Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How to Expand your Sphere of Availability



In my last article I outlined the concept of the Law of the Sphere of Availability, which came as quite a shock to a number of readers.  Some Law of Attraction gurus view it as a kind of heresy.  If we have the power of the Universe behind us, then how can there be any limits on what we can achieve?  And if there are no limits, then surely the Sphere of Availability is infinite!  If you really want something, then it is available to you right now as long as you use the Law of Attraction properly.

Those who read my article carefully will know that I did state quite clearly that there are no limits on what the Universe can bring us, and that the reason we do not achieve all that we wish to achieve is because of limits we create ourselves.  But just because we have created those limits ourselves, it does not make them any the less real or penetrable.  I am a firm believer in the infinite power of the Universe, and am a great optimist, but I also know that I, for one, cannot simply suddenly decide I want my bank account to expand by a factor of a million, affirm and visualize properly for it, and then expect that to happen overnight.  As has been said many times (and accredited to many different people) "the difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer!"  So be ready to accomplish difficult challenges but don't immediately expect the impossible!

So, is there anything we can do to expand our Sphere of Availability, and expand it rapidly and substantially?

As I have already said in the earlier article, begin expanding your Sphere of Availability by taking full advantage of it, and manifesting the things you desire from within it rather than initially trying for things well outside it.  You could imagine the Sphere as something a bit like the horizon.  If you simply stay where you are, it does not move, but it expands as you move towards it.  Don't sit there saying there is no point in trying to move forward because you can see the limit ahead of you and what you want is beyond that limit.  Start moving towards your goal and watch the Sphere of Availability move and embrace that goal.

Do not underestimate the power of doing this.  Maybe start in a small way until you get used to it.  Even a few steps forward moves the horizon a few steps further forward.  After just those few steps you are unlikely to notice the effect, but believe me it is there!  Get into the habit of congratulating yourself for your small successes, and thanking the Universe for granting them to you.  This will encourage you and you will find you can make larger steps.  And as you make those larger steps the expansion of your Sphere of Availability becomes more and more obvious.

What else can you do?



Going back to the horizon metaphor, if you really want to see it expand more quickly, then ride a bicycle rather than walk, ride a car rather than cycle, fly an airplane rather than drive.  In other words, use the right tools.  If you don't yet have an airplane, use a car, and if you cannot afford a car get a bicycle.  This, too, is using the Law of the Sphere of Availability - use what is available to you now rather than sitting down in the middle of the road crying because you don't have something better and faster.  If you keep your eyes open you will see many tools available to you.  Some are very effective but maybe cost more than you can afford right now.  Some are completely free, but are more like bicycles than airplanes!  Use what you can now, but remain alert and "upgrade" your tools once you are in a position to do so.  Such tools include the use of a personal coach, webinars, courses, blog articles etc.

As well as moving towards your goal and seeing the Sphere expand, start trying to find about about your self-created limits.  What are they?  Why are they there?  How can you remove them?

Some of those limiting beliefs were created in you when you were a small child.  Some you picked up later in life when you fell at a hurdle and came to belief that it is impossible ever to jump over a hurdle.  They are reinforced by you and also often by the people surrounding you.  Initially just try to become aware of what they are and then try to find what is continuing to feed them and keep them strong.

Most of these "Abundance Blocks" are hidden deep inside you, so it can often be very difficult even to find them, let alone to get rid of them.  There is a free masterclass on finding and ridding yourself of abundance blocks which you can study online at a date and time convenient to you.  This is called "Unblock Your Abundance", and it is run by the world-renowned expert on removing Abundance Blocks, Christie Marie Sheldon.   Regard taking that masterclass as riding a bicycle rather than walking.  You can find that masterclass here:


When you have completed the class you will find there are options for you to upgrade your bicycle to a car or a plane if you are ready and willing to do so.  Or just keep cycling for free - it is certainly a lot better than walking or, even worse, standing still and just moaning that the horizon hasn't moved!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Sphere of Availability



Have you ever tried to use the Law of Attraction and found it simply didn't work for you?  Have you ever tried visualizing really hard for what you want, used good, positive affirmations for it, and still found it never materialized?

There can be many different reasons for not being able to materialize a desire.  The problem is not with the Law of Attraction, which works, but with the way in which you are applying it.

I have covered some of those reasons in other blog articles, but here I am going to cover a Universal Law many Law of Attraction coaches do not mention at all, gloss over, or even downright deny it exists - the Law of the Sphere of Availability.

We are taught not to set limits to our desires, that the Universe has no limits and neither should we.  We are told that the only limits on what we can achieve are the limits we set ourselves.

This is all very true.  There ARE no limits to what the Universe can bring to us.  Universal power is unlimited power.  The limits appear only when that unlimited power tries to express itself through a limited being.

I do not disagree with any of this.  In fact, I teach this myself.  But it is still important to understand and apply the Law of the Sphere of Availability, which seems to contradict everything I have just said above.

First, what is the Law of the Sphere of Availability?  It is a Universal Law that defines what is readily available to you and what is not.

If the Universe is unlimited, how come there is a Universal Law that creates limits on what you can achieve?

One way of looking at this is as the exception that proves the rule.  The Universe has no limits, but we do.  Self-created limits.  Limits we could do something to remove or at least stretch further, but nevertheless real limits that we have to recognize exist.  As long as a limit is there, it is pointless trying to ignore it.

Let me give you an example.  Suppose you want a 5 bedroom house, but at the moment are living with your parents and have no capital or income.  Is the 5 bedroom house within your Sphere of Availability?  If you are like most people, I would say no, it is not within your Sphere of Availability.  It may be that you are so gifted in your use of the Law of Attraction that it IS within your Sphere of Availability, but this would be extremely unusual.  It would make sense in this case to go for something more realistic.

At this point there will probably be Law of Attraction coaches and practitioners screaming at me, telling me not to add to the problem by making people believe there are limits.  Well, there ARE limits!  As I have said, there are ways of removing some limits completely and expanding the Sphere of Availability for others.  But until that is done, those limits are there and we have to respect this.

