A Lesson in Trusting Your Instincts

power cordThe other morning while I was getting ready for a meeting with a significant potential client for my business, a thought came to me that I should check to make sure my projector and accessories were all geared up in my bag. A few minutes later I grabbed the bag with the projector out of my office closet where I always store it, tucked my laptop into my briefcase, and plopped them next to the door. I felt relieved to have my equipment ready before it was time to rush out the door.

A couple of hours later my business partner and I were making small talk at the conference table with our three prospective clients while I began setting up my laptop and projector.  I plugged my laptop into the wall plug and reached in my bag for the projector’s cord. My hand found the cable that connects the projector to the computer and placed it on the table. I reached back into the side pocket where I always store the power cord and it wasn’t there.  Slightly panicked, my eyes and hands darted around the main part of the bag and back to the pocket a couple more times until I accepted the fact that the power cord was missing.

Normally I would have been shocked because I am meticulous about keeping the components in the bag to avoid what had just happened. Yet the thought that told me to check the bag came back to me during this scene and I was frustrated with myself for not following through.

Luckily the meeting went just fine, although I do believe projecting on the wall would have been much more effective than the three potential clients hovering over my laptop. When we got back to our office, my business partner, who was the last one to use the projector, found the power cord in his computer bag, which did not accompany us that day.

The lesson: Think of your instincts as intelligence you are not consciously in touch with and follow its guidance.

Finding Clues of Guidance in the Midst of Everyday Life

I have just returned from BookExpo America (BEA), the book industry’s annual event held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where I went to promote the debut of my book, Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live. I expected the experience to be one of value, learning, and building relationships. What I didn’t expect was to discover what occurred to me while I mentally noted the highlights of the event during our final day. As I focused on these highlights, I saw a common thread that weaved throughout the launch of my book that would have totally bypassed my consciousness had I not stopped to casually review. I believe this common thread provides a direction for me that I would not have taken seriously had the energy of life not have shoved it in my face.

I’d like to share my clues and my perception of the guidance they provide, and then invite you to look at recent, or not so recent, events in your life where there might be direction sitting there for you.

Clue #1: My company, inner architect, published the book using a standard off-set printer who specializes in the book industry. Upon our request for production samples, the printer we ultimately chose sent us two books published by Hay House. I didn’t think anything more about this at the time than the printer wanted to promote that they had a well known, prestigious client.

Clue #2: Louise Hay author and founder of Hay House, happened to be autographing books in the Hay House booth at BEA while my partner, Dean and I walked by. Dean took my bashful arm and led me to stand next to him in the line to meet Louise. When it was our turn to greet her, Dean introduced me and thanked her for the inspiration she provided to us to launch our publishing company. Once again, I didn’t take this for anything more than shear luck of being in the right place at the right time to meet Louise Hay, a woman I respect and honor for her contribution to the human development movement.

Clue #3: Later that day at BEA we stopped to talk with a man promoting international distribution services. We proudly showed him our new book and he responded with a comment about it being along the lines of what Hay House publishes. He went on to tell us that a company that had recently lost the Hay House account would likely welcome something to replace it. I felt encouraged by his comment, yet didn’t see the meaning in this exchange until I put all three of these clues together.

My interpretation of these clues: I was led to look at a woman who I deeply admire as a model for my own work in a way that I had never considered on my own.

What to take away from my experience:

  1. Look at the events that unfold in your life as having meaningful messages for you.
  2. Take the messages that you interpret seriously, even if they seem grander than visions you’ve created for yourself.
  3. Trust that these messages are meant to lead you in the direction where you will find the most fulfillment.
  4. Believe that you are capable in carrying out these messages and commit to doing the steps that will see it through.

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.

Your Heart: Your Wisest Compass

Giving credibility to messages from your heart is a key step to happiness in all areas of your life. Yet most of us have not been taught to lead our lives this way. We may recognize that a fulfilled heart is the key to a happy life, yet we don’t often trust our hearts to lead us there. It is as if we expect that our heart is going to lead us down an irresponsible path of whim and wild.

