How I Stopped Hating Money!

Producing the Abundant Mystic Series is providing me with wonderful opportunities to look deeply at the remaining abundance blocks hiding in my subconscious mind. While I’m thrilled to be playing in the realm of the Abundant Mystic I’m relatively new to this space. Until recently I was experiencing the ups and downs and financial struggles that so many Modern Day Mystics seem to face. So I’m excited to be learning (right along with you) from the 28 abundant mystic guides and mentors over the next 10-weeks!

This week though, I had the opportunity to look at a lingering and tenacious abundance block. It was actually an attitude I had towards money that was working under the surface of my awareness to keep money away.

no-moneyIt was a feeling of hatred towards money. Now that may sound strong, but it came from a very profound experience that happened a LONG time ago and has managed to stay hidden but still active within the core of my being.

This hatred towards money came bubbling up into my awareness in the last few days when my biological mother, grandmother and brother came to visit for my daughter’s 10th birthday.

Whenever my bio mom comes it’s an opportunity for me to peel another layer of the onion of my belief systems, to let go of what is ready to be released and open to what is ready to be awakened within me.

This time, because I’m preparing for The Abundant Mystic, the energy of abundance and money along with the beliefs that I hold about them are very much alive for me. So it’s natural that any old beliefs or attitudes in that arena would come up.

Sure enough, working with my coach the other day, I tapped into this deep-rooted hatred of money. There is a place inside me, a part of me, if you will, that hates money and wants to have nothing to do with it.

Where does this hatred come from?

When I first met my biological mom, at age 23, I asked her – as I’m sure all adoptees do – why she gave me up for adoption. The reason she gave me was money!

At that time, as a young, single, pregnant woman, she believed she didn’t have enough money to raise me on her own. She felt as if she would either have to move back in with her parents or live on welfare. Neither of which were viable options for her.

So on a core energetic level I internalized a belief that money was the cause of our separation. To that part of me, money was the reason that I was taken away from my mother. That core part of me has held onto the anger, resentment and hatred towards money all of these years, blaming it for our separation and seeking to keep it away.

Now, obviously, something you hate is not something you are going to be very excited to attract more of. So while I (the conscious part of my mind) have been doing everything “right” to attract more money and step fully into the realm of the Abundant Mystic, that energy of hatred towards money has been doing everything it can to block the flow of money into my life.

This is a perfect example of why the Law of Attraction and other manifestation methods don’t always work. When you have deep-rooted, subconscious beliefs that are working at cross-purposes to your vision and intentions, the subconscious beliefs almost always win!

It’s said that our conscious minds are like the tip of the iceberg, comprising about 10% of our total consciousness. That means that as much as 90% of our consciousness is hidden from our awareness and working from the shadows.

If the conscious you (10%) wants to go one way and the subconscious you (90%) wants to go another way, guess which way you’re going to go!

So how do you shift your subconscious beliefs and energy?

There are many simple, powerful tools and techniques that can shift, transform and even transmute the contradictory subconscious beliefs and energy. That’s one of the reasons why I am so excited about The Abundant Mystic series that begins next week. Every one of the 28 mentors, guides and teachers will be sharing practical tools and processes for doing just that. I can’t wait to learn from them right along with you!

In this case, I chose to work with the simple but powerful Ho’oponopono technique, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.

In this practice you repeat four simple phrases while holding an image of the person or thing you seek to forgive (and seek forgiveness from) in your mind. This process brings about a sense of forgiveness, peace, harmony and love within you and others. You can use this process in your relationships with other people, things, experiences, beliefs… anything that you feel holds some “stuck” energy for you.

Even if you don’t feel an energy of “hatred” towards money, if you are not experiencing as much abundance in your life as you would like, try this process with the energy of money. Here’s how.

First center yourself and call up an image or symbol of money. Hold that image in your mind while you repeat the following phrases:

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

I love you.

Repeat those words as many times as needed to bring a deeper sense of peace and harmony. After a few repetitions you will notice your body relaxing as you come into a deeper more open connection with the energy of money.

You can do this as many times as you want. The more you do it, the “cleaner” your relationship with money and abundance will become.

Go ahead and give it a try and let me know what you notice. Leave a comment on the blog post here.

And if you’re excited to learn more simple and powerful processes for clearing your subconscious blocks to abundance, be sure to register for The Abundant Mystic series. It begins next Tuesday!

Jack Canfield is Wrong: “So What” Doesn’t Work

There’s a lot that Jack Canfield does right. But there’s one thing he said in the movie The Secret that has been bugging me ever since I first saw it back in 2006.

Do you remember when he said this?

“… most psychologists believe that about 85% of families are dysfunctional, so it’s like, all of a sudden you’re not so unique. My parents were alcoholics. My dad abused me, my mother divorced him when I was six… I mean, that’s almost everybody’s story in some form or not. So that’s just called, ‘So what’.”

It’s that “So What” that bugs me.

