What Do You Stand For?

My current task of coming up with a logo for my new personal development firm, inner architect has brought me to probe a number of questions that I don’t often think about. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spends more time thinking about what I am going to wear than reflecting on these questions that address life at the very core. I wanted to toss them out to give you something to chew on:

  1. How do you want to be remembered?
  2. What ideals do you represent?
  3. What image would you pick to represent who you are?
  4. Do your choices and actions align with that image?

12 Steps to Make Your Dream Your Life

I delivered the pdf file for my upcoming book, Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live, to the printer this past Thursday. On Friday afternoon something incredible hit me. I am in the process of bringing life to my dream! Holy cow. Why did it take me so long to see clearly what is right in front of me? What was I thinking to expect that one single event would bring my dream to life? It really is all about baby steps.

Three years ago this month, I walked away from a successful 20-year career in the corporate world to follow a dream. It hasn’t been an easy journey, that’s for sure, and I’ve got a ways to go. But I can see now that I am on my way.

Your way to your dream can be found in these steps:

  1. Recognize that you have the choice to create a different life.
  2. Believe that it is possible to successfully build your dream.
  3. Define the obstacles that are holding you back.
  4. Replace your obstacles with ideas that support you.
  5. Give credibility to the desires of your heart and learn to trust it.
  6. Outline your training and development needs.
  7. Crystallize your vision.
  8. Identify your major goals.
  9. Define the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
  10. Stay committed to doing the necessary work.
  11. Support your external work with thoughts that help to build it.
  12. See yourself now in the beginning stages of your new life.

It’s Not Too Late to Realize Your Potential

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I had an experience yesterday while strolling the streets of a very affluent town that has lingered with me. Tucked away in this community that has been home to Hollywood celebrities and rock and roll stars is one of the finest private college preparatory schools in the country. With tuition at $31,315, this is an environment where great care is exercised to help students to fully realize their potential.

Standing atop a large rock in the midst of a meticulously landscaped flower garden, I felt surrounded by an energy of excited hope. It was Sunday, yet a well-equipped gym kept a trail of students coming and going. To my surprise, I felt my heart pang. I found myself wondering what my life would have been like if I had been similarly prepared.

I was raised in a working class European family with old country values. As the only daughter in the middle of two brothers, I was handed down the inspiration to get married and have children. College was neither encouraged or discouraged. I’ve since discovered that guidance for life ahead was a rare commodity among many in my generation. Get a degree and find a good job is about as deep as it got.

I don’t think times have changed too much. With a ratio of hundreds of students per career counselor in public schools today, there’s not a lot of personal attention going around to help students discover what they want to do with their lives. It astounds me that we remain a culture that places so little emphasis on preparing its individuals to live fulfilling, rich lives. All too often without that supportive guidance early on, we end up in mid-life feeling the clock ticking away the time we have left to create a legacy we can feel good about.

There is some good news to all of this:

  1. It is never too late to realize your potential.
  2. Some of us work better under pressure anyway.

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Is This All There Is?

When you are feeling that there must be something more,
it means there is.

How do you go about finding it?

Step 1: Ask yourself if you believe you have a purposeful contribution to make to this world.

You cannot discover your purpose unless you are clear that you have one. You don’t need to know what that specific role is right now, but you do need to believe there is something you are here to do, to be, or to accomplish. Your purpose does not necessarily have to be something that will go down in the world’s history records.

No one calling is better than another. The universe needs us all.

How to Get into the True Spirit of the Holidays

Something that my hairdresser, George, said to me very casually yesterday has stuck with me. George asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied by saying that all I wanted was for my new business, innerarchitect, to be a success in the New Year. I then threw the same question back at George. He replied quickly that he just wanted his health. You see, George has recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma. He continued on saying that he has everything he needs and then finished with a statement so simple, yet one that speaks to the truth of life:

It doesn’t matter what you got.
All that matters is what you gave.

Thank you, George. May healthy cells populate your glands.

Here’s to the true spirit of the holidays.

