I Can’t Adult Today

There is a lot to unpack in that statement. Say it aloud, “I can’t adult today.” Lets start with I can’t. That is probably inaccurate. At least in my case, the more accurate statement would be either I choose not to or I would prefer not to.

Then, there is the word adult. What does that mean anyway? A dictionary definition is …having attained full size and strength. While that could be debated based on my height, I’m as tall and strong as I’ll probably ever be again. An alternate definition is mature. Wow! Mature can mean fully developed physically or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult. This is another fuzzy definition. When I consider the original phrase I can’t adult today it is the second definition that most likely applies. I interpret this to mean that I don’t want to exhibit the amount of wisdom, intellect, and emotional control I would expect from an adult.

The statement then could read…I would prefer not to make decisions, think through problems, face challenges, or regulate my emotions.

Today. The implication is that this is a time-limited problem. I might be ok doing it tomorrow, next week, or next year. This is somewhat hopeful but might be better expressed as….in this moment and under these circumstances.

Put it all together:

I choose not to make decisions, think through problems, face challenges, or regulate my emotions in this moment and under these circumstances.

This has a totally different feel to it, doesn’t it?

Time To Celebrate

I have now transitioned out of a soul-crushing ethical wasteland into a job that is fulfilling and allows me to utilize my professional skills. It is definitely time to celebrate. In less than one week I’ve lost 3 pounds, am sleeping better, and feel more relaxed than I have in 3 years. Pretty awesome results since it has happened in the midst of a pandemic.

Photo of Industrial Plant

I had been trying to embrace the adage of “bloom where you are planted” but my reality is that the muck where I had landed was not life-sustaining. I gave it my best effort for quite a while but sometimes a new garden is necessary. Even so, it was not an easy decision.

Shallow Focus of Sprout

I acknowledge that I am very blessed to have had opportunities that some people do not have in terms of employment but this concept applies to others areas of life as well. Spring seems to be a good time to take stock of my life’s garden and make decisions about what needs to be enriched, what is good just as it is, and what is so toxic that it can’t be salvaged. This includes hobbies, relatioships, spiritual activities, as well as employment. Then, once those changes are made, it is time to celebrate any improvements that have been made.

Bokeh Photography of Lights

Practice Makes Perfect

If you ever took piano lessons as a child I’m sure you heard the words, “practice makes perfect.” While I’m not a fan of the word “perfect”, the general concept that repetition improves performance is valid. There is a caveat, the repetition must be approximating the desired result, not repeating the errors.

Close-Up Photo Of Person Playing Piano

The phrase “neurons that fire together wire together” was first used by the Canadian neuropsychologist Donald Hebb in 1949. The gist is that the more frequently you utilize a specific neural pathway, the stronger it becomes. So, if you play the same piano keys in a sequence over and over again that pattern creates somewhat of a superhighway in your brain.

Aerial Photography of Concrete Bridge

This is great if what you are practicing is something you want to keep in your brain and it serves your greater purpose. Practice makes perfect after all. But what do you think happens if you say to yourself, aloud or silently, that you are stupid, fat, anxious, or worthless? Bingo! That creates a superhighway too.

Black and White Exit Signage on Roadside

Over time, superhighways in the brain become resistant to change and you need to build off ramps. Once the off ramps are created and used frequently, the original negative superhighway crumbles or can be closed. How do you build an off ramp? You can build one by refuting the negative statement and creating a new one.

Examples:

Highway: I am stupid

Off ramp: That wasn’t my best moment but I am a smart person.

Highway: I am fat

Off ramp: I am working with my body to become more lean

Highway: I am anxious

Off ramp: Sometimes I feel nervous just like everybody else and I choose to remain confident in my ability to handle life’s challenges

Highway: I am depressed

Off ramp: My mood has been lower than I would like recently so it is time to take positive action

Highway: I am worthless

Off ramp: I am a wonderful and perfectly created child of God

It is important to use the off ramps at least as often, if not more often than you travel down the negative superhighway.

I usually recommend that you use journaling as you begin the process. There seems to be somethig beneficial about making these statements formally and seeing them in written format. Saying it aloud is also beneficial.

