Monday, September 1, 2014

9/2/14—Hearing The Signs

WARNING: I've had the same song stuck in my head for days now! And I will reveal the song below!

It all started a month ago. In Virginia, your car has to go though two inspections every year. One is a safety test to make sure your brake lights are working and your tires have tread and whatnot. I've failed that one in the past for everything from bad windshield wipers to bad brake pads. Then the other test is the emissions test, which basically ensures we suffocate the human race with CO2 at the slowest rate possible. You can take both tests at the same time, but sometimes, if you fail one or the other, the tests will be offset by a month or so, doubling your joy.

And so it was that last July as my PT Cruiser took its safety exam, I tried to get the two tests in sync and asked the guy to give me both. But I had a check engine light on in my car (anyone who owns a PT Cruiser knows that it comes rolling off the shop floor with the light on) and he said he couldn't inspect it until I got the issue causing the check engine light fixed. But the good news was that I had a month to figure it out.

So anyway, I wait until the last minute to get the car fixed. And, in the spirit of emissions, I take public transportation back and forth to the auto repair shop. And then when I get my car, my mechanic tells me I have to drive at least 45 miles without stopping in order to even take the test. Now, I live in Washington, DC. There's nowhere you can drive for 45 miles at 10am without stopping. It's just not possible. So I try. I get about 20 miles before I hit a backup. But I figure you don't have to be religious about this, so I carry on. By the time I get to the emissions checking station, I've clocked 43 miles. Close enough.

I fail.

So my emissions guy tells me to drive it even more (because, apparently, it takes some driving around on the fixed system before all the sensors in the car catch on.) Now, to set the scene for this, I've had a very busy month at work. I worked the entire weekend before so I could take this day off to do all this crap. In the end, I ended up driving 75 miles over the course of three hours and sat in line at the emissions station twice. So I'm freaking out. If I don't pass now, what am I going to do? I've just paid $300 to have a valve replaced so I can even take this test! So I'm stressed from work, stressed from traffic, stressed from auto repair and stressed from these damned tests.

While I was still out driving, I asked for a sign as to whether or not the car was going to pass and I some lame song, like Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It" comes up on the radio (I can't remember the real song, but that's close enough.) Now, I don't want to be a snob about signs, but I didn't feel like this was a DEFINITIVE sign. It held me over in the moment, but definitive? So I make my way to the testing station, get in line, ask for another sign and, while I'm texting my sister a play-by-play of my day because, god bless her, she has little else to live for*, another song comes on the radio—Bob Marley's "Don't Worry About A Thing" (because every little thing's going to be all right.) Now THAT is is a definitive sign. And every little thing turned out to be all right.

There are plenty of people who will say it's just a coincidence. But I don't believe that for a minute. Both songs came in direct response to a request. And they could have come in other forms...a license plate in front of me or some other natural sign, like an animal crossing the road without getting hit, an overwhelming feeling of peace. Whatever. But they came in the form of songs with a message this time.

There are also those who say you shouldn't ask for frivolous things like this. I disagree again. Why would our spirits and guides and messengers do it over and over again if it was beneath them? They're not our slaves. They're happy to help us when they can. We can't apply earthly judgments and characteristics to non-earthly things. In fact, I think they're less likely to help us with things that would change our trajectory or our mission here—big things—than little things like emissions exams, which don't matter to anyone but me.

So long story short—we have these resources available to us. And today's post is a reminder of that. But we do have to ask. And then we have listen and observe to catch the sign they're sending us. And then, more than anything, we have to trust. There is a gentle hand there to guide us every day and all we have to do is believe.

*Just kidding. My texting did make her day, but for other reasons. Not because I was boring her with my travails. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/29/14—Letting Go, Part 3

Here's a guest blog I've been holding on to for a couple of weeks. Enjoy!

