Are You Giving Away Your Power?

“I don’t really know how to do that,” she said tentatively.  “I’m not good at that.”  Her voice soft, apprehensive, and apologetic; her body language signaling a lack of confidence.  It happened not once, but multiple times over the course of the day.  Multiple times.

I tuned into my physical and mental reaction and response.  As the listener, I realized that I unconsciously felt superior the very first time her tentative words were uttered.  I tuned into what I began to think about her tentative words and unsure body language.  “Hmmm…this is easy.  I don’t understand why she can’t do this.  She seems weak.”  I began to experience a sense of power over her that I didn’t perceive when I first began working with her.  It all began with words—her words.

Words.  I don’t know if we realize how powerful our words are in constructing our experiences and/or giving permission to others to treat us poorly.   How often do you use phrases like “I don’t know how to do that? Or I’m not good at that?”  Sure, we often state we don’t know how to do things, but what gives our power over to others is when we make this statement about multiple things in our lives.  Things that we actually CAN DO.  What shocked me was the person I was working with COULD do each an everything she stated she couldn’t do.

Are you conditioning yourself to be powerless?  “I’m not good at that” is a phrase that children often use, but many adults do as well.  What does it meant to be “good” at something?  Are you comparing “good” to what someone else has said is acceptable?  Or have you ingested someone else’s story or perception at the expense of your gifts?  Words are incredible powerful.  Repeated over and over, phrases like “I don’t know how to do that” or “I’m not good at that” zap your power.  Low energy phrases literally shrink the confidence you project giving others the opportunity to feel or experience a sense of superiority OVER you.

“I’m not good at that” really needs to be eliminated from your language toolbox if it is presently a phrase you use.  “Good” is subjective, but absolutely potent in diminishing your power.  When I speak of power, I’m not describing power that is abusive or forceful.   The power that I’m speaking of is the confidence and self-assuredness that we verbally or physically exude in our daily experience.   This power attracts opportunities, positive experiences, and growth moments to enrich and enliven our lives.

Are you giving away your power?  Do you find that people seem to push you around or agree with you when you say something like “I’m not good at that?”  Take time to listen to the words you use to describe your capabilities in the world.  Consider replacing “I’m not good at that” with “I’m learning how to do that” or similar positive phrases.  Recondition yourself to use language that is purposeful, positive, and powerful.

Each of us is a powerful, amazing person with unlimited potential to learn anything we set our minds to.  Condition yourself to be powerful and limitless!

Peace & Blessings ~

Jenny

Check out my inspiring photos www.rhythmsuniversal.smugmug.com

Naysayers Beware ‘Cause I Ain’t Listening!

Mondays are often great days for birthing new ideas or implementing creative thoughts.  Okay, maybe that sounds contrary to your Monday.  But I find that after my weekend, when I’ve had time to read, reflect, converse with friends, and rejuvenate, my idea fountain is running over.  Obviously Mondays aren’t the only days when our creative genius is alive and actively generating ideas.

I’m curious.  Have you ever had a rush of creative idea(s) that excited and invigorated you?  The creativity is so powerful that you bubble over with exuberance.   The creative ideas may render sleep unnecessary.  Eating is often the first to go for me when the energized rush of creative thought strikes me.  You’re probably wondering how many more times will I use “creative, creativity”.   This is key to my point.   Creativity is an act or process of bringing something new or novel into existence.  I believe creativity is directly linked to a Universal Source, Creator, Divine Inspiration, or God (Source of many names).  I believe that each of us receives creative inspiration based on our unique talents, experiences, or gifts.  It is no accident that some of our greatest inventions and creations came from dreams or visions.

Have you ever shared your creative idea or thought and had it blown to smithereens by a naysayer?  “Aw that will never work.” Or “You can’t do that because you’re a girl…or a boy…or a kid.”  Or “You don’t have the credentials, education, etc.” Or “You have an image, role, expectation you must uphold so that will never work.”  What happens to that gift of creativity insight YOU were given?  Well, my experience has been that the naysayer’s well-crafted argument begins to shrink MY belief about MY creative insight, idea, or concept.  And before I can formulate an equally well-crafted, supportive response, my creative insight begins to fade as the cloud of doubt settles in.  I suspect I’m not alone in this experience.

If the creative idea, thought, concept came to me…it was given to me for a reason.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I randomly pursue every idea that comes into my head.  It’s those ideas and concepts that have a particular intensity, a pointed urgency to create or reshape something.  Generally, I find that intense creative insight is focused on bringing something into being that fixes, resolves, or helps—it is constructive NOT destructive.

