It’s a hobby of mine to ask people about the secret dreams they’ve given up on. As a childhood witness to adult disappointments, I learned there is no better guarantee of failure than to succumb to one of these 5 all-star reasons for letting your dreams go unfulfilled. It’s almost as if people with chronically unfulfilled dreams have substituted the reason for not doing it for the thing itself, so attached do they become to that reality, instead of putting their energy into creating the one they desire.
Bottom line: Success is never guaranteed. But you can guarantee failure by continuing to not take action on your dreams. How wrong would you like to be? Do you recognize any of these?
I don’t know how to do it.
Of course you don’t! The good news is, you don’t have to know everything in advance. (When was the last time that happened?) The myth is that the people who succeed have some kind of special knowledge or insider info. But the truth is, everybody starts somewhere, many people have false starts, and the ones who make it just keep going until they get it right. And THEN we learn about them, and it appears to be something that just popped into place, when actually they’ve traveled a long road to get to where they are. What to do: Brainstorm a list of steps you’ll need to take in order to begin. Study your list until it becomes clear which one is the actual starting point. Hint: It’s the one that doesn’t require any of the other steps to happen first. Then, do that step. If you have to, break it down into a series of micro steps to create momentum. Micro steps count. Celebrate each one as if you’ve just crossed the finish line of a marathon.
I don’t have the resources to do it.
Broken record time: Of COURSE you don’t have the resources to do it! I’m reading a ridiculous story written in 1922 about three privileged boys who get into some kind of excitement. What could possibly hold my attention throughout this book I don’t know, because the first 3 chapters have been real yawners. You know why? The 3 boys in the book all have unlimited resources. Where is the challenge in that? I mean, who cares what happens to these guys? They’ll always be able to buy their way out of it or lean on connections. They have resources. You, not so much. But don’t worry, you will develop them. Honestly, you don’t know what you’ll need until you start the process. What a concept. What to do: See step one. Just get started. As you negotiate the steps, part of what you’ll master will be getting the resources you need. Another great myth is that people who accomplish things do so on their own. You will have to create partnerships, ask for help and excite people about your project. Start now. Your commitment needs to be solid when you reach your next hurdle.
Somebody else has done it before me and better than I could.
Well, okay, so you want to do what someone else has already done. Do you want to do it to be the inventor of it, or for the experience of doing it? Do you need it to be the best, or simply something you accomplished? Does someone else’s achievement negate yours? Is there room for only one? After you get clear on why you want to do this, and you’re sure it’s for the experience, not to be the best in the world, here’s what to do: Find the person who’s done it first and better and find out how they did it. They are a gold mine of information and resources. Instead of seeing a competitor, see an ally. After all, this is someone who shared your dream and made it happen. They might be eager to help you avoid some of the mistakes they made. And p.s., somebody else is going to come along after you and do it even better.
I’ll never make it.
Again, examine your motives. Is “making it” your motivator? As I wrote in a previous article, at least 50% of making it is out of our control. Once you’ve cleared that up, stop predicting failure and get into action. You absolutely will not make it if you fail to act. And now’s an excellent time to make sure you really want what you think you want. A good exercise to do in case you’re not sure is the “and then what?” exercise. Pretend you’ve achieved your dream. What would you do then? I want to be a famous author. After that, I’d travel around collecting stories from interesting people and writing them. Guess what? I don’t have to wait to become famous to do what I want to do! I can do that first, and maybe, just maybe, the fame will come. But I will have fulfilled the part that I definitely can do. And maybe that dream of fame was only a stand-in for what I really wanted: to take myself seriously and commit to doing what my heart is telling me I would love and enjoy.Maybe your dream of fame is a stand-in for what you really want: to take yourself seriously &… Click To Tweet
It’s too late.
File this under “Summer’s half over!” and “I can’t believe in 6 weeks it’ll be Christmas!” It’s only too late if you say it is. But, you protest, “I’m old, slow, over the hill, out of the loop.” So…get into the loop. Whether you have a couple of decades of a couple of months left to your life, you can either decide to drop out or keep living until it’s over. “It’s too late” is one of those subtle confidence busters that keep us from taking action on our dreams. The way you can tell it’s a distraction is there’s nothing constructive you can do to make it go away. It merely springs back in another form, an inarguable, slippery, exhausting point of view that begs to be given into. Or ignored. What to do: Keep moving toward your dreams. If it really is too late to achieve the whole thing, is it time to give it up peacefully? If you don’t feel peaceful about letting it go, then it’s not time. Keep focused on what you can do today. Tomorrow is an unknown for all of us. I’d like to be able to say I’m struggling with different challenges than today’s when and if tomorrow rolls around.
Want to jump start your dream? Download my free ebook, Happily Creative: How to Become a Happy Creative in Just 30 Days! The first 10 pages give you tools for handling confidence busters, and the remainder is a 30-day guided experience in doing something everyday toward your creative dreams.