Maybe so what worked for Jack… and maybe it works for some people. It hasn’t worked for me… I tried getting “So What” to work for about 20-years: Never did.

Now maybe I was just too messed up… or maybe I just wasn’t ready to let go of my wounding… maybe I was one of those victims Jack was talking about when he said: “You know, a lot of people feel like they’re victims in life, and they’ll often point to past events, perhaps growing up with an abusive parent or in a dysfunctional family.”

Could be. I’m willing to accept that there may be some truth to that.

And… I’m also clear that “So What” was NOT an effective path to wholeness for me. And, from what I can tell, it’s not an effective path for a lot of people including most of the people I’ve coached and guided through courses and retreats.

It took me a long time to let go of “so what” and look for another path, another way out of the cycle of wounding that held me back and holds so many Modern Day Mystics back from creating lives of True Abundance.

A new path appeared for me when I started working with a Somatic Experiencing practitioner. The doorway to a new possibility opened when she saw and acknowledged and reflected back to me the depth of the pain I was holding in the cells of my body.

She could tell by the way my body moved when I entered the “trauma vortex” that my trauma was early, birth and even pre-birth. She was able to see and clearly and compassionately reflect what I had been holding in my body all my life.

My “story,” as Jack would call it, is about adoption . It’s a story that doesn’t lend itself to being a victim because the trauma is pre-verbal, pre-cognition. There is no abuse involved and looking in from the outside there doesn’t seem to be much trauma at all. In some ways you could call it a “silent trauma.”

Try explaining to someone who has not been adopted that being separated from your mother at birth feels akin to death – your death and the death of the one person in your life that you need, in that moment, more than anything – and that the memory of that “death” is encoded in the cells of your body. Most people will nod their heads and say, “that’s interesting.”

So I tried, for most of my life, to get to that place of “So What” since that’s what the world seemed to be reflecting back to me. So What, Edward. Get over it and get on with your life.

Well intentioned advice that completely missed the target.

“So What” wasn’t what I needed. It didn’t help me.

Working with the SE practitioner I finally understood what I needed and what would have helped me. And maybe hearing this – even though the specifics might not be the same – will help you!

If I could go back to my younger self, when I first began my journey of self-discovery, knowing what I know now, here is what I would say:

“Wow Edward, I can see how deeply the adoption experience impacted you. You hold a profound pain inside of you that most likely will never completely go away. It must have been so painful to have your mother let you go at the moment of your birth. I can sense the deep emotions, the grief, anger, terror and helplessness that you’re holding in the cells of your body.

“You will always carry the memory of that experience in your body.

“But you know what else? You can learn to let go of the pain and release those deep emotions so that the experience doesn’t control you. You can acknowledge it. You can learn to accept it as a part of who you are. In time you may even come to appreciate it for the role it has played in shaping you into who you are and who you are becoming.

“And when you do that, Edward, when you acknowledge, accept and even appreciate the experience it will no longer have power over you. It will no longer control your thoughts and actions from the shadows.

“This experience has defined you but it has done so on a subconscious level. Now you get to choose to bring this experience into your conscious exploration of who you want to become. How will you choose to interact with this trauma. How will you choose to let it activate you, open you, awaken you, catalyze you to create something and share the unique wisdom and insights that you carry because of it? That is your choice and that is the path you must walk.”

Now I hope you can see that this is not meant to give any of us license to be a victim or to get stuck in our woundedness. Rather it is an invitation to be deeply witnessed in your wholeness… and your wholeness includes the wounds and past traumas that you carry.

When you are witnessed in those places, when you allow yourself to be seen and accepted in your wholeness you can begin to reclaim the power from the wounded places and bring that power into the light, into your life… and into the world!

So consider this article my way of acknowledging you, of witnessing you in your wholeness, of honoring the pain you carry from whatever traumas you have experienced in the past and of inviting you to bring your power into the world!

I’m Making Up A Story That…

On Thursday and Friday of last week I had the privilege of interviewing some of the most successful conscious entrepreneurs in the world. It was part of the Shift Network’s Enlightened Business Summit. Earlier in the week, Chip Conley, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, interviewed many of the most successful conscious business people on the topic of Emotional Fluency.

It was an incredible week of insights and aha moments. And the most amazing thing for me was to see how much of the information being shared by these high level business executives, authors and experts in the field of Emotional Intelligence could be applied to areas other than business!

Fyi: If you haven’t had a chance to listen, the replays are available through the end of the week.

One of the biggest “AHA” moments for me was during Chip’s interview with Café Gratitude founders Terces and Matthew Englehart, authors of the book, Sacred Commerce. At one point Matthew was sharing one of the communications techniques they use in the restaurants when there is a conflict or tension between employees.

As the two, or more, employees share what they are thinking they begin with the phrase, “I’m making up a story that…”

It is such a simple technique and yet the power in those 6 words is incredible.

Think about it: How many times have you made up a story in your head about someone or a situation that ended up having absolutely no connection to reality?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably done it once or twice… or maybe like a few thousand times! 😉

This technique struck me as such a powerful way to diffuse the charge that builds up when our minds start spinning out in a direction that usually is not based on anything other than a limiting belief.

