How do you decide between two non-obvious choices?

Nienhagen, Bad Doberan, Western Pomerania, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany --- Image by © Radius Images/Corbis
Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

Short answer: You don’t.

Long answer, let me explain.

Some of the most difficult decisions you can make in life are when you have to choose between 2 less than ideal scenarios.

How common is this situation? Just look at the many nick names it’s been given:

  • Rock and a hard place.
  • Lesser of two evils.
  • Backed into a corner.
  • Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure you can think of more.

But, this kind of thinking is actually a trap. It happens when you get so focused on your current reality, that you forget there are more possibilities.

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A Guide to Practically, Consistently, and Easily, Manifest the Life You Want with the Law of Attraction

If you’re reading this, you might be familiar with the work of Abraham Hicks or, “The Secret.” You may already believe it’s possible to manifest the life of your dreams using your thoughts and emotions. In fact, if you’ve read about the law of attraction before you might have seen some immediate results. You may have thought, “Finally, I’ve found the golden ticket to all those great things I desire,” and, “Well it’s smooth sailing from here!” Why not? Great things can just appear in your reality. Yet, when you inevitably manifest confusion or challenging circumstances, you either give up or persevere.

Click here to read more about the Law of Attraction Instruction Manual.

What’s the Point of Vacation Anyway?

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I’m just about to go to Costa Rica, a long time dream of mine and I have a mixed bag of feelings and vibrations about it. On the one hand I’m vibrant and excited and anticipating of the wonderful time I will have, and on the other I’m in a sort of pensive mood. Which has me asking, why does one go on vacation? What does vacation even mean in a law of attraction world?

I’ve written about this before in the concept of escape vs. a calling, but I’d like to hit it in a wholly different way. I’d like to think about how the public at large and how I personally think of vacationing.

Western society defines a vacation as literally a break from the norm to relax and indulge in pleasurable leisure activities. It’s both a solid thing, like a two week trip to Costa Rica, and an emotional thing, like a vacation from the idea or construct of your life.

It’s like an escape with a mutually agreed upon begin and end date with an assumption that once you return, everything will go back to normal. But this falls apart if you believe that you don’t really want anything to go back to normal.

For me, a vacation is more like a vacation into my future reality. I don’t think of it as this separate thing, but merely a part of my life that will happen more and more in the future, but for now it exists in this bubble. I think of it more like a preview of things to come, rather than a tangent from the normal. It’s more like a focused time of vibrational tone setting in order to manifest a more desires normalcy. It’s not separate from my normal life. In fact, like how the fringe of a subject often times replaces the mainstream (called a dialectical relationship), I think of the vacations of my life slowly but surely replacing the mainstream of my life.

This isn’t to say that I assume that my life will always resemble the form of a vacation (hanging out on the beach on doing cool excursions), more that my life will increasingly resemble the emotional content of a vacation. So a vacation then is placeholder for desired emotions that are contingent on that circumstance taking place. Put this way a vacation isn’t a fantastic concept at all (since it holds those emotions in a specific condition), but it may be the only starting place for my western trained mind. If you aren’t willing to accept that you deserve this kind of reality in a consistent way (and must settle for this emotional reality once or twice a year) then a vacation might be the best you can do at your current vibrational altitiude.

Taking it home with you

If the purpose of a vacation is to live in an idealized way for a short amount of time, then carrying out that purpose must be the act of practicing the wonderful emotional experience of being on vacation unconditionally. A vacation is the embodiment of the vortex inside of a life full of contrast. Therefore, in order to transcend that construct, the power must be taken away from the vacation entirely. Rather than make your vacation not stand out (the way it should), this will give you the power to create those feelings at home in your normal routine. As long as you can only experience your wildness on vacation, you will have to settle for your boring self at home. Screw that.

We live in a world that worships the weekend, because that’s when we can unleash from the shackles of our day to day job and just really let loose. If that means dancing or adventuring, or just taking in a good book, it means that you get to indulge in the things you want anyway. But, need I remind you that, these are the things and experiences that life is about.

So what is the point of a vacation? Currently, it’s a starting point for vibrational expansion. It signifies discovery, exhilaration, novelty, variety, warmth, comfort, relaxation, and so much more. At best, a vacation is a time where you declare that you remember who you are and why you are here, and allow yourself to have new delightful, surprising, and intensely satisfying experiences. At worst, it becomes a beautiful prison for those experiences.

What is this vacation for me? It’s a culmination of many things. It will be my 30th birthday, and it will contain experiences such as scuba diving that I’ve always wanted to have. It will also contain sensory pleasures such as warm water that soothe and envelope me deep into my soul. But with those signifiers carries an even deeper meaning. This vacation is commitment to free my mind from vacations. It’s a commitment to the idea that life itself is one long complex, gorgeous, and moving vacation.

I know too much now. I know that life was meant to be this way. That a vacation is simply the manifestation of this point in my life – an oasis amongst the slowly changing contrast. An oasis signifying a rising continent. That life will increasingly feel like it’s own vacation. The work of the law of attraction is remembering this, and seeing that rise for the glorious unfolding that it is.

What’s one thing that you would do more of if you were on vacation? How could you do just a little bit of that now?

Coming Soon: A Practical Guide to Apply the Law of Attraction

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Hey everyone,

I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts on the law of attraction. It’s my goal to create a resource for people who are really excited about the idea of manifesting their reality and who want practical action steps to get there.

If you’re reading this right now, you’ve probably heard about the law of attraction. You might know it as the Secret, deliberate creation, or that black magic the kids are always talking about. And maybe you’ve even read a book or two about it. You read, you intended, and then…nothing. Your boss still sucks. You still don’t have that money you want or that fabulous new outfit. Whether you like it or not, your dreams are still laying dormant, slowly nibbling at your soul.

Sometimes you get re-energized about your dreams, but you find your action is inconsistent and your passion fleeting. You look to others who seem to be living their dream lives and doing so effortlessly. WTF is that about? So you continually climbing that insurmountable mountain expecting for things to eventually get easier while life drags you down. Eventually, you just give up, but you hold a candle for that dream in your darkest nights. Ok Whoa…this is getting dark.