Remember….what you practice will grow stronger. Practice makes perfect. Choose wisely!

I’m Not Joan

One of my favorite growth and development books is The Path, by Laurie Beth Jones. In this book I was introduced to the concept of a peronal mission statement, which is really a written reason for one’s existence. Although there are many examples, the one that stuck with me over the years is Joan of Arc. Her mission statement – Free France! Every decision she made after setting her intention could be weighed against that mission. Clearly, I’m not Joan.

I’ve been using and recommending this book for a long time and have repeated the exercises at different statges of my life. While some components of my personal mission have remained constant, others have changed. Clearly, I’m not Joan.

The author writes that “forgetting your mission leads, inevitably, to getting tangled up in the details–details that can take you completely off your path.” This is where Joan and I are even more dissimilar it would seem. My personal mission isn’t always in the forefront of my consciousness and as a result, I am more easily tossed on the tide of daily living.

My current mission is to recognize, appreciate, and encourage the spark of joy and unique essence in all people I encounter in order to create ripples of compassion and intelligence throughout the world. Seems pretty big! I think I will need reminders to keep on track so I plan to post this on the mirror in my bathroom so I see it first thing in the morning. I’m hopeful it will have a positive impact on my day.

I’ve been thinking of the things I need to work on in order to pursue that mission. The first is mindfulness. I need to remain more present in the current moment in order to recognize the spark of joy and unique essence. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Do you have a personal mission statement? I’d love to hear it.

Back To Basics

It is time for me to get back to basics. Allow me to explain. I have not been feeling well, have been gaining weight at a very rapid rate, and have just not been happy in spite of many positive things happening in my life. I’ve tried analyzing my situation, tried just forcing my way though, and for a brief period even tried to ignore it. I’ve shared little pieces of this on my blog, but I haven’t even written an article for a while. None of that has worked, so it’s back to basics.

There are some obvious contributing factors including my current job. Since beginning this job 3 years ago my health has declined due to the increased sedentary work, no longer having the option to work out at lunch consistently, and generally feeling misunderstood and unappreciated. There is the other obvious factor that each year I get a little older. I really don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to from stress, illness, or injury.

Back to Basics

  1. Read. I have a few “go-to” books that can inspire better self care. My list for the next few weeks includes 1) Go Wild by John Ratey and Richard Manning, 2) Innercise by John Assaraf, 3) The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss and Body Confidence by Jessica Ortner, and 4) Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer. I have read each of these multiple times and they inspire me.
  2. Walk. When I first moved here I walked 2x a day. Religiously – rain, snow, heat, dark. I committed to it and didn’t let anything deter me. It wasn’t always easy and sometimes I only walked for a few minutes and other times I walked for hours. My dogs went with me. Sometimes I had to use a flashlight. I have continued to park pretty far away from my building to work in some extra steps but I rarely go for a walk. I am committing to walking 2x a day beginning today. I already got one walk in at lunch and it felt great. I was amazed at how good it felt to be outside in the middle of my work day. I know I won’t always be able to go outside to walk, but am shooting for at least 50% of my walks to be outside. I’m not setting a time limit/requirement. My only commitment right now is to get started.
  3. Eat only foods that make me feel good physically. I really do know what foods make me feel great and what foods make me feel awful. Unfortunately, the foods that make me feel awful do give me a bit of a brief emotional lift. That feeling doesn’t last and is rarely worth it. While many people preach moderation, I have been trying that unsuccessfully. With many foods, once I start I can’t stop.
  4. Return to pampering myself. When I was having more success with my weight and health I was practicing some pretty “intensive” (by my terms) self care. I was getting regular massages, getting manicures and pedicures, and engaging in activities just for the fun of them. I visited museums and exhibits, and I spent time in nature. Almost all of those things have fallen away and now when I get massages they aren’t really for relaxation, but instead to remedy some physical ailment. While that needs to continue, I need to be aware of the pampering time too.
  5. Schedule management. I have so many wonderful things going on in my life. It is often difficult to prioritize. The reality is that too many wonderful things can also become stress. I don’t know
    if I will really drop any of my activities, and am actually considering a new one, but am increasing my mindful participation in each of them instead of letting my mind drift to the things I’ve done in the past or the upcoming demands.
  6. Bloom where I’m planted, but change “gardens” (work) as soon as possible. I’ve already started transitioning to a new “garden” and love it. Just knowing there is a plan in place is beneficial to me. The choice to stay in my current “garden” for a short while longer is just that, a choice. I’m no longer stuck. I’m trading a small portion of time in a less than desirable position for some financial security while making the transition. Unpleasant? Yes. The best choice right now? Probably. Set in stone? Definitely not.

