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You are a Badass / (by Jen Sincero, 2013) -

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You are a Badass /   (by Jen Sincero, 2013) -

You are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life / . (by Jen Sincero, 2013) -

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You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth / (by Jen Sincero, 2017)
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You are a Badass / (by Jen Sincero, 2013) -
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2013
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Jen Sincero
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Jen Sincero
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upper-intermediate
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05:45:22
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32 kbps
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mp3, pdf, doc

You are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life / . :

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: You are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

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For my unfailingly sweet and supportive Dad and brother Stephen And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, You owe me. Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky. Rumi INTRODUCTION You can start out with nothing, and out of nothing, and out of no way, a way will be made. Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith; former drug enthusiast turned spiritual enthusiast turned inspirational badass I used to think quotes like this were a bunch of crap. I also didnt understand what the hell they were talking about. I mean, not that I cared. I was too cool. What little I knew about the self-help/spiritual world I found to be unforgivably cheesy: it reeked of desperation, rah-rah churchiness and unwanted hugs from unappealing strangers. And dont even get me started on how grouchy I used to be about God. At the same time, there was all this stuff about my life that I desperately wanted to change and, had I been able to bulldoze through my holier-than-thouism, I could have really used some help around here. I mean, overall I was doing pretty wellId published a couple of books, had lots of great friends, a close family, an apartment, a car that ran, food, teeth, clothes, clean drinking watercompared to the majority of the planet, my life was a total cream puff. But compared to what I knew I was capable of, I was, shall we say, unimpressed. I always felt like, Come ON, this is the best I can do? Really? Im going to make just enough to pay my rent this month? Again? And Im going to spend another year dating a bunch of weirdoes so I can be in all these wobbly, noncommittal relationships and create even more drama? Really? And am I seriously going to question what my deeper purpose is and wallow in the misery of that quagmire for the millionth time? It. Was. A. Snore. I felt like I was going through the motions of living my lukewarm life with the occasional flare-ups of awesomeness here and there. And the most painful part was that deep down I KNEW I was a total rock star, that I had the power to give and receive and love with the best of em, that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound and could create anything I put my mind to and Whats that? I just got a parking ticket? You have got to be kidding me, let me see that. I cant afford to pay this, its like my third one this month! Im going down there to talk to them right now then, doop de do, off Id go, consumed once again by low-level minutiae, only to find myself, a few weeks later, wondering where those few weeks went and how it could possibly be that I was still stuck in my rickety-ass apartment, eating dollar tacos by myself every night. Im assuming if youre reading this that there are some areas of your life that arent looking so good either. And that you know could be looking a whole lot better. Maybe youre living with your soul mate and are joyfully sharing your gifts with the world, but are so broke that your dog is on his own if he wants to get fed. Maybe youre doing great financially and you have a deep connection to your higher purpose, but you cant remember the last time you wet your pants laughing. Or maybe you suck equally at all of the above and spend your free time crying. Or drinking. Or getting pissed off at all the meter maids who have precision timing and no sense of humor who, in your mind, are partly responsible for your personal financial crisis. Or maybe you have everything youve ever wanted but for some reason you still feel unfulfilled. This isnt necessarily about making millions of dollars or helping solve the worlds problems or getting your own TV show, unless thats your thing. Your calling could simply be to take care of your family or to grow the perfect tulip. This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you cant have it. Or that you dont deserve it. Or that youre a greedy egomaniacal fathead for wanting more than you already have. Or listening to what Dad and Aunt Mary think you should be doing. Its about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, badassiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you. The good news is that in order to do this, all you need to do is make one simple shift: You need to go from wanting to change your life to deciding to change your life. Wanting can be done sitting on the couch with a bong in your hand and a travel magazine in your lap. Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night. Youll probably have to do things you never imagined youd do because if any of your friends saw you doing it, or spending money on it, youd never live it down. Or theyd be concerned about you. Or theyd stop being friends with you because now youre all weird and different. Youll have to believe in things you cant see as well as some things that you have full-on proof are impossible. Youre gonna have to push past your fears, fail over and over again and make a habit of doing things youre not so comfy doing. Youre going to have to let go of old, limiting beliefs and cling to your decision to create the life you desire like your life depends on it. Because guess what? Your life does depend on it. As challenging as this may sound, its nowhere near as brutal as waking up in the middle of the night feeling like someone parked a car on your chest, crushed under the realization that your life is zooming by and you have yet to start living it in a way that has any real meaning to you. You may have heard stories about people who had these major breakthroughs when the shit really hit the fanthey found a lump or got their electricity turned off or were moments away from having sex with strangers to buy drugs when suddenly they woke up, transformed. But you dont have wait until you hit rock bottom to start crawling out of your hole. All you have to do is make the decision. And you can make it right now. Theres a great line from the poet Ana?s Nin that reads: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. This is how it was for me, and how I think it is for most people. My journey was a process (and still is) that started with my decision to make some serious changes, regardless of what I had to do to make them. None of the things Id already tried were working: mulling it over and over with my equally broke friends and my therapist, working my ass off, going out for a beer and hoping it would take care of itself I was at the point where I would try anything to get my act together, and Lawdy Lawd Lawd Lawd, its like the Universe was testing me to see just how serious I was. I went to motivational seminars where they made me wear a name tag and high-five the person next to me while shouting, Youre awesome and so am I! I beat a pillow with a baseball bat and shrieked like I was on fire, I bonded with my spirit guide, participated in a group ceremony where I married myself, wrote a love letter to my uterus, read every self-help book under the sun, and spent blood-curdling amounts of money I did not have hiring private coaches. Basically, I took one for the team. If youre new to the self-help world, Im hoping this book will ease you into some of the basic concepts that totally changed my life so you can have a breakthrough, too, without making you want to run off screaming in the process. If youve already dipped your toe in the self-help pond, I hope it will say something in a new way that turns a light on so you can make some major shifts, create some tangible results, and someday wake up crying tears of giddy disbelief that you get to be you. And if I can save one person from ever having to take their inner child on a play date, I have done my job. My main focus when I started working on myself was how to make money. I had no idea how to make it on a consistent basis, and was totally weirded out by admitting that I even wanted to in the first place. I was a writer and a musician; I felt it was sufficientand quite noble thank you very muchto focus on my art and let the money part work itself out. THAT went real well! But I saw so many people doing such sleazy and heartbreaking things to make money, not to mention those people who were working jobs that were death-of-a-thousand-wounds boring, that I wanted no part of it. Add to that my slew of other crippling beliefs about the unholy dollar and its a wonder I wasnt eating out of a dumpster. I finally realized that I needed not only to focus on making money, but that I also needed to get over my fear and loathing of it if I wanted to start pulling it in. This is when the self-help books started infiltrating my house, and the name tags assumed their mandatory and humiliating post above my left boob. Eventually I took my credit card debt to unthinkable heights by forking over more money than Id paid for all my janky cars put together and hired my first coach. Within the first six months, I tripled my income with an online business that I created around coaching writers. And now Ive grown it to a place where it affords me the means and the luxury to travel the world freely, while I write, speak, play music, and coach people in all areas of their lives, using many of the concepts I used to so enjoy rolling my eyes at and with which I am now obsessed. In an attempt to help you get to where you want to go too, Im going to ask you to roll with some pretty out-there things throughout this book, and I want to encourage you to have an open mind. No, on second thought, I want to yell in your face about it: STAY OPEN OR ELSE YOU ARE SCREWED. I mean it. This is really important. Youve gotten to where you are right now by doing whatever it is youre doing, so if youre less than impressed with your current situation, you clearly need to change things up. If you want to live a life youve never lived, you have to do things youve never done. I dont care how big a loser you may or may not perceive yourself to be right now, the fact that youre literate, have the luxury of time to read this book and the money to buy it puts you way ahead of the game. This isnt something to feel guilty or whiney or superior about. But it is something to appreciate, and should you make the decision to really go for it, know that you are extremely well-poised to knock it out of the park and share your awesomeness with the world. Because thats really what this is all about. We need smart people with huge hearts and creative minds to manifest all the wealth, resources, and support they need to make their difference in the world. We need people to feel happy and fulfilled and loved so they dont take their shit out on themselves and other people and the planet and our animal friends. We need to be surrounded by people who radiate self-love and abundance so we dont program future generations with gnarly beliefs like money is bad and Im not good-enough and I cant live the way I want to live. We need kickass people to be out of struggle and living large and on purpose so they can be an inspiration to others who want to rise up, too. The first thing Im going to ask you to do is to believe that we live in a world of limitless possibilities. I dont care if you have a lifetime of proof that you cant stop shoving food in your face or that people are intrinsically evil or that you couldnt keep a man if you were handcuffed to his anklesbelieve that anything is possible anyway. See what happenswhat do you have to lose? If you try getting through this book and decide its a bunch of crap, you can go back to your sucky life. But maybe, if you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, youll wake up one day and realize youre living the kind of life you used to be jealous of. PART 1: HOW YOU GOT THIS WAY CHAPTER 1: MY SUBCONSCIOUS MADE ME DO IT You are a victim of the rules you live by. Jenny Holzer; artist, thinker, blurter of brilliance Many years ago I was in a terrible bowling accident. My friends and I were at the tail end of a heated tiebreaker, and I was so focused on making a great show of my final shotleaping into action, loudly declaring my impending victory, dancing and twirling my way through my approachthat I didnt realize where my feet were when I let go of the ball. This was the moment I was to learn how serious the bowling community is about penalizing those who roll with one toe over the line. They pour oil or wax or lube or something unimaginably slippery all over the alley, and should someone accidentally slide out of bounds while attempting the perfect hook shot, she will find her feet flying out from under her and her ass crashing down onto a surface that even an airborne bowling ball cant crack. A few weeks later whilst lolling about in bed with this guy I met at Macys, I explained that ever since my accident, Im now woken up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my feet. According to my acupuncturist, this is from the nerves in my back getting slammed when I fell, and in order to sleep through the night Id need a new, firmer mattress. I have pains in my feet when I sleep too! He said, raising himself up for an unreciprocated high five. Its not just because Im not into the whole high-five thing that I left him hanging, but also because I was annoyed with him. I already find mattress shopping to be totally bizarre and embarrassinglying on your side with a pillow between your thighs for all to see like its anyones businessbut the fact that I had to do it with my salesman lying next to me, begging for a high-fiver, was more than I could handle. I couldnt help but notice that all the other salesmen simply stood at the end of the bed, rattling off mattress facts while their clients tested out a myriad of positions, but not mine. Hed lower down next to me on his back, arms crossed over his chest, and thoughtfully chat away, staring at the ceiling like we were at summer camp. I mean, he was nice enough and incredibly knowledgeable about coils and latex and memory foam, but I was scared to roll over for fear hed start spooning me. Was I too friendly? Should I not have asked him where he was from? Did he think I meant something else when I patted the empty space next to me to test the pillow top? I obviously should have asked Freak Show Bob to get off the damn bed, or found someone else to help me, instead of sneaking out the door and blowing my only opportunity that week to go mattress shopping, but I didnt want to embarrass him. I didnt want to embarrass him! This is pretty much how my family was trained to deal with any sort of potentially uncomfortable interaction. Along with the fail-safe method of running in the opposite direction, other tools in our confrontation toolbox also included: freeze, talk about the weather, go blank, and burst into tears the moment youre out of earshot. Our lack of confrontation-management skills was no great surprise considering the fact that my mother comes from a long lineage of WASPs. Her parents were the types who believed that children were to be seen and not heard, and who looked upon any sort of emotional display with the same, horrified disdain usually reserved for cheap scotch and nonIvy League educations. And even though my mother went on to create a household for us that was as warm, loving, and laughter-filled as they come, it took years for me to finally learn how to form a sentence when presented with the blood-chilling phrase, We need to talk. All this is to say that its not your fault that youre fucked up. Its your fault if you stay fucked up, but the foundation of your fuckedupedness is something thats been passed down through generations of your family, like a coat of arms or a killer cornbread recipe, or in my case, equating confrontation with heart failure. When you came screaming onto this planet you were truly a bundle of joy, a wide-eyed creature incapable of doing anything but being in the moment. You had no idea that you had a body, let alone that you should be ashamed of it. When you looked around, everything just was. There was nothing about your world that was scary or too expensive or so last year as far as you were concerned. If something came near your mouth, you stuck it in, if it came near your hand, you grabbed it. You were simply a human being. While you explored and expanded into your new world, you also received messages from the people around you about the way things are. From the moment you could take it in, they started filling you up with a lifetimes worth of beliefs, many of which have nothing to do with who you actually are or what is necessarily true (e.g. the world is a dangerous place, youre too fat, homosexuality is a curse, size matters, hair shouldnt grow there, going to college is important, being a musician or an artist isnt a real career, etc.). The main source of this information was, of course, your parents, assisted by society at large. When they were raising you, your parents, in a genuine effort to protect you and educate you and love you with all their hearts (hopefully), passed on the beliefs they learned from their parents, who learned them from their parents, who learned them from their parents. . . . The trouble is, many of these beliefs have nothing to do with who they actually are/were or what is actually true. I realize Im making it sound like were all crazy, but thats because we kind of are. Most people are living in an illusion based on someone elses beliefs. Until they wake up. Which is what this book will hopefully help you do. Heres how it works: We as humans have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. Most of us are only aware of our conscious minds, however, because thats where we process all our information. Its where we figure things out, judge, obsess, analyze, criticize, worry that our ears are too big, decide once and for all to stop eating fried food, grasp that 2 2 = 4, try to remember where the hell we left the car keys, etc. The conscious mind is like a relentless overachiever, incessantly spinning around from thought to thought, stopping only when we sleep, and then starting up again the second we open our eyes. Our conscious mind, otherwise known as our frontal lobe, doesnt fully develop until sometime around puberty. Our subconscious mind, on the other hand, is the non-analytical part of our brain thats fully developed the moment we arrive here on earth. Its all about feelings and instincts and erupting into ear-piercing temper tantrums in the middle of supermarkets. Its also where we store all the early, outside information we get. The subconscious mind believes everything because it has no filter, it doesnt know the difference between whats true and whats not true. If our parents tell us that nobody in our family knows how to make money, we believe them. If they show us that marriage means punching each other in the face, we believe them. We believe them when they tell us that some fat guy in a red suit is going to climb down the chimney and bring us presentswhy wouldnt we believe any of the other garbage they feed us? Our subconscious mind is like a little kid who doesnt know any better and, not coincidentally, receives most of its information when were little kids and dont know any better (because our frontal lobes, the conscious part of our brains, hasnt fully formed yet). We take in information via the words, smiles, frowns, heavy sighs, raised eyebrows, tears, laughter, etc., of the people surrounding us with zero ability to filter any of it, and it all gets lodged in our squishy little subconscious minds as the truth (otherwise known as our beliefs) where it lives, undisturbed and unanalyzed, until were on the therapy couch decades later or checking ourselves into rehab, again. I can pretty much guarantee that every time you tearfully ask yourself the question, WTF is my problem?! the answer lies in some lame, limiting, and false subconscious belief that youve been dragging around without even realizing it. Which means that understanding this is majorly important. So lets review, shall we? 1) Our subconscious mind contains the blueprint for our lives. Its running the show based on the unfiltered information it gathered when we were kids, otherwise known as our beliefs. 2) We are, for the most part, completely oblivious to these subconscious beliefs that run our lives. 