Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts Are Things

You may have heard the phrase “Thoughts are Things.”

Look at a chair in the room. It was first a thought in someone’s mind, then created from wood or metal or plastic using tools or machinery that were also created by someone’s mind. Can we see that creative thought?
Why do we say that thoughts are things?

Look at a chair in the room. It was first a thought in someone’s mind, then created from wood or metal or plastic using tools or machinery that were also created by someone’s mind. Can we see that creative thought?

The same goes for every man-made thing you see. First it was an idea in someone's mind. Then it was created in form.

We Create Our World

We can also create our experience of our world through our thoughts.
Still with me? For example, if I think of the world as an unfriendly place, I am going to move about in it in a particular way that reinforces that belief. I am not going to notice the friendly people if I am on alert all the time. So I continue to believe that thought.

Part of this is due to the reticular activating system in our brains. When something is considered important to us, we notice it more. Whether it's cats, cars, or chemicals.

So if I'm a person who believes that conflict is necessary, I might not notice peaceful alternatives. Or I might notice them and see them as wimpy or weak.

But I can change the lenses I wear, and then a new world appears.
That's what it means to "change your thinking and change your life."

Awe In the Everyday

More and more, I am bringing in appreciation as a way to see the world.

Whenever I look at my cat– especially when she is asleep and snoring - I am in awe. What is it in you that recognizes the life in that being? What is it that recognizes the thoughts in you? Who is it that knows your history, your thoughts, your opinions, your likes and dislikes? Is it your brain? Is it your body? Or is it something else? What knows that you are thinking right now? Could you know that you are thinking if there was nothing observing that?

What makes a tree grow? Sunlight, water, nutrients in the soil. But why does it grow? What makes it grow? What force makes it combine those things to grow from a seed to a tree?

What about a baby? We know the biology of how the embryo forms and starts dividing. But what makes that happen?

The DNA is just the blueprint. What makes the genetic material replicate? The more I know about science, the more I see an Intelligence behind everything.

When you see a baby, see the light in its eyes, what is it that stirs inside you that tells you that this is a new life? And how could we forget that we are an ongoing mystery just like that baby?

We are all still That. And the journey is in remembering it over and over again despite what we think we know.

How About You?

Where do you find wonder?
Where have you changed the way you view something?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Point of View

Have you ever thought about the term “point of view”?

You’ve probably heard the story about several blind people examining and describing an elephant. The guy at the tail thinks an elephant is a long ropey thing. The guy at the trunk and the guy at a leg all have completely different takes on what an elephant is. But when I hear that story, I always think the metaphor falls apart pretty quickly. A blind person is going to feel around for the rest of the animal, and after a while, all the guys will feel the whole elephant – or at least the parts they can reach, and wouldn’t they eventually bump into each other and share what they felt?

Circle Up and Check It Out

I find point of view fascinating. I picture a group of people sitting in a circle, looking at an object. Each one of us sees something slightly different from the person next to us, and the person across from us sees something completely different than we see. Does that make anyone wrong? It’s fascinating to hear how other people see things. We’re all different because we were all formed by different environments, different circumstances, different thoughts, forming different beliefs and attitudes.

Whaddaya Mean There's Only One Point of View?

I’ve always felt it important to understand other people’s points of view. I thought everyone did... until one day I had my first encounter with someone who thought that their opinion was truth, and that’s that. For him, there was no other way of looking at it or seeing it or talking about it or thinking about it. It was a solid, firm, permanent fact.

I was stunned and confounded that anyone could think that way. An opinion is only an opinion. It isn't a fact.

I was trying to wrap my head around it and having quite a time of it. As I mused aloud about it, a friend said, “Well, that’s one point of view, that’s there’s only one point of view.” That thought smacked right down in my mind like a piano falling from the sky. Wow. What a trip. What a strange way to experience the world. I physically shook off the rigidity that I felt even considering this thought, but it stayed with me. That is one point of view, and it’s just as valid as any other point of view.

That's Helpful When People Talk Politics

Needless to say, having this understanding served me immensely in recent political times when name-calling has been raised to mammoth proportions. I kept telling myself, “OK, this is actually how they see things. They are telling their truth.”

I usually can get along with just about anyone, but I have noticed that the ones that are the most difficult for me are the ones who are the most rigid. For example, over the years I have learned at least four ways to give directions. Some people cannot understand North/South/East/West directions, some can’t read a map, some need to have the road names, some need the landmarks (the hardest one for me), and so on. It helps me when teaching a technical subject, because I have learned to explain things several ways.

If You Don't Like What Someone is Doing...

One of the few things I remember my mom saying, probably only once, but it was enough, was “If you don’t like what someone is doing, all you can really do about it is make sure that you don’t do that too.” The more life experience I have, the more I realize how true that is. I love that I can learn 4 or 5 ways of describing something, but I need to know when to draw the line and not “co” someone; to not bend so far backward for them that I lose my own balance.

Think Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory. I love that show, but when Sheldon is being Sheldon, I sometimes ask Leonard out loud, “Why on Earth do you stay? Why the heck don’t you move out?” 

If my friend Kathy heard me, she would say at such times, “It’s a MOOOVIE!” In other words, it’s not real and doesn’t need to be realistic. And we have all had a Sheldon in our lives at some point, haven’t we? 

