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“Every time you break a promise, you are loading your karmic backpack with the pebbles of broken agreements.” Patrick Ryan

Are you trustworthy? Do you keep promises you make to others? What about promises you make to yourself?

First, a story:*

Let’s say you are having a conversation with a friend and you mention that you are going to start running every morning.

Your friend says “Hey! That sounds great. I’d love to run too. Mind if I join you?”

“That will be great,” you respond. “Meet me at the bench by the lake at 7 am.”

“You’re on,” your friend agrees.

The next morning you suit up and head to the lake. You are there five minutes early. You wait for your friend. 7:00 comes and goes. By 7:15, having heard nothing from your friend, you decide to go for your run so you can get on with your day.

Later that day, you run into your friend at the coffee house.You ask them, “What happened?

“Oh, I overslept, but I really want to go. I’ll meet you tomorrow morning. Same place and time?”

“Sure!“ you respond.

The next morning you suit up and head back to the lake, eager to run. You are there before 7:00 and you wait for 15 minutes, but your friend does not show up and there are no texts on your cell. Disappointed and a bit miffed, you go for your run.

Later that day, you call your friend and say “Hey, where were you this morning?”

Your friend responds, “Oh, I forgot. I’m so sorry. I will be there tomorrow for sure.”

Tomorrow comes, you are at the bench by the lake waiting for your friend who is a no-show a.g.a.i.n. You go for your run and as you pass the gas station, you see your friend there filling up his car. All you get is a wave and a smile, like nothing happened.

You run up to them and jogging, in place, you say “You said you would meet me at 7:00 three mornings in a row now and you have been a no-show all three mornings. What is your excuse today?”

Your friend says “Don’t get on my case. I just didn’t feel like it today.”

You can guess how the rest of this story goes.

Is this friend trustworthy? Are you likely to believe him the next time he promises anything to you?

Every time you make an agreement with yourself and then don’t follow through, you are being that kind of friend to yourself. You are completely untrustworthy. You are abandoning yourself.

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What is the one thing (maybe more than one) that you have been saying you want to do that you never seem to get to. The thing that you’ve toyed with but abandoned, not for lack of interest, but for some other reason: circumstances, not sure how to proceed, money, time, etc.

Do you want to write or pursue some creative endeavor?
Do you want to lose weight, get fit, run a marathon?
Do you want to learn a new language or how to play piano?
Do you want to curtail your Facebook addiction?
Do you want to build a new business?

Commit to a plan to accomplish it and be your best, most trustworthy friend, by following through on your commitment.

When you erode your self trust, it has a far-reaching impact. It gives your inner critic free license and opportunities to berate you for being so unreliable and weak. The sting of “failure,” day after day, as the promise is made and broken over and over again erodes your self-esteem, your hope, your sense of worthiness and sends your dreams farther out on the horizon.

Before long, you begin to lose faith in yourself and your passions. Your trickster hisses things in your inner ear that have you believe you were never meant to do these things anyway. It’s all a pack of lies to which you have fallen prey, by your own hand.

To rebuild trust in yourself, if it feels too overwhelming to take on a large project like lose 25 lbs or write a book, chunk it down into bite sized agreements. Make a commitment you know you can and will meet. Because the point is rebuilding trust and confidence in yourself, you want a string of consistent wins.

Start with something easy and simple, like I will not look at Facebook for the next hour or I will not hunt through the kitchen cabinets for snacks for one hour, or between now and dinner.

Then you can re-commit to the next hour, the next small goal.

Another advantage to a bite-sized commitment is if you fail to meet it, it is short term and you can re-commit immediately. A caveat! This is not a free pass to indulgence as in: Commit, indulge, recommit. That would only erode your trust in yourself and send you down the spiral of self-abandonment.

If it is helpful for you, invite someone to be an accountability buddy; someone who wants to do the same and check in with a phone call, text or email (but don’t read other emails) when you begin and end your commitment. A simple text: going for my run now to start and end with: I’ve completed my run. with some celebration emoji.If your accountability buddy lets you off the hook too often, find another one.

Bite sized agreements also allow you to be realistic about your commitments. They give you time to observe what truly works for you and what doesn’t, as well as the ways you talk to yourself and how your emotions impact your discipline. Too often we make huge commitments and then find it difficult to hold to them in the face of changing circumstances. It’s not that it can’t be done and it is more challenging.

Whatever it is you want to create for yourself, make a plan, chunk it down, and make many tiny commitments to rebuild your self-trust. Put on your “running shoes” and meet your self at the “the bench by the lake.” It will also do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence and you will see your dreams moving in closer and closer to shore.

In upcoming posts, I will cover momentum and emotional aspects of commitments to yourself.

Copyright©September 2015, Kathy J Loh all rights reserved

*This is a paraphrase of a story I heard Patrick Ryan tell in one of his Awakened Wisdom workshops. The opening quote is from his book, Awakened Wisdom.

If you feel the services of a coach will help you get and stay on track, I invite you to consider hiring me as your coach.

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A search engine will return many blog posts related to how to do a ceremony at the full moon to let go of that which you no longer want to think about, carry, or have in your life. This is not an instructional post. This is a personal account of the impact and outcome of moon energy coupled with exquisite attention and commitment.