The Sparky & Goddess Evolutionary Love Chronicles 
ON LETTING GO
Part 3
So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you. – Ray Davies

I volunteered to write our blog, on my own this time, as Goddess is in the throes of navigating a particularly crowded, complicated and fast paced stretch of life.  Picture you’re in Times Square, late for an appointment and fun house mirrors start popping up.  Bottom line is, she didn’t hesitate when I volunteered to write this one.  I was grateful too, as I had this nagging sense of some unfinished business between me and our ongoing inquiry into letting go.  Against the good advice of author, Anne Lamott who wrote, “My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try not to go there alone…” I felt like I wanted to scout out this territory solo and report back with my findings.  

At first glance, the inner terrain seemed hospitable.  Thoughts were busy in their usual comings and goings, but nothing standing out around letting go.  I felt clear, alert and calm inside.  The problem, it seemed, was that I really couldn’t come up with anything to let go of!  At that moment, the perspective I was in was uncluttered, at ease and darn near perfect!  I was living the proverbial “good problem” to have, as in there was nothing apparent that I really needed let go of!  And still, there was something under my radar that was softly signaling me, but not showing up on screen.  

What to do next?  I had options.  I could just ignore the bleep and focus on techniques for letting go; or make up a situation and write about it hypothetically, or simply write about what it’s like to have nothing to let go of – just to name a few.  But this topic was inspired by the joint inquiry of our Evolutionary Love Chronicles, and we’d ended our last blog stating that we’d be writing about our own experience with letting go, so I decided to go deeper and walk the talk for this one.

My next step was to set aside some formal meditation time while holding the inquiry of, what can I let go of?  I say “holding” the inquiry, because that’s how I learned to approach a question like this.  Not as a problem calling for a solution – which just keeps me stuck in my head skimming through information and past experiences but as an invitation to be open, curious and available to whatever may arise.  Doing so allows me to engage from a more expanded perspective, rather than the narrower perspective of practical actions to take.  That part comes soon enough but for now it’s all about opening and allowing with nothing to figure out.    

With my intentions set, I waded back into routine life and proceeded to find one thing after another that was more urgent, immediate or desirable than the 20 minutes or so that I’d earmarked for this particular meditation.  It’s worth noting here that I have a formal meditation practice which I plan for at least once and often, twice a day.  All of a sudden, it seemed, day-to-day life was showing up for me with a roar, where background and foreground merge and priorities melt into a muck of indistinguishable slush.  And so I trudged on through that slush for days before accepting that I’d been sleepwalking, so to speak, avoiding my regular practice and the question of what can I let go of?  Once that was fully acknowledged and accepted, I was “free” again to return to practice and to this increasingly curious inquiry.

Eventually, I did fulfill my intention to sit with the inquiry and so sat in silence and slowly opened to the stillness inside.  My mind was resistant and busy, and I was patient, compassionate and remained alert.  As awareness grew, the unruly thoughts began to thin out and fade.  I welcomed the familiar atmosphere of stillness and let it bathe through me.  As one rarely experiences except in meditation, prayer, or other moments of divine love, I was enveloped in the essence of being home. “I home.”  No longer a place, or even separate, the I and home arose together as one.  I don’t know how long I sat in this bliss or more accurately simply sat as bliss, before becoming aware of a thought/form that softly stood out.  Effortlessly, the thought/form became both a statement and resonate question: what are you waiting for?  

What are you waiting for?  I held the words like a child might hold some astonishing, mysterious something seen for the very first time.  It was a wondrous, miraculous thing to behold!  I repeated the words in thought many times until a smile was lifted deep inside and spread through me like a clear, warm sunbeam.  How perfect, I thought.  Waiting… I’ve actually been waiting! 

Then it came as, waiting again…  Ego had seized it and now it took on a personal dimension followed by a story.