How About You?

Do you find it easy to see other people's points of view? 
Where do you think your ideas are the truth?

Monday, July 14, 2014

How Did I Get Here?

Have you ever wondered how you got here? Not how you were born, but how you got to the place you are now in life.

Why you think the way you do? Why you see the world the way you do? And why other people don’t see it the same way? 

Why you know exactly how a thing ought to be done, but you can’t get a family member to do it that way? Why your values are different than your friends and maybe even your children’s? Why you believe in God or not, and what feelings that word brings up in you?

Your Belief Soup

soupIt may seem like common sense, but most of us don’t realize that each one of us grew up in a different soup of beliefs, teachers, circumstances, parents, birth order, expectations, and so on. All of that shaped who we are. And sometimes life moves too fast to examine some of the things that we assume to be true.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

temporary-thoughtMost of our life is lives from the unconscious level. This is a great thing because we don't need to constantly remember to breathe, we don't need to consult a map every time we go to work or drive home. But it's not so helpful when we continue to run the software installed in our subconscious that no longer serves us, or that never did. Some parents, doing the best they knew at the time, withheld praise or even actively ridiculed their children in order to get them to do better. But research shows that until we are about 7 years old, we are little tape recorders, and unable to discern or process information in the way they had hoped. That's why you may find with surprise that you talk or walk or make a hand gesture just like one of your parents. It's in the subconscious.

Religious Beliefs


My mother was brought up in a strict religious family. She gave us the gift of not sending us to church because her upbringing was so strict. So I grew up only knowing what the popular culture told me about Christianity or any religion. And I got to form my own ideas about spirituality. And I'm really glad about that. I came to spirituality without the dogma of organized religion, without the messages that God is wrathful or punishing, and without feelings of unworthiness that seem so prevalent. Some got through, but in all, they did a really good job of editing out most of the less-than-useful patterns of their upbringing.

A Suggested Solution

So why not reprogram your subconscious to clean out those feelings of less-than, not-enough, can't-get-what-I-want, and so on? If it sounds right, try this:

sleeping-catGet out your smart phone, and record, in your own voice, affirming thoughts and self-praise. Any messages that you think would be helpful for you. Affirmations that you believe, but haven't quite seemed to stick so far because your subconscious thoughts keep over-riding them.

If you're a technical whiz, add some soothing music underneath.

Now, listen to it as you sleep. Try it for a night or a month. And let me know how it goes.

How About You?

Do you have special tricks for overcoming subconscious beliefs?

Monday, July 7, 2014

We don't need no stinkin' thigh gap

Thigh Gap? Seriously?

I've seen though gap in photos of models, and assumed that they were airbrushed.
But more recently, with the popularity of skinny jeans, I've seen it in person. And it isn't pretty. Only because it means that women are bending their minds and bodies to meet unrealistic expectations of fashion magazines. I refuse to do this. More accurately, I couldn't conform to that if I tried.

Some women are naturally built that way, but it's a small percentage. The rest of us are left dealing with the fallout from these images in the media. Personally, I don't look at fashion magazines because I find most of the images unattractive. But it's part of the mainstream, and it's affecting teens and adults.

Maybe I'm old fashioned. Not maybe. In a lot of ways, I am. But women are biologically engineered to have babies. Whether we choose to, and with whom, is another question. Well, that's two questions. But because we are designed to incubate the next generation, we have unique qualities. And I am learning to embrace them and enjoy them despite the media.

Woman Are Meant to Be Shapely

So we are supposed to have an extra layer of fat. We have estrogen. It's what makes us women. It's what makes us softer to the touch than men. it's what makes us curvy. Shapely. Feminine. Female. So why does the fashion industry want us all to look like teenage boys with breast implants? No wonder those models look so angry and sullen all the time. They are perpetually starving.

I celebrate my thunder thighs! Finally! After being teased as a teen, I have made friends with my shape. At 16, I weighed 105 pounds, and I was an hourglass/pear with hips and thighs and a waist. My skeleton is built that way. I'm a girl. It's supposed to be that way. I didn't understand that, and was on my way to anorexia, even though I was already underweight. And that's rampant now with even more media focus on skinny. Not to mention all the Photoshopping on those media images.

Stick Thin Isn't Feminine

But back then, I didn't know then that that was a good thing. I weighed 105 and I believed others when they said I was fat. Twiggy was popular back then. Looking back at high school year book photos, I realize that the girls who were teasing me were built more for today's fashions - straight torso, and skinny arms and legs. That's great for them but I wish I hadn't believed their taunts.I'm glad I have accepted and learned to enjoy my own feminine shape.

Appreciate Your Beauty

I learned to ignore the media images and others' opinions about skinny being beautiful. Most of the time. My body is changing with age. So it's a constant adjustment and acceptance of the beauty I was given. A constant acceptance that I will never look like I did 20 years ago. I've learned to see that I look darn good for my age, even with a few extra pounds.

How About You?

If you haven't seen Dove's Real Beauty commercials -- or even if you have - check these out. And let me know what you think. (If the links don't work, go to YouTube and search these titles.)

Dove Real Beauty Sketches
Dove Beauty Patch
Dove Beauty Evolution
Dove Body Evolution