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"Pursue the obstacle. It will set you free." Mark Nepo

Do you have an obstacle in your life? Something that seems to block your way no matter which way you turn?

I'm not speaking of an outer obstacle here, although if outer obstacles keep appearing that can be an indicator that something in your life needs to change. But for this post I am referring to inner obstacles.

Maybe a fear that keeps you from taking that next indicated right step. Or stubbornness. I'm sure you are familiar with this: you know a change in thinking would be the best thing, but you stubbornly refuse to make the change...just because. Or maybe it is anxiety. The thought of doing something makes you short of breath.

These are the obstacles to which I am referring.

What Mark Nepo is suggesting with his quote is that instead of trying to get rid of the obstacle, or attempting to block it somehow, we pursue it. He clarifies, in his book titled "The Book of Awakening:" "we are asked not to oppose what blocks us as something mounting its will against our own. For the obstacle will simply give our resistance back to us. We are being asked not to empower or perpetuate the life of the obstacle, but to step aside if we can with openness to the energy of the obstacle—much like the ancient art of Aikido, where instead of blocking a punch, you help the punch move past you."

How could this be done? Nepo suggests that we describe the obstacle as a part of nature. Sort of like the deer in the headlights. And then ask ourselves how is what we want or need colliding with what it wants or needs?

When we go within and get in touch with our inner wisdom, the answers will come. The obstacle isn't really an obstacle. It's a doorway. Open the door.

I now have some openings for coaching sessions that will allow you to open that door. Contact me for rates and scheduling.

I love this!  "Great dreamers possess intimacy with the world."

Do you consider yourself a great dreamer?  Do you feel as if you have intimacy with the world?  What would that feel like, to feel as if we had intimacy with the world?

For me, it is a sense of oneness.  Knowing that we are all connected on deep levels.  Quantum physics says we are connected at the level of particles and atoms; in other words, deep cellular levels.  This is science proving that what the mystics have always said is true:  That we are all parts of one big One.  Like drops of water in the ocean.

If this is true, and I believe it is, it has great ramifications for our behavior, and our sense of intimacy in the world.

If we are all part of one big One, then what I do affects you, and what you do affects me.  And if we are all part of one big One, then there is no more loneliness.

It is both scary and comforting at the same time.  To think that my actions have a much greater affect then just my immediate circle makes me think a bit more about them.  I am much less inclined to do and say harmful things.  And I feel it more when others in the world act out in their anger.  The things that are going on in the world today, the hateful language from some of our world leaders, are distressing not only because they indicate a dis-ease on the part of the people speaking those words.  They are distressing because I can feel them.  And so can the rest of the world.  When we are intimate with the world, we feel what goes on.

What is one to do?  Well, if we are indeed connected, and we feel what goes on, then we can do our part by making sure we express and do and be only love.  No hatred, no intolerance, no judgement.  Yes, even when it concerns "those people."

I can tell you that while it has sometimes been a challenge to do and be love, the rewards are great.  Not only do I feel more peaceful, but I am less inclined to feel the loneliness that comes from thinking I am separate from the rest of the world.  When I acknowledge my connection with you, there is no way I can be lonely.

So dream big, acknowledge your connection with the rest of the world, and go and create wonderful things in your life!

In the comforting sounds of hearing the rain on the roof of my skylights, I contemplate. Contemplation is such a wonderful thing. I don't know about you but this spiritual practice is the one that allows my mind to wander and consider possibilities. Meditation trains the mind and brings focus, while contemplation seems to want to embrace a bigger picture. I read quotes like this one, and ask myself, am I settling? At times in life, the answer has been yes, I was settling. In my fear of the unknown, I settled for what was known, and it was limiting me. I am not settling now and that is a beautiful thing. For me, not settling means being willing to release the limiting known factors of my life. It means being willing to examine and change limiting beliefs, it means setting boundaries and not allowing people to treat me unkindly just because I want them to like or love me. This means stepping into the unknown, which calls for a certain measure of faith. When my spiritual practice consists of a power pack combo of meditation, contemplation and affirmative knowing, I am able to step into the greatest expression of Life! I hope you are doing the same today. Don't settle. Move into the greatest expression of who and what you are!