Let’s back up:

  • Do you find yourself understanding the concepts intellectually but tripping over how to apply it?
  • Do you like the idea of some of the processes you’ve heard but just don’t have the time?
  • Do you want to know what the hell I”m talking about and wish I’d just shut up already and tell you how you can get a big, crisp, pile of money?
  • Do you wish you had a way to measure your progress, even if you didn’t know when or how it was coming?

Well, it’s time to get excited. I’m writing a book called The Law of Attraction: An Instruction Manual. It will be free for people who subscribe to my mailing list.

Why an e-book?

Rather than an article that tackles one subject, this is a total piece of work. This will give you everything you need to know to manifest your dream life.

What’s in it?

I’m glad you asked.

My feeling about teaching is this: A good teacher can exactly replicate what worked for them. They are very self aware and can deconstruct their own process. They are great communicators so their system will be easy to understand. A great teacher, on the other hand, can deconstruct the building blocks of their own process and give their student the pieces, show them how they all work together, and then let the student build their own system. The former approach is prescriptive and, at extremes, dogmatic. The latter is empowering to the individual. I’ve read numerous books on the law of attraction and they were all wonderful in that they had pieces of truth.

Unfortunately, those pieces didn’t come together in any meaningful way. When I read them, my thought process would go something like this: So all I have to do is think about what i want and it appears? No, that didn’t work. Ok, so all I have to do is act as if I have a billion dollars! But how does a billionaire act? Fail. Ok, so I don’t need goals, no wait I do..arghhhh.

Then I went around and around like that, until now. This book is the culmination of all I’ve learned in the past 10 years of experimenting with law of attraction. It includes:

  • A crash course on the law of attraction. Only what you need to know about law of attraction theory in order to apply everything else in the book.
  • How to incrementally change your beliefs. The process of slowly easing yourself into new ways of thinking, so that you don’t rebound back into your old ways of thinking.
  • How to set your day up right and in doing so, put manifestation on autopilot. Create a morning routine that mpowers you and makes you get up in the morning saying, yes!
  • The exact building blocks of everything from your initial desire to your fully realized manifestation. This is so you get a bigger picture of how to build a successful manifestation plan for yourself. There are multiple ways of going about each building block, depending on what you prefer.
  • Tweaks for each step to make them really resonate and sing for you. These are pieces of truth from many sources put together in one easy, logical place. Often times the difference between you getting what you want and not is one simple tweak.
  • Most of all, this will give you a feeling of clarity of how to get what you want, and on it’s heels it will bring you a feeling of true empowerment.

It is my great pleasure to give this to you on your journey of remembering who you are and stepping into your true creative power. Please subscribe now and I will send it to you as soon as it’s ready.

Question, comments, hugs? Feel free to leave in the comments below.

 

Chris

Breaking Down Money: Are You Comfortable with Luxury?

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Money tends to be something that’s very polarizing, energy wise. What I mean by this is that if you have money, you have lots of it. If you don’t, you barely struggle to get it. And if you are in neither of these positions, you tend to be caught right in the middle , having just barely enough to get by and maybe have one little thing for yourself here or there. Moreover, money is something you deal with every day or multiple times a day, so it’s something that you likely have some pretty entrenched beliefs about, no matter what they are. Remember, beliefs are just thoughts you keep thinking.

So then Abraham comes along and says something like this:

“And then the idea of a Universe of never-ending abundance some-how came to me—another simple thought that I adopted, and adapted, that changed my life, and the lives of those who may have been influenced by my example, in a very dramatic way. My new premise was: “When I buy a series of luxury vehicles, I am creating jobs and redistributing money in a luxurious way. In other words, when I purchase an expensive vehicle, I create work for—and re-distribute dollars to—thousands of persons who made the vehicle possible.”

Yeah, I have trouble coming to terms with all the luxury vehicles I buy as well. I’m using very pointed sarcasm here to , um, make a point: My point of attraction around money is currently about halfway to really believing this. This is because buying a luxury vehicle is not yet the next logical step in my physical reality.

However, there is something that is coming up that perfectly mirrors this. I’m about to go on a trip to Costa Rica. I’m going to celebrate my 30th birthday with the longest vacation I’ve ever taken, and I’m terrified. Why? Because, a certain amount of luxury is out of my comfort zone. The first sentence in the last paragraph was an expression of my discomfort over the idea of owning a luxury car.

When you think of stepping outside your comfort zone, you usually think of doing something risky, like bungee jumping or public speaking. Yet, a luxurious experience like going on a cruise to the Virgin Islands, owning a Tesla, or receiving an Evian Bath (a bath of 1,000 bottles of French mineral water – yes this really exists) can actually make you uncomfortable. Put differently, something which has a sole purpose to make you more comfortable can actually make you uncomfortable.

Weird huh?

So we go back to this concept of never ending abundance. If you believe that abundance is infinite, then you also have to believe that any amount of abundance is something that you are perfectly comfortable with. If you don’t, then you are actually blocking the flow of abundance to you. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?

If this resonates with you, what exactly is uncomfortable about that luxury experience that you really want to have? You might say things like, “I can’t afford it,” “I don’t deserve it,” or, “No one should have that kind of luxury.” These are all reasonable things to say, but they won’t get you any closer to that experience that you want. You probably already know this, but it doesn’t change the fact of your gut emotional reaction. The thing is, that gut emotional reaction is the signifier that there is discord between what you’re vibrating and what you want. Those kinds of thoughts are just manifestations of the feeling of your lack of alignment.

So how do you get comfortable with the idea of having luxury? How do you get aligned with it?

Refer back to the quote above. Esther found a huge piece for herself when she realized that she was benefiting others by buying a luxury car. Not only was she allowing more abundance into her life, she was raising the potential for abundance to flow into other people’s lives. Here though is where reading this can be misinterpreted. This is what worked for Esther, and this brings light to the huge difference between reading a book and listening to a hundred different applications of processes based on a person’s unique set of challenges.

Understanding your unique relationship to luxury

The thought that, “People benefit from me allowing my abundance,” is a great one, but it’s not necessarily the one for you right now. You may be practicing any number of chronic abundance- quelling thoughts like, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” “To make more money I need to put in more work that I don’t want to do,” or even, “Making money isn’t spiritual.”

Rather than focusing on those though, I’d like to give you something to start thinking about your relationship to wealth and opulence in a more positive way.

