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I just purchased a book for my husband, The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, who is heralded as a superb storyteller. This gift is supposed to be a surprise, but I guess it won’t be after I post this blog! In his book, Campbell recounts his conversations with many amazing individuals he was close to about their life’s quests and explorations. When I heard about it, it reminded me of my husband’s journey, which he’s still living out fully today. In fact, as I write this he’s incommunicado, on a live-a-board ship, diving with Tiger sharks! He’s all about exploring and creating his story in every moment, so I thought it was a perfect gift for him. Taking this leap was not easy for him–for any of us. Leaving a solid 15-year sales career to live his childhood passion of being the next Jacques Cousteau could never be easy. But, what a ride! It’s an exhilarating story, one with a lot yet to be written. I tell him all the time, “This is another chapter in your autobiography!” He laughs and responds, “Yep, our grand kids will get a kick out of this chapter!” This is an invested, deeply meaningful journey, and I do hope he does write about it one day!

(Oh, and since it’s our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend, let me use this platform to wish my husband, Billy, a Happy Anniversary. Love you, honey!)

Though his transition into entrepreneurship was kind of a big deal for us, we all don’t have to have a major transition happen in our lives in order for us to feel or express our story’s power and have it continue to expand us. And, we all don’t just have one story, either! This thought process brought me back to my new program that I just launched this past week, Journey to Wellbeing. I feel so blessed to be walking side-by-side with many individuals who are diving deep into their stories–their journeys to more balanced, conscious, healthy, joyful and meaningful lives. Although it’s only been a week, what I love most is getting a glimpse into their stories, one week at a time. And, since this program’s foundation is journaling, I love the idea that they can begin to capture and/or create their stories, just one sentence at a time. I don’t know about you, but its always a person’s story that instantly connects me to them. It’s what remains when everything falls away. Author, Anne Lamont shares that the thought of writing her first book was terrifying, until one day one of her mentors suggested she write just one sentence every day until she finished. That’s exactly what she did. What would you say is your Hero’s Journey? Have you thought about it? Have you shared it with others? Have you dumped it out of your head and onto paper? Can journaling help you capture it, or would writing one sentence a day be an inspiring starting point for you as it was for Anne Lamont?

We are all hero’s in our own right–in our own lives. Capture it. Own it. Share it.

Namaste, Monique

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by alancleaver 2000

In my first blog about Zero Limits I committed to blogging daily this week to help make more clear the purpose and benefits of the spiritual tool described in the book– Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono.

Specifically, I wanted to share how co-author, Joe Vitale, author of a variety of books which suggest using “intention” or “intending” as a success tool for attracting anything to us in life (health, wealth, careers, relationships, etc.), no longer intends at all. He simply goes straight to “zero.”

He shares:

“This is mind-blowing. Since I wrote about the power of intention in my book The Attractor Factor, and since I spoke about it in the movie The Secret, coming to realize intentions aren’t my choice at all was a shock. It appears that what I thought I was doing when I set an intention was simply verbalizing an impulse already in motion from my brain. The question then becomes, what or who made my brain send the intention?”

In Zero Limits, Vitale looks back on his many successes and realizes that behind each one of them was an inspiration he acted upon and took 100% responsibility for.  He elaborates:

“None of them were directly created by me. In fact, what they all have in common is a spirit of Divine planning, with me a sometimes unwilling participant.”

“All of those ways (like intentions) have limitations. They are toys your mind plays with to keep you thinking you’re in charge. The truth is, you are not in charge, and the real miracles come when you let go of the toys and trust in a place inside yourself where there are zero limits. Where you want to be in life is behind all of those toys, which is behind the chatter of the mind and right there with what we call the Divine.”

Through spending lots of time with Dr. Hew Len and learning and practicing Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono, Vitale learned that solely focusing on intending was actually fighting with “what is.” On the other hand, letting go (Ho’oponopono) was giving into the Divine and allowing transformation to happen (what can be…if you listen and let it!).