Peace, joy and love
Susan

Science Shows the Amazing Benefits of Meditation

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been deep in study of the scientific evidence that has come to light that supports many of the spiritual principles that have resonated with me without any hard proof. It has been fascinating and exciting to learn about all the correlations! In particular, I’d like to recommend Lynne McTaggart’s book, The Intention Experiment to anyone interested in learning about this new frontier where science and spirituality come together.

In her book, Lynne McTaggart has taught me much that I didn’t know about meditation. I have viewed meditation as a method for tuning in to my inner wisdom and to connect with divine energy, yet there are so many practical benefits that I am guessing many of us are unaware of. If we were, we might all be clamoring to make it a vital practice in our lives. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Experienced meditators can be more effective in their ability to use their thoughts to effectively influence desired outcomes. Generally speaking, there are two different forms of meditation. Each may produce different brain waves, and consequently offer different benefits:

Concentrative meditation holds attention on the breath, an image, or a sound to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. With practice, it appears to enlarge the mechanism by which we receive information and clarify the reception.

By concentrating on focused thoughts, the portion of the brain that handles attention is exercised. This exercise enables its cortical thickness to grow larger. Ordinarily cortical thickness deteriorates with age, yet regular meditation appears to reduce or reverse this process.

Mindfulness meditation involves sitting quietly and being a witness to whatever goes through your mind, not becoming involved or reacting to thoughts, worries, or images. This helps to condition a more calm, clear, and non-reactive state of mind to whatever is happening around and within you.

Studies have shown some other general benefits of meditation to include:

  • Higher levels of gamma waves, which often are associated with feelings of joy
  • A predominance of alpha rhythms, which is the optimal state for the manifestation of your thoughts
  • More coherent brain waves
  • A positive affect on the brain’s reasoning and analytical ability
  • An increase in ability to receive intuitive information, as well as the conscious awareness of it.

Guidance on how to practice either of these types of meditations is enough for two new articles, so I won’t go any further right here. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have in the meantime.

 

Are We Paying Enough Attention to Our Own Evolution?

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In the summer of 2001, I lost my little best buddy, Mindy, to feline lymphoma. Mindy had been by my side when my husband left me for another woman, and was my travel companion while we boarded the airplane that would relocate us from New Hampshire back to my native San Francisco. I was extremely sad when I lost my furry friend of twelve years. Her death inspired within me a curiosity about what happens to souls who make their transition to the other side. Somehow I hoped to understand more about where she was so that I could feel a stronger sense of connection to her. So I began to read a bit about near death experiences.

I don’t profess to be an expert by any means through the dabbling I’ve done on the subject of near death experiences (NDE’s), yet my personal belief is that there is so much more value in what is reported back than we give weight to. As I have come to be a more serious student in learning the truth about the energy behind life and the life creation process, it blows me away how much the various branches of study seem to intersect at the core. Quantum physics aligns with the theories of metaphysics, and metaphysics principles offer a low level version of the manifestation process that has been described by those who have visited the other side. They seem to be reporting the same vital points—that we are all connected by the energy that is the source of life and that we are each encouraged to participate in the co-creation of life through our thoughts.

The more incidences I discover of how the various branches of study confirm one another’s findings, the more significant I perceive this data. We’re at a point in history where science and spirituality are coming together and the majority of us are not even paying attention. We are learning that through our minds we are powerful beyond belief, but somehow the mainstream has yet to accept these ideas as legitimate. So many of us just let our power, and the freedom that comes with it to create the lives we desire, fall to the wayside. How unfortunate. I am, however, convinced that something will happen to enable this to change. After all, this is the evolution of our world that we are experiencing. These understandings have risen to the surface not to be ignored, but to be utilized in some way.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself: It’s Free, Too!

I got knocked down today. A proposal of mine was rejected by someone who I thought was very interested in helping me to bring the project to the next level. As I passed through my various emotions that followed, I recognized that I was at a crossroad. I could choose what had been my most natural response for as long as I can remember, to cry and feel sorry for myself, or I could take it like a big girl who knows better. And while I was so firmly centered in the belief that what had happened was for the best, it felt weird to actually be a witness to my own growth. It felt like I was supposed to cry simply to act out my disappointment. I did finally succumb to my old behavior for about five minutes, yet I felt like I was doing it for the spirit of the old days. It didn’t feel right. I had moved on.