Sometimes, for reasons unknown to us, we can’t. get. started. even if the project is something we REALLY, REALLY want to do. Often it’s overwhelm that gets us. We don’t know quite where to begin. Writing that first word, especially if it’s our first go with making a book, can be intimidating. The good news is there are tons of things you can do before you actually start writing your book.
And these are not frilly, fool-yourself-into-doing-something things. These are actually important to do. These first 11 are the least threatening of the many things it pays to do before getting started with the writing, or at least early in the process.
Stay tuned for part two, in which we start getting a little more technical, but no less preparatory and necessary to your badass love project’s success.
Here you go:
- Start by writing down everything you know about your book idea: what the topic, title, nonfiction, fiction? Just like you would if you were telling someone about it. “It’s a book about…” You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you write down. Also, you’ll be practicing a happy creative habit that’s hard to beat: Find a way to capture your great ideas so you don’t have to remember them! Free up some hard drive space and write down your book idea.
2. Start a list of possible titles, chapters, and other content. Again, just give your imagination free rein. “There will be a poem between each chapter, and quotations that are mysterious, and references to music. There will be an entire universe….”
3. And on that note: Will it be illustrated? Have quotations? Questions for the reader to answer? Flesh it out in your mind and on paper.
4. Write or draw some character sketches. This is self-explanatory, but if you do need more guidance, imagine your characters not only in the roles they play in your work, but also in the rest of their “off-camera” lives. What’s in their sock drawer? Where do they keep their money? Bills facing the same way, or a crumbled mess in the front pocket of their greasy jeans? What do they smell like? Etc. Even if it’s a first person narrator in nonfiction, how do you want that person to come across?
5. While you’re dreaming and sketching, picture your ideal reader. Who are they and what do they care about? What else do they read? Brainstorm a list of who would be interested in your book.
6. Think about how your readers will find you. Where do they hang out? How do they find books? Supermarket check-out? Back pages of specialty mags? Internet? This all makes a difference later when you’ll be making publishing and marketing decisions. (Isn’t that beyond exciting? You will be making publishing and marketing decisions!)
7. A related question: how do you see people using your book? By themselves, in groups, with their therapist or coach, on a cruise?
8. Try drawing or sketching your cover. What colors go with your book? What textures, what design features, what century and feel? Western? Army? Victorian? Friendly? Comforting?
9. How do you see yourself writing it, in what time frame, and by what method? Will you write a little every day, record and transcribe? Get it done this year? 5 years? Whenev?
10. Read up on how authors go about writing your kind of book. Whether it’s a workbook, mystery or historical fiction, each author uses specific methods and processes to create them. Will you have to map out the plot and scenes ahead of time? Will you work from an outline? Find out how some of your favorite writers do it.
11. Lastly, could there be other, related products as well? Should there be a video? Music? Mugs? Just dream and wonder. And wander.
Next time, we’ll get into some of nitty-gritty, but for today, try easing into these 11 not-too-taxing ways to get started on the darned thing.
And, last, what not to do: Sit and fret about it one more day.
Can’t quite get there on your own?
After you download my ebook, Happily Creative: How to Become a Happy Creative in Just 30 Days, focus on just the first 10 pages, and ignore the rest for now. The first 10 pages are specific tools to help you overcome the three major mental and emotional obstacles that keep us from getting started.
I’d love to have you join my tribe of happy creatives.
Today in my Facebook Live, I addressed the issue of inspiration stagnation and suggested as a first remedy ditching the creative assignments and going out and having some fun.
I’m realizing this may have come off somewhat glib. But fun is a serious–in fact, essential–ingredient in any creative’s toolkit. When we’re blocked, we’re scared. We double down on finding great ideas and original approaches. If we checked, we’d find our jaw clenched, our breathing shallow, and our thinking pinpoint. Think: fight or flight.
This is the exact opposite of where we want to be and how we need to be in order to have the great ideas and find the original approaches. We need to be fluid, expansive, welcoming, curious, light. We need to feel the world is our safe playground as we experiment with pouring sand through our fingers and watching it collect into a miniature mountain range. We need to feel we have all the time in the world.
Remember those golden times when you first discovered your creative gift? Time stood still, didn’t it?
This is why it’s so essential to learn to cultivate that feeling intentionally. I’ll share something with you that most people don’t know about me. I’m very intentional. I could be lying back with a straw hat over my face in a hammock, but unless I’m actually on vacation, there’s a purpose in what I’m doing. I may be hanging out schmoozing with the guests at our summer place, chatting with a co-worker, arranging my colored pencils or staring off into space while idly drumming my fingers on the arm of the Adirondack chair. But I’m not doing nothing.
And that’s not what fun is, either. It’s not doing nothing. It’s very intentionally engaging in an activity that takes you out of your regular mind, takes your body out of its regular habits, and shifts your entire being into expansive, welcoming, benevolent joy.