The next time you are filled with an intense creative insight, thought or idea and someone tries to block it with the litany of reasons why you can’t, shouldn’t, or aren’t to do it.  Just remember Naysayers Beware ‘Cause I Ain’t Listening!  You are given creative insight, thoughts, or ideas because YOU are to bring that creative inspiration to life.

Peace & Blessings ~

Jenny

Check out my inspiring photos www.rhythmsuniversal.smugmug.com

Summer Solstice. Enjoy Today!

Today is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.  Take an hour—as the sun will light this hemisphere almost 14+ hours today (so you’ll have the time!)—to bath in Nature’s vibrant energy.  Nature’s revitalizing energy is tonic for tired minds and depleted souls.  Smell a flower.  Admire the shape and form of a leaf.  Soak up the many shades of vibrant green.  Soak in the sun’s heat.  Feel the breath of wind on your face.

St. Croix Mountain

Reset.       Renew.     Revitalize.

Peace & Blessings ~

Jenny

Check out my inspiring photos www.rhythmsuniversal.smugmug.com

Are You Doing Your Very Best, Even When It’s Hard?

Perseverance.  Life is filled with peaks and valleys designed, I believe, to shape our character as we seek to bring our talents to the world.  I saw a poster that hammered this message home.

 PERSEVERANCE

He failed in business in ’31.

He was defeated for State Legislator in ’32.

He tried another business in ’33.  It failed.

His fiancée died in ’35.

He had a nervous breakdown in ’36.

In ’43 he ran for Congress and was defeated.

He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again.

One of his sons died in ’50.

He tried running for the Senate in ’55.  He lost.

The next year he ran for Vice President and lost.

In ’59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated.

In 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln,

was elected the 16th President of the United States.

Every single one of us has experienced setbacks.  We may have felt distraught, overwhelmed, or that our life was over after the end of a relationship or marriage; the loss of a child or spouse; the failure of a business; or the loss of a critical game.  Perseverance:  Do your very best, even when it’s hard is a daily mantra worthy of committing to memory.

Imagine how our country might look if Abraham Lincoln gave up after several failures, deaths, or mental health breakdowns.  Imagine.   No Emancipation Proclamation.  The American Civil War may have resulted in a country divided.  The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery would not have become part of the U.S. Constitution.

One man’s perseverance through devastating personal setbacks and loss gave birth to an era of courage.  Courage to change the status quo of the enslavement.  Lincoln was a simple, humble man who believed in the humanness of all people and gave his life, despite overwhelming obstacles, to shape a humane Nation.

When you are faced with daunting, overwhelming, crippling challenges remember Mr. Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.  You have gifts that deserve to positively shape the world.  When life’s deep valleys seem to swallow you up ask yourself “Am I doing my very best, even when it’s hard?”  If you discover that your answer is no, hunker down, take one step and then another until you walk through the valley.

Step-by-step, bit-by-bit you will get through life’s setbacks.  We all have them.  We must do our very best, even when it’s hard to give birth to our greatness.

Peace & Blessings ~

Jenny

Check out my inspiring photos www.rhythmsuniversal.smugmug.com

Declare Who You Are!

Morgan Freeman is a tremendous actor.  But he didn’t become that actor, enjoying engaging and compelling roles, until he was 50.  He tells this fantastic story of declaring who he is on Oprah’s Master Class series.

In his early years of searching for acting roles, Freeman landed a role on PBS’s The Electric Company.  In 1977 the show was canceled leaving Freeman with no income and no prospects.  Years earlier he had worked as a clerk-typist.  When he went to apply for unemployment benefits, the numerical code for clerk-typist was assigned to him.  Clerk-typist was the only type of job he could apply for as he searched for work and sought to be approved for unemployment benefits.  In the Master Class series, he described searching for clerk-typist roles all the while feeling a sense of deep internal discord.  One day he walked into the unemployment office to address the supervisor, Mrs. Lipton.  “I’m an actor, Mrs. Lipton.” Freeman declared.  “With this clerk-typist code you’re forcing me to be something that I am not.”  Mrs. Lipton absorbed what he declared and stamped his unemployment papers “APPROVED” providing him with six-months of unemployment benefits to search for acting roles.  The rest is a history of extraordinary acting roles and accolades.