3) When our conscious minds finally develop and show up for work, no matter how big and smart and highfalutin they grow to be, theyre still being controlled by the beliefs were carrying around in our subconscious minds. Our conscious mind thinks its in control, but it isnt. Our subconscious mind doesnt think about anything, but is in control. This is why so many of us stumble through life doing everything we know in our conscious minds to do, yet remain mystified by whats keeping us from creating the excellent lives we want. For example, lets say you were raised by a father who was constantly struggling financially, who walked around kicking the furniture and grumbling about how money doesnt grow on trees, and who neglected you because he was always off trying, and for the most part failing, to make a living. Your subconscious took this in at face value and might have developed beliefs such as: Money = struggle Money is unavailable. Its moneys fault that I was abandoned by my father. Money sucks and causes pain. Cut to you as an adult who, in your conscious mind, would love nothing more than to be raking in the dough, but who is subconsciously mistrusting of money, believes its unavailable to you and who worries that if you make it, youll be abandoned by someone you love. You may then manifest these subconscious beliefs by staying broke no matter how hard you consciously try to make money, or by repeatedly making tons of money and then losing it in order to avoid being abandoned, or in a plethora of other, frustrating ways. No matter what you say you want, if youve got an underlying subconscious belief that its going to cause you pain or isnt available to you, you either A) Wont let yourself have it, or B) You will let yourself have it, but youll be rill fucked up about it. And then youll go off and lose it anyway. We dont realize that by eating that fourth doughnut or by ignoring our intuition and marrying that guy whos an awful lot like our low-down, cheatin daddy, that were being driven by our subconscious minds, not our conscious minds. And that when our subconscious beliefs are out of alignment with the things and experiences we want in our conscious minds (and hearts), it creates confusing conflicts between what were trying to create and what were actually creating. Its like were driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. (Obviously we all have awesome subconscious beliefs as well, but were not talking about those right now.) Here are some other scenarios that may or may not ring a bell: Conscious Mind: I long to find and marry my soul mate. Subconscious Mind: Intimacy leads to pain and suffering. Finger: Ringless Conscious Mind: I want to lose 25 pounds. Subconscious Mind: People arent safe; I must build a shield to protect myself. Body: A fortress of flab Conscious Mind: Im hot and sexy and want to get it on. Subconscious Mind: Physical pleasure is shameful. Sex Life: Yawn Conscious Mind: I want to travel the world. Subconscious Mind: Fun = irresponsible = I wont be loved Passport: Blank Its sort of like not being able to enjoy sitting on your front porch anymore because it totally reeks of something foul out there. You can come up with all these brilliant ways to deal with the problemlight incense, set up fans, blame it on the dogbut until you realize that something has crawled under your house and died, your problems will linger on, stinking up your life. The first key to ridding yourself of limiting subconscious beliefs is to become aware of them. Because until youre aware of whats really going on, youll keep working with your conscious mind (think you need to paint the porch) to solve a problem thats buried far beneath it (dead skunk removal) in your subconscious, which is an exercise in futility. Take a minute to look at some of the less-than-impressive areas of your life and think about the underlying beliefs that could have created them. Lets take the old crowd-pleaser, lack of money, for example. Are you making far less money than you know youre capable of earning? Have you reached a certain income level that, no matter what you do, you cant seem to go above? Does generating an abundance of money consistently seem like something youre not even physically capable of? If so, write down the first five things that come to your mind when you think about money. Is your list full of hope and bravado or fear and loathing? What are your parents beliefs about money? What are the beliefs of the other people you grew up around? What was their relationship with money like? Do you see any connection between their money beliefs and yours? Later on in this book Im going to give you tools to go much deeper with your subconscious beliefs and fix whatevers blocking you from living the kind of life youd love to live, but for now, practice stepping aside, notice whats happening in the dysfunctional areas of your life and strengthen your almighty awareness muscle. Start waking up to the stories youre working with in your subconscious (Ill have to do things I hate in order to make money, Ill feel trapped if I get into an intimate relationship, if I go on a diet Ill never get to eat anything fun again, if I enjoy sex Ill burn in Hell with the rest of the dirty sinners, etc.). Because once you see whats really going on, you can start to drag out the stinky carcasses of your limiting subconscious beliefs and give them the heave-ho, thereby opening up the space to invite the fresh, new, awesome beliefs and experiences that youd love to have, into your life. CHAPTER 2: THE G WORD If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. Nokola Tesla; inventor, physicist, supergenius When I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, my friends and I used to hang out at this western bar called Midnight Rodeo. It was the kind of place that had curling irons and hair spray in the womens bathroom, Bud Light on permanent special for two bucks a can, and a solid oak dance floor the size of a cornfield. We were all from the East Coast and were way too cool for country music, so at first wed go just to snootily make fun of it all, taking great pride in being the first to spot a particularly gigantic belt buckle or a cowboy sporting one of them handlebar mustaches big enough to cover five upper lips. But our favorite part was the line dancing. Wed stare mesmerized by the giant, choreographed mass of Garth Brooks fans, stomping around in synchronized woo-hooery with their thumbs purposefully tucked into the front pockets of their jeans. It was so hilarious that we started joining in ourselves, waving from the middle of the sea of cowboy hats to our friendswatch this! Then, uh, wed stay on the floor for the next song, just to try and get that part down where you click your heels right before the spin. Then we found ourselves sneaking off every weekend to merrily line dance our little achy breaky hearts out. This is sort of the same way the God thing happened for me. It started out with much snarkiness and eye rolling, but I was so broke and clueless and sick of being such a weenie about really going for it in my life, that I was open for suggestions. Which is why, when I started reading books on finding your calling and making money and getting over yourself already, and they all had this spiritual side to them, I didnt toss them in the Goodwill pile with my usual this God/spirituality crap is for suckers attitude. Instead I decided to give good old God a chance because I had nothing to lose. Literally. And lo and behold, some of it wasnt totally idiotic. So I started reading more about it. Then I started studying it. Then I started putting it into practice. Then I noticed how much better it made me feel. Then I started believing it. Then I noticed all these awesome shifts starting to happen in my life. Then I became obsessed with it. Then I started loving it. Then I started radically changing my life with it. Then I started teaching it. Now Im basically riding the mechanical bull about it, punching my fist in the air and hollering to the guy manning the controls, Hit it, Wayne! Wherever you happen to stand on the God issue, let me just say that that this whole improving your life thing is going to be a lot easier if you have an open mind about it. Call it whatever you want God, Goddess, The Big Guy, The Universe, Source Energy, Higher Power, The Grand Poobah, gut, intuition, Spirit, The Force, The Zone, The Lord, The Vortex, The Mother Lodeit doesnt matter. Personally, I find the God word to be a tad too loaded, I prefer Source Energy, The Universe, The Vortex, Spirit, The Mother Lode (all of which I will use interchangeably throughout this book, FYI). Whatever you choose to call it isnt important, what is important is that you start to develop an awareness of, and a relationship with, the Source Energy thats surrounding you and within you (which is all the same energy), and which will be your best pal ever if you give it a chance. Because heres the thing: All of us are connected to this limitless power and most of us arent using but a fraction of it. Our energy is taking a joy ride in these bodies of ours; learning, growing, and evolving along the way (one would hope, anywayI suppose, numbing, shrinking and moving back in with our parents is also an option), until our corporal journey comes to an end and we move on thanks for the lift! This realization, that were made up of, and connected to, Source Energy, made me want to have a deeper understanding of spirituality so I could make my physical experience as awesome as possible. And let me tell you, ever since I got into it, it has been awesomeness maximus. When Im connected with Source Energy and in the flow, I am so much more powerful, so much more in tune to my physical world and the world beyond, and just so much happier in general. And the more I meditate and the more attention I give to this relationship with my invisible superpower, the more effortlessly I can manifest the things I want into my life, and do it with such specificity and at such a rapid rate that it makes my hair stand up. Its like Ive finally figured out how to make my magic wand work. If loving Spirit is wrong, I dont wanna be right. HERE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR ALL THE WORK WERE ABOUT TO DO TOGETHER ON YOUR LIFE: The Universe is made up of Source Energy. All energy vibrates at a certain frequency. Which means youre vibrating at a certain frequency, and everything you desire, and dont desire, is also vibrating at a certain frequency. Vibration attracts like vibration. Otherwise known as The Law of Attraction, the basic idea is: Focus on that which makes you feel good and ye shall find (attract) that which makes you feel good. Were all attracting energy to ourselves all the time whether we realize it or not. And when were vibrating at a low frequency (feeling pessimistic, needy, victimized, jealous, shameful, worried, convinced we are ugly) yet expect high frequency, awesome things and experiences to come into our lives, we are often disappointed. You need to raise your frequency to match the vibration of the one you want to tune into. Its like trying to listen to a certain radio station but tuning in at the wrong frequency. If you have a hot and sexy date and want to listen to 105.9FM Slow Jamz, but set your dial to 89.9FM National Public Radio, youre not only going to be Slow Jamless, but youre more likely to attract a discussion about immigration laws in the U.S. instead of attracting a relaxed and candlelit body thats in the mood for love. The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out. And you cant fool The Universe. Which is why when youre vibrating at a high frequency, awesome things seem to flow to you effortlessly and you seem to stumble over the perfect people and opportunities all the time (and vice versa). As Albert Einstein observed, Coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous. When you learn to consciously master the energetic realm, believe in the not yet seen, and stay in your highest frequency, you harness your innate power to create the reality you desire. So once again, good ole awareness is your key to freedom. Once you realize that you can dramatically improve your situation by connecting with Source Energy and raising your frequency, you can freakin do it already (Ill show you exactly how later) instead of opting to stay in the suckhole and feeling like a victim of pathetic circumstances such as microwaving ramen in its Styrofoam cup for dinner or working for someone who makes your flesh crawl. In order to truly raise your vibration, youve got to believe that everything you want is available to you. And the best way to keep this belief strong is by staying connected to Source Energy. Its like were surrounded by this big, all-you-can-eat buffet of incredible experiences and insights and feelings and opportunities and things and people and ways to share our gifts with the world, and all we have to do is align our energy with what we want and take decisive action to allow this good into our lives. And this decisive action part is key. Sadly, we cant just float around our neighbors pool on a raft with cup-holders, sipping cocktails and being all high frequency while waiting for unicorns to fly down from the sky. We have to take actionhell-bent-for-glory kind of action. The trick is to have both partsenergy and actionworking in unison: unless your energy is lined up properly with that which you desire, really desire, any action you take is going to require way more effort to get you where you want to go, if it gets you there at all. Once in a while you may get lucky doing one without the other, but if you get very clear on what you truly want (rather than what you think you should want), believe that its available to you regardless of your present circumstances by staying connected to Source Energy and keeping your frequency high, and take decisive action, you will eventually succeed. Have you ever had a dream where youre flying and youre having such a blast but then you realize, hey, wait a minute, Im flyingI cant fly, and then you come crashing back down to the ground and you cant get yourself back up again? No matter what you try? This is the way beliefs work. Even if it seems impossible, you have to have faith anyway, and the second you stop believing, you pop the bubble and stop attracting the magic in your life. The Force is with you. This isnt just about believing and being all high-vibe when the sun is out and the bunnies are hopping around, either. This is about believing, even when things are at their most uncertain or absolute crappiest, that there is a bright shiny flipside within your reach. As French author and fearless truth-seeker, Andr? Gide, so aptly put it, One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. This is about believing that we live in a loving, kind and abundant Universe instead of one thats petty, mean, and likes other people more than it likes you. This is about your faith being greater than your fear. CHAPTER 3: PRESENT AS A PIGEON If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. Lao Tzu; ancient Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism, could have been one guy or a mythical compilation of many, nobody really knows for sure I was in yoga class one day and the instructor told us all to get into Pigeon Pose, which is this pose where you stretch one leg out behind you, fold the other one out sideways in front of you and then bend forward and lie down on top of the whole thing. Its fine if youre a pigeon, but its one of the poses I dread most because my hips dont move that way, it hurts and Im always scared Im gonna get stuck. But even though my body has requested otherwise, Im in class and going for it, and am determined to relax into it even though Im really just silently begging the dude to tell us to change into a different pose, which he doesnt do because hes too busy talking. Hes blabbing on and on and on about our connection to The Universe and our breath and the path to true enlightenment and holy fucking shit dude will you hurry up I think Im going to rip something I really do oh my God I think Im actually stuck how am I going to get out of this pose hes gonna have to come over here and lift me out of it because I really truly am stuck and then whoosh . . . I breathe into it. I shut off the relentless yammering in my brain, get quiet, and surrender. I feel my body shift and go deeper into the pose than its ever gone before. The pain is gone. The panic is gone. I am one with The Universe. But then I realize that I really do think Im stuck and seriously what the hell dude are you going to talk all night weve been in this freakin pose for five minutes for real and by the way my knee just got all hot and you really are not going to shut up even though I keep thinking you finally are but then you keep going and then, whoosh . . . I reconnect. Im back in The Zone. I melt deeply into this pose and feel such bliss and true connection to something much larger than myself. This flip-flopping between freaking out in our heads and breathing into the Now is basically how most of us go through life. Instead of worrying about the possibility of dislocating a hip (the future) or about how bad I was at this pose (the past), I could have luxuriated in the magnificence available to me in the moment. It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains, playing out our dramas, worrying about unwanted facial hair, seeking adoration, justifying our actions, complaining about slow Internet connections, dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now. Were on a planet that somehow knows how to rotate on its axis and follow a defined path while it hurtles through space! Our hearts beat! We can see! We have love, laughter, language, living rooms, computers, compassion, cars, fire, fingernails, flowers, music, medicine, mountains, muffins! We live in a limitless Universe overflowing with miracles! The fact that we arent stumbling around in an inconsolable state of sobbing awe is appalling. The Universe must be like, what more do I have to do to wake these bitches up? Make water, their most precious resource, rain down from the sky? The Universe loves us so much, and wants us to partake in the miraculous so badly, that sometimes she delivers little wake-up calls. Like in the movies when someone narrowly escapes death and is so overjoyed and grateful that they take to the streets, skipping and laughing and madly hugging everyone in sight. Suddenly all their problems fall away and the miracle of being alive, today, in this moment takes over the screen. I know someone who got sucked through a dam and almost died who now speaks about it as one of his most profound and life-changing experiences. Not that Id wish that on anyone, but take heart in the fact that should you require some sort of catastrophe for your transformation, it can be cosmically arranged. The Universe has also surrounded us with the perfect teachers. Animals, for example. Animals are in the present all the time, and their secret power is to pull us in with them. My friends dog is so happy to see her every single time she walks in the door its like shes about to free him from forty years of imprisonment. Even if shes only been gone for an hour. Youre here. Im here. I love you. Im gonna pee all over the floor about it. Little kids are also excellent guides. Kids get so wrapped up in the joy of drawing or pretending or discovering that theyd rarely eat or bathe or sleep if we didnt make them. They are constantly creating in a state of free-flowing, concentrated bliss, they havent yet learned to worry about what other people think of them or that perhaps theyre not as talented at finger painting as Lucy next door is. They are in the moment. There is fun in the moment. End of story. We would be wise to take more of our cues from the beasts and babies. All the stuff were so worried about creating and fixated on becoming is already right here, right now. The money you want already exists; the person you want to meet is already alive; the experience you want to have is available, now; the idea for that brilliant song you want to write is here, now, waiting for you to download the information. The knowledge and insight and joy and connection and love are all wagging their hands in your face, trying to get your attention. The life you want is right here, right now. What the hell am I talking about? If its all here, where is it? Think of it like electricity. Before the invention of the light bulb, most people werent aware of electricitys existence. It was still here, exactly the same way it is right now, but we hadnt yet woken up to it. It took the invention of the light bulb to bring it to our attention. We had to understand how to manifest it into our reality. Its not that the things and opportunities that we want in life dont exist yet. Its that were not yet aware of their existence (or the fact that we can really have them). The more practiced you become at being present and connected to Source Energy, the more available you are to download ideas and seize opportunities that you might miss out on if youre all wrapped up in the endless chatter in your head. Theres a great Hindu story about a lady who wanted to meet the god Krishna. So she went into the forest, closed her eyes, and prayed and meditated on making the god appear and lo and behold, Krishna came wandering down the forest path toward her. But when Krishna tapped the lady on the shoulder, she, without opening her eyes, told him to get lost because she was busy meditating on a very important goal. When we get so wrapped up in our heads, we miss out on whats available to us right now in the moment. Stop and notice how you feel right now. Feel your breath moving in and out of your body. Feel the air on your skin. Feel your heart beating. Your eyes seeing. Your ears hearing. Notice the energy inside and outside of you buzzing. Shut off your thoughts and feel your connection to Source. B-r-e-a-t-h-e. Even if youve got bone-chilling credit card debts or you havent spoken to your mother in six years, right now, in this moment, you can find peace and joy in that which simply is. As adults with responsibilities like bodies to care for and mortgages to pay, theres some value in taking a side trip away from the present moment every once in a while; sometimes we need to think about and plan for the future, as well as study the past in order to learn from it or laugh about it or to bury it out back and let it go forever. And if we just stopped by for the occasional visits to the future and past, that would be one thing, but the amount of time we spend chewing on junk-food thoughts about what-ifs and how-comesLawd help us! The more time you spend in the moment, the richer your life will be. Being present gets you out of your head and connects you to Source Energy, which raises your frequency, which attracts things of like frequency to you. And all of those high-frequency things and experiences are already here, just waiting for you to join the party, all you have to do is shut up, show up, and usher them in. CHAPTER 4: THE BIG SNOOZE Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. Kurt Cobain; you know who this one is, right? When I first started getting into self-helpery, there was lots of talk about something called the Ego that confused the hell out of me. I always thought that Ego was about being conceited and braggy and all, Im gonna talk on and on and on about how great I am and then Im gonna show you my muscles. Meanwhile, even though arrogance and conceit (which are different from self-love and confidence, BTW) are part of the Ego, theyre not, as I later learned, the whole dealio. In the self-help/spiritual community, Ego is used to refer to the shadow self, or the false self, or the self thats acting like a weenie. Its the part of us thats driving the bus when we do things like sabotage our happiness by cheating on our husbands or wives because deep down we dont feel worthy of being loved, or that refuses to follow our hearts and pursue an acting career because were terrified to be seen for who we really are or that goes on and on and on and on about how great we are and shows off our muscles because were insecure and need lots of outside validation that were good enough. In other words, theres more than one way to go on an ego trip. From here on out, Im going to refer to the Ego as the Big Snooze. Or BS for short. I think itll be less confusing. Plus I think its more appropriate, since the leading cause of sucking (staying broke, dating morons, uncontrollably crying in public because we hate our lives) is that we havent yet woken up to how truly powerful we are or to how massively abundant our Universe is. Alrighty, so, moving forward. The Big Snooze operates according to your limiting false beliefs. This is the garbage that was stuffed into your subconscious as a kid that doesnt ring true for you, as well as the decisions youve made about yourself that are less-than flattering or empowering. It gets validation from outside sources (Im doing this to win your love, your opinion of me is more important than my opinion of me), its reactive (My circumstances control my life, I am a victim), fear-based, and extremely committed to keeping you safely confined within the reality youve created based on these limiting false beliefs (otherwise known as your comfort zone). The Big Snooze lives in the past and in the future and believes you are separate from everything around you. Your true self or your higher self or your superhero self (your non-BS self), on the other hand, is the part of you that operates according to your connection to Source Energy. It gets validation from within (I love and trust myself, this feels right to me, I have a purpose, I am loved), its proactive (Im in control of my life, I think Ill head on out and kick me some ass), love-based, and is committed to creating a reality based on your limitless potentialas soon as you wake up from the Big Snooze. Your true self lives in the present (not stuck in your head), totally believes in miracles and is one with the Universe. We all experience life in varying degrees from both perspectives, and while I seriously doubt theres anyone whos totally Snooze-free, most people are so wrapped up in the BS that theyre settling for realities that are waaaaaaaay beneath whats available to them. Very few people are even aware of whats available, however, because