The universe is infinite and there is infinite abundance for each one of us. If you can get comfortable enough to dip your toe in that belief, then what follows is: You have the ability to be, do, or have whatever you want. You may already feel uncomfortable with the idea of having so much power, but bear with me.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable with something and then gained comfort in it? Did you feel like a master the first time you drove a car, or learned how to cook something new? When you understand that the luxury that seems to only exist for the few is simply another version of this process, you take away the seemingly infinite power that wealth has over your mind.

Lets start simple.

What is one thing that feels luxurious in your life that is reachable? Do you like to eat dark chocolate? Do you like to sit out in the sun in nature? Do you like to get massages? How about a dip in a hot tub?

Pick something in your life that won’t hurt your finances and is something you can do in the near future. Ideally, something repeatable. If you like to visualize, then visualize yourself doing this thing during your normal visualization time and picture yourself really enjoying it. Feel the warmth and the comfort and the security of that thing you like to do. When you choose to actually do it, feel how wonderful it feels to be opulent in that moment. To really get comfortable taking care of yourself in this way, make it a weekly, or even daily, thing. You are worth it, and by doing this, you will feel that feeling deep inside your core more and more.

Me? I’m going to Costa Rica (Rich Coast?) and will be practicing these feelings as often as I can before, during, and after. Hopefully I can get less terrified. See, I just moved my vibration up in relationship to it a little bit.

What if you really can’t afford it?

I understand and I know how frustrating it is to read something like this if you just don’t have the scratch. So here’s an alternate exercise. Next time you buy something that’s a “guilty pleasure”, reframe it in your mind like a luxury. I just went to a fast food restaurant the other day, something I don’t do too often, but I love the taste of their fries. This fast food restaurant also now carries Cinnabon, my absolute most favorite dessert. So I got a 4 piece of that.

For you it could be anything. Do you like buying lotto tickets, dark chocolate with sea salt, or that magazine that’s trashy but you really love? First of all, these things aren’t guilty, they are luxurious. Think of them that way. If you need a prompt, think, “I’m buying this because it’s a luxury I can afford in my life.” This will get you in the habit of recognizing where luxury already exists in your life. And it doesn’t have to be an object-based understanding. One of the great luxuries you have is time.

But, if you’re the kind of straight-laced, non-candy-eating, psycho who never has fun in life, I don’t know what to say to you.

What is one luxurious thing you do now? What about one you want to do?

The Flawed Premise of Beliefs: Why Your Brain is Not a Closed System

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The brain is a powerful tool, but we sometimes give it too much credit in the creation of our reality. Consider this quote:

In this relationships book, Abraham* focuses the light of their Broader Perspective to reveal a wide array of flawed premises (which most of us are living by) relative to our varied relationships. And as you come upon those false-premise segments (“false,” relative to the natural Laws of the Universe), if you will superimpose Abraham’s perspective over your personal life experience (known only by you), and if you see room for improvement in your life, you will have the opportunity to shift your life—from as good as it is, right now, to whatever you perceive as a better-feeling experience.”

Flawed premises are really really important to understand, because your mind is somewhat of a closed system. I’ll get to the “somewhat” in a second.

Firstly, your brain is what’s interpreting the information around you, so if you are operating on a flawed premise, then you won’t be able to succeed at getting what you want. More importantly, you won’t be able to fix the thing that is causing you to not get what you want, because you won’t know it even exists.

There are so many examples of flawed premises. They generally translate to false beliefs and, to explain this in the law of attraction sense, this means that they have a lot of momentum. If you know that belief is just a thought that you keep thinking, then by the time a thought becomes a belief, it has a lot of momentum behind it (i.e. you have thought it a lot in your life.) If something has momentum you can’t immediately stop it. So, even if you do have the clarity to recognize a false belief, like “Money takes my hard work to create,” you won’t be able to just up and change your belief. This is because, to use an Abraham metaphor, you can’t immediately reverse the direction of a train travelling 100mph west so that it’s a train travelling 100mph east. Instead of reversing the direction, trying to force it the other way will only give it more power. Yes, you will inadvertently cause the train to travel faster. Not only that, but you will also inadvertenly give more power to other false premises like, “I can’t create my reality,” and, “I’m no good at this.”

Whew, this is a lot of doom and gloom. So now I get the part where your brain is “somewhat” a closed system. The thing that actually made Abraham the least accessible to me was the mythology behind it. The whole, “You are an extension of source energy who has come into this physical body to experience contrast,” business. But now I realize, at the risk of sounding like a zealot, that at least trying out believing this is really important.

Why?

I’m going to put my logic hat on. If it’s true that your physical body is an extension of source energy and well being is your natural state, then your beliefs are not a closed system. In fact, you are the only one who gives power to our beliefs, and that’s by practicing them. So that means you have the power, not your beliefs. Sure, the more you practice something the more that thing becomes second nature, but in every moment you have the power to think just a little bit differently. Not radically different, not different in the Apple corporate slogan sense, but differently enough that you can slow down that train.

If well being is your natural state, then well being is always slowing down the train. Well being is as all pervasive as gravity. Your beliefs do not have as much power as you think they do. Have you ever seen a movie you hated and then later saw it again and loved it? You experienced thinking something different. Have you ever eaten a food that tasted great and then later you didn’t like it? Did you ever realize that you could take a better route to work? You experienced thinking differently about something.

This doesn’t mean that different is better, but if you have the awareness to know that you are practicing a belief that you don’t want, then why not try a different tweak on the belief? Your emotional guidance system will let you know if you like it or not.

In the above quote Esther says, “If you will superimpose Abraham’s perspective over your life experience,” then you will have the opportunity to shift these false premises. Note that she doesn’t say “change”. Superimposing that perspective is what causes the train to slow down.

How do you do that? Think generally.

The more general you think about something, the slower the momentum becomes. Abraham’s perspective is more general, more flowing, and unconditionally loving. Move towards (not shift into) thoughts like that, even if they feel silly. Does it feel silly to say, “I am an extension of source energy?” Instead, what about, “I may not know everything there is to know about this,” and, “I’d like to think I’m an open minded person,” and certainly, “I like the idea of well being as my natural state.” Why?

