Doing Enough?

Uptight.

Are YOU doing enough today?

Are you doing enough at your job?  I’m sure you could be doing better.  What about your health?  Your eating clean.  But are you exercising?  Are you getting daily sun exposure?  Are you working on your emotions?  Are your kids happy?  Is your wife happy?  When does it end?  Most of us are taught something here.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DOING ENOUGH!  There is always something else we could be doing better.  There is always something we could be resolving.  So where do we find a balance?  Many people are truly not doing enough.  Many of us are trying to do too much.  So how do we figure this out?

PRIORITIZE:  Create priorities for your life.  We tend to focus too much on the things that don’t really matter and not enough on the stuff that really matters.  The ironic thing here?  When we focus on the stuff that REALLY matters, we find that we don’t strive so much on the little things.  What are the things I would advise working on?  Focus on the big things in life first.  GOD, FAMILY, HEALTH, RELAXATION, PASSION, PURPOSE, INNER PEACE AND HAPPINESS, FRIENDSHIPS, etc.  Don’t stress so much about how clean your car is, how much you can bench press, what your “macronutrient” ratios are, what you are NOT doing, etc.  These just are not important.  In fact, when we find ourselves focusing too much on TRYING to be perfect on superficial things; it often tells us that we are not listening to something bigger going on.  Why do you feel the need to vacuum your house every day?  Why do you feel like you have to defend yourself against what people think about you?  Why do you change the channel to avoid viewing something uncomfortable to you?  We need to build our houses with the proper foundations.  Tomorrow I will discuss the proper way to do this.  In the meantime, remember you’re a human being.  Remember that most of us are doing the best we can.  Often, it is WHERE we are putting our efforts that is the problem.  Remember to take time to rest and relax.  Remember you ARE doing enough in a lot of areas in your life. =)

-JOE

WE vs. I?

Herd of elk

WE vs. I.  What does that really mean?

We come into this world as an “I.”  If conditions are met, we slowly realize that we are also a we.  WE are part of a larger whole.  We are part of the rest of the people who are also I’s and We’s.  The more deep healing work we have done, the more we realize this to be true.  From a biological standpoint; this makes perfect sense.  A baby needs its mother.  It will not survive on its own so it needs to think about itself first.  We can’t help the world if we don’t survive =)  If the baby has a mother, situations are non-traumatic, and all is well; the child starts the slow but steady climb into personhood.  It learns as it grows that it is not as dependent on everybody else around it.  It has autonomy and a “self.”  Therefore, it does not need to be focused on “I” so much.  What if the child doesn’t think it got the love it needed?  Another block in the road.  We all have issues growing up.  We all have stuff that could use a little work.  If I drew a picture of how most of us live, would we be connected?  Or would we be SEPARATED PEOPLE LIVING TOGETHER?  What is the problem with all of this?  WE ARE WE’S!  We live together.  We are all part of this thing going on here.  The irony of it all?  The best way to help the world is to help yourself first.  I am not talking about material goods like helping yourself to bigger tv’s, nicer clothes, and more women.  I mean helping yourself spiritually.  Loving yourself enough to go through the hard work and grow.  What starts happening?  The more we resolve the “I” issues that we saw as unmet growing up; the more present we can be in the world today.  We become more INDEPENDENT.  We don’t live in FEAR as much.  If we don’t live in fear as much, we live in LOVE more!  What does love naturally want to do?  HELP others.  GIVE.  SHARE.  BE WE’S.  In fact, noticing how often you think about and do things for others seems to be a pretty reliable gauge (unless you are doing it for yourself).  Ultimately, we are human beings.  How does the system work?  In my view, God has created it pretty wonderfully.  We are designed to love ourselves enough to grow.  To go through the hard stuff.  As we grow, we can then in turn help others to grow as well.  We become “part” of the collective whole.  As we realize this, we want to help others as well.  If we haven’t found or acknowledged the pain and suffering in ourselves; how are we supposed to see it in others?  There is nothing that says we can’t work on ourselves WITH others.  Many people in the world are afraid to show others their true feelings.  Does this sound like WE behavior to you?  Love is said to be the only thing you can give away and have more of.  Let’s see if this is true.  Let’s start working together on becoming WE’S

-JOE
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OUT WITH THE OLD / BEING PRESENT

English: My closet

OUT WITH THE OLD.

