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1/16/19 – Show 3: Creating Happiness … who and what makes you happy? Let me guess… your husband or wife. Your children, friends, or parents? Maybe it’s a particular situation or special circumstance, such as a better job, more money, or a bigger, better house. These are the kinds of things that most people associate with happiness. And guess what? They are also the exact things that make them miserable, furious, stressed-out, and depressed.
How do the things that make us happy also make us miserable? Somewhere, deep in our consciousness, we all know the answer. None of these things make us happy or unhappy.
Other people and things have nothing to do with our emotions. Only our thoughts create our emotions. Every good and bad thing we can think of is labeled good or bad by us. If we judge something as good, we’re happy. If we judge it as bad, we’re not happy. We all know, of course, that the very thing we say is good, someone else will judge as bad, and vice versa. The thing itself is neither. It just is.
Let’s use money as the example. Some people think it’s their savior and others think it’s the root of all evil. The truth is: money is printed paper or stamped coins. It has only the value we give it. To some, $5.00 is like a million; to others a million is like $5.00. Every situation and circumstance is only a matter of perception — information gleaned through our physical senses, and colored by our beliefs. Consequently, it is easy for us to deceive ourselves. Then, of course, once deceived, we unwitting deceive others.
We are each creating our own happiness and misery because every thought creates a corresponding emotion — but most of us don’t realize it. Many who are aware of the process ignore it because they wish it weren’t true, so they refuse to accept responsibility for the emotions they create. It’s always easier to blame (or credit) someone else. We say things, such as, “He makes me so happy!” or “She makes me furious!” One reason we do this is… no one would be sympathetic to our misery if we admitted to hurting ourselves. If we told the truth and said, “Last night I had a choice between making myself feel good or miserable, and I chose misery. I kept rehashing what George and Mary did, and got so depressed I hardly slept a wink!” The easiest way to escape this childish behavior is to stop judging everything as right or wrong, good or bad. We have no idea what is prompting someone else’s actions or how every situation is going to turn out. Horrible situations sometimes turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us. If we believe a situation needs correcting… find an effective way to correct it because criticism and judgment don’t change anything — except to destroy our peace and negatively influence our health.
If you would like to feel peaceful for 24 hours, try this: Suspend all judgment for a full 24 hours. Really! Judge nothing – not even a paper cup in the street. Pick it up and toss it as though you’re the one who dropped it, or let it be what it is: a paper cup in the street. You’ll be amazed at how peaceful and refreshed you’ll feel at the end of the day.
I imposed this restricting on myself many years ago, and I still try to practice it today. I decided to drop all descriptive words—all adjective and adverbs from my various observations. When I began the exercise I lived in a large city and walked six blocks to and from a little place to have lunch, and I would often become irritated at the loud, noisy traffic, the crowded and cracked sidewalks, the rude pedestrians, etc. When I decided to identify these things merely as traffic, sidewalks, and pedestrians—with no judgment attached, my walk no longer irritated me. In fact, I began to notice other things—things that gave me pleasure. A window box with flowers. A song drifting from a window, etc. An old couple holding hands. Trust me… the world won’t fall apart if you suspend judgment for one day, and if you—like me—find relief in doing so, you might want make it a daily practice.
Remember: every thought creates a corresponding emotion. What—exactly, does that mean? Well, it’s as simple as this: Lift your index finger. Now notice… did your fingernail rise with it? THAT’S how unnoticed, simultaneous, and connected thoughts are to emotions. That connection can’t be broken. It can only be ignored – but only at the expense of our peace, happiness and health.
So, if a situation makes you smile, enjoy it! If it doesn’t, let it pass.
1/9/19 – Show 2: Imagine Success … we’re all aware that everyone wants peace, love, health, happiness and success, and yet, it seems that since we first cried for a dry diaper, these things keep slipping beyond our reach. Throughout childhood, we accumulate memories of being denied what we want. Maybe at age two, we wanted the pretty flowers on the coffee table, but every time we reached for them, our hands were slapped. Later, we said we wanted to be someone special — an actress, an astronaut, or famous athlete… and were told to forget it — we weren’t smart enough, tall enough or good looking enough. Or there wasn’t enough money.
