Get Out of Your Own Way

Image result for images of toddlers being scolded

The world and its occupants are loaded down with rules, expectations, judgments, accusations, and speculations – all about you. From the moment you take your first breath, someone is telling you how you are, what you should think, feel, and do. As babies, we need someone to show us the basics, but once we develop our own minds, we love to “do it ourselves.” That’s natural.

From the moment you take your first breath, someone is telling you how you are, what you should think, feel, and do. As babies, we need someone to show us the basics, but once we develop our own minds, we love to “do it ourselves.” That’s natural. Just look at nature for confirmation.

People don’t stop imposing their attitudes, beliefs, and opinions on us once we are thinking for ourselves. Humans have grown into complex creatures that feel compelled to articulate the “why” of everything. And we think this makes us intelligent.

Oh, contra ire.

The more you listen to everyone else instead of your own feelings, the farther away from yourself you travel.

No one can fully escape someone telling them “no.”

“No. You can’t do that.”

“No. You shouldn’t think (feel or believe) that.”

“No. You are wrong.”

“No. You are not ___________enough.” Fill in the blank. (smart, talented, skinny, brave, rich, pretty, connected, educated or strong)

You hear any of that often, eventually it soaks into you like an ink stain. Your subconscious mind replays those negative ideas constantly. Even though your conscious mind is telling you not to listen, not to believe, and that you should know better. Because you do!

But whenever you are complimented, you brush it off and reject the positive input. Any skull session that promotes creativity and chasing dreams has you snuffing them out with all the reasons “why not” instead of planning the pathway toward our goals.

We stamp out our dreams like a boot extinguishing a cigarette.

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What can we do?

Wish on a star? A birthday candle? Wait for a hero to rescue us from ourselves?

How can you undo years of mental programming and record new, positive, self-affirming “Yes!” data?

Be aware of your thoughts and re-word them, one thought at a time. Be diligent! Any time you get down on yourself or hear yourself rebuffing a compliment, STOP! Imagine a seeing a stop sign and then mentally talk to yourself as you would someone you love.

Squirming yet? Yes, it is very uncomfortable because you are accustomed to accepting the worst for yourself.  Accepting the best takes practice and reward.

When you treat yourself, you never chose the smallest brownie or just one piece of chocolate. So why do you do that in other areas?

If you feel as if you “don’t deserve” good stuff, you’ve been lied to. Oh, yeah. Again and again, you’ve been fed big, fat, hairy lies by people who had also been raised on a diet of the same or are purposely trying to hold you back and keep you down.

You were born knowing better but changed when the rest of the world got a hold of you.

Instead of asking yourself what you think about it, ask: How do I feel about it? Use your heart center instead of your intellect.

How do you feel about it?

You know when you feel good and bad. Any time you get down on yourself with all the reasons why not, stop. Remind yourself that all those reasons came from others. Then ask yourself: How do I feel about it?

Use your heart instead of your head. How does it feel? It’s smarter than you think.

Beliefs, Day in the life

10 Life Lessons I Learned at a Funeral

  1. Make your own decisions, or someone else will. This doesn’t just apply to your last wishes, but your entire life.
  1. Dwelling on the past (regrets) is a waste of energy.  No matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can’t turn back time. Carrying them around like a pack mule benefits no one. Acknowledge them and resolve to do better.
  1. If you’re not living the life you really want, change it. That includes the relationships you engage in, the jobs you work, and the lifestyle you live.
  1. You can’t please everyone, especially parents. Parent-pleasing can breed resentment. Be yourself anyway. They are.
  1. Own your beliefs. If you are not a follower, don’t be one of the herd for just for appearances.
  1. You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn. There are questions you won’t know to ask until you have the answers.
  1. Everyone processes emotions in their own way. Denial, deflection, humor, suppression, pacing, compulsiveness, etc. Allow loved ones the space to do what they need to do.
  1. There are those who leave their hometown and those who stay. The “why” is personal. Some of us need to lay down roots. For the rest, only a touchstone is required.
  1. Family can love you and not always like you, and might never understand you. Be okay with that.
  1. Food brings everyone to the conversation. You can overhear a lot even at a long table. When people are face to face, it’s impossible not to engage, if only in body language.  A meal helps people feel normal, even if they aren’t hungry. The ritual of it can defuse or ignite emotions. Lean toward compassion first.


Beliefs, Television

Could You Face Your Former Self?




  The Dumas Hotel

The first episode of the new season of The Dead Files was an eye-opener. It was the first time I have seen an encounter with a living person who is presumed to be the reincarnation of the previous owner of the premises being investigated.

