DecisionClarity in a Chaotic Market

November 28, 2008

Maintaining peace of mind in today’s economic environment is tough enough but deciding when and how to act is a real challenge. It is important to know yourself and your likely response when faced with a crisis. I have observed a number of different reactions when people are challenged in this way. Some will want to endlessly process what is going on with friends, business colleagues and financial advisers. Your financial adviser shudders when he sees your name on call display. Others react like a deer trapped in the headlights and unable to decide to do anything. You shudder when your financial adviser calls you for a decision. Another group will become obsessed with getting more and more information before they make the decision. In these type of changing conditions it is almost impossible for you to ever feel satisfied that you have the appropriate data. Both you and your financial adviser shudder when you think of talking to each other. There is a final group whose lives feel totally impacted by the chaos in the market because the order they require to make decisions has evaporated. You won’t pick up the phone when your financial adviser calls. And many of you will have had some or all of these reactions at one time or another. It is important before making decisions is to be aware of the different influences driving you. So take some time.
First I recommend that you explore any decision you are going to make on three levels. Start this process in the evening. Take a sheet of paper draw a line down the centre and create two columns one for the positives and the other for the negatives. First take a look at the rational factors influencing your decision. This is where you review all the facts at your disposal. Secondly look at what your feelings are saying and identify the supporting feelings versus the negative ones. Thirdly take a look at how much fear is driving the decision or the indecision. Don’t judge it but try to assess your conflict. I call this “the battleground of thoughts and feelings.” It is why certain decisions become so challenging and why the mind can behave like a dog chasing its own tail. Then it is time to set your intention and go to bed. This is as simple as asking your deeper self or your sub-conscious to show you the way. Affirm this over and over again as you go to sleep. Then when you get up sit quietly and assess where you are. Pay attention to any dreams or synchronicities. Then trust yourself and let go of the dilemma. Co-incidentally a study was done recently at the University of Amsterdam demonstrating that when two groups of students were faced with complex problems, the group who were given the opportunity to sleep before offering a solution presented superior answers than the group who had to resolve it the same day. There is scientific basis for trusting the adage “sleep on it” before making up your mind.


Fear and Kindness Walking Hand in Hand

November 24, 2008

Although they may seem unlikely companions, on the soul journey, fear and kindness often walk had in hand. We are often more conscious of the kindness than we are of the fear. I sense that kindness is a way that we justify certain actions that in fact are fear based. Let me explain – recently I had brunch with a friend who was struggling with letting go of something that was financially very beneficial yet no longer seemed to be serving him. He explained that the reason he needed to continue was to sustain his business partner who had been very kind and supportive. I sensed an ambivalence and some mixed feelings so explored with him why he needed to take responsibility for his partner. It was kind however perhaps it was getting in the way of his own growth. I asked how it would feel to let go and suddenly he was in touch with the underlying fear that was driving the decision. His kindness was a way to avoid facing his fear. I offered to coach him through this possible transition hastening to add that I would not charge and we could arrange some trade for it. My offer was accepted and I walked home with a strange sense that there was a piece missing from the puzzle. It wasn’t until I went for a bike ride in the afternoon that I noticed a voice asking me why I had been so quick to offer to coach without payment? Of course at first I tried to convince myself that it was about being kind and supportive and was nothing to do with money. However once I went beyond that I realized that fear was actually behind it. Fear I would be turned down (coming back to my own rejection stuff.) I still felt a little uncertain so I had a soul dialogue then drew a rune. I got Partnership – “in business matters you are out on notice not to collapse yourself into that union. For true partnership is only achieved by separate and whole beings who retain their separateness even as they unite.” It seemed to confirm my insight and the adage that we teach that which most want to learn.


Protected: Dreams and Resistance

November 23, 2008

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Spiritual Coaching

November 9, 2008

panorama-grand-canyon1

Some times I see my life unfolding like a jigsaw puzzle. It starts off with the pieces all higgledy-piggledy so I have no idea what kind of picture is trying to be formed. Then pieces of the puzzle start to be revealed. None of them may make any sense on their own. Often there are pieces missing and I have to be patient waiting for them to appear. Sometimes there seems to be pictures from another puzzle altogether and I can see no connection between them. But if I persevere, remain curious and trust that I will eventually make sense out of what often appears as chaotic, confused and disconnected, then one day something magical happens. There is a moment where without any effort on my part the whole glorious picture, like the panorama of the Grand Canyon as you reach the rim, opens to my view. Spiritual Coaching helps you to find your unique picture. It embraces both life coaching and spiritual guidance. It is particularly helpful for those who are starting to discern that life is more than a series of events that we totally control or alternatively of which we are victims. Life is a journey that reflects both our inner landscape and its materialization in the outer world. Once we accept that what happens in our life has meaning then any objective or goal has to be assessed from both an inner and outer perspective. Spiritual coaching is for those who want to investigate the synthesis of the inner and outer landscapes. It starts with an assessment of both and then explores how our experience looks when we detach from it and attempts to assess why we are encountering this particular series of events at a deeper level. We begin to detach from the drama or story of our lives and look deeper at the underlying journey that is attempting to unfold. Once we have some clarity from an inner perspective then we can work towards achieving objectives and goals that are consistent with our deeper needs.


Divine Inspiration or Just Plain Ego Aspiration?

