The art of Practice; Card of the week 23rd November 2015

card 11.23.2015

 

This Doreen Virtue deck is filled with homey guidance especially geared towards kids.  The card drawn today (as with most things we guide children to do) applies to all us grown ups too.  (Remember when your music teacher would say, “practice makes perfect?”  – she was on to something! )     This card is especially on target because much of this month’s “get things done” theme has been about practicing and ingraining new routines.  I can’t believe how many synchronicities have arisen around this theme – with lots of things echoing this message.

For me personally, this has meant focusing on some really exciting new developments and a creative project I’ve been spending a lot of time on.    To do that effectively, I found I needed to really reinforce new productive habits,  –  and  because things have been a little hectic and discombobulated in a time of change, I’ve had to reinforce even those routines  I’ve always done (like meditation or walking).  When times change, even the things we used to do like clockwork can fly off-kilter and we have to learn new ways to reinforce our old routines as well as find new ones.

Apps (like the previously mentioned “Fabulous: motivate me!” app for android)  have helped me focus on some of the most popular productivity tips (such as goal targeting or distraction-free work periods)  and apps and websites like Evernote and Trello can help organize information and project progress, but  none of these tools really work without a conscious choice to create daily actions…. again and again!  All the Franklin Covey planners, Pomodoro Techniques, reminders and do dads in the world can’t help you do anything at all if you don’t consistently make a ritual of their use until they become part of your new habit!  (when that “reminder” goes off.. do you act on it?)

This card  reminds us that no matter what brilliant idea, plan or objective we have… it’s building new habits that solidify intentions and attraction.     You can plan to run a big marathon, get a stopwatch, an activity planner, a heart-rate monitor, instruction manuals and running shoes… but unless you get out and actually do some consistent running, your goal will always be somewhere over the rainbow.    If our heart and intention is in sync with our goal, we will be open to those steps and consistent tasks that can create what we want.

It’s a mistake to think that soulful work or the things we really are meant to do will somehow give us tons of motivation and passion every minute of the day.  We’ll be building mashed potato mountains and making things happen like the fevered artists in movies.  Nope!!!   In reality, there will be days when you don’t want to do the new habit (or the old habit that you used to be great at).  I have written articles on meditation and I’ve recommended meditation for clients for years, but in the last months it’s been hard for me to be consistent.  “Well, I’m tired… I’ll do it tomorrow,” at night and, “I have so much to do … maybe I’ll get started on my important tasks and meditate later on.”        — I’ve even had to push myself to act on changes I DO feel passionate about (artistic projects).

When it comes to internal changes in perspective (about love, or ourselves) building new habits and practicing are just as important.   Life is like learning a piano piece.  Keep going, even if you hit a clunker, even if you don’t want to practice, even if you’re tired or don’t always feel like it.. and note by note, a song of great beauty will emerge!  (This card is sitting on a book of Chopin music … which is some of the most difficult to play and which seemingly requires hands with more than the usual five digits… but which is worth all that practicing!)

About this deck:   Magical Unicorn Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue Ph.D. is published by HAY HOUSE.     This 44 card deck is especially tailored towards children and contain cards relating to the themes of childhood.  Whimsical unicorns will appeal to kids and kids at heart.

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Friday Toon Butterfly Effect 11.20.2015

butterflyeffect

 

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect?   This theory of inter-relatedness guided my cartoon illustration this week.    It says that the flapping wings of a single butterfly impacts the weather patterns of the entire world, that the tiniest change can have a big influence.     Is it any wonder we’re scared of metamorphosis and change?

We’re scared that we’ll flap our wing the wrong way and set some horrible typhoon in motion.  But by far the greatest fear we have is not being able to change at all, or that we’ll wake up another day,  month or year older and be unchanged.   We fear the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting things to be different.

In this big month theme of “getting things done” and embracing change… it’s the perfect time to think of our relationship to change itself and cope with the main obstacles to creating new habits.

 

CHANGE IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE

Change is always possible because change is always happening.  This is the most important rule to remember of all.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard growing up ( a leopard doesn’t change its spots,  people don’t change, etc.)    you CAN change.   Honestly, I used to believe these negative statements myself, – but I’ve seen the dynamic and mind-blowing changes that I and others underwent through the process of growth for myself.     I’ve seen people who are terrified to be communicative and open become fantastic communicators,  I’ve seen people who used to be terrified, needy and attached in their relationships emerge as butterflies in solid, long term, trusting bonds with themselves and others.    I’ve seen such fantastic changes in myself that it would take months to write them all down.

Phobias, depression, fears,  mistakes or errors… are all changeable.  Believe it!

