The Nemesis Teacher

What is a nemesis teacher?  A person or thing which brings out in  you that which you don’t like.   Politicians and celebrities are often the vectors for this (no, I am really not just talking about Scott Walker or Rush Limbaugh).  They seem to embody, or at least espouse, those things that you feel are “wrong”.    They are people or experiences that you do not want to include in your personal reality.  They also have a way of being insistent enough to grab your attention!

Now you know that to put your attention on them simply gives them more power to disrupt your balance, but it seems impossible not to pay attention, so what do you do?  It behooves me at this point to put out a reminder that it is far easier (Really!  Or at least it will be) and more beneficial to distract yourself with something that you already feel good about, but that takes a lot of practice.  Meanwhile, find something to be grateful to your Nemesis Teacher for.  Really.

For example, that politician has powerfully drawn people’s attention to how the democratic process should work, what accountability should look like, what integrity really means.  That celebrity has caused us to value what he has put down with his name-calling tactics, has given us the opportunity to play with it in a humorous fashion.  It has pointed up what we really want by comparison to what we don’t want.

I used to tell my kids that if you really can’t find any other reason to be grateful to a nemesis teacher, tell yourself, “I’m so glad I’m not you!” (over time this has morphed into, “I’m so glad I am who I am”, but the other version has more punch because it tickles your funny bone.  Sometimes there’s a lot of relief to be had in being kinda mean in private!)

The Nemesis Teacher can be a person or an experience (being locked out of the house with the groceries and a busy agenda, for example) and it is what Abraham refers to as “contrast”.   The word “contrast” is a non-judgmental way of looking at it and points up the fact that it is  a contrast to what you want, thereby gently suggesting that inherent in the situation is an understanding of what you DO want.

So, if you are locked out of the house with the groceries and a to do list as long as your arm, what good does it do you to know that what you really want is to get inside and do your stuff?  Well, I admit that this part is kinda tricky.  The truth is that you need to identify the bit about what you want to feel, not the circumstances.  What you can’t change IS, so set about changing what you can change–your feelings about it.

“So, I’ve done what I can to get someone with a key to let me in.  Now how can I make this an experience I’m OK with?  It’s cold enough to keep the groceries from spoiling, yet warm enough that I won’t freeze.  If I wanted to, I could probably get invited into a neighbors for awhile if I do get too cold.  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone with a key comes faster than I expect.  The sky show is pretty amazing, and anything I wanted to do will still be there to do when I get to it.  This will be funny later.   It’s a little bit funny now. Every thing will be okay. ”

Who’s happier, Pooh or Eeyore?  It’s up to you which one you choose to spend your time and energy to be.

 

Poco a poco

We tend to think small changes are unimportant, insignificant.  We discount their value because it doesn’t seem like enough.   Never think so!  When changes come gradually, it gives us a chance to become accustomed to them, to try them on and make sure they fit.

When a toddler learns to jump (what a joy to watch, you’d think they were learning to fly!), they will often practice jumping with one foot first, which looks almost like stomping, but you can tell.  They find it so exciting, they stomp around and stomp around until one day-BOOM!- two feet leave the ground!  How long would it have taken to achieve two feet off the ground if they had discounted the value of one-foot jumping?

The vast majority of changes in our lives are accomplished little by little, adding up to an incremental progression.  We notice it in our children because it is so (relatively) fast, but to get a look at the changes we have wrought in ourselves, it is sometimes necessary to look back over a time period of a few months or a year to see how those incremental changes have mounted up.  I just did this and I am SO much happier on a daily basis, SO much better at managing my vibration, particularly at finding positive aspects to put my attention on.

When you do this, be sure to give yourself credit for every little bit.  If you find yourself tempted to judge something as not good enough to list, list it and then make a point of adding a reason (and make it one which feels authentic) as to why this was valuable enough to list.  I frequently make this a reason which tickles my funnybone, such as, “it brings my word count up by 25″, because when I find something funny I am in the vicinity of my best feeling times and often get swept along to even better feelings.

 

 

 

Love the Commonplace

Something we have learned well, and we can see this clearly when we look at the media, is to put our attention on what is topical.  What big thing is garnering all of our attention today, this week, this month?  I have never seen the Nightly News come right out and say, “People all over the world are still loving each other the best way they know how, today” or “98.5% of children under 3 learned half a dozen useful skills this morning and can be expected to do it again tomorrow”. The media would tell us that is not ‘news’.  That is commonplace.

Politicians are corrupt, corporations are soulless, life is unfair to the common man, disease is rampant, etc.  Sorry, but none of this is new.  Also, none of this is or ever has been universal: not all politicians are corrupt, not all corporations are soulless, each and every one of us, common or uncommon has choices, and health is also rampant.  So why, after millenia are we still considering this viewpoint as worthy of our attention?  Simple.  It is a practiced habit.