 

How to trust your heart more than your analytical mind:

  1. Allow your heart to play a role in all matters of your life, just as you allow it a significant role in your personal relationships.
  2. Acknowledge that your heart is the center of your spiritual essence. As such, it is the most knowledgeable entity about who you really are at the core and what is right for you.
  3. Believe that your heart always has your best interest in mind.
  4. Practice following your heart for simple decisions so that you can build the experience to trust it in larger issues.

Science Shows the Amazing Benefits of Meditation

http://innerarchitect.com

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.

 

Accepting the Flow without the Hissie Fit

row.jpg

I had an experience yesterday that left me shaking my head in awe at the wonder of the universe. I recently started working on a proposal for my second book, a project that I find rather daunting. I had spent much of the day before toiling over how to best present the overview for the book. I knew at the time that it felt like I was forcing ideas, yet I was more focused on making progress than I was paying attention to what was not flowing naturally. So by the end of the day I had pushed three pages to the surface. I wasn’t thrilled about my work, yet I figured I could clean it up with some good word-smithing when I was more in the mood. It had been a hard day of work and I was thrilled to have that portion of the proposal pretty much behind me.

The next morning I turned my computer on and opened the file to continue on with the proposal. “Oh my God!” I screamed from my home office. My partner, Dean, thought I was responding to a piece of horrific world news, but instead I was shouting my disbelief that all my hard work was gone. The file on my computer contained only the first couple of paragraphs I had started the week before. So for the next hour, in between hissie fits about my bad luck, I searched feverishly to uncover a file that held my work. When I exhausted all the ways I knew to look for files, I told Dean that I was giving up. When he suggested that I make a call to my computer consultant, I got in touch with what I knew was really going on. I had been led to ditch my first effort because it wasn’t good enough. It hadn’t come from my heart.

I know that there are skeptics out there who believe that sometimes, maybe even most of the time, that things happen by chance. My inner being knows that losing this file was not an event of chance. You see, I very rarely lose files. And when I do, I know my way around a computer well enough to be able to recover them. This time the file was nowhere to be found. I searched the hard drive, the hidden files and the temporary files. The manner in which it had completely vanished still has me shaking my head.

My conclusion? I believe the universe was telling me that the way I had presented my book in the first effort was not representative of what I am proposing to bring to the world. So I started all over again, this time speaking from my heart. And this time, my proposal is in total alignment with my book. This experience has served as yet another example of how the universe is always supporting me for my higher good. I just wish I could have embraced this idea without the hissie fits. Maybe next time…

How about you?  What ugly thing have you encountered that just might ring with purpose?

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

Allowing Synchronicity to Guide You

jungbirk.jpg

Synchronicity is a concept which describes a meaningful coincidence that was first introduced by Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung in 1952. Jung believed that many events that we determine as coincidences are not merely products of chance, but experiences that are produced as a result of what he coined the collective unconscious, the governing dynamic that runs throughout the entire human experience. Simply put, synchronicity is an expression of wisdom spoken from the voice of the collective universe.

I was first introduced to the idea of synchronicity about a dozen years ago. I thought it was very cool when those meaningful coincidences showed their faces in my life, and enabled me to pull my new word out of my back pocket and put it to good use. At the time, though, I treated synchronicity as if it were a concept from a fairy tale that was allowed to touch my life only as frequently as I might expect magic to occur. A couple of phone calls that came to me last week showed me how much weight I now place on these kinds of events and how much I allow them to guide my way.

How do you let synchronicity guide you?

