spot:  I had only been considering ideas from the subset of things that I thought were realistic for me.  I had not been considering ideas from the pool of all things possible in our vast universe.

From the pool of all things possible, it quickly became apparent that there are many, many things that I would have absolutely no idea of how to begin to wrap my mind around, and I was tasked with determining what I would LOVE to do, be, or have.  Believe it or not, there was a voice in me that had been whispering the answer to this question to me all along, for many, many years.  And now, the voice leaped out at me in a way that told me it was happy to finally be free to be birthed through me!

Mind you, up until this point, I wasn’t even sure why it was important to have a dream that you had no idea of how to make happen.  What I understand now is that your dream is for you!  It is in your heart because it wants to be born through you.  I believe, as in my case, you already know what that dream is.  It is whispering softly in the background of your mind, waiting for the chance to be heard on that day when you finally move beyond what is realistic, and, instead, be open to what is possible.

I suspect that there is not just one grand dream for everyone.  I suspect that for some of us, there may be several dreams waiting for their chance to be expressed through us.  I also suspect that some of you may be thinking that your dream is so self-centered or maybe so insignificant, that whether it comes to fruition or not would really make no difference in the whole scheme of things.  Well, this brings me to the biggest lesson that I have learned this year:

In order for me to be the person who will accomplish my dream, I have to expand my definition of who I am.  The person whom I pretend to be is too small.  My dream is causing me to step outside of this confinement and to be more of who I really am.  I am the one who is connected to the source of all that exists.  Not knowing all of the steps to create my dream in advance causes me to tap into the source to which I am always granted access.  Being aware of and relying on this access changes everything for me.  I realize that as I am creating my dream, my dream is creating me.  Birthing my dream gives me new life.  My expansion feels, oh, so good!  I can’t wait to see who I become as a result of that voice that I decided to give life.

I cant wait to see who you will become when you decide to follow your dreams too!

The Biggest Thing I Learned Last Year Part 1

One thing that most people who know me would agree about me is that I know how to set goals. But what is even more important than that is that I excel at keeping up the level of consistent effort that is necessary to bring whatever goal I may have into fruition. Big or small, I am confident that if I say I am going to do it, then it is almost as good as done.

I remember years ago, an eccentric woman made her way to the door of the school where I worked. Just by knowing a person’s name, she could tell you a wealth of information about them. She said that people become whatever they are called. What she said about my entire name was very interesting and true about me. But what she said about my last name—McClaine—was that the Mc means to pound and laine means lane. She said that tells her that I am able to pound a lane or make a road towards anything that I set my sights on.

So, I was a little bit baffled when I went to a conference and the speaker said, “Write down your DREAMS. A dream is NOT a goal. A dream is much bigger than a goal. If you know HOW to accomplish your ‘dreams’, then it is NOT a dream, it is a goal. A dream should be outside of your current knowledge of what steps you would need to take to make it happen. If you feel that you can figure out HOW to accomplish this, then it is NOT a dream.”

“Well, then,” I thought, “I don’t have any dreams because I feel like I can figure out how to make anything I want to come true.” After all, that was my special talent—paving a way to making things happen, no matter what.

But, as life will do, a light was shined directly on my blind spot. I was speaking at an event and someone asked me what my current goals are. “To open myself up to receive $437 million dollars,” is what I heard my mouth say. Say, WHAT?? Where did that come from? I started to panic as I spoke because that was not a goal of mine. How could I ever come up with $437 million dollars??

For the next few days, I tossed that idea back and forth. I pulled out my calculator on several occasions trying to wrap my mind around the hugeness of that number. I told myself, “Well, I didn’t mean to say that so I don’t have to follow through with that goal.” But why had those words rolled off of my tongue so easily? Surely, there was something that I needed to learn here.

And then it hit me! I do NOT have any idea whatsoever of HOW to draw $437 million dollars into my life. So, I decided to make that my dream. What I realized next may be hard for me to explain in writing, but I will try. See, I always believed that I could do anything that I put my mind to. What I did not realize is that I only put my mind to things that I believed I could do. Did you catch that? It is such a subtle conundrum that it was invisible to me. To make it plain, I might set a goal to run a marathon which would take work and dedication to accomplish. But, it would never occur to me to set a goal to WIN a marathon, partly because I don’t believe that I could actually run fast enough to win. So, yes, I am confident that I can do anything that I set my mind to do, partly because I was only setting my mind to do things that I knew I could do.

This one realization opened me up to an entire new world of possibilities. I don’t have to dream based on what my perceived limits are. If I take the limits off, then what is it that I would love to do, be or have?? And, the answer became crystal clear for me. I will tell you more about the lesson that I learned in Part 2 of this article. In the meantime, can you take the limits off? What are your dreams?

The Secret of Affirmations Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about how we have affirmed everything that has shown up in our lives thus far, whether consciously or unconsciously.  Simply by giving our attention to a thing, it grows.  We have the option to choose what part of our circumstances to focus our attentions on and it is in our best interest to choose wisely!