we live in a fear-based society that loves to get all uppity toward people who wake up from the Big Snooze, blast out of their comfort zones, and follow their hearts into the great unknown. Oftentimes, taking great leaps of faith is labeled as irresponsible or selfish or insane (until you succeed of course, then youre brilliant). This is because: Watching someone else totally go for it can be incredibly upsetting to the person whos spent a lifetime building a solid case for why they themselves cant. Im obviously generalizing, and there are plenty of people out there cheering us on, but one of the first things you might have to deal with when you decide to wake up from the Big Snooze and make massive positive changes in your life is disapproval from other people who are snoring away. Especially the people closest to you, lame as this may sound. They may express their discomfort in all sorts of ways: anger, hurt, bafflement, criticism, snorting every time you talk about your new business or your new friends, constant remarks about how youre not the way you used to be, brow furrowing, worrying, teasing, blocking you from all social media outlets, etc. Shirley, are you really going to quit your secure, corporate job to open a nail salon when youve got two children, a mortgage, and high blood pressure? So few new businesses succeed, especially in this economyarent you worried about what will happen to your family if you fail? Of course Shirley is worried about what will happen to her family if she fails! She wakes up every night seized by panic about it, but shes moving past her fear to create something shes really psyched about, rather than dying a slow painful death hanging around the watercooler with you, whining about how dry the cake was at the birthday party your boss threw for you in the conference room last week. Even though theyre often doing it out of love and concern, having others smear their fear and worry all over you is the last thing you need when youre strengthening your superhero muscles to step out and take some risks, so I highly recommend keeping your mouth shut around people who are gonna bring you down. Instead, seek out those who are already totally kicking butt (or who are lifting up their foot to do so), or people who you know will be supportive, and confide in them. Because youll have your own internal freak show to deal with as you try to overcome the objections from your own BS. The Big Snooze is like an overprotective Italian mother who not only doesnt want you to ever go outside, but who wants you to live with her forever. Her intentions are good, but fully fear-based. As long as you stay inside the familiar, risk-free zone of your present reality, the Big Snooze is content, but should you try and sneak past her to attend the rockin party outside, your overprotective, controlling mother is going to claw, scratch, scream, bite, hurl her body in front of your rapidly approaching new lifebasically shes going to do whatever she can to stop you. And it aint gonna be pretty. Its like when you quit smoking or doing drugs and go into withdrawal. Finally, youve taken a leap and done something thats going to massively improve your life, and for days, sometimes weeks, you feel worse than you did when you were a wild child. Youre hacking up all this nasty crap, ridding your body of toxins, shaking, sweating, puking, wondering why on Earth you thought this was a good idea. Its really fun. Same goes for when we rid ourselves of limiting subconscious beliefs that have been holding us back and take a giant leap outside our comfort zone. Its a detox of such staggering proportions that sometimes it can feel like The Universe is conspiring against ustrees fall on our cars, our computers crash, we find our significant others in bed with our best friends, we get our identities stolen, we get the flu, our roofs cave in, we sit in gumwhen in reality, The Big Snooze is creating chaos in an attempt to self-sabotage and keep everything as is, instead of moving forward into unknown, yet desperately wanted, new territory. Every successful person knows this and has been through this. When taking great leaps forward, life often turns to shit before it turns to Shinola. I realize this might seem a bit far-fetched, but remember, you create your reality. And youve spent a lifetime creating the one you presently have largely based on your limiting beliefs. When you decide to re-wire these beliefs, go for whats truly in your heart and do a massive overhaul on yourself and your world, youre basically murdering the Big Snooze. And she is going to come at you, rolling pin raised high over her head, to beat you back into your old life. We are very powerful creatures who create our realities through focused energy, and should our subconscious mind decide to focus that energy at stopping ourselves from taking a risk because its freaking out and terrified, things can get a little crazy around here. The Big Snooze will do everything it can to stop you from changing and growing, especially since youre attempting to obliterate the very identity that you and everyone else has come to know as you. Never underestimate the power of the Big Snooze scorned. Sometimes the Big Snooze sets up emotional blocks to try and stop us, other times she gets physical. I have a client who decided to quit his ho-hum yet high-paying job to start his dream company from scratch. He had no idea where to start, what he wanted to do or how he was going to pull it off, and regardless of the fact that he had a family that was counting on him, no guarantees and even fewer leads, he quit his secure job and went for it because he was determined to create a life he loved. Thats when the BS hit the fanhe got not one, but two flat tires after leaving a coaching session with me, his babysitter ran into his wifes car while driving his car, the water main under his kitchen exploded, and right before his first big deal went through, he got hit by a freakin bus (Im pleased to report hes fine). But even with all those extremely convincing excuses to say Ok, fine, screw it, you win, he never gave up. Today he finds himself being his own boss, doing what he loves, traveling the world, negotiating multi-million dollar deals, making a huge difference in his clients lives, being creative and setting an excellent example for his kids about living life on purpose. A record producer I worked with decided to build her own recording studio. She put all her money and effort into buying all the recording equipment, instruments, amps, soundproofing, etc., only to have the entire thing burn to the ground almost immediately after it was completed. Instead of closing the shades, getting into bed and sucking her thumb for the next two years, she raised the money she needed to rebuild an even better studio and is now rocking so hard that she gets to hand pick the musicians she works with and basically live out her fantasy life. So if you finally decide to quit your soul-crushing job and start the pastry shop of your dreams, be not upset if a truck drives through your front window into your scones. Instead of taking this as a sign that you shouldnt have opened your shop, take it to mean that youre ridding yourself of your BS and moving in the right direction. Growth aint for weenies, but its no where near as painful as living the life youre living right now if youre not really going for it. If you want to take control of your life and turn it into something as spectacularly you as have the people I described above, stop at nothing. Have faith. Trust that your new life is already here and is far better than the old. Hang tight if the Big Snooze pitches a fit. Whatever happens, stay the course, because theres nothing cooler than watching your entire reality shift into one that is the perfect expression of you. CHAPTER 5: SELF-PERCEPTION IS A ZOO Im okay, Im not okay. The title of my friend Cynthias yet-to-be-written autobiography I have a friend whos a professional speaker. Shes the kind of person who is so articulate, so powerful and bright and naturally captivating, that she could be standing at the counter, ordering a burrito and Id get all teary-eyed: Thats right! No refried beans! You heard the woman! So imagine my surprise when, after one of her talks, she plunked herself down next to me and demanded to know how boring it was. I also have gorgeous friends who think theyre hideous looking, brilliant clients who one moment think theyre Gods gift to mankind and the next need to be talked off the ledge of self-proclaimed ineptitude, and an entrepreneurial neighbor who cant decide if shes a financial powerhouse or if shes about to cause her family to start living underneath a bridge. Self-perception is a zoo. We spend our lives drifting between glimpses of our own, infinite glory and the fear that not only are we totally incapable/unworthy/lazy/horrible, but that its only a matter of time before someone blows the whistle on us. We torture ourselves incessantly, and for what purpose? If we can glimpse the glory (and I know you can), why do we waste our precious time giving any energy to the other options? Wouldnt life be so much more fun, productive, and sexy if we fully embraced our magnificently delightful selves? Its just as easy to believe were awesome as it is to believe were giant sucking things. Takes the same amount of energy. The same amount of focus. So why do we choose all the drama? Have you ever noticed how when someone you admire goes out and does something phenomenal, youre happy for her or him, but youre not surprisedof course they did something phenomenal, theyre a phenomenal person! But to get yourself to see how amazing you are is like pushing a giant marshmallow up a hill. Yes, there we go, we are up, we are awesome! Ooop! Were saggingwe are sagging on the left! Push it up. There we go. We are all good! Wait, now were sagging on the right We run around, taking one step forward and fourteen steps back when its so unnecessary. Instead, try seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who admires you. They get it. They believe in you leaps and bounds. They arent connected to your insecurities and negative beliefs about yourself. All they see is your true glory and potential. Become one of your own die-hard fans, look at yourself from the outside, where all your self doubts cant crawl all over you, and behold what shines through. You get to choose how you perceive your reality. So why, when it comes to perceiving yourself, would you choose to see anything other than a super huge rock star of a creature? You are a badass. You were one when you came screaming onto this planet and you are one now. The Universe wouldnt have bothered with you otherwise. You cant screw up so majorly that your badassery disappears. It is who you are. Its who you always will be. Its not up for negotiation. You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. Its got you wrapped in a warm gorilla hug of adoration. It wants to give you everything you desire. It wants you to be happy. It wants you to see what it sees in you. You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that its got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? Youre on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why youre here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance. We are all perfect in our own, magnificent, fucked-up ways. Laugh at yourself. Love yourself and others. Rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness. PART 2: HOW TO EMBRACE YOUR INNER BADASS CHAPTER 6: LOVE THE ONE YOU IS If we really love ourselves, everything in our life works. Louise Hay; author, publisher, the Godmother of Self-Help who was doing it way back when it still wasnt cool I was hanging out at my brother Bobbys house one day, lying on the couch, watching his then-two-year-old son waddle around. At one point, someone knocked something off the coffee table, and my little nephew bent down to pick it up. Bobby turned to me and said, Did you see that? The guy knows exactly how its done. He bends at the knees, keeps his back straight, hips squared, stomach tightflawless! Thrilled to have such a willing and skilled Exhibit A, Bobby then proceeded to spend the next couple of minutes dropping more things on the floora spoon, a TV remote, an empty can of beerand my nephew, in perfect form, continued to pick it all up as my brother kept up a running commentary on his posture, muscle usage, seriousness of manner, and the fact that my nephew was pulling it all off with great dignity even though his diaper was sagging. Its incredible. The kid could flip over a car without straining his back. I can barely pull up my pants without having to be rushed to the hospital. When were born, we have an instinctual understanding of some of the most important basics of life that includes, and goes way beyond, bending at our knees, instead of our lower backs, to pick a beer can up off the floor. Were born knowing how to trust our instincts, how to breathe deeply, how to eat only when were hungry, how to not care about what anyone thinks of our singing voices, dance moves, or hairdos, we know how to play, create, and love without holding back. Then, as we grow and learn from the people around us, we replace many of these primal understandings with negative false beliefs, fear, shame, and self-doubt. Then we wind up in emotional and physical pain. Then we either numb our pain with drugs, sex, booze, TV, Cheetos, etc. Or we settle for mediocrity. OR we rise to the occasion, remember how truly mighty we are, and set out to relearn everything we knew at the beginning all over again. Its like were born with a big bag of money, more than enough to fund any dream of ours, and instead of following our instincts and our hearts, we invest in what other people believe we should invest in. Some people invest in believing theyre too old to go out clubbing when they love nothing more than the boogie, some invest in being tough and too-cool-for-school when all they want is love and connection, some invest in being ashamed of their sexuality instead of being their gloriously gay selves. As we continue to buy into these things that arent even true for us, our inner fortunes dwindle away, and it isnt until we reconnect with who we truly are and start investing in whats true for us that we start to live rich, full, authentic lives. And while there are countless ways that we rip ourselves off, theres one way in particular that is, without a doubt, the most rampant and the most devastating of all: we invest everything weve got in believing that were not good enough. We arrive here as perfect little bundles of joy and then set about the task of learning to un-love ourselves! How unbelievably ridiculous is that?! Self-love, the simplest yet most powerful thing ever, flies right out the window when we start taking in outside information. Im not talking about conceit or narcissism, because those things also come from fear and a lack of self-love. Im talking about a deep connection with our highest selves, and an unshakable ability to forgive our lowest. Im talking about loving ourselves enough to let go of guilt, resentment, and criticism and embrace compassion, joy, and gratitude. When were happy and all in love with ourselves, we cant be bothered with the bullshit (our own or other peoples). Imagine what our world would be like if everyone loved themselves so much that they werent threatened by other peoples opinions or skin colors or sexual preferences or talents or education or possessions or lack of possessions or religious beliefs or customs or their general tendency to just be whoever the hell they are. Imagine how different your reality would be (and the reality of everyone surrounding you) if you woke up every morning certain of your own lovability and your critically important role on this planet. And if you poo-pooed shame, guilt, self-doubt, and self-loathing and allowed yourself to be, do, and have everything your little heart desired. THATS the kind of world I want to live in. In the interest of perpetuating such radical, reality-altering self-love, here are some of the best ways to win yourself over again: 1. APPRECIATE HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do. You have a way of being in the world and a perspective thats unique to you. You are the only one who thinks your thoughts the way you think them. You have created your own unique reality and are living your life according to your own unique path. You are the only you that will ever be. You are kind of a big deal. 2. DROWN YOURSELF IN AFFIRMATIONS Trust me, I wouldnt do this to you unless I had to, but affirmations work. You dont have to say them in the mirror, you dont have to hug yourself or buy a special rainbow journal with a lock on it to write them down in, but if you want to turn the ship around, you need to rewire your brain and train it to think differently. And this is what affirmations can do for you. Figure out which affirmations you need to hear the most and repeat them all day long in your head, in the car, while youre walking down the street pretending to be on the phone, under your breathe in line at the DMV. Write them on Post-it notes and stick them around your house, on your mirrors, in your refrigerator, in your car. Write down your favorite affirmations ten times every morning and ten times every night before you go to bed and say them out loud. Here are some affirmations specific to self-love. Pick one or two that work for you and pummel yourself with them: I deserve and receive massive amounts of love every moment of every day. I am one with The Universe. The Universe is awesome and so am I. My heart is open. Love pours in and out. I receive all the good that life has to offer me. I am brilliant, bright, and beautiful. I love how tall I am and I love the size of my ass. Or whatever. If none of these work, come up with some that dont make you gag but that strike a nerve with you. The more emotion you feel around what youre saying, the more power it will have to bring about positive change. And yes, at the beginning it may feel like youre lying to yourself, but the truth is, youre living the lie, so the affirmations get you back to truth. This cant be just rattling off nonsenseyou have to feel it and want it and get worked up by it in order for it to work. 3. DO THINGS YOU LOVE When you constantly deny yourself the people, food, things, and experiences that make you feel the most alive, that sends a pretty lousy message home. Look at your life and see where youre letting yourself down. If you hear yourself saying things like I love going out to see live music! I cant remember the last time I did it, make time. Were all busy, but its the people who make enjoying their lives a priority who, um, enjoy their lives. Right now, there are thousands of people all over the world at yoga retreats overlooking the ocean, dancing their asses off at outdoor music festivals or whooping it up on the Disney Cruise of their dreams. Really listen to how you speak and pay attention to what you do, and make a conscious effort to increase your joy in whatever capacity you can. It can be anything from spending a weekday afternoon with a great friend to quitting your hateful job to buying a pair of completely impractical but completely awesome new shoes to going on a surf vacation in Costa Rica. Its about being proactive about creating a life you love instead of meekly living the one you think youre stuck with. Give yourself the gift of a joyous life while youre still among the living. Also, if youre the kind of person who puts everyone elses needs first, start putting yours up front. Those who are used to you being their personal assistant will still love you, even though theyll be somewhat grouchy about you not waiting on them hand and foot anymore. Buy a new pair of jeans, open a savings account, hire someone to do your dishes, make your kids clean out the cat boxyou arent a selfish person for taking care of yourself, just a happier one. Take care of yourself as if youre the most awesome person youve ever met. 4. FIND A REPLACEMENT Weve gotten so used to our negative knee-jerk reactions to ourselves that we never think to question themwe simply take them as the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But once we become aware of our thought patterns and behaviors, we can consciously change them. So start paying attention: What runs through your mind when you look in the mirror? What happens inside you when you see someone totally succeeding at something youd love to do but have never let yourself try? What do you think and feel when you walk up to a group of really good-looking, successful people? Or when you try your best to pull something off and you fail? Or when you get dumped by someone who is totally awesome? And hot? Or when you walk around all day with your fly open? Or when you leave your coffee on the roof of your car and drive off? Or when you let a friend down? Or when you stub your toe on the kitchen table for the tenth time? Or when you forget your dads birthday? Or when you snap at someone who didnt quite deserve it as harshly as you gave it to them? Notice the verbiage that runs through your mind when youre being the most heinous to yourself and come up with a new-and-improved response. For example, if every time you look in the mirror, your first thought is yikes, make a conscious effort to change it to hi, gorgeous! If you have a complicated relationship with your father and beat yourself up every time you say something awful to him, replace Im a monster with Im just a little bunny, working through my issues. And then, of course, apologize to him. If your standard response to screwing something up is ugh, Her Royal Clumsiness strikes again, replace it with what can I learn from this? The most important thing is to free yourself from the drama and the conviction that your current version of yourself is the truth. I dont care if youre all, thats easy for you to say; you dont have a nose that makes it look like someone parked a yacht on your face. Because one day you could see some fancy and famous fashion model with a nose far bigger than yours is who decided she was gorgeous anyway, and suddenly youll feel beautiful and confident and all proud of your nose when, just the day before, you were considering getting it sawed off. This is how ridiculous we are. Do not spend your life clinging to the insulting decisions youve made about yourself. Instead, make the conscious choice to replace them with new and improved ones. 5. DITCH THE SELF-DEPRECATING HUMOR Incessant self-deprecating humor is for losers. I get itit can be hilariously funny and Im totally guilty of it from time to time and theres nobody Id more enjoy backing over with my car than the guy who cant laugh at himself, but Im talking about the nonstop, self-flagellating, I Suckfest. Ripping on yourself gets old. Fast. Especially if its your shtick. So if youre one of those people who falls back on making fun of yourself, every hour on the hour, not only are you basically begging people to think youre a loser, but youre begging yourself to think youre a loser. Its like hitting yourself over and over with a crowbar. Why on earth would you do that to your awesome self? What you tell yourself on a daily basis is more powerful than you know. Seemingly harmless jokes, over time, turn into seriously destructive beliefs. Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities. So if your favorite joke is that you couldnt get a date if you demanded one at gunpoint, and you spend every Saturday night alone, perhaps you should come up with a new one-liner. And most importantly, constantly making fun of yourself is such a cheap way to be funny. Anyone can do it. So push yourself to come up with a new script. Your confidence, and we humor snobs, will thank you. 6. LET THE LOVE IN Receive compliments gracefully instead of countering with a disclaimer such as, Oh, this ratty old thing? Try this instead: Thank you. Period. Take care of your body, too. We, if youre anything like me, run around doing all our busy work with our poor bodies flapping behind us like old wind socks. When were pressed for time, its often the first thing to get overlooked. Ive got five meetings today, Ill do my yoga tomorrow and have a power bar for lunch. Meanwhile, during our little sojourn here on earth, we need our bodies more than they need us. Say nice things about your body, dress it up, and take it out. Give it hot sex, luxurious baths, and massages. Move it, stretch it, nourish it, hydrate it, pay attention to itThe better our bodies feel, the happier and more productive we are. 7. DONT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS Have you ever done something that youre so proud of and feel all on top of the world about until you see that someone else has done something similar that, in your mind, is better, and all of a sudden you feel sad? Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life. Its none of your business what other people are doing. All that matters is that youre enjoying yourself and pleased with what youre creating. Its precisely your uniqueness that makes you awesome deciding that someone elses uniqueness is better than your own isnt exactly being your own best buddy about things. Can you imagine what our world would be like if our biggest heroes succumbed to the perils of comparison? If Marilyn Monroe compared herself to Kate Moss and decided she needed to lose her curves? Or if the guys in Led Zeppelin compared themselves to Mozart? Dude. That guys huge. Way huger than well ever be and he doesnt even have a drummer. I think we should get rid of ours and maybe add some harps while were at it. You are more than enough. Avoid comparison like the plague. 8. FORGIVE YOURSELF (LISTEN UP! THIS ONES EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.) You have screwed up in the past. You will screw up again. Every human is born with the ability to make spectacular mistakes. You are not alone, screwing up is not your special skill. Get over it. Dragging around guilt and self-criticism is beyond unhealthy and is utterly pointless, not to mention boring. You arent a better person for feeling guilty or bad about yourself, just a sadder one. Get clear on this one truth: guilt, shame, and self-criticism are some of the most destructive forces in your life, which is why forgiving yourself is one of the most powerful. Heres an excellent way to do it: Think of a specific thing that you did that you feel badly about. Call it up in your mind and feel it in your body. Repeat the following over and over while thinking of it and really feel what youre saying to yourself: Holding on to my bad feelings about this is doing nothing but harming me, and everyone else, and preventing me from enjoying my life fully. I am an awesome person. I choose to enjoy my life. I choose to let this go. Repeat this until you feel a sense of freedom and lightness around your issue. It may take a day or a week or several months or it could happen right away. But however long it takes, do it, because if you want to be free, you have to put in the time. (See Chapter 15 for more tips on forgiveness and letting go.) And if you need to apologize to someone, pick up the phone. 9. LOVE YOURSELF Because its the Holy Grail of happiness. CHAPTER 7 I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I? Im not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know Im not dumb. I also know Im not blonde. Dolly Parton; singer, songwriter, actress, altruist, businesswoman, bright shiny light A friend of minea brilliant writeronce called me in a panic when she suddenly became frozen with fear over the subject matter of the book she was working on and could no longer bring herself to write it. Her book was, among many other splendid things, very personal, dark, and twisted, and my friend was concerned that it was too much. That it was crossing the line. That she was exposing herself as a giant weirdo pervert freak. This brings up something thats SO important to have a firm grasp on if youre going to get anywhere near reaching your full potential in this life as a writer, an artist, a businessperson, a parent, a butcher, a baker, a candlestick-maker or as a fully realized and evolved human being in general: DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME GIVING ONE SINGLE CRAP ABOUT WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OF YOU. Imagine how liberating that would be! Other peoples opinions motivate every move we make in our teens and our twenties. And, as we age, if were moving in the right direction, our obsession with how were perceived by others begins to trickle away, but very few of us are able to escape its pointless grasp completely. Meanwhile, the truth is, the only questions you ever need to consider when making decisions about your life are: 1. Is this something I want to be, do, or have? 2. Is this going to take me in the direction I want to go (not should go)? 3. Is this going to screw over* anybody else in the process? We throw a wet blanket of ho-hummery over our lives when we live in fear of what others might think, instead of in celebration of who we are. Yes, its part of our survival instinct to careget booted from the tribe and youll freeze to death or starve or be eaten by wolves. But because we have big brains and the ability to manifest anything we set our minds to, there is another version thats equally plausible: Get booted from the tribe and start, or find, another tribe thats more your style. You could not only wind up doing what you love surrounded by people you adore who you actually relate to, but you might one day realize you can no longer remember the names of the people whose approval you so desperately thought you would die without. Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule and failure and sometimes even death. Think of the Wright brothers. Can you imagine how that whole thing went down? Margaret: Did you hear about poor Susan? Ruth: Susan Wright? Helen: Such a disgrace. Poor thing. Ruth: What happened? Margaret: Well, her sons . . . Helen: As if she hasnt suffered enough. Birthing two boys as big as buffaloes, and now this . . . Margaret: Seems her two sons . . . Helen: You gonna eat the rest of your tapioca pudding? Mind if I help myself? Ruth: Tell me already, Margaret! Margaret: Well, this is going to sound as crazy as it is but they . . . Helen: And now her sons think they can fly. Such a shame. Margaret: Her sons thinkthey think they can fly. Ruth: Think they can fly? Margaret: Yes, they think they can fly. They talk of nothing else. Helen: She just had the house painted, too. Theyll probably have to move out of town now. . . . Once you step away from the herd and let your true self shine, youll probably find yourself in front of the opinion firing squad (especially if what you want to do is extraordinary and outside of everyones comfort zones), which is why so many people run screaming from the lives theyd so love to live. Merely allowing yourself to be seen is a risk. I mean, look at how we treat celebritiestheir every move is picked apart and passed around and discussed and judged and photographed without makeup on. Its a wonder that only half of them spend time in rehab. You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it. Two people can walk out of the same movie, one person clinging to the walls, bloodshot and devastated, leaving a trail of tissues, more moved by this film than any other film in the history of cinema while the other person goes marching up to the ticket counter and demands her money back because she thought it was the worst piece of garbage to ever be projected onto a screen. One movie, two very different experiences. Why? Because its not about the movie, its about the moviegoers. What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. The trick is to not only deny the criticism any power over you, but, even more challenging, to not get caught up in the praise. Theres nothing wrong with blushingly accepting a compliment, but if you find yourself always seeking outside approval that youre good enough or cool enough or talented enough or worthy enough, youre screwed. Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation. Then you wind up chasing after something you have no control over, and should that something suddenly place its focus somewhere else, or change its mind and decide youre no longer very interesting, you end up with a full-blown identity crisis. All that matters is whats true for you, and if you can stay connected to that without straying, you will be a mighty superhero. Everything else is just other peoples perception of reality, and that is none of your business. So how can you truly not care what other people think and be your most powerful Self? 1. ASK YOURSELF WHY Why are you about to say or do something? Is it to be liked? To put someone down because you feel insecure? To get someone back because they made a fat joke about your mother? Or is it coming from a place of strength and truth? Are you doing it because itll be fun? Because you feel called to do it? Because itll change someone elses life in a positive, martyr-free way? Pay attention to your motivations (be honest). Practice coming from a place of integrity and you will be victorious. 2. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST Theres no faster way to fall prey to outside input than when youre feeling insecure. And theres no better way to feel insecure than knowing you half-assed something or dont really believe in what youre doing. No matter what it israising your prices or raising your childrenif you do the absolute best you possibly can, and come from a place of integrity, then you can be proud of yourself and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. 3. TRUST YOUR INTUITION Birds use their intuition to navigate their way to breeding grounds halfway around the world. Deer and rabbits and other prey type beasts use their intuition to avoid running into predators. The average human, on the other hand, will take the advice of their drunk-before-noon neighbor across the street instead of doing what deep down we know is best. How many times have you thought in hindsight, I knew I should have listened to my gut!? You have an incredible, inner guidance tool that you can use whenever you need it. Tell everyone to shut up and go away, get quiet, give yourself room to feel and think. You have all the answers inside of you. Practice sharpening your intuition, take the time to strengthen your connection to Source Energy, and trust that you know whats best for you. The more centered and tuned-in you are, the mightier you will be (look for more tips on how to do this later in this book). 4. FIND A TEMPORARY ROLE MODEL Find a mentor or a hero or a role model. Get clear on why this person is impressive and inspiring to you, and when faced with a challenge that leaves you guessing how to react, ask yourself, What would my hero do? Not caring what others think is a muscle that can take some time to build up, so use this trick while youre still getting strong, and before you know it, youll be able to ditch your hero and start asking yourself, What would I do? 5. LOVE YOURSELF No matter what anyone else thinks. IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT OUTSIDE OPINIONS: While you are unauthorized to base your self-worth on what other people think, it doesnt mean you should miss out on the opportunity to benefit from outside input altogether. Especially input from those who know you well. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, and constructive complimenting. But whether or not they are constructive depends on you. For example, if people have been telling you for years that youre a hothead, that they feel like they cant be open with you because the second you disagree with them you blow up in their faces, ask yourself Is this true (be honest)? Can I use this information to better myself and the lives of others? If the answer is yes, commit to making the necessary changes; if the answer is no, let it go. Same goes for compliments. If people constantly tell you youre a good listener, ask yourself, Is this compliment true for me? Can I use this information to better myself and the lives of others? Again, if the answer is yes, figure out how you can capitalize on it; if the answer is no, let it go. Sometimes its easier for other people to see what we cant see ourselves, so if they can help us connect with our truths and live happier, more authentic lives, then its worth taking the time to listen. It still ultimately comes down to whats true for you, however, so the more connected to your inner truth you are, the easier it will be to use outside opinions to your advantage, rather than let them rule your life. *The definition of screwing someone over is taking their money and doing a lousy job or destroying their water source or enslaving populations, things like thatyour mother being disappointed or your father disapproving or your friends being outraged does not qualify as screwing someone over. CHAPTER 8: WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. Joseph Campbell; American mythologist, author whose books/ideas influenced the making of Star Wars Getting clear about what your unique purpose is can be the difference between living a happy, fulfilled life of abundance, choice, and expansiveness or living in the restrictive veal pen of your own indecision and tired old excuses. A gift, of course, is meant to be given, which is why its so brutal when we cant figure out what ours is, or when we know what it is, but were too lame to act on it: here we have the perfect gift to share with the world, just bursting to be opened, and we keep it sitting there, wrapped tightly in a box, growing old and gathering dust. Oh the waste! The agony! Meanwhile, the joy of giving someone the perfect gift is unparalleled. We all know how it feels, hopping back and forth from foot to foot, wringing our hands, practically peeing in our pants, begging them to open it. OPEN IT ALREADY! Jesus H. Christ here let me freakin do it! The power of giving is so strong that the excitement and the good feelings are often greater for the giver than for the receiver. Which is why, when you find your calling and you design your life in such a way that you can share your gifts with the world on a consistent basis, you feel like a rock star. When we share what we were brought here to give, we are in alignment with our highest, most powerful selves. Most people, however, wander through their lives giving the tasteful candle version of their gifts. You knowthey dont show up to the party empty-handed or anything; they present their somewhat flaccid gift to the world, receive a warm hug, and an, Oh, you shouldnt have, in return, but they dont knock it out of the park. For example, they get a job doing something that they either hate or thats a bit of a yawn but is, you know, okay. It affords them a life that covers the basics as long as they dont go too crazy. They do fun stuff but not as much as theyd like because they dont have the money. Or the time. Or the belief that they deserve to. They have little victories here and there, they meet their sales quota and win the six-day cruise to the Bahamas or rack up enough miles to go stay with their aunt and see the Olympics or finally sit down and write an entire song that they may or may not ever record or perform, but they never truly go for it and create a life that really lights them up. They basically Big Snooze their lives away. Every single person is born with unique and valuable gifts to share with the world. Once we figure out what ours are, and decide to live our lives putting them to use, thats when, and only when, the real party begins. Living a life on purpose is available to everyone. So if youre struggling or settling or completely confused about what youre supposed to do with your life, know that the answer is already here. It exists and so does the life you cant wait to create. You just need to get some clarity first. There are entire books written on finding your calling (some of the best of which I share in the Resources section in the back of this book and on my website), but the following are a few of my favorite tips. Keep in mind theres no right way to go about this. Everyones journey is unique, but were all trying to get to the same placethe place where we feel happiest, the most alive, and the most like ourselves. Even if youve nailed the perfect career for yourself, read on, because these tips can help you in all areas of your life. How to get clear on who you are and what your calling is: 1. BE THE ALIEN Imagine that youre an alien floating around in outer space and you suddenly swoop down to Earth and inhabit your own body. As the alien, everything about this life is new to you. You look aroundwhat do you see? What is this person who youve inhabited so obviously awesome at? What do they have the most fun doing? What connections do they have? What resources and opportunities are available to them? As the alien, to whom everything is new and exciting and theres nothing at risk and no past to lug around, what are you going to do with this incredible new life youve stepped into? How are you going to use this new body and this existence to create something fabulous and awesome starting right now? This exercise is hugely helpful for getting a new perspective and stepping outside our boring-ass ruts of tired old excuses and lame habits. It can also be very useful in making you aware of all the staggering possibilities and resources that you have at your fingertips and take for granted or do not see. Sometimes its as simple as looking at things with new eyes to see how astoundingly fortunate we are. Be the alien for twenty-four hours and see what you come up with. 2. TAKE THE FIRST RIGHT STEP Instead of wasting hours and days and years trying to figure out your perfect next move, just DO something already. Oh the time we waste rolling ideas around in our heads, imagining what-ifs, coming up with perfect reasons why and then perfect reasons why not, tearing at our cuticles, making our friends and family carefully screen their calls in case its us again, wanting to go over some ideas. Get out of your head and take action. You dont have to know exactly where its going to take you, you just need to start with one thing that feels right and keep following right-feeling things and see where they lead. Most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking. When I discovered my calling as a coach I was, ironically, in the midst of a lifelong obsession with figuring out what the hell my purpose was. While I always knew writing was part of it, I also knew I wasnt meant to spend my life locked away in a silent room alone and half-crazed, wrestling words into submission. I wanted something that A) Involved interacting with other people B) Helped people in some sort of direct way C) Was really fun and D) Forced me to bathe, dress and leave my house. Thats about all I had to go on, that and my intense desire to figure it out, so when a friend told me I should check out a womens entrepreneurial think-tank group that had just started up, I figured Id go. We were all supposed to bring a project to work on, but I had nothing, just the hope that Id get some ideas from something someone else brought to the table. After sitting there for four weeks watching this roomful of women figure out what they love to do and turn their brilliant ideas into businesses, or grow the businesses they already had, I still had no project of my own. But I did know what I wanted to do. I went up and asked the facilitator if she needed any help, which she did. She hired me, and I started leading these groups, which, after a few years, led to me starting my own coaching practice, which led to me working with clients all over the world which led to me sitting at the kitchen counter writing this book. No matter how clueless you may feel right now, pay attention to suggestions and opportunities that suddenly present themselves. And notice how you feelis there something for you that, for whatever reason, feels like it might be good to check out? What have you been saying forever that youd love to do? Has somebody mentioned a course or a teacher or a book that keeps sticking in your mind? Take the first step in the direction toward something that feels right and see where it leads you. And do it NOW. 3. DO YOUR BEST WHEREVER YOURE AT Once you take this first step, its possible that you wont land in your dream situation right away. You might land on a stepping-stone. It could be an awesome stepping-stone, or it could be kind of an unpleasant stepping-stone. But no matter where your first step lands you, if you want to keep moving forward, appreciate wherever youre at instead of feeling ashamed or grouchy or impatient about it. Everything you do along your journey contributes to where youre going. Lets say youve decided that youre going to go after your fantasy of being a rock star, and you take a job waiting tables so you have the flexibility to travel and play gigs and go in the studio. Clearly, your calling is playing music, not being concerned that some whiney customers French onion soup is allegedly too cold, but its essential that you care anyway. Having a good attitude and being grateful for all the things that are helping you live the life of your dreams will not only make your life a more pleasant place to be, and get you bigger tips, but it will also raise your frequency and attract the people and opportunities to you that will take you in the direction you want to go. This is where really being present in the moment comes in handy. Granted, you may not be onstage in front of thousands doing a split in the air, but remember that you are going for it, you are bravely moving toward your dream, you are surrounded by unthinkable miracles and opportunities. Lean back, relax, and be grateful that youre living on purpose, that youre hanging out in a high frequency, and that everything you need is zooming toward you. 4. DONT REINVENT THE WHEEL Look around and see what other people out there are doing. Whose life makes you totally jealous? What things are people doing that you would love to do too? Who do you think is the coolest person ever? You dont need to invent your ideal life from scratch, you just need to figure out what makes you feel alive. So if what someone else is doing sparks your interest, take notice. It could mean that your calling has something in common with theirs. Get specific about the things in their lives that turn you on. Is it because they get to travel the world? Is it that they have a solid routine? Is it that they have no routine? Is it that they work alone? That they work in the nude? That they get to be outside all day? That they work with their hands? Their eyes? Their ears? Their animals? Their spouse? The more specific you get, the easier it will be to create a picture of what you want. Read magazines that interest you, talk to as many people as you can, hang out in places where people who share your interests hang out. Put yourself out there and you never know what you might learn that will inform your next move, or whom you might meet that will present you with your next opportunity. 