Waiting… as a Portal to Presence.

Everything was perfect.
He arrived exactly when he said he would.
He lifted her bike onto the roof of his car, and deftly secured it in place.
They drove out of the city, the sun rising between apartments, above houses, then over the fields.

An hour later they arrived.
He unloaded the bikes and they were off.
They rode through the trails until they reached the lake.
No one else was around.

A picnic brunch, including champagne.
Long talks, laughter, and a languid drive home.

He hadn’t raised the bar on first dates. He’d captured the bar and totally demolished it.

She sent a heart-felt thank you text shortly after getting home. and then…

Nothing.
Not a word.

So, she found herself…..

Waiting. And Waiting. And Waiting.

Not just that day, but the next day, and the one after that.

By the time we had our coaching call, she’d been waiting for days.

I asked her what else she’d been doing. NOTHING, she said. Which wasn’t totally true. She’d gone to work, cleaned her apartment, practiced yoga, made meals, eaten them, run with a buddy, showered and slept a few times, and told the story to some close friends. But she was just going through the motions, as if in a dream. Her life was a watery background to the waiting.

Waiting was consuming her like a disease.

I encouraged her to feel her feelings. There were many, hiding behind the confusion of trying to figure out what was happening, and what went wrong. And then I told her to STOP WAITING!!!

Waiting can be torture.

Whether you’re waiting for the bus, a call after the interview, the test results for that mysterious lump, the snow to thaw, or your friend who’s always late ~ waiting has a way of messing with your mind.

You give power to whatever you’re waiting for, and let it control how you feel.
You treat some imagined future moment as better, or more important, than the one you’re experiencing now.
You put your life on hold (for a few minutes or years), going through the motions, until that thing finally happens.

But here’s how waiting can work for you ~

Make a decision to Never Wait Again.

Next time you notice you’re waiting – for the coffee to brew, the line to move, or your kid to come home from the party – let that nudge you to come back from your thoughts into where you really are. Notice what you’re doing and give yourself to it fully.

Feel the cup in your hand, the sun on your face, the shower water hitting your body. Close your eyes and taste the food in your mouth. Let your eyes look around, and notice where you are. Even if you’re checking up on whatever you’re waiting for, bring all your attention to what you’re doing right now.

If thoughts keep pulling you in the imaginary world of waiting, try this to come back to what’s real:

  1. Slow down whatever you’re doing so that you can feel it fully.
  2. Notice your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Feel your feet touching the floor, if you’re standing.

When you bring your attention to where you’re at in this moment, waiting dissolves into the background.

Bring yourself back to right now every time you notice you’re waiting, and you’ll eventually access the state of peace that’s underneath. It’s always there, like the sun hiding behind the clouds.

Try a NO WAITING EXPERIMENT for the next 30 days.

Every time you catch yourself saying or thinking “I’m waiting for…”, bring yourself completely back to what you’re doing here and now. The 3 simple steps above can help.

PS. She stopped waiting. She got back into her life, her relationships, and her work. She let herself grieve – the loss of the future she’d created with him in her mind. She began appreciating all that she had and let herself enjoy it. She even appreciated the perfection of that date and let it go.  He never got back to her. It would have been a long wait.

 My e-book is full of simple practices to connect you to the pleasure of being present in your life.

It will be here soon.01-ipad-flat-mockup
You don’t have to wait.
I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Love Debra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you know someone who’s waiting, please share this with them right away!
Maybe they’ll join you in your 30 day NO WAITING EXPERIMENT.

Always Follow A Generous Impulse

Each and every day generous impulses rise with in you. Follow them.

They’re immediate, pure, and unconcerned about results. They are  expressions of life wanting to live, love wanting to love. You feel them before you think them. They evaporate if they are not acted upon.

They are the smile, the laugh, the kind word or act without any question about what’s in it for you. In fact they have no thought of you at all. The generous impulse is not a humble “selfless act”, but an act that is totally lacking of “self”.

You’ll recognize them by the goodness you feel when you follow them. You may be expansive and calm, or giddy like a kid at play. There’s an innocence and bold vulnerability to the generous impulse that is hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it, and you recognize it when you see it.

It acts and it moves on.

It doesn’t wait around to be noticed or thanked. But its goodness lingers in your cells.