Work within your own Sphere of Availability.  Have big dreams, and visualize and affirm for those big dreams.  But also work on dreams that are within your current Sphere of Availability.  These will be much easier to achieve, and those early successes will encourage you.  They will also expand your Sphere of Availability, so you can now begin manifesting bigger dreams.  This expansion of your Sphere of Availability happens in two ways. 

Firstly, having acquired or achieved something, this has hopefully brought you closer to your big dream.  For example, the person who was living with his parents and with no income uses the Law of Attraction to get a job.  He now has income, and so he starts to visualize for his own apartment.  When he gets that, then his dream of a 5 bedroom house is very much closer and may now even be within his Sphere of Availability.

Secondly, the small successes make you realize that the Law of Attraction really does work.  This now makes it easier for you to use it for bigger dreams than you could have used it for earlier.  Perhaps not your really big dream yet, but certainly bigger dreams.

Put both of these together and you will find you can expand your Sphere of Availability quicker than you might have thought possible.

Ultimately there ARE no limits.  You ARE worth far more than you give yourself credit for.  You CAN achieve your biggest dreams.  But use your knowledge of the Sphere of Availability properly so that you really CAN get there rather than trying to manifest only "unrealistic" goals and then complaining that the Law of Attraction doesn't work!  As the old adage goes "learn to walk before you run" - but notice it DOESN'T say "you can only walk, so don't ever bother trying to run"!


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Why Have an Accountability Partner?



I have previously written about accountability partners, but as that was over three years ago, and as this is such a key concept in any personal development strategy I make no apology for doing so again.

If you have a full-time job let me ask you something.  Why do you bother going to work each and every work day?  Why don't you just stay at home on days you don't feel like going to work?  I hope your answer was that you are morally bound to do so, that if someone is paying you to do something then it is a moral imperative to do it!  But there is also probably another answer - you have to keep going because you are accountable to your boss.  If you just decide you won't turn up because the weather is nice and you want to sunbathe in your garden, then probably your boss will question you about this (at the very least!).

If you run your own business then maybe you feel there is nobody to whom you are accountable?  This is not really the case, though, is it!  Your accountant works for you rather than vice versa, but I imagine when you meet with your accountant and discuss what has happened over the year you feel accountable.  You are also accountable to your suppliers.  If you just decide not to turn up and your business goes downhill, you still have to pay your bills, so you are certainly accountable to them.  It is true, though, that this kind of accountability is not quite the same.  You probably don't get words of encouragement for doing the right thing or suggestions that you may be going in the wrong directions - although if you have a good accountant then perhaps you do get this.

If you are studying, then you are accountable to your teachers or lecturers.  They expect you to arrive in time for your lessons and to be fully prepared to learn.  They expect you to do work in between the lessons, and make you accountable for this, perhaps by handing in an essay.  If you have "off" days when you really don't feel like going in, you probably still go anyway - because you are accountable.  Sometimes you may feel you simply aren't making progress and that you might as well give up - but even then you still put in the effort because you are accountable, and the feeling that what you are trying to do is impossible passes.

The truth is, if we have someone to whom we are accountable this almost certainly makes us do what needs to be done.  It makes the employed person get up early every day no matter whether he or she feels like doing so.  Perhaps most days this is simply a habit you don't think twice about, but on those days when you don't want to get on with it then this accountability makes sure you do!

Hopefully you now recognise just how important accountability is.  That it keeps you going, keeps you on target, makes you achieve what you need to achieve even at those times when you really don't feel you can.

Now let me ask you.  Who is your accountability partner for the goals you wish to achieve?  Do you have one?  If not, why not?

Some people at this point tell me they don't have a partner because they don't need one.  Usually they are deceiving themselves.  We all have days when it just seems too much of a challenge.  We have days when we find we are going backwards rather than forwards.  Those are the days we really need an accountability partner to keep us going.

Others tell me that although they would like to have an accountability partner they cannot find the right one.  Certainly it is true that it shouldn't just be anyone.  It has to be someone who will be positive, and certainly not the kind of person who says "I told you so!" when you pull up at the first hurdle.  You should be surrounding yourself with people who are positive and will support you in going for your dreams.  You need those people around you anyway, not just to have accountability partners, but this is certainly the first place you should look.  But if you haven't yet made much headway in creating that "mastermind group" of like-minded people, there are certainly other ways of finding an accountability partner.  For example, go to a forum that is related in some way to whatever goals you have set yourself and ask someone to do an "accountability exchange".  They will be your accountability partner for your dreams in exchange for you doing the same for theirs.  You should find this a very positive experience.  Many people who do this find they become inspired by the goals of their accountability partner and the way their partner works through the barriers stopping him or her from reaching them.

Give it a go!  Get yourself an accountability partner and see what a difference that makes to your ability to make your dreams become your reality!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Take Action



How easy is it to achieve your goals?

If you believe what some people say, it is very easy.  All you have to do is to decide what you want to achieve, use daily "affirmations", perhaps put it on a "vision board", and it is a done deal.  Right?

Wrong!

If you have read many of my blogs you may be excused for thinking I am one of those people trying to tell you that is all you need do.  But I am not.  Deciding on your goals first and making sure they are your "real" goals is, of course, absolutely essential.  Once you have set your goals, you should certainly use affirmations, and a vision board (or ideally a "Mind Movie").  But that is NOT all there is to it.  And that is where so many people who try to use the Law of Attraction fail.  They miss out the final step.

And what IS that final step?  It is to take action!

This is, of course, absolutely key!

You may at this point think I am crazy!  Of course you know you need to take action!  Yes, you know it, but do you DO it!

Take a look at what has happened to you in the last few years.  Are there any goals you set yourself which you did not achieve.  Be really honest here.  If so, and again be really honest, why did you not achieve them?  Was it because they were simply not achievable, or was there any element of you not taking the right action?  If you ARE honest, I am sure you will admit that there have been times when you have decided what you wanted to achieve, got yourself "pumped up" to achieve it, but then not taken the first necessary steps to achieve it.  Or you took those first steps, but then didn't continue in the same direction.