My awareness of and personal relationship to waiting goes back many years.  At one pivotal point in life, I found that my day-to-day life experience was diminished through a perspective that life, for me, had become a pattern of one rote reaction after another.  It saw it in my work, at home, and in my most important relationships with family and friends.  An unsatisfying life of reacting had emerged through a broader context which I eventually identified as waiting…  Waiting for certain changes to occur before “my” more authentic life could begin.  Waiting for things like more money, more time, more love, and more freedom.  Waiting for other people to change, to “see the light” and be somehow different so as to better fit into “my” world.   I recognized this waiting perspective as a place from which I judged other people, current circumstances and events, myself and my life, and saw all to be insufficient and needing some future improvement, some change...  Perhaps you can relate that this was not a very happy or empowered place to experience life from?

Armed with this new awareness, I felt clear to begin to make the changes that I could, and to let go of those that I could not.  Through various daily practices, I became more alert to the alternatives to waiting and became more present and engaged with life.  The result has been transformative!  Being present, which by its nature transmutes waiting, has become my chosen way of being in the world.  It is a foundation for all of my relationships and the core essential of my relationship with Goddess.  Heck, even my profession is about this stuff – I often help others to recognize their own limiting patterns, get present and take clearer choices… And still, an unintended perspective had formed in me and waiting crept back into my world! 

I won’t go into dissecting all the why’s and how’s I engaged in re-forming this recent perspective of waiting.  Certainly it was not a conscious choice, that is to say, I wasn’t aware of it as it was forming.  I’ve come to see it as a by-product which forms when wanting a particular outcome – like wanting to be in a closer, day-to-day relationship now, and that day-to-day relationship not being immediately available.  This is the current status with Goddess and me, so a seed of waiting was planted.  Add in a few unrelated challenges; like our adult children coming and going this summer, my son unexpectedly taking off a semester and moving back in with me, Goddess’ plans to prep and ready for market her home of 25 years, our plans to re-brand/re-invent our independent career paths together, future travel plans, budgets and projections, and voila… I went into auto-pilot and began coping with the present moment, instead of experiencing it!  

Waiting, for me anyway, is much more than something you do – it’s an attitude and eventually a way of life that no one would knowingly accept.  I can now see how it spread, like a virus, into practically every aspect of my life.  Waiting found its way into my work, personal habits and even my most treasured relationship.
  
If, as the saying goes, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, then holding onto waiting is like a slow drip, numbing you to life, while expecting life to catch up to where you want it to be.  Of course, life won’t “catch up” since we’re not separate from the life that’s ever present, and ever changing.  Seeing this, I can let go of waiting and choose presence instead.  I’m grateful to Goddess and this inquiry, and feeling newly inspired to being more present with life… where waiting, is once more, just a concept waiting for me! 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

8/25/14—Checking The Fence For Holes

The whole section of fence behind those trees is missing and nobody noticed!
After a two-week rest, I finally have something to say. 

Some of you may know that my fence has been undergoing a two-year long rebuilding at the hands of my neighbor. He didn't use pre-fab anything. He built it all one rail at a time. Last year he rebuilt the span between our properties and recently he built the shorter front span...the part with the gate. 

Last weekend he had two guys out to set new posts about three feet in front of the existing front part of the fence. That way, I'd still have the old fence to contain my pooches and he could build independently of worry about them. At one point last week, my neighbor removed a section of the old fence, so essentially, six feet of the old fence was gone, offering a possible escape route for the dogs. In reality, everything was locked up tight. But I thought for sure that the dogs would see the missing section of fence and run into it, checking out the alleyway between the fences for critters, sniffing the new fence and hunting for possible escape routes. But they didn't. 

At no point in the week that this fence opening existed did Kizzie or Mystic even approach the opening. The only reason Magick Moonbeam went back there is because I was so shocked that nobody was checking it out that I picked her up and placed her in the alleyway. In fact, even odder, when my neighbor was working on the fence with the dogs out in the yard, Mystic and Magick would run to their usual peeking holes in the old fence to see what they could see—peeking holes that weren't 6" away from the six foot opening that they were, for some reason, not acknowledging was there! They could have run right up to my neighbor to check it out, but they stayed inside the fence they knew.