The essence of you, the very core of who you are, is constant, eternal and limitless. It’s unafraid of opinions, and doesn’t care about results. It is the source of life and love and gives itself without regard. This is the birth place of the generous impulse.

When you dance for no reason, laugh out loud, hug a stranger, help an injured animal, smile at a baby, cry at a sunset, give up your seat on the bus, or tuck a fiver into the cup of a homeless man when he’s looking the other way, you’re following the impulse that comes up from the deepest part of you.

If you breathe for just a moment right now you’ll probably remember several generous impulses you’ve followed, and how true they made you feel.

The generous impulse doesn’t rise up out of guilt or duty or a belief that you should. There is no “you” in the impulse to be dutiful or guilty. There is no “you” that should. These heavy obligations don’t begin in the constant truth of who you are. They spin round and round the ever changing flux of thoughts, ideas, judgments and beliefs that flow through you a thousand times a day. They are quick to brake the flow of the generous impulse, and stop you from living your most joyful life.

The impulse to dance moves you. The weight of “I’ll look stupid” holds you down.

A hug rushes from your heart to your arms. The straight-jacket of “what will he think?” keeps you bound.

If you pay attention you’ll notice the impulses just before your mind rushes in. If you catch it you’ll feel the expansive joy of the movement inside you and the quick contraction of your mind’s response.

I feel the impulse inside me every day, and I override it much of the time … to fit in, play it safe, and not be “too much”. But when I let these bubblings up to do what they will, it puts a spring in my step every time. It wakens me back up to who I really am.

Several weeks ago I made a deposit at my bank. The teller, a man I’d never met before, tried several times to suppress a big yawn. “Need a coffee?” I asked. “A big latte”, he answered, “but I don’t have a break for two hours.” I left the bank and two blocks later passed a coffee shop. “Buy him a latte.” the impulse giggled. I felt the rush of joy. With my hand on the door knob of the coffee shop my smarty-pants voice chirped, “Don’t be ridiculous.” I felt the joy-crushing energy of that voice and opened the door anyway. “You don’t even know what he wants”, it chided, while I inched my way through the line. With the latte in hand, I headed back to the bank, when scaredy-cat voice freaked out, “What if he thinks you’re hitting on him?” “Stop” “It’s not to late to turn back”.

Like a mad-woman, I laughed at the voices in my head and kept walking. I got back to the bank and delivered the coffee to the sleepy teller. He was shocked and pleased and we both laughed. I don’t know his name and will probably never see him again, but that impulse more than made my day. Even remembering it now, quickens the joy within me.

Not all impulses are so involved. They are usually short and sweet and ever so simple – letting a car cut in, opening a door, telling her she looks pretty, putting the worm back in the dirt. And they always make you feel good.

If you feel the generous impulse to share this with someone, please follow it now! 

 

The simplest practice to have more compassion, love and joy in your life.

Recently a friend sent me an album with a song on it that she had sung for me. It’s a beautiful song called The Face of God. The chorus goes:

You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart,
You are a part of me
You are the face of God…

You are the face of love
I hold you in my heart
You are my family
You are the face of God…

It’s easy when listening to this song, to think of this friend and feel the love I have for her. My mind also wanders to others I cherish. I feel the profound truth of these lyrics as loved ones come to mind. All the people I love are the face of God to me.

One day I was playing this song during my morning yoga and I thought if anyone is the face of God then everyone is the face of God. That’s obvious I know, but it occurred to me that I don’t act always like that. I wondered what would happen if I did.

It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy everyone’s company or agree with what they do, but if I would see every single person, and every single being as the face of God it would rock my world. So I tried it and it did. I experienced more compassion, love and joy each and every time.

The rodent that is eating my garden is the face of God, (teaching me non-attachment). The crazy talking bearded homeless woman is the face of God, (opening my heart). The gardener who welcomes a cup of water on a hot day, (connects me with my own simple humanity)

It’s a no-brainer to see the face of God in the people you love, and easy to see the face of God in people who look, think and act like you, and even if you don’t know them – kind, generous, smart people look an awful lot like the face of God too.