Now, let’s get to how to create effective affirmations in the direction that you choose.  I know that there are many wonderful and worthy things and ideas that you want to affirm in your life, but since money is a common one for many people, let’s use money affirmations as an example.  Once you have the hang of it, substitute your own desires.

First, you want to create an affirmation that solely focuses on what you DO want with no mention of what you do NOT want.  Affirmations like, “I am debt free” or “I have enough money to pay all of my bills” bring up the imagery of lack.  Repeating such affirmations would hold you in that position or vibration of lack.

Next, make sure your affirmation is in the present tense, as if whatever you are affirming is true right now.  Use phrases like “I am” or “I have” but NOT phrases like “I want” or “I hope” or “I will”.

Keep your affirmation simple so that it is easy to remember at all times.

Affirmations like, “I am a money magnet” or “Money flows to me abundantly” fit the first 3 steps perfectly.

Now, it is time to use your creative juices—your imagination.  Your imagination is what makes the magic happen and it is where your power to bring words on paper to life!

Paint the picture of what life would actually look like if your affirmation were true.  What would life look like if you had the type of money that you desire?  What experiences would you have?   What kind of homes and automobiles would you have? What toys and gifts would surround you?  What people or charities would you support?  How would you feel?  Envision all of these things in your mind and write them down.  It may be a paragraph, or it may be several pages long, but give it as much detail as you can.  And give it as much feeling as you can while you are writing it out.

Finally, when you repeat your simple affirmation (“I am a money magnet”) throughout the day, envision yourself living the life that you wrote out.  Really see yourself enjoying all of the aspects of actually being a money magnet.  FEEL how it feels to really be a money magnet.  It is almost like you are becoming an actor because while you are repeating your affirmation, this experience should be so real to you that you feel that you can actually touch it. Again, this is the major key point—you must be able to see and FEEL it.  And the feeling should feel really, really good!

Practice being in this space.  The more often you reside in this space, the more you will believe it, and the quicker it will show up in the physical world.  So, all throughout your day everyday, take a moment here and there and practice living, feeling like, and being that money magnet!

The Secret of Affirmations Part 1

I know what you are thinking…You have tried affirmations before, but they really don’t work.  Sure, for a couple of days, you feel hopeful and even empowered but your affirmations either quickly fall by the wayside, or, maybe you were consistent, but never saw any real results.  Trust me when I say that I understand.  Been there, done that!

But when I really started to understand what an affirmation is, I began to realize that we actually do affirmations every single day of our lives, and all we have to do is look around ourselves to see that they really DO work.

Everything that we see in our environment is something that we have AFFIRMED because whatever we put our attention on grows.  Do you have a loving family?  Think of how many times you say, “I love my family.”  Are you indispensable at your job?  Think of how many times you say, “I don’t know what they would do without me.”  Do you have trouble making ends meet?  Think of how many times you say, “There is just not enough money to go around.”

So, here is the thing, we think that we are responding to the circumstances of our lives, things that are happening outside of us, with or without our permission.  However, it is our very attention to any set of circumstances that holds that circumstance in place.  The only person who can choose where YOU will put your attention is YOU.  In every situation, we each have the power to place our attention on any part of the situation.  It is up to us to CHOOSE where our focus will go.  When we realize that we will get more of whatever we are focused on, then we will start choosing to focus on only the things that we want to grow.

The point here is that affirmations absolutely work.  Give the right amount of attention to anything, good or bad, and it will show up for you.  Your thoughts are like little magnets that go out in search for situations to match itself.

The key is to start practicing affirming the things that you do want in life instead of the things you don’t want in life.  In other words, if you are thinking, “I don’t have enough money” 30 times each day, then you want to make sure you are thinking the opposite thought, “Money flows to me in abundance”, way more often than 30 times a day.  I know that you may not consciously be thinking, “I don’t have enough money” 30 times a day, but if you don’t have enough money, then that thought is sitting right there.  You carry it with you throughout the day and it influences many of the decisions you make each day.

In Part 2 of this article, I want to walk you through how to come up with your affirmations as well as how to start practicing them so that you will actually see real evidence of the power of affirmations.

Victim or Victor, You Decide

One of my friends use to refer to the human race as the Valley of the Walking Wounded. This was in acknowledgement of the fact that few of us have escaped life’s turmoils and hardships.  Few of us have grown up with our esteem perfectly in tact. We all have stories to tell and many of our stories are heart-breaking or astonishing, at the least.

It is very true that life’s circumstances shape our lives.  But, it is also true that it is up to us to determine how these circumstances shape our lives.  In other words, it is not the circumstance that determines the shape of our lives, it is the stories that we tell ourselves about the circumstance that ultimately determines how we show up in the world.  The story that we repeat over and over again is the story that will take root and sprout a life of similar kind.  What becomes obvious, then, is that if we want a succulent life, we have got to make sure that the stories that we tell ourselves about our lives are of the fruits we want to bear.