I've been thinking about this all week. It's not uncommon when people are held captive that they begin to identify with and trust their captors. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome. Alongside this, some of these kidnapped girls we hear about say there were opportunities for escape and, because of fear or conditioning or whatever, they didn't take the opportunity. So I started thinking...where in my life have fences been torn down and new avenues built yet I, nonetheless, stay within the confines I've always known? What opportunities for "escape" am I letting pass me by because I've resigned myself to a situation?

The more I thought about this, the more self-limitation that was revealed to me. I'll bet you could find at least one—if not many—ways in which this applies to you, too. We get so used to the roadblocks, limitations, obstacles and, let's face it, excuses that bind us, that we don't recognize salvation when it comes.  

At my age I know a lot of people who worry about ageism, so they stay within the confines of their current job, fearing that nobody will hire them at their "advanced age." While some of this may be true, some of it's not. In fact, if you look at statistics, the lowest unemployment rates exist in the 45-54 and Over 55 categories. And the rates in those categories have dropped over the past year. In fact, the 45-54s realized the sharpest drop in unemployment of all the groups in the past year. So someone is hiring the old farts! What you don't want to be is 16 going on 17 or a new college graduate. In fact, a surprising aspect of the Bureau of Labor Statistics findings is that the very people we worry about taking our jobs—those 25-34 years old—seem to have more trouble finding work than anyone else over 25. So this is an example of how the fences we build around our lives aren't really as confining as we think. http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm

Today, the old fence came down in my yard and the dogs went to to explore their new reality. They were unimpressed. They have a few more feet in which to play. But for them, there's still a fence...one with fewer peeking holes. Nothing significant has changed. They're still trapped in mommy's evil little web. But at least they finally explored the possibility of a different outcome.

Where might there be an opening in your life that you haven't noticed? What is unsatisfactory enough that you would look again for an escape route, even though you've decided none exist? And where might you find that the only obstacle to progress in your life in your life is you? Sometimes the routine feels safer than change, even if you hate the routine. But that doesn't mean it's the best choice for us to make. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

8/11/14—Taking a Sabbatical

IMPORTANT BLOG NEWS!!!

I've done way more with this blog than I ever thought I'd do. When I first started, I promised to do it for a year. I've kept it consistently for about four years now (including many months of pre-blog blogging, just on Facebook). For three of those years, I wrote six days a week. This year, I've done three days a week.

The long and short of it is that, for now, I'm burned out. I need a break. And I don't know what this means...whether it means this blog will slowly die or whether it means I just need a break. One thing is for sure, it has really been a fulfilling ride for me, filled with all sorts of personal and professional growth. So I'm hoping that, after a week or so, I'll miss it or have something compelling to say. But after more than 1000 posts, I feel fresh out of things to contemplate for the time being...haha.

Anyway, for now I'm just taking a week off. That week may stretch longer. I've always worried if I didn't do it on a regular schedule that I'd lose my momentum, so I guess we'll test that theory. For those who automatically check in every few days, you might want to join the mailing list at www.tierneysadler.com. That way you won't have to check the site if my postings become more erratic.

It's not often that you do something in your life that is met with only positive feedback. This blog has been that for me. Not once in four years have I heard anything but supportive, kind words. I thank you all for that. It means more than you know.

I don't know where we'll go from here. Maybe I'll just snap right back into the routine after a break. Maybe I won't. But I plan to leave my blog URL up indefinitely at this time, so the posts will always be here. You can pick one at random or put a keyword into the search box and find something to read whenever you like.

Until we meet again!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8/8/14—Exploring Love and Fear

Consider for a moment that there are two dominant things human behavior is made up of—love and fear. And every choice you make is either one, the other or somewhere on the spectrum between the two.  

Why love and fear? Because love embraces and includes and fear pushes away and separates. Fear exists in those place love is lacking. Love is a divine trust that everything is beautiful and perfect as it is. Fear is an absence of trust that everything is beautiful and perfect as it is. 