5. DONT GET CAUGHT UP IN THE THUNDERBOLT HYPE I think one of the most paralyzing misconceptions is that were all supposed to have one true calling that comes to us in a mighty flash of soul-defining insight. While there are those people whove always known exactly what they want to do, there are a hell of a lot more of us out there who spend most of our lives, if not all of our lives, wandering around looking under rocks and behind trees for who we are. Let yourself off the hook if you dont have that one, big, perfect thing that you know you came here to do (same goes for finding the one, big, perfect soul mate, BTW), and feel good about the fact that youll probably fulfill several callings throughout your life (and possibly relationships). If you think about it, it makes more sense to evolve as you age anyway. When I think about who I was in my twenties compared to who I am now, I cant imagine anything more unappealing than going after some of the things that resonated with me back then. Follow what feels good in the moment, every moment, and it will lead you through a most excellent life. 6. LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION If you really want to get in touch with who you are and what you love to do, and who you love to do it with, dedicate some time to tuning in to your intuition. One of the best ways to do this is to spend five minutes of quiet, by yourself, every day. We spend the vast majority of our time moving at full speed ahead, both physically and mentally, and we literally bulldoze over the very answers were seeking because they cant be heard above the din. When you sit quietly and ask, you get an answer. Eventually. Stick with it, be patient and wait to hear from your inner guidance. You have all the answers you need, you just need to give them the chance to get through to you. 7. FOLLOW YOUR FANTASIES Now that Ive given you all the kinder, gentler ways to figure yourself out, Im going to suggest something youre probably not going to like so much: Jump in the deep end and follow your fantasies. What do you fantasize about when youre staring out the window of a train, or before you go to sleep at night, or when youre pretending to listen to someone really boring talk your ear off? Are you onstage doing stand-up comedy in front of thousands of hysterical fans? Are you surrounded by your beautiful children in the coziest, happiest home ever? Are you being celebrated for building orphanages around the world? Do this exercise as if money were not an issue. Tap into what brings you great joy instead of what you think you need to do to survive. If you had an unlimited supply of cash, what would you spend your life doing? Our fantasies are the most revealing peepholes into who we are and what we think is awesome. No matter how out-there and ridiculous they may seem, they mean something to us, and usually represent our biggest and best versions of ourselves. Our fantasies are our realities in an excuse-free world. Meanwhile wed all be mortified if anyone could read our minds and catch us in the actI know, its totally stupid, I want to sing on Broadway. Well, is it really stupid? Someones out there doing it, so why couldnt you? Much of the time we pretend we arent clear on what our calling is when whats really going on is that were horrified to face it because it seems too big or too impossible to make a living at or completely out of the question for us. But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT would be living. 8. LOVE YOURSELF Like youre the only you there is. CHAPTER 9: LOINCLOTH MAN It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. Andr? Gide; French author, Nobel Prize winner, fearless self-explorer Every May I go backpacking through the desert wilderness areas of southeast Utah with two longtime friends of mine. Its one of the most magnificent and bizarre places Ive ever been: giant, jagged, obscenely pink ridges of rock jut out of the ground like huge slabs of raw meat; white, yellow, and purple towers of sandstone stretch and twist into sculptures made of taffy; deep cracks in the earths surface form cathedral-like slot canyons whose walls, smoothed over from flash floods and sandstorms, change colors from moment to moment as the suns rays shift through the narrow opening high above. Its like the moon. Only cooler. We merrily trip through this alternate universe, picking up colorful rocks, climbing around on boulders and arguing over which eagle or snake or mountain goat should be awarded Creature of the Day. Because my friends are such excellent navigators, we go deep into the wilderness areas, where there are no trails and even fewer people. In the sixteen years weve been hiking out there, we could practically count the people weve bumped into while backpacking on one hand. Which was why I was so surprised, and dubious, when my friend Tom, whod gone ahead to find us a place to set up camp for the night, reported that hed seen someone. I just met this really wild guy, he said when I caught up with him. He was wearing nothing but a loincloth and a headband. He was holding a spear, too. Said hed been living in the canyon for thirteen years. Was he riding a magic dragon? Im serious. So where is he? He went off to check his squirrel trap. But he could come back. Mmmm hmmmm. Tom is a lousy liar, and wherever he was taking this joke, he wasnt getting to the punch line fast enough, so I put down my pack and started assembling my tent, only half listening to him. A few minutes into it, as I was bending over to hammer in one of my stakes, I looked through my legs and saw a pair of tanned feet in homemade sandals, strong, naked legs, and a dead squirrel dangling by its tail from a fist. I stood up, spun around, and there he was, Loincloth Man. What Tom did not mention was that Loincloth Man was totally hothe was somewhere in his late thirties, had a ripped, lean, savagely tan bod and shaggy brown hair with a matching beard. He fit the part perfectlyModern Day Tarzan, Slayer of Buffalo and Ladies Alike. Which, stunning as he was, instantly made him a little bit suspect in my mind. That and the fact that his loincloth was impeccably tailored and appeared to be made out of soft Italian leather, not some ratty canyon rabbit. Would you mind handing that to me so I can have a closer look at it, please? His whole deal was just a little too clich?. Couldnt he have just worn shorts? And was he really gonna eat that squirrel? Still, we gathered around him like a baby pig at the state fair, awestruck by our luck. This time there was no argument; we had clearly found our Creature of the Day. He was real friendly and answered all of our questions at a slow, deliberate pace, explaining that this and several of the neighboring canyon systems were where he made his home. He told us very matter-of-factly that he found modern society unnecessarily complicated and misguided, so much so that he preferred to live on only what nature provided him, storing his grain in the winter and sleeping in a cave. The thing that struck me more than the fact that he cut his hair with a sharp rock and probably wasnt wearing any undies, was that he was totally unapologetic. There we all were, shifting around, feeling suddenly ridiculous in our expensive hiking boots and UV-protective clothing, while he described how it took him weeks to whittle the bow and arrow he used to kill the deer whose hides now serve as his bedspread. Good for him, I thought as I watched him walk away, swinging his squirrel like a purse. He wasnt worrying about what he should be doing or what he was missing out on or what some chick from L.A. thought of his fancy crotch pelt. He was just happy being true to himself, in the moment, in the middle of nowhere. I wanna be like loincloth man. LOVE YOURSELF No matter who you really are. PART 3: HOW TO TAP INTO THE MOTHERLODE CHAPTER 10: MEDITATION 101 You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti; Indian philosopher, social revolutionary, author, composer Meditation, otherwise known as sitting still and thinking about nothing, is one of those things that can be just as stupidly simple as it is surprisingly hard. It reminds me of those contests where a bunch of people stand around a brand-new car or truck, and whoever leaves their hands on it the longest gets to take it home. The winner winds up on the front page of her local paper, victorious and sleepy, smiling from behind the wheel of her newly-won ride with a thumbs up for the camera: Tarrytowns very own Jill Boender was the proud winner of the 2012 Chevy Stand Off, held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this past weekend. Jill beat out 68 other contestants from around the country by standing for 173 hours and 9 minutes in the Home Depot parking lot with her hands placed with unyielding determination on the hood of what would soon be her new Chevy Silverado. Im so excited I won, she said. There was some stiff competition, some folks who I thought would never back down, but I really brought my A-game. With meditation, the simplicity is equally misleading. Thats all I have to do to connect with Source Energy? Sit there and do nothing? It cant be that easy. Well it is. And its not. Which is why its called a meditation practice. When you shut up and meditate for even five minutes and start to really notice the thoughts that are squirreling around in your brain, its rather illuminating. If youre like most people, the majority of your thoughts are about as valuable and interesting as a bunch of two-year olds fighting over a sippy cup. The goal is to quiet your mind of the chatter so you can connect to Source Energy and instead listen to your inner guidance. Im going to give you the breakdown on how to meditate, but first I want to recommend that you start small and work your way up. Try meditating for five to ten minutes each day at first and add on time as you get less squirmy. Theres no right way or wrong way to do this, no set amount of time, no correct things to feel, no rules about how you have to sit or where you have to do it. All that matters is that you do it if you want to massively improve your life. Its like drinking lots of water or exercising regularly or not badmouthing other peopleyou dont have to do it, and the temptation to blow it off is extremely large, but if you make a habit of it, not only will you start to crave it, but your entire life will change. Because when we meditate, we practice getting into The Vortex and connecting to Source Energy, which automatically: Brings us into the present moment Raises our frequency Opens us up to receive unlimited information and ideas Relaxes us Relieves stress Strengthens our intuition and ability to focus Allows us to hear our inner voice more clearly Fills us with light and love Puts us in a good mood Helps us love ourselves Meditating, and being in The Vortex, is like riding the airstream of awesomeness. Here are the extremely short and simple steps of some different ways to meditate: BASIC MEDITATION Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position on the floor, or in a chair, with your hands on your knees or in your lap. Sit up straight and relax your entire face, especially your jaw and your forehead. Close your eyes, or, if it helps you focus and not fall asleep, keep them open and gaze softly at a spot on the ground a couple feet in front of you. Focus on your breathing. Notice it moving in and out of your body; you dont have to breathe in any special way. Just focus on it. Gently release any thoughts that come into your brain and refocus on your breathing. Keep your mind as clear and empty as possible and listen for intuitive hits that may or may not come through. Tah-dah! Thats it. OPTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS 1. Set a timer. Youve got enough distracting thoughts without checking the clock to see how long youve been at it every thirty seconds. 2. Light a candle and focus on it. Sometimes having a place to rest your eyes can help you get centered and in the Zone. Sit and face a candle that you place on the floor in front of you while you meditate and see if that works for you. 3. Imagine a bright beam of light shooting down from the sky, shining in through the top of your head, running through your entire body, out your bottom and up to the sky again so that it makes a complete circle. I sometimes find this easier to focus on than the ever-popular breath method, plus it fills me up with energy and light and makes me feel more deeply connected to Source Energy. 4. Use a mantra. Sometimes when the squirrels in my head are particularly active, I bring in a mantra to chase them out. I repeat a word or phrase in my mind like love or thank you or yes, please or omsomething that makes me feel good and is fairly neutral, but you could use a mantra like meatloaf I guess if thats your thing. 5. Try and do it first thing in the morning so youre not distracted by whatever the day brings. Youll also be more connected having just woken up from sleeping. 6. If theres something in your life that youre working on or through, you can set an intention/ask for help during your meditation practice. Meditating is about receiving information from The Universe; setting intentions and praying are about sending information out to The Universe. There are two ways you can do this: A) Start with a question, something like, How do I deal with my pain-in-the-ass teenage son? And see what, if any, answers download while you meditate, or B) Meditate first, open up the channel, clear out the chatter, and then ask your question in a space of clarity and connection and see what, if anything, comes to you. GUIDED MEDITATION There are countless CDs and DVDs that various hippies and guru types have made over the years to walk you through meditations. I suggest taking the guided route when youre first starting out if youre having trouble wrangling your mind into submission. They make great training wheels and I still use them occasionally, especially if I want to focus on something specific. There are also guided meditation centers all over the place, and its really nice every once in a while to meditate in a group you can really feed off that energy and get the discipline to sit there for an extended period of time. Do a search for meditation centers and ashrams in your area. Sometimes yoga studios hold guided meditations, too. CHANTING Chanting is also a great way to get into a meditative state. You can repeat a mantra over and over out loud on your own or, if you prefer to avoid getting busted and very possibly ridiculed, you can do it in a group by attending a Kirtan meditation class. Kirtan meditation involves call-and-response chanting of Sanskrit mantras or devotional songs, and you can attend classes at a yoga studio or meditation center. Also check out Transcendental Meditation instruction, a form that involves repeating mantras and sitting twice a day for around twenty minutes at a time. Ive had some pretty profound experiences while meditating; Ive seen the walls melt around me, felt like I was levitating, and have experienced such a state of euphoria that it almost hurt. Ive also had extremely un-profound experiences; Ive fallen asleep, spent the entire time squirming and thinking about what to make for lunch, and have been totally in The Zone, and then realized I was in The Zone, and thought Awesome, Im in The Zone! Thereby pulling myself out of The Zone. The important thing is that you keep showing up. Even if youre only in The Zone for one collective minute out of the thirty minutes youve been sitting there, it will eventually start making a notable difference in your life. I think meditation is even more essential now that we have all this technology at our fingertips and distraction has become a way of life. While I truly believe that we, as a species, are becoming more and more conscious, Im amazed by how, at the same time, our attention spans are rapidly shrinking. I was playing tennis the other day with someone who got a text, pulled out his phone, and checked it in the middle of a point. Its astonishing that we can still speak in full sentences. Aside from being one of the most powerful tools in our consciousness-raising toolbox, meditation is a much-needed respite from the madness, and will help us from becoming a bunch of scatterbrained ding-dongs as we zoom around our brave, and extremely exciting, new world. CHAPTER 11: YOUR BRAIN IS YOUR BITCH Mind is the master power that molds and makes And man is Mind and evermore he takes The tool of Thought and, shaping what he wills Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills. He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking glass. James Allen; old-timey author, self-help pontificator How often do you stop and notice how genius our Universe is? With all its moving parts and mathematical perfection and chemical reactions and food chains and gravity and all the magnificent efficiency and complexity that makes it up? This display of astonishing brilliance didnt just splat down into being-ness by random, dumb luck, it was thought up. Nature is a smoothly running machine, created by a Universal intelligence, where nothing goes to waste; it all has a place and a purpose, and it all works together in its intricately interwoven and compatible way to create the flabbergasting is-ness of it all. In other words, Source Energy is a smartypants. As British philosophical writer and self-help pioneer, James Allen, states in the quote that opens this chapter, Mind is the master power that moulds and makes, -and Man is Mind. . . .we are the very thinking substance that was used to create us. Hello?! How major is that?! This is why positive thinking is all the rage and negative subconscious beliefs are so gnarly and why meditation, and learning to guide your thoughts and love yourself, can change your life. Our thoughts are the most powerful tools weve got. I think, therefore, I can create awesomeness. Or horrendousness. But the bottom line is that its through our thoughts that we create our realities. Its also why buying into whatever illusion youre living in in the present moment is selling yourself so short if its anything less than what you truly desire. You created the reality you now exist in with your thoughts, which means you can use the very same power of thought to change it. As Wallace Wattles, author of The Science of Getting Rich, so brilliantly states: To think what you want to think is to think the truth, regardless of appearances. To think what you want to think is to think truthis that not the best news ever? It doesnt matter what your reality looks like at the moment, because where you desire to be is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and if you fixate your mind on this truth, believe that it is real and already here, and take decisive action, it will manifest itself. This is where most people dig in their heels and say something like, I am sitting in my ghetto-ass kitchen eating tuna out of a can with a plastic spoon and youre telling me this isnt the truth? Youre saying that the truth is that Im hanging poolside with the president of the United States of America? If you truly desire to hang poolside with the president of the United States of America, and are hell-bent in your mind and your actions to create it, its the truth. Have you ever noticed how a bunch of people can go through the same course, lets say a class on how to start your own coaching business, and they all get the exact same information and tools, but some will come out of there and totally rock it and others will fall flat on their faces? Even if they all have the same desire to succeed, create beautiful marketing materials and do similar things, its the ones with the proper mindsets who will succeed. The ones who kick ass are the ones who can see themselves kicking ass, who truly believe in themselves and what theyre selling, who remind themselves how much they want to better peoples lives with their coaching, who are excited to get compensated for selling it and have no limiting, subconscious beliefs holding them back. The ones who feel weird or who worry that theyre being pushy and annoying or who subconsciously believe that they dont deserve to or cant succeedtheyre not gonna do so good. Your thoughts and beliefs dictate your reality, so if you want to change your reality, you have to change your beliefs. The problem is that most people are rill protective of their beliefs and are usually fairly crotchety should you suggest that perhaps theres another version of the truth. Im bad at sales; I have terrible luck; Im scared of flying; marriages dont last, I have ugly feet, Im broke Are you calling me a liar? Do you see a hot boyfriend on my arm? No you dont, you see a cat on my lap next to my needlepoint project because I stink at relationshipsthat is the truth and that always has been the truth. And that will be your truth as long as you choose to think it. As long as you feed the beast, it shall live. The moment you have the audacity to start believing in the not-yet seen, your reality will begin to shift. THE FOLLOWING IS HUGELY IMPORTANT SO PLEASE PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION: You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true. Remember, everything you desire is right here, right now. You just have to shift your perception in order to see it made manifest. Okay, fine. I believe that Im hanging poolside with the President of the United States of America. Now what? Do I just call? Or show up at the White House in my flip-flops with a towel around my neck? When you take the leap and believe in the not-yet seen, you arent supposed to know how to make it happen, because if you knew how, you probably would have done it already. This is about radically changing your reality, so the way to go about it is also most likely outside of your present awareness. Your job isnt to know the how, its to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how. Keep your thoughts directed at your goal, do everything that you DO know how to do to make it happen, decide with unwavering determination that it will happen, and be on the lookout for the opportunity. I had a client who went to Tuscany and looked at a house that was for sale while she was there. At the time, she was a bartender and a poet and could barely scrape together the money to buy a plane ticket to Italy, let alone to buy a Tuscan villa, but she checked it out anyway and completely fell in love with the place. While she instantly knew in her soul that it was her house, she also knew that her bank account had tumbleweeds blowing through it, but she asked the owners to take it off the market anyway because she was going to figure out a way to buy it. So she flies home, in a stupor, thinking that perhaps she has gone completely insane, but she sticks to her guns and starts asking around for ideas. She is almost immediately buried beneath a pile of warnings from everyone around her: Its a huge responsibility not to mention all the complications that come with being in another country and last time I checked you dont speak Italian nor are you a citizen nor do you know a single thing about home ownership and considering you cant even afford to get your teeth cleaned how are you planning on paying a mortgage and yadda, yadda, yadda. Yet she keeps on going, because in spite of all the evidence otherwise, she believes this is her house. This is her truth. Finally someone mentions the idea of pre-renting blocks of time in the house to raise the money to buy it. People could pay for their time a year in advance, she would just need to sell enough blocks of time to pay for the house, and voila! Cut to her discovering this sort of thing is illegal, going back to the drawing board, trying a million other things, discovering that its actually not illegal, then pre-selling enough rental slots and borrowing some money and to make a very long and ups-and-downs-y story short, shes owned the villa for several years and is thinking about buying another. You have got to get a handle on your thoughts if you want to change your life. As Albert Einstein so aptly noted, The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. Here are some tried-and-true ways to show your brain whos driving the bus: 1. ASK AND IT IS GIVEN Get quiet, get in The Zone, and get in touch with Source Energy. Clear out the chatter in your brain and create a clean, uncluttered space to impress the thoughts of what you want into the giant thinking substance that is Source Energy. Ask for what you want, send out a nice, clear message in a nice, clear space and begin the manifestation process. 