If well being is your natural state, there’s nothing for you to do. You already are fine, perfect, loving, activated, and pure. You already are like a crystal blue sea in the Caribbean. You may not feel that way, but when you do, you are just muddying up the water temporarily. You are actually in an ocean like that all the time, but you are powerful. You are so powerful that you can feel cold and dark in the middle of a bright sunny day. Don’t you like knowing that? Sometimes I hate knowing that, but more and more as I practice this general perspective of the world (and sometimes revert back), I find those beliefs that I thought I’d take with me to my grave slowly slipping away.

There is so much work to be done, but the work is what we’re here to do. And, “work” is not really the word. Instead, let’s call it, your “purpose driven practice.” Ok, so it’s a work in progress.

What beliefs have you gained clarity on, but you still can’t shake? What false premises are you operating on?

Incremental Morning Improvement: What if You Aren’t an Instant Success?

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Morning is a powerful time. It sets the tone for your day, it’s full of possibility, and it’s a great excuse to stuff your face with cinnamon rolls. But it also has great vibrational power. By altering your morning bit by bit, you can begin to change your life in ways greater than the sum of your actions. Unless of course, your life is already awesome, which is the catch 22 of the law of attraction. Consider this quote:

“If you were already feeling good when you found this book, then by utilizing these materials, your life can now, by your de-liberate intention, spiral toward that which allows you to feel even better. However, if, in this moment, you are feeling less than good—or even if you think your life is as bad as it can possibly get—you can still learn perspectives here that can enable you to allow your life to begin to incrementally improve . . . or, you may be one of those rare ones who, from something you read here, receive a paradigm shift in your Beingness that somehow propels you from a long-term feeling of powerlessness, up into a fresh, long-term joyous alignment with your natural state of Well-Being. And once you reach that state, you will feel like a magnet, attracting to yourself everything—and every relationship—to which you are a Vibrational Match.”

Would if it could be this easy, Abraham. I included this whole passage because I wanted to show how different types of people respond when they discover the law of attraction. More often than not, people tend to simply filter the teachings through their current beliefs. Those who are already successful tend to spiral towards more success, whereas those who feel powerless don’t tend to receive a paradigm shift in their beingness. As a result, many people (including myself) reject the teachings, when in fact they simply attracted the teachings not working. Now that’s a mind f*ck.

As she’s stated at other times, you generally aren’t ready for a quantum leap. This concept has been something I’ve struggled with, since when I feel disempowered the only thing I want is a quantum leap into my dream life.

But the things I’ve thought and the person I’ve been have a momentum to them, so the main part of this quote where I’ve gained value is, “Learn perspectives here that can enable you to allow your life to incrementally improve.” Incremental improvement is what it’s all about – like a video game. If your goal was overnight success, this is kind of a let down.

The only way to gain improvement in something is to practice it. That’s the key with law of attraction. It’s a practice! This makes it seem like eating your vegetables (even though vegetables are delicious!) or doing some kind of chore. At first it can seem like that, but eventually you realize that this is the most important practice of your life.

I know I can sound kind of culty sometimes, but it’s true: Managing your vibrational set point is the most important practice of your life. Is it the most important thing in your life? Probably not, but it’s your most important practice because as you’ve probably heard a million times, “The energy output of one who is aligned is equal to millions who are not.” Practicing getting in alignment sounds more like studying under a meditation master than an actionable piece of advice, but it is very actionable. Not only that, but it’s something you can do daily that immediately benefits your life.

How does practicing alignment immediately benefit your life?

First of all, you feel good. Second of all, you begin to understand your power in little bits at a time. Third of all, you raise your vibrational set point more and more. To put it more finely, you reduce the resistance caused by your negative vibrations.

How can you practice alignment?

I could simply say, “By feeling good” and Abraham says, “By thinking the thoughts that make you feel the most good the most often.”

But, you might misunderstand that. If you try to feel good when you aren’t inherently feeling good, then you might create more resistance than you mean to, which will make you actually feel bad eventually.

By trying too hard to feel good, you might feel bad. This is often the mistake you make if you want a quantum leap right now and you think you just need to concentrate really hard on fluffy pillows and having that super high paying job.

Instead, what Abraham says is to pick an activity in your morning and just deliberately feel a little better while you are doing it. She recommends the segment intending process, the focus wheel process, and a book of positive aspects, to name a few. To start, pick an activity that she describes that resonates with you and do that in your morning routine.

Why your morning routine?

I think of a day like a repeating cycle. I know that’s obvious, but bear with me. You get up in the morning and you have routines. You go to the same kind of job and are subject to similar experiences. On your weekend you do different things but it often follows a similar rhythm. So, by incrementally increasing the quality of your routine, you increase the quality of your habitual life.

Note by this that I mean both increasing the quality of each activity incrementally and increasing the overall routine’s quality. By quality, I’m referring to emotional quality, not the price of your toothpaste.

What do I do?

I started with the focus wheel. I put it right after my shower and eating and before I went to work. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, just that you deliberately feel better. This means that you choose a time to intend to feel better and then see how much better you feel. By putting it in your morning routine you 1. Are more likely to do it and 2. Make it much easier to continually do it.

The idea is to habitualize your incremental improvement, so then it becomes second nature to sit down and write or meditate, dance to your favorite music, or any small thing that makes you happy. Personally, meditation currently makes me more stressed out than happy, so I elect to write. By taking a few moments in your morning to do what makes you feel good you are staking a vibrational claim amongst whatever else you do. For that moment in time you proclaim that this time is for you and your joy. By doing this you don’t have to worry about the 68 second rule or getting in alignment; by doing something you enjoy doing, you are already there. This alignment will then expand over time because – it must.

In doing this, you’ll find it easier and easier to increase the emotional quality of other parts of your routine and easier to sustain that emotional quality throughout other unrelated tasks. By trying too hard in any individual moment to feel good, you create resistance. By building habits that systematically help you feel good, you put alignment on autopilot. Doing so will naturally build and sustain your momentum over time. Ideas will come to you more and more about how you could improve your morning, which will eventually lead to the rest of your day.

It’s not about being in alignment all the time. It’s about increasing the odds of you getting in alignment more frequently.

What simple thing could you do in a few minutes in the morning to live your joy?

What’s the Difference Between New Age Nonsense and Deeply Meaningful Advice?

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On the surface, not much.