  1. Approach life from the perspective that everything happens for a reason. Note that I said everything. Remember that life is not just about the big things. There is meaning behind even the tiniest of details. I think of this point like gravity. It doesn’t just occur at certain times in certain places. It’s everywhere all the time.
  2. Consider that the wisdom of the universe is much greater than your own mind. Think of events that unfold in your life as advice from the universe. Don’t think of the unsolicited or even painful advice as having less value than direction you might have been praying for.
  3. Trust that the universe is like a loving, supportive parent who only wants the best for you. In this spirit, you can learn to trust that whatever unfolds is meant to bring you to a better place, even if where you are now feels darn comfortable.
  4. Think of the energy of synchronicity like the current of water flowing in a river. How much easier it is to surrender to the flow of the current than to fight against it to go in a direction where you are not naturally being led.

I would love to hear any stories you’d like to share about synchronicity in your life. If you’ll allow me to post them here, you can help others to gain trust for themselves through what you’ve seen in your own life.

Thank you for sharing your time here. May you experience delightful synchronicity this week!

My best to you,

Susan
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com

Susan Hanshaw
Sanctuary for Change
www.sanctuaryforchange.com

Do You Tolerate Fraud in Your Outer Persona?

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

In yesterday’s article, Are You Doing What You Came Here to Do?, I shared the benefits of living in alignment with your true self. Today I want to follow that up with some tips on how you can begin to get in deeper touch with who you really are and what you are here to do. Today’s focus is on discerning the difference between the self that you share with the outer world and the voice that flows inside of you.

The key to knowing your true self is first in believing that there is a divine life that is you. It’s recognizing that who you really are is more than the role you play in your family or community, your job, your interests and the thoughts that run through your mind. Those things are all a part of the tapestry that makes up your physical self, yet they are really only the human legs for your divine self. Think of them like the machine and environment for your divine self to thrive and grow. With that idea as your framework, here are some practical tips for getting in touch and living in greater alignment with the soul of who you really are.

Many of us begin this journey with an outer persona that we show the world and an inner self that we keep hidden. Sometimes we put so much focus on our outer persona that we are totally detached from the essence of who we are and what is calling our heart. You can begin to get in touch with who you really are by paying attention to where you feel out of alignment in your outer world. For example:

  • Does your work feed your soul or are you just in it for the paycheck? If your work doesn’t feed you, what would you love to do if money was not part of the equation? Don’t edit or judge the dreams that you have. Consider them as significant and credible clues to who you are and what you are here to do.
  • Give yourself quiet time to listen to your inner voice. Whenever you find yourself alone, reject the tendency to busy yourself. When you’re driving alone in your car, turn off the music and pay attention to what is going on inside of you. When you’re in a waiting room, don’t distract yourself with a magazine or newspaper. Just close your eyes and turn within. Don’t get hung up worrying about what other people are going to think. Get to know your inner voice. What does it dream about? What ideas might it have about you that you may be too afraid to share with anyone else? Give this voice and its instincts credibility and strive to follow it.
  • Consider your life experiences and ask yourself during what events did you feel most alive. Do you have a nagging desire that raises its head every once in awhile that you just keep pushing down because you tell yourself that you’ll never have the guts to go for it? Is there a common theme in what makes you feel alive and those desires that just don’t go away? If so, this is a major clue calling your attention to what you are here to do.
  • Surround yourself with people with whom you can show up authentically. Sometimes we hold on to relationships simply for the sake of history. The relationship may feel like a drain or no longer a fit, yet we don’t want to hurt that person so we continue on even when it doesn’t feel good. Yet any relationship that doesn’t give you the freedom or support to express what is in your heart limits your ability to live in fuller alignment with who you really are.
  • Begin to identify with yourself as your divine self and not your bodily self. Even if you are still fuzzy about who you really are, think about that concept throughout the day. Seek to start each day off with this thought. Don’t take your divine self too seriously, though. Have fun with the idea.

Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned for more of this theme as it unfolds this week. Please feel free to email me if I can answer any questions.

My best to you,

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com

Meditation as Your Channel for Guidance

I remember my first introduction to meditation. It was in a college philosophy class in 1980. Our instructor had us lying flat on the floor for what seemed like an incredibly long time. I got absolutely nothing out of it except a lowered self esteem and a leeriness for all things “out there”. I walked out of that class scarred with the idea that I was just one of those people who couldn’t get the hang of meditation. Little did I know what incredible influence it would have on my life two decades later.