It doesn’t matter if a change is small (making a new habit stick)  or huge  (finding love)…. change is always possible. The next time you doubt this rule, think of an example from your own life of a way in which you have changed already.    Chances are, the you you are today is wiser than an old version of you.    Once you wore diapers and couldn’t find your feet;  now you can use a cell phone and make risotto!    See?  You’ve already changed … and that’s proof that it is not only possible but MANDATORY in this life.

so how do we get in a better relationship with change?

FIND WHERE CHANGE BEGINS

Change begins with you and depends on you.     Most of us get tricked into thinking that change somehow starts  OUTSIDE of us.  We wait for someone to change, for something to change, for circumstances to finally make something “happen” that we think we want.   We think that if that special circumstance were to happen  (house will sell, lotto number will hit, hunky guy will call, someone will see things the “right” way ) that THEN we’d have positive changes.

That’s not really how it works though.  Change does NOT exist in just in the OUTSIDE world… it begins in the  INSIDE WORLD.  And that’s the only place it every *can* exist.   Woah. What a concept.  Don’t believe me?     Think of the person who gets all the things that they think they want .. fame, celebrity, money … and yet they’re still miserable.  How come?  Because change that happens outside of us doesn’t really make an impact on us unless our inside story agrees with that  reality.     Even if we get the guy, or the nose job, if our inner perception is one of unhappiness, the outside circumstance will never matter.

Always remember that change begins with you.  This is true whether your issue is a relationship, or something that involves others.  The amount of change you see in the world is equal to your willingness to see things in a different way and to commit to new thoughts and choices to create the kind of life you wish to live.

CHANGE BUILDS UP OVER TIME

We grow up believing that one BIG move changes our lives.      Nope!  Change energy is the same no matter what form it takes:  events can happen quickly  (blink of an eye!)   but lasting change evolves through lots of cumulative creations and new daily habits and routines.        That does NOT mean that positive changes take many years or that there’s always “hard work” to do.        In fact, change happens at an equal level to how willing we are.  That means that the more we commit to making changes and the more we trust ourselves in that process, the faster we will see results.

Change requires bravery and pushing ourselves for sure, but when we practice and make small steps every day, pretty soon those changes get easier and easier and we see more and more progress.   Imagine learning to run a marathon. At first it might seem hard to run more than a few minutes at a time, but as you consistently expand on the plan and make adjustments daily, pretty soon five minutes becomes ten and then the miles themselves start to fly by with ease.     Or imagine we meet someone great – then what? Then we have to learn to communicate and connect.   There’s always an adventure or lesson to learn – change never ends.

Our fearful ego asks,  “When does the good stuff finally arrive?”  like somehow magically it all happens at once and we just get all that messy, scary “unknowns” over with.    But change happens in an accumulation of habits, choices and actions no matter how fast events transpire.

Remind yourself that all the great works of art, relationships, businesses, and things of beauty in the world were ultimately the products of evolution, persistence and building even when miracles were delivered or inspiration hit like lightning.

 
1) Don’t give up on making new habits if you don’t get a “Reward” right away or in the way you think you should when you make your first few attempts do do something differently.    For example;   don’t go to a fun class and then despair because you didn’t meet a new man and then give up and quit the class.  Don’t stop taking care of your diet and exercise because you didn’t lose your goal weight in one day.

2) If you are frustrated and meeting obstacles, review your intentions   — Are you doing something for YOURSELF or are you doing things in the hopes it will change other people or force an external change?    If you are taking that class for YOU, then you don’t care who you meet and if you are changing your diet for your health then you don’t mind if you didn’t lose today’s weight goal because your intention is  on the big picture.

3) Don’t wait for other people, places or things to line up and make you happy.  Ask yourself what kind of day your soul wants to live out… and get busy doing small steps to make that a reality TODAY.     That way,  when external circumstances change, you won’t depend on them for your happiness.

4) Change builds up and accumulates, getting bigger and strong and more effective.  Small steps lead to BIG changes.  You can choose to see small steps and consistent routines your friends.   Consistency matters in all human habits and rewiring ourselves to do new routines.

5) Identify the positive changes you wish to make and make SPECIFIC plans to act them out during your day.  Don’t wait for something to “Finally arrive” make it arrive.  If you feel frustrated, it could be that your intention is about something EXTERNAL instead of internal.  Shift your intention and energy to your inner world.  For example… if you want loving communication, instead of waiting for someone to communicate kindly to you… how are YOU acting on this in your inner world?  Are you speaking lovingly to yourself?    Others?  Are you communicating with your partner in a loving clear way?  What SPECIFIC plans could you make to communicate lovingly today?

6)  When it comes to attracting supporters and things to you, those same specific plans are important.  Think about ways in which you are watering and nourishing habits and rituals every day that make this possible in practical reality.  For example, if you want to create financial success, are you  making a specific plan  to care for your finances?  Are you identifying what you can do better tomorrow?  Are you creating generous acts that you can do today?  Are you supporting others?

