"With an open mind, you will be open hearted."
Passion is as natural as breathing. Everyone has passion. You have it! You may simply need to draw it out again. If you're not experiencing as much passion as you'd like, open up your mind and heart. When you do, you'll attract more of what you desire.
The person you are today is greatly affected by the thoughts and beliefs you entertained yesterday. The problem is, most of the over 40,000 thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday. If yesterday is not what you want, let go of that and see with new eyes today. The secret to attracting good things into your life is to unleash your sleeping passion.
Chapter One illustrates the benefits of opening your mind, how your fearful thoughts block your passion and keep you stuck, why you resist change, "passion hot lines" about the five and ten breath technique, personal pages and mindmapping, a unique color-coded way to claim what you want. Open you heart with the Food For Thought and Action activities and Practice tasks. You can begin again, and the time is now. Willing adventurers read on!
Jerry nudged his wife across the breakfast table, and pointed to the press release in the morning paper. "Here's a seminar I can really use--'Wake Up Your Memory!' I love golf and tennis, but it's time to tickle my brain."
"When does it start?" his wife encouraged.
"Next Tuesday. This is the first class of a fifteen-week wellness series at the senior center--and it's free! I'm going to sign up."
When his company offered him favorable, early retirement at fifty-six, Jerry accepted. He envisioned enjoying life, his church and his wife. To fill his retirement hours, he poured himself into parish fund raising, volunteering virtually full time. Yet, after five years, he admitted life could be more fulfilling.
"I was struggling to find meaning in these activities, yet all I was feeling was old. It's more than my body; my mind and spirit need help too."
This handsome, youthful looking mature man wanted more. He enrolled in a fifteen-week seminar titled "How to Discover and Recover Your Creative Self," loosely on Julia Cameron's best selling book, The Artist's Way. Could this program be the catalyst to help him discover a balance between his head and his heart?
At one early meeting, Jerry bravely shared, "I'm just not flexible enough. My wife recently asked me to go to a play. Without even knowing the name of the play, I flatly refused." Inspired by class discussion and fieldwork, Jerry used his new awareness to put the wheels of serendipity into action. He saw a half-price offer for the play "Six Women With Brain Death" and showed it to his wife.
"That's the play I mentioned that you said no to", she said. "It's a hilarious comedy about men and women and how they mysteriously communicate." She grinned and said, "How ironic, huh?"
Chagrined, yet willing to risk something new, Jerry agreed to go. Reveling in the magic of change, Jerry opened his mind and heart. He looked at his weakness in communicating openly and compassionately with his adult children. Putting his ego and parental power aside, he began to listen more, and criticize less. "I'm taking time to stand in their shoes," he said. His less controlling attitude allowed his children to make their own mistakes. Impressed by his continuous positive communications, his daughter extended her short visit from New York into three weeks to have more father-daughter time.
The old saying, "An unexamined life is not worth living" applies to anyone willing to turn up the volume in their life. When we live true to ourselves and are willing to be flexible with others, life delivers.
After taking a "workaholic test" Jerry admitted he was overworking and overplanning to avoid his feelings, his family and having fun. "On my self-imposed treadmill, I charged through unrealistic projects, feeling there was never enough time to do them."
Jerry's life shifted. He wrote daily in his personal journal expressing his frustrations, then ending with his daily gratitudes. This meditation with a pen led Jerry to unfold his sense of humor, not taking himself so seriously. He relished the weekly assignment of going on a "mini vacation" and was eager to share it each week." From self interest, workaholism and judgment Jerry's compassion for others and creative thinking emerged to his great delight.
"I've learned to be more open to prosperity. I'm willing to have more now, and realize I'm getting so much more. One of my goals is to travel again to Europe like my wife and I did a year ago. Our friends want us back again, but this time we want our trip expenses to match what it takes to live in San Diego."
In less than two months Jerry's intentions materialized. Frequent flyer miles produced a free plane ticket. His German and French hosts offered not only their homes, but use of their cars. To show appreciation, Jerry prepared his own sumptuous meals to be shared with his friends. This even better second trip evolved because he was open to having it just the way he wanted, and giving and receiving "from the heart."
"I don't need to push life--just allow it to happen!" Jerry said. His new attitude brought his family together in new ways. The whole family took a mountain vacation. They played without expectations, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing precious moments together.
Still active in his parish, and dedicated to serving others, Jerry now is taking time to nurture what is most precious to him--his real self, his wife and his relationships with his adult children. To release your passion, what would you like to open up to and nourish?
