7 Steps to Successfully Create Change

This post is an excerpt from my book Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live.

I was overweight throughout grammar school and up until my second year of college. I grew up seeing myself as an overweight person. After numerous failed diets throughout the years, it became a stretch for me to consider that I would ever be anything but overweight. One morning when I was 19, I got out of bed anticipating a party that I was going to that night. I realized that I was sick of being overweight. I decided that I was willing to do what it took to change my weight. I took one day at a time, making healthy choices and changing the way I ate. Within a few months I dropped 40 pounds and changed my lifestyle forever. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was following the key to success in creating any change:

  1. Declare that you are no longer willing to tolerate a particular habit or way of being.
  2. Identify the specific things you need to do differently to change.
  3. Acknowledge that you are in complete control of your actions.
  4. Recognize the process of change as being day by day.
  5. Commit to making the desired actions for that particular day.
  6. If you fall down, forgive yourself and start fresh.
  7. At the end of each day, honor your ability to make the choice you want and create the change you desire.

What My Cat Taught Me About Prayer

A couple of weeks ago I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to in 17 years. I met Ed when I was participating in a local Church of Religious Science, a New Thought movement whose teachings are called Science of Mind. The church community broke up when the minister moved away and I lost touch with Ed and my involvement with Science of Mind ended.

Reconnecting with Ed inspired me to dust off one of my Science of Mind books and get reacquainted with the teachings. I was reminded that Science of Mind teaches a specific format for affirmative prayer that is called Spiritual Mind Treatment. I remembered that I never quite felt fully comfortable with the treatment process. At the time it felt so structured and formal. I was used to praying in a conversational style. The particular book I picked up didn’t outline the treatment process so I grabbed my iPad and Googled it. Somehow the steps outlined in the search result I clicked on suddenly made a lot of sense.

Summarizing the 5 Steps to Spiritual Mind Treatment

  1.  Acknowledge that there is one force that is the creative power behind everything that exists.  I call this power God yet there are other names you might better resonate with.
  2.  Recognize that this same intelligence that created everything is also within you.
  3.  Name your desire with the feeling that  it is already yours. This is moving away from the feeling of ‘wanting’ to the feeling of ‘having’ already received.
  4.  Focus on the feeling of gratitude.
  5.  Release the process with trust that what you desire is manifesting.

How I Put Spiritual Mind Treatment to Work in my Life

A condition I desired to change recently was the health of my 17-year old cat Janie, who is challenged by a kidney condition, not uncommon in older cats. Over the last couple of months Janie had not been eating much and consequently lost a lot of weight. It pained me to feel her bones when I petted her and saddened me to recognize she was spending most of her time under the bed.

Over the course of the past couple of months I had done a fair amount of online research on the care of kidney cats and followed the advice of Janie’s homeopathic vet. I had experimented with different foods. Some she didn’t like and others made her throw up. I felt some relief when I started her on a prescription diet, yet her appetite remained almost non-existent and the weight loss continued.

Last week in a Spiritual Mind Treatment I set my desire for Janie’s body to be revitalized with muscle and weight gain. I didn’t anticipate that I would play a role in this. I just wanted it to happen.

Within a day I sat again at my computer looking for answers on how to help her. I came across a website of a woman who shared extensive information about the care of a kidney cat, wisdom she developed from her own experience.  I dived deep into the section about what to look for in a food, where I discovered tables containing the protein and phosphorus levels for commercial cat food. I printed out the tables for both canned and dry food and drove to the closest pet store. I picked up a couple of different cans along with a bag of dry food that fit the low protein and phosphorus needs.

That evening I served Janie one of the canned foods, which she did not like. I then mixed some of the new dry food with her dry prescription food and put that down for her. A little while later she began munching. I was so happy to discover when I woke up the next morning that she had practically wiped out all the food! Her appetite has been good and her body has filled out a bit since we started the new food.

What I Learned from the Process

Looking back on my mindset during the treatment, I wondered how Janie’s healing would come about. I just left it in God’s hands, not even thinking that God would work through me to do the research which led me to buy the right food.