The old standby right?  Sometimes the only way to take in new in our lives is to get rid of the old.  This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing things away.  It can mean altering things.  It can be a new frame of mind.  It can be getting rid of old habits.  A lot of times we think of throwing out old junk.  Well let’s look at different types of “junk” we carry with us.

STUFF:  This is the one most people think of first.  It is an important one as well.  Physical “stuff” weighs us down if we let it.  Extra furniture.  Clothes we never wear.  Gadgets we have long forgotten.  Maybe a bunch of spare books lying around.  It is very hard for us to let go of our “stuff.”  We are taught to accumulate things in this country.  To save things.  To build up your stuff.  But does that really do us much good?  Look at the other animals in the wild.  They are not burdened with stuff.  They move wherever they go.  For most people, moving is a big deal.  Moving when you are young, energetic, and have relatively few belongings seems simple.  As we get older, less vital, and accumulate more; the idea of moving becomes a lot bigger challenge.  Take inventory of what you really need and get rid of the rest.  Often times, getting rid of old things makes room for new things that we actually need in our lives in the present day.

WEIGHT/BODY GUNK:  Gross I know.  But this is the case with many people.  Our sedentary lives and eating styles cause us to gain weight.  In my opinion, it isn’t just the weight that is the problem.  It is the toxins, gunk, and clogging that come with it.  We get bogged down.  Our livers, kidneys, and colons get clogged up.  We feel heavy after eating.  All of these things bog down our lives.  We can’t go through life with much enthusiasm or energy when we have all this stuff in our bodies that is not supposed to be there.  The answer?  CLEANSE.  IMPROVE THE DIET.  Cutting out processed foods, gluten, and pasteurized dairy is a great place to start.  Doing some simple herbal cleanses can make a world of change as well.

EMOTIONS:  We have emotions for a reason guys.  When we stuff them down, they just come back later.  Have you cried lately?  Hit a punching bag or some pillows?  All of us accumulate this stuff.  We hold frustrations towards people, God, ourselves, life, etc.  If we want to be truly present in our lives, we need to let these things out every once in a while.  

MENTALITY:  This is a tough one.  Is it worthwhile?  You bet.  Sometimes the biggest thing holding us back isn’t our weight or our stuff.  It is our mentality.  Do you think you will never get ahead?  Do you worry all the time?  Maybe your view of yourself, God, or society isn’t a good one.  This isn’t so much about removing bad mentality as it is about reframing your own view on things.  This is a basic problem for all people.  It is hard to change our mentality.  We are taught to think a certain way.  Usually, changing our mentality means facing resistance from ourselves, friends, and family.  Sometimes changing mentality will lead to big changes in our lives.

FEAR:  This is the big one guys.  All of these things usually boil down to a fear on some level.  Why are you afraid to let go?  What is the underlying issue really going on here.  Look at what you are afraid of eye-to-eye and face the tough stuff.  When you can start truly facing your fears of your own past, present, and future; you will be on the path to living in the moment.

Ultimately, removing the old from our lives is one of the best ways to make room for the new.  Don’t all of us want a little new in our lives?  New clothes, new jobs, new vacations, new LIFE!  Our old baggage, unhealthy bodies, and fear usually is what stops us from living our dreams and passions.  Let’s learn to constantly take out the “used” and make room for the PRESENT.

-Joe

GROWTH Vs. PROTECTION?

Worried

ARE YOU GROWING? OR ARE YOU PROTECTING?

 

 

Bruce Lipton, author of “Biology of Belief,” asks this very question.  Honestly, I haven’t read the entire book.  I have skimmed portions of it.  It got a little too much into the science of everything than I wanted to go at that time.  So what is the idea?

 

 

There are two main modes for animals (including humans) to be in.  Growth and Protection.  Let’s look at a few characteristics of each of them.  There is no good or bad here, just observations.