Where it gets interesting is when you see the face of God in the woman who cuts you off in traffic and then gives you the finger, the politician who stands for everything you despise, or the ex-boyfriend who dumped you and seems to be unduly delighted with his supermodel girlfriend. This isn’t a practice of seeing what gifts or lessons these people have for you. It’s not a practice of questioning why this person has come into your life. It’s much simpler than that.

The whole practice is this:

Just for today,

To every person you see,

Say this in your mind: “You are the Face of God”.

Notice how you feel when you say it. With some people it will elevate your love. Other times it will trigger an impulse of compassion and generosity. Then there are times when the absurdity will make you laugh.

This is not in any way meant to be an emotional bypass. If someone triggers some sadness or anger in you to bubble up then for the love of bacon let your emotions flow. Don’t aim them at the person, but do give your emotions the release they need. Then once you’ve let it out, see the face of that person and just say in your mind “You are the Face of God”. See what happens.

You may not have time for a lot of spiritual practice in your life. But you’ve definitely got time for this.

After you’ve tried it I’d love to hear your experience in the comment section below. If you don’t like the results I offer a money back guarantee.

Love Debra
PS. You are the face of God. Feel it. Be it.
And please share this with someone who is the face of God to you.

The Joy of Paying Taxes

It’s a wonderful time of year. The weather is warming, birds are singing, flowers are blooming… and taxes are calling.

For many people tax season is a time they feel depressed, angry, stressed, resentful or afraid. It’s so ingrained in our culture to hate paying taxes that we assume feeling like sh*t is normal. But it doesn’t have to be.

How about this year, as an act of radical self care, you make paying taxes a joy?

Before you dismiss that as impossible, consider this: Paying taxes doesn’t cause you stress, or fear, or resentment. It’s your attitude about it that creates it.

Worrying about the work it will take to get everything organized, putting it off until the last minute, avoiding paying because you don’t have the money will all create unnecessary stress. You are better off dedicating time to do it and diving in.

Avoiding your responsibilities will never bring long term joy and peace, but being responsible won’t guarantee it either. You need to handle it differently than just “getting it done”.

Consider for a moment what would elevate tax day from a dreaded chore to a beloved task or curious adventure. Would you do it with someone else – invite a friend, each take a corner of the living room, put on some music, open a bottle of wine and make a day of it? Take a moment and think about anything that might make this year’s tax filing different from all the rest. How can you turn your focus from the result to the process?

I turn it into an annual ritual. Rituals have a way of deeming actions as special, important, spiritual. They suspend the ordinariness of the activity and set it apart as sacred. By creating a ritual I turn taxes into a sacred act, worthy of respect and presence.

In preparation for doing my taxes:

  • I work alone, when the house is empty.
  • I clear the space so I’m not distracted.
  • I add flowers for beauty and fragrance.
  • I light a candle.
  • I say a prayer to give thanks and ask for focus.
  • I keep a note book to record any insights I glean from reviewing my year.

While I’m doing my taxes:

  • As I record income, I give thanks for the money I’ve made.
  • Reviewing expenses, I remember and bless the people I’ve paid.
  • I am grateful for the money I’ve spent and the contributions it’s made to people and places.
  • I am literally counting my blessings as I work.
  • I consider if I’ve made the best choices, and if not I record the the changes I’ll make this year.
  • I remember good times and challenges I’ve faced. I write down ideas and inspirations that come with them.
  • Even if I don’t love all the choices my government makes, I focus on the contribution I am making to society.

Paying quarterly is just an expense, but April is a time of reckoning. It brings clarity, and where there is clarity there is power. I can see where I am at and make informed choices.

One of the things that makes tax time easy is that I set tax money aside from each payment I receive, so it’s available and waiting to be used. If you haven’t set the money aside that you need, don’t let that be an excuse to shove your problems in a dark closet and hope they’ll go away. They’ll only grow into haunting problems the like monsters in the closet of your childhood bedroom. Do your taxes, make a plan to pay it over time, and set yourself up differently this year.

What is one simple thing you can do that will bring more joy to the process of paying your taxes this year?

You can’t avoid it so you might as well enjoy it. Try this, and you can learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Increase your Capacity for Joy

It was one of those days when I woke up feeling fantastic. Nothing in my body hurt, my energy was good. I was grateful for so much in my life. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day. Dolphins greeted me on my beach walk.