Now, don’t get hung up on the word joy. It doesn’t have to be neon-colored and long-lasting. It can be simple contentment, amusement, peace, and heart-centered melting. There may be a tear in your eye. You may feel like hugging someone. Even yourself. Most of all you’ll feel possibility again. You’ll see that what was locked was your mind, not the world.
So, here’s your challenge. Reacquaint yourself with fun. You can start with what used to be fun, but that may not cut it anymore. You may have to…get creative! Listen to your heart, your inner child and your inner imp. Check in with what you’re longing for, what’s calling to you that you haven’t allowed yourself to have because it’s too frivolous. Think guilty pleasures and stolen delights. People Magazine, black and white soft serve, country music, gospel choirs, blues sax, action adventure flicks, getting your nails painted pink and black, the art museum, a walk by the ocean, a psychic reading–I could go on, but you get the idea.
The harder this feels, the blanker your mind, the scarier and more impossible this is, the more you need it! If you’re really stuck, ask a friend who knows how to have fun to tutor you, or, as a last resort Google it. But then get off the computer and off your butt. This is an action step.
With a nod to a now defunct band comprised of friends of mine from the Boston days, Serious Fun is your assignment. Creative freedom is within reach.
Today’s quickie is a video of me blabbing a little about using the tool from Access Consciousness of asking questions and how they open possibility and have been help me a lot with my money and self-confidence. After the vid you’ll find a handy list of the questions I’ve put together that are rocking my world right now. And as a special Happy Sunday present for you, I’ve also made an audio file (at the bottom of the post) you can listen to and/or download of me reading the questions, so you can just have them in the background, meditate to them, or fall to sleep listening to them.
It’s a criticism I’ve heard from within the holistic entrepreneur community: Some of us are continuing our promoting and posts promising “the best year yet!”, and it’s starting to sound a little – or a lot – tone deaf.
I grant that most people in business who have an online presence are struggling to find a balance between getting caught up in the tension of the times and ignoring it completely. Many don’t want to be too political, and others haven’t yet processed their own reactions to the upheaval that is all around us.
I wanted to offer some thoughts for the holistic entrepreneur – coaches, speakers, authors, healers, practitioners of all kinds – who are struggling to be relevant to their potential customers, readers and clients on social media especially, during these great, shifting, unpredictable times. These all boil down to one thing: Conduct your social media outreach as you would any interaction with a client. Be sensitive to where they’re at and what they’re going through.
- Now’s your time to be a beacon for your clients, customers and readers. What are you doing to stay balanced, sane, whole? Share that on social media. The more vulnerable and transparent we can be about your own struggles and strategies, showing what you have in common with your clients as well as how you are coping (both what’s worked and what hasn’t), the more people see that you’re for real, and the more they will trust you.
2. Share your positive vision for the world. If you haven’t done so already, create a mission statement and publicize it to your networks. Mission statements are about what you stand for as a business entity. It’s a great way to communicate your values and goals, so that the right clients can find alignment with you. And because of the kind of business you have, your missions statement alone can provide hope for someone who reads it.
3. Post helpful items on your social media channels. Make sure that what you post doesn’t just add noise. Use your platform to express gratitude, call out others in your field whose work you admire, and acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge what is going right, gains and wins, in your communities. Just as everyone in an abusive situation is in some way affected by the abuse, so is everyone uplifted in an environment of acknowledgement and respect.
4. Now is the time to live your spirituality. So if your beliefs have no frame of reference for what is happening and how to deal with it, take the opportunity to deepen your spirituality, in whatever way is right for you. But don’t let yourself off the hook for addressing the world’s (and your clients’) problems in some way that is constructive. It’s not enough to blow stardust and ascend to a higher plane when your clients are suffering, struggling and full of fear and upset. And if, in your search for deeper meaning and presence, you find something helpful, share that with your people, too.
My helpful resources of the last 7 days: Your Life Is Your Message by Eknath Easwaran, the Shambala Pocket Series Essential Chogyam Trungpa, Yes Magazine, my blogger besties, Amy Lyn Andrews (blogging geek extraordinaire), Jane Friedman’s blog (resources for writers), The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book, and I recently instituted “Snicker Sunday” on my Facebook page, posting only funny things and pictures of food.
Other wonderful activities: writing a kids’ affirmation song for this coming season’s Dancing Jaguar Spirit Camps, Eva’s Goulette’s wonderful brainchild, and drumming (rhythms in 7: bliss)
In fact, I think you need to hear this Layne Redmond and Tommy Be recording of Seven Sent by Layne right now. If you agree, here’s the link. Enjoy.
photo credit: ferobanjo via morguefile.com
Last week, I promised you downloadable thank-you cards to use in your healing practice. And I have done that here. But first, I wanted to let you, my blog followers, in on a super sale I’m conducting, just until November 30, of my Soul Message cards and books.
Did you know?
The Soul Messages paperback contains a thought-provoking essay for each of the messages, enough to start your day, end your day, give you guidance, and affirm where you are on the path of growth and becoming.
