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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Thought Exchange

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

DavidFriedmanToday I was a participant in a workshop put on by renowned composer and author, David Friedman. Taken from information in his groundbreaking book, The Thought Exchange, David outlined how our minds are conditioned to think the same thoughts over and over. Thoughts we have sometimes believed as truth since childhood.

Yet as adults, we are frustrated when our lives do not improve no matter how hard we work to produce new results. The disconnect occurs because we are using the same old thoughts about what is possible in our lives.

In order to change our results, we must start with changing, or more precisely “exchanging” our thoughts. We are conditioned to believe what we think about something is the only thought possible for us. It is our belief, our truth. In reality there are unlimited numbers of thoughts that are possible.

Do you think you are incapable of doubling your income?

Do you think you will never find your soul mate?

Do you think opportunities have passed you by?

Imagine you can take that long held thought you have back to the store and exchange that thought for a new one.

What? How is that possible? I know, that thought of yours may not look so good, but it is comfortable and has served you well. It has kept you safely where you are, if not happy.

Just like trying on a new pair of shoes, selecting a new thought about what is possible for you will create some physical sensations. There’s a rub on the heel, it pushes on your little toe. It feels uncomfortable.

If you exchange your old thought of “I can’t” to a new thought of “I can,” you will feel uncomfortable. A knot in your stomach. Your heart may race. You may feel nauseous. You will want to revert back to those comfortable old shoes.

Hold the new thought. Stay with the sensations. Allowing yourself to feel the uncomfortable sensations is the key to taking on a new thought about yourself. Positive thinking feels good in the moment, but a lasting change of thought requires acknowledging those uncomfortable sensations and proceeding anyway.

Whatever you see in your world is a reflection of the thoughts you have about yourself. When you look in a mirror, if you do not like the color shirt you see, do not expect the mirror to change it. Only you have the power to exchange your thoughts to reflect a new belief about yourself.

“When we were able to be with our sensations, infinite possibilities opened up.” David Friedman



Are You Living a Blue Monday?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

How’s this for a Monday morning pick-me-up? I just read that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year. It’s called Blue Monday. And it has nothing to do with the phases of the moon or the weather.

blue mondayBy the third Monday, over two weeks of the New Year have passed and you have already lost track of the resolutions you made. Remember those promises to yourself- exercise, read more, spend more time with family, etc., etc. Another new start and you’ve veered off the path to a successful new year. Humph!

Stop putting yourself down.

Besides, today is only the second Monday of the month.

The perfect day to assess if that resolution was right for you.

If you’re finding it difficult to maintain a new behavior, it’s because your reason for staying the same as you are is too strong. Ask yourself what you get from not exercising, from watching TV instead of reading, from working or being with friends instead of being with your family. Whatever behavior you resolved to change is too important to your current sense of identity to easily alter it.

In order to bring on lasting change, you must first see yourself as the person you want to become. Imagine every detail of what your life would be like as the person who has made this change. Each time you’re tempted to not do what you say you want to do, ask yourself what would your better self do. Bring a clear picture of that you into your mind. You don’t have to be accountable to anyone else. “To thine own self be true.”

You have the next seven days to practice being that new you.

On Blue Monday you can smile with satisfaction. No reason for you to be depressed.

You are living the dream!

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” Vincent VanGogh

Up In Flames

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

A New Year tradition at the Unity Spiritual Center is a ceremony called "Burning Bowls." In this early part of the year, as we tend to look at our life with the intention of improving, our self inspection also calls attention to frailties of character and bad habits that have impeded our progress. New Year's resolutions, after all, are all about making changes.

abstract fire on blackThe only way to improve is to change.

The best way to change is to release the things in our life that do not serve us.

The tradition of the Burning Bowls is a three step process. First, write down on paper those thoughts and feelings that have gotten in your way the past year. What, if no longer in your life, would free you to be the person you want to be?

Some examples may be-

Self doubt



A sense of lack

Make your list truthfully. It's for your eyes only.

Next, light a flame in a fireproof container, a burning bowl, a fireplace or chiminea. Consciously and with intention release the paper into the fire.