Open to Your Inner Coach
Most of our attention is directed to others--what they say, what they do and what they want. To unleash our passion, we must listen to that quiet inner voice. The truth of who we are is inside us. We have our own answers to help solve life's challenges, yet we pay little attention to our small voice because we stay busy, going, doing, reacting--all at breakneck speed. It's the American way.
We're shallow chest breathers, too. Deep and slow breathing completely emptying and filling our lungs will send more needed oxygen to our brain. Living with worry, confusion and stress results in a lack of concentration. We've been taught to squeeze and hold onto information instead of staying in open focus, where information and life just flow to us. "What's really good for me?" doesn't have a chance to be heard.
Right now, take a few deep breaths. Allow your thoughts to wander. As concerns float up, allow them, like a cloud, to float away. Keep breathing deeply, relaxing even more. Do this three minutes. Ask the question, "What's good for me today?" and listen for the answers. Benefits from quieting the mind include: interacting with life gracefully rather than compulsively, staying closer to what gives our life meaning, opening our mind and heart to new challenges and adventures. My Life 101 students ask me "how much, how often?" I usually respond with "as many times a day as you want to feel good." For myself, I practice the "Five and Ten Breath" described below for a few minutes every hour or so. After that, at least once a day, I find a quiet place where I can reach my inner coach. She's always ready to listen.
"The Five and Ten Breath"
Close your eyes. Release your breath first.
How do you feel now? More relaxed? Tingling in your hands or feet? A bit light-headed? This simple exercise has enormous benefits. The Five and Ten cleansing breath helps empty the carbon dioxide from your lungs, making room for the precious oxygen that nourishes your brain, organs and joints. It can lead you into meditation where you simply breathe in and out through your nose. Use "post its" with such sayings as "breathe" or "slow down" on your car visor, desk, refrigerator or computer to remind yourself.
Claim and Affirm What You Want
Use affirmations to help open up new life experiences. Affirmations are desires stated as though they are already true. We affirm what we want every day without much thought--"I want to read that new best seller" or "I want to see Robert De Niro's newest movie tonight." When we put a little more 'oomph" into these statements, like a TV broadcaster, they send out a more powerful message.
From New Physics comes this truth: All thought is energy. Energy never dissipates. It simply changes form. When we put intention and attention on our desire, the always listening universal energy field of intelligence says 'yes' to our manifesting that desire. When Jerry affirmed better relationships with his children, opportunities abounded. Do your affirmations just after the Five and Ten Breath to create the highly receptive 'alpha' brain state. This relaxed but alert state is perfect for attracting support for your desires. Use the present tense when you think, say aloud or write them. Say "I see my desk top clean with only one project on it" rather than "I will clean my desk." "Will" connotes a vague future compared to the concrete now of the first affirmation.
Jerry wrote these affirmations in his journal:
Our thoughts followed by actions lead to results. Know that to manifest in the external world, you must first create the possibility in your mind. What is possible right now in your life? Write your one or two affirmations ten times a day in your "personal pages" (see below). Say them out loud several times a day. Record them on a cassette. When you add the attention of writing and saying them out loud, you increase the odds of your affirmations coming true. Even if you don't believe something is possible, try this exercise out for three to four weeks. It may take a month, it may take a day. Your passion within is ready to replace old habits. Stop restricting yourself and enjoy what's waiting for you in the endless list of possibilities.
First, buy yourself a notebook. It can
Remember, always precede your writing with the "Five and Ten Breath."
Mindmap Your Desires
A mindmap is a unique, graphic color-coded way to take notes. It shortens the steps the brain takes because it shows a whole picture as well as the integral parts. Its main topic is placed in the middle of the page, sometimes in a circle. Different categories, each in a different color, are printed on branches that come from the center of the mindmap. Subpoints of each category are printed on smaller branches leading off the main one. Use only one color per branch and its subbranches. This open ended and open minded technique lends itself well to creating, brainstorming, planning, remembering, organizing and writing. Gather about six colored felt-tip markers and a piece of paper large enough to feel free with. Think about the different areas of your life:
Which ones do you feel are out of balance? Which ones would you like to expand? Choose just one for now. Use the mindmap below as a model and create your own. Use a different color marker for each category. When you are done, post this mindmap on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror or over a light switch. Look at it each day. Make sure your desire is sincere and reflects your true inner self. Mindmapping our desires signals the endless positive universal energy that we are willing and open to receive. While list making is helpful sometimes, Mindmapping's creative approach allows our passions to emerge as new ideas come. We can even put pictures on our mindmap instead of words. I love mindmapping because it's fun. It frees me from restricted linear thinking--and I don't have to be neat!
