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Posts Tagged ‘inner voice’

A wonderful comment from Shulamit on yesterday’s post, Vision Quest: Vision Story, took me on a little brainstorming venture.  The conundrum she presented is what to do when you are talking with clients or students about their visions, asking them what they want and getting the response, “I don’t know.”

There are a number of ways (and please feel free to post your own in comments) to respond to “I don’t know” such as:

  • If you did know, what would you know?
  • What don’t you know?
  • What do you know?
  • Is it that you don’t know or something more like you are afraid to know, what’s the point because you believe you can’t have it anyway, etc.
  • What is it to know?
  • How would you know that you know (or what has you sure you don’t know?)

That would be a conversation around knowing and not-knowing that might be fruitful if this person consistently responds with “I don’t know” regardless of the question and you know it’s not about stalemating you.

Where are you going? (Kathy Loh)

Where are you going? (Kathy Loh)

What draws my creative attention is the ways we might assist those who really want to know what they want and are just beginning to allow themselves to explore it.

Here are some ideas (again, please feel free to add yours to comments):

  • Make a list of all the things you know you don’t want and then restate them as what you do want.
  • Gather images from magazines, papers, websites that evoke a feeling of “I’d like to have that” or “I’d like to be that”  in you.
  • Gather quotes and lines from poems and songs that make you feel wonderful.
  • Remember one or more peak experiences vividly and savor it/them. What was it about that time?
  • Set the stage for full possibility by creating a scenario in which all material needs are met and then ask what you want.
  • Clear out what you think you should want: what is it politically, spiritually, socially correct for you to want? And now, what do you want?
  • Clear out what you think you have to do to make others happy: What do your parents, spouse, teachers, children want you to want? And now, what do you want?
  • Create a scenario of your perfect day and if it seems too limited, then create the perfect week. These will show you a lot about what you want.
  • Have an internal tea party with your inner cast of thousands. There are two gatherings I enjoy having: (1)child, adolescent, young adult, adult, higher self and gremlin (2) body, mind, spirit, heart. It’s fascinating to see what each has to say and to find the alchemy of their alignment.
  • Take time in nature to just be and to hear your own voice rather than the buzz of the world.
  • Create and do visualizations that help you step into what you want and unfold your vision.
  • Get out post-it notes, post-it flip charts and lots of colored pens. Write down, draw, make mind-maps and clouds of all that you love and put them on the wall. Let yourself steep in them for awhile and see what comes up as a picture for how they all come together. (see my earlier post:  Dawdling un-rule #4 from June 29, 2009)
  • Imagine you are lying on your death-bed and you are looking back over your life. What do you want to see as the life you lived and the person you were while living it?
  • What is the legacy you want to leave, whether as an individual or as a business – how will the world or a demographic be better because you followed your bliss?
  • Step outside yourself by asking a tree, God/Goddess/Angels, your pet, a flower, etc. to speak for you and see what it/they say.
  • Play with perspectives: choose 6 to 8 different objects in your space, randomly, and let each one somehow be a symbol of what you want. Play with the metaphors that come to mind.
  • Do some deep breathing and drop into your heart. What does your heart know that you want?
  • Ask some body part – I’ve often gotten great results asking, “What does your left big toe know about that?”
  • Get into the body, become a firmly rooted tree…feel the roots going into the ground and the branches stretching and reaching for the sky. What do you know now?
  • Play with the elements: If you were the wind (water, earth, fire) what would you want?
  • If all you get is images that don’t seem to make sense (elephant, sunflower, raft on the ocean) play with it as a message from your intuition. Be patient. It may take time to unfold the message.

This is just the beginning. From here, I would coach a client around why they want it and why they don’t want it. I’d also work with them regarding values and passions to see where they are honored and not. When we work with visions and the question “What do you want?”, we inevitably bump up against a big tangled mass of limiting beliefs, fundamental choices and unmet needs that begs for  unraveling.

Visioning is an iterative process.  Our visions are meant to evolve with us. So whether you write a vision story, vision statement or create a vision board, you will likely want to revisit it on a regular basis (suggesting here an annual vision retreat) so that it keeps pace with who you are becoming.