Then my husband got some great news about a project he’s been working on for many years. I happy danced my way through the morning. That afternoon a client had an amazing breakthrough of a pattern that had been holding her back. I was so excited I could barely contain it.

After getting my notes out to my client I went Home Depot. It’s rare in my life that I have to drive, but I had to use the car for this errand. While driving to HD I was overwhelmed with a craving for chocolate chip cookies. Not just warm, chewy, fresh baked goodness. Any crappy store bought junk would be my fix. I fantasized about eating a whole bag.

As soon as I noticed this craving I breathed deeply and slowly. Then I became curious about the addictive monster threatening to take over my body and mind, on a day when things were going so well. And that’s when it hit me. I had maxed out my capacity for joy. I was holding it in as best I could, but something had to give. I was a dam about to burst. A good dose of sugar would have taken me higher, making me feel like a superhero, invincible. The craving came from an internal cry – “Gimme more… gimme more.” But that kind of high is the booby prize, a poor substitute for divine pleasure, and it’s always followed by a crash.

You see sugar does a real number on me. I’ll spare you the details but trust me that it ain’t pretty. It wrecks my body… for days. By craving sugar my body was unconsciously bringing me back down from the high I was on. A high that I couldn’t sustain. If I’d followed through on that craving I’d have soared like Icarus only to crash and burn ~ in bed for a few days, depleted, sick and sore.

Instead I witnessed what was going on and stopped myself. I got out of the car, planted my feet on the ground and started breathing deeply. By grounding myself I allowed all the good feelings to flow through my body. As I did this the craving for sugar completely disappeared, effortlessly. I wasn’t even thinking about cookies. I was just grounding and breathing, and the craving vanished. I felt myself get bigger, not physically, but energetically. Grounding and breathing had increased my capacity for joy. I could contain all the goodness of this day, let it flow through me and make room for more.

Later that evening I had a wonderful visit with a friend. I was elated. I noticed the energy building inside and I let it express itself. I danced around, letting this joy move my body. It was easy and took only a few minutes. Throughout the day I’d been riding the waves of joy, with a near crash safely averted, living to surf another day.

This all happened quite naturally because I’ve been moving energy through my body for years, I’ve been listening to the signals of my body the way one might listen at the feet of a guru. I have been willing to be too loud, too angry, too quiet, too much, to honour my authentic self.  I still make mistakes, override my body’s wisdom and find myself in old patterns, but when I have experiences like this I want to share them with you so that you can learn from my mistakes and lessons and have a more pleasurable ride.

Four Steps to Increase your Capacity for Joy. 

1. Ground yourself. Though it seems counter-intuitive, you’ll soar higher by dropping into the ground. Your connection to the earth will expand your capacity for all feeling, including joy.

2. Breathe. Breathe deeply, slowly and easily. As you breathe your body relaxes. Breathing enables you to feel your feelings. Breathing brings you out of your head, the future, the past and into the present where Joy resides.

(I feel so strongly about breathing and grounding that they are the first practices of Pleasure As a Spiritual Path.)

3. Be aware of your body.  For years I was disconnected from my body. I was happy enough but I couldn’t sustain true joy. We have to drop back in to our skin to increase our capacity. Start by noticing sensations. You don’t have to understand them or create a story to go with them. Just start by noticing ~ tightness, quickness, buzzing, pulsing, expansion, contraction ~ what is happening inside you. Stop reading right now and just notice what’s going on in your body.

4. Allow emotions and energies to move through your body. Not just the happy dances of joy, but the punching and raging of anger and hurt, the sobbing and trembling of sorrow and grief. 

Here’s to your joy ~ ever increasing, expanding and touching us all!

The Joy of Anger. Or why I disagree with the Dalai Lama.

Actually I’ve never met the Dalai Lama. I’m basing this only on what I’ve read. And perhaps I’m misinterpreting his words. Maybe if we sat down over a cup of tea or shots of tequila I’d discover that we’re saying the same thing about anger: That it’s just energy, and moving it and expressing it are a wholesome part of a healthy life.

I grew up with a dysfunctional relationship to anger. I feared it. And disowned it. You see my dad was explosive. We’d be having a lovely time and something would set him off – BOOM – He would rage! He didn’t hit us, but his screaming tirades had me fearing for our safety. In my very young world his rants were life-threatening. He didn’t stay with us for long, but my fear of anger lasted for decades.