The special early bird gift offer from my heart: With each set of Soul Message cards you receive a free autographed copy of the Soul Messages paperback, a $30 value for just $18.
And the super special through November 30: Buy 2 or more sets of Soul Message cards and pay $15 each and still get a free autographed copy of the Soul Messages book with each set.
“These are my Bible lately.”
“The Soul Messages are always right on!”
Soul Messages are also wonderful additions to your waiting room, group programs, and treatment sessions.
Click the link below to get a jump on holiday shopping, spread some love, and find out what the Universe has to say to you! (It’s way better than what you say to yourself.)
The early bird sale ends November 30, so follow your heart today!
Item #2 for your holiday gratitude and appreciation fest
Last year I created one-of-a-kind paper collage gift enclosures based on the Soul Messages and sent them off to your loved ones. (With your permission!) Good thing I took pictures. I had to, because I fell in love with each of those 4×5 collages.
This year (as in, last night) I uploaded those images onto greeting cards for you, and they’re now available on my very first Zazzle store. How is this so much FUN?
Here’s what they look like. If you click on the image, you’ll be taken to my Zazzle store, which is called phyllomania. (The images look a lot sharper on the real thing. See below.)
So, NOW for the freebies
These same designs are available right here at the bottom of this post, for free. You can print them on nice card stock and write your own message inside, or you can go to my Zazzle store and check out my messages and use them. I suggest you download the image and resize it according to your need. Two of the images side by side fit beautifully along the bottom edge of an 8.5×11 piece of paper in landscape orientation. Print, cut and fold, and voila!
Click here for a pdf file with the images laid out as described above. Print, cut, inscribe and send!
OR, you can simply download the images and do what you will with them. Click on the picture, which will open in its own window, then right click to download.
I hope you enjoy your holiday goodies! I love appreciating my clients and customers at this time of year. It’s a win-win, and sets the stage for a fortuitous beginning to the new year.
All the best to you in this season of Light,
Are you feeling the need to get focused about self-care this holiday season?
If so, then you’re in luck! What follows is my personal approach to keeping sane and healthy during the holidays. A little woo, a little not-so-woo, and a few gritty but great hacks for the holiday season.
My guiding principles are three: Keep It Simple, Shed the Shoulds and Make a Plan. With these as our guides, navigating the season becomes manageable. You’ll see elements of all three woven throughout the following tips. With a little practice you can create your own personalized plan for holiday sanity.
In fact, I’ve include a free copy of a Personalized Plan for Vibrant Energy Throughout the Holidays for you to download and work out the details for yourself.
And now, the tips for keeping your energy calm and bright over the holidays.
1. Define your personal holiday priorities. Decide what the holidays will be about for you this year. What’s your personal theme? Reconnecting? Quality time with family? Renewing spiritual connection, meditation and going within? Creativity? Rest and renewal of your body? Calm?
2. What do you love about this time of year that you would like to allow more time for? Clear, cold star-lit nights? Evenings with friends? Sparkly lights and carols? Whatever you do, make time for those things. Remember that realistic and attainable goals rule over the holidays.
3. Adopt a personal essential oil. Whether it’s lavender for calming, peppermint for perking, frankincense for transcending, or citrus for cheering, lay in a supply of your favorite essential oil, fill a new roller bottle, and make sure you have it on hand wherever you go. A whiff or two when you’re getting tense or tired can work wonders. You can also roll it onto your wrists and temples for added support.
4. Learn this 12-minute Donna Eden Energy Routine. This seriously works to re-group all the circuits. Regularly doing it seems to integrate my energy more than anything I do. I find the “hook-up” especially helpful when I can’t shut off my mind and go to sleep. (No, not that kind of hook up!)
5. Carry or wear a grounding stone or crystal. Experiment. It can even be a stone from outdoors that calls to you. Keep it in your pocket and use it as a mindfulness experience. Stones are the ground. So, they ground. Yay.
6. Get (back) into your body. Your local yoga studio has a drop-in price. Granted this might be hard to start during the holidays if you don’t already have a yoga practice. But you could schedule in one or two drop-in sessions over the whole holiday season. Not gonna do it? Try a Youtube yoga routine. Yoga with Adriene is a no-fail pick. Failing that, take 10 deep breaths. Count them. Yes, it’s a whole new world when you’re done.
7. Review the annual holiday situations that steal your light and energy. Let yourself off the hook for any shoulds you feel. If you can’t do that, is there an element of want-to that you can take hold of and build on? How do you want it to go? What kind of event or connection would be meaningful to you? Can you suggest an alternative to what’s always been? If so, be prepared to help make it happen. (Others don’t have your vision.)
8. Consider your inner child. Think fun, wonder, treats, making things, giving and magic. Even if it’s just once during the whole season, can you make a date with your inner child to do something special together?
These tips fall into the category of semi-woo, because you may not at first see what they have to do with keeping your energy calm and bright. But, depending on how woo you are, you might. No matter what your philosophy, try them! They’ll make a dent in your stress and help keep you flowing through the marathon.