I know that I make up stories all the time about being abandoned. That’s my “core wound.” And it’s very easy for me to spin out into a detailed storyline about how I’m being abandoned by my partner whenever she does something that activates that wound in me.

Since hearing that interview last week, I’ve made a commitment to myself to use the phrase, “I’m making up a story that you’re pulling away”… or “you’re getting ready to leave”… or, well you get it.

Using that phrase does two very important things:

First, for my partner, it lets her know I’m aware that I’m speaking from the wounded place in me and that I’m not saying this story is true and I’m not saying that she’s doing anything wrong. When I speak from that place it allows her to hear me without going into defensiveness.

Second, for me, it immediately diffuses some of the charge around the story. By using those words I’m letting myself know that it’s just a story. As with most stories, there may be an element of truth to it, but it is not the whole TRUTH. And when I’m able to take that step back from seeing the story as TRUTH I am more able to listen to and really hear my partner’s experience – even if something she says seems to confirm my belief in the story – and feel her love and our connection.

It is a powerful technique that can be put into use in all relationships, work, romance, friends, family. And it’s a tool you can use on your own.

Again, if you’re like me, you’ve got an imagination that loves creating stories. The next time you catch your mind going into that cycle see if you can stop yourself and say, “I’m making up a story that…” You might find that just recognizing that you are creating a story will help you come back to the TRUTH.

Try it out today and let me know what happens. I’d love to hear your experience with it.

You Are NOT Alone!

Have you ever felt alone?

If you’re like most of us, the answer to that question is a resounding YES!

How about when…

  • the teacher called on you in school and you didn’t know the answer?
  • or coming home to an empty house after a breakup?
  • or someone you love has passed on?
  • or a friend is late (or forgets about) a meeting?
  • or someone you love forgets your birthday?

Sometimes, even standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, surrounded by hundreds of people, a feeling of aloneness can creep in and we find ourselves retreating further into the perception that we are alone.

To some extent we all feel this aloneness and it impacts every aspect of our lives.

Eckhart Tolle speaks of Alienation, which the dictionary defines as:  Isolation from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved.

He writes:

“Most people are alienated from who they are… Alienation means that you don’t feel at ease in any situation, any place, or with any person, not even with yourself. You are always trying to get “home” but never feel at home.”

I can relate to feeling ill at ease. Here’s one of the strange ways that feeling has shown up in my life. You know those signs in some stores that say, “Please check your bags at the counter?” For many years, I felt so out of place in this world that if a store didn’t have a bag check I would ask if I could leave my bag at the counter anyway. If they said “No,” and I had to walk around the store with my backpack, I would feel paranoid the entire time that they thought I was going to steal something. And no, I don’t have kleptomaniac tendencies! 😉

It was just one of the quirky ways that my sense of alienation manifested.

Now, obviously that particular expression of alienation didn’t have a huge negative impact on my life. But when that deep feeling of not belonging in the world showed up in my relationships, it did!

Because I believed, so deeply, that I am alone, I acted in ways that helped prove that belief. I kept people at a distance. I pushed people who loved me away. I resisted deep connections and intimacy.

Not the most effective and enjoyable way to live!

And while I have gotten MUCH better at opening up to people and loving them and allowing them to love me, I still do catch myself, from time to time, acting from the belief that I am alone.

Now, when I notice myself pushing someone away or holding myself back from a connection, I stop and remember that it’s the perfect time to love myself and feel into the truth that I am deeply and intimately connected with all that is.

Remember that “Contrast” – the things in our lives that we don’t necessarily like – shows up to point out something obvious that we’re forgetting. When I catch myself relating to someone else in an unloving way, it’s time for me to stop and find the place inside myself that feels unloved or unlovable.

The more I do that, the more open I become to truly deep, intimate, loving connections with others… as well as with myself and, most important, with Source or God.

So the next time you feel alone or you catch yourself pushing someone away, I encourage you to take a moment to stop and find the place inside you that is asking for love, that is asking to be welcomed home.

The more that you can remember your connection to all that is the more you’ll shift that feeling of Aloneness to ALLOne Ness!

Stop waiting for your starring role

Do you want to make a difference in the world? Do you want to be a catalyst for positive change?

The desire to contribute to the highest good of all is strong in most modern day mystics. We see the problems in the world. We feel the pain and suffering of those around us as well as those far away. We resonate with the Earth as she experiences the sometimes devastating changes that our actions create.

In the face of such seemingly overwhelming “problems” the desire to make massive, positive changes can be quite strong. We want to make a difference. But not just a little difference… we want to make a BIG one!

Ironically, it is that very desire to make a BIG difference that paralyzes so many modern day mystics! We wait until the moment when everything feels right and our ducks are all in a row and the guidance or inspiration for action comes and we KNOW that we’re going to make that BIG difference.