So, where do tools like affirmations, EFT, visualization, and intentions fit in? Are they worthless?

Absolutely not. I think we can all attest to using these techniques and seeing and feeling positive results in our lives.  At the same time, there are many people who use these techniques all the time and don’t get the results they expect. What’s the answer? Why did Joe make this major shift? Why does Joe no longer intend or even set goals?

He explains:

“There are at least three stages in life, beginning with you as a victim, them moving on to you as a creator of your life, and ending — if you’re lucky– with you becoming servant to the Divine. In the last stage, astonishing miracles happen– almost without you trying.”

“The other day a reporter asked me, ‘Where do you see yourself a year from now?’ In the past I would have given him a sincere accounting of what I hoped to achieve. I’d talk about my plans, goals, and intentions. I’d tell him about books I wanted to write or things I wanted to be, do, create, or buy. But, because of all the work I’ve done with Dr. Hew Len, I no longer state goals or intentions  or make plans for the future. So I instead replied with the truth of this moment: ‘Wherever I’ll be will be far better than what I can imagine right now.'”

This makes sense to me. We will go through our lives and meet many people who will never experience an “awakening.” They may remain stuck forever in victimhood, blame and conflict. Yet, some will awaken out of the victim stage and proceed to the “creator” stage, where they are beginning to take more responsibility for their lives, thoughts, experiences, actions, emotions and energy. Being the creator of your life is a GREAT thing! But, now, I see how much power there is in truly letting go and letting the Divine guide me and speak to me. Everything feels so much easier…like a tranquil ride down a river. Ahhh.

Do you have moments where you feel you’re pushing so hard to achieve something; almost going up-stream, yet never arriving? Can’t it be exhausting? Share your thoughts.

For Joe, when you are at “zero”:

“You begin to realize that your intentions are limitations. You begin to see that with all your newfound power, you’re still not able to control everything. You begin to realize that when you surrender to a greater power, miracles tend to happen. You learn to recognize inspiration when it comes to you, and you act on it. You agree to each moment. Miracles happen, and they constantly astonish you as they do.”

“When you come from the zero state where there are zero limits, you don’t need intentions. You simply receive and act. And miracles happen.”

by azrainman

So, I think Joe said this to Dr. Hew Len in the book, and I am claiming it for myself now…

I INTEND TO BE AT ZERO AND LIVE IN INSPIRATION! It’s a start. 🙂

Inspired,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.


Be Inspired. Be Happy.

February 1, 2010

During this first year of blogging I’ve written about ways that we can improve ourselves and our lives—productivity, personal responsibility, living your vision, living in the moment, shifting out of low and negative energies, accessing your intuition, and more. Yet when I think about the underlying purpose of why and what I write, it always comes down to HAPPINESS…finding it for myself and helping others fill their spirits with it. When I am happy I am a better person. I am energized, helpful, grateful, inspired, ready to take action, ready to be of service. Everything just seems to flow when we are happy. Isn’t genuine happiness what we are really after?

So when I learned of Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Happiness Project I couldn’t resist and pre-ordered it. The book is Rubin’s year-long “project” to learn everything there is to know about the science of happiness as well as her personal journey to achieve greater happiness and fulfillment. It’s an easy and fun read, and very insightful.

So many of her lessons learned rang true for me and she posed questions, I feel, that we should all be asking of ourselves. Then, I remembered how many times friends and colleagues asked me “How do you know what to write about? What inspires you?” And it became crystal clear to me that what I read daily is a huge source of inspiration for me. It could be anything—a book, a magazine article, a prayer, or a quote. My process is always as follows…read…reflect…learn…take action…feel inspired…inspire others.

And then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to share my process with other ‘students’ (like me), the books I am reading and applying to my life, and create a forum where we can share with each other and continue the process of reflecting, learning, taking action and feeling inspired?” I like it, and I’m taking action!

