Whether you're encountering a problem or an opportunity in your life, ask yourself "What is my point of observation?"
Let's say, for example, you own a business called Books I Love to Read, and you are in dire need of information on how to market on the Internet. Synchronistically, a fellow networker tells you about a free seminar that is reportedly about Internet marketing. Great! This is exactly what I need, you think to yourself.
However, when you get there, you are bombarded by the agenda of the seminar sponsor. Although you really just wanted to acquire a direction or some sources for implementing a viable marketing program for your business online, you find yourself getting caught in the swell of sales gimmicks. The promise of help in learning to market on the Internet was just a way to draw you in.
If you're not careful, however, your point of observation will shift from that of a person whose passion is to attract book lovers and sell them books they'll love to read. You will wake up and find yourself reaching for a different goal—a goal that matches the needs of the seminar sponsor. Suddenly your point of observation is now about being a web tycoon. You're ready to sell anything that will fit the model they have laid out for you. It doesn't even matter if it has anything to do with books. Now it's all about money!
When you set a personal goal for your business,
or your life for that matter, you should set out what your intention is
and measure every decision against that intent.
In the example, your intention for your business might be that you want to use your passion for reading to develop a business where you can not only share your passion, but make money doing it. If you have to always measure your decisions against that intent, what does that mean?
It means that it is perfectly okay to explore opportunities if they appear to offer elements that will enhance your original intent. In this case, you did need to know more about Internet marketing. However, you have to be discerning enough that you don't let others distract you from your intent. Listen to the information, do your research, measure what you find against your stated objective for your business, and then make a decision.
I believe most people fail in business because they lose perspective. They start viewing their business through the eyes of other people.
If your business is your heartsong,
it doesn't matter if you fit the patterns established by others or not,
you can still be a success.
Mumble, in the movie Happy Feet, had his own unique heartsong, and so do you. As long as you make sure that your Point of Observation remains connected to your Intent for your business, you will move steadily forward on your path to success!
Although I have been discussing this in terms of your business goals, this is also true of your spiritual growth. Everyone interprets Truth through the filters they have in place. Truth never changes - only one's interpretation of it does. The same idea applies here: listen to the information being offered, do your inner work, measure what you find against what feels right for you on your journey, and then make a decision about what you are willing at this time to incorporate into your belief system. Everyone's journey is unique, and even though it may not seem that way sometimes, the only constant is Truth.
Do your family members tend to pre-judge your reactions to situations? Do they say “Well, you know how you are!” to justify their actions? Do they assume that you’re going to handle things the way you did when you were a teenager?
Does it drive you crazy? I know it did me. There was a time when I let it ignite anger within me. Now I tend to ignore it.
But why does it hack you off so much? It’s because family members tend to hold you in that emotional and psychological place in which you existed when everyone was still living together. In other words, they take the path of least resistance by choosing to see the you that is familiar to them. This means that they don’t even try to get to know the “real you” – the you that has been growing and changing since you left home.
This is one of the reasons why holidays can be so stressful with family. There is such disparity between the person you were and the person you have become or are striving to become. Your family’s efforts to interact with the person with whom they’re familiar creates a psychological whiplash effect for you. It isn’t long-lasting, but it is extremely painful for the short-term.
What’s the solution? Be aware of why your family members do what they do. Don’t rise to the occasion by letting your frustrations get the best of you. Be who you are or are striving to become. Eventually, your family will come around. If you fight them, it only increases their determination that they are right about you!
Are you open to change? Are you willing to try a different path than the one you’ve been on? If you answered yes to these questions, I have to ask, “How resistant are you to input from outside yourself?” Do you try to maintain your attitude about yourself, no matter how denigrating it may be, rather than open yourself up to new ideas or ways of doing things?