This is an important understanding as I think about other treatments I want to do involving new things I want to accomplish in my life. In particular, Step #3 above. By feeling that I already am that thing I want to accomplish, doing the necessary practical work to succeed seems natural.

 

 

My Voice A Passion

I have recently said yes to a journey to explore an interest which has lived inside of me for some 40 years. It began when I was invited to be a part of KFAL, the radio station for Crestmoor High School,  my now defunct Alma mater just south of San Francisco . Every Wednesday at 11:30 am I would step up to the microphone to read the announcements that were being broadcast throughout the campus. It was fun but I didn’t give any thought to it other than it gave me an opportunity to be in the same space with a guy I had a huge crush on.

Some twenty years later I was asked to do a voice-over for an apparel company that was one of my then employer’s biggest clients. I didn’t think any more of it beyond it being a fun give-back to my employer. I drove to a studio in Manchester, NH to do the taping. There were a few takes, but nothing excessive. It was a totally new experience that I didn’t know what to make of. Somewhere buried deep in one of my storage boxes lies the final packaged recording.

Since I moved back to California 20 years ago, my interest in doing something voice-related remains. I attended introductory classes to two different voice-over training programs, yet skipped out on each after the initial day, feeling intimidated and afraid that I could never be good enough.

After I left my corporate marketing job in 2005, I worked three seasons as a wedding officiant. I created personalized ceremonies that embraced the couples’ unique relationships and just loved to practice reciting the ceremonies out-loud. I loved using my voice to inspire an important message.

I’ve recognized this passion with my voice come up for me frequently enough throughout my life that I recognize there is something there that I need to explore. Over the past month I have thrown myself in as a student at VoiceOne in San Francisco. This time I’m ready to walk through the fear rather than walk away.

 

Getting Rid of Your Shoulds

I’m celebrating my 10-year anniversary of leaving a corporate job that no longer fit to go out on my own. The journey has brought a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect, plan, or want. But I remain grateful for where I am now and all of the life experiences and learning I gained when I made the decision to follow my heart.

I have discovered that my greatest handicap to living my full potential is getting beyond the beliefs about what I “should” be doing. I have allowed my life in many times to be directed by thinking that has become ingrained and which does not support the path that I’m committed to. Instead I strive to work on paying attention to where my body, mind and soul are leading me.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up with the day-to-day of what you’re doing that you lose sight of how you feel about it or if what you’re doing is really how you want to be spending your precious days here. I frequently recognize how I put my life on auto pilot, accepting it for what it is without even considering that it could or should be any different.

I think the answer lies in living day by day. Not waking up to each new morning buying into the belief that because it worked for me yesterday that it continues to be how I want to spend my time. It’s a raising of the bar of what I want to accept as my life experience.

I’ve made a vow to try something new. I’m going to give as much thought every day to how I’m spending my time overall as to what I’m going to choose to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let me know if you want to join me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Peace in the Loss of a Pet

pet lossWe lost a precious part of our family over the holiday season–Sarah, the 15-year old tabby cat I adopted from the Humane Society in 2001 along with her sister, Janie. It was only two days before that I’d learned that Sarah had both lymphoma and pancreatic cancer. It was as if once I knew, she let go to a rapid decline.

Losing Sarah was a heartbreak on its own. Yet seeing her sister Janie, who had been her companion since birth, grieving her own loss was another heartbreak, and one that came with an immense lesson. I had never before witnessed the depths of how animals can feel emotion.

I felt the vibe of Janie sobbing over the loss of her sister. I sadly watched as she walked from room to room looking for Sarah after she was gone. Suddenly my own loss became a lessor priority to easing the pain that Janie was experiencing from her loss. Doing whatever I could to help fill Janie’s void was great therapy.

I miss Sarah tremendously, yet I feel a greater sense of peace knowing that she is no longer hurting or suffering. I am one who believes we have an afterlife and while I certainly don’t have the answers to what happens after cats and people die, I can’t imagine that there would be no other opportunity for such a deep relationship to be reunited when we pass to the other side.

The bonds we build with our animals are deeper than the moments we will have to share with them. That’s why I have hope for a future reunion. For me, this vision itself brings comfort to my loss.