2. ACT AS IF If you want something badly, even if you dont have any evidence that its possible for you to attain, believe it is anyway. Fake it until you make it. Do it in spite of yourself. Act as if. If you have an intense, undying desire to hang poolside with the president of the United States of America, think about the things that a person hanging poolside with the leader of the free world would do. Go pick out the bathing suit youre going to wear. Think of what youre going to talk about. Get your photos of your trip to the Grand Canyon together to show the commander in chief. Get ready for the event. Tell yourself its happening. Act like its happening. Put yourself in situations where you will meet people who can make this happen. Stay wide open to opportunities that can lead you to your goal. Live, eat, sleep, and breathe your vision. You may feel like a crazy person, but you wont when youre playing Marco Polo with the prez. 3. UPGRADE YOUR ENVIRONMENT If you aspire to have a more up-leveled and inspiring lifestyle than you presently have, and youre actively visualizing this for yourself, its going to be quite a struggle to keep your thoughts large and in charge if every time you pull up to your rickety-ass home you hear the Sanford and Son theme song start up in your head. So even though youre going to be thinking and imagining the change before it happens, do what you can to make some upgrades to where youre at now. Give the place a paint job and clean it up. Get new furniture or fix up what you already have. Throw out the clutter, let some air in, hang inspiring art on the walls. This will not only help to keep your frequency high, but it will alert The Universe that youre not screwing around, that youre doing everything you can and are waiting for further instruction on the how. 4. MAKE A VISION BOARD Our minds think in images: If someone says, a horse wearing red lipstick, you instantly create a picture in your mind of a horse wearing red lipstick. Feeding your mind full of images of the things and experiences that you want to manifestyour dream house with the infinity pool in Mexico, rolling around on the beach with your red hot lovah, volunteering to help little kids learn how to read at your local library, laughing your face off surrounded by dear friendsis hugely powerful because your mind sends that image out to Source Energy which begins the process of pulling it in. Cut out pictures of places, people, things, and experiences that you want in your life, paste them onto a board and hang it somewhere where youll see it all day long. Ive seen people have completely insane results with this. Theyve manifested, down to the tiniest details, the exact home or piece of furniture or place of employment that they put on their board. Its freaky- deaky. And super easy. Its like having a craft day with God. Give it a shot. 5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO THINK THE WAY YOU WANT TO THINK When you hang out with whiners, pessimists, tweakers, bleakers, freakers-outers and life-is-so-unfairers, its an uphill climb to keep yourself in a positive headspace. Stay away from people with tiny minds and tiny thoughts and start hanging out with people who see limitless possibility as the reality. Surround yourself with people who act on their big ideas, who take action on making positive change in the world and who see nothing as out of their reach. Make a conscious choice to do this. And if you dont know anyone whos got a big fat mind, go out and make some new friends. If you stop at, theres no one like that around here, that will be the truth and will set the wimpy tone for how you go about trying to manifest everything else into your life. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Get out there and find some people who make you feel like you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Be clear on whom you want to meet and make a concerted effort to go meet them. Demand of The Universe to connect you with them, think of places where they might hang out or things they would do and insert yourself there. Being around inspired, visionary, enthusiastic people who are living their truths is one of the fastest ways to massively transform your life. 6. LOVE YOURSELF Unless you have a better idea. CHAPTER 12: LEAD WITH YOUR CROTCH In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the experts there are few. Shunryu Suzuki; Japanese Zen monk, author, teacher also lovingly known as the Crooked Cucumber I know the big saying is youth is wasted on the young, but I think, in certain respects anyway, weve really got it going on in our late teens and early twenties. Aside from all the angst and drama and escorts home from the police, weve still got our little kid-like ability to create just because still firmly intact, but weve also got this newly-hatched adult ability to make big things happen in our lives. Add to this the fact that were not yet jaded by a long list of failures, and are still under the vague impression that death is something that happens to other people, we, if youre anything like me, leap into our lives when were young with an idiotic, yet awesome, disregard for what-ifs. Admittedly, I remember doing things in the danger department that still have me sleeping with my light on when I think about them now: hanging out in sketchy parts of town with even sketchier people, stowing away on trains, taking enough LSD in one sitting to keep an entire village staring at their hands for hours, hiking off into the desert with no water, no map, and a canteen full of gin and tonicsmy first priority being fun, with thoughts of the consequences trailing somewhere, if at all, far off in the distance. But I also remember diving into my creative pursuits with the same reckless obliviousness and, as a result, getting utterly spectacular and thrilling results. Which is why I find it so odd to hear people say, If I knew then what I know now, Im not sure I would have done it. Well thank God you didnt know if thats yer lame-o attitude. Youd be sitting next to a pile of empty beer cans, whining about how you missed out on going for your dreams if you did! The problem is that once were older and wiser, many people trade in living fully in their purpose for more grown-up versions of life that range from the merely passable to the full-on sucking. Theyve bought into this idea that being responsible = not having fun anymore, that waking up feeling excited about life is for the young, and once were older, we need to trade that in, settle down and be more realistic. Yawn. Im not talking about being an irresponsible jerk or doing the same things we did when we were younger, but I am talking about continuously living our dreams, no matter what stage of life were in, instead of settling for mediocrity because we dont believe anything else is available or appropriate. We only get to be in our bodies for a limited time, why not celebrate the journey instead of merely riding it out until its over? Were still allowed to dream, and our dreams are still available to us, but as we move through life, we must make the conscious effort to overcome whatever judgments we have, as well as kick all our fears from past experiences in the head, and participate in our own badassery. Whatever that looks like for us. We must focus on the positive instead of the list of negatives weve collected over time, and keep that focus regardless of what flies in our faces. And one of the best ways to do this is by reconnecting with our inner kids. I know how unacceptably dorky this may sound, but just stay with me here. Even though youre now most likely turned on by different things than you were as a youngster, you can still learn a lot from how you went about life in the old days. So think back: Was there ever a time where you felt totally in your groove? Where you created and did stuff just because it was fun without worrying about the outcome? Where you couldnt wait to wake up in the morning and go do your thing? This could mean anything from when you were a little kid running around with a maxi pad stuck to your eye pretending to be a pirate to your senior year in high school when you got voted Class Clown for repeatedly charming your way past the ladies in the front office to make fake announcements over the loud speaker to that summer you learned to play the guitar without looking at your hands. When were you most turned on by life (and if you have yet to feel this way, stay tuned ) and what can you learn from those experiences? For me, one of the most exciting and on-purpose times in my life was when I was the singer-guitarist in a band called Crotch. I use the terms singer, guitarist, and band, all very loosely because we in Crotch werent concerned with things like learning to play our instruments or practicing or any of that snooty musicianship crap. We had bigger fish to fry, like talking in loud voices about our band and checking ourselves out in plate glass windows as we walked by with guitars strapped to our backs. Electric ones. I started Crotch with this chick from work named Paula whod never picked up a guitar in her life either, and who was as incapable of embracing her feminine side as I was. Paula and I were the kind of young ladies who prided ourselves on the wattage of our stereo equipment, our firm handshakes, and our ability to drink anyone in the room under the table. The testosterone-fueled chip on my shoulder came from a high school career spent futilely awaiting a timely puberty while standing a good foot taller than everyone on earth, all the boys at my high school included. None of them ever asked me out, but I could make them laugh and kick their asses at basketball, so rather than fail at seducing them, I simply became one of them. Paulas issues were more homicidal in nature. She was the kind of angry found in highly intelligent women who develop the body of a Playboy bunny by the age of thirteen and are forced to grow up in the deep, redneck South. Within the first few months of starting the band, she traded in her long, raven locks for a fire-engine red buzz cut and covered her arms and back with tattoos of flames and dragons. We decided that as the tough one, she should play bass while I, the desperate-for-attention one, would be on guitar, and that my little brother, Stephen, the malleable one, would play drums. Only until we find another drummer, I promised him, as I attempted to plug my guitar into the wrong part of my amp. Stephen has played the drums since he was five, and is the kind of younger brother every bossy older sister dreams of: talented and endlessly enthusiastic with a very high threshold for pain. The great tragedy of Crotch was that underneath our sneers and our bravado, we were two sweet girls who desperately wanted boyfriends. But we had issuesissues that we decided were best worked out while drunk, and sometimes naked, on stage. Paula and I, baffled by our lack of gentlemen callers, chose to express our disappointment by writing and singing songs like Sew Me Up Ive Had Enough and by yelling things into the microphone between songs that one evening would inspire an audience member to rush the stage holding a chair over his head with intent to beat us with it. In spite of ourselves, we quickly acquired quite the following. In less than a years time we also wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a film about the record industry; wrote, directed, and starred in a music video that got on national television; recorded an EP, got a demo deal with Columbia Records, and even learned a couple more chords. And we did it with full-time corporate jobs and no idea what we were doing. It was fun with a capital F. Theres nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah. If youve ever known what its like to be in your groove, and are having trouble finding your way right now, think back to your attitude and what your priorities were when you were totally lit up about life, and use them to help give you the clarity and the kick in the rear end you need now. Here are some nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from the Crotch days that I still find useful: 1. JUST SEE WHAT YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH Life is r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s. It so seriously iswe have no freakin idea what were even doing here spinning around on this globe in the middle of this solar system with who-the-hell-knows-what out there beyond it. Making a big fat deal out of anything is absurd. It makes much more sense to go after life with a sense of, Why not? instead of a furrowed brow. One of the best things I ever did was make my motto I just wanna see what I can get away with. It takes all the pressure off, puts the punk rock attitude in, and reminds me that life is but a game. Yes, we have bigger responsibilities and more pressure as adults, but come on folks, I guarantee you there are countless people with waaaaaaaay more to whine about out there than you who are totally kicking ass because they decided to go for it instead of sitting around in the wet pantload of their own excuses. Take a new approach to what youre doing and try this on: I just wanna see if I can start my own successful business; I just wanna see if I can get myself out of debt and make one hundred thousand dollars more this year; I just wanna see if I can lose a hundred pounds; I just wanna see if I can sell one of my paintings for fifty grand; I just wanna see if I can meet my soul mate. Take the pressure off and get back in on the adventure. 2. LOSE TRACK OF TIME Have you ever been doing something and suddenly realized that hours have gone by without you noticing? What does that for you? And how often during your day does this happen? When youre so lost in what youre doing that you lose all sense of time, you have officially entered the Vortex. You want to get your ass in there as much as possible, so look at your life and figure out how you can make that happen. First, figure out the things you get lost in in your business and your personal life. Then figure out how you can be doing more of those things more of the time. Hire someone (no excuses) and delegate the tasks you hate doing. Partner up with someone whos good at, and enjoys doing the things youre not that into, so you can be freed up to do more of what you want. If you have to, make massive changes in your business and your personal life to include more time doing what you love. Figure it out. Dont just hand your life over to your circumstances like a little wuss. You can take your life wherever you want it to go, so grab it by its nether regions and make doing the things you love a priority. 3. KEEP BEING THE BEGINNER One of the best things about starting a band when you have no idea how to play your instrument is that you dont care if you stink because you already know you do. Then once you learn how to play, you get all serious, you become overly critical and hard on yourself and dont let yourself have nearly as much fun anymore. The trick is to let the Beginner live alongside the Expert, instead of pretending you dont know who she is when she tries to sit with you and your new, cooler, more experienced friends in the cafeteria. The Beginner may be an idiot, but she knows how to party, and if you dont let her play with you anymore, things risk getting rather droll around here. So hone your skills; take your craft seriously; learn what you need to learn; invest in yourself; practice your ass off; fall down; get up; keep going; get really really really really good at what you do, but dont lose the fun in the process. Because, like, whats the point of doing all that work then? The only thing you need to do is do the very best you can. Once youve done that, the only other thing that matters is that you enjoy yourself. 4. LOVE YOURSELF And the bluebirds of happiness will be your permanent backup singers. CHAPTER 13: GIVE AND LET GIVE It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. RalphWaldo Emerson; American poet, essayist, visionary, giver One day while driving somewhere with my family, we stopped off at a store along the way and told my niece, then five years old, that she could get herself a little sumthin. She came up to the register with a six-pack of orange Tic Tacs and charmed her way into getting the whole thing, instead of being told to put it back and just buy one. So we get back in the car and I ask her if I can have a pack, my only intent to teach the greedy little piglet a thing or two about sharing. Of course, she says and hands it over. She then asks, in her itty-bitty five-year-old voice, if my brother and my mom want one too, and hands them over. My niece then takes her remaining three packs and places them on the seat next to her in a pile saying, And when we get home, this ones for my brother, this ones for my sister, this ones for my mom. Then she sits there, with none left for herself, and smiles, more excited to give them away than she was when she was told she could buy them for herself. I shot a confused look at my brother, Stephen, her father, and he mouthed back freak. When Stephen and I were her age, we cherished nothing more than the tortured cries of the other. He set my gerbils free in the backyard. I stole his Halloween candy and ate it, piece by piece, sitting on his chest while he screamed. Who was this saintly creature in the backseat and where did she learn that? As my niece so clearly understood, giving is one of our greatest joys. Its also one of the most fearless and powerful gestures there is. When we trust that we live in an abundant universe and allow ourselves to give freely, we raise our frequency, strengthen our faith, and feel awesome, thereby putting ourselves in flow and the position to receive abundant amounts in return. When were in fear, we hold on to what weve got because we dont trust that theres more. We pinch off the energy, were scared to share, and we focus on, and create more of, the very thing were hoping to avoid, which is lack. We live in a universe of give and receive, breathe and exhale, live and die, suck and awesome. Each side depends on the other, and each is relative to the otherevery action has an equal and opposite reactionso the more you give, the more you receive. And vice versa. You may be thinking, thats so not true, I know some bitches who do nothing but take and havent given a damn thing to anybody, ever, but receiving has a different energy than selfishly taking, just as smothering has a different energy than giving. Smothering and taking are fear-based and needy, giving and receiving are full of gratitude and surrendering to the flow. I know someone who has multiple sclerosis who was told by a mentor to give away twenty-nine things for twenty-nine days as part of her cure. She blew it off for a while, but as her condition worsened, she finally decided to give it a try. First, she gave a phone call to a sick friend to see how she was doing. Then she steadily gave away something every day and she almost instantly found herself more joyful and excited. By the fourteenth day she was significantly better physically, her business started booming, and she went on to create a blog that started a movement with tens of thousands of followers who were also giving things away daily. Her blog ultimately led to a New York Times best-selling book called 29 Gifts. If you want to attract good things and feelings into your life, send awesomeness out to everyone around you. Here are some good ways to get in the give-and-take flow, yo: 1. If you havent already, pick one or two causes that have real meaning to you and give to them every month. Give however much time or money you can, but do it consistently so it becomes a habit, so it becomes part of who you are. Even five dollars a month counts. 2. Give one of your favorite things in the world away to someone who would totally love it. And if you can, do it without them knowing where it came from. 3. Leave a dollar more than you normally would every time you tip. Or ten. 4. If someone is being snarky, instead of sinking to their level and being snarky back, raise them up by giving them the love. 5. Smile, compliment, and crack people up as often as possible. 