 

 

GROWTH:  Anabolic, building, healing, repairing, relaxing, recovering, digesting, eliminating, love, joy, laughter, etc.  This is the phase most animals like to be in.  It is one of peace with the world around us.  It is one without fighting, fear, or striving.

 

 

PROTECTION:  This is the realm of fear.  Fighting.  These are mechanisms in place that help us defend against “threats” in our world.  These threats can be real or “perceived.”  The belief is what truly makes it real for you.  Worrying about work.  Worrying about our children.  Fear of getting in car accidents.  Fear about the economy.  Fear about our lives.

 

 

Now, I don’t want to criticize protection mode here guys.  I believe it has its uses as well.  But you have to take an honest look at your life and figure out which one you are living in most of the time.  This is not a black and white thing.  More like a scale.  The greater your level of protection, the less your level of growth and healing will be.  Most people do not have to worry about being too stuck in growth mode.  But what happens when we get stuck in protection mode?

 

 

On the short scale we may worry about the little things.  Will we be late to our appointment?  Did we forget to check the mail?  Maybe there was something that NEEDED done that we just couldn’t remember to do.  This scale unfortunately progresses.  Are we making enough money to feed our family?  Will our child survive his health challenge?  Will we be able to comfortably retire?  Is our mate going to be happy with who we are?  Will the people in my life accept me with all of my faults and flaws?  These are all questions that tend to provoke protection reactions in us.  These reactions are a bit more severe.  They tend to focus on LONG-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  As humans, we have the ability to look into the future with greater accuracy than animals (for the most part).  As such, we plan more.  We worry more.  This has it’s benefits and drawbacks.  Finally, there are SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  These are those which immediately snap us into protection mode.  This is the realm of PTSD.  Of trauma.  Of terrible accidents.  Of health crisis.  Of war.  These are things that we cannot ignore “for the day.”  Hostage situations, torture, mauling by animals, and terrible car crashes all fit into this category as well.  These are actually scenarios that often demand protection mode.  I would hope that if you were getting attacked by a grizzly bear you would not be in healing mode =)  So what is the problem?  In nature, these events are not meant to happen for long.  But what happens when they are continuous?  War veterans.  Serious health challenges.  Our energy and psyche tends to get so locked in fighting for survival that it can get stuck there even when we are through the trauma.  So what is going on with all of this?  WE GET WOUND UP!

 

 

We get wound up so tight in the modern world.  When is there a day that goes by that we don’t worry about something?  We worry about work.  We worry about our families.  We worry about bills.  We worry if we are doing a good enough job with taking care of ourselves.  When does it end?  This is not about ignoring the issues of our modern world.  It is about learning to live in harmony WITH them so that we don’t take the burden of living in protection all of the time.  Is there anything we can do?  There is always something you can do =)

 

 

INVENTORY:  This step is often the most painful.  It requires us to take a good, hard look at what we are afraid of.  Are we worriers?  Are we living in the past?  Do we have unresolved emotional trauma or conflicts that are keeping us locked in protection mode?  Maybe an old scar from a past relationship.  Maybe some health problems that have plagued you for years.  Did we not have enough food or money at a time?  Looking at your fears means looking at yourself.

 

 

DECIDE:  Decide on the things that are WORTH being afraid of.  The problem with our modern world?  There are a lot of small things that we let ourselves get wound up about.  Most of them have nothing to do with SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL.  Decide on the things that you can let go.

 

 

WORK:  Often the things most worth doing take the most work.  This may mean taking a good hard look at the “man in the mirror.”  Are you trapped in an abusive relationship?  Are you fearful for your health?  Maybe you are a war veteran with PTSD.  This stuff is not easy.  It’s like a muscle that has been holding on for a REALLY LONG TIME.  It gets really tired and probably cramps up a lot.  The way to fix it?  Massage, unwinding, meditating, rest, etc.  I would like to point out that sleep and rest are related but different things.  You can sleep in a very stressed out state.  True rejuvenation comes when we blend the two together.