Although most of our childhood memories have disappeared from our conscious mind, they remain stored in our subconscious, and they have slowly but surely hardened into a solid belief that stops us from living a truly fulfilling life. Certainly, our adult desires are different from those of our youth, but if the old belief is still active, it’s likely that our adult desires will remain unfulfilled, too. Perhaps we’ve tried many times to reach a particular goal, but have failed. This, of course, only reinforced the belief that we can’t be or have what we want. The belief may have become so strong we no longer even fantasize about reaching our goal. We’ve decided “this is as good as it gets.”
The power of belief can’t be exaggerated or overstated; it affects every decision we make. Once we’re convinced that we can’t have what we want, it’s possible to live our whole life and never suspect we are operating from a false self-limiting belief. The good news is: we can replace the old, discouraging belief with a new belief that encourages and empowers us. And we do it the same way we learned to accept the old belief — through REPETITION. We repeatedly tell ourselves that we are free to live as we choose; that we are competent to create the situations and circumstances we desire. We actually write out such statements: “ I am free to create the conditions and circumstances that I want.” We memorize the statement and repeat it to ourselves several times a day. And we repeatedly imagine our success until we finally convince ourselves and suddenly discover that we have the courage to realistically pursue our goal.
Now, listen carefully. I’m about to give you some very important information. Are you listening? While our subconscious holds and remembers everything we experience… it does NOT know the difference between fact and fiction. It accepts anything and everything we tell it – and when we imagine anything – what we want or what we don’t want – we are telling it what to remember! Therefore, if we repeatedly imagine fulfilling our desires, it will accept our imaginings as truth—exactly as it would if we had already succeeded. If we imagine success repeatedly, our subconscious stores what we imagine as ACTUAL SUCCESSES and we begin to replace the old belief with a new reality. We have given our subconscious a roadmap or pattern to follow – and it will ASSIST us instead of hindering and stopping us!
We can literally “give” ourselves a different past—one that helps us succeed when, if fact, it was anything but helpful. A good example is a female client– I’ll call Sue — who came to me, literally in tears, and said her husband of two years was divorcing her because she couldn’t cook. I’m not kidding. He had grown up with a mother who was a fabulous cook, and Sue continuously ruined everything she tried to cook. She also told me that her own mother was also a great cook, and frequently made sumptuous meals for large numbers of guest. I asked if she ever cooked with her mother, and she said, “No!. She would never let me in the kitchen when she was cooking. When I asked, she always said, “No, you’ll just make a mess. You don’t know what to do.” Obviously, her mom’s words stuck. So I relaxed her, and had her imagine she was three years old, sitting on the counter top while her mother stirred a batch of cookies. After the cookies were on the cookie sheet, I had her imagine her mom handing her the spoon to lick. Then, I had her imagine she was six and helping her mom make cookies. From there, I had her imagine herself at two year intervals, always cooking a little more, until she was 18, when I had her see herself cooking a huge meal for a dozen people, and everyone raving about how great it was. Well… I’ve never had faster confirmation of a success than I did with her. The next morning, my phone was ringing as I entered my office. It was Sue’s husband. He said, “Thank you! Thank you! For saving our marriage! For the first time in two years, Sue made me a delicious meal! You saved our marriage!.” I didn’t, of course; Sue saved it by seeking help.
If we really want a new experience, we don’t need someone else to tell us what to imagine. All we need to do is identify what we want… relaxed ourselves… and see our past as we wish it had been. We imagine being young and getting the encouragement we desired… we see ourselves a little older…. learning more, doing more of what we truly want to do. We can each do for ourselves what I helped Sue do. Remember… our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction. It stores everything as absolute truth, as if it happened just that way. Try it! Build a belief in yourself. And, if you need a relaxation tape to help you relax, get one.