But when will everything be just right? When will we feel strong enough, healed enough, focused enough, enlightened enough to make a difference that is big enough? We won’t. Which is why starting NOW is so important.

Have you ever acted in a play? I acted in high school and again after college in several community theater performances. And even at that level it was interesting to observe how we all wanted the starring role!

Let’s face it, most actors dream of being the “star.” Very few people go into an acting career with a vision of making a career as a “walk on” or even a supporting actor for that matter. They want to see their name in lights and be listed first in the credits. That’s a great dream!

But, more often than not, they WON’T get a starring role. It’s just a numbers game: Think about how many starring roles there are versus how many aspiring actors there are!  There just aren’t enough opportunities for everyone to be the star – at least in Hollywood!

And while it can be a bit romantic to imagine that the big stars we see on screen were “discovered” the truth is that most of the big name actors have worked their butts off getting whatever parts they can and showing up fully in the best and biggest way they know how… even for those small and in some cases insignificant roles. They knew that the more fully they showed up for the small parts the more likely it is that they would get noticed and get invited to audition for a larger part next time.

Eventually, if they keep showing up and keep playing those supporting roles in the biggest and best way they know how, they MIGHT get one of those starring roles they’ve dreamed up.

Life is like that. Most of us want to be the star. We want to play a big, important part in this performance that we call life. But the truth is that if you look at our “roles” through our cultural lens of importance, there are very few “starring” roles.

On the other hand, if you look at your “roles” in terms of what really makes a difference, you have the potential to be in a starring role all the time! In fact, no one else in the world, no one else in all of time and space, can play the part that you have been assigned. No one else has the same unique mix of qualities, insights, talents, skills, experiences, and gifts. Only you can be the star in the part you have come here to play.

That part is yours and yours alone. And whether our culture sees it as a “starring” role or a supporting role doesn’t matter. Because, in the end, you ARE the star of YOUR life and you have absolutely no idea how the role you play is going to impact the course of this world.

Native Americans tell us that our actions impact the next seven generations. Can you see seven generations from now? Can you know the potential power of your actions as their impact, like the ripples from a pebble thrown in a pond, grows and spreads out through those next seven generations? Probably not!

What if a simple smile that you share with someone changes the course of their life? What if you smiled at a young man walking down the street, not knowing that he was feeling down, despairing, confused and uncertain what to do next? And what if your smile, for whatever reason, gave him hope? What if that was exactly what he needed to take his next step and enroll in college and get his science degree? And what if he goes on to a PhD program and becomes a core member of the team that discovers the cure for cancer?

And what if you will NEVER (in this lifetime) know that you were the one who gave him the strength and courage to take that next step.

We can never know the impact of our actions. A friend of mine, Liz, recently celebrated her birthday with a Purification Lodge Ceremony. While the fire was heating the stone people, I was talking with one of her friends who had been a student of mine seven or eight years ago. As we talked, she reminded me that she and Liz had actually met at that class and have since become close friends. And she told me that what she had learned in that class continued to influence her work and life and that it had been a key factor in her decision to enroll in a master’s program in transpersonal psychology.

It was eye-opening for me to hear. I had quite literally forgotten about that course and it made me realize just how easy it is to underestimate and even disregard the impact of our actions.

Look, life doesn’t care if you are the star! The truth is, to Life you ARE the star in each and every moment… no matter what you are doing!

The point is, don’t wait for your “starring” role since it might never come. Jump in and give all you’ve got to whatever role you are playing right now. This IS your starring role! The part you play in this life, whether large or small, is absolutely needed. You hold a piece of the puzzle that no one else does. Don’t wait. Don’t squander your time here waiting for the call to come. Get out there and make yourself count no matter how small or insignificant you feel your part is.

 

Lower Your Standards!

There’s a great story about the poet and teacher William Stafford. He’s recognized as one of the most prolific poets of recent times and during the last twenty or more years of his life he wrote at least one poem every day.

Yes… that’s one poem EVERY DAY!

And, much to the dismay of his poetry students at Lewis and Clark University, he assigned them the same “homework:” One poem a day for the entire semester!

I can just imagine the groans and complaints that followed that announcement. But when the students asked how it could be done, he replied simply, “Lower your standards.”

Perfection is An Abundance Killer!

Perfection is one of the most effective abundance killers! I should know, I’m a recovering perfectionist and I can look back and see all of the times that I have let my desire to be “perfect” get in the way of abundance.

When perfectionism takes over, nothing you do or create can ever be good enough. And if you don’t believe that anything you do or create is good enough it’s going to be awfully difficult to feel excited about sharing what you do with others.

And isn’t that what abundance is all about? In order to receive abundantly, you MUST be willing to share abundantly. Perfectionism breaks that cycle before you can even begin sharing! Not a great way to start your journey to TRUE Abundance

When I first heard that story about William Stafford, many years ago, I thought he must have been crazy!  “Lower my standards?”