We tend to pay attention to topical issues, both as a population and as individuals.  However, the ability to go back over your assumptions and those choices that were made before is a very important tool in changing a habit!  Ask yourself what benefit you get from paying attention to the negatives.  I can think of 2 offhand:

1) It points out the positive direction by contrast (if I don’t want pain, I do want comfort).

2) It feels so good when you stop (paying attention to the negatives).

It is a basic LoA principle that what you pay attention to grows larger, and that you can’t magnetize what you DO want by focusing on what you DON’T want.  To attract it, you must already see yourself having it.  Since this is kinda tough, especially in the beginning, I have a suggestion.  Train yourself out of the habit of focusing on what you don’t want by training yourself to disregard topical issues, social and private.  Start with the ones that are outside your direct control, for example what you see in the media. Replace those thoughts with the ways you have what you want.  Despite what the media says, I have a job, a house, a car, etc.   HINT: Allow yourself to speak from this very moment! Do not predict that you may not have it next week, next week is not here! Match yourself NOW to what you want any time in the future.

The next suggestion is really the meat of this post: celebrate those commonplace things that are so easy to disregard because they are ‘not good enough’ to actually celebrate.  One of my daughters was miserable at one point in her teens because no one loved her.  I told her I loved her and thought she was special.  She replied, “That doesn’t count, you have to love me, you’re my mother”.  This just goes to show our ability to disregard what could be a source of comfort or celebration. Once I had a migraine and searched my entire body for a spot that didn’t hurt, so I could put my attention on it.  It was the arches of my feet.  As I focused my attention on them, not only did the pain recede from my awareness, the arches of my feet rubbing against one another became more and more deliciously comfortable.

I did this today and I felt so much better, I began to giggle. “I love the way these jeans fit, I really look forward to having all my jeans fit this well. I love having lots of clothes to choose from to stay warm.  I love the warmth and the massage of the water in the shower, and the way I feel refreshed and renewed when I get out.  I love the smell of this dill I am harvesting and this soup I am making.  I love the feeling of release I get from taking a big breath. I love the fact that I can feel better whenever I want by breathing deeply.  I love the fact that once I get started doing this, I attract more ideas of what I love….”

Give credit to your commonplace abundance, allow it to help you feel better for as long as you do it, and practice this habit.  You will find the harder issues will, little by little, get easier.

More and Better

Old habits of thought.  We all have them and we always will. An old habit of thought is simply that; an outmoded “belief” that we continue to invoke out of habit rather than intention.  ” Shoulds” are a very good example of this because, almost by definition, it signifies something that you feel must be done out of compunction instead of desire.

Reminder: Doing what you desire, what you “feel” like doing, is following guidance/ staying in alignment/treading the path you have already created in thought.

Old habits are not ‘wrong’, any more than you were wrong to be who you were yesterday, last month or 10 years ago.  They served you very well when you were treading that part of your path.  Traveling at the 30 mph speed limit is fine inside the city, but once you leave that speed zone, it is more fitting to go at highway speed.  You will get to your destination faster, you will be in synch with others on the same path at the same time, and it feels good to really go when the circumstances are right.

Not only did your old habits suit you then, they made it possible to grow and move forward to where you are now.  They were the stepping stones to Here Now.  So while it is good to have a “rummage sale of the mind” (to quote my old minister) and let go of outmoded thoughts like “I can’t afford that” (versus, “I don’t feel like spending my money on that right now”), it is important to recognize what those old thoughts brought you.

The Example:  As a kid you always wanted a sports car, and you daydreamed about looking cool and going fast.  At the same time you were busily learning patterns of limitation about money, opportunities, and your qualifications for them.  You might have learned that your parents thought they never had enough money and what they did have had to be earned by laboring at a job that didn’t thrill them to bits, that to have something you wanted meant going without something else, that certain things were only available to rich people (who weren’t you).

Still you dreamed about the sports car, even while you learned to accept that it probably wasn’t something you’d ever have.  You added features and colors, refining your vision of the perfect sports car every time you saw the newest models.  Once you saw an ad for a sports car at a terrific price, but it turned out to be 25 years old, rusted and without a transmission or tires.  Your hopes which had been secretly raised were dashed (as you knew they would be) and you became bitter that you couldn’t get even a decent old one.  This was a crucial moment!

If you had been studying Abraham and the Law of Attraction, you might have realized that you had a choice of how to view this; one way would bring you closer to having the sports car of your dreams; the other would increasingly alienate your chances.  If you could recognize how cleverly the Law of Attraction matched not only your desire for a sports car, but also matched your beliefs and expectations about money and the kinds of experiences that were available to you, you could have taken the view that you had manifested a sports car!