For me, the biggest obstacle around meditation was getting to the point where I actually believed there was wisdom that was accessible to me. I had to learn to trust that the voice I heard or felt was credible. I had to learn to stop rationalizing the voice as something my mind had made up and just surrender to what was coming to me. I now think of meditation as a practice I treat like my physical workout. It’s necessary routine maintenance for my spirit. It keeps me tuned into who I really am and what I am here to do. It’s my sounding board and my channel for guidance.

I wanted to share with you some understandings I’ve come to over the years which have enabled me to embrace a meditation practice which once felt strange and foreign. If you happen to be someone who experiences a similar challenge, you might make some breakthroughs by considering these beliefs:

  1. The essence of you is not your body. Your body is simply the vessel that holds the energy of your light and enables it to do its work here on earth.
  2. Each one of us is connected through the divine source from which we were created. The only thing that separates you from divine wisdom is your mind. Again, by letting go of the idea that you are a separate body, you gain the insight that you are a part of universal energy which you can tap into at any time.
  3. Your life has significance in this universe. You’re not running around this planet like an unassigned free agent. There is divine guidance available to support you in your purpose here. You simply need to ask for the guidance and expect that it will come to you.
  4. You are a child of God. There is something that God wants to accomplish through you. The understanding of this mission can be received by tuning in to your connection to God in the silence of your meditations.
  5. Your heart is your bodily center of your spirit. Trust what comes to you from your heart more than your analytical mind.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about meditation. Stay tuned also for my special guest, Dr. Susan Gregg, who will appear in an interview here on Thursday, July 12th. Susan is the author of Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meditations. Check it out.

Thank you for visiting. Wishing you a journey of wonder and joy.

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com
www.sanctuaryforchange.com

Dare to Break Your Human Mold

susan-outside-122806-reduced.jpg

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

A Course in Miracles talks about time as being simply a resource for us in learning to remember who and what we really are and our connection to all of life. This is another example of a lesson that I can grasp intellectually, yet until it makes its way to my heart, I truly don’t get it. Even if I think I do.

I have been focusing a lot in recent days about trying to live in greater alignment with who I am and what I think I am here to do. Yet when I awaken each morning my thoughts immediately jump to my physical presence. Is my automated coffee maker finished brewing? Is Dean up? What’s the weather like? What time is my first appointment? What am I going to wear? When will I fit my run in? As someone whose focus is on spiritual awakening, this frustrates me. What is it going to take for me to physically and mentally embrace the essence that I feel in my heart? I’m done with feeling like I spend so much of my time living my spiritual life from the outside like it were some fantasy baseball game. I want to play the real game from the inside.

I know. You might respond to my frustrations by telling me to just relax and allow myself to be human. But I’m sorry. I want more than that. I want to fully walk my own talk as well as the words of wisdom of all the others who have enlightened me.

The good news is that I believe I have the where-with-all to do this. I look back on other times in my life where I’ve made great change by putting my mind to it. When I was 20, I woke up one day tired of being a fat young woman and I completely changed my eating habits. At 30, I stopped being a closet smoker the day I moved into a new apartment. When I was 35, I got a glimpse of how strong I really am when my husband walked out on me. At 45, I got the courage to say good-bye to a 20-year career that no longer fed me. Now, six weeks short of my 48th birthday, I feel ready to take on a new step. And I ask, why should this be any different? Does living as a true expression of your spiritual light have to be an impossible dream?

So on this luscious June day I share with you that I have begun to dare myself to approach my life differently. I set the intention to remind myself constantly of who I really am and to think and act on that accordingly. I do this with the hopeful expectation that this is how habits are created. Haven’t we been taught that practice makes perfect?

I invite you also to join with me and create your own intention to live more fully from your spiritual light. In numbers we can begin to break the mold and return to our natural state of being.

Thank you for visiting.

In light,
Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com