You may think I am only talking about internal attitudes or your self-image. Of course, your attitude toward yourself is at the core of it, but how do you really know what that attitude is except through how you interact with the world around you? For instance, how about when someone is trying to instruct you about a computer program or trying to logically explain why something works the way it does? Do you insist on holding tight to your feelings that you don’t understand computers or refuse to abandon your old perspectives rather than explore a view that may be more productive?
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This happens quite often in counseling sessions. Even in trying to get a client to move from point A to point B, a very short distance with no seeming obstacles in sight, the path for the client can often detour by focusing on C, D, E, F, and so on, which are all points that really have no relevance to the ideas in points A and B. However, the client presents them as what they consider valid reasons for being unable to make the short trip of accepting that B logically follows A. Sound convoluted? That’s because it is.
Let me give you a simple example. Let us say you were trying to show a person how to do a straightforward operation in MS Word, such as copying from one document and pasting in another, which is simply a rote exercise. Highlight targeted text, hit CTRL-C on the keyboard, click on second document, place cursor where you want the copied text, hit CTRL-V on the keyboard. Done. You would not be expecting to hear the words, “I don’t understand because I don’t know what everything is called on the computer.” Then when you explain that they only need to understand those things related to this operation to accomplish this task, another equally creative reason why they can’t do it will emerge.
The truth is that these are excuses. They are excuses that mask a number of different internal issues. One could be a fear of relinquishing the status quo. One could be a lack of belief in one’s abilities. Another could be the fear of failure. There are probably many other possible causes, but they all have one thing in common: they throw up obstacles in the path to better experiences in your life.
Stop making excuses and focusing on what you think you can’t do, and start figuring out how to do what you need to do. In other words, don’t look over your shoulder to the past; look ahead to what you want to experience; and start doing something about it in the Now. Of course we learn from our past, but there’s a big difference between learning from the past and living in it.
Guest Post: John Dean Williamsen
I bought a house years ago in the middle of two acres of woods. By most people’s standards, it was a paradise. There was a yard around the house just big enough for grass, flowers, and plants, and it was QUIET. The deer came up in the evening to drink and eat. I woke up in the morning to the cheerful songs provided by the birds that fluttered in the bird baths and hovered in the trees.
I was cutting the grass one day, and I hit something that stopped the mower like it had hit a wall. It was a mole tunnel! I made a quick decision. The mole had to go! I went to the hardware store, and they sold me a spray bottle of something guaranteed to end my mole problem.
The basic ingredient, believe it or not, was castor oil. “This is sure to work,” I thought. Everything and everybody hates castor oil. I had a vivid memory of my mother forcing me to take a tablespoon of that disgusting stuff.
I soaked the mole’s tunnel in the spray and waited for Mr. Mole to disappear. He not only didn’t disappear, he came back and brought a friend who made a new tunnel. Now I had two tunnels to spray! To make a long story short – the more I fought the moles, the more their numbers increased. Talk about frustration!
I won’t even go into all the roads I took trying to rid myself of these guys. I finally just gave up for the season. The next year after the snow melted, I had so many other things on my mind that I actually forgot about the moles. I was a month and a half into grass cutting before I remembered! I looked around and discovered that they were gone!
Do you have moles in your yard or something else similar in your life? Are you thinking about concreting your yard and painting it green? Maybe you should heed my experience. What I learned was that the more I fought against the moles, the more of them there were. When my focus, my attention, was elsewhere, they actually disappeared!
You know, you do have a creative power. A creative power that produces your experiences. It operates out of your focused attention. Mine didn't really care if I wanted moles or not. All it knew was that I was putting a TON of energy into moles. So, be careful what you let yourself get all worked up over!
Have you learned how-to yet? There are thousands of opportunities out there for you to learn how to do just about anything you can imagine. So why aren't you doing the thing you really want to do? I mean, if it's as simple as 7 steps to the life of your dreams or 3 sure-fire ways to get rich quick, WHY haven't you done it yet? Or if you have, WHY aren't you happy?