I was so struck by Freeman’s statement Declare Who You Are.  This powerful statement got me to thinking about the ways external systems (like government programs), other folks’ beliefs and fears, notions of the “appropriate” chronological age to do certain things, or our own internalized beliefs and fears often collude to keep us from fully living who we are.

When Morgan Freeman declared who he was his acting opportunities multiplied.  The power of his declaration put into motion his absolute focus.  Hunger didn’t keep him from his focus.  A lack of money didn’t keep him from his focus.  “Practice your natural gifts,” He encouraged.   I found this inspiring and incredibly relevant to my journey.

Declare Who You Are!  I know so many people who are living their lives as clerk-typists; meaning their natural gifts and desires are limited by fear or compliance to systems suffused with lack and limits.  Do you know artistically talented people who say “I really wanted to be an artist”, but instead they work as a lawyer because others made that declaration for them?   Do you have natural gifts you possess, but have been led to believe you can’t or shouldn’t fulfill them?  How enjoyable and fulfilling is your life?  Your natural gifts are given to you to share.  It is that deep, driving desire I’ve written about in the past.   When we declare who we are and we believe our declaration, the Universe automatically begins to respond to the declaration.   Our belief in our declaration begins remove blockages and limitations.

You won’t know without trying.  Declare who you are and focus your entire being on using your natural gifts and deep, driving desire as intended.  How will you know that you can’t be an artist, life coach, business owner, mother, father, athlete, scientist, college student, leader, healer, or coach?  I will only know when I declare, for myself, who I am.  Be fearless—Declare Who You Are—and bring your magnificence to bear!

Peace & Blessings~

Jenny

Check out my inspiring photos www.rhythmsuniversal.smugmug.com

Your Angry Vibration is Messin’ With My Peaceful Vibe!

Imagine mixing Friday rush hour traffic (in a city known for the nation’s worse congestion) with a tropical storm deluge.  Such was the beginning of a multifaceted adventure on Friday.  I’ve never taken a bus between major cities.  In the spirit of experiencing new things, Megabus, a shiny blue double-decker bus, was our chariot between DC and New York City.  Departure time: 2:30pm.  More than an hour late the bus finally pulled up.  With record-breaking rain, Tropical Storm Andrea created travel havoc.  I felt peaceful, balanced, calm, and happy—a great vibe for a great adventure.  Off to see family and friends in the Big Apple.

We plopped our sore legs, knees, and backs into plush seats happy to be underway.  We traveled six blocks after 30-minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  The rhythmic stop and go lulled me to sleep.  An hour later I woke.  Rubbing my sleep filled eyes, I realized we were about 15 miles out of town.   A long, long trip was ahead.  The bus was quiet as folks slept, texted, or listened to music.  Two young women behind our seats carried on a conversation that seemed louder than necessary.  I bent my book back to read.  Concentration was a challenge.  I’ve named the two young women Melissa and Courtney for this journey and a lesson.

 4:30pm  “Ugh, I just can’t believe we are going so slow.  It’s just ridiculous that MegaBus can’t be on time!”  Groaned Courtney in a high nasally voice.  “Yeah, I know, this is just crazy.  We’re going to be late for dinner at the apartment.”  Melissa chimed in exasperated.  “Now I have to call everyone and let them know that we’re not even in Baltimore yet!  I can’t believe we’re going to be late.  This sucks!”

The decibel level increased as Melissa called her mother, father, and friends.  The phone calls were increasingly exaggerated as a new person was dialed.  “Hi, Danny.  Oh my God you’ll never believe this.  Dumbass Megabus left late.  Now we’re stuck in this stupid, ridiculous traffic.  The traffic is just bumper-to-bumper.  It’s going to make us late.  I think we’ll be an hour late maybe.  I just hate this!”  Melissa carried on almost 30 minutes.  Between each call she and Courtney commiserated loudly about how horrible and bad everything was.  I could feel my wonderful, peaceful, balanced, calm, and happy—a great vibe for a great adventure ebbing away.  I redoubled my efforts to read.  After about 30-minutes of re-reading the same page, I closed my book.