Taking action is essential.  But the first actions need not be big steps.  In fact, it is much better if they are not.  Certainly have big dreams.  Have big ultimate goals.  But don't expect suddenly to achieve those goals without having put in any work to reach them.  Instead, make it a lot easier on yourself.  Set yourself initially very small steps towards small goals.  Goals that take you in the right direction towards your ultimate goals.

When you do this you will find things are much easier.  You are not creating so much work for yourself that you freeze like a rabbit in car headlights.  That little goal you have set yourself can be reached easily without too much effort.

When you reach it, two things will happen.  Firstly, you will genuinely have achieved something.  It may not be a lot, but you have still achieved it.  You are closer to your ultimate goal.  Secondly, you will have started creating a habit - the habit of setting goals and achieving them.  And this is perhaps the most important thing you can do.

Up to now your subconscious may have been used to you saying you are going to achieve something but never achieving it.  Each time you set yourself a goal your subconscious shrugs its shoulders and says "not again!"  But with this first small success you are starting to change things.

Keep it up.  Make another small step.  Then another.  And then another.  Keep doing this.  Just small steps.  Nothing too big.  Keep doing this and you will now have the habit of achieving.  Now when you say you are going to achieve something, your subconscious will no longer shrug its shoulders and make disparaging comments.  It will take notice.  And when your subconscious starts to take notice, believe me things will begin to change, eventually quite dramatically.

Promise yourself that from now on when you want to achieve something you will take the necessary action so you really can achieve it - and see what a huge difference this makes!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Soul Garden Meditation



What exactly do you want to achieve in your life?

When I ask this question I typically get one of two reactions.  Either a person immediately tells me a dream they have, or they stumble around mentally and find it difficult to come up with an answer at all.

If you fall into the former category, and immediately know what it is you wish to achieve that is probably a very good start.  I say "probably" as quite often people are absolutely convinced that they know what they want to achieve, but what they REALLY, deep inside, want is something very different.  Maybe it really was the right dream earlier in your life, but we all evolve and our dreams change as we change.  Or sometimes, for many different reasons, our true dream morphs into something else as it passes from our unconscious to our conscious mind.  We think it is one thing, but deep inside it is something else.  So even if you believe you know exactly what you want you should still attempt the following exercise.

If you find it difficult to come up with an answer, it is very important to find out what it is.  Unless you really know what you want to achieve, how do you expect to get there?  How do you know you are moving in the right direction?

Make sure you are alone and that nobody will interrupt you, then try this exercise.  Don't worry if the first few times you try it you don't feel, see, or take in the things I am telling you to be aware of, as each time you practise this you will find it becomes easier to go deeper and get greater benefit.

Lie down and close your eyes.  Breath deeply and slowly.  Focus on your breathing.  Listen to the sound it makes.  Notice that thoughts try to come into your head to take you away from this meditation.  Notice, but don't focus on them.  Don't give them power by trying to stop them or getting irritated about them.  Just notice they are there but ignore them.  Keep focussed on your breathing.  In ... Out ... In ... Out.

Keep doing this until you feel yourself completely relaxed and at peace.

Now allow your focus to go deep inside and then straight down.  Feel yourself at one with Mother Earth.  Notice the warm, comfortable, loving feeling that comes up from the depths of the earth and fills you as you do this.  Allow this feeling to expand through your whole body.  As you do this, feel yourself expanding with it.  Your true inner spirit is now filling your body and going beyond.  It is filling the room you are in.  Allow it to keep expanding.  Now it is filling your entire home (or the building you are in).  Good!  Allow it to keep expanding beyond.  Now it is filling the town you are in.  It is growing even further.  The country.  The world.  Expanding beyond the world, to fill the solar system.  Beyond the solar system to encompass the whole of the Milky Way.  Recognize that now you are one with the Infinite Spirit.

Lie still, just basking in and accepting this new Universal Spirit "you".

Come back to yourself, your inner spirit.  Know that you are "you", but that the Universal Spirit is within you.

This is an exercise I recommend whenever you begin a meditation of any kind.  You can even do this by itself and will reap tremendous benefits if you do it regularly.

You are now ready to begin today's meditation.  Know that you are looking for the goals you have in your life.  Take that knowledge with you and then see yourself opening a gate and entering a garden, the garden of your soul.  See what this garden looks like.  Is it overgrown?  Is it the opposite - almost a desert?  Is it filled with beautiful flowers?  Is it filled with fruit and vegetables?  Remember what you first saw when you entered the garden and be ready to write this down in a notebook after your meditation.

No matter what your soul garden first looked like when you entered it, now see flowers, trees, bushes, fruit and vegetables growing there.  Even if before they were withered and sorry looking, now they are fresh, lively, and beautiful.  As you look at each plant in your garden allow it to speak to you and tell you what it is.  Again, be ready to write this down when you finish your meditation.  Be open to whatever message each plan in your soul garden gives you.  You may feel that you need to water some of the plants.  Do so if this is what you feel.  You may find some that are threatening and are clearly weeds.  If this is what you feel, pull them out.  Do whatever you feel your inner spirit is telling you to do, remaining open to the messages it is receiving.

When you have finished wandering through your soul garden, go back to the gate, open it, and walk back up the path that is taking you back into your daily life.  Focus again on your breathing.  In ... Out ... In ... Out.  Lie there relaxed and observing your breathing.  Slowly, when you feel ready to do so, open your eyes.  Smile.  Then sit up.  Your meditation is over.

Write in your meditation journal all that came to your during this meditation.  If you don't have a meditation journal, see if you have an empty notebook of any kind and make it your meditation notebook.  If not, then just write today's meditation on any blank paper you have to hand.  Later, buy a notebook, ideally one with a pretty cover, one that makes you feel good when you look at it, and that is now your meditation journal for recording what happens, what you feel, what images and ideas come to you each time you meditate.  Why didn't I tell you to do this before I took you through your meditation?  Because your mind will use any excuse it can to stop you meditating to improve yourself, and one way it may do this is by telling you that you cannot meditate yet as you don't have a meditation journal!