More on visioning is coming in future posts, including creating a vision story, group visioning and a bit on the ever-popular vision board.

For today, I  leave you with this inquiry:

Imagine you are taking your final breath and you are conscious enough to be able to see your entire life behind you.

What do you want to see (and know) you did; who do you want to see (and know) you were as a person?

What will have you say “I’ve lived a good life and I’m complete?”

Then look at your life today as feedback (without judgment, simply with curiosity) and ask:

How is my life in alignment with my answer to those questions above (and how not?)

Congratulate yourself for your success, for certainly you will find you are in some ways, or many, in alignment.

Then give yourself the gift of taking one small step toward creating, enhancing or rewriting that vision and one small step toward making it happen.

Happy Visioning!

PS If you want help creating, re-tooling or coaxing your vision, hop on over to my website (see sidebar) for contact info.  I’d be happy to talk with you about a short-term vision coaching arrangement.

Copyright(c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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There’s a technique I like to use whenever I feel stuck or stalled. I interview myself and get the energy moving again by creating an internal board of directors meeting.

Who sits on the board?

Well, it depends on who I wish to assemble at the time.

I draw from my internal “cast of thousands.”

Sometimes, it is a gathering of various iterations of child, adolescent, parent voices along with the inner critic.

One of my favorite, though, is a four way conversation between Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Generally, these conversations show me where these aspects are out of alignment and how to bring their energies back into balance.

The other day, I was feeling out of sorts, antsy and I caught myself in a procrastination loop. I knew I had the entire day free to go at those boxes of files again.  I sat with this board in contemplation of the issue, attempting to get some clarity as to which aspect(s) was in resistance and why.  It was quite informative. I’ll share it with you:

The first thing I noticed is that mind was at the “head” of the table. (no pun intended)

After checking in on the energies, I felt into Heart first. Heart appeared with some sort of metal ties wrapped around it. It seemed kind of mopey and said it was tired of Mind running the show.

Mind said something about Heart needing to heal and Heart said it is healed enough and it is Mind that needs to “heal” by dropping all those old patterns of thinking.

Body appeared as a giant banana slug…tired…too tired…Mind tires it out. It wants to follow Heart. Body asks when we are going swimming again.

Spirit came from some distant place to which it had retreated, zipped into the room as dragonfly (a totem for me these days) and landed on the table as Shrek and said “It’s all about fun and adventure.”

Then, I got this image of the three of them (Heart, Body and Spirit) sitting around playing cards all day waiting for Mind to get over itself and get on board with them.

It never fails. When I interview Mind, Mind says it is tired of running the show and would like a little support from the other three. Actually, it likes to show its prowess, but then it gets too high on itself and takes over. So I tried something. I let Mind be held by the other three, as if in a hammock.

I asked: What is it to release to the wisdom of heart, body and spirit?

(c) Kathy J Loh

(c) Kathy J Loh

This question landed on the backdrop of attempting to seriously downsize my possessions and files. When this internal board discusses letting go of all my stuff, Mind goes right back to all the sorting, organizing, what to sell, donate, etc. Why wouldn’t it do that? Mind is a brilliant strategist and calculator.
The other three just sigh and say, “Stop bogging us down!” They tell Mind that it doesn’t have to be done that way. Just get rid of it. It’s stale. C’est passé!

This is where my heart quickened – that familiar cocktail of excitement and fear.

I know I’m at an edge here.

I put heart at the head of the table, not as the boss, but as a way of realigning the weight of the voices. My energetic motor was restarted and I accomplished a good deal of work that day which I’d previously been avoiding.

Here’s what I know. There is a new way for me to be in the world that I am evolving toward. Since it is new, I don’t know what it is. I call it moving into the Great Mystery. I say I am looking to follow The Beauty Way (as the Navajo call it).

I know that it requires a strong internal alliance and alignment of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Each aspect is called forth to its highest strength and my highest purpose is best served by the strength of the team not one or two individual aspects. Each holds a powerful truth. Together, in their alignment, they provide the point of contact between the human me and my soul.