This article will explain why Abraham’s work is so highly actionable (even though that word is problematic), even when their writing can seem so esoteric. So here is the quote that we will be discussing.

“the basis of life is free-dom; the result of life is expansion—and the purpose of life is joy.”

This is one of the things I love about Abraham-Hicks work: Despite all the weird new-agey sounding stuff, the teachings are actually completely pragmatic. Take for example that little kernel of wisdom. Rather than seeing at as a bunch of gobbledygook, it’s actually highly functional. Let’s break it down.

First of all, it’s easy to understand, the sequence comes in a pleasing set of threes, and each statement leads to the other.

Continue reading

Should you Take the Adventure?

Chances are, you’ve heard the call.

The call might come in any manner. It might come from a tickling in the back of your mind. It might come when you see a sign in the most innocuous thing. It might come from a song you hear or an image in a frame. However it comes, you just know. It beckons you forth to come out into the world to discover new things about it and yourself. This urge to adventure is an intoxicating mix of fear and excitement.

The call comes loud and clear at first, but if you don’t respond it lays dormant. The location of the call does matter to you, but universally it doesn’t matter. It could be a city, the great plains, or the sea. It doesn’t matter. You just know you have to go there. And if it was so simple, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. You’d be there, expanding your understanding of what is possible, learning terrifying and beautiful new things. You’d shed some of your old ways of being and embrace new ones. You’d wake up with that feeling that every day is full of possibility, not just a means to an end.

But, like everyone, you have things that you might give up. You have an entire life to live right where you are. You may be responsible for others. Your choices might not be just your own. You probably have a job, a home, a community of some kind, and a lot that is warm and familiar. Setting off on this new adventure is a double-edged sword. Are you really willing to give up those things for the possibility of something better?

So when this feeling of adventure comes, what do you do?

Two different selves

This is frequent dilemma for many people. Consider the metaphor of a person with two selves. One self wants the warm and familiar and another wants the new and different. These two selves war and no matter who wins, this person doesn’t feel whole.

If the warm and familiar self wins, then regret could easily set in for this person. They might spend their days of routine thinking of all the things they could have missed – all the great journeys and destinations they might have reached. All the wonderful diverse people and events they might have met with. And mark my words, this feeling is poison. The familiar self wins the war but is slowly corrupted over time by the dieing soul of the adventurous self.

On the other hand, if the new and adventurous self wins, then the person might have no home. Not that their homeless mind you, but they might have no sense of home. They might move from place to place in search of that thrill of the new and different again. Yet regret of a different kind might afflict this person. They might look at the people around them and wonder how much more rich their life might feel if they committed to something – a job, a partner, a family – for a longer period of time. They might wonder what it would be like to be part of something bigger and something much more stable.

You may already think that these sound like the same problems, which is true. Both are an expression of a fear that another kind of life might be better or “the grass is always greener” syndrome. But notice that both selves yearn for the qualities of the other. This is because they aren’t selves at all, they are simply parts of one self. And if either one isn’t expressed, then neither one is satisfied. When both are satisfied, this yearning can dissappear.

So, is it a calling or an escape?

When invesitgating this feeling you have, “adventure” is too loose of a term to be able to get any real answers. Asking someone, “do you want adventure?” might be actually asking them about two different parts of their personality. Therefore I break it into two subcategories – a calling and an escape.

Wanting to escape, except for some terrible situations, is usually some form of not wanting to deal with what is. Furthermore, escaping frequently perpetuates whatever that problem is. In that case, the best thing you can do is face that thing you don’t want to deal with, and then see what you feel compelled to do. Escaping is a reaction to a situation you don’t want. If there isn’t a situation you don’t want, then you may not feel the need to escape anymore.

A calling, on the other hand, is from a much deeper place in your soul.

These feelings are virtually indistinguishable. Only through careful examination can you recognize which is which. Yet, though they elicit the same behavior, the quality of your experience will be colored by which feeling caused it.

Let me explain what I mean.

An escape is a fantasy. That one hurt, didn’t it? A fantasy is not supposed to be real. This is not to say that escapism isn’t healthy. It certainly is. Where it gets confusing is when escapism is confused with a calling. An escape is an illusion that things would be better if the circumstance of your escape were to be your reality. This happens to you all the time. In night dreams, day dreams, movies, music, listening to a person who you admire, etc. Escapism is a fundamental aspect of the human experience, and indulging in it can bring temporary satisfaction. The quality, then, is short lasting and ultimately empty underneath.

A calling is a message from the deepest part of you that this circumstance is where your passion and inspiration lies. Your true passion is the source of your unique and genuine expression and engaging with it brings a satisfaction that is much richer and longer lasting than that of escape. This is why writing something you’re proud of is so much more affecting than reading a really inspiring article. Though my plan is to change that :-) A calling is part of what separates the conscious from the unconscious people of the world.

However, If you are in an abusive situation and you truly do need to escape, I consider that escape plan a calling. That calling is telling you that you deserve better. Conversely, if your fantasy is to have a calling in the first place, it’s still an escape. Confused yet?

Now with those descriptions it will be easy to distinguish them right?

Not necessarily. For example, the emotion of fear often drives your behavior, but it doesn’t signify what caused the fear. Fear, because of it’s all consuming emotional quality, veils its own source. Moreover, fear comes in more forms than just the gut feeling you have when a bear is charging you. It comes in deception, in confusion, in thinking you want something that you don’t. It comes in laziness and lack of passion. So when it comes, it doesn’t mean its obviously masking escape or a calling.

An escape and a calling can be equally terrifying for different reasons. An escape can be fueled by fear because you’re afraid of whatever you’re dealing with that’s causing you to want to escape from it. You’re afraid that it won’t go the way you want, so if you simply leave the situation you won’t have to deal with it. You fear the failure of yourself to live your life in the way that you deem fit.

A calling is scary because you’re afraid of what will happen to the status quo when you really do what you want. This is a fear based on the assumption that if you are really happy you will lose everything you love. This is similar to mixing up the fear of failure with fear of success. These are different, and trying to fix one when it’s actually the other is ineffective. Fear is fear, and one can easily be confused with the other. If you move across the world because you don’t want to deal with your day to day – that’s escape. If you move across the world because deep down you’ve always yearned to do that thing – that thing that is the source of the burning in your heart – that is a calling.

