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Posts Tagged ‘feelings’

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

Make a Decision

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Decision. The word itself is strong. An incision, cutting through excuses and doubts, to get to the heart of necessary action. Decision is a powerful place to be.

Before you commit to a decision, the lingering of indecision keeps you mired and weak against the what-ifs and suppositions that cloud the questioning mind. You spend sleepless nights. Bite your nails. You're out of sorts with the world because you don't know what to do.

How do you decide?

A popular tool to organize your thoughts is the yellow legal pad divided vertically in half. At the top of the page, Pro and Con head up the list of possible actions and corresponding outcomes. Objective and helpful. Yet after this simple vetting exercise, when one column is obviously longer than the other, are you still hesitant to commit to that decision?

Objectivity may be great for official's calls on the sports playing field. But when it comes to your life, how much is really black and white? There are other considerations, extenuating circumstances. It's not that easy.

It's not that easy when you are looking outside of yourself for clues about how to proceed. Looking at what others have done in similar situations may give you some insight about how their decision worked out for them. As in the often heard disclaimer, results may not be typical. The difference between their outcomes and your own lies in one word.


Your values are the significant areas of your life that are of prime importance to you. Values may include integrity, honesty, creativity, tranquility, family, autonomy, freedom. The list of values is limitless and unique, just like we as individuals are similar yet different.

Determine your top three values that stand for who you are. No matter what goes before you, these three values describe your core. You do not compromise on your top values without feeling untrue to yourself. Once you settle on your personal values, the decision making process becomes easy.

If the results from your Pro and Con list, no matter how objectively accurate, do not align with your true values, that is causing  your hesitancy to decide. Following along with the same decision someone else made, may work out for you, but how does it measure up against your values?

Facts are black and white. Values are all about feelings. Weigh your decision with your values and it's a perfect alignment.

Now decide and move forward. You've made the right decision.


"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst you can do is nothing. " Teddy Roosevelt

If You Can’t Say Anything Good

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

We recognize in others what we do not like in ourselves. When I first read that statement, I thought it was untrue. At that time, I also tended to be critical of the perceived faults of others. Faults I certainly did not have.

Looking more deeply into this idea, I decided to observe my thoughts for a day and question the hypothesis that I was merely seeing myself in others. I had to think about what I was thinking about.

That takes some major attention, to be an observer of yourself, like a tag along friend- or foe. Keeping track of a brain full of criticism, pettiness and disdain has a way of turning those feelings inward.

Like the proverbial battle of the angel on one shoulder and devil on the other, as soon as I noticed a critical thought, I would reprimand myself for thinking that way. This clash of egos was not supplying useful information for my experiment. 

I began again and set aside self scrutiny in favor of simple observation, as if I was watching an actor in a movie. That perspective allowed me to decide if the heroine in my movie was a likable character or a villain.

As a thought popped up, "What a messy person," I noticed it, and immediately asked myself if messiness was an issue for me. Oh, it certainly has been and I feel disempowered whenever the clutter in my life builds up.


Try it again.

"He is wasting time, not getting anything done." Any identification there? Wicked procrastination. That brought up feelings of frustration I have experienced.

We recognize in others what we do not like in ourselves.

It's making sense now…. and providing the opportunity to turn observation into understanding my our own motivations.

We also recognize in others what we like about ourselves.




Reinforce your positive self image by seeing your reflection in the inspiring faces you meet.


        "If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much  more than you can by talk."
 Robert Baden-Powell

Here Comes That Feeling Again

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Are you tired of hearing about the effects of boring beige yet? Good. I feel another rant coming on.

On the way to a nature trail this morning, the walk began through a suburban subdivision.

Rows of houses, so much the same, in subtle variations of….beige. I couldn't help myself from making a comment or two about the lack of color variation.

"They're not all beige, some are tan," my walking companion insisted.

Noticing the nuances of colors is a big part of my life. There are no less than 100 shades of white in a typical paint deck fan. And reds…don't get me started.

In this instance, I must classify the housing landscape, beige, tan, ecru, toast, even greige, as the boring, nondescript sameness of beige.

Whew! I feel better now.

Look around your own neighborhood. Maybe even your own house. Why is it beige?

Don't get defensive.

A beige house blends nicely into the surroundings. Looks natural. The green lawn adds some contrast which is important, as I mentioned in Wednesday's post, as a way to add color to a neutral wardrobe. 

"Is there a color ordinance here?" I asked. No, there isn't.

Beige is accepted by everyone- never goes out of style. Oh really. Find a neighborhood built a few decades ago when gray was the color of the day. Time will tell a beige tale. 

Thankfully, my suburban walk did include some pops of color and individuality.

A cobalt blue planter in front of one house.

Brilliant pink floral plantings around another.

Deep burgundy shutters.

And the highlight of the day, a pale yellow house amid the sea of beige. Ahhh!


Why do we go along with the status quo? Afraid of making a mistake? Maybe the neighbors won't like it.

What if your home was on an isolated hilltop or a desert island? What color paint would you choose for that locale? Bet that choice reflects what you like.

Your color choices should always be a personal reflection of you, your tastes and colors that make you feel good. Uniformity is overrated.

Be beige if you must, but add your own personal touches to identify your abode, your castle, instead of just the second house on the left. 

You create your life. You select your environment. 

 As with all the choices you make in your life, never be satisfied with less than you deserve. You deserve to surround yourself with life enhancing color that makes you feel your best. 


Feelings are like a color chart that God has given us.”
                                                                                          Keith Miller

Late or Lingering

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Late summer….I've heard that description of the season so many times this week. But it's only mid August. 

Back in the day, the lazy days of summer lasted until school started, always after Labor Day. Technically summer ends on the Autumnal Equinox during the third week of September. That's more than a month away. 

So what's the rush?

Is it a symptom of our obsession with the future?

When not lamenting days gone by, our thoughts turn to what's to come. We assemble a cast of people, scenery and events that we believe will or could happen.

Real or imagined future, our thoughts manifest as the feelings we experience. Are you looking forward to something with happy anticipation? Those future thoughts feel good. 

Most commonly our thought projections of the future turn into feelings of anxiety or dread. We rehearse the scene of our upcoming performance over and over, perfecting feelings that do not feel good.

That's not the way champions rehearse their future. They imagine only the best for themselves, and use the present moment to perfect their craft.

Why not savor each delicious day of summer that's left? You have thirty six days to go.

Pick a summer activity for each of these golden days and practice living in the now. It may be sitting in your yard with a refreshing drink. Take a walk and notice the verdant green and touches of gold in the trees. Put your bare feet in the sand. Watch a magnificent sunset.

Do all those things that mean summer to you. What will it be? I haven't run through the sprinkler….yet.

It's not late summer….it's lingering.

Enjoy this Day!

It is the summer's great last heat,
It is the fall's first chill: They meet.
–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

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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