Look at what you have written.  Do clear goals appear?  Often, they do.  But also it often takes more than one meditation of this kind to make those goals clear.  Don't give up.  Keep doing this meditation regularly until you have identified your true inner goals.

Once you have those goals, great!  You can now take the right steps to begin achieving them.  But also keep returning and examining those goals, as they will change as you change.  Use this meditation regularly and ensure you stay on track.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Someone Is Holding You Back


If I were to tell you the biggest reason of all that you are not achieving what you want to achieve is because there is someone out there stopping you, who might that person be?

Think about it for a moment.  Is it perhaps your partner?  Maybe it is your boss - especially if what you want to achieve is an increase in your regular income!  Or could it be someone else?  Think about it for a moment.  Then list the people who come to your mind, and who you think may be holding you back.

Unless you are a very unusual person, or have not thought deeply about this, there should be several people on your list.  If there are not, take another moment out and think hard.  Add some names to that list.

The reality is most of us can identify some people out there who are holding us back.  The first step in dealing with this issue is to find out who they are.  Then you should look at the ways in which they are holding you back and what you might do to reduce or even prevent this.

If you have put your partner or spouse on the list, which will be the case for many people, you certainly have a challenge ahead of you, although it may not be as big a challenge as you think.  It is quite normal for your partner or spouse to expect you to be doing something different if you have changed what you want to achieve since you first met them - and as all of us are evolving all the time, you should expect what you want to achieve to have changed.  When you have an intimate relationship it is important to share your deep desires with your partner.  Not just your intimate desires, but also everything that makes you who you are now, which is at least a little different from who you were last month, last year, or ten years ago.  Share it and talk it through.  Be sensitive to the fact that just as it is natural for you to have changed, so it is also for your partner.  In any relationship there must be some give and take.  If there is something you are really passionate about achieving it is vital you share this with your partner and get them on board.  But don't be selfish about it.  Recognize the need for give and take.  And also use the opportunity to find out, if you don't already know, how your partner has evolved and what he or she is now passionate about that perhaps was not the case when you first got together.  It could be the case that you have both evolved so far in completely different directions that you really no longer belong together.  I really hope not.  But it is possible.  Certainly, though, do not assume that to be the case just because you have indeed both evolved in different directions.  What is important is to re-establish proper communication - because if this has happened and neither of you has spotted it then certainly there is a problem with communication and you should both look to creating more opportunities to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with each other.

If you have put friends on the list, and again this will be the case for many people if they are honest about it, the solution for each of those friends is really very similar to the one I have just shared regarding your partner.  The difference is that where you have gone in different directions, then now may be the time for you both to recognize this and go your different ways.  What is very important is that you not keep close to you anyone who keeps being negative about your goals.  They are YOUR goals, not anybody else's, so don't let anybody else draw you away from them.  You may not have to dump such a person completely as a friend, but try not to spend too much time with them if they persist in being negative.  You can choose your friends, so choose them wisely.

If you have put your boss on the list, then you may need to think again.  It is, of course, possible that your boss is negative in the same way as some of those friends you have either dropped as friends or at least are now keeping at a greater distance.  If so, then the solution is similar to the above solution, with the difference that you need to be sensitive to the power relationship.  For as long as you are relying on the income your job gives you it is not too sensible to tell your boss to leave you alone!  But if the reason you have put your boss on your list is because you believe he or she is holding you back from earning more money, then I want you to think about this more carefully.  You are responsible for the income you receive, not your boss.  Ultimately you get paid for the value you create.  If you are not being paid enough, then maybe you are not creating enough value.  If you are creating far more value than you believe you are being paid for, then you are probably working for the wrong people.  Don't just throw it all away, though.  Explore ways to get them to recognize your worth.  But ultimately, look for a good back door so you can leave when you are ready and receive a better income.  Also, recognize that you can (and indeed should) have multiple streams of income.  Your full-time job probably creates by far the biggest stream of income, but it should not be the only stream.  Work on creating those multiple streams of income so that you become less and less reliant on your job.

Now let me tell you who is the person who is most stopping you achieving what you want to achieve.  You!

Yes, that's right!  It is you!

So many people who claim to have a big "dream" simply haven't thought it through properly.  The first thing you must always do is to make sure your dream is what, deep down inside, you really want to achieve.  If it is not, or even worse if it is actually more or less the opposite of your true inner desires, it will be very difficult for you to achieve it.  In the latter case it will, in fact, be almost impossible.  You may think it ridiculous that you could have a dream that is the opposite of what you really want, but actually this is very common.  Our minds are very good at hiding desires they think are not the right thing.

Once you know for certain that you are pursuing the right dreams, the next thing you must do is stop your mind from giving you all the reasons why you cannot achieve it.  Your mind will almost certainly find lots of reasons for this, and they may sound very logical.  But the truth is that you can always be as big as your dreams, no matter how big those dreams may be.  Don't let your mind tell you otherwise.

The whole concept of the way our minds stop us from achieving our dreams is a massive topic.  There are many books and courses devoted to just this one topic.  The first step is to recognize that this is happening.  You won't correct it overnight, but recognizing the problem is the first step on the long journey to solving it.  Once you have done that, use the techniques I have given you here but also be open to reading some of those books and following some of those courses.  There is no quick fix here, but just an ongoing journey which, if you travel in the right direction, will step by step bring you closer and closer to achieving whatever it is you really want to achieve.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Mindfulness



I want you to imagine you are sat on a beautiful white sand beach that is almost deserted, there is a lovely salt water smell in the air, there is the sound of waves gently washing into the shore and behind you there are birds happily singing in the trees.  The sun is shining, so it is quite hot, but there is also a lovely, balmy breeze.  All is well with the world around you.