In my thirties, my acupuncturist kept explaining that my liver was “pushy”.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver represents anger. I could admit I was angry about environmental destruction, cruelty to people and animals, and the many injustices in the world, but he was trying to nudge me towards something less rational, more primal. Try as I did I just couldn’t access it.

It wasn’t until some years later that I felt an explosive energy rise up in me. I was in a therapist’s office and he skillfully made space for me to express it. My immediate urge was to punch and slap and roar like a wild beast. His place was well equipped to allow all of it. All of me. If you’d seen me you’d say was I enraged, and rage it was, but what I noticed more than anything was that I was enlivened. Allowing this energy to be released the moment it was noticed was incredibly freeing.

Though roaring and punching with fist clenched tight I wasn’t aware of any thing in particular I was angry about. It was just pure energy flowing through me. No doubt it was decades of anger I’d pushed down into my body that were erupting like a volcano. It was that primal energy my acupuncturist had been pointing to so many years ago. When thoroughly exhausted I lay in a heap on the floor I began to laugh… and laugh… and laugh. There was unbridled joy trapped behind that geyser of energy, and though I’d never been aware of holding it in, releasing it was the portal to the joy that was trapped underneath.

There was no story that accompanied this outburst. No face I was seeing as I punched and screamed. No bitterness or resentment when I was done. I wasn’t holding anything in. Like an animal I had let it out and let it go. I had shaken it off and it was over. It wasn’t the end of anger. It was the beginning of freedom from holding it in.

Since I don’t live in the soundproof safety of a therapist’s office I don’t let that energy flow anytime it bubbles up.I don’t go around striking out and screaming at people just because I feel it, and I recommend you don’t do that either. It’s never a good idea to aim all that energy at another person. It can easily be overwhelming, even traumatizing.

But I let that explosive energy out as soon as I can, in a safe place, rather than suppress it. Sometimes what starts out like rage, morphs into tears of sadness, followed by joy or relief. It always makes me feel more free and energized.

In the real world it looks something like this:

One morning I woke to my husband complaining about the protein powder I’d bought. It irked me. I felt annoyed before my feet touched the floor. It was the slightest tightening of irritation in my throat. I jumped to my old pattern which was to rationalize my way out of honouring my body’s sensations, saying to myself: “This is so unlike him.” He usually comes and sits on my side of the bed and greets me sweetly, brings me a cup of hot water and lemon, says ‘good morning sleeping beauty’. “You have no right to feel this way.” I told myself. “Get over it.”

So I pushed it down, as I’d done my whole life. It was just a little irritation. I’d get over it. But I noticed right away that I wasn’t feeling close to him. By stuffing down my feelings I had created a wall between us. He wasn’t even aware of it, and it wasn’t his fault. It was because I had just denied myself. I figured I had a choice: 1) I could keep my feelings stuffed down and work all day to recreate the connection I usually feel with my husband, or 2) take the time to honour the sensations of my body, the constriction in my throat, the tightening of my jaw, and see if it shifted things for me.

I warned Mark I was going to freak out for a little while and shut the door. I started smashing the bed, breathing heavily, grunting out my anger, even yelling a bit. He came in and asked. “Is this about me?”  “Well, Yes, and no.” I replied. Your complaints about the protein powder were the catalyst for this explosion, but clearly all of this rage is not about that.” I continued to freak out while he watched. I quickly reached the point where roaring turned into laughing. He laughed along with me. And that closeness I love so much returned.

By paying close attention to my body I notice subtle signals that energy wants release, whether it’s anger or joy or grief, (by the way, you don’t suppress one without suppressing the others)  and I am enlivened by allowing the energies to move.

For more on releasing emotions check out this post.

 

Emotions are meant to move.

If you joined The 30 Day Love Explosion you may be thinking that it’s all rainbows and happy faces in my world. If so, you don’t know me. More acurately – you don’t know all of me.

Those who’ve worked with me privately, been on retreat, taken a class with me, or are part of my inner circle know that I’m an equal opportunity emoter. I think it’s a shame we deem some emotions as bad and others as good. From a young age we are coaxed, cajoled, and even coerced out of the bad emotions and into the good. A combination of bribery and threats is often applied. While this may be done by well-meaning guardians and friends who hate to see us sad or angry, we learn that it’s ok to have some emotions and not ok to have others. But since emotions come whether we want them or not, we’ve little else to do with the “unacceptable ones” but stuff them down.