The thought of lowering my standards flies in the very face of my beloved and comfortable perfectionism. If I’m going to put something out in the world it had better be perfect. And, as far as my inner perfectionist is concerned, nothing will ever be perfect!

But see, there’s a key component to Stafford’s assignment that my inner perfectionist doesn’t quite get. Stafford never told his students to publish a poem a day. He told them only to write a poem a day, which is exactly what he did.

Crappy Is Good!

I bet if we could see some of his daily poems – the ones that did not get published – we would agree that many of them, perhaps most, were not so good. Some of them were probably pretty crappy! And I’m sure he’d agree with us as well.

But when you write a poem a day, you’ve got a lot to choose from. And out of those daily poems he found enough good ones to publish more than 50 books, one of which – Traveling Through the Dark – won the National Book Award for poetry. He was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and held the post which is now called the Poet Laureate of the United States.

Clearly there’s something to this idea of “lowering your standards.”

Would you like to know how many “unfinished” essays, stories, newsletter articles, course outlines and book chapters I have stashed away on my hard drive? I bet you would! But I’m not going to tell you! Suffice it to say that by lowering my standards, not a whole heck of a lot, I’d have a lot more stuff out in the world.

And what if someone, just one person, happened to read one of those “extra” blog posts or newsletter articles? And what if that article was exactly the thing she needed to hear at that moment? What if lowering my standards helped to change her life for the better?

Is it worth it? Is it worth the risk that I might publish a crappy article every now and then? Is the possibility of being of service to more people worth lowering my standards? You bet it is!

Are You Ready for What God Sends YOU?

And what about you? What “articles” do you have sitting on your hard drive? What creation of yours is waiting to see the light of day because it is not yet “perfect?” What if you lowered your standards? Just a tiny bit. Just enough to finish it and get it out into the world.

Here’s my hope and my challenge to you: Can you lower your standards? Just a bit? Can you look through your hard drive, or your closet or workshop? Can you dust off your chisels or brushes, get out your business plan or novel and reawaken your creative dreams? Can you lower your standards just enough to get those creations, those ideas, those dreams that are waiting inside of you, out into the light?

If you find yourself stuck in the process, wondering if it’s perfect enough, remember this line from the last poem William Stafford wrote on August 28, 1993, the day that he died:

“Be ready for what God sends.”

Indeed, be ready for what god sends, and be willing to let it come through you and out into the light.

I look forward to seeing more of your creations out in the world!

Learning to flow with the rhythms of life

Today was supposed to be the start of the Awakened Man Summit. But due to a last minute scheduling snafu I don’t have a speaker for tonight.

Since I found out about this a couple of days ago I’ve been somewhat – to very – frantically seeking another speaker to step in at the last minute for tonight’s spot. And none of the folks I’ve contacted have been able to make it.

So last night – LATE – I got the message – loud and clear – to let go and trust.

What a relief it always is when I finally do let go and trust in the wisdom of Life! I could feel the tension release from my body and mind. After all, the worst that would happen is I would schedule the speaker for another date during the summit.

And this morning I found out why Life had different plans for me!

My daughter woke up with a tummy ache and ended up staying home from school. With her home, I haven’t been able to get some of the last-minute pieces in place for a call tonight, and she might not be feeling well enough to hang out with a babysitter later tonight.

What a mess that could have been… being on a live call with one of the speakers with a sick kid hanging out potentially needing my attention. Not sure how fully I would have been able to focus on the interview!

It’s just another reminder that Life is infinitely wiser than me!

Over and over again I’ve had experiences that have confirmed the truth that when I trust in the flow and rhythm of Life everything will work out!

And I must admit that I find it rather amusing (when I’m not kicking myself!) that I still have trouble trusting in the flow of Life. When Life has plans that aren’t exactly in alignment with mine I still feel the urge to push against those plans, trying to mold and shape Life to fit the picture I have in mind.

And how amazing it is that Life continues to have the highest good in mind when it “overrules” my plans!

This is big piece of what I consider to be the new model of manhood. In the old model, men were taught that imposing our will over other people, nature, the Earth and Life itself was the way to express ourselves as men. We were taught that we must be able to bend – and, if possible, break – the will of Life in order to prove ourselves.

Well, that model has definitely not worked. And, to be quite honest, I have a feeling that Life has been laughing herself silly watching us run around thinking that we’re getting her to change her course.

Patience is not one of the strong characteristics in the old model of manhood whereas LIFE has infinite patience.

Now it feels like the tide is turning. Life is ready to gently, and perhaps not-so-gently, remind us that force will never get her to change her course.

The way we get Life to change course is to, quite literally, BECOME LIFE. Men (and to a lesser degree women) haven’t been so good at that. Now is the time for us all to learn this new skill, one that will enable us to work in harmony with the flow and rhythm of life to create the New Earth that is awakening.

Have there been times in your life when Life has “overruled” your plans? How have you flowed with that? Are you able to trust in the wisdom of Life? Have you experienced this merging with Life? How does it feel, how do you know, when you are in union with Life?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

And if you’re interested in joining the Awakened Man Summit – that begins WEDNESDAY evening! – you can register for fre-ee here!