This is a scene I frequently use in positive meditations.  But I am not setting this scene up for a positive meditation right now.  Rather the opposite.  Because whilst you are sat on this lovely beach you are not sitting on the sand but on a chair in front of a desk.  You cannot really hear the waves and that beautiful birdsong as you are talking on your cellphone (or what we Brits call your mobile).  You are not relaxed at all, because the phonecall is a business call, and on the desk in front of you is paperwork you are dealing with while sat on that beach.

How do you feel about this scene?  Are you happy with it?  Or does it feel horribly wrong?  I hope the latter!  It certainly feels very wrong to me.

I am using this discordant image as a metaphor for what psychologists call "default-mode network".  Put simply, mind-wandering.  Which is something most of us do, without even knowing we are doing it, a large percentage of the time.  There is loveliness and beauty around us but we miss it completely because we are not paying any attention to it, just like that businessman on the beach.  We are in default mode.

Not only do we miss the beauty of what is around us when we are in default mode, but also most of the time our mind has a tendency to wander into dark, dismal, miserable areas that cause us stress and worry when we allow it to go into default mode.  It tells us all the things that are wrong or that could go wrong.  It criticizes decisions we have made.  It tells us we are silly wanting something better.  Default mode causes us a lot of unhappiness even when what is around us should make us very happy.  It focuses on "what if", with an inevitable bias to all the negative "what ifs".

The opposite of default mode is mindfulness.  Being fully engaged with the present moment.  Enjoying what is here now.  Focusing on and dealing properly with what is here now.  The "what is" rather than the "what if".

There is so much around you that you can enjoy if you cultivate mindfulness.  Don't miss what is around you, but rather make sure you take full advantage of it.  Perhaps the song of a blackbird nearby.  A beautiful sunrise or sunset.  A tasty meal.

Mindfulness is not simply about enjoyment, but also about getting things done properly, and even about staying safe.

Take driving a car as an example.  When you drive you should most certainly be mindful.  Your focus should be on the driving, on what is happening on the road, not (for example) on what is going to happen when you get wherever you are going, and certainly not on a conversation someone in the car is trying to have with you or, even worse, someone at the other end of a phone conversation!

You have probably heard it said that women multitask better than men.  Do you agree?  Well, really that is a trick question, because neither men nor women can multitask at all.  Our brains cannot deal with two things at once.  If you give your brain two tasks to perform it will perform them sequentially, not in parallel.  It may appear to multitask and deal with both at the same time, but what it is actually doing is switching between the two tasks sequentially.  Research has shown that when we are switching attention from one task to another there is up to half a second of complete oblivion when we are totally unaware of anything in either task.

Now that you are aware of the problem, let's go back to the driving example.  If you are chatting and driving at the same time your mind is switching between those two tasks, and each time it switches there is that fraction of a second when you are completely unaware of either.  Do you see the danger here?  I hope so!  What can happen in, say, half a second while you are travelling at, perhaps, 60 mph (or 96 kph for my metric friends)?  The answer is, a lot!  You will have travelled 15 yards, or 14 metres in complete oblivion.  Happy about that?  I hope not!  The reality is neither your driving nor your conversation will be anywhere near as good as it should be.  Be mindful!

In this modern technological age there are so many gadgets and "apps" around us that can interfere with mindfulness if we let them.  Alerts, instant messages, beeps on our phones to tell us someone has texted us.  Each of these will rob you of your mindfulness if you let them.  Don't let them!

How can you acquire mindfulness?

There are many techniques you can use, but the very first and easiest is simply to decide you want to be mindful!  Once you have made that decision you will become much more aware of being dragged into default mode.

As with most things, the more you practice this the easier it becomes.  It may not seem that way, as you will also become a lot more aware of the distractions trying to move you from mindfulness back to default mode, but that awareness is a good thing as it will help you develop the skill better.

Meditation is a very good way to improve mindfulness.  Especially, but certainly not exclusively, meditation techniques that focus on mindfulness.

Look for ways to increase your mindfulness.  Learn to stop and smell the roses.  Become more aware of when you are falling into default mode so you can control this.  By doing so you can increase your enjoyment of even the small pleasures of life, and you may even save your own life and/or the lives of others by being more mindful the next time you drive.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A couple of my daily affirmations



What affirmations do you use each day to ensure you reach your goals?

Do you use a list someone else has prepared for you, or have you created your own?

How do you use them?  Do you simply read them out, do you visualize them as you read them, really feeling them internally?  Do you include them as sub text in your own personal Mind Movie?

In asking those questions I am not suggesting that the way you currently do it is wrong, or implying from the way I have worded the question there is a best way to do it.  Some people would say there is, including many coaches.  But that is not where I am coming from.  I simply want you to ask yourself the questions and justify to yourself the way you use (or even don't use) affirmations in your efforts to evolve and improve.

Let me share with you a couple of the affirmations I use daily.  Again, I am not suggesting that you should use the same affirmations, or that you should use them in the way I do.  But perhaps by looking at what I do, and what I know works for me, you will pick up some ideas on ways you might wish to change what you say and what you do.

The exact affirmations I use depend on which aspect of my personal development I am focussing on.  I have some that I use regardless (I call these my "Mind and Motivation" affirmations) but in addition to those I add some that are much more specific to the range of goals I have made my priority.  Many people think that there is only one goal to reach, and often it is linked in some way to their wealth.  I believe this is an important goal, and I do give it more emphasis than the others simply because it can be easier to reach some of those goals if I am wealthier, but it is most certainly not my only goal.  The affirmations I am giving you today are two of my "Mind and Motivation" affirmations which I use every day regardless.

Ok, here is my number one affirmation, one I use every day regardless:

"I create my own life.  I choose the direction in which my life is going and determine how successful I am."

I strongly recommend you have something like this in your list of daily affirmations.  As I have said, I am not suggesting you add this to your list exactly as I have written it, although you are welcome to do so if you find it helpful.  But I do feel you should look through your list and see if you have something like it there.