Many people wait until the new year to make resolutions and I was tempted to do that too. But I feel awful now. The new year is pretty far away. So Carpe Diem. Back to Basics.

Do you have some “Back to Basics” that would benefit you right now? Please share.

Choose Your Thoughts Wisely

Today while swimming I had the opportunity to practice choosing my thoughts. I wish I could have tapped at the time, but swimming and tapping at the same time exceeds my coordination skills. I went to the gym today, expecting it to be empty since it was July 4th. I was quite surprised to see that it was packed, but then relieved that the pool wasn’t.

I swam in one lane for a while, and when the person in the lane next to me left, I moved over to the middle lane (my favorite). I was on lap 22 when I saw another woman swimming in MY LANE. I’m used to sharing, don’t really enjoy it, but usually swimmers at least let you know that they are joining your lane. It seems like a safety and courtesy thing to me but I didn’t know she was there until we almost crashed.

That started a cascade of negative thinking about why she had to pick my lane when there was room to join a different lane, how rude she was, and then it got really personal like she did it just to make me miserable. Then I remembered something my friend Zach said to me once. He told me that not everything was about me. Remembering that comment caused me to re-evaluate how I was thinking about this situation.

I started with a statement of gratitude (in my head because I still had my face in the water swimming) that I had been given the opportunity to swim 22 laps without needing to share my lane. Then I chose another statement of gratitude that I am able to swim 22 laps and general gratitude for my health. I chose another gratitude statement about being able to afford to go to a gym that has a pool where I can swim.

As soon as I started feeling good about myself that I was able to turn my thoughts around, those other negative thoughts popped back in. This pattern continued for all 33 laps. When I was purposely engaged in the positive thoughts I enjoyed my swim but when I allowed the negative thoughts to linger I did not. While I wish that the negative thoughts didn’t even occur, I am pretty excited to have had the experience of feeling good when I choose my thoughts wisely. Just imagine how effective it would have been if I was also tapping while choosing my thoughts. Mind Blowing!

What thoughts will you choose today?

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Tappable Offenses

What are tappable offenses? While calling it that may not sound particularly kind or loving, I want to catch myself in tappable offenses, defined as those things I say to myself that limit who I am or what I can be. A tappable offense almost always begins with the words “I am” or “I am not.” These words have amazing power and work at the subconscious level, which is estimated to be somewhere between 80-95% of all of the processing that goes on in our brains.

The term tappable offense doesn’t feel negative to me. It acknowledges that I have said something to or about myself that is “offensive” and that it is tappable. That means that I can do something about it. It is also very positive when I can actually catch them rather than let those negative limiting beliefs run unchecked through my subconsious for very long.

Once I noticed how often I do this, I decided to make a list (in my tapping journal) and wanted to share a few of them with you to inspire you on your own transformational journey.

  1. I am too old
  2. I am not a technie
  3. I am stupid
  4. I am an introvert so I can’t do that
  5. I am not wealthy
  6. I am tired
  7. I am not pretty
  8. I am not fast (related to swimming)
  9. I am too fat
  10. I am lazy
  11. I am too short
  12. I am stuck in my job
  13. I am never going to achieve my goals
  14. I am too anxious to put myself out there
  15. I am unlovable

That list was generated with negative self-statements I made within just 2 short days about myself. While I am often able to devise a counterargument for some of them pretty quickly, the fact that the statements showed up means that on some level they are true for me at least some of the time.