As your words are consumed by the cleansing flames, feel the lightness in your body. Those troubling thoughts and feelings have been released. You now have the space in your heart and in your conscious mind to replace what held you back with what you intend to create this new year.

Write a list of the things you will accomplish. With nothing to inhibit your progress, what unlimited goals can you create? Include the attributes that you now claim as your own to help you on your way.





This list describes the new you, free from whatever used to hold you back. A new You for the New Year.

The final step is to write a note of gratitude to yourself and to a higher power for the accomplishment of all you intend to be and to do. Write the note with the feelings and enthusiasm you would have in reaching your goals.

Seal this note in an envelope to be opened at the end of this year. Tuck it away with your holiday decorations, or give it to a friend who will return it to you eleven months from now.

Why? To experience the sense of amazement and gratitude when you read your note. The person you aspire to be is the person who will be reading your thank you note.

A few weeks ago, I opened and read the note I wrote to myself in January of last year. There are no coincidences. What I sought and was grateful for receiving at that time, is now in my life.

What you imagine, what you intend, you create.

Release what does not serve you and create the life you choose. Let the power of the flame obliterate the obstacles.

Your own power to create is limitless.


"Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge."
Don Henley

How to Predict Your Success

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Do you want more in your life?  Here's a foolproof way to greatly improve your current life by adding more prosperity and joy to each day.

One of my favorite quotes by practical philosopher, Jim Rohn, is this.

"In order to have more, you need to become more. The guy says 'If I had a good job I would really pour it on, but I have this lousy job so I just goof off.' If that is your philosophy, you are destined to stay there."

Isn't it interesting that we look for the big break in order to be able to live our perfect life? That assumes there is limited happiness or contentment in our current way of life. Something will have to come along to change our circumstances. In the mean time, sit back and wait for your big break.

If that scenario is true for you, and you're waiting and hoping for something else to come along, you're missing one important component to change things for the better.

"In order to have more, you need to become more."

Whatever your current education or life experience, they have gotten you to where you are today. Just as any journey begins with the first step, in order to move beyond your little comfortable world, you must equip yourself for a new and different world waiting for you steps away. What supplies, what tools do you need for your journey?

If you have a job and you're paid a rate by the hour, how can you justify getting paid more for each hour you work? Yes, there's inflation and gas costs more, but the job you do, the effort you put in day after day is the same.

"In order to have more, you need to become more."

What if you asked for more training on the job to learn a new skill? That additional knowledge could result in higher pay. And what about the value you receive from stretching your mind to learn something new? You may even get an idea for a whole new line of work.


If you work for yourself, you probably already feel like you're doing the work of two people. I know that feeling. There's no way you have time to for anything more. Like a hamster on the treadmill, you dream of a "someday" when you can catch up on work, your family life and more.

"In order to have more, you need to become more."

If you're spinning your wheels and not getting ahead that a sure sign it's time to become more– become more of the the talented entrepreneur that started your business and less of the "do everything myself" maniac.

It's time to delegate to family, to children, to employees or contracted assistants in order to save yourself for the important decisions that must be made. You must become more, invest in yourself to take your business to the next level. A seminar, a planning retreat, or even a day off with no distractions inspires and recharges.

The world around us is changing at tremendous speed. A college degree earned today will be obsolete in a few short years. So standing still is not an option. It didn't work for the dinosaurs in their day either. Unlike them, you have more options.

How can you improve yourself?

What can you learn to do?

What problems can you solve for someone else?

Add to your value in the marketplace and you will be rewarded financially. The bonus lies in how you will feel about yourself. Become the person you admire. Prosperity and joy will follow.


"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. "
Jim Rohn

Just a Walk on the Beach

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

One of my favorite things to do in Key West is walk on the beach. As beaches go, it does not rival the Caribbean stretches of pristine powdery sand. Yet, each day it's a surprise. What kind of beach it will be?

As the photo portrays, on a perfect day, the sand is white and smooth. The  deep aqua water laps gracefully far up the beach and the sky of cerulean blue is bright with puffy clouds to decorate. Fresh breezes rustle the palm fronds and seagulls float effortlessly onto the beach.