Awakened Man Telesummit – Begins Wednesday, may 25th!

Your partner in TRUE Abundance

Edward

Did I Do the Right Thing?

As a child, my father often said, “Do the right thing, Edward.” From turning out the lights when I left a room to sending thank you cards after receiving gifts, he would speak those words.

Back then I did my best to avoid doing the right thing… or at least doing HIS right thing. Certainly, there was a good measure of youthful rebellion in that avoidance but there was at least an equal part of me that felt the mechanical, rote nature of his words. They felt empty and disconnected from a greater rightness that I sensed existed beyond the words.

If you had asked me back then I doubt that I would have been able to voice it but a part of me sensed that doing the right thing meant more than turning out the lights and sending thank you cards (although those are certainly good things to do!)

Now, though, when I hear those words coming from within, I find that I am grateful to have internalized this concept of “the right thing.” Not that I believe there is one “right” thing in a situation but because the question, “What IS the right thing?” opens me to bigger answers.

As the start of the Awakened Man Summit approaches and I dive deeper into the research and reading in preparation for it, I’m beginning to understand what it means to be an Awakened Man.

To be honest with you, when I got the “hit” to produce this summit, I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant to be an awakened man. I had a sense of what it meant, but no clear picture or definition. Now, with less than 2-weeks to the start of the summit, I’m starting to “get it!”

Letting Go!

A big part of awakening, as a man, means letting go of the old concepts of the “right thing.”

Until recently most men have chosen to follow a path of rightness handed down blindly through generations of men. This unbalanced expression of the active (masculine) principle that has defined what it means to be a man in our culture has led to violence, war, unchecked growth and the increasingly unsustainable condition of our world.

More recently, some men – myself included – have actively chosen another path, one that disowns the active (masculine) principle and intentionally embraces the softer, receptive, feminine principle.

While there is much benefit in “exploring the feminine” most of these explorations start in reaction to the belief that there is something “wrong” or “bad” about the active, masculine energy. In that place of reaction, where men are actively connecting to the soft, feminine energies and consciously (or not) disconnecting from the active, masculine energies the “right thing” has led to inaction and an abdication of responsibility.

Neither of these paths leads to the Authentic Power that a man can access and wield when he disconnects from the old beliefs about manhood, discovers his true purpose and surrenders his idea of rightness into the service of the highest good of all.

It saddens me to think that my father – like most men – has never explored the concept of rightness unhitched  from the yoke of manhood placed upon him by his forefathers (and mothers).

Rites of Passage

In most indigenous cultures there were, and remain, rituals of initiation to help boys make the transition from childhood into manhood. These rituals involve extended time in the company of men, away from the energy and influence of women. As these boys step through the fire of initiation they are unburdened from the need to act in ways that lead to approval and acceptance from the feminine.

These cultures understand the importance of guiding men out of the “womb” and into the world. For, in many ways, men remain connected to and immersed in the womb of “WOMAN” until consciously and actively choosing to release that connection and step out into the world “naked and alone” as an awakened, conscious, mature man.

Our modern culture lacks those rituals – or gives us watered down versions such as a bar mitzvah. So most men have not experienced the transformative possibility these rituals offer.

Until a man makes this choice and releases his attachment to the energetic womb of “WOMAN” he cannot show up fully as a man in the world or in relationship with a (singular) woman. There will remain within him an urge to answer the question “What is the right thing” based on whether or not it will lead to approval and acceptance from the energy of WOMAN.

The Hero’s Journey

Last night, I saw the movie Thor. It was a bittersweet experience: My beloved and I had been planning to see it together and it didn’t work out that way. We were in the midst of a relational opportunity… to choose to move forward and deeper into trust or to step backwards into distance and defensiveness. The jury is still out on which way we’ll end up going.

[Note that a slight movie “spoiler” follows!]

There is a scene near the end of Thor where he makes a decision to save many lives and an entire world. It is not a decision easily made, for in saving the lives of many he must cut the bridge that connects him to his beloved. In making that choice he knows there is a chance that his actions will forever separate them.

As he strikes the final blow that shatters the bridge he speaks the words, “Forgive me, Jane.”

If Joseph Campbell were here, he would tell us that, with that blow, Thor had completed his “hero’s journey.” He had learned to seek out, listen for and act upon a rightness transcendent to his own personal desires and even those of his immediate loved ones. He had become an awakened man and earned the right to become King.

While not nearly as dramatic as Thor’s actions, I made a decision yesterday to narrow my focus down to a laser point and put all of my time and energy into preparing for the Awakened Man Summit. I felt guided to stand in service of the highest good and consciously devote myself completely to this project.

In choosing that path and sharing my decision I knew that it could create a chasm between my beloved and myself.

It has.

Now I find myself standing at the edge of that shattered bridge wondering if I did, indeed, “do the right thing.”

Was the guidance I received authentic or was it coming from a place of fear?