To me, this is number one not only in terms of its position on the list, but also in terms of its importance.  We must all recognize that we are each individually responsible for what happens in our lives and our own success.  It is easy to blame your employer, the government, your circumstances, your family.  In fact, anyone and anything except yourself.  As long as you place the blame outside you are dooming yourself to failure.  You cannot control what happens outside.  You may be able to influence it to a degree, but you cannot control it.  When you realize that you are responsible for your own success this can turn things around.  Trust me, it really can.  I constantly use this affirmation and know it work.

Here is the second one I use every day:

"I know my goals and know how I am going to reach them."

This is very important too.  When I first started using this affirmation I realized I didn't really know my goals as well as I should.  I was still using goals I set myself decades ago.  In the intervening years I have moved towards those goals, so the personal development techniques I was using have certainly worked for me.  But now I no longer feel strongly about some of those goals and need to set myself new ones.  The first step in doing so was recognizing the gap, and this affirmation gave me that realization.

With both these affirmations there is both something that gives us a realization that something inside needs to change, and also by affirming we are starting that process of change.

In another blog article I will give you some further insight into my own affirmations and how I use them.  Hopefully you have found this helpful and will start putting into practice anything you may have learned from it.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

State Change


In a previous blog I emphasized that we are each in control of our own emotions.  External factors may seem to create negative or positive emotions, but this only happens because we allow it.

So how do you actually switch from a negative to a positive emotion?  What do you need to do to achieve this?

This is not an easy thing to do, especially if it is not something you do all the time (or perhaps have never done), and especially if the negative emotion you are feeling is very strong.  It is not easy, but you CAN do it.

I would suggest the way NOT to do it is to say something like "come on, perk up!", or to have someone say this to you.  You may just as well say "come on, flap your arms and fly!" for all the good that does.

In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) it is common to hear a lot of talk about "state change".  Really, this is just another phrase for saying the same thing - changing your emotions.

If you are in a deep funk, maybe desperately sad about something, or perhaps very angry, before you can replace this negative emotion with a positive one you need to switch out of that mood as quickly as possible.  And "as quickly as possible" can be very quick.  It can be instantaneous!

In a very recent blog article I gave you a technique you could use for this in a specific situation.  Someone has made you very angry.  How can you snap right out of that angry mood?  One method I suggested was to imagine the person who has made you angry is suddenly standing there completely naked.  Depending on the circumstances you may now wish to laugh out loud.  I say "depending on the circumstances" as if the person is standing right there it might not be appropriate for you to laugh suddenly.  In the example I gave, you are driving a car and the person who made you angry is the driver of another car who has cut you up.  In that situation you can, and SHOULD, laugh out loud as you picture them standing there stark naked.  Where the person is standing in front of you, still see him stark naked but only laugh internally.

Try this.  If you have never done something like this before you will be amazed at the result.  You should find your laughter wipes away that negative emotion, giving you time to replace it with a positive emotion of your choice.

This is only one example of a state change technique, but it is a very powerful one.

Once you have wiped away the negative emotion, recognize that what caused it was your reaction to someone or something - not that someone or something itself.  The person has not changed, and nor has the situation, but you are no longer angry (for example) but are inwardly and perhaps outwardly laughing.

The next step is to stop yourself reacting negatively again once the amusement has passed.  To a degree you have already done that - just keep that naked image there.  But there is also an inner conversation you had with yourself that generated the negative emotion in the first place, or at least perpetuated and amplified it.  You may have said something like this to yourself: "How dare he move into my lane like that, so close to me and without even signalling!".  Now that you have created a state change, don't waste this opportunity by engaging in the same negative conversation again.  Yes, the guy who cut you up did a silly thing.  It was not nice.  But don't add to the problems he may have caused you by allowing him to make you miserable.  You already know what he did was wrong and why it was wrong, so there is no need at all for you to have a conversation with yourself about it.  On the other hand, you could certainly continue a conversation resulting from your amusement about him sitting in his car stark naked!

So that is a technique you can use to stop a negative emotion in its tracks.  A very effective technique.  Try to think of others.  It is best to have a selection of such techniques in your "state change armoury".  The one I have just given you works very well when it is a person that is causing the negative emotion.  You can extend it just a little so you can use it in any situation, not just one caused by a person.  For example, you may choose to see everyone around you as naked.  This will still create the state change you need, even though they are all innocent and you have nothing against any of them.  Think of a few more like this and remember to use them next time you are suffering from a negative emotion of any kind.

After you have removed the negative emotion and stopped yourself from calling it back again, the final step is to trigger a positive emotion.

There is much you can do to trigger a positive emotion.  I find one of the best ways is to recall a time in the past when you felt that emotion really strongly.  Visualize it.  See it as though you are sat in a cinema and the scene you remember is now being played on the screen.  In colour.  This is important.  Your mind, which doesn't like anything that changes your state, will probably try to limit you by making the film black and white rather than colour.  If that happens, just remember the scene more vividly and recall it in full technicolour.  Allow the emotion to flow through you.  Then step into the scene.  Experience it again fully with all your senses.

Rather than waiting until you need to use it, you should take some time now (or when you next have a few minutes by yourself) and go through this exercise.  Take some time to find some of the best examples.  Relive them as described above.  Do this several times for each of those incidents over the next few days.  Keep doing it until you can recall each incident and feel the emotions strongly without too much effort.

Once you have two or three (or even more), the final step is to "anchor" them.  This simply means associating each with a physical action.  Many NLP practitioners will teach you to do this with a completely random action.  For example, tap your right hand with the middle finger of your left hand.  Keep repeating the incident in your mind, and each time the really powerful positive emotion flows through you, tap your hand in this way.  If you do this enough times, you should then find that if you tap your hand in this way it automatically brings back that positive emotion.  Keep practising this anchoring until that is the case.

I suggest, though, that you anchor the best example with the right body posture associated with that emotion.  For example, if you are trying to anchor your best example of being happy, then anchor it with a smile.  As above, keep going back to that incident that caused you such happiness, and each time the happiness flows through you anchor it with a smile.