On another day, the sea is muddy and green. The calm waves of low tide struggle to pass through mounds of olive green and brown seaweed collected on the beach. The air, thick and humid, smells of rotting vegetation washed up from the sea floor. Small sea creatures, marooned on the beach, await a higher tide.

Same beach, same time of day, but an entirely different experience for the senses. Yet what remains the same? That singular touch, the sand passing between my toes. The knowing that, no matter what, the sea will meet the sand every day. It's a comforting feeling.

Change happens every day. It happens to the beach. It happens to each one of us. Sometimes the sun shines brightly on our perfect beach. Other times the low tide drains the life out of our dreams.

It's not a bad thing.

Not an unwelcome thing.

Change just happens. Like a walk on the beach.

But what makes you who you are, the feeling of the sand between your toes and the eternal sea that always meets the sand of your soul, never changes.

Welcome change. Think of it as your daily surprise.


"The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us. "
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Peace Is a Place

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Today, September 21, is designated as World Peace Day. Plenty of 60's peace symbols are everywhere on the internet. Strains of  "Give Peace a Chance" fill the airways. The memories of that decades old movement make me smile.

When we think of peace as a movement, it necessarily requires moving someone else to change their behavior. Although most people in the world insist that changing other people is possible, the truth is, we cannot change anyone but our self.

Peace in the world begins with peace within each one of us.

"Be the change you want to see" is the simple instruction to create peace.

Breathe deeply and quiet your mind. Feel as calm as you possibly can.

You have begun Peace on Earth.


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. "
Jimi Hendrix

What Frustrates You?

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The world would be such a pleasant place if people were more like me. How many times a day do you find yourself thinking that? Good, it's not just my overtaxed brain.

What's the source of your frustration, recalcitrant children, woefully unaware drivers, or any number of unenlightened people that cross your path? All these frustrating circumstances have one thing in common.

We are trying to change what "is" into what we want it to be. And we want it to be–more like us.

Ever try to convince someone you are right and they are wrong? Another path to frustration. People only see through their own eyeballs. Their own upbringing and experiences color their judgements and decisions. There is no convincing them otherwise.

The saddest frustration I feel is when I see a better way, a genuine improvement I can bring into someone's life, and they refuse to open their mind and see it for themselves. What I hear as excuses coming from their mouth are really their long held beliefs about what is possible for them.

"You can't push string" was a favorite saying I heard growing up whenever I insisted on having it my way. Change only occurs when a firm decision is made in the mind. No persuasion or coercion affects a mind made up.

Accepting the world and the people around us, just as they are, prepares us to live a more tranquil life. You do not have to like it the way it is. Or agree with it. Or pretend to be part of it.

Just see it and decide to let it be.

Be the change you want to see, and others will want to emulate your success.


"My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual. "
Phyllis Diller

Seeing Yourself Clearly?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Geoffrey Bradfield, a celebrated Interior Designer of international acclaim, adopted as his motto a quote from Oscar Wilde.

 “There is an art to living-

that life itself is, in fact, the first, the greatest, of the arts.”

In describing interior environments of his design, Bradfield explains that his work creates “a backdrop for our lifestyles, to enhance and illustrate the way we choose to live”. The home interiors Bradfield successfully designs mirror his clients’ lifestyle. When the spaces are a true reflection of their inhabitants, the art to living, that greatest of the arts, occurs naturally, comfortably.

As the creator of the “backdrop of your lifestyle”, each day you choose the personal environment of your clothing, the vehicle you drive, your home surroundings, and your work environment. The artistic medium you work with to create your surroundings on the visual plain is color.

You need not be an artist in the sense of a painter or sculptor to create. A subtle creative process starts the moment you open your eyes and you realize your “Youness”.  

As you rub the sleep out of your eyes and leave the reverie of your dream, are you smiling as you greet your day? Or, as you catch a glimpse of yourself in the bathroom mirror, do you close your eyes to the person you see?

How you see yourself is the biggest determining factor in how you are perceived to others. Are you portraying the true reflection of who you are, or does your mirror reflect the image of an imposter?

Being aware that you control your personal environment is the first step in making the changes to guarantee your success. 