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Do you believe that expectations are premeditated resentments?  I posted this question on Facebook and you would not believe the responses I received!  Obviously this is a hot topic!

So much so that I've created a workshop around it!  You should attend this workshop:

  • If you believe in the statement
  • If you believe in it but feel as if there may be some built in limitations there
  • If you don't believe in the statement
  • If you want to explore some other ways to think about things than what is "normal" for you.

The timing of this workshop is not an accident.  I purposely scheduled it for just before the holiday season because I know there are many people who tend to have some expectations about the holidays, and I know that sometimes those expectations are not met.

Plus, this workshop has a bonus:  two ways to restore or create some sacredness into your holiday season...we will explore gratitude and rebirth within us during the last portion of this workshop.

Three hours, $25....that's the commitment I am asking of you.  In return, you will get knowledge and skills that will last you a lifetime.  And you won't even have to leave the comfort of your home to attend!  Register and I will email you the link to attend the class via Zoom.  Zoom is very much like Sype, only a bit easier to use.

I hope to see you there!  Thursday, November 16, from 6-9 PM

 

Let's face it:  there is a LOT of shit going on in the world these days.  It's global, regional, local and in your face.  At least it is that way for me.  Every day I log on to find some asinine thing done by some politician, or another instance of racism, misogyny or hatred, or another weather related disaster of epic proportions.  Then my phone begins to chime with text messages and phone calls:  another client having a crisis, a friend diagnosed with a life threatening illness, another with a drug addicted child.  How much more can we take?

Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to that.  I certainly don't.  But I do have some helpful hints to handle it all.

Here are some symptoms which may indicate crisis fatigue:  lack of energy, sadness, anxiety, lack of motivation, anger...lots of it, or a feeling that you just want to hide under the covers until it all goes away.

Hiding under the covers may help for a little while, but it doesn't really work for a long term solution, and it doesn't look like the politicians are going to grow up anytime soon.  The weather related disasters just seem to keep on coming.  I don't know that racism and misogyny will ever go away.

What are we to do?

Here are some things that might help:

  1. Acknowledge the feelings.  Denying them isn't going to help.  Stuffing them doesn't help.  You can acknowledge them without acting on them.
  2. Talk about it with someone who won't try and fix you but will just listen with compassion.  You don't need fixing, but talking helps.  We are only as sick as our secrets, so don't keep this shit secret.
  3. Be of service.  Donate or volunteer.
  4. Stay in the present moment.  Don't project into the future and don't fret about the past.
  5. Take care of yourself. Make sure you eat right, rest plenty, and let yourself cry if that is what wants to happen.
  6. Enjoy the simple things in life, and be grateful for them.  Hug your loved ones, pet your critters, or a neighbor's critters.  Bake cookies.

And finally, remember that we are all in this together.  You are not alone.

 

Today is National Business Women's Day. When I become aware of stuff like this, my mind first goes to "WAIT! Is there also a Business Men's Day? Why not have a Business Person's Day?" Those of you who know me know that I am not a fan of exclusivity. I rarely go to women's only things, and never sponsor them. All my workshops, retreats and events are inclusive. BUT! I am also reminded of the qualities that one must embody in order to be a successful business person whether one is male or female. Discipline, consistency, gratitude, self-starting...and probably most important of all: courage and faith. A business, to be successful, must have certain qualities. Built upon a foundation of courage and faith, and sometimes desperation, a successful business will be grown by a business person who has the discipline to show up every day and do what needs to be done, who has the gratitude for clients and who does not have an attitude of entitlement but instead has a can do attitude. The faith part is the willingness to know that the business will be successful, and the courage part is to follow that faith up with action. If you are a business person, I salute you. If you want to be a business person, I can help. Did you know that I have a coaching program designed to facilitate your successful business? Check it out here: http://karenlinsley.com/?page_id=265. And....if you sign up before the end of September, I will throw in a free business portrait, because a good head shot is essential.  Just think....by the New Year you could be in a position to begin your successful business, fully supported by me and by the essential tools I will give you!

Do you have a desire to own and operate your own business?  Do you want to make a good living at that?  This program will teach you the qualities necessary to not only own your business, but be successful at it.  By the end of this program, you will successfully be able to quit your day job!

Learn the tools that allowed me to start and build a photography business that earned me a six figure living!