1/2/19 – Show 1: #MeToo … today, I want to add my name to the Me, Too movement. I’m a 77-yr-old woman who had the misfortune to experience both incest and rape. The incest perp was my father when I was seven—the night that we buried my mother who had just burned to death in a house fire. The rape happened when I was 18 and went for my first job interview. I’ve written about this in my memoir, ‘Cry into the Wind,” if you’re interested in the details. It’s on Amazon. But for those who only want a brief overview of how it affects a young child to be molested, well, in a nutshell, it leaves the child feeling “stupid,” “dirty” and “ugly” well into adulthood. For me, a great part of the agony was that I despised and feared my father whom I also loved. I wanted to still love him but I was afraid of him, and later, I also feared all men who resembled him… hair color, height, mannerisms.
A few weeks after my mother died, my three younger siblings and I were put in an orphanage and separated for the next 11 years. It was a cold and brutal place and for whatever reason, I did not learn to read… so I became an extremely clever cheater. I was 13 before I realized letters had sound assignments! Once I understood the concept, knowing I had 13 letters in my name – half the alphabet! – I swiped a flashlight from the kitchen warehouse where I worked, and sneaked it under the covers with a book, and slowly taught myself. While struggling through my second book, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, I began to experience a terrible fear… so much so that I stopped reading, tried to slow my breathing and figure out why I was so afraid. It didn’t take long for me to realize that someone else’s words going through my brain were making me feel afraid. For a moment, that amazed me. But my next thought was: “If words can make me feel afraid, I can tell myself words that make myself feel whatever I want to feel!”. I understood the enormity of that revelation, but that’s not to say I remembered it throughout all of the ups and downs of my teen years. I wasn’t dedicated to remembering it until after the rape at 18, and surviving my suicide attempt. At that point, I knew I had to start over, reteach myself how to think. I knew I couldn’t look back; couldn’t let myself dwell on anything except what I wanted. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I was sure it wasn’t in the rearview mirror of my mind.
I wrote my first novel—a thriller—when I was 23 and it sold to Avon Books. It became a bestseller, as did my first six books—three thrillers and three children’s books. Now, if this makes male readers think, “Well, it doesn’t have to emotionally cripple a woman if she’s raped. She can get over it.” Yes, she can, but incest and rape make it a thousand times more difficult—for girls and boys. To physically overpower a child or an adult—for sexual gratification that can be satisfied with your own hand is tantamount to admitting, “I am too dumb to remember I have hands.” The need to overpower anyone reveals fear of weaknesses and deficiencies, and the act of subduing a child or a woman will not alleviate either. Yes, it’s survivable, but it’s also miserable and needless. It proves nothing about the one attacked, and nothing worthwhile to the one struggling to feel powerful. Those attacked are not really diminished or “less” than they were, but some never realize it, and spend the rest of their lives feeling “soiled.” Likewise, the attackers prove nothing “good” about themselves. They are left with a shame that cuts so deep they joke and brag about it those who will keep their “secrets.” This is the only way they can feel “big, important, and powerful—a pitiful effort to sound proud. Statistics reveal that one in three girls and one in four boys are molested. Perhaps some who are listening now.
With that in mind, I’ll close with this: If you, whether female or male, were molested as a child or an adult, nothing can stop you from being all that you want to be. Reclaim your life! Don’t look back except when holding the hand of someone who is trembling from the same experience. Then, say, “I have felt the pain you feel, but you have not been permanently damaged. Go on with your life, live it as you want it to be. Look forward. Set goals, and honor yourself by keeping those goals. Be who you were born to be. Don’t hate; it steals your resolve. Simply ignore the memory. Let it die of neglect, and soon you’ll replace it with wonderful memories of your successes.” The “Me, too” movement is important. Men must learn that overpowering someone with less physical strength proves weakness, not strength. Real strength is revealed through understanding and respect.