In actuality, a calling can be even more scary than an escape. This is because, with escape, there is a part of you that knows that this isn’t what you really want, so you don’t have to actually consider the ramifications of really doing what you want. You can safely imagine what it would be like while knowing that where won’t be a moment in the future where you have to take those steps for real. It’s easy to imagine being with someone else if you don’t have to consider the consequences of breaking up your current relationship and giving up all that entails.

It gets more insidious when you realize that a coping mechanism with not taking up your calling is to pretend it’s an escape. “Oh I don’t really want to do that,” you think. This way you don’t have to feel the fear or apprehension associated with shaking up your life in order to get what you really want. The problem is that your inspiration and passion burns whether you like it or not. It’s the only fire that can never be fully extinguished. And if it can’t express itself, it will start burning you apart from the inside.

On the other hand, if you think a simple escapist fantasy is a calling, then the fire inside will sabotage your plans one way or another. You won’t quite pull it all together, or you will abandon everything and get there only to feel that emptiness where the fire should be. Meanwhile the problems you thought you left behind are part of you and will continue to express themselves one way or another.

Wow, are you afraid to do anything at this point?

Let me give you some questions and ideas that will help you tease out what the real feeling is. First, think about that thing that you want to do. Just hold it in your mind.

How do you really feel?

In this process we will go from shallow to deep. What I mean is I’ll cover the most obvious ways to determine your feeling and then move onto the more subtle and probing methods. With these later methods it may help to journal or at least talk it out with someone who you can trust and can listen.

Firstly, If your urge is far too unrealistic, like becoming a pirate astronaut, then it’s obviously escapist in nature. Putting aside the impossible, escapist urges tend to manifest in a few key ways.

1. Generally speaking, escapist fantasies are very specific. And escapism tends to take a variety of forms. If you’ve ever wanted to become a world class anything – dancer, race car driver, poet, lion tamer – and you haven’t even tried that thing or something like it yet, there’s a good chance you’re indulging in escape.

2. Added to this, escapism tends to be fleeting, so an easy way to check to see if your feeling escapist is to see if you still get the same emotional quality or charge from the idea a week later. A week is a long time for a false idea to stay propped up. Notice however that I said quality not intensity. Usually a calling feeling will remain similar in quality but its intensity will diminish over time unless you engage with it. And if you’re engaging with it, then what are you reading this for?

3. Since they are fleeting, escapist thoughts tend to come in a large variety, whereas a calling tends to focus on one single idea that can have multiple applications. So, what does a boat captain, a scientific researcher, and homeless person playing guitar on the street have in common? They are all equally escapist and completely unconnected. There is no throughline that is deeper.

4. Escapist thoughts tend to deal with discrete images, not interconnected lifestyles. They don’t take into account all that wouldn’t exist if those exact circumstances were to exist. If you ask somebody why they would want to indulge in this fantasy, chances are they will give you a specific emotion. This means that it’s not the image that excites them, it’s what the image represents. Yet still they focus on the image. If the focus of your attention is on the surface, not what it represents, most likely you are trying to escape. Chances are you could fulfill this urge some other way instead of flying around the world in a hot air balloon.

5. Escapist fantasies fill a void that’s in your life currently or fill a void caused by emotional events in your past. These fantasies are often very specific. “I could go live in the woods and become a hermit, that way I’d show everyone that I can be truly independent.” If your fantasy involves axe-grinding, then it is most likely escapist.

Notice that none of these are definite. That’s because in your quest of self examination you will realize just how insiduous you really are at deceiving yourself. In finding the true meaning of your feeling you may have to peel back multiple layers of self deception. Truth can often be hiding right beind a false belief, but just as often beginning to examine can bring you to a hall of mirrors. So, if you still can’t discern the difference, let’s continue. Now it will be important to at least spend some time talking about this with someone close to you and as unbiased as possible or journaling.

Ask yourself these questions

1. What do you truly want? This is an obvious question but while engaged in the miasma of what you really want out of life, it’s a good place to start to clear the air. It’s ok to answer as vague or as specific as you want at this part of the process. It’s also ok to write down many conflicting things. Don’t be concerned about what’s realistic or not or whether or not you think they are a calling or not. All that matters is that you answer honestly.

2. How does fulfilling this urge for adventure give you what you truly want or part of what you truly want?

3. On the flip side, how does fulfilling this urge for adventure not give you what you truly want? How does it stop you from those things that you want?

4. What does society/your friends/your parents/anyone else want from you or for you?

5. What does your past self want from you? This is a tricky one because you may believe that your past self and your present self are the same person. For the sake of this question, hold the belief that they are two different people. Now imagine you’re sitting in a room with your past self and ask your past self what they want for you and from you. Try going back a year, three years, five years, and 10 years.

Now comes the fun part. Are thre any parallels with the answers #5 and #6 with answer #1?

If there are, could you perhaps have internalized what others, including yourself in the past, want from you to the point where up until now, you believed you actually wanted it? No way…Of course you know yourself so well that you would never fall prey to that one, would you? Actually, most people do. We all influence each other and many of us carry the past around right along with us in our every day interactions.

What new insights have these connections shown you?

You may wish to go back and answer #1 again. Make sure you say or write “truly.” This accesses the deepest part of your mind where that fire burns forever. This won’t necessarily make your next action steps obvious or focus the direction of your life, but it will clear the fog of deception around this idea for at least a moment.

If this has worked, then it should be obvious to you how you really feel. If it still isn’t obvious, then just accept your denial of your true feelings and let it go for the time being. What you do know at least, is that you shouldn’t make the decision. By doing the asking, you are calling on your own subconscious to give you the answer. You will have the answer in time, you just may need to wait.

If you want to accelerate the process of understanding, start taking the steps to do what it is you think you want to do. Start telling people and making preparations for your grand adventure. Do you lose momentum or is every step you take further energizing you? If you find yourself losing momentum then it’s most likely just an escape.

If you’re worried what people are going to think of you for saying you’re going to do something big and different and then not, then just say “Thank you for helping me realize that this isn’t what I truly wanted.” Who doesn’t want to help people get what they truly want?

What if it is a calling?

If after you’ve done some reflection and self examination and taken the first few steps, you find that this big step truly is for you, then congratulations! You know which way you want to go in life, which is more than a lot of people can say.