Do this and you will have some very powerful tools to create the right state changes no matter what is happening around you.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Behind the mask



Have you ever looked behind your mask and found the real "you"?

When I ask people this question most ask "what mask?" and say they never wear masks.  They are deluding themselves.  We all wear masks.

We learn from an early age that we need to present a certain image to the world around us.  Maybe that is the image of an obedient boy or girl, who is really not quite as obedient as the mask suggests.  Maybe it is a mask that makes us less noticeable to the school bully and hopefully therefore allows us to avoid being bullied too much.  Or even the mask of a bully who doesn't want others to notice how vulnerable he or she is.

But we do not permanently wear the same mask.  Again, as a child you probably displayed a different mask to your parents than the one you displayed to your brothers and sisters if you had any.  A different mask to your teachers than to your school friends.  A different mask to your group of friends than to those in other groups.

As an adult you still have a whole series of masks.  One you show your boss at work.  Another you show your spouse.  And yet another you show your children.  You take on different personalities with those different masks.  The personality of a mother or father.  The personality of a loving spouse.  The personality of a loyal employee.  There is, in fact, a whole series of things that change in you as you assume each mask.  How an employee, spouse, or parent should behave, what they should say, how they should think, what they should believe.  Some of the beliefs associated with the mask are absolutely the right thing.  Many are not - they are patterns you have learned from others, from what you have read, what you have been told, experiences you have had.

If you want to develop and evolve properly it is important that you first look behind the masks.  You need to find the real "you".  Once you have found that true personality you can then work on improving it and moving it in the direction you wish to go.  And you can then also analyse each of your masks, identifying whether they are needed at all once your personality has evolved, and if they are still needed identifying which aspects should still be there and which should not.

This is not as easy as it sounds.  It is actually a lifetime task.  But a very rewarding task which you will find brings improvements in your life and, hopefully, greater happiness as you progress.

One reason it is not that easy is the point I made right at the beginning of this article - the challenge of even recognizing you are wearing a mask.  Knowing that even when you are sat alone, thinking about your goals, motivating yourself to reach them, and checking they are aligned with the inner purpose of your life, knowing that even then you are wearing a mask which you have to remove in order to move forward properly.

Another reason is that we all wear masks under our masks.  A bit like a matryoshka doll, the Russian nesting doll, except in the case of the matryoshka each doll inside the other normally looks identical, whereas when you peel back your masks you will find the one underneath is a little different.

Take some time each day to meditate, opening up your personal matryoshka one mask or shell at a time.  Get to the inner "you" and find out what that "you" really wants out of life.  Until you do this, you will not be satisfied with what you achieve, as it does not reflect what you really wanted to achieve.

As you progress with this, also take a look at those masks you are removing.  Try to find out why they are there.  Perhaps they are necessary, but perhaps not.  If they are needed, then try to find out how they change your personality, the way you behave, even the way you think and what you believe.  Strip out of the mask everything that is not needed, and everything that you find is a betrayal of the real "you".

What you will almost certainly discover is that the real "you" is very different, much deeper than suggested by the masks, and probably a much nicer person.  The mask of the "Democrat" or the "Republican" for example if you are in the US, "Labour", "Liberal Deomcrat", "Green", "UKIP", "SNP" or "Conservative" (and forgive me if I left out your particular mask here) if you are in the UK.  Wherever in the world you are I am sure you can replace these political masks with ones more appropriate to your situation.  I am not saying do not be a Democrat or Republican.  Just be aware that you do not need to wear the Democrat or Republican mask, that you can vote for one or other party and even strongly believe in the stance of one or other party, but do not allow that party to create a mask for you that is not the real "you".  Putting this back over 150 years ago, there were Confederates and Unionists.  If you have watched the US ABC miniseries "North & South", then you may remember the characters and beliefs of George Hazard and Orry Main.  They each believed strongly in their own cause, one being a Confederate and the other a Unionist.  They each had good reasons for those beliefs, or at least they felt there were good reasons for them.  But "Unionist" or "Confederate" was not really the true George Hazard or Orry Main.  Underneath the masks were decent human beings who loved each other despite their very different political persuasions.  And underneath your mask too there is probably a much better human being than the one you are currently displaying.  Dive beneath all those masks and find that real "you".

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Choosing Your Emotions



Did you know that you choose your emotions?  They are not caused by external events.  They are caused by your own choice, your own decision of which emotion you are now going to experience.

Most people react quite badly to what I have just said, even though it is the absolute truth.  Perhaps you are one of them?  Here is what you might say:

"Do you think I would deliberately choose to be miserable?"
"I am angry because of what just happened, not because I want to be angry!"
"How can I choose to be happy when something like this happens to me?"

The common theme here is that it is events around us that create our moods.  "I am angry because ...".  We externalize our emotion.  We are victims.  We want to be happy, but we cannot because ....

It really doesn't matter what words you put after "because ...".  It doesn't matter, because whatever you put there is NOT the reason for your negative emotion.  YOU are the reason.

It is true that external events can trigger emotional responses.  And in some cases those triggers are very strong.  I am not denying this.  But the final decision about what mood you are going to be in comes from you.  No matter what the trigger, no matter how strong it may be, it cannot force you to experience a particular emotion.  Only you can do that.

Learning to maintain positive emotions no matter what the external circumstances may be is not an easy task.  It is not even necessarily the right thing to do.  Negative emotions have a purpose.  For example, if a loved one has just died you will have a mix of negative emotions, including grief.  It is important to pass through that grief.  But the grief is not caused by the death - it is a choice we make in reaction to the death.  A choice we SHOULD make.  The same thing applies, to a lesser extent, to other negative emotions.  You mustn't bottle up your feelings and try to pretend you are happy when you are not.  Choose to experience those negative emotions at the right strength and for the right time.  Then let them go.  What do I mean by "the right strength"?  I mean they should not be so powerful that they make you do things you should not do and would not choose to do in normal circumstances.  Don't, for example, become Michael Douglas in the film "Falling Down"!  Certainly don't fire a gun in MacDonalds because they have stopped serving the breakfast menu and you want breakfast!