Together, in alignment, Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart resonate with the one-ness from which I feel so separate and help me re-member that unity.

(Tomorrow, a note on what happened the day after I was whirlwind productive at downsizing boxes and files, because this moving into the Great Mystery thing is way bigger than just clearing clutter. I’m only setting the stage with that stuff.)

Meanwhile, try this stuff at home, kids! Many of my clients get great results with this. I’d love to hear what happens for you.

copyright(c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I had quite the Solstice (and birthday) weekend. Rather than the usual adventures with friends and rituals for planting the seeds of my intention, I experienced an emotional roller-coaster ride as I released more residue from my, gosh-I-don’t-even-recognize-myself-in-it-anymore past.

It fascinates me how things converge in a 48 hour period. Solstice is a portal. It’s a time of releasing the old and moving toward the new vision with powerful intentions and discipline in thought, word and action. Saturday morning, I pulled the angel card Signs. It was a reminder to pay special attention that day. Those of you who read my blog know that I write about getting our information from the world around us. Our reality is our feedback and signs are what stand out to us as messages or pieces of a bigger puzzle.

In my meditation, I discovered an energy ball of anger still lingering in my heart from a brief love affair I had after my marriage was over. As I worked with it, I bumped into a piece of my shadow and I brought it home. I was ready to take responsibility for some rather less-than-attractive behaviors. Doing so, released the anger and I felt a space open in my heart. I asked the angels what would replace that anger ball and they said, “That’s the space where love can come in.”

Then, I got a surge of signs:

  • My landlord was clearing out the garage and having to move some of my things to do so. The garage houses boxes of things from my “past life” as a music teacher, as a wife and owner of a home much larger than where I live now.
  • An abandoned bird nest lying on the trail on my walk
  • A Jay mimicking the cry of a hawk
  • That same Jay dive-bombed by a hummingbird
  • A skeleton of a baby deer, fresh in the last 48 hours, reminding me I’d dreamed of a baby mountain lion the night before

I was being informed of clearing away the old, empty nests, trickery, camouflage and death.

Empty Nest 6/20/09

Empty Nest - (Kathy Loh)

  • While floating in the pool, I was entertained by a brilliant red-orange dragonfly darting here and there overhead
  • By way of a complete fluke, I discovered my ex-husband had remarried last December
  • A hawk landed in the tree right outside my window
  • I sighted the first set of baby quail for the season
  • Butterflies of many varieties danced with the warm summer breeze

I was informed of big picture, vision, gliding on the current, nurturing, sentinel, transformation and re-birth.

The discovery of my ex’s marriage stunned me. My body took a hit and my heart was tender. I knew it was a final piece that had to be experienced in order to move forward in my now, much happier and much more peaceful life.  Add to this, Father’s Day reminding me of how much I miss my dad who passed almost 2 years ago. Grief knows no completely predictable timetable  and there are moments when a little more love, a little more loss, a little more hurt or anger needs to be wrung from the heart.

That was all on Saturday.

That night I asked for a closure dream. I got it. I also dreamed of snakes; rattlesnakes, anacondas, water moccasins and two very large non-poisonous snakes. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I have an affinity with snakes, but in this dream, I knew I had to kill the rattlesnakes or they would come back. Snakes are about rebirth.

Sunday morning, Solstice, I pulled my daily angel card and for the 6th time in 9 days, I pulled New Beginnings. “Hey, angels, you don’t need to hit me over the head with it. Or do you…?”

As I continued to work with signs and images, I got clear that Solstice is not always a lovely, easy, day in which we get to lightly and brightly even if powerfully lay the foundation for our future. Sometimes there are energies to be cleared, like grief, anger, and hurt. This can make things a bit, if not very, jangly.

It’s where we hold our focus that makes a powerful difference. I had the choice of going down with the sadness and the misery or holding gratitude for where I am now and focusing on my heart’s desires for the future.  I wanted to hold my focus on the visions I’ve been developing and can see so clearly.