Because you had so many beliefs that hindered getting a luxury item like a sports car at all, it said a lot that you came across one at an affordable price.  The shape it was in was simply showing you the limits your expectations put on your manifestation.  At this point then, you recognize that you have attracted a sports car (yay!), and while pleased with yourself for that, you don’t feel the need to invest in this poor specimen.

Instead, you continue to daydream the perfect car and every time your old habits of thought start an argument with your dream, you’ll recognize them.  They are the thoughts that don’t feel good.  You’ll gradually make peace with those old habits and let them go, replacing them with thoughts that suit you now.  With any luck, you will be on the lookout for the next evidence of your changed/refined desire, knowing that even if it isn’t perfect, it is indicating movement towards what you really want.

The crucial part here?  Understanding that the manifestations surrounding you NOW are answers to prayers/desires from BEFORE.  Your desires have changed, moved up a notch and always will! It is in our nature to want More and Better.   Each time you get what you’ve  wanted: your manifestations will lag a bit behind, but as you are able to “see” them as your manifestations from before, and can get the point of what the imperfections are telling you about your own beliefs, the faster and more like what you really want they can get.

One last point is that there are some ‘places’ in your life that the manifestations meet and exceed your desires.  When you meet up with these, you say, “Wow! How cool is that!” or “I am having a lucky day!”  These are the manifestations you have also wrought, take credit for having that stuff together so well!

Other People’s “Stuff”

I had a dream recently in which I was watching one of my children writhing in pain and my “teacher” was explaining that despite what this looked like and my desire to ease her, if I could refrain from taking away her pain, she had the opportunity to discover a way to do it herself and possibly expand the techniques available to all of us.   “She has chosen this, do not curtail her creativity”, I was told.

Unusually for me, I remembered this dream after I woke up, and it was all too clear what it pertained to.  I am the MOM, I know all the Answers and it has always been my job to ‘make it better’.  Until, of course, my children became adults who have progressively made it clear that I don’t have all the answers for their lives and would I kindly learn how to be supportive instead of in charge.  The nice part about this lesson is that it is also applicable to everyone else I know, or might come to know, or even ones I don’t know, but who co-exist on this planet with me.

To make the lesson easier to relate to, let’s pretend that that other person is untangling a big knot in a rope.  It is challenging, frustrating, sometimes to the point of setting it aside for awhile, but when it is done it is an accomplishment to be proud of, and has shown them, perhaps, some of the rules governing the fine art of untangling.   If I insist that they hand it over because I am really good at untangling ropes, what have they gained?   Some free time?, a sense of impotence?, another occasion when they failed to be ‘good enough’?

I am available as a resource when they want my advice or skills.  Asking for help is also a skill one must learn sometime.  If I can trust that this person has the skills, or the right to learn the skills needed to overcome this situation, I might be delighted to find there are ways of untangling ropes that I didn’t know, perhaps no one ever used before!

I saw a church marquee that said, “Children need more models than critics”, which is true and good.  That still leaves me wondering how to be supportive rather than just detached.   So I think back to the times in my life when a friend gave me just what I needed.  I find that what worked best was when they said something like, “Yeah, that’s hard.  I take comfort knowing this is just the sort of thing you’re good at.  You always work it out and I am always impressed by how you do it.”  They gave me a vote of confidence that didn’t sound like a platitude, because they meant it.

I am better prepared now to see the ways in which my children, or others, are perfectly suited to solve the riddles their lives pose them, because, after all, they set themselves up for it by making the choices that got them there in the first place!  As I have in my life also.  It’s just a knot in the rope, and I can’t wait to see how they untangle it…

Paradoxical Fun

Sometimes, when you are working on reorienting your thoughts to better-feeling ones, you hit a moment when you just can’t summon the energy/desire/motivation to “do the work”.  The first time I remember hitting this “roadblock”,  was when I was really angry about something.  It seemed, however, that whenever I tried to find a different thought, my mind went all fuzzy and there was nothing else to turn to.  I was vibrationally unavailable to any better-feeling thought.  Eventually, I gave myself up to the anger and just went with it, and when it was spent I discovered that now I felt like pivoting my thoughts.

My experience with feeling low wasn’t exactly like this, in that it didn’t blow itself out.  Instead I kept saying to myself, “This is where I am, right now and it is fine.  I accept  this, I accept exactly who I am right now, and I look forward to feeling better.”  I was surprised, actually, to find out that while I wasn’t exactly enjoying these times, they had their up side. Being angry felt powerful and a release, and provided I didn’t share it in a hurtful way with those around me, harmless.  Being bored and unproductive, while uncomfortable by being unfamiliar, had a restful aspect.

So sometimes I just wanted to be angry, sometimes I just wanted to feel sorry for myself, sometimes I just wanted to cry, etc.  Because I found some strange, non-traditional enjoyment from it, I decided to call it “paradoxical fun”.  And ever since I discovered this perspective, I’ve been able to analyze it and see how it works in a LoA paradigm.