6. Say yes to invitations that you wouldnt normally say yes to because you hate to inconvenience the person offering. Take them up on it. Give them the opportunity to give to you. 7. Stop and feel in your body how great it feels when you give and receive; raise your frequency and expect more good things to come your way. 8. LOVE YOURSELF And everybody benefits. CHAPTER 14: GRATITUDE: THE GATEWAY DRUG TO AWESOMENESS When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. Anthony Robbins; author, speaker, motivator, life-changer When I was a little kid, my parents made my brothers and sister and I answer the phone in this very formal way, Jennifer Sincero speaking, as if, between fighting over who got to play with the Big Wheel and stuffing balloons down our pants, we were all running our own private concierge businesses. Their friends would gush on the other end of the phone about what a polite bunch the Sincero kids were, and I thought nothing of it until the day I made my very first phone call to a friend, and, upon hearing her answer, gripped the phone in wide-eyed disbelief. You get to say Hello? Do your parents know?! It was as unthinkable to me at the time as saying the F-word or sitting down to join my parents for a glass of scotch. My amazement quickly turned to horror when I realized it wasnt just that one renegade friend who could answer the phone in such a carefree manner, but everyone, and that my parents were clearly playing some big practical joke on us. Our objections were met with the standard, When you pay your own phone bill you can answer it any way you like. So the years passed, our indignation slowly getting watered down by habit. I dont remember exactly when the mutiny happened, but eventually we all started answering the phone like normal human beings. Im going to assume it was around the time of their divorce, when Mom had all four of us mostly to herself, either in, or hovering around, high school, and phone rules got bulldozed in her switch to combat mode. The demand for manners in general, however, was left firmly standing, and no matter how wild and wasted we got, we always remained those polite Sincero kids: Can I help you Officer? Thank you, Officer. Yes, sir, that is my marijuana. Not only are the words please and thank you ingrained in me like the recipe for my Italian fathers red sauce or the knowledge that its not cool to kill people, but being polite just always seemed to be such a no-brainer. Aside from the fact that it makes you feel like a good person, people will usually do what you ask them to do if youre nice about it, and if youre not, they wont. Hello? Which is why it completely baffles me when anyone over the age of five is rude, and especially when they refrain from the thank-you part of the conversation when a gesture is made on their behalf, either by me or other people or The Universe in general. I dont know about you, but when someone doesnt say thank you after Ive hooked them up, its as glaring an omission to me as if theyve shown up without their pants on. And The Universe feels the same way. You cut yourself off from the supply of awesomeness when you are not in a state of gratitude. Having gratitude goes way beyond just having good manners, however. Manners are a form of custom, gratitude is a state of being. Anyone can whip out their Ps and Qs whether theyre feeling it or not, but truly being in a state of gratitude is about having an awareness of, and a deep appreciation for, the many miracles in your life. Think about how it feels when you get to really thank someone for doing something for you. You feel great for receiving whatever it is you received and for sending thanks out to them, and they feel great for giving you whatever they gave and for being appreciated. Which makes you feel great again. Which makes them feel great againyou could basically spend the rest of your lives passing thank-you notes back and forth. And because it makes you feel good to be in such a state of gratitude, it puts you at a very high frequency and connects you to Source Energy, which puts you in a more powerful state to manifest more good feeling things and experiences into your life. Conversely, when you show up disappointed or angry or guilty or oblivious instead of being grateful, youre at a lower frequency and thereby less connected to Source Energy and in a less powerful state to manifest good feeling things and experiences into your life. So thats all fabulous and great, but heres where the whole gratitude thing gets really cool. There are lots of ways to feel good and raise your frequency and get closer to Source Energy, but with gratitude, youre actually expending positive energy by sending out thanks, which makes positive energy reflect back to youevery action has an equal and opposite reaction. This makes the manifesting process even more powerful. Its like the difference between seeing someone fall apart laughing and seeing them fall apart laughing at something you said. The first usually makes you feel as good and laugh as hard as they do, which raises your frequency, but with the second situation, youre not just meeting them at a high frequency, youre exchanging energy at a high frequency. Their laughter is like their way of thanking you for saying something hilarious, and it gives off an even more powerful zing and stronger connection. As Wallace Wattles explains in The Science of Getting Rich: You cannot exercise much power without gratitude; for it is gratitude that keeps you connected with Power. You are practically powerless without gratitudethems is some pretty big words, Wattles! When you actively send this grateful energy out, you receive it back, bringing you closer and closer to Source Energy and raising your frequency higher and higher with each exchange until you come to the visceral understanding that you are the same stuff as Source Energy and that you consciously or unconsciously manifested your reality yourself out of the infinite nothingness and everythingness. Gratitude connects you to the truth that you not only have the power to manifest that which you seek, but you are the power. Which means, in essence, when you are being grateful to Source Energy you are being grateful to yourself. Which brings it back to the most powerful thing of all: Self- love. Tah dah! The more consistently you stay in gratitude and focused on that which is good, the stronger your connection to Source Energy is, and the more quickly and effortlessly youll be able to manifest that which is unseen into your reality. This is the almighty power of gratitude. But wait, theres more! Gratitude also strengthens your faith. Faith is having the audacity to believe in the not-yet seen. Faith is the muscle you use when you decide to blast outside of your comfort zone and transform your life into something thats practically unrecognizable to you in your present reality. Faith smothers your fear of the unknown. Faith allows you to take risks. Faith is the stuff of leap and the net will appear. Faith is your best buddy when youre scared shitless. When you are consistently in a state of gratitude, and aware of all the awesomeness that already exists, it, among many other things, makes it much easier for you to believe that theres more awesomeness where that came from, and that this yet-to-be-manifested awesomeness is also available to you. Youve received awesomeness before, so of course, you can receive awesomeness again. This is how gratitude strengthens your faith. And having strong faith is a major key in transforming your life. Which brings me to the grand gratitude finaleif you want to be a real rock star in the manifestation department, get to the point where you have both unwavering faith and unwavering gratitude for that which you desire. This is when the real magic happens because mixing faith with gratitude is the High Holy Moly of Manifesting. This takes some Jedi mastery, however, because basically what it entails is not only believing in the not yet manifested (having faith), but being grateful for it. In other words, you must be grateful for your imaginary friends and your imaginary life. Yep. As ridiculous as this sounds, Im sure youre already doing it consciously or unconsciously in some capacity in your life. One simple example from my life would be with finding parking spaces. For as long as I can remember, Ive always gotten stellar parking spots, right out front of wherever Im going. I dont care if Im trying to park in front of the Popes house on Easter Sunday, if you dont want to walk, youll be wantin to ride with me. I always approach the hunt for a parking space with the same attitude; a knowing and relaxed certainty that its a done deal. The perfect spot is mine, it already exists and Im genuinely so happy and grateful for it. I really truly believe this. Then, as always, someone pulls out and in I go. Yet as consistently as this happens, Im still always so excited when it does. I never take it for granted, and I am a gratitude machine before, during, and after my guaranteed excellent parking adventure. Being in gratitude for the not-yet manifested informs The Universe that you know that what you desire already exists, and puts you at the right frequency to receive it. If you want to radically change your life, strengthen your faith that we live in an abundant, benevolent Universe by being grateful for everything youve already manifested and all the good thats hurtling toward you. Be grateful that you have the power to manifest any reality you desire and then leap into the void to go get it. Trade in your drama about how you cant have what you want for the grateful expectation that miracles will walk into your life, and the more commonplace those miracles will become. Here are some ways you can practice: 1. THIS IS GOOD BECAUSE . . . Whenever anything excellent or mediocre or lame or annoying happens to you, meet it with the statement, This is good because and fill in the blank. Once you make this a regular practice, youll see how much easier it is to be in gratitude for much more than you realized. This is good that I got a flat tire on my way home from picking my kids up. Ive shown them how to deal in an unexpected situation. Plus I got to spend some quality time hanging out in the car with them playing Twenty Questions while waiting for Triple A to show up. Which is how I found out that my daughter was getting picked on in school. Its important to look for ways to be grateful for all that youve manifested, even things that you might label under No, thanks. If you focus on the negative aspects of the more challenging things in your life, it will just lower your frequency, keep you in pain and resentment, attract more negativity to you, very possibly make you sick, and very definitely make you crabby. If you instead look for ways to be grateful for everything in your life, it not only raises your frequency, but it allows you to grow by opening you up to the lesson. Yes, sometimes this is a tall order, and there are absolutely situations in life that just full on blow and leaves us standing there wondering what the hell that was all about. Sometimes it takes years (if ever) before we can look back and say, You know what? I really needed to get my heart broken into a thousand pieces by that jackass. Im so much happier with the man I ended up marrying. Finding the good and the lessons in things allows us to move through them and on to new experiences. If you wanna stay stuck in the same place and keep getting spanked with the same lessons over and over, be negative, resentful, and victimized. If you want to get over your issues and rock your life, be grateful, look for the good and learn. 2. WRITE YOUR THANK-YOU NOTES Every night before you go to bed, review your day and either write down or mentally note ten things you can be grateful for in your life. These can be everything from the beautiful flowers in your garden to the fact that your heart is beating to the hour-long visit from your persnickety neighbor that taught you to be happy that you dont have her life. Stopping and noticing throughout the day all the things that you can be grateful for is a great way to keep your frequency high at all times. So try and remember to do it all day long, but at the very least, make it part of your evening routine. 3. LOVE YOURSELF Be grateful for all you are and all that youre becoming. CHAPTER 15: FORGIVE OR FESTER Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. Lily Tomlin; actress, writer, comedienne, absurdist When is the last time you physically hurt yourself? What did you do to get the pain to stop? And how long did you wait to do something about it? When were in physical pain, were usually extremely proactive about figuring out how to make it go away immediately because, you know, it hurts. Even if we have to go through more pain from pouring a disinfectant that stings on an open wound or suffering through getting stitches, we do it, right away, because were very focused on our ultimate goal: relief. When it comes to our emotional pain, however, were apparently way more game for seeing just how much torture we can endure, wallowing in our guilt, shame, resentment, and self-loathing, sometimes for entire lifetimes. We prolong our misery by holding on to our ill feelings by badmouthing our mother in-laws, fantasizing about pantsing our loudmouth, incompetent bosses in front of a the whole office, unloading fault on other people, and rolling around in our minds the many reasons why our enemies are wrong and the many reasons why were right. We relive our worst moments over and over and over instead of letting them go, we pick at the emotional scabs and refuse to let the healing happen and the pain subside. We wont rest until weve made sure someone else feels as badly as theyve just made us feel. If I have to suffer my entire life I will make sure you see how youve wronged me! We cling to the resentments that take up our brain space, waste our time, spin us out, keep us angry and depressed and very often make us physically sick and sometimes even kill us because um, why? Lugging around guilt, shame, resentment and self-loathing is The Big Snooze running the show, pitching a fit, demanding to be right and to be seen. Your higher self, on the other hand, could give a crap about what anybody else thinks or does because your higher self is madly in love with you and thats all that matters. Whatever happened, happened. Holding on will not change this fact, it will just keep the negative feelings from the past alive, keep you a prisoner to your pain and lower your frequency. The moment you decide to forgive and let your negative feelings melt away, you are on the road to freedom. Forgiveness is all about taking care of you, not the person you need to forgive. Its about putting your desire to feel good before your desire to be right. Its about taking responsibility for your own happiness instead of pretending its in somebody elses hands. Its about owning your power by giving all your anger, resentment, and hurt the heave-ho. Holding on to resentment is like taking poison and waiting for your enemies to die. If youre having issues with someone you care about, explain how you feel without putting the blame on them and regardless of the outcome, forgive them. Your talk may bring you closer together or you may discover that you dont want to hang out with them as much or at all, but either way, if you want to be free, you have to let it go. If youre feeling hurt or resentful toward some A-hole you dont care about, free yourself and let it go instead of stewing on it or getting revenge by sending them a box of rats in the mail. Why do you care if they understand how lame they are or notwhat good does that do you? And dont pretend its because you want them to become a better person. You could care less. You want retribution or an apology or to be acknowledged as right. Get over it. Let it go. The longer you stay attached to being vindicated, the longer they hang around in your consciousness, stinking up your life. Do not fall prey to the false belief that by forgiving someone youre letting them off the hook. Because when you forgive someone you let yourself off the hook. Forgiving isnt about being nice to them, its about being nice to yourself. Okay, so great, yes, we get it. Now how do you actually let it all go? How do you forgive the stupid bastard? 1. FIND COMPASSION Finding compassion for yourself or someone else who did something so so so so awful is like pulling a bullet out of your arm: You may kick and scream and hate it at first, but, in the long run, its the only way to start the real healing. One of the best tricks for doing this is to imagine the person youre resentful of as a little kid. Think of this little person acting out of fear, doing the best they can to protect themselves and attempting to deal with their own suffering in the only way they know how. People act poorly because they are in pain or confused or both. Understanding this, and imagining the person who you want to behead as a sweet little innocent child with big puppy dog eyes, will help you find compassion for them, which is the key to forgiveness. And same goes for anything you feel you need to forgive yourself about. You too are just a little bunny trying to work it all out. Find compassion for your sweet little, sippy cup self and let it all go. 2. ERASE THE OTHER PERSON FROM THE EQUATION Imagine youve got two employees who dont show up for work on the same day, leaving you to handle everything yourself the morning before a huge presentation. One of them blows you off because shes hung over and just couldnt deal, but the other found out that her beloved mother suddenly died and had to run off to the airport, forgetting to call you in her emotional haze. Same exact resultyoure ditched and left to do all the work your-selftwo totally different ways to react. Which means . . you have a choice! One choice puts you at risk of busting an artery out of rage, the other opens your heart. Another option is to picture yourself hanging out in your brand new boat and an empty boat floats up and bangs into you, leaving a scratch. If theres nobody in the boat, theres nobody to get mad at and you deal with the situation in a much calmer, inquisitive way. If theres some moron driving that other boat who bangs into you because theyre checking a text, however, you deal with it by going crazy and calling them a bunch of names related to genitalia. Again, same exact situationyou get a scratch on your boattwo different ways to react. When someone does something awful to you, take that person out of the equation so you can open yourself up to have a more pleasant, and productive, reaction (and life). Its not about them anyway, its about you. If you have nobody to be angry at, its hard to be angry. Instead, it opens the incident up for questioning. Why did this happen? How was I involved? Why did I attract this to myself? How can I grow from this? How can I find compassion for everyone involved? When youre consumed by resentment, the lesson cant get through all your inner, and outer, screaming and yelling. Do yourself a favor and use irritating situations and people as opportunities for growth, not pain. 3. DECIDE YOUD RATHER BE HAPPY THAN RIGHT Sometimes the road to freedom lies in deciding youd rather be happy than right. Yes, your idiot friend should have paid the parking ticket she got when she borrowed your car or your brother shouldnt have shaved your dog while he was house sitting for you, but if they dont see it that way, instead of spinning out on it for days, wouldnt it feel so much better to just let it go? Is it really worth lugging around all those foul feelings just so you can be right? Think to yourself, What do I have to do or not do, or think or not think, right now, to be happy? And if the answer is let the jackass think hes right, then so be it. 4. LOOK AT IT FROM ALL ANGLES Its important to remember that everyone is living in their own self-created illusion, and that you have no idea what theyre acting out or where theyre coming from, so just because you think something is totally not okay, in their illusion, it could be fine and your way could be totally not okay. Look at it from another perspective, loosen your stranglehold on it being my way or the highway, let some air in, and you may be surprised how quickly resentment flies out the window. For example, you send your good friend a text about a dinner party youre having and invite them to come. She sends you a text back saying she cant make it because its her birthday. You text her back an apology and sad face. You hear nothing back. So you text her happy birthday! You still hear nothing back so you proceed to spin out. You go from feeling awful for hurting her feelings to wondering what kind of idiot adult still cares that much about her stupid birthday to thinking how much youll have to spend on a present to relieve your guilt. Meanwhile, she accidentally dropped her phone in the toilet bowl after her last text to you. By being inquisitive about, instead of a slave to, your reactions to other people, you get the double whammy bonus of not only setting yourself up to forgive them much more easily (because you realize that its really about you, not them), but you receive the great gift of being enlightened to some of your own not-so-special traits so you can grow and learn from them (much more on all this in Chapter 21: Millions of Mirrors). In her brilliant book (I mean it, go get it), Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie says, We dont attach to people or things, we attach to uninvestigated concepts that we believe to be true in the moment. For example, in the scenario above, instead of attaching to the truth that this person isnt answering your texts because theyre upset, all you need to do is ask yourself, Why am I freaking out over something that I have no proof is even true? or How would I feel if I didnt just assume that my friend is mad at me? You could literally be one question away from being happy in any otherwise upsetting situation. 5. HAVE A TOTAL SHITFIT Go somewhere alone and far away from other people and beat the hell out of a pillow or a mattress or some other soft, inanimate object that wont hurt your fist or punch you back. Scream and yell about what a selfish little pig this other person is and go for it 100 percent until youre exhausted or someone calls the cops on you. Get it out of your system, totally and completely, and then let it go. 6. REMEMBER THAT YOU WONT EVEN REMEMBER THIS Try and think about someone who had you totally freaking out and all pissed off three years ago. Can you even come up with someone? If you can, can you get all worked up about them now? Whatever or whomever youre needing to forgive in this moment will most likely be a mere blip not very long from now (depending on the severity of the situation, of course). So why make a huge drama out of it if youre only going to forget all about it one day? See it as the future non-event that it is and start forgiving and forgetting right away. When it comes to forgiveness, what you actually have to DO is not hard. Its like quitting smokingyou actually do less than you do when you smoke. You dont have to go to the store to buy cigarettes, you dont have to open the pack, light one up, find an ashtray, etc. All you have to do is stop. All the work is in letting go of your self-created attachment to cigarettes. Same with forgiveness. All you have to do is let go of your self-created attachment to this other person or belief. 7. FUGGETABOUTIT Once youve truly forgiven someone, wipe the slate clean. So often we form judgments about people and then, no matter what they do, we see them through the lens of that judgment. Which means were just waiting for them to piss us off again. Which means were still in the Forvginess-lite stage; were pretending were cool but were really still holding on to some resentment. Release all expectations, let everyone off the hook, treat people as a blank slate over and over again, expect only the best from them regardless of what theyve done in the past and you may be surprised. What you focus on, you create more of, and if you keep expecting people to annoy you they will not let you down. Focus on their finer points and encourage their good behavior if you want to create more of it. 8. LOVE YOURSELF You deserve it. CHAPTER 16: LOOSEN YOUR BONE, WILMA You dont paddle against the current, you paddle with it. And if you get good at it, you throw away the oars. Kris Kristofferson; singer, songwriter, actor, Rhodes scholar, still super hot for an old guy Several years ago I went on a life-changing trip to India. In case you havent witnessed it yourself, India is heaving with life, a swarming blur of vibrant colors, honking cars, wandering cows, packed trains, endless slums, elaborate palaces, ancient temples, and sweet smelling incense. Its literally full to the brim with humanity, chatting and chanting, and sitting on top of you while you struggle for space on an overbooked train. Your only options are 1.) Go with the flow and get to know your neighbor or 2.) Grow a big, fat stress-related tumor. The thing that made perhaps the biggest impression on me there was how nearly everyone I met went for option number one. In India, some people will spoon you on a bus if you fall asleep next to them, roll down their windows to chat with you in a traffic jam, stare unblinkingly at your non-Indian-ness, help you if youre lost, insist you get in their family photos at historical monuments, invite you in for tea, burp, fart, and laugh in your faceits totally annoying. And sweet. And makes me think they clearly know something important that Ive long forgotten (and that I suspect most of the world has forgotten, too). I didnt have to darken the doorway of an ashram or stick a red dot on my forehead or partake in any of the other thousands of spiritual options the country is famous for offeringwho needs them? As far as Im concerned, you can learn pretty much everything you need to know about spirituality and life by taking a twelve-hour bus ride through India during wedding season. When I bought my ticket on the Super Deluxe Express bus to Delhi from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, I was told I was paying a wise four hundred rupees extra for the luxury of a five-hour nonstop ride, as opposed to the ten hours and countless stops of the local bus. I was so extremely exhausted from the three sleepless days Id spent whooping it up at a camel festival in the desert that the thought of hunkering down on the Super Deluxe and sleeping all the way to Delhi sounded good to me. But what I got instead was a seat next to Mr. Friendly, a middle-aged man who spoke three words of English, and who insisted on chatting me up even though I was doing what I thought was a very convincing job of fake sleeping, and a very real job of having no freakin idea what he was saying. The bus left an hour late due to massive confusion and overbooking and took almost two hours to get out of town thanks to the fact that it was November, peak wedding season. Weddings in India traditionally involve a ceremony that lasts for days, stretches for miles, welcomes anyone caught in the crossfire and includes