The good news is that a calling is often much more general than an escapist fantasy. Callings come in the form of statements like, “I want to help people grow.” You don’t have to be in Africa giving out food to starving children to live this calling. You could just as easily help your neighbor or friends with the problems of their lives. A person who’s calling is to “Make art and express themselves” could be a musician, a painter, a writer, a video game programmer, an interior designer, and many more things. Moreover, you don’t have to have just one calling, but chances are they will dovetail in some way. I don’t have a specific definition of my calling yet, but I know it involves expressing myself, connecting with others, and exploring.

When you start finding that sweet spot of what you burn in your heart to do and what you’re already good at, then your quality of life skyrockets. What to do to follow your bliss isn’t the subject of this article, but especially if fear has clouded you in this process for a long time, you will need to make a pact with yourself.

You don’t have to write it in ink or blood, but you need to really understand that the fire that forever burns will not go out because of your timidity. If you do not respond to your calling, you will feel that emptiness that is the very heart of fear and the quality of your life will reach an unbreakable ceiling. You will not make the world a better place, nor will you be doing anyone who is part of your status quo any favors. You are not heroic by refusing that which you truly love. You need to say to yourself “Doing what I truly love is the most important thing in my life.” And then let go and let your life unfold for you from a place of clarity.

What do you do now?

Often knowing what you truly want to do is all you need to be able to attract the resources to do it. Before if you thought you really wanted something but secretly didn’t, you most likely had mixed results in getting that thing to happen. If something feels like a struggle, as opposed to being a struggle, then it’s likely that it is not a calling. When you move towards your calling, you will most likely struggle, but each struggle invigorates you when they are finished. A calling empowers you over time.

So, should you take the call to adventure? It depends. After reading this, you know that you should not do so rashly. Oftentimes the great adventure of your life is not out there. Sometimes it’s right where you are.

Being Playful

You want to go swing on the swings?
How about hang on the monkey bars?
No, then perhaps a nice game of four square will do the trick?

If you’re above the age of twelve these sound like ludicrous invitations. Yet the feeling that they can awaken within you – that feeling is anything but ludicrous. It is one of the great joys of living. I’m talking of course, about being playful.

In response to such a statement, some people might say, “what are you, ten years old?” By that they would mean that such things are childish. And the implication is that childish things have no place in the adult world where people get things done. Look no further than this bible quote:

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” – Corinthians 13:11

I agree that people should not shove each other, that they should share, and that they should not make messes that they don’t clean up. Playing, though, is something completely different. While playing is something you do as a child, it is not childish in the negative sense. In fact, playing is something that allows you to regain the innocence of childhood that so many people desperately seek. As odd as it sounds, playing can immensely increase your quality of life.

So now you’ve probably picked up some jacks and called your best friends to come over. While that’s all well and good (but slightly weird really) I’m not encouraging you to just engage in the act of playing, I’m encouraging you to become more playful in general.

What does that mean?

Like many things you want to change in your life, you would best be served by changing yourself first. Or a better way to look at it is, finding that part of yourself that already exists. So instead of thinking in terms of finding discrete external events in which you can engage in the act of playing, thinking of awakening that quality of playfulness itself.

This way you can be playful without needing external stimulus to do so. And this way you can be playful as often as you want in any situation. Really, being playful is beneficial in almost any situation. Perhaps not at a funeral, or when you’re being given a ticket by a police officer. Maybe not if you’re holding your friend as he dies on the battlefield. These are extreme examples, but I use them to show that more often than not you aren’t experiencing extenuating circumstances like this. But if there were a way for me to just take a reading of the subjective experience of the emotions in your brain while you were just going through normal parts of your life, I might think you were going through some grave circumstances. As the Joker would say, “Why so serious?” Playfulness allows you to regain the perspective that, all in all, things are pretty good in your life and on planet earth.

What is playfulness?

It is a quality of perceiving everything that happens in a way that is playful.

That doesn’t really say much does it?

If you were to dissect playfulness, what would be its core components? Put it another way, think of someone you know who is playful. What qualities does this person exhibit? What qualities do you exhibit when you find yourself in a silly mood?

What comes to mind for me is a lightness of heart, a feeling of engagement, and certain kind of connection. Perhaps even a certain exuberance. Think of a cat, chasing a string. Whether or not the cat knows its playing is up for debate, but the fact is that a cat acts very differently when a string is moving across their field of vision. A cat at rest might be laying down, grooming itself, sniffing around, or meowing incessantly. A cat at play however is bounding across the room, running into things, leaping and pawing, all after that elusive string. A cat puts the whole of their being into play. If the quality of seriousness is defined by how much of your attention is fixed on the object that you want to find you serious, playing is as serious as it gets.

Whether or not you identify yourself with cat-like attributes (I resoundingly do), the fact is you have a number of psychological and physiological changes that come when you shift into playing. They aren’t as pronounced to you as as an excited cat, but to the rest of the world they are. Playfulness is one of the key qualities that makes a person intensely magnetic. Because we all, at heart, want to be playful all the time. Adults envy children for their ability to see the world with such wonder. But this way of seeing the world is simply a devalued perspective in the larger societal messages we receive. It’s not actually impossible to regain, like some long lost friend. Yet many people think it is, because they are taught to believe it.

This is paradoxical, because while we’re taught to be serious and make something of ourselves, when we play we’re rewarded with better connections, more friends, and a much more positive and engaged outlook on life. If you consider the difference between these two ways of being, the serious way sounds insane.

So, when playing, you view things as less serious than you otherwise might, but you also engage more of your brain when interacting with the environment and in doing so, develop a much richer connection to whatever you’re playing with.

Myths of being playful

People will not respect you if you play too much.

This is completely untrue. When people want to be respected, they focus on developing confidence. But confidence by itself borders on arrogance which telegraphs to everyone an extreme lack of confidence. Have you ever heard someone say “that person is compensating for something”? While the saying refers to them having a shorter than average disco stick, the implication is that having this would cause them to have a dearth of confidence. Confidence itself is good, but what is it that confidence allows you to do?

Not be so serious.

When you’re confident a situation is going to go your way, you relax. And you might think that this was the exact cause and effect between these two events. The reality may be that the very act of relaxing causes the situation to go the way you want it to. Relaxing is just one of the many things that happens when you start being playful.