My last post was about the natural rhythm of the seasons vs the calendar. Natural rhythms ebb and flow and we observe cycles in their comings and goings: cycles of day and night, cycles of the seasons, cycles of the moon. We, as humans are such a curious mix of three brain types. We still have the responses of a reptile, albeit it tempered by a cortex with ever evolving consciousness. So, I maintain that there is something comforting for us in harmonizing our lives with natural rhythms rather than with time clocks and the dictates of the cubicle nation.

The moon will be full Tuesday, February 3rd. (You can find a calendar of moon phases here) If you like to align your commitment and energy with natural forces, then it is also a great day to do a release ceremony.

moon copyright(c)2012KJLoh
The premise is simple enough. When the moon is full, it is a good time to let go of things because its waning process will symbolically represent and encourage, the withering of, or gradual disengaging from, that which you release. When the moon is new, not visible in the night sky, it is a powerful time to invoke that which you want to see grow in yourself and your life. As the moon waxes, it mirrors the growth you intended.

The full moon illumines the dark, helps us see in the night. It empowers us to see with great clarity and humility that which we need to offer up, to surrender, in order to be and become more of our true selves.

Not long ago, I created a release ceremony for myself. I did so by writing names and things, I wanted to let go of, on pieces of paper and ceremonially burning them. Then I buried them in the ground next to my apacheta and stuck jay feathers in the mound of fresh dirt at the burial site. This is one example of what you can do for your own release ceremony.

I encourage you to create your own full moon ceremony, because it works.

Is it the moon? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, as Goethe tells us, commitment is key:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

If we don’t have commitment, then I would not expect the moon to do the heavy lifting for us. If we are willing and fully committed, then the moon may be an ally.

First, there is something powerful about inviting the power of nature, planets, moon, earth, whatever works for us, to join forces with is as we make our commitment.

Second, we will likely see the moon every night thereafter and when we do we will be reminded of our commitment.

Third, when we go to the effort of creating a ceremony and we go about it in a sacred manner, we lock it into the body, it takes on meaning.

Finally, as icing on the cake, there is power in others doing the same at the same time (when two or more are gathered) whether with us or in their own full moon ceremony.

One of the things I released in my last ceremony was the ghost of a man who had come and gone in my life in a powerful and disturbing way. Because he lived in another state, our entire relationship, as brief as it was, consisted of phone calls and visits that took place only at my house, on my property, in my town.

Ever since his abrupt departure, I have had trouble shaking the memory of him and his energy, from my space. There were so many reminders: the stain from his maca root tea in my coffee cup, the Tupperware top that no longer fit because he put it in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, the dreams we dreamed woven among the trees on my property and the path I walk with my dog every morning and evening. I could feel him watching me from the living room chair, as he had most mornings, while I did my stretches and Qi Gong. It did get better over time, but I still felt haunted.

I discarded some things that reminded me of him, but I was and am stubborn about the coffee mug. It was a gift a friend gave me that symbolized my emergence after divorce. I didn’t want to allow him to steal that away from me and somehow the mug became a symbol of that.

When we are ready to release something, the intention has more focus and the commitment more power. If we are not really ready yet, it will spring back like something attached to a bungee cord (more about the bungee cord in my post Bye-Bye Now). Call it the saboteur, call it our inner doubter, call it lack of readiness, call it neural wiring, it all has the same effect. But, when we feel our readiness and we have the self-respect, compassion and self-restraint to continue along the path of release, then attending to it with ceremony and adding the power of nature and her cycles may be just the extra kick (dare I say, in the rear) that is needed.

Between the last and this full moon, I began to notice that my first thought, when I saw the coffee mug, was less and less about him and more and more about my friend and her gift of acknowledgment. What really surprises me is that the stubborn stain is suddenly and almost magically disappearing. No elbow grease was involved. I assure you, but plenty of soul and moon grease came into play, for sure. Additionally, the dreams we dreamed sailed off with the winter winds and my living room chair is empty in the mornings.

photo of path copyright(c)20-14KathyJLoh

This morning, I stood on the pathway, in a slit of sunlight between the tree shadows and took in the warmth as I waited for my dog to catch up. The most incredible freedom came over me. I am no stranger to seeing energy in the forest and feeling the waves coming off the trees, but this was different. The ghost was gone. The memories had no substance.

I felt space, lots and lots of space all around me. My body relaxed and I was breathing a little more freely. I wasn’t pulling my skin in to protect myself and make myself small. Instead I was allowing myself to merge with and be touched by the space around me. I only knew my prior constriction and armor by contrast to this new-felt freedom.

The release was complete.

My inner doubter proclaimed “This s()(*& works!”

There is no continuum to be had going forward, no story about how damaged I am or was, rather the opportunity to start here, today, now, with no ghosts hanging around; no baggage to carry into new relationships. I have a blank canvas before me and I can splash the colors of the ghost all over it if I want to. Retracing my steps and bringing them forward again is an option, but I prefer and choose the colors of spaciousness, breath, and freedom.

With the help of ceremony and the moon, it is easier for me to hold this new resonance.

With great gratitude to the teachers before me who have passed down the ways of ceremony and to the moon and forces of nature and all the unseen helpers who assist us in our Earth walk, I now turn to you, dear readers.

What are you ready to release?
What will you create as your own unique ceremony?
How willing are you to be free?

Be it this full moon or the next, I send you my heart-felt wishes for powerful ceremony and blessed release!

Thank you for walking the full moon path with me.

Copyright(c) Feb 2014, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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