The why is actually the reason. If you haven't done it yet, it's probably because you don't know the why of it. Why is much more likely to move you to do something than how-to do it. If you go back to college, change your eating habits, or learn a new skill, it is the result of why you need the change. The how-to enters the process from the energy you invest in analyzing the why.
Even if you know the exact steps that tell you how-to do something, are you more inclined to do them without the added incentive of why you need to do them? I don't think so!
You can see that why you need to do something happens before you're committed to the how-to. In other words, the reason your goal has value for you — the why — comes first. Then you become interested in the steps involved in how-to achieve your goal second.
So, why do you sometimes achieve a goal without feeling like you've accomplished anything? Easy! You forced yourself to follow the how-to because you were pressured by expectations of yourself —from you and from others. This is common. It's human nature to want to do what is expected in order to be accepted. That's the reason you'll take a good-paying job rather than take a chance on the thing you really want to do.
Sometimes we’re afraid that examining the why will take us out of our comfort zones. It might mean risking, and I don't mean financially. I'm talking about risking your perception of yourself and the perception you think others have of you.
For most people, this is the reason the decision of why they do something is founded in seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It is only when you decide on the reason why you should do something regardless of whether it brings you pleasure or pain that you are able to truly change your life.
The Connection to Your Creative Power
There is another important distinction between the how-to and the why of things. Determining how to proceed toward a goal is primarily an act of your intellect. Figuring out why you want to proceed is an act of your emotional nature. Your creative power is accessed through your emotional nature. So figuring out why connects you with your creative power! Then it takes the "how-to" and tweaks it until it fits you like a glove!
Following Others’ Paths
People are sincere when they share with you the path they followed to success. But remember — that was their path, shaped by their creative power. It was their efforts in figuring out why that helped them discover the power that was within them! So, their how-to may or may not give you the ideas you need to express yourself — at least not until you unleash your own creative power by figuring out the why.
Beneath the surface of every one of us is a call to become something greater, stronger and more creative. As that call is filtered through your everyday mind, it is usually misdirected toward the outer world. So the driving force in your life becomes the intellect — the how-to — rather than the why. Consequently, your creative power never has the opportunity to help you carve out your own unique path. Instead, you wind up trying to mimic the actions of others.
On television one Saturday morning I saw a cartoon character who swallowed a magnet. Suddenly appliances and objects zipped toward him. This comical episode, while just for fun and entertainment, is symbolic of a greater magnetic force that permeates every moment of your lives.
Universally applied, this greater magnetic force is a Principle
, constant and unchanging. This principle attracts and organizes the celestial bodies into a harmonious synchrony. On a personal level, this principle is responsible for the kinds of people, amounts of money, life experiences, and the degree of health and well-being that you attract and with which you harmonize. You may be shocked to hear that the name of this force is Love
The idea that Love is the force that attracts your experiences may seem strange, and it may offend the idea concerning Eros as a feeling shared between people. However, if you remember that Love is an attracting, harmonizing principle
, you can see how it would tend to attract and harmonize you with others.
Well, if this is true, why do you tend to be so exclusive in what and who you love? I’m sure you’ll agree that you are inclined to be attracted to some people and situations and repelled by others. Unlike the magnet that attracts very specific kinds of metals, Love can create an affinity for anything or anyone, and this magnetic power will see to it that you experience your heart’s desires. With your mental atmosphere— the thoughts and feelings that inhabit your mind, you draw forth your experiences from unlimited possibilities. You’re Calling the Shots
A principle is impersonal
. For instance, the principles of mathematics and physics are the same regardless of who uses them. Do you think that math cares if you add 2 and 2 and get 5? No! If you should decide to stand on your head and gargle peanut butter, would the laws of physics care? No! Gravity would be your teacher.
Does the Law of Love care what you attract? Nope! You can create an affinity for anything. Remember King Midas? He created an affinity for gold. Everything he touched turned to gold, even that which he needed in order to stay alive.