My mindmap below reflects what I wanted to do to make my home and surroundings functional and inviting, create more harmony and beauty, and bring in new prosperity.
Click here to see this mindmap. (You need Acrobat Reader to view this).
The Magic of Mindmapping
Before I took a single step to help this map manifest, I shared it in my creativity group. By just sharing it with growth-minded people, I got immediate response to my desire. One member, a Feng Shui consultant, offered to come to my home and give me some ideas. My first 'aha' came when Valerie noticed piles of unused garden supplies and wood behind my garage. "You need to keep your outside harmonious, too," she said. The next day, a friend and I cleaned up the clutter, disposing of most of it. Now, there was room for a new raised bed vegetable garden! The entry of my home was dark and uninviting. Talking with a homeowner-friend, I learned of a reliable, affordable handyman. He put up a redwood lattice overhanging trellis outside and put in new cupboards to frame a formerly hidden window and painted the walls just the right blue. I added pictures of loved ones and a bookshelf holding my favorite books to reflect my career. I added a crystal to bring in new energy and a framed affirmation, "Where I am...Love is." I found just the perfect waterfall and fountain and placed it and multiple pots of red geraniums at my home's entry to bring prosperity. The whole project took on a life of its own, flowing to perfect fruition in about a month.
My vision? To create more prosperity, peace and harmony in my life, and what better place than in my sanctuary?
Change Negative Language to Positive
When Jerry ceased his fatherly criticism of his children, and affirmed "I listen to my children," their relationship opened up. "When you put your attention on something, it grows" illustrates a universal, natural law, true now and forever. When we follow natural laws, they can guide us to a more zestful, creative life.
Our beliefs are nothing more than opinions. We create what we believe on a conscious or unconscious level. "I can't afford it" is negative opinion that subconsciously asserts "I don't deserve wealth." It reflects longtime beliefs we probably picked up in childhood, beliefs that are not necessarily true.
Thoughts are energy. Energy surrounds us and is part of us. Have you ever resisted receiving something good? Passed on a splurge for yourself? Avoided taking a healthy walk or a needed vacation?
Hidden negatives slip into the most casual of conversations, such as "my feet are killing me." After eating a sumptuous meal, have you ever said, "that was to die for?" How about "that was to live for?"
Other people's moods and suggestions affect us, too, lowering our defenses. "You look tired today" turns us into a sinking Titanic. "I think I'm getting a cold" not only names the disorder, it strengthens its power.
Beware negative or pessimistic thinkers. They can sap your energy. Avoid the habitual "wouldas, couldas and shouldas." Remember "can't" means "won't" and "try" means it won't happen in this lifetime! Add your own favorites to this list.
Check Your Resistances
Belief systems run our lives. Creating ourselves anew demands
we look at the old beliefs and ideas that stifle our passion. Once we become aware of them, we can create more positive experiences for ourselves. Check the phrases you hear yourself use:
Resistances keep us stuck. Ask yourself: if not now, when?
Diversify Your Reading and TV Experiences
How many stacks of unread magazines do your have? Why are you saving them? "Because 'someday' I'll read them." Know that 'someday' is not a day of the week! Be selective, guilt free and have more time for you. Most of us read the newspaper. We may spend up to an hour each day on it. Or, we read Newsweek or Time with more bad news. Dramatic headlines and stories may seem important, but their negative messages hook us. Television displays strong pictures that can imprint us for life. Do we really need to keep up with the world? Do we really need all that negative news every day? Does it help us sleep peacefully? Does it help bring out our passion? Or, is it another distraction we put between ourselves and life? Take a week off from reading and watching the news. What can you do instead? Take a walk, see a friend, listen to music, clear out a corner of clutter, bake a cake or create a sumptuous meal to share.
Think of your positive choices as self-care. Ask yourself, "Does this choice bring me joy, or stress?" Opening your mind to positive choices is the first step to creating passion.
1. Review the chapter. Write your "ahas" and new discoveries in your personal pages as they come up. Ahas illustrate you are opening up to your passion within. How do you feel afterward?
2. Practice the Five and Ten Breath throughout the day, today and every day. How do you feel afterward?
3. Write two questions you want answers to at the top of a personal journal page. Allow yourself to relax for five minutes and listen for the answers.
4. Create a special place and time to be quiet, concentrate, contemplate and meditate your own way.
5. Choose a life area in which you want to unleash your passion and enroll your enthusiasm. Perhaps it will be relationships, money or updating a skill, maybe computer skills. Create your own "I Desire" mindmap in color. Share it with a supportive friend. Does it make you want to take action?
Judy Cullins, M.A.