I am sure there are many ways to take less than perfect circumstances and make a story that suits you to perfection, but two methods pop into my mind.  Let’s take my story as an example.  The circumstances:  As a youth, I grew up in a household where I was physically, emotionally and, sexually abused.  My family was poor so we often lacked in adequate clothing, food, and heating.  My mother was absent due to always working several jobs.  My dad was an alcoholic and, later, an absentee father which largely meant my brothers and I had to raise and fend for ourselves.

With that set of circumstances, for many years of my life, the story that I told myself was that because of those things, I was unworthy, unloveable, and unloved by God (because if God loved me, why were those things allowed to happen to me?).  I told myself that the world was a bad place and that people were waiting to abuse me at the first chance they got.  I told myself that I needed to be as invisible as possible but ready to defend myself, if necessary.  I presented as being shy, withdrawn, and, on the inside, I was always alert and on the defense, ready to strike when needed in order to protect myself.  It also left me feeling alone in the world and quite depressed.

As long as I continued to tell myself that story, the less likely I was going to ever really prosper in life.  But then, here is the method that I employed that suited me and the life that I wanted to have better:  Rather than focusing on all of the pain of life’s experiences which caused me to opt out of really living, I flipped the story around.  My new story became that because of my life circumstances, I have great compassion for those who are in pain.  I understand abuse and depression and feelings of unworthiness and lack.  I can be a source of nurturance and inspiration for those who are hurting and see no light.  Because of my life circumstances, I am smart.  I pay attention to people and I am keenly aware of those who are genuine and those who are looking to cause harm.  Because of my life circumstances, I am strong.  I know how to survive.  I know how to go through the fire without getting burned.  Because of my circumstances, I am a victor, no question about it!

Another method that you could employ is to change your story in each current moment.  For example, I still tend to be a shy person.  So, I might think that I could never do public speaking because I am too shy.  Though I may really believe what I am saying, there is still a way to flip this situation simply by telling myself a new story.  So, instead of accepting my circumstance as something that is going to rule my life (or, in this case, keep me from speaking in public), I can say, “Even though I am shy, I have some important things to say.  Even though I am shy, people seem to enjoy listening to me.  Even though I am shy, I have a good sense of humor which can break the ice.”  Or I can say, “I am shy, but I have a unique perspective on things that people want to hear.  I am shy, but I am becoming more comfortable with speaking in groups.  I am shy, but I have overcome everything else I am faced with in life, why wouldn’t I be able to overcome this too?”

With this method, I acknowledge what I perceive to be my negative circumstance, but I do not allow that circumstance to define what is possible for me.  The more I tell myself this new story about myself, the more I step into a new world that is open for me.

Practice re-writing the stories of your life.  Dream the life you want to live.  If the stories that you are telling yourself don’t align with your dreams, then it is time to tell a story that suits you better—tell the story where YOU are VICTORIOUS!

Who Do You Think You Are?

When I start with the premise that at the core of our beings, we are connected to all that exists, I realize that the statement that “Nothing is impossible” is true.  I think, at some levels, we all believe that nothing is impossible.  That resonates with us from somewhere deep within.  However, it seems that this belief is VERY deep within, and we don’t know how to access the truth of the statement.

But if we start to wrap our minds around the idea that we are connected to the mind of God or to the heartbeat of the universe, then we begin to realize that what is available to one is available to all.  If one person can gain access, then so can we all.

When I have problems to solve and I have exhausted all of the tools that my finite self can come up with, I remember that God has at least a million ways to solve this one problem.  And, though I may have only come up with 3 or 4 possible solutions that were woefully inadequate, there are hundreds of other solutions that lay with God or the universe or any and everything that has come before me and that will come after me.  I only need to ask for help and be willing to receive my answers.  Of course, there are ways to ask for help and ways to receive answers that we will discuss in another article.  But for now, I just want you to sit with the idea that anything that you can think of really is possible.  And, that you can gain access to the exact answers that you need to create whatever imagery is floating through your beautiful mind.

I recently heard someone say that every decision that we make is based on the way we answer this one simple question, “Who am I?”  Your answer to that question colors every single move that you make.  When you think of yourself as small and insignificant, you make very different decisions than when you think of yourself as having access to the creative powers of God or of the universe.  Think of yourself as living the life you would LOVE to live.  Pretend that you are that person right now.  How would the next major decision that you have to make be different when you are the person living the life that you love?

For the next week, let’s practice expanding our definition of who we are.  Recognize that we are a part of all that exists and that we have access to every possibility that exists.  Spend some quiet time in nature this week.  Really take the time to see what is in front of your eyes.  Acknowledge your connection to it.  Take a second look at all the people you see.  Acknowledge that they, too, are a part of you and at your very core, you both are a part of this same divine, glorious creation.

Girls for Change

Girls for a Change is doing sensational work in our community. While spending time with the young ladies yesterday, I could see the gleam in their eyes–the desire to be their best selves and to make a difference in the world!
Thank you, Angela Patton and Girls for a Change, for a beautiful afternoon! I loved the extra special touch of having the young ladies ride a GRTC bus with the picture of my book on it!!