That person you hate? It's not really hate. It's fear that what you dislike in that person is also within you...fear of what you'll do with that realization...fear that you are not yet who you wish to be...fear that you are not who you represent yourself to be. Love understands that person came into your life to challenge you. They are an opportunity, not a curse. Love is grateful for their teaching.

We all contain the capacity for the full spectrum of dark and light within us. Whenever we see a behavior in a person that we don't like, we say "that is separate from me." But there is nothing in god's universe separate from you. There may be behaviors you don't exhibit or places you don't go, but the capacity is within you. And denying that what you hate in others is not within you fractures you, holds you captive, keeps you separate from god and keeps you from loving and embracing yourself. And the more you deny containing that which you hate, the more loudly you become that which you hate. That is the power of fear. 


If you can't see those dark parts that are mirrored back at you from your "enemy" with true understanding and if you can't look upon people you judge with the genuine grace of "there but for the grace of God go I", then you're not just in denial, you're choosing fear. And when you're choosing fear, you're choosing to distrust that everything is perfect as it is, you're choosing to distrust god's plan, you're choosing not to love, and as a result, you're choosing to live in the darkness within you and not in the light. When you live in the darkness within you, you're just a shade or two or three from the unspeakable atrocities you witness on this earth. 

The Westboro Baptist Church? Just a darker shade of fear than the shade you choose when you hate and separate. The KKK? Just a darker shade of fear. Hitler? Just a darker shade of fear. All, by the way, have some love mixed in and you should be able to see that, too. But all began as all babies do, with pure love. I always make allowances for those with the kind of genetic anomalies that cause mental illness. We all have genetic anomalies, though. Ours just resulted in funky ear lobes or a tendency to heart disease instead of mental illness (there but for the grace of god...) While some aspects of fear are innate and protect us, the fear that leads to hate and separation is learned. And when we turn toward fear instead of love, we run the risk of traversing into ever deeper shades of darkness. 

Beneath most negative emotions and states like hate, depression, anxiety and anger is fear. Behind happiness, joy, trust, acceptance and peace is love. When you fail to embrace the beauty of what "is" in the moment, you are experiencing some level of fear. The traffic jam that makes you feel impatient. The person whose lifestyle you envy. The homeless person you judge. The weather conditions that "ruin" your picnic. Or the obstacle that vexes you. All of that is fear. All of that breeds separation. All of that exhibits a distrust in the universe...in your god. 

So as you walk through your weekend, consider the choices you're making. And when negative emotions well up, trace them back to the fear within and consider what a loving choice would be instead. And if you're reading this on Facebook, consider clicking through to my blog where you'll find more thought-provoking quotes on the topic of love vs. fear. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8/6/14—Eating Boogers and Farting

A couple of weeks ago I posted that one of my best kept secrets was that I liked to do ceremonies. To that, someone quipped that I have fewer and fewer secrets all the time. It seems as if my evil plot may be working. :D

When I'm not being jibed for over-sharing or sharing the obvious, I hear people say I'm brave to post about my fears, anxieties and inadequacies (as well as more positive stuff) online for everyone to see. You wouldn't know that just a few years ago, the thought of doing that was too scary for me. In fact, for most of my life I felt I had to contain my more negative or weaker aspects, lest people would think differently of me or change the way they saw me. I had a lot of fear around that. I guess I wanted to look like I had things all together. But I also feared that if I ever tried to do anything notable, someone would stand up and expose me in some way...mar some image of myself I had tried to create.

Unlike most issues that people would rather keep hidden, when you're overweight most of your life, one of your biggest issues is right there for everyone to see and judge. So appearing otherwise charming and pulled together was also kind of like damage control for me. It protected me from further hurt. Or so I thought.

But the fact is you can't control what others think of you. Whether you're a mass murderer or Mother Theresa, you will always have people who dislike you for one reason or another. Those people will always whisper behind your back. Some will tell hurtful lies about you. Some will tell painful truths. And most will be doing it in their own effort to make it look like they're more pulled together than you.