In their present form, they represent wonderful problem statements, aka most pressing issue (MPI) to start of some rounds of tapping. Make a list of your own, and write it down WITHOUT JUDGING. Then make 3 columns. In one column write down all of the proof that your problem statement is true, including past experiences that you believe support this position. Then in the second column write down all of the evidence, including experiences, in which this problem was not true. If you are like most people the second list will be shorter than the first.

In the third column, write down all of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that you would like to have that could prove that the MPI is untrue in the future. Describe your hopes and desires for how you might handle any of the past situations if they would happen again in the future (words like grace and dignity popped into my mind). Then, start tapping.

You can make your setup statement by tapping on the karate chop point and stating your problem statement, followed by the words “I deeply and completely love and accept myself” or “I am open to new thoughts, feelings, and experiences.” After you have done that 3 times while tapping on the karate chop point you can begin the tapping rounds.

You can use the things in the first column of your list as you tap through the points as many times as it takes for the problem statement to start feeling less true. Then alternate the first and second column “proof” as you continue to tap through the points. Once you are pretty sure that you have erased this issue from your negative and limiting beliefs library, tap through the points again using the things that you wrote in column three.

I plan to put together some videos that address some of the issues I included earlier on my list soon. If you have specific issues you would like to have a tapping script for, just ask. Stay tuned.

Happy Tapping

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Overcommitted and Overwhelmed

Feeling overcommitted, and therefore overwhelmed, is a common problem and one I struggle with off and on. Sometimes people are totally incapable of saying no to the requests of others or limiting the number of activities that they schedule into a day. Sometimes it might seem rude to say no because the person asking you to do something has done so much for you in the past. You might see it as a golden opportunity and you are fearful that you might not get the opportunity ever again, so you need to jump on it now. Guilt is often a strong factor as well. Tapping can help you gain clarity about the problem and can bring relief.

Say this problem statement aloud, “I am overcommitted. There are way too many demands on my time.” Rate the intensity on the 0-10 point scale and record your rating.

illustration for karate chop point

Setup (karate chop point) – Even though I am overcommitted and there are way too many demands on my time, I know in my heart that I am a good person, with or without all of these commitments. Even though I am overcommitted, and the stress of too many things to do is getting to me, I choose to remember that I can stop any of them at any time. Even though I am overcommitted, and I don’t know how to limit the demands on my time, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and all of my reasons for getting into this situation.

diagram of the tapping points

Eyebrow…I am overcommitted

Side of Eye…Every minute of my day seems scheduled and full

Under the Eye…There isn’t any time for me

Under the Nose…There isn’t any time for anything unplanned or unexpected

Chin…I have said yes to so many things

Collarbone…But they seemed like a good idea at the time

Under the Arm…Now I don’t know what to do about it all

Top of Head…And I really feel like I need a break

Eyebrow…I don’t want to disappoint others by saying no

Side of Eye…I don’t want to miss out on opportunities

Under the Eye…There really are a lot of things I need to do

Under the Nose…There really are a lot of things I want to do

Chin…I am open to clarity about my need to schedule so many things

Collarbone…I am open to understanding what it would take to make me feel better right now

Under the Arm…So I can move forward to health and happiness

Top of Head…I am looking forward to making choices that are good for me.

Take a deep breath and let it out. Check the intensity of your original problem statement, “I am overcommitted. There are too many demands on my time.” Record your new rating. This is a tapping that often brings up additional thoughts, feelings, or memories. Be sure to write them down and continue tapping with them until your intensity rating is very low.

Want more tapping ideas? Check out Tap It Away: 10 Minutes to Freedom With EFT.


Keeping My Word

In general, keeping my word isn’t a terribly hard thing for me, at least not the way I have interpreted that before.  Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Jonathan Star verse 8 includes, When speaking, be truthful.  In that sense keeping my word is about telling the truth.  The context surrounding the statement seems to be pointing to more than avoiding lies. It seems to be about being in harmony with truth, not just following a rule.

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Wayne DyerIn Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, the translation is Stand by your word.  This seems to call for even more personal integrity and elicits many more questions and poses more pitfalls. It would even be easy to get bogged down in this (and I did) with questions like, “can’t I ever change my mind?” or “does that leave any room for spontaneity?”, or even “everybody lies sometimes.”