 

 

TOOLS:  Use tools to help you work through the tough stuff.  This doesn’t happen over night.  Often, we need tools to work with to help us along to our goals.  There are no right or wrong tools here.  Whatever helps you unwind.  Good tools may include massage/bodywork, meditation, affirmation exercises, EFT, self-care, water-work, laughter, joy, love, etc.  Anything that makes you SIGH RELIEF afterwards is probably a good thing.

 

 

ULTIMATE SOLUTION:  The ultimate solution is to realize every day that we have limited power on this planet.  We REALLY don’t like that do we?  We want to be able to control all the little details?  Why?  Because we were taught that this was the only way to control the outcome.  But is it really?  Is living in fear really the way to go?  Most people I know live with some level of fear in the background at all times.  Maybe not death-fear.  But fear.  Figure out the things you can let go of.  You may find that you need to make some changes in your protection mode along the way.  There are many people blissfully unaware of things they are doing that thwart their long-term survival, health, and happiness.  Listening to the universe is the correct step to figure out where we are off-balance with it all.  Protection mode has its place.  For most of us however, its “place” has become the norm.  Let’s scale back on the protection and move back into growth where we belong 90 percent of the time =)

 

 

-JOE

 

 

 

 

 

REAL MEN SERIES: FEAR

English: Words associated with Fear

REAL MEN have FEAR.

REAL PEOPLE have FEAR.

Unfortunately, many of us have grown up in a society that PRETENDS that fear doesn’t exist.  You afraid of something?  You aren’t a real man.  You have emotions?  Sorry again.  This is absolutely insane.  It sets us up for a host of problems in life.  This may include nervous breakdowns, abusive relationships, mismanaged emotions, job loss, suicides, and lack of purpose in life.  When part of us is afraid, but part of us doesn’t acknowledge the fear; we have two warring sections in our own body. We literally fight ourselves.  So how do we remedy all of this?  

REALIZE:  Fear is normal.  Emotions are normal.  It is normal to have fear if your parents die.  It is normal to have fear if you nearly die in an automobile accident.  It is normal to have fear discussing your deepest feelings with people.  These things have always been with us.  They are a part of life.  We need to realize that these are things EVERYONE has no matter how much they pretend.

ACCEPT:  Accept YOUR fears.  What scares me may not scare you.  We may be in different places with our spiritual lives.  We may have different financial situations.  Don’t let that “scare” you.  OWN your own fears.  Only by owning them can you begin to truly look at why they are there.  Also accept that YOU are the one who can change them.

ANALYZE:  Once you own your fears you can begin to actually think about what they mean to you, and if there is anything you can do to change them.  Some fears are completely rational and can be left alone.  These may include the fear of a venomous snake, getting shot in a hostage situation, or being careful driving your car on an icy road.  But what about the things you can change?  Do you need to be afraid to show your emotions to people?  Do you need to be perfect in front of yourself and others?  Do you need to constantly worry about little things in life?

WORK:  It takes work to change our fears guys.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  We have to want it.  It all begins with acceptance.  If that means going back to face something that happened to you as a child; so be it.  If it means admitting to yourself you are afraid of getting in a new relationship because of something that happened in an old one; so be it.  So many people let their fears control their lives.  We let ourselves become estranged into tiny boxes that we are afraid to come out of.  The problem is that our society doesn’t really teach people how to heal and face their fears.  It teaches us to play it safe and contract from anything that we perceive dangerous.  WELL EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS IF WE DON’T TREAT IT!

Real men face their fears guys.  This is completely different from doing something dumb like driving off a cliff to PROVE you are “manly.”  Accept the vulnerabilities.  Start where you are.  One step at a time.  Facing your TRUE fears is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do.

“LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.” – Neale Donald Walsch

-JOE

Is VULNERABILITY The Secret?

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

 

Is VULNERABILITY the secret?

The secret to what you ask?  The secret to health?  The secret to life?  Which is it?