9. Limit screen time. Yes, screen time can unground you, as your eyes carry you anywhere in the world that you visit online. Here’s my screen time schedule: No screens before breakfast. No screens at meals. No screen after 10 p.m. And when I break those rules, I feel it. Make your own screen time schedule.
10. Have on hand affirming, encouraging, distracting, informing, kind reading material. For me, it’s nonfiction that’s human, informative or expansive. Quantum physics, astronomy, memoir, cookbooks, coloring books, occult and mysticism, spirituality, nature. In the fiction category, historical fiction, feel-good romance, and mystery all do it. I shy away from self-help because it gets the I-need-improvement thoughts going. Yucko. I also skip violence, gossip and psychological thrillers. (These might be your thing.) And don’t forget funny shit you can count on to make you laugh out loud. Search for it. It’s there. This will no doubt be part of your screen time. Use it well.
12. Limit exposure to broadcast media of all kinds. Instead, give yourself 10 minutes in the morning or at lunch time to catch up on the headlines, then stay away from ads, news, and other fast-paced, in your face “information” for the rest of the day. At the very least, don’t “go there” at night time.
13. Schedule in downtime, and use your evening hours for quiet, relaxing activities. In other words, don’t start a big project at 8 pm on an empty stomach, for example. A wildly unlikely one, I realize. (Is it just me?)
14. Know your personal signs that you’ve had enough and take a break before your cool is lost.
15. And the best thing to do to head off loss of cool? Move your body. I know, I know. You get stuck on the couch. We all do. First, decide on something that’s easy, free and low impact, especially if you’re not a regular exerciser. Walking is queen here. Throw on a coat and some sneakers and take a walk. Even just 15 minutes outside is enough to exchange all the air in your lungs for new air, increase your metabolism, and destress your adrenals. And leave the phone at home, of course. In case of bitter cold and stiff winds, put on the music and dance! If all else fails, set an alarm once an hour and get up and walk around.
16. Invent some new ways to indulge that are healthy: a hot bath, go to the movies, a meal out at lunch time, reading time, learning a new or reviving an old craft, to name a few.
Gritty But Great Holiday Hacks
I see these as carefully calculated, expert deflections of the biggest holiday stressors, whether they’re niggly-teeny-tiny or completely dominating your whole life during this time of year.
17. Bow out of annual events early, if you know they aren’t for you. Don’t wait until the last minute. As soon as you get the invitation, decline. Mark that day on your calendar for self care, fun, or simply chilling at home, celebrating victory over a should.
18. Simplify you gift-giving. Many socially responsible organizations make it easy for you to give in someone’s name, and then give a card letting your recipient know about the donation. Spending time with people, including catching up by phone or via Skype, is also a gift. Secret Santas, a very nice card, gift cards and gift baskets are all nice ways to give without killing yourself. Anything handmade is also a win, but only if you already love making things.
19. Don’t want to receive presents? Tell you loved ones early, and give them suggestions for an organization you’d like them to donate to, in case they simply can’t not give you something.
20. Whom do you want to share some holiday time with this year? Contact them and make a plan to get together. If it’s an annual thing, start looking for something fun to do now, and put it on the books as soon as you can. Note: Meeting someone for coffee or tea, or to browse in a bookstore, is enough.
21. Create go-to holiday attire that you can wear to everything. Unless you have a formal event to attend, you can get away with picking one favorite item and building around it. Slacks, jacket, scarf, socks, a hair pin, a set of earrings, a sweater or tights can make your holiday outfit.
22. Leave your indulging for the parties, not at home. Keep your home stocked with fresh, good, easy to prepare foods, and consider making it a no-sugar zone. Don’t skip meals. Make a veggie soup, stew or casserole that you can reheat for lunches and quick suppers.
23. Decide on a high nutrition snack to carry with you. The ideal food will be high in real ingredients, low in sugar and artificial ingredients and quick to consume. My go-to is Larabars. Second is lightly toasted and salted nuts with a handful of fruit-sweetened dried cranberries or raisins. Yours might be a smoothie, base prepared in advance, throw in protein powder, add fresh fruit, and you’re done.
24. In addition to a daily walk, there’s the 7 Minute Workout, which you can find on the Apple App Store, or on Google Play. The more you do it, the easier and better you’ll feel. Plus you’re actually strengthening your muscles. Everybody has 7 minutes.
25. Wear earplugs when you go shopping.
Holidays completely and totally not your thing?
While the rest of the world is spending, visiting, eating and dealing with unwanted gifts, you can use this time to catch up on all the movies you missed during the year, clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards and make donations to community organizations that serve the needy in your community, take a needed vacation, read an entire trilogy by your favorite (or new) author, decide what new cuisine you want to master in the coming year, or get started on that creative project you didn’t get to all year. (Some of us are jealous! Maybe next year!)