Dark things were happening to and around the current owner of The Dumas Hotel that had been a brothel for 92 years. His personality changed and he would lose time. A concerned friend contacted The Dead Files duo for help.

After researching the history of the property, a photograph of the original owner/builder was revealed. And the resemblance was uncanny, especially his eyes. The client looked like he could have been this man’s grandson. Yet, medium Amy Allen said the words,”This is you.” After her partner Steve’s neck cracked when he turned to her, she went on to say that when the original owner died, his soul had been fractured.

Now reincarnated, the owner has found his way back to the property and begun renovation and restoration, feeling a strange attachment to the building. But he never knew why. He was eerily calm about seeing his former face in the photo and said he felt relieved as if a weight had been lifted.

I can’t imagine feeling relieved to discover I had built a bordello where women were abused, forced into having abortions, or selling their children. Or that people around me had witnessed a metamorphosis in my personality when I was there.

Reincarnation is a phenomenon that you either believe or don’t. But if you do, you probably assume that you come back with your soul intact. But the soul can be whittled apart into pieces through trauma, aggression, and other emotional distress. Every energy exchange between two people can open the opportunity to take or leave soul fragments. This brings up a concern for me.

If I have reincarnated more than once, how many of my soul’s fragments are still out there somewhere? What if a big chunk of me is collecting dust in some dilapidated old silver mine? Pacing around a suburban culdesac that was once a battlefield? Or hanging around an Interstate highway where my old trading post once stood? Does that mean I’m walking around incomplete? Missing an important part of myself?

Amy’s advice to the client was to have a Reiki master absorb the fractured piece so that it could be healed and moved on.She did not get into what happened after that. But I know that fragment can be retrieved the help of a healer or shaman. He might not feel complete without it.

Day in the life

Energy Exchange

I’m always leery of panhandlers holding cardboard signs. Once I saw someone offer a man a bag of food. He got irate, waving his arms and yelling. He didn’t want food. I knew a gentleman who had a regular spot on a median near the airport. An amputee in a wheelchair, he didn’t bother with a sign. When he was done for the day, he wheeled himself to a nearby 7 Eleven, where his Cadillac was parked around back. Another man with a sign attacked the car in front of me at a stoplight. Apparently, the driver said something to upset him. Snapped the driver’s window in half.

After Christmas, as I waited in the car for my husband, a woman knocked on my window as if she needed help. She had a cane and a clump of something in her free hand and told me her story in a rehearsed patter.

“Would you be interested in buying a keychain? I’m a widow with twin daughters in need of anything you can spare.”

I’d seen her around the area on other occasions. As I rarely have actual cash on my person, I could only offer some of the quarters I kept in the car for parking meters. I didn’t need a keychain but was impressed that she had something to offer in exchange instead of asking for a handout. The item was simply yarn threaded with colorful plastic beads that many folks might decline or even throw away. But when she asked me what color I’d like, I told her. And it is now on my key ring.

It’s lightweight, so my mechanic won’t fuss about straining the ignition switch, and it’s my favorite color. If it lasts only a week before coming unraveled, that’s fine. Until then, it will serve as a humble reminder that a few needy folks understand the concept of energy exchange or fair trade.

Before currency, we traded whatever we had for whatever we needed. I wonder how many unneeded items were exchanged for medical care, shoes, grain, weapons, anything. Doctors probably had a stockpile of things they never needed but accepted because that was all the patient had to offer. Also, because it helped maintain any dignity the person had left after falling on hard times.

When our exchange was complete, the woman hobbled to a man in the next row. I imagined her repeating her story. He shook his head and got into his car. She limped onto the next. As much sympathy as I had for her, I had equal admiration. Approaching strangers in a parking lot had to be humiliating, yet she seemed to be well over any emotion about it. She may have had little to offer, but she offered what little she had. And that’s all anyone could ask.



What if Someone Believed in You?

A lot of us grew up where dreams were just illusions not practical enough to pursue. And we were encouraged to walk paths not aligned with our desires. Budding artists might have heard weary parents warn “You’ll starve to death” for all the competition. Their advice was often based on their own fears. But the lucky ones are fortunate enough to meet teachers or mentors who encouraged them to believe that they could achieve anything.

What if someone had said, “I have faith in you. Go for it.” What path would your life have taken? Would you have prospered or starved? Would you come away with gratitude or regret even if you didn’t reach the desired out come?