November 8, 2008

Of course this issue is no problem for atheists or agnostics however as we start to explore life from a spiritual or deeper perspective we can start to encounter moments where we are convinced we have been granted a divine idea or revelation. It often arises from quiet time, meditation or contemplation which adds to its validity. I have learned from bitter experience that not all such moments are inspired. The wonderful Unity minister Marvin Anderson once said “Be careful you are not praying to your own unconscious – there’s a lot of dangerous garbage in there.” Perhaps it explains why perhaps George Bush appears to interpret what Dick Cheney wants to do as the voice of God. The challenge of all spiritual activity is that it can actually become a place where our own unconscious creates an environment for our ego to soar.  My ex-wife referred to it as my Messianic period. I thought I was being given not only my answers but everyone else’s too.
Another danger is that we actually receive a really important insight and then our ego takes it and magnifies it into the personality realm where it becomes dangerous. An example of this is someone who goes on a personal vision quest and emerges with a clear sense that healing happens on three levels – the body, the mind and the soul. This of course is not necessarily a unique revelation but indeed a valuable one. However the consequences could be disastrous if you started to use it as an evaluative tool to discriminate who was doing “real” healing work. As Hafiz wrote “Any thought that you are better or less than an another man quickly breaks the wineglass.”
So how do we avoid this trap? I measure any idea against three determinants:
1) Is it loving?
2) Will it hurt, damage or diminish anyone else?
3) Would I appreciate being treated or considered in this way?
It is also helpful to assess the energy that accompanies any such revelation. If it feels excited, a little frenetic, and eager to express itself, take another look. It may be the ego wanting to get in on the act.


The Inner Critic Versus Intuition

November 7, 2008

Recently a friend asked if I had written a perspective on the inner critic and intuition. I replied that I hadn’t but it could make an interesting blog. I put it out of my mind but in that amazing way that the universe encourages us I was almost immediately confronted with a parallel question in a client session.
We begin the session with a body/mind/feelings scan and during the debrief he described two issues that emerged. One concerned whether he should call his uncle who was sick and waiting some test results. At first he felt this was just his ever-nagging critic as he has realized that “should” is not a word to which he should give too much power. However when we explored how he was feeling about his uncle he noticed some ambivalence. He confessed that he was challenged by how to be around people who were sick and was this avoidance? This led us into a conversation about whether on occasions the voice of the critic can actually contain a gift from our deeper selves.
I smiled as my friend’s inquiry popped into my mind. “How do we discern whether this is just the critic or in fact there is an intuitive insight trying to get our attention?” My client’s confusion came from trying to resolve whether he was avoiding having to face his own discomfort or was it in fact important to give his uncle some space and privacy. We talked about ways we can access our deeper sense of knowing, that I describe as the intuitive tool kit, and resolve the impasse. In this situation we could use silence and contemplation to access the “still small voice” or perhaps use body sense to assess the body’s reaction to the two choices. Another possibility would be to consult an oracle like the runes. He was enthusiastic about this so we did a reading.
Based on the Runic alphabet, used by early Norse peoples including the Vikings, the runes have no clear origin as an oracle although the word “rune” derives from the Gothic word “runa,” meaning “mystery.” Their popularity today stems significantly from the work done by Ralph Blum, who dedicated himself to the re-introduction of this “sacred oracle.” The most common form of runes is symbols painted or inscribed on stones. I suggested my client sit quietly and form the intention of seeking guidance on his question and pull one stone from the bag. He pulled Sowelu or Wholeness. I read the interpretation to him and his dilemma resolved. The words “For by our own power we do nothing even in loving, it is love that loves through us.” resonated with him and gave him his answer.  This is the key in working with an oracle it is the passage that creates that sense of knowing that is the one that matters.
Recently I felt that I was being guided to expand beyond my Decision-Clarity work into something I am calling Spiritual Coaching, which combined Spiritual Guidance with Life Coaching. I felt comfortable with this move that had evolved through a long inner process however it was not long before my critic emerged. “What do you think you are doing calling yourself a spiritual coach?” I drew a rune to help quiet the voice. I pulled Raido and read the words “Journey – the ultimate union that comes at the end of the journey” How amazing, the union of spiritual guidance and life coaching, just the affirmation I needed.


Body Sense and Decision-making Part 2

November 2, 2008

Muscle testing is another powerful way of using your body to assess what is right for you. This is a way of using the body’s reaction to verify its own inner guidance. Based on the concept of internal energy fundamental to traditional Chinese medicine, muscle testing is a non-invasive way of evaluating the body’s imbalances and assessing its needs. At one of my presentations, an attendee named Sarah related her experience. She wanted to purchase some vitamin supplements at a health store and had identified two possibilities but did not know which to select. She asked the assistant which one would be best and was told to buy the one that her body needed. Sarah expressed bewilderment and was asked if she wanted to try muscle testing. The assistant had Sarah hold out her arm away from her body. She then asked Sarah a series of questions requiring either yes or no answers. Sarah found that when the answer was no her arm felt weak and offered no resistance when pressure was applied. When the answer was yes her arm felt stronger. Finally Sarah held one of the supplements over her heart and was asked if it was the right one. Her arm gave way immediately under pressure; however, when the other supplement was held in the same way her arm stayed rigid. This demonstration convinced Sarah that in her core wisdom, she was being guided to what was best for her at that time. So test your body’s intelligence with a friend. Or if you prefer try it yourself. There is fun self test at www.holistichealthtools.com/muscle.html It may be a decision-making tool that works for you.


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