I believe in these principle, and because I do, I am offering a special deal:  sign up and pay for this program by September 30 and I will throw in a Business Portrait!  That's right, because part of being an entrepreneur means having a head shot that shouts credibility!  It is a $200 value, and you will get a high resolution copy of the image of your choice from the session, fully edited and retouched, to use in all your promotions.  (session will be done in my in-home studio in Minden, Nevada.  All other aspects of the program can be done via telephone or Zoom)

Contact me today to sign up and then hang on for the ride!

Things I learned from taking a stand up comedy class:

Sometimes I do things simply because I feel an inner call to do them.

There is usually no logical reason for the doing. But if I feel the call, I follow that call, because I've learned that call is an inner, higher part of me, poking at me to move to my next greatest level of expression.

It is my Godself, urging me to be more and better than I already am.

That call has never steered me wrong.

Although sometimes I wonder.

Such was the case when I began to feel that familiar urging to take a local stand up comedy class.

I said to my Self, "really?!?!?!" My lower self responded, "we have no time, we have no extra money, we've never had an interest in comedy, not really. What the hell is up with this poking to take this class?" My higher Self said, "take the class."

All righty then.

I took the class.

Here's what I learned:

Sometimes less is more.
Get to the point....succinctly.
Accuracy and detail is not always necessary to get the point across.
Cut out the dead wood. Meaning all the descriptors. Just do the set up...and the punch line. The audience will fill in the blanks with whatever works for them.

And most importantly....it is now much easier for me to see humor in all of life's events. And.....it is definitely OK for me to lighten up a bit, to not be so intense about everything.

I'm thinking that sometimes...not all the time...but sometimes...what I learned just might apply to life in general.

Thanks, Kat Simmons, for this class. I got to see a mother hen side of you during this class, and you shepherded us like the most talented shepherd on earth. I had a blast, I enjoyed the routines of all my fellow students, and I hope everyone there enjoyed it!

Michael Singer, in his book the Untethered Soul, prefaces the statement in the meme by saying this, "It’s hard to understand how we decided that avoiding our inner issues is an intelligent thing to do,..."

Some of you reading might want to know what spirituality has to do with our inner issues.

I happen to think it has everything to do with it.

I think we are a bit confused.

I'm a minister.  I'll just come right out and say that.  I spent a total of 9 years in school, the last 4 of them in a Masters Degree program, to be able to get that title. But I do not like nor respect nor appreciate organized religion as it is commonly practiced today.  Go figure.  It helps that I'm a minister in a organization that is open at the top, and pretty much says go for it if it makes you happy.  But what it doesn't say is to worship outside things, which is where my problem with organized religion lies.

I don't care if it is crystals or Jesus, or anything else outside of ourselves, if it is outside of ourselves, it is all the same thing, and it is missing the point.  I'll come right out and say it: if it is outside of ourselves, it is still religion, whether you call it the Universe or Wicca or New Age or Christianity.  Nothing wrong with any of it.  But it isn't spiritual.  Spirituality is inside.

Here's another meme:

The Self within.  THAT is where spirituality lies.

And THAT is also where the power lies.

I work with a lot of folks, and when I explain that they need to learn to rely on something within themselves that is their TRUE self, their capitalized Self, they balk.

In the mix of worshipping outside things we have somehow lost the concept of that inner Self, to the point where most people come right out and say, "I'm not even going to go there.  There is nothing inside of me that I would feel comfortable relying on."  Inside is still a dangerous neighborhood for many.

If I could wave my magic wand, religion would be a gateway drug into the inner world of ourselves, where people would feel free to explore the true power in their lives.  There would be a peaceful co-existence between acknowledging that there is Something out there that is powerful (again, it doesn't matter what you call it) but there is also Something inside each and everyone of us that is just as powerful, perhaps even more so, and it is ok to explore that.  And it is ok to explore the concept that the outer power could not exist without the inner.  In this way, perhaps we could come to terms with this separation that exists in life.  The separation that says that power is only outside of ourselves, and the separation that results from that:  someone out there does something that upsets us, and we then attack, rather than going within to discovery what the gift could be in terms of our own personal awakening.