Putting it all (well, not ALL) out there has actually proved to be very freeing. I don't have to worry about people saying, "well, did you know she sometimes wears her pajamas all day and into the next?" Or "she acts all happy, but I'll bet she has problems with depression." I don't have to worry about anything like that and, in retrospect, I wish I'd never worried in the first place. It has held me back in some ways. But now if someone were to accuse me of, say, losing my temper with telemarketers, I can just point them to a blog where I've already admitted it to the world. :D It's not news. Coming out as flawed and neurotic is very freeing. :)

But there's another reason why I open up about fears around mammograms, inner conflicts around moving on from friendships, anxieties around writing, sad moments from my past, internal fears and all the other stuff I've written about in over 1000 posts. I write about it because it's not stuff we talk about. It's stuff we keep inside because we're ashamed, have nobody to tell, or think we're the only one or whatever.

Remember when you were a kid and the most horrific thing you could be accused of was farting or eating your boogers? I was never able to understand why that was, because doesn't everyone fart? And doesn't every kid sup on a booger or two? So why all the shame around it? Why all the mockery and meanness around it? Even in kindergarten, I understood the unfairness and hypocrisy of it all. We were all booger-eating farters! And yet some kids got branded with the scarlet B or F, while the accusers (who often went home to a large plate of boogers, followed by a bonfire fueled by nothing but farts, btw) came out looking like they had no adverse bodily functions at all!

So this idea of shame and separation and limitation at the hands of things we all have in common has bothered me for a really long time. We all have dark moments and times when we weren't at our best. We all have self doubts and crap we kick ourselves over. We all have bad habits and blind spots. We all have guilty pleasures. And yes, we all fart. And I'll be the first to admit that some of the things I've talked about on this blog have held me back. In fact, this very thing—the secrets we keep, not because we cherish them, but because we have shame or embarrassment around them—has held me back...kept me in the shadows and contributed to fears around being all I can be.

So I say stuff here and, instead of being judged, people thank me because they no longer feel so alone. They no longer feel like a booger-eating farter. And the thing is, I still have private things. And  you'd think I feel more vulnerable because of all this sharing, but I actually feel less vulnerable. By the time something makes it to the blog, I've come to terms with it. The blogging actually helps me work through it. Pushing "publish" is like getting another stamp on my passport to freedom on the matter. 

Opening up your baggage and placing it on display like this isn't for everyone. But we're all carrying stuff around that imprisons us. Maybe we drink too much. Or our marriage isn't as idyllic as it's portrayed. Maybe we've got a kid who's struggling in some way. Have a lot of debt. Are afraid of the changes ahead of us. Or maybe we're a fully grown adult who doesn't even have the first idea of who we are. There's nothing in any of that that can't be understood and felt by people around us.

Maybe they don't drink, but they work too much and see valuable opportunities to bond with their family slipping away in the same way you do. Maybe they feel the same lack of control over their issue. Maybe they understand what it's like to hide away in a toxic behavior because life can be just too damn hard sometimes. I think most people can connect with any of those things in one way or another. But we don't know if we never talk about it. Someone's got to talk about it so people can see that you can talk about it honestly and not be labeled a booger eater.

So today I just want to say that, whatever it is, you're ok. Your issue is understood and shared in some way by more people than you know. And that it's ok to find someone you can trust to confide in so you don't have to carry the secret on your shoulders any longer. It's ok to take that weight off your shoulders and move on.

I suppose there's some value to being more of a woman of mystery. But I'd rather be a woman of truth. Illusion takes a lot of work to maintain and you don't even realize how much until you start letting it drop away. Let's face it, we can't run from ourselves. We know who we are. To hide it from everyone else just keeps people from understanding you, seeing you as you are and loving you regardless. It just makes us feel alone. We're so much more alike than we know. And the fewer and fewer secrets we keep, the thinner the wall is between ourself and the rest of humanity. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

8/4/14—Changing Your Mind


One thing finally changed the way I feel about de-mucking my office. I got the idea from Facebook. 