Fight for What You Want in Life

Six months ago a routine check-up with my doctor landed me on the scale and I was horrified seeing my weight results. I knew from how my pants were fitting that I’d gained some inches yet I had no idea that I had hit my heaviest weight ever. I moaned to the nurse who kindly told me that women had a tendency to gain weight after menopause and that I looked good. That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be lean and fit.

I was a fat kid all the way until I was 19, when one day I woke up and decided I didn’t want to be overweight anymore and set out to lose 40 pounds. So my thing with not wanting to be overweight has hung with me throughout my adult life.

After my visit to the doctor I started researching menopause and weight gain. I learned that while drops in estrogen do have an impact on weight gain, the bottom line is that how much you exercise also impacts how much weight you gain or lose. I was not willing to just settle on being a menopause weight gain statistic. The battle was on!

While I’d faithfully committed to a 3-4 times a week workout regime for 25 years, that frequency was no longer producing the results I wanted. I recognized that I needed to crank up the volume to drop the weight. Thankfully, with the help of my fiance who added 2-3 more workout sessions per week in the form of tennis, I dropped 12 pounds over the summer. And it was fun!

Little did I know that the best was yet to come. Late in the summer I discovered Pure Barre.

Pure Barre is described as ballet meets Pilates, neither of which I’d had much experience with. All of these years I have foolishly believed that my heart rate had to be riding high while I was sweating profusely to get a proper workout. Wrong!

The Pure Barre technique is designed to fatigue your muscles to the point of shaking and then stretch out to achieve long, lean muscles. I’m three months into it now with a changed body. Tomorrow I will complete the 20 classes in 30 days challenge. I am now fitting better in jeans I bought a dozen years ago than I did then. Over the course of the past month I’ve moved from wondering how I will endure the intense back-to-back workouts to realizing it could be my new routine.

Fight for what you want

The lesson I learned here was not to simply accept how life is playing out if it isn’t what you want. We can all change the course of destiny by taking steps to redirect the ship onto another course. Sometimes that might mean trying something completely new, but doesn’t that make the experience of life richer? And if you really want it badly, aren’t you okay with working hard for it?

It’s Not All About Me

Late last week I discovered a lump on the back of my 15-year old cat underneath her coat. I was shocked. I pet Sarah many times a day and the lump seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m almost always convinced that everything is going to be fine yet this worried me. I told my fiance what I discovered and he said that he had just noticed the same thing.

First thing the next morning I brushed Sarah’s coat with my fingers searching for the lump. It was still there but it seemed like the size had subsided. I let that be my reassurance that maybe it was just a bug bite and things were on their way to getting back to normal. I went through this process and thinking for three more days before I reckoned that the lump was still there and I better get it checked out.

This morning Dr. Eva took a sample from Sarah’s lump. Dr. Eva looked at the sample under a microscope and saw that there were many cells in it. My probing enabled me to learn that this meant it probably wasn’t a cyst or an abscess, but probably some kind of abnormal cell growth. The sample is off to a pathologist and I’ll know more in a day or two.

Like I said, I’m usually a very positive thinker yet having gone through the heartbreak of losing my last cat to lymphoma, I couldn’t help thinking about what I would do and feel if the news was not good.

I went about the business of my work for the remainder of the day with thoughts of Sarah flowing in and out of my mind. While considering the worst possible outcome–a malignant cancer–I found myself feeling frantic, like what will I be able to do to fix it–to get her healed?

Somehow later I was led to a different perspective that has given me a sense of peace. It is one that recognizes that Sarah arrived on this planet with her own journey to experience. However her life is to play out is her journey. My job as the person who has loved and cared for her for most of her life is to support her on her journey in all the best possible ways I can.

As someone who believes there is a purpose behind all that happens, I recognize there is a purpose in Sarah’s lump. Whatever happens is not about me and my life, but rather what is being called for her life. And I’m going to be right by her side however she needs my support.

I’ve been thinking about how I can apply this to my relationships with others — less emphasis on trying to make them better in whatever way I think they’d be happier to just giving support to the condition they’re in.