26. Deep breath, it’s the holidays.
Probably no one is immune to expectations of having a season of peace and good will, no matter how you’re really feeling. But with a little planning, you can step onto the food, gift-giving and socializing merry-go-round without losing your balance.
Want to get started strategizing the holidays now, so you can stay grounded, connect with what matters, and protect your precious natural resources of time and energy?
Next week: How your business celebrates the holidays (business as usual, but with a bow on top?)
To your vibrant energy!
I spent yesterday at holistic fairs talking with practitioners of different kinds, handing out my brochures and hearing about their businesses. My overwhelming take-home from the day was how weird and lonely and scary it can be at the beginning of a new venture, when you really don’t have much to go on to know whether the decisions you’re making and the things you’re investing your energy in are the right things.
When I asked about long term goals and big vision, those just starting out looked sheepish. How about just seeing clients and getting some cash coming in? Fair enough. And quite valid. You have to start somewhere, and everyone has been there. The beginning.
The beginning is one of those times that you can’t appreciate for what it is while it’s happening, because the only thing you’re able to experience is the uncertainty and the terror of just trying things until something works. And even then, you’re not sure for a little while whether you even like what’s happening. “So this is what I worked so hard to achieve?” is one thought.
And some get right into a groove, knowing that this is a stepping stone to something else. Some have a bigger picture from the start. Love those folks. Those are the ones I like to confer with, because it reminds me that someone’s nailing down the four corners of the universe while I’m running around the periphery looking for my entry, and when I get where they are, they’ll be there with lots of advice and help. (Because they’re also generous, grounded and wonderful people.)
And then there are the hummingbirds, the flitters, and I’m sure some of the folks I talked with yesterday fall into this group. But flitter or fitter, everyone’s way of figuring this stuff out is unique. However, there are some things I wish someone had told me when I was just starting out as an entrepreneur in the healing arts.
And here they are.
Things I wish someone had told me when I was just starting out as an entrepreneur in the healing arts
- Make goals. It’s okay if they change. Do it now: What do you want from your healing practice? How much money do you want to make? How many hours do you want to work? In what setting? What’s your pie in the sky vision, dream or goal? If you suspect this isn’t your end-all in life, what purpose do you want it to serve in the grand scheme? It’s okay to plan for temporary. And it’s okay to move on when the time is right. It’s not a lifelong commitment. But in order to get where you want to go with what you’re developing, it really helps to know where that is. Make 6 month goals, 1 year, 3 year and 5 year goals. Write them down. Then every so often, check in and tweak. Don’t be a slave to them, and don’t let them scare you, but do write them down. It’s another piece of the roadmap.
2. Don’t do anything that feels icky, even if it’s the way it’s supposed to be done. I used to think I had to talk to everyone about my business, because they might be a potential client or know of one. But sometimes it felt icky to do it. Then a coach told me to stop doing things that felt icky, that I wasn’t trying to get everybody to be my client, just the right clients. From an energetic perspective this meant I could let go of trying to do everything myself and allow the Universe to help me. If there are things you’re making yourself do, ask someone you trust in your field if you really have to do them.
3. Learn how to become a validation machine for yourself. Make it become a habit, as hardwired as hunger, as automatic as breathing. We are already naturals at finding fault and seeing what’s wrong, cataloguing our failings, and focusing on disappointments. Don’t even try to stop doing this. Instead, start a habit of looking for things to validate, affirm, and celebrate. In your journal every morning or evening write about successes from the previous day. During the day when someone near you does something helpful, acknowledge it. When something goes well, say so. Look for ways to honestly and out loud appreciate and compliment people around you. Pretty soon it will feel icky to complain, and then you can avoid it like all the other icky things you’re letting yourself off the hook for.
4. From the beginning, try to bring as much of yourself into your work as you want to. Don’t cut off parts of yourself that don’t fit into what you think you’re doing. These are the very things that make you unique and wonderful and, from a business perspective, help you to stand out in the marketplace. If you’re a musician, let your imagination go wild about how you can bring that into your healing work. Likewise with the visual arts, with writing, with movement. This is the start of creating a comprehensive, unique and wonderful service for your clients that goes beyond your title and credentials.
5. Just because you’re obsessed with your business and love to work from home on your computer, don’t skimp on fun and friendships. Don’t forget how to have fun, and don’t succumb to over-cocooning. These go hand in hand. Keep your friendships alive, and make new ones. Get out of the house and keep involved with what’s going on in your community. If you have to schedule time off, then do it. This will help everything in business and in your life.
On the other hand, there are some things I did do that I’m glad I did, and I hope you’ll consider adopting them for yourself.
Things I’m glad I did and encourage you to adopt
- Never stop believing in yourself. Whenever I hear somebody express a belief about what’s possible or impossible in this world, I mentally amend it to, “…for you.” In other words, that’s what’s true for them, great. I’m almost 60, and am just blossoming. I believe I’ll keep blossoming, and I believe I’m on the path I was meant to travel in this life. It’s a choice, and I choose not to second guess my dream and not to diss myself for the timing. I see all around me that people have what they believe is possible. Don’t ever give up your dream because of someone else’s reality.