If you're not aware of the Humans of New York page on Facebook, you might want to check it out. It has over 8 million likes. Every day the guy goes out on the streets of NYC, photographs random people and gets a little piece of their story to post online. This blog is so popular that New Yorkers WANT to bump into this guy and get their picture taken and talk to him. The posts are sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking and pretty much always wise. 

So a week or two ago there was a guy on there who said "change your mind about something that's important every day." This seemed like a cool bit of advice, even though I think I'd prefer to pull the idea of importance out of it. I'm also not sure I could realistically change my mind about something every day, especially if it had to be something different every day. But the advice is brilliant if you change your mind about something once a week or so...haha. (I feel like one of those people I HATE on the recipe sites that say "I really loved this stir fry recipe, but I substituted the tofu for bacon, all the vegetables for lettuce, added tomato and put it on bread. No need for rice!" They never even tried the recipe. They just made a BLT.)

The good thing about his advice, as given, is that it puts the pressure on to make you think of something "important" you could change. Should I change my stance on the death penalty, perhaps? Perhaps not. But I could examine it and make sure it still feels right with who I am. I could walk around for a day calling for murderers to be electrocuted, just to see how that feels. I can ask myself if, even though I don't think the death penalty is good, is there some other way to single out the most heinous criminals? Or, looking at it from another angle, how do I feel about the whole eye-for-an-eye thing? Does my opinion change depending on what happened to whom?

And it doesn't have to be your opinion about something, necessarily. When it comes to de-mucking my office—a room nearly worthy of an episode of Hoarders—it's less about an opinion than it is about how I see the task. I've gone years seeing it as a horrific chore that looms large over my head and drags me down. That hasn't really helped me make any progress in there. Seeing it that way makes it too large and unpleasant. 

But recently it has occurred to me that if I'm ever going to realize my dream of moving and becoming an author and all of that, I'm going to need to clear out that room. You can't show a house with a Hoarders room. And you can't just move and leave all that crap in there. So I started seeing it differently. So now, each weekend, I spend an hour or so in there "moving toward my dream" instead of "mucking out my Hoarders room". I've been pretty consistent with my efforts ever since.

You could translate this advice to a lot of things. You could change the self-talk that happens in your head when you make a mistake, for example. The way you see yourself in the mirror. The things you're willing to put up with in your personal life. You could change the way you think and see everything everything in life...or at least think it through again. After all, if we're constantly changing and growing, then chances are some of the ideas we have about things and some of the hair-trigger responses we've developed over the years should change too. 

Even more than that, though, is that it's a good exercise for keeping your mind open. One of things I like to say is "only a fool thinks they've got it all figured out." Truth is, the more you know about things, the more you realize how much there still is to learn. I think after 27 years in both advertising and as a tarot reader, it's fair to label me an expert in both areas. And knowing what I know, I know I'm not even close to knowing it all. One lifetime is not long enough to know it all. So to me, a closed mind is one of the most unappealing qualities a person can have. It says their ego is so tied to being "right" that they've become blind to what's going on around them. It also says they're missing a whole lot along the way. When opportunity comes up against a closed mind, it dies. 

Of course, we all have that in some places. Like right now my mind is closed to wearing one of those wing suits and jumping off a mountain. But for the most part, an open mind is the sign of an intelligent, vibrant and alive mind to me. And spiritually speaking, an open mind is key. I mean, nobody has THAT figured out for sure and anyone who thinks they do is a fool. 

So what can you re-think today or this week? What one thing can you change your mind on, even if you change it right back? Just the act of changing your mind about something puts you in different shoes and shows you the world from a different angle. We feel safe and comfy in the cave of opinions and stances we build for ourselves, but safe and comfy don't lead us to growth. What are you willing to re-think today?