In launching this new idea (a part of my happiness project!) I’m going to choose an excerpt from The Happiness Project to get started. In fact, I will share quite a bit from Rubin’s book during the month of February—so it may feel like a “blog book club”. If you have ever wanted to take part in a book club, but perhaps a more relaxed version, here’s your chance! I hope you will participate with me.

So, in this first excerpt Rubin shares,

“It was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously—and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition…Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles—or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?”

Wow! This hit me right in the gut. “This is me,” I told myself.  In fact, the last line really made me question… “When is enough…enough?” Maybe this rings true for you as well. And perhaps even more so if you consider yourself a high achiever or overachiever as I have practically all my life. And in my daily quest to feel fulfilled and “happy” these paradoxes always show up.

So what’s one of my paradox’s you may be asking? I would say that worrying about tomorrow versus living in the moment is one I struggle with, but enjoy working on. It truly is a work in progress, but I can say that the more I am conscious of my tendencies and practice being in the moment, the happier I feel. A second example would be getting the 7 to 8 hours of sleep I need versus being a member of the 5:30 am “productivity club.” These two, believe me, are only a few of the paradoxes I experience daily. Do you have any that you would like to share?

So how do you manage these paradoxes in your quest for productivity, improvement, growth, and happiness? Well, here are four tips which work for me as well as for many of the magnificent high achievers I have the pleasure of coaching.

  1. Understand that many of the things we feel we “must” do are fear based. The majority of our “must do’s” and “should have’s” are a result of learned behavior. Do these sound familiar? — “If you don’t fight for it, you won’t get it”, or “You must work long, hard hours to make it to the top.” Claiming these beliefs as false is difficult, but can be eased greatly when we confront and work with our limiting beliefs and gremlins (those little voices in our head that tell us that we can’t do something or that we are not good enough). When we challenge these, we reduce the paradoxes that may prevent us from pushing forward.
  2. Breathe and give yourself positive self-talk in the moment. For example, when my daughter needs my full attention, while I feel that I must keep working, I literally stop what I am doing, take a deep breath and ask myself, “How true is it that my work will suffer if I don’t finish what I am doing in this very instant?” My answer is always, “not very true!” You also can ask yourself, “What is most important in this moment and why?” You will find your own answers. Your positive self-talk can take the form of an affirmation as well. When I am hit with the paradox of “I want to exercise more and I also want to rest more,” which drives to the heart of my self-esteem if I fail, I use this affirmation, “I love myself exactly as I am,” and I always feel better.
  3. Rely on your Top Ten List. If you have taken the time to create a list of values or ideals that guide your life (as Rubin recommends), it becomes easy to make these decisions while dropping the guilt we may feel. For example, one of my Top Ten Principles is “No more Mommy guilt!” So, when my son or daughter “needs me” during a particular time period that I have claimed for myself (like a well deserved bubble bath!), then I have no problem saying “not right now,” and I can release the guilt associated with saying “no.” You also can view Rubin’s Twelve Commandments (as she calls them) here.
  4. Adopt this simple, yet powerful life principle…
    Each moment describes who you are and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be
    .
    Having a principle like this in our Top Ten or Twelve Commandments gives us permission to take our goals in stride and focus on today and what we need today to make us happy.

The more I read the excerpt the more I giggle, because how else would we feel when we are so close to achieving a breakthrough? If making positive changes that create more happiness in our lives were easy then we wouldn’t be talking about self-improvement so much. In fact, it would be “no sweat” setting and achieving these happiness goals. Paradoxes like these, then, serve to help keep us on track, so that the “aha moments” are in the process itself, not in the achievement.

I can’t wait to share more excerpts of this FAB book and many others. I also look forward to hearing your perspective and celebrating your moments (“aha” and otherwise) with you.

If you would like to join my Relaxed Book Club, make sure to subscribe (right-hand column) to receive my blog entries, and add your comments so we can have a nice discussion! And, as you guessed it, The Happiness Project is off the shelf and in my hands this month!

In the spirit of inspiration and happiness,

Monique