Are you ready to take full responsibility for the consequences of your use of Love? After all, you created the mental atmosphere that attracted your experiences.
Once you realize that the real obstacles lie within yourself, you have the necessary attitude for real prosperity and change. You stop trying to beat your world into shape and begin to look within to the real source of your good as well as your troubles.
- If you lack money, obviously you have not created the necessary atmosphere to attract it.
- If you continue to make contact with people who do not add to your social good, there must be something within that is attracting them.
- If your health is lacking, you contain within yourself the limiting idea of sickness.
The attracting, harmonizing power of Love is responsible for the movements throughout the galaxies as well as within your body. Scientists are discovering that it is the space between the smallest units of your makeup that hold the secrets they seek. These spaces are filled with the magnetic force called Love.
Did you know that there are always 4 people in a relationship, not just the usual 2?
Knowing this can help you understand a lot about relationships. It helps explain:
For those of you who are married, you're probably thinking the other two people in your relationship are your in-laws. Well, they may be trying to insert themselves into the relationship, but that would mean there would be 8 people fighting for their place! So, let's just concentrate on a relationship between you and one other person.
- why you have those brief, frustrating, and dead-end relationships
- how a great relationship can, without apparent cause, suddenly turn into such a downer
- why it's so difficult to talk with someone even though they seem nice
- why it's so difficult to have a meaningful conversation with your significant other
- why asking someone for a date requires so much courage.
Carl Jung said that getting a better grip on understanding the difficulties between men and women begins by accepting that we are androgynous. Androgyny is a Greek term made up of two words: andros
. Andros means "male" and gynos means "female." So, if you are androgynous, then whether you are physically male or female, you each contain an invisible opposite
. In other words, a man while expressing physically as a man has an invisible female or "feeling nature." A woman while expressing physically as a woman has an invisible male or "thinking nature."
So, in any
relationship, there are actually four people involved. Two visible and two invisible. Many of your relationship problems come from the fact that you are not aware that you have an internal, invisible partner who is nonetheless REAL! And, your invisible partner expects to be nurtured just like you do.
When you hear people talk about the need to get in touch with your feminine or embrace your intellect, they are responding to a truth. This truth is based on how important the relationship is between your dominant nature and your inner opposite.Projecting Your Invisible Partner Outward
Why is getting in touch with your inner opposite — your invisible partner — so important? Because it doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you are in — marriage, friend, dating, co-worker, they are all influenced by the quality of the relationship you have with your invisible partner.
How does this work? If you are unaware of the attitudes you have toward your inner opposite (your feminine or masculine natures) or refuse to embrace your invisible partner, these attitudes are projected into the relationships you have in the world. In other words, you see these attitudes as coming from out there
rather than from inside your mental world.
These projections are strong psychic energy, and they can be of a positive or a negative nature
. They exhibit such powerful energy that you will swear that the object of your affection or the object of your disgust is out there
and you know his or her name! How Your Projections Can Manifest
Of course, the relationship you have with your inner opposite ranges in intensity. For clarity, let’s consider extreme
- If your dominant nature is masculine, and you have a strongly negative relationship with your inner opposite, your projection will cause you to see a woman in any relationship as a witch. If your projection is positive, she will seem to be a goddess or an angel, able to do no wrong.
- If your dominant nature is feminine, and you have a strongly negative relationship with your inner opposite, you will see the man in any relationship as a demon. If your projection is positive, you will see him as a knight in shining armor, your savior.
In intimate relationships, this ability to project your relationship with your invisible partner outward
explains why people can fall head over heels at first sight. Falling in love like this is almost always caused by a person projecting a positive opposite
onto some other person. Our divorce rate is close to 50%. I believe this happens because rather than two real people getting married, two projections get married. When the façade caused by the projection falls away the marriage ends.