We often dream of doing things our family and friends might not approve of. And sometimes, there might not be a single soul in our corner. So we have to believe in ourselves enough to strike out on our chosen path. Success shouldn’t be viewed as a pot of gold at the end of the road, but the fortitude you build from having faith in yourself to complete journey.  You will never reach the destination if you don’t make the trip.

I’ll leave you with a perfect example of this as being a gift, taken from an article published in McCall’s magazine in December of 1961, by Harper Lee.


The Power of Belief – The Dark Side

Have you ever believed in the existence of vampires?

Unless you came from a region where that belief still exists today, probably not.

On this week’s Expedition Unknown Josh Gates traveled to Romania and Bulgaria chasing stories of vampires. In one news report, people had been arrested for digging up a guy they believed to be a vampire. Yeah, I thought this was a joke, too. Josh was apprehensive until he spoke with the attorney involved in the case. The accused were arrested and charged with grave desecration, among other things. Now, this is where it gets weird. Their six-month sentences were suspended, and the men were released. Apparently, after a gruesome ritual, those who had been ill got well, reinforcing their resolute belief that this action protected the village from sickness and death.

Josh’s interpreter confirmed that the belief in vampires still existed “but only in the country.” City folk have apparently let go of the idea. When the team arrived at the scene of the crime, they were greeted by angry villagers spoiling for a fight. After some fast talking, they calmed down. “Hey, we know the guy. He’s family.” So Josh went to talk to the leader of the group of grave-robbers.

He confirmed that he and five others had exhumed the body of a dead man who had come to many members of their village in dreams, making them sick. They had taken matters into their hands by removing the heart from the corpse, grilling it to a crisp, and placing the ashes into a potion that was consumed to rid the village of the effects of the vampire.

The leader of the group was adamant in the interview that he’d done the right thing because the corpse had blood around the corners of his mouth and his nails and beard had grown. He was firm in the belief that had saved the people of their village. (In death, internal hemorrhaging can cause blood to appear, but nails and hair don’t continue to grow. They just appear to be longer as the skin shrinks and recedes.) But rural folk cling tightly to centuries-old beliefs, especially if a ritual seems to aid the sick.

Josh then participated in planting verbena at the grave of a suspected vampire. The belief is that the poisonous roots will grow down into the body – killing it from good. He then traveled to an excavation site where a skeleton of a man had a metal plowshare pinning the body down at the neck. Another way to ensure the deceased did not become a vampire. They theorized that misunderstood illness or physical conditions might cause speculation at the time. Centuries ago, doctors had limited knowledge of the possibilities. But even suicide was considered a reason to worry that a person might transform into a vampire.

Stories like this make me wonder about my beliefs. What beliefs were passed down in your family or community that you question now?

Meta Stuff, Television

Is Proof Possible?


TNT’s latest summer offering, executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick, has promise, provided that it’s offered the opportunity to grow. The life-after-death topic has not been edgy enough for prime time. In the past, audiences have responded more favorably to soap-opera drama, adult animation, and modern day fairy tales. And this subject often alienates conservative viewers with its less than glorious peek behind the veil. No saints at the gate or winged ushers to guide arrivals to the wizard in that great kingdom in the sky.

Being a realist, I am excited about this show and hope it will portray the real work doctors have done in researching the existence of an afterlife. Having studied the works of Professor Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., I know there is a mountain of material to support this theory. I am hopeful that some of the experiments conducted in The Afterlife Experiments and The G.O.D. Experiments will be brought to life on the small screen. Actual tests done with patients who flat-lined for a number of minutes who claimed to see and hear everything that occurred in the room after their heart stopped.

Proof follows a surgeon (Jennifer Beals) who has had her own unexplained life-after-death experiences since losing her teenage son. She remains a skeptic, as do most scientific people. But she is approached by a dying billionaire who promises to fund her disaster relief efforts should she employ her skills to aid his research. What happens to the consciousness after death?  Big money is too sweet a carrot, so she’s in, but unconvinced she’ll find much. Yet, she holds a kernel of belief that her son might not be completely gone. As long as she hangs onto that ounce of reasonable doubt that physical death is not the end, she can be propelled to consider ideas she once thought preposterous.

To my own mind, I don’t believe there is proof. Proof implies tangible, physical evidence. There is no such thing when dealing with the 21 gram “soul” that science has labeled as the weight of individual human consciousness. It is not physical matter.

My fingers are crossed that the producers can do right by the subject matter, and that it finds an audience open enough to give it a chance, at least for the ten episodes it has shot.