Thursday, January 27, 2011

Choices

I was recently talking with a friend about some problems he was having at work. These problems were not new, and they had been causing him a great amount of stress for quite awhile. I asked him what was the reason behind him not taking action to resolve the problems and his reply was "I have no choice".

This is a phrase I hear quite often from people who are experiencing stress or overwhelm in their lives. They honestly feel that the situation that is contributing to their stress is one over which they have no control. It is being forced upon them and they have no ability to respond or to do something about it. In other words, they feel they have no choice in the matter. Well, the good news is, yes you do.

Many people who are experiencing anxiety or stress confuse having to make tough choices with having no choice at all. In the case of my friend, he has several choices including confronting his manager and colleagues about their behaviour, setting boundaries, or looking for a new position. But these actions are not easy to take. For my friend, at this point in time, the amount of time and energy that would be required to put them into action is too great. It is an easier choice to stay where he is and to remain stressed.

I remember a conversation I had with another friend a couple of years ago. This friend had undergone treatment for cancer several years before and the long-term effects of the treatment made it necessary for her to have a colostomy. During that conversation, she mentioned that she had no choice but to have the surgery. This really upset her. She didn't want to have it but she felt that there were no other options open to her. After listening to her, I gently pointed out that she did have choices. She could choose to not have the colostomy and spend the time she had left in peace and comfort. Or she could choose to have the surgery and lengthen her life but have to put up with the complications that it would cause. It turns out that consciously, she had never realized that the first option was possible. To her, it was unimaginable to make that choice so it did not exist. But to have it pointed out to her that she actually did have a choice, and that she had, unconsciously, already made it, brought her a certain amount of peace. She no longer felt as though the decision was out of her control.

Can you think of a situation in your life right now that you are putting up with because you feel you have no choice, even though it is making your life stressful? Now ask yourself, "in an ideal world, would I put up with the situation?" If your answer is "no", then you do have choices. They are just tough ones and you are choosing not to take them into consideration. It helps to enlist the help of a coach or a trusted friend to help you to identify what your choices are and to support you in the action that you choose to take. You do have the personal power to change your situation, if you choose to.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Gratitude

I have decided that this year will be my "Year of Living Abundantly". I am starting out with a clarity I have never had before about what I want to have in my life (as opposed to what I want to accomplish)and I am trying my best to think positively and not dwell on what my life is lacking. One of the best ways that I have discovered to do this is by focusing on what I am grateful for in my life. I have started to end each day by reciting, in my head, a list of all the things I am grateful for, and they are many:

* having a safe, warm place to live
* having friends and family who love and care about me
* having the opportunity to do what I love and the time to be able to focus on it
* my health
* opportunities to learn and grow
* books so that I can gain new perspectives, learn new things, and get away from it all
* having a cat who is a great companion

You get my drift. What this small thing, which doesn't take long, does for me is it makes me realize how lucky I am. There are lots of people out there who are living on the streets, who have to rely on food banks to feed their families, and who are alone and lonely in this world. I may not have all that I want but I am so fortunate to have what I do have. I'm really not lacking anything that is important (OK, it would be nice to have a man in my life but that is a subject for a whole other blog!). My life is rich and knowing that helps me to keep a positive outlook. It focuses my thoughts on the abundance that I have in my life, and that is the message I'm sending out to the Universe. I'm not focusing on lack. I really am truly blessed.

This is the first step for me. I know that saying this list in my head is good, but saying it out loud is better and writing it down, committing my thoughts and gratitude to paper, is best and holds the most power. I am going to make picking up my journal every morning and writing my gratitude list a part of my daily routine. They say it takes 21 days to form new habits...well, tomorrow will be day one.

What are you grateful for? Why not make writing a gratitude list part of your daily routine. A professional coach can teach you the tools you need to live a more abundant life, and then provide you with the encouragement you need to put them into practice. Everyone had the ability to live a life of abundance...and it all starts with gratitude.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Clarity

I had the opportunity to attend a great workshop this past week. It was called "Living in Abundance". One of the things that we talked about was that what you focus your mind on is what manifests in your life. When I first heard this concept, I thought it was just a bit too "new age" for me. I always thought that what happens in your life is determined by chance or by other people. I never imagined that it has a lot to do with what and how I think.

My coach shared a great excerpt from a book by Neale Donald Walsch called "Conversations with God - Book 1" that explains this concept very well. This is what he wrote:

"You get your life to "take off" by first becoming very clear in your thinking about it. Think about what you want to be, do and have. Think about it often until you are very clear about this. Then, when you are very clear, think about nothing else. Imagine no other possibilities.

Throw all negative thoughts out of your mental constructions. Lose all pessimism. Release all doubts. Reject all fears. Discipline your mind to hold fast to the original creative thought.

When your thoughts are clear and steadfast, begin to speak them as truths. Say them out loud. Use the great command that calls forth creative power: "I AM". Make "I AM" statements to others. "I AM" is the strongest creative statement in the universe. Whatever you think, whatever you say, after the words "I AM" sets in motioin those experiences, calls them forth, brings them to you.

There is no other way the universe knows how to work. There is no other route it knows to take. The universe responds to "I AM" as would a genie in a bottle." (page 92)

One example of this that I can think of in my own life is a simple one. I bought my first brand new car when I was 29. It was a bright red Toyota Tercel. I loved that car. It was my pride and joy. Up until the time I bought it, I honestly don't remember seeing any other red Tercels on the road. But, once I started to drive mine, I saw them EVERYWHERE! My mind was focused on my brand new car and, what manifested in my life, but red Tercels. At the time I thought it was a bit freaky, but it wasn't. It was just the Universe manifesting what I was focusing my mind on.

The New Year is a time when people start to set goals for the coming year. How clear are you about what you want to be, do, or have this year? If you are clear and feel this clarity deeply, than focus on it and watch what happens as the year unfolds. If you aren't clear, or need help in setting your intentions or goals, working with a coach can help to bring into focus your intentions, goals and dreams for your future...and manifest them in your life. May 2011 be your "Year of Abundance".