Two years ago, I would have let at least half my day be destroyed as I wallowed in my disappointment. Today I was able to see the perfection within a few minutes of receiving the news. As I reflect back on how I have arrived where I am, once again I see the same thing. I’ve come to totally trust the wisdom of the flow of life. And it feels a lot more peaceful than banging my head against the wall, crying over something that is completely out of my control. What a gift.

When Bad Fires Happen to Good People

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“What did I do to deserve this?” Kiat Tohsakul, a local TV news program manager, said while looking at several unscathed homes next to his in Rancho Bernardo in northern San Diego.

“I have no idea why we got saved and others didn’t,” said John Becker, who lives less than a quarter mile away, as he arrived at his house to find only a touch of damage to a fence.

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Wildfire Lottery, October 24, 2007)

In the wake of this week’s wildfires, which have caused the largest evacuation from a natural disaster in California history, it seems that the questions that we most naturally respond with are loaded with “why?” and “what could we have done to prevent this?” When my husband walked out on me to move in with another woman, I asked myself those same questions. When it feels like a bomb has instantaneously destroyed your innocent life, it’s only natural to wonder why you are getting singled out while others are allowed to peacefully go along their merry way.

I imagine that the half a million people forced to evacuate their homes this week are without an answer just yet for why this has happened to them. Perhaps the reason will unfold for some in the weeks, months, and years to come. Maybe some will never know. There is a reason, though, because the fires were created through the will of the divine. I know, we don’t normally associate bad stuff with the divine, but if you believe like I do that divine energy is all there is, there’s no denying it.

Why would the divine create a disaster that would destroy the homes of thousands? While I certainly don’t profess to know the answer to this question, I do believe that everything that happens is meant to take us to our collective higher good. And I find a lot of peace and hope in this belief. What can be seen through human eyes is very different from spiritual sight. As hard as it may be to fathom this right now, what may seem to us right now as massive physical destruction might also be paving the way for a deeper cleansing and healing of sorts.

My prayers go out to all of those who have been touched by the wildfires, and to those of us whose homes have been saved. May we all find a sense of peace and hope in what we cannot humanly understand.

How Strong is Your Belief in Your Inner Power?

The idea that divine energy is everywhere is a concept that many of us might easily subscribe to intellectually, yet find more challenging to actively embrace from the heart. In our conditioning to view the world as physical form, it is easy to totally ignore the presence of spiritual energy, and consequently, the vital role it can play in your life. Becoming more aware of the divine energy that is present everywhere is something that you can learn to do. Let’s take a look at how you can open your mind to make this shift.Here are some questions to ask yourself to understand where you really stand:

  • Does the concept of building an active partnership with divine energy seem pie-in-the-sky, or an opportunity that you’re now feeling more ready to accept?
  • Do you believe that you are capable of interacting personally with divine energy, or do you perceive it as an ability that has skipped over you?
  • Are you ready to accept the idea that divine energy is behind everything, or do you still hold on to the belief that some things happen by chance?

Think of your answers like scores that range from one to ten. It’s not difficult to explore for yourself how and where you fall short of full alignment with the presence of divine energy. Chances are your scores fall somewhere in the middle of one to ten. All you need to take yourself to a higher vibrational level is an extra burst or two of faith.

What might you do to surrender to a deeper faith? First of all, you can look back on your life and identify times when you went through a period of change, worried perhaps about how you would land, and everything turned out okay. Maybe you initiated the change, or maybe it was forced upon you. Can you see times where you came out on the other side for the better? You can look at these experiences as fuel for your faith.

You can also strengthen your faith by experimenting with taking risks in areas where you feel divinely pulled. These can be tiny steps or huge strides. Try moving forward in the direction you feel pulled, and then look for signs of encouragement from the divine. These signs will show up as unexpected opportunities or gifts of various kinds. Be on the lookout for them, and when you recognize them, allow yourself to believe that they truly are signs from the divine.