I've been watching the polarity happening in our country, and I've been exploring what a solution could be.  It is very obvious to me that what we have done up to this point is not working.  Somewhere there is a field that we haven't even explored.  It is in that field that the solution lies.  All this attacking and blaming and shaming and bullying is not working.  Let's come up with something new.  First within ourselves, then out in the world.

I am experiencing, for the first time in several years, seasonal burnout.  On the one hand, I am extremely grateful for the business.  On the other hand, this isn't what I thought I would be doing three years after graduation with a Masters Degree.

I'll get to the seasonal burnout in a minute, but first I want to address disappointment.  I'm disappointed.  See.....I spent 4 years getting a Masters Degree. During that time, I focused on my studies, and not my work as a full time professional photographer.  I figured it like this:  the photography industry is going in a direction I don't wish to follow, so this career change is coming about at the right and perfect time.  I will get my Masters, become a coach/retreat facilitator/workshop queen and release with gratitude that other career that made such a good living for me for 30 years.

So I got my Masters Degree....three years ago.  Promptly began marketing myself and my skills as a coach, designing and holding workshops and doing retreats.  Except, I wasn't getting enough business to pay my bills.  Disappointment.  I wrote a book (www.newthought12steps.com) and published it.  Royalties are....well, not what I expected them to be.  More disappointment.

I figured by this point I would be making a living from almost full time work in my new career, and part time work as a professional photographer.  Instead, it is the other way around.  The gratitude is that I am making enough money to pay my bills, the disappointment is that in spite of marketing my little heart out, my new career seems to be stuck in a rut.

But I know a couple of things about disappointment and while I've been known to furnish my ruts, I also knew a few things about getting out of ruts.  I write this to affirm it for myself, and for you, just in case you might be experiencing the same thing.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in our lives by mistake.  All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome, the beautiful, happens because some inner and much greater part of us has called us to make the decisions we make and do the things we do, to get to where that greater inner self wants us to go.  I am not here by mistake and neither are you.

The key is to, as Henry David Thoreau said, advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.  No matter what.  Never lose sight of the dream.  Never stop affirming it.  Never stop taking the action to move towards the direction of your dreams.

That's what I'm doing and that is what I will continue to do.  My dream is to make a full time living helping people achieve their dreams through coaching, workshops and retreats.  Until I can do that, I will continue to earn my keep through professional photography.  Because ironically, the industry seems to be turning around and once again excellence in skill and craftsmanship seems to be making a comeback.  And....I'm doing a retreat..in October.  You should come, it will be awesome.  Here's the info:  http://karenlinsley.com/?p=2508

And in case you are curious, or you need a professionally done business portrait for your business (because having a good head shot means credibility), or a great family portrait, or some wedding photography, check out my photography web site:  www.imageangels.com

Don't ever forget your dream.  If you can dream it, you can do it, and you are worth it.

Oh...and the burnout?  Take a few days off.  I am!

Last night I had a wonderful conversation with a male friend.  We tend to talk about deep stuff sometimes.  In this conversation, he shared with me that when he was a young man, he was told that men prove their manhood on the battlefield and their masculinity in the bedroom.

Sigh.  I think that is so sad.

Fortunately, he said he has realized that the values he had as a result of those kinds of messages could be changed.

And that is the topic of my post today.  We get messages from lots of places growing up.  Parental units, society, religion.  Much of the time, especially when we were younger, we incorporate those messages into our own consciousness.  They become the foundation for our values.  Most of us never even consider that those values may not be our own.  We never investigate whether they hold true for us.

Why should we bother?  Why not just continue on through life holding those same values?  Well, you could.  Unless you've got some lack, or some limitation in your life.  Then, the place to look for ultimate change is not the outside circumstances, but at what your beliefs and values are.  Change those, and the outer circumstances will follow along.

When I'm working with a client and I suggest that the belief may need some changing, they then ask, how do I do that?  I can be as easy as setting an intention to do, or....it can take some conscious and constant reminding.  I have found that awareness is a great beginning, and once the awareness is there, if there is willingness to consider that a belief system needs changing, then all of a sudden new ideas begin to appear.

Change your thinking to change your life.  It is that simple.

Today, my friend knows that his manhood and his masculinity are proven by how he treats others and he has demonstrated much better relationships as a result of his changed beliefs.

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