2. Realize that your intuition trumps all. Get lots of opinions and learn from everyone, including people who are doing it way different from the way you would do it, but keep your truth and stay grounded in your wisdom. Don’t abandon that, because everyone has to find their own way, and what’s more, they’re just making it up!!
3. Keep learning. Keep your memory sharp by using it. You can learn about anything you’re interested in. This will set you apart from others who mostly repeat gossip and never bother to learn anything. Be curious about this vast world, and learn about what interests you.
4. When you get pulled, called, intrigued, curious, etc., follow it. Action matters more than feelings and way more than being right. Take action on your curiosities. Taking action gets you out of your head and face to face with creating your life.
6. Dream huge and don’t worry about how you’re gonna get there. Name your dream. Put it into words, and keep working at articulating it, if only in your journal. Study people whom you admire, and adopt elements of what they’re doing that match your dream. True originality is rare, and on the way there is lots of emulating, imitating, acting as if, trying things on, and creating anew. Welcome to the spiral dance. Your voice is needed.
7. Grab as much free stuff as you can, and when it’s time to invest you’ll know it, and invest. DIY will only get you so far, and eventually you’ll need more support and know-how than you can give yourself.
8. Collaborate with others. It’s enriching. But if someone gives you the creeps, move on.
9. If while working towards your dream you need to live on less money, learn to live on less money. Cut out frills, inessentials and luxuries as much as possible, and learn how to have fun without spending money. Prioritize your dream in as many ways as you possibly can.
10. Self-care before other-care.
11. If you work from home, carve out a place and a time that’s only for work. If you have to share space with the washing machine, do it (as long as there’s a door you can close.)
12. Write every day, come heat or flood, because those pages and ideas and that channel of communication between you and your intuition are GOLD. If you hate writing, talk into a voice recorder or make videos.
13. And I have to include this, because it was never included in any self-help book I ever read before I got into recovery: If you are dependent on a substance to get your through the day, seek help. It’s not normal, and you don’t have to be a slave to anything. You can have freedom and a beautiful life without any enhancing substances. If you suffer from chronic pain, there are alternatives. If you suffer from depression, there is help. Find someone to confide in, and get help. Many have succeeded at this. You can, too.
Let me repeat that last line, because if nothing else, beginning practitioner, I want you to remember this:
Many have succeeded at this. You can, too.
The Problem With Going to Someone For Help
“I went to the doctor, but he couldn’t find anything wrong.”
There are two ways our clients can come to us for help, the “fix me” way and the “I need your expertise” way. In the first, the client is passive and you are active. You do the healing, and the client receives or is healed. In the second, the client is hiring you to do what you do as part of their mission to heal themselves.
You can always tell the difference. In the “fix me” scenario, the client has very little idea as to what role they play in their own healing. They may have gone to many healers or practitioners, but when you ask them what changes they’ve made in their own lives, they’ve made very few. They’re looking for a quick fix, a cure.
On your end, you may feel as if you’re being put on the spot, tested, or somehow pressured to come through for your client. Or you may have thoughts such as, “I’ll bet I can succeed where others have failed!”
In the second scenario, the client is an expert in their own right on their process or condition. They can tell you how they’re piecing together the mystery of what’s going on with them, new understandings they have, things they’ve tried, and changes they’ve made in their lives as a result.
How You Can Give Your Client’s Power Back to Them
One way we as healers can help our clients be empowered in their own healing process is to provide them with a frame of reference for what we’re doing, and to explain to them, from this frame of reference, what is meant by healing, what your role is, and what their role is in the healing process.
It’s perfectly okay to say, “In this system, healing is ____, the therapy consists of _____, and my role is _____. What you can do is______ to help the process along.”
This gives the client permission to participate, to consider the ideas and beliefs of your system, while holding onto their own beliefs, which may run counter to what you’re doing in session with them. It gives them the message that they don’t have to “convert” to your beliefs, or pretend to, in order for you to work with them.
It also helps your client to buy in to the process, an essential piece of the healing relationship. After you tell them who you are, they can then give the inner “I’m in!” and truly consent, making for an energy exchange that can help them be invested in the process. Also, you can then clear up any misconceptions about what you do, or what’s going on with them, before you begin.
What is healing?
We think of healing as an abrupt, complete disappearing of some troublesome or painful condition. There’s a lot of confusion about this in the general world. Healing is confused with curing. The medical model has been all about curing, and is just now starting to reckon with healing. Even so, sometimes the word “healing” in that context has the connotation of the booby prize you get when your condition can’t be cured, when actually, healing needs to take place in the event of a cure, too, or the cure isn’t worth much.