Was my action truly “Awakened” or was I motivated by unconscious forces?

Will my beloved forgive me or have I permanently severed our trust and broken the bridge between us?

I don’t know the answers but I sense that asking these questions means that I am not far from the right path. My intuition tells me that my guidance was “right” but that I could have found a more graceful and elegant way to navigate those waters as I shared my decision.

Sin and Forgiveness

Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man, and one of the speakers in the Awakened Man Summit, once said, “Sin and forgiveness is a better way to handle relationships than the illusion of perfection. We learn from our mistakes.”

What a relief it was to hear those words and to let go of the “illusion of perfection” in my relationships. And, yet, what a difficult path to walk… to be open to the “sins” of your partner and your own, to be willing to forgive your partner and yourself, and to be willing to acknowledge and learn from your mutual mistakes and use those lessons to awaken more fully. What a blessing. And what treacherous waters you may (WILL) find yourself in when you choose to engage in relationship in that manner.

I have no illusions about being a “perfect” partner (except sometimes when I do!). Nor do I have expectations of perfection in my partner (except sometimes when I do!) To be quite honest, I have no idea what it would look like to BE a perfect partner or to HAVE a perfect partner!

Perhaps perfection is to be found on the path of surrendering the question, “What is the right thing?” again and again, into the service of the highest good.

It seems that my father’s refrain of “do the right thing, Edward” worked, though perhaps not in the way he intended. I truly do long to do the right thing. Perhaps that longing is enough. And perhaps the desire to do the right thing, combined with the willingness to learn from my mistakes will keep me moving forward on the path of awakening.

We’ll see!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below!

Lessons in Divine Timing From a Loose Tooth

One night last week as my daughter was falling asleep she called down to me, “Dada, guess what?”

“What sweetie?”

“I’ve got a loose tooth!”

“Yay. I’ll check it out in the morning.”

And, sure enough, in the morning I saw that Ella had her first loose tooth. Now having your first loose tooth is always a big moment for a child. But for Ella it was especially big since every other kid in her first grade class has already lost at least one tooth. So she’s been waiting, not always so patiently, for one of her baby teeth to loosen up and fall out.

And that, no-so-patient part came out the next morning when she tried to get that tooth out of her mouth! She tried grabbing it with her fingers and tugging it, wrapping string around it, eating “hard food” and asking me to wrap a string around it and tie it to a doorknob!

She’s discovering the contrast between human timing and divine timing, between our physical nature and our spiritual essence.

“We are spiritual beings have a physical experience.” I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Our spiritual essence exists as infinite, limitless consciousness outside of time and space. But while we are here, in this three-dimensional realm, having this physical experience we exist as individuals within the context of and seemingly under the influence of linear time and space.

Ironically, it is the very presence of time and space in the physical world that gives us the opportunity to remember and ultimately reunite with the timeless nature of our larger, non-physical essence. Part of our maturation process as spiritual beings involves awakening our capacity to acknowledge, honor and live fully engaged in both of these seemingly incompatible flows: The timeless and the time-bound.

Have you ever said something like, “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” or, “I just don’t have the time,” or, “We’re running out of time?” If so – and, let’s face it, who hasn’t? – you’ve experienced the disconnect between linear and non-linear time. You’ve lived with them out of sync, out of alignment.

When linear and non-linear time come into alignment the feeling that there is “not enough time” goes away. The timelessness of our spiritual nature seeps into your physical reality and opens you to an effortless flow. Synchronicity happens when linear and non-linear time are aligned.

Miracles happen!

Within the context of  our physical, human experience there are many ways that we can perceive and interact with time. In most cases we perceive time from a purely human, linear perspective. We have an agenda and a schedule and a chronological connection to the flow of time. In this place there is little room for the natural flow of life. If an unexpected traffic jam makes us late for a meeting it is difficult to expand out of linear time and open up to the larger perspective of non-linear flow.

Life often has a different take on “right timing” than we have in our minds. Our minds see the trees, sometimes opening up to see the forest. Life IS the forest. But it is also the trees, the fields, the rivers, the mountains, the earth and the sky.

When things don’t happen in your life in thetime-frame you have envisioned it is always an opportunity to open up to the perfection of non-linear or divine timing. I’m sure you’ve had at least one experience where you didn’t get something you really wanted in the time you wanted. And have you ever seen that disappointment open to an even better outcome an outcome that you probably couldn’t even imagine?

That is the beauty of Divine Timing. When you’re anchored in linear, physical time, it is difficult to see all the possibilities. But life’s little, and not so little, disappointments give you the opportunity to let go of your death-grip on linear time and open your vision and perspective to other possibilities and to the blessings and manifestations  awaiting you that are unimaginable to your linear,rational mind!

That morning, last week, I could see Ella grappling with the contrast between the timing of what she wanted from a physical and mental perspective versus the timing of the flow of life. Ella’s human, physical reality timing had that tooth out of her mouth right now! Life wasn’t in such a rush.