I could feel the saboteur archetype lurking, like a pack of hyenas restless and pacing, licking their chops. They were just waiting for me to get weak enough to fall easy prey to their attack. When those hyenas pounce, it’s a downward slide into the depths of victimhood and hopelessness.

I could hear the dialog in the back of my mind trying to muscle its way into the whole of my experience.  I could see the images from my past trying to get a toehold on my outlook. Yet, when my saboteur tried to convince me of the sad story, my authenticity Geiger counter rejected it as no longer true. It just kept registering as old story; boooor-ing….

Still, it took discipline for me to turn my gaze away from those visuals of someone taking my place in my old life, my old house, my old garden and toward the place of gratitude for the abundance of joy, ease and love I have in my life today.

It took discipline to hold love for my inner child who was upset about not having a happy birthday and pouted, “I didn’t even get chocolate cake.”

It took discipline to hold at bay the constriction of blame and breathe into the lovely expansive energy of love and goodwill I’ve felt for my ex-husband and ex-love in recent weeks.

It took discipline for me to turn down the volume of the internal dialog that binds me to the past and turn up the volume on the dialog with my soul and my creative impulses.

It’s discipline, pure and simple and I’ve come to define discipline as being a disciple to my soul.

How does this story end?

It ends in a wonderful Sunday afternoon shared with a friend hiking my favorite trail, engrossed in meaningful conversation. It ends with dinner and my hosts toasting me, my birthday and solstice.

And wouldn’t you just know it….I got to make a wish and blow out the candles on my chocolate birthday cake!

PS – thank you to all the wonderful friends who sent me birthday greetings and called me. You are the wealth in my life, true earth angels!

(angel cards I use daily: Healing with the Angels by Doreen Virtue)


Copyright(c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Dawdling un-rule #2 is no time, now time.

When we dawdle, we lose track of time, or at least, we stop tracking it momentarily.

(Whether or not time is actually an illusion anyway is another topic, a great one for social dawdling.)

I’ve heard so many creative clients say that one thing they love and fear most about the process of creating art is that they lose themselves in it. They lose track of time and time seems to forget them.

I know this is true for me. If someone calls while I am in the midst of composing, I have a hard time bringing myself out of the music and into the conversation, out of reverie and into, uhm…what day is this? Don’t make me jump from composing to the calendar!

I wonder if this is why we creative types say we want huge expanses of time in which to work; in which to get lost. We dream of a day, a week, a month outside of time. Oh to have the clocks stand still for awhile.

As a child, I naturally dawdled, being so otherwise-attracted to the world around me and the songs within me. I still remember how jarring it was to be called out of my reverie to go somewhere and to “hurry or be late.” Somewhere, I collapsed dawdling and loss of time, even presence, with bad behavior and wasting time.

Dawdling in Glacier National Park

Dawdling in Glacier National Park 2004

What I notice now, is that dawdling expands time. It renders the space between the minutes, the space between the hours longer. Presence creates more time.

It follows then, in my crazy logic, that dawdling is a time saver. (Hey kids, try this one at home!)

Whether we are musing internally, observing outwardly, or living at the intersection of the two, time becomes no-time and our awareness of this moment becomes all of time.

On the clock, an hour is an hour. Within me and my experience of life, an hour is all over the time-map.

If I am willing to surrender to dawdling, surrender to the reverie of musing, I am more able to receive the gifts of the creator (whether you read this Creator or creator)

And here’s my favorite part:

In that deep presence there is no judgment. There is no projection of me on to other people I imagine watching me to make sure that I am behaving. With the suspension of time, comes the suspension of the inner critic.

I am free to sing, to twirl, to follow whatever wants to unfold, to free my body to move more naturally. The other day, this meant walking down the driveway in a switchback pattern and I could not, I just could not do it without opening my arms like airplane wings.

I admit it, I felt a little bit shy and a little bit silly.

I admit it, I felt fantastic!

It was not the straight line home.

It was not the most efficient use of my time and energy, or was it?

(Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the story of the snake that told time)

Copyright(C) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Today, I’m sharing with you a very simple and effective way to become more aware, more conscious, reduce stress and guess what….it doesn’t have to be hard!

Stop

Breathe

Notice

Go ahead and try it right now.