7)   The more specific you get, the more you can focus on small steps and goals. The more you feel as though you are acting and committing to small acts of bravery, the more you trust yourself to roll with change.

8) When you change within, and focus on your growth and watering your garden, your faith in Spirit grows and your faith in yourself grows. When that happens, just like in the BUTTERFLY EFFECT, you have a really profound effect on all the people you meet or interact with.   Small steps create endless ripples of change for the world!

Measuring UP; card of the week 9 November 2015

 

 

card 11.9.2015

Sometimes we’re guided to view judgment and critique as something really negative.  After all,  “don’t judge others,” was a universal mom warning.    And blessedly, our culture is making overall strides in discouraging negative forms of  judgement (this is better than, you know, the days of pitchforks and Inquisitions)   — we have, don’t judge your feelings, don’t judge your weight, don’t judge people for the colour of their skin, don’t judge yourself for not liking pumpkin spice lattes, JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED ….

This is a good thing too – because so many people and groups  are STILL so hell bent on judging and condemning others.  Any perusal of comments sections on  the web will net you boatloads of haters about anything and everything imaginable.  Looking at world  news (condemnation of whole groups of worthy people by religious organisations)  will be proof enough that we have a ways to go.    (And bonus extra credit spiritual growth, the thing that is so hard to do:   being mindful of how we judge those doing the negative judging!)

This week, though, it might just be beneficial to judge.  Before you come after my P.C. card, this isn’t about the run of the mill negative ego, “you’re wrong and you shouldn’t be doing this” kind of judgement.  This isn’t being a meanie and the judgement that we use against ourselves when we weigh an  extra 15 pounds, this is positive judgement;  measuring our progress, being honest about what we’re not doing completely or correctly, and taking stock of what we do RIGHT.

When it comes to our “getting things done” theme for the month, this piece of guidance can be invaluable.  We’re not going to get anywhere by harshing on ourselves or chipping away at our self esteem.  Ditching habits that don’t work well (for example procrastination) means accepting everything about yourself, positive and negative.   It also means celebrating what you do well, or do right!

Celebrating successes, and reminding yourself about progress you’ve made is essential to making new habits stick.  Don’t skip this part. It’s just as important as honestly sizing up whether something is lacking in your efforts. Don’t be modest or shy, the code/key for the week is just being really HONEST with yourself about what you’re doing great at as well as just seeing (without attacking yourself) what still needs to be improved on, and being excited about tackling new tasks.

This week, it’s time for being clear about what we’re doing.   For Justice and Judgement to be true and pure,  it’s time for seeing things honestly, not in the gauzy half-light of daydreams and wishful thinking or avoiding what is real.

The most important thing, though, is to use this positive judgement energy for the forces of good (getting things done, finding out what to do next, being excited about accomplishments and enthusiastic about more to come)  and not in the service of darkness (beating yourself, or others, up — being pessimistic, seeing impossibilities, judging yourself harshly for what you’re doing or not doing).

You will DEFINITELY know this week whether your judgements/measurements laser-beam  are poised towards goodness or not.  If they are – you’ll feel light, more jazzed up about things than you have been in awhile, more focused on what you can do to improve things.  If they’re NOT, you’ll feel little fits and spells of losing faith and hope, feeling overwhelmed and really just not wanting to deal with it all.   It will be easy to judge OTHERS harshly and to size people up as not being good enough in that light too. Dissecting people and being the negative “judgemental” has its roots in how we judge ourselves, after all.   Measuring UP leaves you energized,  judging and focusing on the small stuff leaves you weighted down like that pork chop.

And what if your judgement/measurement energy lands on the side of darkness?  What if you’re seeing yourself and others in that shady light of false reality? That’s ok!  All is not lost.  It’s just a reminder to get back on track.  Start by taking another accurate measurement (funny how those measurements get so TOTALLY SKEWED when we’re in pessimism/harsh judgement mode.. nothing is measured accurately and everything will be a whole lot “worse” than it really is) —- see what you’ve done RIGHT and what is working as clearly and in as much detail as possible; really look at the things that are triumphs where you’ve done good deeds.  Next, gently measure some realistic areas in which you could make new efforts, or more consistent efforts.   You get a do-over to turn that beam to the forces of good! Smile

 

About this deck:

The Housewives Tarot by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum is published by Quirk Publishing.   This is really a fun deck  which comes in a recipe  box style container with 78 cards and a great book.    This writing, illustrating duo (graphic designers) have put together one of the cheekiest  odes to the Tarot, Mid-Century Modern and 50’s cultural kitsch ever!  You get unique spreads  (like the “Martini”)  and the deck even comes with vintage recipes.   Way gone, Daddy-o!

Friday Toon 6 November 2015

todolist

 

When I drew this cartoon, I was drawing on many moments of creative procrastination.  Being “busy” with illegitimate tasks is the cousin of sitting around doing nothing.  Both help us avoid our purpose and passion.