Her loose tooth was an opportunity to experience the contrast. And the next day, she got to experience the discomfort that we create when we push against the flow of life.

She was back at her mom’s and absolutely, definitely wanted that loose tooth out of her mouth. So they pulled it out! And since it wasn’t quite ready, wasn’t quite the right time, it hurt her a lot and caused some bleeding in her mouth so she had to “gargle a lot with yucky water!”

Maybe next time she’ll be willing to sit in the contrast and allow the tooth to loosen up until it gently and easily falls out on its own.

That’s the beauty of allowing divine timing to merge with linear time: life unfolds easily and effortlessly as you experience one “miracle” after another.

So today, watch for opportunities to relax into the unknowing of divine timing and allow life to unfold itself. And when you do, get ready for the miracles to begin!

Your partner in TRUE Abundance

Edward

51 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Most of us love the familiar. Whether we realize it or not, we put a lot of work into ensuring that certain things in our lives remain constant.This personal “comfort zone” is the invisible, but very real area that defines the boundaries of what we know and understand. By staying within this comfort zone we reassure ourselves that we are safe. And as long as we are safely held within the walls of what we know we feel secure and confident.

As we move closer to the edges of that zone we begin to feel a bit shaky and unsure of ourselves. But those edges are where we grow. And by stretching those boundaries we increase our ability to receive.

T. Harv Eker, the author of The Secrets of The Millionaire Mind has said that our comfort zone equals our money zone. In order to have more money in our lives we must expand our comfort zone.

I would add that our comfort zone equals our joy zone, our love zone, our fulfillment zone, our spiritual connection zone, you name it.

So if you want more of anything in your life, the place to start is with your comfort zone. By expanding your comfort zone you will get more of what you want. It’s that simple.

Now it sounds easy enough, but most of us have built up some pretty sturdy walls around our comfort zone. Pushing them out or breaking them down requires conscious, concerted effort. And I have found that it’s easier to expand the comfort zone in small, steady, steps than in great big leaps. But in order to do that, you need to intentionally take expansive action on a daily basis.

So to get you started, I’ve created a list of 50 actions that might expand your comfort zone.

Keep in mind that the parameters of everyone’s comfort zone are different. So if you already love to Scuba dive, number 30 on this list isn’t going to expand your comfort zone very much! But there are most likely other items on this list that will work for you.

Also realize that many of these can, and may need to be, turned around to work for you. For example, number 6 is “Be the first to say, “I love you.” But if you’re the one that always says I love you first, you’ll need to turn it around to “Let the other person say ‘I love you’ first.” For some of you that’s going to be quite uncomfortable, especially when the other person doesn’t say “I love you!”

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. It can’t be. Instead, it’s a catalyst and a reminder for you to take small steps each and every day that expand your comfort zone.

Here’s the list:

1. Try some new food.
2. Go on a silent retreat.
3. Ask for a raise.
4. Smile at strangers.
5. Say hello to people in the grocery store.
6. Be the first to say “I love you.”
7. Perform at an open mike night.
8. Eat at a local restaurant by yourself.
9. Take a day off from work to volunteer at your child’s school.
10. Go back to school.
11. Start a new business.
12. Moonlight as a waitperson.
13. Unplug the TV for a week.
14. Write in a journal every day.
15. Learn to surf.
16. Go to a different church/temple/mosque each week.
17. Get your news from different sources.
18. Live in another country.
19. Do a house-swap for a month.
20. Use public transportation.
21. Wear an outrageous outfit.
22. Meditate for 15-minutes a day.
23. Put your cell phone in a drawer for a full week.
24. Make a fool of yourself – on purpose.
25. Call someone you admire in your community and ask them out for lunch.
26. Ask someone you admire to be your mentor.
27. Switch sides (of the bed) with your partner.
28. Confront a phobia.
29. Jump out of a plane (with a parachute please!).
30. Learn to scuba dive.
31. Say I love you to your parents/children/siblings/friends.
32. Admit you were wrong.
33. Go to a movie by yourself.
34. Take responsibility for something you didn’t do.
35. Give away all one-month’s income.
36. Give a public talk on a topic you’re passionate about.
37. Join a networking group.
38. Disconnect the Internet for a week.
39. Ask for help.
40. Get a part time job as a checker at your local grocery store.
41. Enter an art show.
42. Forgive someone.
43. Join Toastmasters.
44. Start a blog.
45. Ask for a partial or complete telecommute arrangement at work.
46. Take lessons in something you’ve always wanted to try (art, music, woodworking, dancing, etc.).
47. Learn a foreign language.
48. Read a book in a genre you don’t usually read.
49. Delegate more of your work.
50. Get up an hour earlier than usual.
51. Try a therapy or modality that seems a bit “out there.”

Which of these have the most potential for expanding your comfort zone? Which ones made you gulp or start to sweat a bit?

Which actions did I leave off this list that, for you, are particularly effective at expanding your comfort zone?

Leave a comment below and share some of yours.