Romeo and Juliet are probably a good example of this type of projection. They each projected the highest view of a positive invisible partner onto each other. No human can, for very long, live up to the standard set by such a powerful psychic projection. Sooner or later, the illusion fails, and they fall out of love as dramatically and quickly as they fell into love because these kinds of relationships are not grounded in reality. If the story of Romeo and Juliet had not ended in tragedy, it’s unlikely that their relationship would have survived the real world.The Purpose Of Your Relationships
Once you step into this planet, the relationship with your invisible partner exists in varying degrees of antagonism. Interestingly, you are totally unaware that your inner opposite exists and that your primary responsibility is to develop a loving relationship with it.
Let me recount an ancient myth that illustrates the concept of invisible partners. According to the story, there was a time when beings were shaped like spheres. These spherical beings had four arms, four legs and two heads facing in opposite directions. These beings developed tremendous power and made the gods envy and fear them. So the gods cut the spheres in half and scattered them around the planet to divide their power. It is said that when two of these halves find each other, they are joined in a bond of love and harmony.
Most of the time people think this is referring to finding a "soul mate." But what the myth is really illustrating is the power you have when you become "at one" with your invisible partner. When this happens, your thoughts (the masculine) and your feelings (the feminine) are in harmony. This harmony enables you to be the fully functioning, creative being you were meant to be. Fall in Love with Yourself!
This is the planet of lesson. Learning to be in harmony with the sum total of who you are is called being in love with yourself. Love is the glue of the universe. It is the harmonizing magnetic force that draws like things together. You attract what you are, not what you want.
The more harmony and love you have within yourself the more you attract its likeness in the world of your relationships.
So, if you're having trouble in a relationship, consider how you feel about your invisible partner.
- Could you be projecting your own insecurities about your feminine or masculine nature onto others?
- If you have trouble talking with one sex or the other, is it possible you're avoiding dealing with your inner opposite?
- If you're sitting across the breakfast table from someone and you feel a subtle dread and an emptiness, could it be mirroring the relationship you have with your invisible partner?
- If you're timid about asking for a date or fearful of accepting one, maybe you’re just afraid to get involved with either your feelings or your thoughts.
No one ever said relationships are easy, but it helps to know that there are FOUR
people contributing to the quality of a relationship – not just TWO
There are times in our lives when it seems that we suffer a loss, whether in relationships, business, or just life in general, a loss that marks a turning point in our prosperity. We find ourselves looking back and feeling dismay that we somehow got onto the wrong path and have never been able to step back into the flow of life with as much abundance as before.
It is our focus on loss rather than gain that has created these experiences. If we can have the courage to recognize what we have learned during those times of seeming loss and bless them, we are starting on the path toward a more fulfilling life. It speaks in the scriptures about "I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten..." This is our assurance that those years when we felt abandoned or despaired of ever finding our way back have not destroyed our good. Our good awaits our understanding. Our good awaits our acceptance that the wisdom we gained in awareness during those times is an important part of who we are today.
We must believe that our good was not destroyed or lost. It has only been our attitude, our belief in loss, that has blocked it from manifesting in our life. The only thing remaining is for us to declare fully our belief in divine restoration. Our good will be restored in God's time and in God's way.
In the previous blog post, we talked about the first of two processes, specifically coming together, that occur in the rise and fall of intimate relationships outside the family as developed by Mark Knapp. Today we are going to review the coming apart process. It, too, has five stages.
These stages are as follows: Differentiating, Circumscribing, Stagnating, Avoiding, and Terminating.
In the first stage of coming apart, we find two people who have bonded, the last stage in coming together. Now they feel a need to re-establish their personal identities. They sense a need for privacy instead of the all-encompassing closeness experienced previously. Differentiation does not have to be a bad thing. It is important for individuals in any kind of relationship to be independent, and the relationship can continue to work well as long as there is a commitment to the relationship.
The second stage is Circumscribing. This is the first stage that truly has to do with the decline of a relationship. The earlier stage of differentiation can go either way depending on the commitment level. If the relationship is moving toward decline, this stage will find less commitment and lack of interest. In practical terms, an unwillingness to discuss issues, the silent treatment, and perhaps a great deal of fantasizing characterize this stage.