It’s a time of getting things done.  As I’ve been trying to focus more of my efforts in towards those things that matter, I keep coming across tips to write to-do lists and to identify what it is we need to do. The trouble is, the silverware drawer is never more tidy than when something WORSE needs to be done ( like scheduling a root canal, taxes, giant expense report for the boss, etc).      It’s then that we get distracted with all kinds of suddenly VERY important missions.

I totally relate to having some pressing, timely and important thing to do and suddenly being possessed with an all encompassing desire to know how tall Hervez Villachaize was  (3’10”), or how long alligators can grow to.   Even when we DO get focused on our real to-do list, the procrastination demon can strike again and make distractions like email, texts, and other tasks rise up.

The thing that has helped me more is not just to make a to-do list. (I’m GREAT at making to-do lists, and I couldn’t live without ‘em – but sometimes they sit there stacked with things that never get checked off)   What works even better for someone working on multiple projects, deadlines or goals is to have a special separate list of the 1-3 MOST IMPORTANT things and to commit to focusing distraction free blocks of time just on those.   You will likely have time to do a lot more things, but those three are the ones you want to do no matter what!

I’m going to write more on some of the methods/tools/apps  I’ve come across later,  but trying this tip out over the last two weeks thanks to an app called Fabulous, it  has really helped me refine what is and isn’t important for the day.

 

Have a great weekend! Smile

Multi-Tasking Fae; Card of the Week 2 November, 2015

card 11.2.2015

 

Once again – some great synchronicity!   I love this card. It’s funny, over the weekend I’ve been thinking about how this month’s theme is really about getting things done.

Many of us are in an intense period of ramping up effort to change our lives in a significant and meaningful way, or because we have a big endeavour that is finally taking shape.  Many people are feeling that things absolutely MUST change because they can’t, absolutely can’t, go on as they have been! Something has to give.   November and December are months of really stepping up our game and starting to create our vision in a focused way that impacts real life.   2016 is going to be really big, and we’re getting ready now… and we have to be focused and productive.

This card is all about multi-tasking!  Most of us think we’re working so hard and doing so many things that we’re bewildered when we don’t see the ‘cookie’ or the reward for having done such a bang up job of being busy.   (“Where is what I’m looking for?”)   when in reality we’ve been taking on a lot of jobs and energies (and doing tons of things simultaneously)  that make us feel like we’ve worked hard but not necessarily on what we need to.  It also makes it difficult to be consistent with the very actions that would lead us to what we wish to accomplish.

Here we see the fairies zipping around doing a million different things; gathering twigs, studying sea-shells, showing off paintings, brokering deals, learning archery, hustling, toting and going.  There’s so much to do and only so many hours in the day – if we try to “do it all” we end up not enjoying, or feeling truly connected with anything that we’re doing.

Creative energy can be wonderful, but it can also make for creative burnout if we try to do too much of even a good thing. Not only that, it’s all too easy to put our energy into activities that aren’t really the most important ones.    This week, it’s time to get some focus and balance!

There’s no such thing as “multi-tasking.”   Multi-tasking is a myth.  I know… I hear some of you object, “No! I’m an *excellent* multi-tasker.  It’s on my resume!”   but recent studies in neuroscience are proving that our brains can’t actually focus on things simultaneously, we can just switch from one task to another quickly  (or in the case of some of us, not so quickly).

Switching back and forth quickly might seem to be a cool slight of hand to those who can appear to do it, but it isn’t very sustainable and doesn’t give us the results we want.  It’s possible to sit at the piano and  play a Bach piece by rote and read a magazine on the music stand at the same time…..  (don’t ask how I know this lol )    but you can only play in the most mechanical and unemotional way, and barely absorb the words you’re reading.

This week,  allowing yourself to focus on one thing at a time (as well as  more  on those most important tasks and elements of your being) will allow you to be consistent in your efforts and not to fall prey to the ego trick of, “Well I tried that for a day or so and it didn’t work!” or giving up too quickly when we don’t seem to see a reward. We can teach ourselves that real change doesn’t come from scattered or singular attempts to change but repetition, consistency and ingrained new habits.

It’s a great week to do some exploring:   What do I really need to have on my to-do list? What energies can I set aside completely … or just for a few minutes as I work on a block of time for the MOST important thing?      Remember… if you focus your energy on one thing at a time you’ll find that you’re enjoying all the things you have to do and much more able to get everything you want done.

 

I’m going to be doing some extra posts on this topic this month and also posting some other tips and resources here and on my FB page.  Have an awesome week!!

 

 

About this deck:    The  Victorian Fairy Tarot  by Lunaea Weatherstone and Gary Lippincott, published by Llewellyn,  is one of the most beautifully painted and illustrated tarot decks ever created.  Even if you’re not into “fairies” – this one is worth it just for the artwork