Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year! May the way be open to you.

On New Year’s Day many of us stop and reflect on how we want the coming year to be, what we want to accomplish, how we want to live, and what we want to do for others.  We want the way to be open for ourselves.  With that in mind, I’ve put together a popular phrase list for myself, that I want to share here.

It’s all small stuff.  I always loved the phrase from Richard Carlson, PhD;  “don’t sweat the small stuff --- it is all small stuff”.  Though Dr. Carlson passed in 2006, this teaching of his continues to permeate philosophical and therapeutic discussions.  While this is a good edict, I also know that there are sometimes situations that come up that seem insurmountable.

That is why I also love another suggestion; “Expect Miracles!” 

Expect miracles.  The whole concept of a miracle is appealing to me.  When something good happens against all odds, a miracle is born.  Miracles don’t require any special belief system.  They do not require that you ask for a miracle, but I also believe that positive thought and positive intentions can help.   While I am not sure if Joe Vitale wrote this phrase, he popularized it through his books, workshops and coaching sessions.

Think positive thoughts.  Positive thoughts help ease our minds.  As an hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, I have watched lives transformed by changing our thought patterns.  We can change the way we think.

Be open to learning about yourself.  Being critical of others may give us insight into our feelings about ourselves.  It is so easy to be critical of others.  I remember attending a weekend workshop many years ago, and have read many things since about what is really happening when we are critical of others.  It is often the things we feel that we lack ourselves that cause us to be critical of others who stir up that recognition in ourselves.  This brings me to my next phrase…

Be gentle with yourself.  I always have to remind myself as I remind my clients to put yourself on that list of people you love, people you take care of.  My sister Nancy gave me a little frame that holds the phrase “I love myself unconditionally at this moment in time” which derives from the key phrase of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), more popularly known as Tapping;  "Even though I have this ___________, (whatever the condition or difficulty) I deeply and completely accept myself."

How good is that? – or How bad can that be? My sisters and I quote the fabulous Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, ALL THE TIME!  It always puts a smile on my face.

I find that using these and other positive little phrases help short circuit negative thought patterns.

Fake it till you make it.  And one of my very favorite people to quote is Dr. Bernie Siegel, champion of those with catastrophic illness, and founder of ECaP (Exceptional Cancer Patients). Dr Siegel encourages people to fake it till they make it.  He says, “at first, it won’t seem real that you can heal, but after a while you start to accept your ability to live and heal from your illness.”

Do the dishes to do the dishes.  Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese philosopher, author, peace activist and founder of Plum Village (in France), dedicated to unity and peace throughout the world.  In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Master Thich says “do the dishes to do the dishes”.  A loose mindfulness interpretation asks us to be present in what we are doing, all the time, rather than losing ourselves.  To be present, mindful, is to be awake to ourselves and to experience life.

Be here now.  Mindfulness Master Ram Dass, who has since passed away, kept it simple.  He was a man before his time.  He suggests, as does Thich Nhat Hanh, that we be present in our own lives.

The moment is in our right brain.  Jill Bolte Taylor’s Ted Talk, My stroke of insight, ( )  shares the mechanics of our brain and how we tend to reside in the left or work part of the brain, when we should try to enjoy being in the pleasurable right brain, which is of the moment.  During Dr. Taylor’s stroke she observed the joy that is available through being in the moment.  As a brain scientist, Dr. Taylor is uniquely suited to explaining how the brain works, and was able to observe the effects of stroke in her own brain, mind, body and emotions.  Dr. Taylor suggests that we need time to rest in the moment, and enjoy life.  She contends that the neural pathways can be rerouted to happiness, peace and joy.

Love one another.  Though this teaching is attributed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, it is a philosophy embraced by people of every walk of life, of every faith, and by those who do not believe in God.  By loving each other, treating others with love, we love and respect ourselves and make the world a better place.

May the way be open to you!