Stop:  whatever you are doing and be still

Breathe: let your belly be soft and your back straight so as to give the airways a chance to expand and breathe in and out easily.

Notice: Allow yourself to be curious, from a childlike state of not-knowing and non-judgment.

What do you notice about how your body feels (including your breathing)?

What do you notice about your thoughts? Are they charged, pressured, focused, scattered, whiney, empowering?

What do you notice about your feelings? Are you being with your feelings? Are you repressing them? Are you wondering what it is to feel?

What do you notice about your spirit? Is it present, absent, patient, impatient?

What do you notice about your environment?

Check in with your senses: what do you hear, see, feel (as in touch), taste, smell and sense (intuitively)?

You don’t need to ask yourself all of these questions and you will come up with some of your own. They are all designed to bring awareness to the present moment, by way of body, mind, spirit and heart.

Remember to remain curious and simply notice without passing judgment.

It takes a minute or two to do this. It is meant to be done many times throughout the day. Call it mini-meditation (which you can expand into longer sittings whenever you want).

It’s easy and it’s meant to be easy. Living consciously is a natural state and we are masters at resisting it.

Curiosity is one of the keys to playing in the mystery.

You might be wondering, “How do I remember to do this practice?”

There are a number of ways to remember to stop, breathe and notice. Here are a few suggestions:

Set your cell phone/ watch alarm or a computer beep to go off at various intervals.

Put sticky notes in prominent places like a mirror, dashboard, computer screen (create a pop-up or wall paper reminder) – Be sure to move them around since notes that are in the same place all the time become a part of the scenery and become invisible to us.

Have an awareness buddy and design an arrangement where you call or tap each other at moments to remind you to do this practice on the spot.

Bonus

Once you have become familiar with this practice, you can add the next step – shift

If you want to change the way you are talking to yourself, holding your body (generally with tension), the pace at which you are moving or even open more to your authentic emotions and raise them to a higher level on a vibrational scale, you have a better chance of shifting them after you notice what they are by default.

I’ll write more about that in a future post.

As I stop and breathe, I notice what a beautiful day it is and that I’d really love to go out for a walk right now. It’s Earth Day after all!  Meet you on the pathway…………

all photos and words copyright(c) April 2009, Kathy Loh, all rights reserved
Forest Path (K Loh)

Mystery Path (K Loh)

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I have a fun story to tell you. It’s about a prior post titled “I Love You.”

My friend “Stella” called (the name is changed to protect, not her, but her husband and you’ll soon know why).  She is one of the many people who have written or told me that they are doing the “I Love You” practice. She enthusiastically related to me how it’s going and then told me what happened for her husband. In case you are wondering, they’ve both given me permission to tell it the story.

Not long ago, Stella’s husband, (call him Max) was speaking/presenting at a conference. He invited his parents to attend, because it was an important event for him, and they did. During his talk, he invited his father to come to the stage and eulogize him. Max had seen someone eulogizing another while they were still alive and thought it was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, Max’s father declined.

Later, Max told Stella he was disappointed. Why would his father not do this?

She asked him, “What did you want to hear from your father?”

Max replied “I’m proud of you son.”

So, Stella offered the “I love you” practice to Max. She told him to just cup his hands around his ears and say “I love you [your name]” and she went on to say that she was experiencing a nice effect from doing it every night before she goes to sleep.

“When are you doing that?” he asked.

She responded, “I do it when you’re not here.”

Stella brilliantly suggested to Max that he use the practice to say “I’m proud of you son.”

A day or two later, Max was journaling about his experience and mentioned to Stella that he thought it was a good technique.

“Have you been doing it?” she asked.

He said he’d slipped into the closet and told himself, “I’m proud of you Max” once in each ear,  (using his own name instead of son).

He wrote in his journal, “It’s brought a big smile to my face. Good technique.”

I laughed with delight when my friend related this story to me. It’s so simple. It’s so easy. All we have to do is tell ourselves what we long to hear. Saying it out loud boosts the power (see my prior posting for the reason why).