After tapping and meditating on this for a while I have come to believe that this statement, like much of the Tao, isn’t about behavior as much as it is about who we are at the core. It doesn’t mean that I can’t ever tell somebody I’m going to do something and then decide that I can’t or don’t want to do it. It means that if I have committed to doing something I then need to speak the truth to the person about why I am no longer going to do it. I’m not going to blame someone or something else, make an excuse, avoid, or simply not follow through.

Not only can tapping be useful for gaining a deeper understanding of a text like this one, it can also be quite valuable in changing the way you feel after having gained the insight. I was flooded with memories of all of the times that I have made excuses, heaped blame, and therefore devalued my own word.  The emotion resulting from all of those memories have been responding well to tapping. In addition, tapping has helped when I’m tempted to lie, distort the truth, or make excuses.

There are many reasons why we choose not to be truthful or not stand by our word.  Are you afraid that you won’t make the sale, get what you want/need, or win the approval of others?  TAP!

It Will Be Difficult

Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer book coverIt will be difficult is one of the excuses identified in Excuses Be Gone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and published by Hay House in 2009. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have personally used this one.  It has also been a favorite for many of my patients over the years.  People (myself included) very often can cite all of the reasons why they want to do a particular thing or why they should make a particular change. If I’m in a good mood, feeling full of energy, and feel that the person is highly motivated (again, including myself), my initial response to the excuse will be “so what?” Why does something being difficult mean that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it? When I have actually asked that question people have looked at me like I’m crazy.

There seems to be an unspoken maxim that states that one should never try to do something if it will be difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but the opposite might also be true OR, it could actually be easy.  Without a crystal ball it is pretty hard to tell. I might know that something was difficult for me last time or that it was difficult for someone else, but I can never know for sure that something will be difficult this time. It may not be very helpful to jump to that assumption.

If we apply Dr. Dyer’s paradigm for managing the excuse it might include asking

Q – Is it true? Will it be difficult?

A – Probably not.

Q – Where did the excuse come from?

A – I allowed it

Q – What is the payoff?  How does this excuse help me?

A – I( get to avoid risks and stay the same.

Q – What would my life look like if I couldn’t use this excuse?

A – I’d be able to really be myself

Q – Can I create a rational reason to change?

A – Yes

My paradigm for addressing the excuse is similar but also includes tapping (not a surprise I’m sure.)

Q – Where did this excuse come from?

A – Start tapping (tap through the points, changing to the next one whenever it diagram of the tapping pointsfeels right) and let your thoughts flow freely while you try to answer this question. This might include becoming aware of what you are feeling, when you have used this excuse before, and how it feels when you use it.  Get as specific as you can about the excuse, the purpose of the excuse, and the desired outcome of the excuse.

Q – Was there a time that this excuse helped or protected me?

A – The answer is probably yes. Now keep tapping and get specific, remembering the instances in which the excuse was somehow beneficial to you. Try not to get caught up in self-judgment or blame. View the events as if they were a movie or as if you are seeing it happening in the distance and keep tapping.

Q – What am I afraid would happen if I drop this excuse?

A – You will get better results if you can suspend self-judgment about having used this excuse before.  As you found out with the previous step, you developed this excuse for a reason.  Now continue tapping and take a look at the fear or anxiety that entices you to keep using the excuse and perhaps re-evaluate its usefulness to you.

Q – What would be the benefit of eliminating this excuse?

A – Start Tapping.  All things have pros and cons. Now is the time to look at the positive side of eliminating the excuse.  Your results will be best if you can get very specific and get a clear vision of what things might be like on the other side of the fence if you eliminate the excuse.  Remember, the grass is supposed to be woman jumping over the fencegreener on the other side so focus your energy on all of the good things awaiting you if you jump over the fence without the excuse.

If you decide to keep the excuse, please do so without self-blame or regret. You now understand your own motivations and decisions. If you decide to let go of the excuse, congratulations. Now you know that what you are contemplating may actually be easy.  You have also gained awareness of your own ability to do things that are difficult.