To begin with, allowing myself to feel what I feel sends a great big “I accept and approve of myself” message to my subconscious.  I love myself warts and all, just as my Source does. That is being in alignment.

Secondly, being willing to accept even the “ugly” parts of myself, the ones that my tapes have decreed as unacceptable has allowed me to stop holding judgements against myself and see them all as just experiences.  It also means that I have no dark side to hide from.  I don’t have to fear that “you won’t like me if you really knew me” syndrome that many of us secretly fear is true.  If I can like even my dark bits, then I will be a vibrational match to people who also can.  In any event, I’ll like myself. :)  This is also being in alignment.

Thirdly, I no longer feel threatened by being stuck in an unpleasant emotion/experience.  Knowing that I can change it whenever I am ready to allows me the freedom to really experience it.  This is freedom, and also in alignment.

According to Abraham, if we hadn’t wanted to experience trials and travails we would not have incarnated.  They say that we came here for the fun of getting out of alignment in order to find our way back into alignment.  I expect that that is what I am calling “paradoxical fun”.

Now I have another wish for people, apart from “Have fun!”.  I can wish them “Have paradoxical fun!”, although I might do it in my head until I’m sure they are ready to hear it out loud…

The Focus of Attention

There is a saying common in create-your-own-reality circles, “What you focus on grows larger”.  This is exactly the same as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.  If all you can see when you look in the mirror is that big, red pimple on the end of your nose, you are also sure that is what everyone else is looking at as well.   This is certainly true in middle school, and your peers will reward you with confirmation of it.   What you seek, you do indeed find.

This also the basis of the parenting advice taught in schools, ” Catch your child being good!” and “Children will live up to, or down to, your expectations of them”.  Why so many quotes?  Partly to point out that “what you focus on grows larger” is just a woo-woo way of saying something that is pretty well accepted by mainstream society, and partly to lay the groundwork for using consciously directed focus to improve your life.

Think of a dark cabaret, filled with people and talking, staff moving around, smells wafting through the air.  The spotlight comes up on the stage and everyone focuses their attention on the stage.  If the performer is good enough, your awareness of all that other activity can simply disappear.  Imagine then, how selective attention to what you enjoy about what is happening in your life can make the parts you don’t enjoy “disappear”.

Each thing has positive and  negative aspects, so you have the choice of what to put your attention on.  This takes practice as well, and at times, it takes giving yourself permission to ignore things which you dis-enjoy.  Or to put a positive “spin” on it.  Same thing.  For example,  I am regularly visited by the ghost of martyrdom past that I learned at my mother’s knee. I find myself thinking that my family leave things undone for me to do; belongings strewn around, food unrefrigerated, toilet paper unstocked, etc. I think, ‘Why is this always my job? or ‘Can’t anyone else see that this has to be done’ or similar versions of the same theme.  So I suggest, or complain, or nag, all the while angry that I should even have to say anything.

In fact, I do not have to do any of those things.  I can choose to leave the thing undone, I can choose to do it for my own reasons, I can choose to mention it as a problem and ask my family for input in resolving it.  What I actually choose to do will vary, but the task in front of me each time is to focus on what I want and not on what makes me angry.  Sometimes I want help, sometimes I want appreciation, sometimes I want it not to be up to me at all.  When I can identify that desire, I can move towards it.  If all I am looking at is what is wrong, all I can see is what is wrong!

Sometimes we get in too deep to be able to find a positive side.  As always, there are options.  Ignore it until you feel better and then try again,  just a little bit.  I knit a sweater once from the pattern from hell.  Lots of things didn’t work and my fixes seemed to make more problems.  I finally posted my quandry on a knitting forum and one responder sympathized, saying she had some projects like that in a drawer.  I was flabbergasted.  I could put it in a drawer! That had never dawned on me.  When I finally pulled the project back out, months later, I had gained a new perspective and was able to make choices about what I was willing and not willing to do and the sweater got done.  Distraction is not only a wonderful parenting tool, but a terrific self-sanity tool as well.

We are used to disregarding many of our thoughts, feelings, accomplishments.  Dis-regard, not look at.  This is a terrific tool, and very useful, but only when you are dis-regarding what you DON’T like!  So, while you are dis-regarding the things you don’t like, what are you putting in their place?  Simple.  What you DO like.  When someone compliments you, do you tell them it is nothing? Your project is great- do you say yes, but there are still problems?  Try this: whenever you hear yourself say, “Yes, but…”, change it (at least mentally) to “Yes, so…”  It is surprising the places that simple word choice will lead you!

Look at what you have and appreciate it.  Look at who you are, what you can do,  and appreciate it.  And then, as Abraham urges, look forward with eagerness to what is coming.