What does this mean? It means that in addition to the cessation of symptoms or discomfort, there is a restoration of ease, physical, emotional and spiritual. There is an easing in the client’s being, such that they no longer feel defined by their illness or condition, and it takes up less of their conscious awareness. Instead there can be a sense of peace, reconciliation, or resolution. Often, something else, seemingly unrelated, is healed: an attitude, a belief, a fear, a relationship – with ourselves, with time, with our body, with the world.
It means, ultimately, that the client is at peace with what is happening and has found a way to live with it that is in concordance with their understanding of who they are and how the universe works. Inevitably, there has been a shift in order for this harmony to occur. This shift may in fact be what healing is.
What is the healing force?
“Just being with her made me feel like everything was going to be okay.”
My shamanic teacher says that it’s love that heals, no matter the process any particular healer follows. Others would say that faith is healing. Trust is healing. Connection, affirmation, expression, truth, surrender, these heal. Some would add: intention, alignment, clearing, positive energy, flow, space, vibration, beauty.
This is where as practitioners we get to be creative about how we express to our clients what it is that’s happening in a session. We all perceive and experience this uniquely. Some see, some feel kinesthetically, some feel emotionally, some hear, some sense in other ways.
What is the healing energy that comes forth? Is it the imparting of information? In which case, how does that heal? Reveal truths? Affirm worth and value? Guide and teach, encourage, uplift? Does that energy cleanse, balance, infuse, transform?
How does healing happen?
The funny thing about this question is, nobody knows. Some people can have their blood work done, surgery performed, energies soothed, chakras aligned, helping spirits retrieved, and be loved and supported and carried and helped, and still healing doesn’t happen. Others heal with a minimum of fuss, a happenstance encounter, one session with someone, and are done, moving on, okay. Some are bothered by a condition such that it robs them of their spirit and will. Others seem to be transformed and lit from within by following the path an illness or problem reveals for them.
This suggests that healing lies within the client, not with the modality or the practitioner.
It also suggests that there’s more to illness than the need for illness to be gone, that healing is itself part of the process of living.
Personally, in my belief system, it also suggests that there is always the potential for healing, no matter the circumstances, no matter how longstanding or devastating.
Allowing for the Unknown
Sometimes funny juxtapositions occur in my life as a healthcare practitioner in a hospital and my life as an energy facilitator in private work. Today a patient in the hospital said, very sincerely, “I think I get what’s happening. Every single thing in my body is switching places.”
Obviously, there’s nothing in the medical model that allows for this. She was way outside the belief system of the healthcare she was receiving.
“Oh!” I thought, wondering, “Is it true?” Because my energy background tells me that what we believe and what our consciousness will allow are so much more powerful than what someone else decides for us – except of course if part of our m.o. in life is to rely on experts for our reality. This is not a judgment. We all do this. Even if the expert is our sense of everything in our bodies playing musical chairs.
Perhaps just by allowing for this possibility with this patient, I cooperated with a healing process that’s occurring within her. I probably will never know. I just have to follow my instincts, be true to my gut, and remain in a loving and open place, allowing the unknown to teach me.
What is a healer?
Some have strong belief systems about how healing happens. Even us witchy woo-woos can be bounded by a belief system that says that grace or angels or energies, or forces, or fate make certain things happen or stop happening, and we healers are the conduits, navigators, negotiators for these transactions.
Others say they have a gift. What’s the gift? Does everyone have it? Or just some?
Do medical doctors have a gift to heal? Or are they scientists who analyze lab data and symptoms in a vast database in their heads and come to conclusions and give medicines to put it all back into balance?
Are our clients healers? Is everyone?
Why is this happening to me?
Is there a spiritual reason for illness? An energetic explanation? Is broccoli good for everyone and sugar bad for everyone? Every single person in the world?
I ask these questions to raise them, yes, but also to point out that they’re there, in the minds of everyone who seeks our help. And what they want from us is answers. And what we should give is not answers, but a frame of reference that is empowering and helpful and accessible with which to understand the work of healing.
This frame of reference may become the foundation for the client’s understanding of themselves, their process, and their role in their own healing. It may alter their understanding of the Universe, their place in it, and most importantly, the reason for their malady.
Everyone wants to know why “this” is happening. You can measure your client’s distress by how urgently they want to know this.
You can also assume they lack an understanding of the role of spirit and energy that is helpful to them, if this is the question that is uppermost for them. Perhaps you can help them come to an understanding based on your system of healing, as to why this is happening to them, in them, around them, or through them.
Each of us has our own answer to the questions “What is healing?” “What is illness?” “What is healed?” “What heals?” and “Why is this happening?”
It’s part of our duty to our clients and to our practice to answer these questions as best we can for ourselves, first, and for our clients, before we lay on hands, feel the energy, approach the table, contact our guides, or tune into their aura. We owe it to them and to ourselves to have a clear answer to the question, “What is happening when I come for a session with you?”
In this way, we can all be part of healthy conversation about healing that helps us and our clients as we witness these mysteries and dance with them as best we can.
Until next time, enjoy the music!
by Phyllis Capanna © 2016 joyreport
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