Hiding in the closet, saying it in private, that’s what I find so intriguing and I’m no less shy than anyone else. There’s something we find embarrassing about saying kind things to and about ourselves, and we are dying to hear those words. To me, that’s like being thirsty and waiting for someone to offer us a drink rather than just pouring ourselves a glass of water.

Morro Bay (Kathy Loh)

Morro Bay (Kathy Loh)

This is a form of sound healing. You can do it once or you can make it a daily practice. Like meditation or playing an instrument, you will likely see more profound, surprising and sustainable results if you make it a consistent practice. If you miss here and there, don’t fret.  If doing it before you go to sleep doesn’t work, try it when you are taking your daily shower. You may find that there are a number of different things you want to say to yourself. There’s no rule, except to let it be loving. You’ve had plenty of practice with negative self- criticism and derision.

This is meant to be loving and easy.

What I am suggesting is we all come “out of the closet” and let ourselves openly love our selves. We are original beings born from Divine source. What’s not to love? What’s not to forgive? Maybe that’s your practice, “I forgive you [your name here].” I’ve done that one many times with wonderful results.

What do you want to hear? Tell it to yourself today and every day, using your own name, until you embody it. Your family and friends will thank you and the world will likely be a better place for it.

In an upcoming post, I’ll write about I Love You…from a relationship perspective.

Thanks Max and Stella (wink wink). I’m proud of both of you and I love you both like crazy!

PS – A couple of notes about comments:

I try to respond to your comments here on the blog. I love hearing from you, so keep it coming.

Also, some people are seeing garbled characters when they go to comments. I’m not sure why this is happening, but I’m working on it. Thanks for your patience.

all words and images copyright(c) Kathy Loh, April 2009, all rights reserved

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photo by Kathy Loh

Unfurl! (Kathy Loh)

Yesterday, I wrote about the nurturing voice within. I’m the first to admit, it’s not always an easy voice to find. I used to be much more familiar with “who do you think you are” “what do you think you are doing” and “you are so selfish.”

My journey of developing my internal nurturing voice began in a Lucid Living weekend seminar six years ago. In Lucid Living terminology, this voice is called the Nurturing Parent. I remember a particular exercise in which I was exploring my adolescent voice and, I might add, doing quite well with it. Once I gave her voice, she was rockin’ and rollin’ and using plenty of colorful language. (Oh yeah! She had plenty to say and if you are good, I may share it with you some day.)

In the exercise, I was being coached to address my adolescent from the perspective of my Nurturing Parent. I stumbled, mumbled and then stalled. I was stunned. I said, “I can’t find that voice. I don’t know what it sounds like.”

I’m not going to make up that I never heard it. My parents are good and loving people, so I’m sure I did. I just didn’t register it. It’s not what I internalized. Luckily the leaders and assistants in the course were well-equipped to model the Nurturing Parent voice for me. They helped me remember.

Six years later, I am partial to that Nurturing Parent voice. It is the one I most listen to now. I mean, let’s face it…it’s not a difficult choice.  Six years later, I am re-taking the entire Lucid Living series of seminars. I’m not the only one. The course is so powerful that half our class is doing what they call a “victory lap,” attending the series for the second or even third time around.  Deep work always bears revisiting.

I can’t recommend it enough, particularly for those of you who are ready to heal the wounded aspects of yourselves. If being a victim or martyr just doesn’t cut it for you anymore (and if it does…good luck with that!); if you want to become a powerful creator in your life, empower yourself and your relationships, then this work is for you. It is deeply and powerfully grounded in love – L O V E.

Bad news is: the series is booked for this year.

Good news is: you have time to save your hard-earned pennies to invest in yourself for the next opening.

Really good news is: you can still enroll in a 4-part tele-class series called

The Path of Wisdom

It starts April 14th  (that’s coming up!). It will give you an in-depth overview of the entire series.

For more information and to enroll click here: The Path of Wisdom (scroll down to the Teleclass section)

Skeptics Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid a dime to plug this. I really believe in it.

Love yourself and your whole world will become love. (you can quote me)

copyright (c) April 2009, Kathy Loh, all rights reserved

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