We’re a culture that is uncomfortable with authentic feelings. We have a very narrow range of socially acceptable emotions. The rest are hidden away to make us all feel better. But I’ve got news for you: There is no such place as away. And hiding your emotions will not make you feel better.

As humans we’re meant to experience a wide range of emotions. Just watch a baby. It quickly moves through many emotions in a day. By allowing some and denying others you are not living as fully as you could be.

Emotions are meant to move through you and out of you. In fact the root of the word is from the French Emouvoir – to move.  The last thing you want to do with emotions is hold them in. Because that place you stuff them into is your own body. Rather than allowing the few seconds that it takes to move emotions, you carry them inside for years. And since emotions are by their very nature, wanting to move, they are constantly looking for ways to escape. It takes a lot of energy to hold them in. You may not be conscious of this energy, but it is using up your life force. Think of emotions like a rushing river. They want to flow. By stuffing them down you’re like a dam holding back a wall of water. That’s a lot of pressure.

Since you can’t hold them in forever, those emotions you think you’re hiding from the world are leaking out from time to time. They may also be building up with such pressure that you explode when you least expect it.

So, what are we to do with the emotions we habitually shun?

Allow them – all of them. I’m not advocating for violence, raging at other living beings, or spewing your emotions whenever you want. There is a kinder way to release big emotions without anyone getting hurt.

Here’s a simple thing to try:

If you have a big reaction to something – rage, sadness, surprise, joy – get yourself into a private setting as quickly as you can. In that space where you won’t be disturbed let yourself follow your natural impulses and go wild. (as quick as you can may be minutes or days later)

Let’s say you feel rage. Grab a tennis racket, baseball bat, rolling pin – and bash the living daylights out of some pillows on your bed. As the “weapon” smashes the pillows make a noise.  It can be helpful to yell something – NO, STOP, or a slew of expletives that you’d never say in public. All of this will ensure that you are breathing.

Hitting something like that may not be authentic for you in that moment. Notice your natural impulse. If someone made you angry you may find yourself for the quickest second feeling you’d like to punch them. Fantastic – go into a private place and punch pillows. Make sure you express to ensure you breathe. If you want to kick, do that, strangle someone – grab a towel and keep strangling it… until you notice another impulse bubble up. I love punching. I have boxing gloves so I won’t hurt my hands. And I’m a big fan of heavy bags for punching and kicking.

Big emotions don’t last long. About 90 seconds tops. When they are allowed to move they clear space and free up your energy. When you hold them in they zap your energy. They lead to moods that can linger, for hours, days or more: frustration, irritability, lethargy, anxiousness, worry….

I use this practice, and others like it myself, and I teach it to clients. What I offer varies with the clients’ needs. Often when a client is talking incessantly about an issue, obsessing about something they can’t change, or feeling stuck in their life, I’ll encourage this kind of movement of emotion. It’s often met with resistance, but my resolve for their freedom is usually stronger than their opposition, and they succumb reluctantly. Amazingly they always feel better after doing this. Something in them needed to move, and in honoring that need, they set themselves free.

While clients are cutting loose, their minds will often chime in with helpful thoughts like  “This is ridiculous. This isn’t helping. I look like a fool. That’s enough. I’m tired.” So I keep encouraging them to go a bit beyond the point when they want to stop. That’s often where the magic is ~ Just beyond the point when you want to give up. So if you do this on your own you may want to set a timer and make yourself keep going until that time is up. Start with two minutes and see how you do.

Sometimes we experience the opposite. Clients get started and discover so much pent up emotion they fear it will never end. No wonder – with a life time of feelings stuffed down, it can feel like a bottomless pit. Know that with regular release it will move through you and free up space for more life force.

Of course there will always be more emotions every day that want to move, so this becomes a regular practice.  And this isn’t just for anger or sadness. Use this to release your strangled joy as well.

I’d love to hear how you express your emotions and what it does for you.

Love Debra

If you care about someone who could benefit from this, please share it with them. We’ll all be more free when we express ourselves fully.