The third stage is Stagnating. I think the mental image of what happens in this stage is pretty obvious. It’s called “going through the motions.” We’ve seen it in people at work who can no longer stand their jobs, and between friends and lovers who no longer have the same interests.
The fourth stage is Avoiding. People start making excuses to keep from dealing with the intimacy of being together for any reason.
**It is important to note here that the one thing that can turn a relationship around during this time of coming apart is COMMUNICATION. Holding your thoughts and feelings inside rather than constructively discussing them only serves to create a cancer that feeds on itself.
The fifth stage is Terminating, which is just what it sounds like. Terminations can be amicable or nasty. The parties can remain friendly, but without the previous closeness. It depends a great deal on the quality of communication during this stage.
The movement between the stages of a relationship is not always linear. There are always tugs that occur because of the nature of the stages. For example, the need for independence can create a circumstance that alternates between being closely bonded and maintaining autonomy. Just keep in mind that a relationship will be always changing – either coming together or coming apart, getting deeper or more superficial.
*"An Overview of Relational Stages" from Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships by Mark L. Knapp ©1984 by Allyn and Bacon, Inc.
The rise and fall of intimate relationships outside the family has been outlined in a model developed by Mark Knapp*. According to Knapp there are two processes that occur in these relationships: coming together and coming apart. That seems pretty obvious even to the casual observer. But, each of these processes has five developmental stages.
The first process – coming together– has the following stages: Initiating, Experimenting, Intensifying, Integrating, and Bonding.
In the first stage of coming together- Initiating—you indicate that you are interested in making contact. A simple “Hello. How are you?” or a handshake or any acknowledgement that you are willing to interact initiates the relationship. You have made the first move.
In the second stage – Experimenting—you try to get more information to see if you are interested in pursuing the relationship. Small talk is prevalent in this stage. Remember what we said about searching for common ground when we talked about the elements of attraction? Well, in this stage, you are asking yourself, “Is this worth investing my energy?” I know that sounds rather self-absorbed, but it is a natural instinct to conserve energy for those things which enhance one’s experiences in life. Now, remember, we’re not talking about casual relationships. We’re talking about close, intimate relationships. In the experimenting stage, the small talk shifts from questions to personal disclosure. Consequently, attraction increases.
In the third stage –Intensifying—emotional communication characterizes the relationship. It can be direct and indirect. Indirect communication is exchanged through acting in ways that show love and concern for the other person and their feelings. Direct communication involves discussing the nature of your feelings about the relationship. You may express feelings of commitment. Often during the third stage of the relationship, the level of commitment is tested. There are many ways of doing this – creating challenges that require proof of commitment, hinting to get expressions of commitment [such as waiting to hear an “I love you, too” from the other person], scouting out others to find out if they've heard anything you should know, and the old stand-by: trying to make your partner jealous.
In the fourth stage – Integrating, the relationship strengthens and the antics in the third stage cease. You are now seen as a unit, a couple by others. You start taking on the commitments of your partner, such as spending the holidays with their family. You start to have common property. You may even develop your own method of communication.
Let me share a personal story. I have always had a good memory, but not for jokes. My husband was always telling me jokes, but I could never remember the joke itself later. But, if he mentioned the punch line of the joke, I would always laugh with as much joy as I had the first time. I remembered that it was funny; I just couldn’t remember why. But once I started to laugh, there was no stopping it. We would both be laughing hysterically in a few minutes. So it finally developed to the stage where he could say punch lines like “It must be the salt water”, and I would laugh so hard tears would roll. We have enjoyed this private communication immensely over the years, but anyone else would swear we were nuts! :-D
*"An Overview of Relational Stages" from Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships by Mark L. Knapp ©1984 by Allyn and Bacon, Inc.