Begin learning to control your emotions just by choosing your emotions in every day circumstances.  Choose to be happy when you would otherwise perhaps have been in "neutral gear", when nothing particularly bad has happened but neither has anything particularly good happened.  Choose not to be angry when a driver cuts you up or does something else that is silly or perhaps rather dangerous.

How do you choose the right emotions?

If something has happened which would normally make you angry, try to see it in a different light.  For example, the driver who cut you up - maybe imagine he is completely naked!  Now think about how silly he looks and laugh.  Or in a neutral situation where you would normally be a bit unhappy for no particular reason, think back to an event that made you happy and imagine yourself there.  Feel that happiness, then bring it back with you.

There are, in fact, many techniques you can use to choose the right emotions.  Some are quite specific.  Look out for training on "state change" - in fact I will probably write a blog article about creating "state change", so keep an eye out for it.

For now, just accept that you are in control, that whatever emotion you are feeling has been chosen by you.  If you don't like that emotion it is within your gift to change it.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Questions



When you want to change your life for the better how do you begin the process?  Do you immediately start trying to fix the problem?  And do you see that problem as something outside, in your environment, or something within you?

Just by asking you those questions I have hopefully started to make you question the ways in which you do this.  I hope so.  Because asking the right questions first is a key step in creating change.

Too often we ask ourselves the wrong questions.  We may or may not get good answers, but those answers will not help move us forward in quite the right direction if the questions we asked were the wrong questions.  They may move us vaguely in the right way, if they were vaguely the right question.  But there will usually be much better answers we could have found if the question were more focussed.

For example, suppose you have decided that you need to earn more money.  So you ask yourself the question "how can I earn more money?"  Perhaps you decide the answer is to ask your boss for a pay rise.  Now don't get me wrong.  In this case the answer is pretty good.  You may or may not get that raise, but if you do, then you have certainly moved forwards in the right direction.  You will get more money.  There is also a chance that you won't get that raise though.  Should the question have been "how do I earn more money" in the first place?  I am not saying this is the wrong question, but only that you should really make sure it IS the right question before you rely completely on the answer it gives you.  Perhaps the question should have been "how do I become wealthier?"  And when you ask that question maybe the answer that comes back is "create a passive income stream".  Or maybe a series of answers come back, one of which is "ask for a raise", another is "create a passive income stream", and perhaps another is another question: "am I in the right job?"

So, when you want to create change, begin by thinking about what changes you should be trying to make, rather than rushing in and trying to make changes before you know for certain those are the changes you should be making.  The key to successfully changing things for the better is to make sure you first ask yourself the right questions.

Think deeply about the questions you should ask yourself.  Think really deeply.  Don't assume the first question that comes to mind is necessarily the right question.  In fact, don't assume there should only be one question.  Usually you will find there is more than one question, and then probably more than one good answer to each of those questions.

When you are considering the right questions to ask, focus on yourself rather than on the environment.  The changes you need to make will come from within.  They may then change things around you, but the process starts within.  You do not have absolute control over your environment, but you CAN take absolute control of yourself.  Ask yourself questions about the changes you can and should make in yourself, and you can then change everything for the better.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Astral Travel



Have you ever arrived somewhere you are sure you have never been before and then found there was something very familiar about that place?  Perhaps you then even remember that you dreamed you visited it before.  That has certainly happened to me.  It is a phenomenon generally known as déjà vu.

Most people will try to explain déjà vu away and say there is nothing "magical" about it.  One explanation commonly given is that there is a glitch in the way memories are stored in the brain.  The immediate memory of something experienced only a few seconds ago, or even a few fractions of a second ago, somehow becomes confused and associated with much older memories.

This may, in fact, be a genuine explanation of déjà vu in many cases.  But it is not always the real explanation.

The reality, I strongly believe, is that when we sleep it is possible for our mind and spirit to disassociate itself from our body and travel to places we may never have visited physically.  This is called "astral travel".

Many people use the term "astral travel" to mean only this kind of experience - travelling in your "dream body" to a physically real place.  I certainly believe this is possible, but to me it is only a small and perhaps even unimportant aspect of astral travel.  To me, astral travel is the same as what is often called "lucid dreaming".  In other words, being aware while I am dreaming that this is a dream, and then taking control of where I go and what happens in that dream.

My last blog article referred to the importance of play.  What if you could play in any way you wished?  In a lucid dream you can!  There are no limitations.  None at all.  You really can do whatever you want!

What if you could, for example, decide to launch yourself into the air, flying over the countryside, and then landing wherever you wished?  Not in a machine of any kind, but simply launching your body into the air without any mechanical aids?  Would that be fun?  It certainly is for me!  Maybe you would find it fun too!  This is something you can easily do in a dream state if you realize you are dreaming and are in control of the dream.

But lucid dreaming is not just about flying to places real and imaginary.  It is, in my view, all about play.  The best form of play.  A chance to experiment without having to worry about the consequences.

The reality is that all of us are playing that way in our dreams anyway.  It is just we are not aware we are playing and therefore cannot get full enjoyment from the play.  Scientists have discovered that all mammals dream, and it seems they use their dreams to test ways of reacting.  If you are a pet owner you have probably observed this.  For example, you may have seen your cat making involuntary movements that are apparently caused by chasing a mouse even though she is not actually awake and running and there is no mouse.  Or your dog chasing a cat.  Scientists have observed and measured these involuntary movements and confirmed what we as pet owners suspected was happening.  Nature has given us all a dream world to allow us to play and to test what strategies may work and what strategies will not.  We can test these strategies in absolute safety.  If the result is that we are almost certainly going to be killed or injured, that happens in the safety of the dream, leaving us alive and healthy to try a different strategy.

You are already playing in your dreams.  So why not take things one stage further and become aware of that play?  Learn to dream lucidly and start enjoying limitless play in the safe environment of your personal dream world.