a parade through the streets complete with horses, marching band, explosives, a car with a loudspeaker blaring Indian music and important wedding announcements, and a bunch of guys carrying what look like table lamps on their heads. My bus ended up getting trapped in wedding festivities pretty much every ten minutes, which meant that everyone on the bus, every time we stopped, skipped off to join the party. When we finally did get out of town, we kept pulling over to let random people on and off (in the middle of nowhere), have some tea, a smoke, a chat, maybe light a fire in the brush in a ditch or strap giant burlap sacks full of something large and bulbous to the roof. At some point this guy got on who was standing by the side of the road in the darkness. We scooped him up without coming to a full stop and he took his place at the front of the bus, standing right next to my seat, and immediately began hollering at everyone in Hindi. My bus mates responded by cheering, chanting, and sitting in silence, while I responded by seeing if I couldnt find another seat farther away from his mouth. I got up and joined the group of people sitting on rickety benches around the bus driver who was in this room behind a wall of glass. The people huddling around him made room for me and suddenly I felt like I was watching an action movie on a screen the size of a giant bus windshield. We were careening through the narrow dirt streets of tiny villages, Bollywood music crackling over the radio, while people, goats, and monkeys leaped out of the way, slowing down only for the almighty, holy cow. Then all of a sudden, in some tiny nowhere village, he pulls over yet again. More chai perhaps? Maybe hes going to go visit a friend? Has to pee? Wants to take a walk for an hour while we all sit there? The driver waves for me to follow and gets off, as does everyone on the bus. It turns out that Mr. Yell in My Ear was some sort of holy man who was just warming up the crowd for a tour of the temples in this small, gorgeous village called Vrindavan. It is, I learned, the place where Krishna met his wife Radha and where they built hundreds of temples in their honor. So, for the next two hours I found myself wandering through countless temples, gaily tossing flowers onto shrines, holding hands and skipping in a circle around a statue of Krishna, solemnly chanting, praying and clapping, and all I could think was how homicidal a bus of New Yorkers on the express bus from New York to DC would be in a similar situation. Meanwhile, not one person on the bus was expecting this, and not one person complained, even though when we finally got back on the bus it was well past the time we were supposed to be arriving in Delhi and we were still a good five hours away. Instead, they all thanked, and tipped, the holy man and spent the rest of the ride merrily chatting away with one another. After that we stopped at a roadside restaurant for dinner, then another pee break, then I was waking up the family I was staying with in Delhi at 3 a.m. They, of course, acted like it was the middle of the afternoon and insisted I share a cup of tea. Heres what India taught me about tapping into the Mother Lode: Talk to strangers, were all family on this planet. Expect, and enjoy, the unexpected. Find the humor. Join the party. Live in the moment. Time spent enjoying yourself is never time wasted. Share your space. Loosen your bone, Wilma. LOVE YOURSELF And life becomes a party. PART 4: HOW TO GET OVER YOUR B.S. ALREADY CHAPTER 17: ITS SO EASY ONCE YOU FIGURE OUT IT ISNT HARD Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein; scientist, awesomist I was hanging out in my sunny California home one morning, reading the newspaper with the doors flung open and the stereo blasting, when all of a sudden a bird came tearing into my living room. He was flapping around like a maniac, flying into lamps and plants, spreading leaves, feathers, poop, and panic all over the place. In an attempt to escape, he kept slamming himself into the window while I feebly chased him around with a flip-flop, trying to guide him back toward the open door. It was awful to watchthe poor guy was all panting and wild-eyed, his little birdy heart no doubt about to explode with fear while he threw himself over and over again into the glass at full speed. I finally managed to escort him outside to freedom, and then spent a very bothered few minutes calming my own little-birdy heart while I revisited the scene of the accident. I imagined his confusion and frustration: I can see the sky! Its right there! If I fly hard and fast enough I know I can reach it! It made me think of the way so many of us live our lives. We can see what we want, and nearly kill ourselves trying to get it in a way thats not working. Meanwhile, if we just stopped, got quiet for a minute or two, and looked at things a little differently, wed notice the door to what we want being held open for us by the nice lady in the bathrobe across the room. Then all wed have to do is fly through it. Oh, the drama we create for ourselves! Were so deeply wrapped up in our storiesI dont have the money, Im not good enough, I cant quit my job, Im lazy, I have bad hairtrudging through life with our heads down, clinging to our false beliefs like lifeboats full of doo-doo, that we prevent ourselves from seeing the literally infinite sea of possibilities and opportunities surrounding us at every single moment. Have you ever walked down a street that youve walked down a million times and suddenly noticed a house or a tree or a mailbox or something else totally obvious and in-your-face that youve never noticed before? Or have you ever suddenly become aware of the eye color of someone youve known for years? Or have you ever looked at your mother and thought, I was inside of that woman once!? All this stuff didnt suddenly appear and then you noticed it, it was there all along, you just werent experiencing it because your focus was directed somewhere else. Heres a cool exercise: Right now, look around wherever you are and count the number of things you see that are red. Take about a minute and count them all. Now stop, look back at this page without taking your eyes off of it, and try to think of everything around you thats yellow. Theres probably a ton of yellow, but you didnt see it because you were looking for red. What you choose to focus on becomes your reality. And thats just an example of what were not noticing that we can see. Theres also an infinite amount of emotions and thoughts and beliefs and interpretations and sounds and dreams and opportunities and smells and points of view and ways to feel good and responses and nonresponses and things to say and ways to help. YET, because were so set in our ways and committed to our stories about who we are and what our reality looks like, we only scratch the very surface of all thats available to us every single moment. Meanwhile, were totally surrounded by countless awesome versions of reality, and theyre all just hanging around like a bunch of shy teenage girls at the prom, leaning against the walls, waiting for us to ask them to dance. As the poet William Blake so eloquently stated: If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. So why would you create anything thats not totally awesome? I mean, were only talking about your life here. If you chose to get over all your reasons why the money you so desire is evil or your identity as someone whos scared of intimacy or your attachment to a plethora of other excuses that you perceive to be very serious and real when theyre really probably kind of cute and ridiculousyou could literally create any reality you want. Whenever I become impressed by a particularly creative array of new excuses Ive come up with, or start to organize an elaborate pity party for myself, I turn to Ray Charles. I dont often listen to his music, but I always think about Ray when I need a kick in the buttinski. He was a broke, blind, minority who was orphaned by the age of fifteen and raised in the colored part of town in a time when slavery wasnt all that distant of a memory, and he went on to become one of the most influential and successful American musicians of all time. Basically, he wasted no time on excuses. Any little woe-is-me-ism that I try to hold up against Ray instantly wilts into the sniveling little nice try that it is, and Im forced to look upon my life, and my excuses, with a new perspective. Really? Youre really going to let that stop you? All you have to do is make the choice to let go of everything youre so attached to thats not serving you and manifest the reality that you want. Life is an illusion created by your perception, and it can be changed the moment you choose to change it. Our entire experience on this planet is determined by how we choose to perceive our reality. I know. As if. It cant be that easy. If it was that simple, how could I possibly have spent all this time banging my head against the glass wall of my own self-created ho-hummery? But before you get into a bad mood about it, remember: All this stumbling around in the realities we pretend to be stuck in is very valuable because it allows us to grow and learn and evolverough seas make better sailorsbut you get to choose how long you want to stay in school and work on the same issues over and over and over. Your graduation cap and gown are cleaned and pressed and waiting for you whenever you want to put them on, all you have to do is let go of your present story and rewrite a new one that fits who you truly are. If you want to join the party and shift your perspective, do what I say in this book (and really DO it, dont just half-ass it. And while youre at it, believe it too). Study the Resources I suggest in the back of this book and on my website. Commit to releasing your attachment to low-frequency thoughts and experiences, trust that the Universe loves the crap out of you, kick fear in the face, and head bravely into the unknown. Also, do the following: 1. BECOME AWARE OF WHAT YOUR STORIES ARE We call these stories because they are just that. They are not the truth. And they can be rewritten. Youre the author of your own life not your parents, not society, not your partner, not your friends, not the bullies who called you Fatzilla in junior highand the sooner you decide to write yourself a better script, the sooner you get to live a more awesome life. Before you can let go of your stories, get clear on what they are. Listen to what you say and what you think about and start busting yourself in your own lies. We get so used to, and so identify with, our broken records that we dont even notice they exist or that theyre not even real. And yet well fight to the death to uphold their nontruths! Listen specifically for sentences that begin with: I always . . . I never . . . I cant . . . I should . . . I suck at . . . I wish . . . I want (as opposed to I will and I am) . . . I dont have . . . One day . . . Im trying to . . . Sad-sack Jane, the lawyer, says she should keep her miserable job at the prestigious firm because shell never find one that she likes that pays as well. Really? Is that why nobody on earth, anywhere, is doing a job that they love and making even more money than you make, Jane? Lonely-hearted Sally always says she cant find a good, single man because there arent any left out there. Really Sally? All the good, single men were hunted down and killed so no matter how many dates you go on or how many times you put on sexy high heels and hang around at Home Depot, youll never bump into one? Was the awesome guy your friend Deb just met the lone survivor of the good guy genocide? Broke-ass Joe, the personal trainer, always talks about how he cant make any money and how there are no high-paying clients out there. Really Joe? Not any? Anywhere? Then how is it that other personal trainers have more high-paying clients than they can handle? And that some even created energy drinks and work-out products with their pictures on them and are raking it in on QVC? Another good place to catch yourself in a story is by looking at the areas in your life that are sagging. If youre constantly angry, maybe your story is, Nobody understands me. If youre always overweight, maybe your story is, I have no self-discipline. If youre uninvited from Thanksgiving dinner because you wouldnt let anyone else talk at the last three family gatherings, maybe your story is, Nobody pays any attention to me. Remember, as Wallace Wattles said: To think what you want to think is to think the truth, regardless of appearances. Instead of pretending to be stuck in these lame-o realities, use your power of thought to change your attitude and change your life. Start paying attention: What are your favorite, self-sabotaging stories? What do you hear yourself think and say over and over again that has become who you are (or rather who you think you are)? Bust yourself in your own tired old broken records right now so you can set about rewriting your stories and create the kind of life you love. 2. BECOME AWARE OF WHAT YOURE GAINING FROM YOUR STORIES We pretty much dont ever do anything that we dont benefit from in some way, be it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. If youre perpetuating something dismal in your life because of some dopey story, theres definitely something about it that youre getting off on. Lets say, for example, that your story is that youre depressed. Chances are pretty good that even though it feels awful, when you feel awful you dont have to work hard or do the laundry or go to the gym. It also feels very familiar and cozy and comfortable. It gets you attention. People come in and check on you and sometimes bring food. It gives you something to talk about. It allows you to not try too hard or move forward and face possible failure. It lets you drink beer for breakfast. Lets say your story is that you cant make money. By staying broke, you get to be right. You get to be a victim, which makes you dependent on other people and gets you attention. Other people will offer to pay. You dont have to take responsibility. You get to give up before you start and avoid possible failure. If things in your life fall far below the mediocre scale, you get to blame other people and circumstances instead of taking risks to change it because you cant afford to take risks. Lets say your story is that you stink at relationships. You get your freedom. You dont have to commit and can keep looking for the greener grass on the other side. You dont have to risk getting hurt by being vulnerable. You get to complain about always being single and get sympathy. You get the whole bed to yourself, never have to compromise, and dont have to shave unless its summer. We dont realize it, but were making the perks we get from perpetuating our stories more important than getting the things we really want because its familiar territory, its what were comfy with and were scared to let it go. If weve been depressed or victimized or whatever since childhood, we trick ourselves into believing that its really who we are as adults in order to continue reaping the rewards. Its how we survived as kids, but it doesnt serve us anymore so we need to get rid of it or well just keep creating more of it. For example, lets say you grew up with a violent alcoholic father, and your way to protect yourself from being the target of his rage was to never speak up, to never let yourself or your wants and wishes be visible. Cut to you as an adult who never speaks your truth or who never stands up for yourself. Youre still reaping the false rewards, youre playing it safe, not risking getting hurt or yelled at, but this behavior is backfiring on you because by hiding and not taking a stand for yourself, youre living a life that totally makes you want to roll over and go back to sleep every morning instead of getting up and facing your day. Once you identify the false benefits youre reaping from holding onto your stories, you can start the process of letting them go and replace them with new empowered ones that serve the adult you. 3. GET RID OF YOUR STORIES Once you know what the beast looks like, you can slay it. Take your list of cants and shoulds and I nevers, etc., and write stream of consciousness in a journal (see example below), and really feel in your body what youre getting from these old limiting beliefs such as: I feel special, I feel safe, I get to live with my parents and never get a job, etc. Make a list of these false rewards. Really push yourself to get them all on to the page. Then feel the attention the specialness or the comfort or the safety or whatever your trip is and really become clear on it. Catch yourself fully in the act and feel it all the way through. Now look at your list of false rewards for what they really are: scared little parts of yourself acting out. Thank them for trying to protect you and for keeping you company, but tell them its time to run along now. Then, replace the feelings you got from these false rewards with the feelings of joy and power and excitement that stepping into who you truly are and who youre now becoming will bring. Imagine that childish version of yourself leaving your body and the powerful adult stepping in. Breathe in the adult; breathe out the kid and the old story. Its like finally taking the keys to the Ferrari back from the seven-year-old version of yourself whos been driving it all this time, nearly getting you killed. See yourself as the adult stepping in to take your place behind the wheel. Keep envisioning (or writing down) what it looks and feels like to have the real, adult you replace your old childhood story. Feel it. Get excited by it. Then make the decision that youre ready to change and take positive action in the direction you want to go. For example, lets say that lonely-hearted Sally finally got fed up enough to get mighty real with herself and face her issues around relationships. Shed start by getting clear on what her stories are: I cant meet a man because there arent any good ones left. I suck at flirting. I never know what to say to men. Im not attractive to men. Not the good ones anyway. I scare men away. I dont trust men. I dont believe there really is anyone out there for me. Once shes got her list (which could easily go on for pages, BTW, but for the sake of example, and because Id like to leave the house today, well stick with these), Sally can stream of consciousness journal about the false rewards shes getting. And by stream of consciousness I mean just let it flow, dont edit or overthink it too much, just write. In Sallys case, her journaling could look like: By saying there arent any good men out there I dont have to take responsibility for why Im not meeting any. I get to feel victimized and right for staying single. I get to prove how lame men are by never being with a good one. My pain of feeling unworthy and my mistrust of men get proven right when I stay single. I feel like I know what Im doing and in control by not letting anyone get close to me. I feel free. I feel safe. I feel special because I get attention for breaking the rules. Again, this could go on for pages but you get the idea. Once shes gotten all her false rewards on the page, Sally can then focus on them, feel them all the way through, thank them for trying to protect her (we dont want to turn this into a self-loathing exercise please) and release them by replacing them with new, powerful stories. She can literally take each one and replace it with a new truth. For example: By saying there arent any good men out there I dont have to take responsibility for why Im not meeting any. Then becomes: The world is filled with awesome, loving men, and I am fully capable of, and so excited to find me a good one. I get to feel victimized and right for staying single. Then becomes: I am powerful and in control of my life. I choose to love and be loved. I get to prove how lame men are by never being with a good one. Then becomes: I love and trust men and am so thrilled to be with an awesome guy who makes me giddy with happiness. These new stories become her new truth, and in order to make them stick, she focuses on them, breathes them in and feels how happy they make her feel. These stories are her new affirmations (remember those?) that she will not only write down and repeat and bombard herself with over and over and over, but that she will instantly replace her old stories with if they should fly out of her mouth or into her mind out of habit. Lets review, shall we? 1. List off your old stories that youve gotten into the habit of thinking and saying. 2. Journal about the false rewards you get from them. 3. Feel into these false rewards, thank them for their help, and decide to let them go. 4. Take each false reward and write a new, powerful story to replace it with. 5. Repeat this new story, or affirmation, over and over and over until it becomes your truth. 6. Behold your awesome new life. Nothing in this world is permanent, including our stories. Yet we try to hold on to them for false security, which ultimately leads to sorrow and loss. Be willing to let go. Keep reinventing your story as you continue to grow. 4. GET A MOVE ON Once youve gotten clear on your story and have done the energy work above, take action. If you were once depressed but have decided to let it go, stop listening to melancholy music, stop talking about how lousy you feel, stop pretending that putting on your bathrobe counts as getting dressed, etc. Instead, focus on the good and do the things you love to do make an effort instead of collapsing into the familiar feeling of being depressed. Realize that youve gotten into habits with these things and switch them around. Behave the way a person who isnt depressed behaves. Dress how they dress, hang out with the kinds of people they hang out with, speak the way they speak, do the things they do. Really sink into the understanding that you can have what you want. This wont work if you just pretend. You cant be like, Okay, Im going out on a date, Im telling myself I am going to have a great time but I know its going to be hideous because its always hideous but Im having a good attitude about it. Going out into the world and trying, yet still deep-down believing that youre ruled by your past circumstances, is like forgiving someone but still hoping they sit in something wet. 5. GET OUT OF YOUR ROUTINE Talk to strangers, wear something different, go to a new grocery store, make dinner for someone who you want to get to know better, change toothpastes, go to a movie at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, learn three new jokes, walk taller, notice five awesome things youve never noticed about your home, your beliefs, your mother, your face. Do things that pull you out of your routine and youll be amazed by the new realities that were there all along that suddenly presents themselves. 6. SIDESTEP THE SPIRAL Theres also the ever-popular Spiral Into Darkness where you begin by being sad that your dog died then realize that not only are you now dogless, but youre still single and you will always be single because everyone, including your dog, leaves you, which probably wouldnt be the case if you didnt have such fat thighs or werent so overshadowed by your gorgeous sister who is pretty much the main reason youve had no self-confidence your entire life and wah wah wah. Feel sad, but dont blow it up into some huge drama. If something negative happens in your life, feel it, learn from it, let it go and get back to focusing on the life youre excited to live. 7. LOVE YOURSELF More than you love your drama.

  • Wizard of Oz /    (Baum, 2014)    Wizard of Oz /
  • Dumbo /  (Disney, 2012) -   Dumbo / (Disney, 2012)
  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts /   :    (by Gary Chapman, 2010) -   The Five Love Languages: The

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