I am coming to believe that the ability to allow vulnerability in ourselves and others is one of THE keys to living a great life.  Why is it so important?  Not allowing vulnerability in ourselves greatly limits our ability to learn and grow.  We pump ourselves up and pretend that we are invulnerable.  We don’t take advice from people.  We don’t take advice from God.  We have a hard time seeing things from outside of ourselves.  Where does this all come from?  Ultimately, it comes from FEAR.  Fear of what you say?  Pick your poison.  This is going to differ from person to person.  It could be fears that you developed as a very young child that tell you not to cry.  It could be fears that showing your true emotions to people could lead to heartache or hurt.  Maybe we are afraid that being true to ourselves and vulnerable will bring big changes in our lives.  Maybe those changes mean growing up, changing groups of friends, or changing family dynamics.  Is vulnerability the key?  We are human beings.  We are people.  Many of us have been trained into what Joe Robinson calls the “Performance Identity.” We are taught in schools and social media that there is always a BETTER job you could be doing.  Better clothes.  A better car.  A better looking body.  The problem?  THERE IS NO END!  It creates an identity that is afraid to be what it is.  Simply human.  Simply a person.  By allowing room for vulnerability, we start dropping the illusion of all of this.  We start seeing ourselves, family, and friends as great people.  We realize that it is ok to be vulnerable.  It also makes it ok for others to be vulnerable around us.  The ironic thing?  By allowing vulnerability, we actually accomplish more.  Our relationships usually improve.  Our self-respect grows.  Our integrity improves.  We start HONESTLY looking at who we are and what we are and are not capable of.  So, you tell me.  Is vulnerability the secret to it all?

-Joe

Emotional Release Series: WRAP UP

Fear Yourself

Wow.  Did not expect this long of a series guys =)  Hope it was helpful.  I have a few remaining tips to help manage all of this stuff and perhaps avoid some common pitfalls along the way.  Let’s see what they are.

RESISTANCE:  We need to figure out and conquer any resistance we have towards working on our emotions.  This usually is a fear of some kind.  It is up to us to figure out what this fear is.  Maybe it is a fear of being vulnerable, a fear of losing control, a fear of failure, etc.  Sometimes resistance comes in the form of addictions to food, drugs, or sex.

VULNERABILITY/TRUST:  In the end, we need to become vulnerable.  Most of us are taught to never enter into this state.  Just remember that it is part of the work.  In fact, it feels good to be vulnerable and find out that you don’t fall apart.  Relying on friends, family, and God are all good ways to do this.  God is a good place to start if you feel uncomfortable talking with others.  This ultimately involves trusting yourself and others and providing a “safe space” for this stuff to come up.

FORMALITIES:  Drop the “formalities” guys.  There is no right formula with this stuff.  The goal is not to do it perfectly  We need to let go of the performance mindset and allow things to come how they come.  We are taught to be able to control everything.  Well, sometimes being “out of control” in a safe and constructive way is how to accomplish our goals.

CONTROL:  Usually this stuff builds up because we hold on to this control so much.  Most of us are afraid to ever lose control.  We are afraid to lose control of time.  We are afraid to lose control of our relationships.  We are afraid to lose control of ourselves.  God forbid that we have a slip up on our diet, someone sees us being emotional, or thinks that we don’t “have it together.”  I have a little secret.  There is a huge difference between having it together and maintaining the APPEARANCE of having it together.  Most of us are trained to keep up appearances.  Sometimes underneath there is a different story going on.  Your body carries and tells that story for you.

LOVING YOURSELF:  This is the ultimate goal guys.  People that respect and love themselves do not ask their bodies to carry the weight of this stuff.  Being human and alive is to be emotional.  It is part of who we are.  It is a major reason why we see so many disorders and health challenges that seem so resistant to medical treatment.  When you love yourself on a deep level and begin to FOLLOW love, instead of thinking that WE know best, amazing things start happening.  All of a sudden things make sense.  You let go of past hurts and grudges.  You see yourself in a new light.  You see other people in a better light.  When you love yourself, all of the other “barriers” will be dropped down on their own.  There are only two true emotions in this world; LOVE and FEAR.  Which one is running your life?

-Joe