So a person who is in complete control exhibits many of the characteristics of a playful person. They are relaxed, less serious, less rigidly focused. And if you think of someone like this, what sort of feeling do you have towards them? For me, I have immense respect for people who shoulders immense burdens and stress and yet treats those situations with levity. A person who can remain playful even if things aren’t going their way. That’s the kind of person I want to be around if the world ever goes in to nuclear apocalypse. I don’t want to be around a bunch of glum uninteresting people who just want to survive. In fact, what are we doing this surviving stuff for, if not to enjoy life?

The point is that being playful generates all of the things that a person who feels powerless might like to feel. Things like confidence, respect, joy, connection, etc. And because so few people remember to be playful or forget it entirely, you stand out much more than the most authoritarian dictator. A person who can play has a foundation of a true leader.

You will lose control of your life if you don’t treat things seriously.

This is also not true. Think of when you’re actually playing something. I know it might have been a while, but can you remember a time you royally failed at whatever you were trying to do? Maybe you completely threw the basketball over the hoop. Maybe you drove that golf ball into a nearby house. What was going through your mind before this happened? I’m willing to bet it was something like “ok I’ve just got to focus here.” Something a serious parent might tell you. Then you froze up and failed to execute the thing the way you wanted to.

Contrast this with a time where you felt effortlessly good at something, the much coveted zone. What were you thinking about in that moment? Many people in this flow claim to not be thinking at all, but express more of a state of total experience of the now. This is a very attractive state to be in and it causes you to loosen up, be dynamic, think of ways of doing things you might not otherwise consider, and do this all at rapid pace and with perfect rhythm. Playing with your life in every way can make this phenomenon extend to anywhere. Is there anywhere in your life you think you might benefit from being more playful?

If you’re too playful you’ll lose focus.

First of all, that’s wrong. Second of all, this is really just fear of lack of control all over again. Third of all, what sort of focus are you talking about? The strained focus of which I’m speaking is one where you concentrate really hard on solving a problem or taking care of a situation. This only uses your conscious mind and takes up all of its available RAM. Playing, however, is much more deeply ingrained in evolutionary biology. People have played for centuries before they had to do their taxes. While its not good in many situations to default to a more primitive brain, the fact is that playing actually increases your focus. Not just the intensity of your focus but the amount that you’re able to focus on at once. So instead of laser focusing, you are focusing as the sun does on the earth. You are taking in far more stimulus at once when your’e loose and playful and you open up to more creative solutions to every problem. Playing engages you in a dynamic relationship with your environment. Living then, can become a dance.

How do you become more playful?

I said before that you should focus not on playing but on being playful. But how do you get there?

As loose as it feels to do, being playful does involve a structure. It involves either a goal, roleplaying, friendly competition, misdirection, or a combination of all of these things. Lets take the example something people do all the time to abstract the pattern that can then be applied universally.

What is the difference between running back and forth across a field repeatedly and playing ultimate frisbee? Well there’s a frisbee yes. So what is the difference between running back and forth and throwing a frisbee and playing ultimate frisbee? I find the latter far more engaging because there is a goal and rules. Being playful in conversation is very similar. When you make it like a game – how can I make this person laugh? How can we connect? How can I get them to experience positive emotions? How can I learn more about them? Now there is a goal. Now you can play in the field of conversation with the goal of getting to know them. Now it’s not about you at all. It’s about the act of playing and the quality of being playful. That is an end in itself.

Playfulness doesn’t just manifest as a game, but as a fun way of pretending your intentions are different than they are. One of the things i like to do to lighten up an interaction is to playfully misdirect someone. You may remember a time when you felt made fun of or made to feel gullible and found that negative. The difference here is your intention. The good intention to have is that you simply want to have fun. The bad intention to have is that you want to get something – particularly validation for your brilliant sense of humor or something like that. A person who feels hurt because you went too far is not going to indulge your ego.

If you can’t conceive of making this shift, you might have to first engage in playful activities in order to awaken that part of your brain again. This is always a good thing. You can’t play enough in your life. So, start playing. What do you love to do? For me it’s ultimate frisbee. Go wild, but now your opportunity is to recognize when you are playing and observe that quality independently of your activity. That quality is part of you and can be accessed at any time.

Then you can move on to engaging with people you already like to engage with in a more playful way. Ask yourself, “How can I make this interaction more playful?” “How can I playfully jab them or playfully misdirect them for humourous effect?” Playing with people is a two way street. If someone senses that you are playing, they should play back. If they don’t play back, then it’s nothing about you. Remember, society stopped encouraging everyone to have recess a long time ago.

When you do engage someone in a playful way, often times it lights them up, as it would a cat with a string. Now you’re off to the races. The content of what you’re doing doesn’t matter, but playing allows you to open up a connection with the other person that goes beyond words. This is useful in every aspect of life, from the most mundane to the most romantic. With people you know though, it’s a safe activity. You don’t have to worry about going too far. Someone you already have a lasting relationship with will forgive you. Especially if playing is not your modus operandi, people will allow you to do so since its an attractive quality. They may even, gasp, like being around you more.

The final step is to play with people you don’t know. The thing is, when people play, they usually only play with someone who has a common ground or someone they know really well. So when they do play, they assume that they must know this person really well. Playing is a way to connect with people effectively and quickly. It is used by all the best communicators as a way to not just break the ice, but to melt it.

You can then consciously access this way of being any time you want, using anchoring and NLP. If you don’t know how to do that or if you’re still too afraid, a good way to transition from playing with just your friends to everyone is to engage a playful group of people you already know in the context of a larger social situation, like a party or a bar. That way the vibe will be already playful and you’ll have backup if your invitations to play do not go as planned. As it was in the schoolyard, some people just don’t want to play.

At some point, you will realize that playing can be an entire lifestyle. It’s not just that you play, it’s that you move through the world in that mindset. I guarantee doing this alone will make a positive impact on your social life, your work, and your passions. You may find things that you used to think were drudgery taking on a different quality altogether. You may find you’re invited to more social engagements because people just love being around your kind of energy. You may find yourself less stressed out more of the time.

Or you may not. But there’s only one way to find out.

Many people have compared life to a game. If that is true, how often do you spend playing it?

The work of Chris Tomasso, writer and law of attraction enthusiast.