6:30pm  “I’m so hungry,” Courtney whined to Melissa.  “This is just taking so long.  We’re supposed to be in New York in 30-minutes.  This is just not right.  It’s just not FAIR!”  Courtney’s whine amplified by her high, nasally voice.  PENETRATING WHINE.  The whining didn’t abate only interrupted as the bus driver pulled into a truck stop.  Stretching his legs after more than four hours driving in terrible weather and bumper-to-bumper traffic.  “Why are we stopped?”  Courtney shrieked to Melissa.  “This is so stupid.  What a dummy!” “Ughhhhh!” Melissa squawked.  “I have to call everyone and let them know that now we’re stopped in some stupid, ridiculous truck stop.”  An exasperated groan penetrated my ears.  Melissa began dialing numbers.  She recounted in AGONIZING DETAIL how horrible the ride was.  “I just don’t understand why we are stopped.  We shouldn’t be stopped.  This is just making us so late.  You all might as well eat.  We going to be so late ‘cause we’re making all these stupid, f$%king stops.”  The angry vibration behind my seat with its venom and frustration settled like a heavy wet blanket on me.  I began humming Christmas songs.  Christmas songs…anything to maintain my peaceful vibe.

7:30pm  Re-read 4:30 and 6:30.  The whining, frustration, and phone calls didn’t stop.  Melissa attempted to track how far we were from NYC on her phone.  The GPS apparently wasn’t working well.  She got excited when she thought that our destination was only 45 minutes away.  We were just passing the Delaware Bridge—another couple of hours to go.

8:30pm  Re-read 7:30, 6:30, and 4:30—yes, really.   Add a heightened whining, feeling sorry for one’s self, and cursing from Courtney whose nasally voice developed a tired, broken-glass-fingers-on-chalkboard whine about how hungry she was and how she was going to die if she didn’t eat.

9:30pm  Thank you God for delivering us from Melissa and Courtney’s misery.  A four-hour ride that became almost seven had ended with our safe delivery at our designated station.

Why am I sharing this ripped from the headlines story?  This experience made me keenly aware of how words of complaining, anger, frustration, intolerance, and ignorance about things beyond our control are common banter.  Too many of us are intimately familiar with using words in a way that depletes our strength and resolve.  What we may not consider is how our words also adversely impact others around us.  Melissa and Courtney’s anger and frustration vibration literally began to change my peaceful, calm vibe into one of anger and frustration.  Life is filled with situations and circumstances beyond our control.  I invite you to reflect on one or two circumstances or situations where your response has been to express anger, rage, or frustration.  Reflect on how your vibration may have affected others around you—children, spouse, co-workers, partners, or innocent bystanders.  Consider a new response.  A response that keeps you in a peaceful place and radiates a positive energy/vibration to those around you.

Peace & Blessings~

Jenny

Doors Opening. Why Am I Afraid?

Yesterday I caught myself experiencing fear.  The fear translated into skepticism, doubt, and the rapid development of limits and restrictions.  What happened?  The door to a deep driving desire opened slightly to a possible opportunity.

In 1995, I was introduced to a spiritual/cultural practice that deeply intrigued me.  Reading books and talking to folks about the practice, I became interested in learning more.  Through the years, I’ve had fleeting experiences with the spiritual practice.  My appetite whetted, but never satiated.  To be satiated would mean that I could learn, practice, and be fully aligned with a community of similarly interested people.  My quest to find this community was recently reawakened.

I’m fascinated how we attract things into our lives, but never in the straightforward manner we many think something should happen.  In my initial search, I found nothing.   By happenstance, I joined a group of energy workers.  As I was looking through the group participants, the spiritual/cultural practice keyword jumped out.  A quick introductory email to what appeared to be an inactive group got a response.  It was then that the fear began to seep in.

My intellect and my current understanding of the Law of Attraction tells me I should be excited, elated that an opportunity to make a dream happen was transpiring.  But I had the complete opposite reaction.  I was fearful.  I’ve had to take the last few hours to meditate on why I experienced fear.   Is it my intuition guiding me away from an unsavory situation?  I had to sit with that thought for a while.  Intuition is a valuable tool of discernment.  I don’t think that’s it.  While I still have more to understand about my experience of fear, I’ve had a couple of thoughts.

The past seems to be the root of my experience of fear.  Because of past experiences of misinformation or challenge related to this spiritual practice, my fear reaction flooded my mind with “What if…” questions.  Not generative/creative “What If” questions, but ones that involved negative past experiences.   The unknown seems to be an intertwined root.  You’ve heard that quote “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”  When I tuned into my thoughts, I realized that my fear was being generated by concerns of change and transformation.   The change and transformation relating to losing something if I walked through this door opening.  Again that is an experience based in past experiences projected into the future.