Maxwell Maltz, in his book “Psycho-Cybernetics”, writes “all your actions, feelings, behavior, even your abilities, are always consistent with self image.” He goes on to explain, “By understanding your self image and by learning to modify it and manage it to suit your purposes, you gain incredible confidence and power.”

In other words, your level of success in life stops at the level of comfort you have with yourself. Why cap your success because uncertainties about your self image?

If you’re looking to boost the success you feel, first be comfortable with yourself.

Being comfortable with yourself is not the same as the feeling you have wearing your old blue jeans and oversized sweatshirt. Comfort with your self image is deeper than clothing level, below skin level. It starts at mind level.  

Start with being clear about who you are.

You are different than anyone else.

Begin with self acceptance.

Celebrate your uniqueness.

Self-confidence means you have belief in yourself.


The person we believe ourselves to be will always act in a manner consistent with our self-image”.                                                             Brian Tracy

Are We Related?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

How can two siblings, raised in the same house, by the same parents, end up so differently as adults? Spending several weeks with my older sister this summer, I've asked myself that question many times.

Guess I inherited the organizational genes that passed her by since she's four years my senior. Maybe it's me, but I find it stressful to routinely dodge a cascade of falling contents whenever I open a kitchen cabinet door.

I haven't always been tidy in my storage habits. I do remember climbing over mountains of clothing, records, books and assorted treasures in my bedroom as a teen. Maybe I was trying to cover the brown colored floor that I didn't like.

Yet dedicating ten years of my career to efficient kitchen design and another decade creating effective storage in closets and offices for clients, my working motto has become "a place for everything and everything in its place."

I can't take full credit for that piece of sage advice. I heard those words throughout my adolescence from a well meaning aunt. Guess my sister choose not to pay attention to her recommendations.

This week I suggested we could improve one of her more notorious kitchen cabinets- the pot and pan storage. She was literally getting on her knees to search through the jumble of pans and lids whenever she prepared to cook.

After painting a picture of an easier life for her, she agreed to visit the local Lowes store to explore the options. I spotted the perfect solution, a two tiered, stainless steel, pull out shelf unit that would fit perfectly into her cabinet.

My handy husband followed the "simple" instructions and over an hour later, my sister and I were arranging her pans and lids in orderly rows. The shelves glided effortlessly into the cabinet. Success!

Except for the half dozen pans left over.

"Do you really use all these pans?" I asked.

"Sometimes," she replied.

I whirled around, eagerly suggesting other available space to store the overflow.

"No, No, NO," her exasperation evident. "They'll have to go to the basement."

I had gone too far.

Pushed too hard to get her organized.

The basement was the land of no return. The place where the unneeded become the long forgotten.

I would call Goodwill and pass along the orphaned items, but that's just me. A different child from the same mother.

Much as I want to tackle the casserole and bowl cabinet next, I've learned you cannot change someone who does not embrace change.

I wonder which one of us was adopted….


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Reinhold Niebuhr

The Smile on Your Face

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Today I visited the R.E. Olds museum in Lansing Michigan, a vivid chronicle of the man's lifetime automobile empire. His Oldsmobile brand outlived the man, lasting just over 100 years until General Motors phased it out in 2006. Now only its history remains.

Most of the people touring the museum qualified for the Senior Citizen ticket price. I couldn't help but wonder, in twenty years would anyone be interested in seeing these relics of transportation past?

The cars represented decades of life and major changes in lifestyle. The replacement of the horse and buggy, increased vehicle size to accommodate a family, trucks to aid the workforce and the war efforts, and powerful vehicles that became symbols of style.

Could R.E. Olds have imagined what his inventions would come to represent? I think he could see it.

What impressed me most in the museum's collection was a short biographical video of Olds made by his great grandson. As he studied the photos and the early moving pictures of his ancestor, he noticed something telling about the man.

He was always smiling.

History is full of interesting and visionary people. Many contributed inventions and innovations that have improved our lives. R.E. Olds was one of them and more. He loved his work and his life.

As I watched the faces of those people in the museum that owned his cars, drove those cars,  they too felt the love.

They were always smiling.

Tell Me More

Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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