The past and the unknown occupy two spaces on a time spectrum:  the past and the future.  What I realized, and still need to do some work on, is that any experience from my past is done—gone.  Who I was, what I did, what was done to me, how I interpreted events—lack relevance in the present moment.   Any thoughts or fears I have about the unknown—the future—become misdirected, defeating energy.  I do not know the future as it pertains to this specific door opening for me.   Being fully present to now can be profoundly difficult.  However, my experience of generating fear through the thoughts flooding my mind guide me to understand a key lesson.  If I project into the unknown or drag forth the past, my experience of fear will close doors, set limitations, cloud my vision.

An experience that I deeply desire is manifesting as a door opening.  I choose to remain present in the now and nudge the door fully open.  After all, as a friend shared years ago, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  As the doors to your dreams crack open, if you feel fear, I encourage you to stop and remember to remain fully in the now and walk into your deep driving desire fearless.

Peace & Blessings~

Jenny

Did You Ever Think It Might Be a Blessing?

Abrupt change, “bad things” happening, unexpected setbacks or transitions of all kinds are part of living.  Two stories of unexpected setback or catastrophic events drew me to think about how we can face unimaginable trauma and discover the blessing.

The first story is about Robert Griffin III, a dynamic, rookie quarterback playing in the National Football League.  Nicknamed, RG3, he is a graduate of Baylor University, is a Heisman Trophy winner, and was selected number two in the NFL draft.  His talent is exceptional especially his ability to run something quarterbacks usually don’t do.  In a play this past season, he was running full tilt and was tackled (he didn’t slide).  His right leg whipped forward with such force, his knee completely hyperextended.  The team captain heroically got up, hopping on one leg executed another play before going down again.  The Superbowl playoffs were the next game.  He attempted to play.  Tackled again, his already injured knee completely gave out.  Torn knee ligaments (ACL and LCL)—six months minimum rehabilitation.  A possible career-ending injury.

RG3 was interviewed on local TV recently.  The reporter asked all the obvious questions: How’s the rehabilitation going?  Will you be ready to play?  How’s the knee feel?   How’s spring practice?   One of his responses peaked my interest.  He described how his injury was forcing him to get deeper into the mental part of the game.  With the rehabilitation limitations, he realized that he could focus on learning his entire playbook and mentally sharpen his approach to playing the game.  So why did I find this so intriguing?  He could have lamented the lack of physical activity or spend time worrying about the major rehabilitation process after knee reconstruction.  But he didn’t.  He chose what he could do–strengthen his mental skill and understanding of the football plays.  The blessing of a knee injury enabled him to strengthen his mental approach to the quarterback role.

The second story is powerful.  This past weekend in DC, an adaptive rowing program (click for video) launched at the Stonewall Regatta.  Paul Hurley’s story is inspiring.  A Navy veteran, Hurley lost a leg in 2006.  He speaks of isolating himself, feeling sorry at his traumatic life change.  How many of us could overcome the loss of a limb…and all that most likely led to the loss?  Another veteran thought that his choices and opportunities were limited as a paraplegic, but found his world was expanded and enlarged through rowing.

Paul Hurley’s statement was powerful.  “This is a blessing in disguise.  It’s brought me all sorts of opportunities I would never have imagined.  You gotta look at the positive in everything and keep pushing forward.” 

How we choose to respond to abrupt change, “bad things” happening, unexpected setbacks or transitions defines the lives we will live—limited or expansive.  RG3 has a potentially career-ending knee injury, but still able bodied, he chose to focus his time on improving his mental approach to the game.   Both veterans are inspiring on many levels.

Choice is powerful.  I thought about the obstacles, setbacks, and traumatic events that we experience. How often we may give up believing our lives are over.  You may be reading and think…but I’ve lost a loved one, I’ve been abused, I am divorced, I was fired, I lost a limb, I have this disease.  Consider that maybe it’s a blessing designed for you to expand your life; fill others with love; build something new; develop compassion; or inspire others with the same disease.  I believe, from my lived experience, that choosing to see life’s valleys as blessings IS the most power-filled, life affirming choice we can make.  Life’s valleys are not punishment they are blessings designed for us to expand our lives beyond our wildest imagination.  Just ask Paul Hurley and Dan Ahr, two wounded warriors, preparing to compete for spots on the U.S. Paralympic Team!  What event can you choose to experience as a blessing and expand your life?

Peace & Blessings~

Jenny